YouTube is set to start showing six-second advertisements that cannot be skipped before playing the videos on its site. This is in contrast to the current pre-roll YouTube ads, which can be skipped after a few seconds have passed – something that most viewers do opt to take advantage of.

Google claims the new ads will be in a “quick and fun format”. The firm’s product manager for video ads, Zach Lupei, likens them to “little haikus of video ads.”

YouTube believes these short ads will pair better with the shorter video clips that many of its users view on their smartphones. After all, most users do not enjoy sitting through a 30-second ad just to watch a 35-second video clip.

Atlantic Records recently used bumper ads on a test basis to promote the English band Rudimental’s second album, using each spot to highlight one of the album’s guest musicians. Audi Germany also tested the ads, but the firm took a different approach, cutting a longer video ad down into smaller snippets. This new format is expected to encourage advertisers to experiment, and advertisers can be sure that viewers will sit through their entire message.

Bumper ads targeting mobile video viewers

The bumper ads will target younger viewers who watch videos on their smartphones. Research shows that half of people aged 18 to 49 opt for mobile as their first choice to watch videos, with much of those videos being music. YouTube will also continue displaying the longer ads that are already in use on its platform.

The spots will be sold through AdWords auctions on a CPM basis. An official Google Inside AdWords blog post says: “Given the succinct nature of the format, we’ve seen Bumper ads work best when combined with a TrueView or Google Preferred campaign. In early tests, Bumpers drove strong lift in upper funnel metrics like recall, awareness and consideration. We also see that Bumpers work well to drive incremental reach and frequency when paired with a TrueView campaign.”

Google also suggests that the bumper format works well with serialized content.

YouTube says that even people who are viewing videos at home in their living room tend to prefer watching on their smartphone because of its ease, personalization and control.

The bumper ads will be rolled out in May. In addition, YouTube intends to keep expanding its advertising options in various ways to adapt to the habits of its viewers.

Tobias Matthews

Tobias Matthews


Writer at Fourth Source.