YouTube Bumper Ads May Be Just What Some Small Businesses Need

They last six seconds and can’t be skipped. Could they get you the brand exposure you crave?
Can you create a video ad that wows viewers in six seconds? If so, YouTube is the place to be. (Photo: Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock)

Ads may be the only way to get social media marketing to work these days. But if you’re not seeing the ROI you want from Facebook or Instagram ads — or you’re in the mood to try something totally different to boost brand awareness — consider a YouTube bumper ad.

Related: Why Social Media May Not Pay Unless You Do

Launched last year, these ads last only six seconds and can’t be skipped. Here’s an example:

“We like to think of Bumper ads as little haikus of video ads,” wrote video ads product manager Zach Lupei in Google’s blog post announcing the new format. “Bumper ads are ideal for driving incremental reach and frequency, especially on mobile, where ‘snackable videos’ perform well.”

Google says it tested more than 300 bumper ad campaigns and found that 9 out of 10 “drove a significant lift in ad recall.”


“If someone has been to your website, they know what you do. Perhaps all they need is a six-second reminder of your existence to get them back to buying what you’ve got to offer.” – William Gadea (Photo: William Gadea)

Other YouTube advertising formats, such as TrueView ads, require the viewer to watch a five-second preview before being able to skip to the ad. With bumpers, users don’t have to skip the ad because it’s over before they know it.

According to an Ipsos study commissioned by Google, half of all 18 to 49 year olds turn to their mobile device first for watching online videos. To adapt to changing viewer habits, YouTube designed bumper ads primarily for advertising on mobile, allowing advertisers to target moments when consumers are more receptive to a quick, focused message.

Related: 3 Ways to Use YouTube Videos to Bring in More Business

“You can’t say much in six seconds,” said William Gadea, creative director and founder of IdeaRocket, a maker of animated videos for businesses. Bumpers aren’t ideal for complex marketing campaigns or companies with business propositions that require a lot of explaining, he said. But if you want to build awareness for your brand, they let you do it cost effectively, with what Gadea called “great targeting options.”

“As with so much digital marketing, it’s the targeting that’s key, not the format,” said Gadea. “Local businesses can take advantage of geo-targeting and even combine that with demographic and interests targeting. That can get you great bang for the buck, letting you zero in on exactly who your audience is,” he said.

Bumper ads can also be leveraged as part of a remarketing campaign. “If someone has been to your website, they know what you do. Perhaps all they need is a six-second reminder of your existence to get them back to buying what you’ve got to offer,” Gadea noted.

To create a bumper ad, log in to your Google AdWords account and create a campaign the same way you would for a pay-per-click campaign. If you need help making your video, Google has resources to assist, said Gadea. “YouTube has provided some very cheap ways to create video ads. One is YouTube Director, a iOS app that uses templates to help you create ads quickly on your phone. Another is a professional service that makes the ad for you if you commit to spending just $150 on your ad.”

Related: Why Video Should be Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy

Bumper ads can be more affordable than other options. Instead of paying on a per-click basis, bumper ads use CPM (cost-per-thousand impression) bidding. That means you pay each time your ad is shown 1,000 times. If your CPM budget is $2.00, you would be charged $2.00 after 1,000 people view your ad.

At that rate, bumper ads could be a good fit for your small business’ marketing strategy — if you can get a memorable message across in a few heartbeats. If not, your ad dollars may be better spent elsewhere.

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