June 29, 2017 by Sara Jabbari

What are Bumper Ads?

Video ads preceding video content are difficult to monetize when users skip the ad or click away before watching it. According to a 2015 study conducted by Microsoft, the average human attention span is now 8 seconds long, creating a challenge for video advertisers in holding their viewers’ attention. That’s why a new video ad format called the “bumper ad,” is changing the advertising experience for users, and is benefitting the platforms and advertisers that embrace it.

What are bumper ads?

Bumper ads are 6-second video ads that play before a video on YouTube. Launched by Google in May 2016, bumper ads are a new ad format that encourages advertisers to tell a compelling story in just a few seconds. Since they are much shorter than the usual 15-60 second video ads, bite-sized bumper ads are focused on capturing the attention of viewers while being non-intrusive to the user experience. These ads are designed specifically for mobile, where short-form video is growing and users enjoy watching ‘snackable’ video content.  

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Why are they useful?

The biggest advantage of bumper ads is that their short duration ensures that ad pressure - the time spent watching the ad vs. watching the actual video content - is kept very low. This is extremely important as people’s attention spans are shrinking, pushing advertisers to find innovative ways of delivering content that earns the attention of users, who are in full control on mobile. Non-skippable ad formats on YouTube, which are typically between 15 and 30 seconds, must be watched to completion in order to be monetized by the platform and content owner. However, because many users will be deterred by a 30-second spot on a 1-minute video, this is not the most effective or popular ad format. Alternatively, YouTube allows user to skip certain ads after a 5-second countdown. Because users will skip an ad if given the option, skippable video ads are still difficult to monetize as they require the viewer to watch 30 seconds or to the end of the video.  

Bumper ads provide the best solution: users will likely sit through an that lasts 6 seconds or less to get to their desired content. While the non-skippable nature of bumper ads forces the user to watch the entire ad, they are designed to tell a short yet powerful narrative, enticing the viewer to watch the ad and providing a better viewing experience.

What does it mean for publishers?

Bumper ads are beneficial to all parties involved: YouTube is able increase its ad revenue by monetizing these viewable and audible ads; brands are able to increase their reach and ad recall by reinforcing their message in a cost-effective way; and consumers get a much better user experience. According to Google, 9 out of 10 bumper ads drive a significant lift in ad recall. As YouTube is set to get rid of its 30-second non-skippable ad format, shorter ad formats like the bumper ads are seeing more adoption.

YouTube was the first platform to introduce bumper ads, but publishers can similarly incorporate them onto their owned and operated properties. As video content becomes a top priority for many online publishers, the bumper ad will enable them to better monetize their video inventory and provide an elevated experience for their consumers.

If you want to see what a bumper ad looks like in action, watch the video below to see some examples: 


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