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YouTube launches unescapable 6-second Bumper ads

YouTube has introduced a brand new ad format to its roster. It lasts six seconds, can’t be skipped, and is promoted by Google as “a quick and fun format” that are “little haikus of video ads.”

They’re called Bumper ads, and they are designed to drive incremental reach and frequency amongst the 50% of 18 to 49 year olds that prefer to watch videos on their smartphones.


Image: YouTube

These snack-sized clips will be available through Google AdWords auction from May, as an add-on to TrueView or Google Preferred campaigns, and sold on a cost per mille basis. Designed to complement other longer YouTube ads, tests by Google showed strong uplifts in recall, awareness and consideration.

Atlantic Records were one of the pilot testers combined Bumper ads, with a TrueView campaign to promote the launch of English band Rudimental’s second album – “We the Generation”. Bumper ads were used to showcase individual guest performers featured on the album, while the longer TrueView ads featured the band and the album itself.

“Through cost-efficient bumpers we could really showcase the plethora of legendary guests featured on the record,” says Fiona Byers, senior marketing manager at Atlantic Records/Warner Music Group. “When used in conjunction, TrueView plus Bumpers really work more effectively than either format on its own”.

Audi Germany, another piloter, introduced their Q-series SUVs with a 45-second TV spot as a TrueView ad and then cut up the ad into six-second extracts. The longer ad leant itself to the new format, as it featured meaningful German words beginning with “q” like querpass (cross kick).

Whether a threat or a promise, YouTube’s Zach Lupei, Product Manager for Video Ads, says that they will “continue to roll out new ad formats that are uniquely adapted to the way people watch video now, and in the future.”

Today all YouTube ads are skippable, and most people tend to do just that. There is even a phrase for when a user clicks out of the usual 10 second ads before it even begins – “Viewer Abandonment,” a phrase coined by The New York Times in 2010.

This is a result for advertisers, as unskippable ads will get watched, but not such a result for consumers who are used to the 5-second countdown on YouTube ads before being able to skip to the actual content they want to watch. An extra second has been added to that already-unwanted viewing enjoyment — so please, creative community, use it wisely!

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