YouTube Bumper ads - Making a big impact with small stories

June 2017

YouTube’s Bumper ads are six second spots designed around current viewing habits, and in this article we’ll share insights from a study of their performance to show how a very small ad can make a big impact.

People around the world now watch a billion hours of YouTube content every single day - an explosion in watchtime driven by a revolution in the way video is consumed across devices. This seamless, cross-device access has created new opportunities for advertisers. While audiences are still willing and eager to engage with longer-form advertising, brands also need to be able to weave in effective shorter messages to guarantee exposure and a consistent brand experience when attention is at a premium. For this reason, YouTube has introduced a new six second bumper format that enables advertisers to capture attention in today’s mobile-first viewership environment.

The six second bumper is the perfect vehicle to deliver brand messages quickly and efficiently. They complement existing formats such as TrueView and Google Preferred, and when used as part of a broad campaign strategy, can drive incremental reach and impact for brands. In fact, based on a March 2017 US Google/Eye Square experiment of four ads, TrueView paid views followed by Bumper ads produced a significantly higher lift on ad recall vs TrueView only1. Today we’re sharing some best practices we’ve gleaned from an analysis of hundreds of bumper ads.

1. Keep it simple: less is definitely more

With a bumper ad, you have a very short amount of time to tell your story. Bumpers are designed to reach viewers in moments when a quick, focused message is most appropriate. Ads shouldn’t be overloaded with complex messaging, while creative elements should be kept simple so that they can be easily digested.

A common pitfall is over-reliance on text within your ad. Based on an analysis of over 400 studies examining more than 130 creative characteristics, we found that action packed creatives were associated with higher Ad Recall and Brand Awareness, as in this example from Asda2. Or if you do use text, try making it into a prominent visual or graphical asset that can be meaningfully absorbed in :06, as in this example from AXE, which uses animated text and a memorable hashtag to focus attention.

2. Include a short and snappy product showcase

When you’re working with just six seconds, there is no time to include all of the components that are usually included in a 30 second spot, such as story, product info, taglines and branding. In our analysis we saw higher lift in Ad Recall from bumper ads that included a product shot in their 6-second spot, so to make the most of the time, ensure that your product features prominently on screen, as in these examples from PurinaHuttenkase and Renault3.

3. Tease, amplify and echo

Six second spots are incredibly versatile, and can easily be integrated into a grander media strategy. Used as teasers for a longer campaign video, bumpers can pique interest and create anticipation for upcoming product launches or announcements, or can be a great way to amplify a print or out-of-home campaign. Striking visuals, such as in this bumper by Mountain Dew, can effectively echo longer campaign creative, or as in this example from Heineken, can create a sense of mystery and expectation. Finally, retargeting viewers of longer TrueView or Google Preferred ads with follow-up bumpers is a great way of consolidating and reinforcing campaign messaging.

Bumper Ads

While bumpers are only six seconds long, they can have a huge impact, with our research showing that they perform well for key brand metrics. Across 489 bumpers campaigns we analysed globally last year, we found that 61% drove a significant lift in brand awareness, with an average lift of 9% across all campaigns. On ad recall, they performed even better, with analysis of 605 studies showing that 9 out of 10 achieved an uplift, with an average increase of 38% across all campaigns4.

If you want to learn more about bumper ads, or you’re ready to get started with your first campaign, our YouTube Playbook contains a wealth of information about all of our ad formats.

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