YouTube Bumper Ads: Six Seconds of Snackable Content

Video content consumption is continuously evolving and YouTube is paying close attention. With the increasing shifts to mobile video viewing, YouTube has announced the release of their new mobile friendly “Bumper” ads and updates to the YouTube mobile app home page.

The new Bumper ads are six-second video formats available through YouTube and sold on a CPM basis. These shorter, non-skippable ads aim to increase frequency and incremental reach. According to Google, this format is ideal in a mobile environment where users tend to seek short-form content. However, there are a few variables to take into account when it comes to these snack-sized video formats.

  • Your target audience: Demographics have an impact on video viewing behavior. A recent study by IAB discovered that the ideal mobile ad length for Millenials was 10 seconds, while consumers who were 35-54 years old preferred 30-second length spots. These snippet ads could, therefore, work better for a younger audience, which will be worth testing.
  • Your brand: According to research by YuMe and IPG Media Lab, short video formats are favorable for larger, well-established brands, where messaging can be more limited. Smaller businesses should consider running these ads in conjunction with other types of digital advertising for further support, such as longer pre-roll video ads (e.g. YouTube’s TrueView).
  • The ad environment: Longer videos have shown to be effective on native advertising platforms, where content involves storytelling, tips, and creating an emotional connection with your audience. Brands should keep this in mind and avoid re-purposing the Bumper video content on native advertising channels (including social newsfeeds and in-app placements).
  • Integration: As with any digital channel, an integrated strategy on various channels is key. It will be important to test these short videos alongside other channels and formats for awareness, consideration and intent.

YouTube mobile updates in April 2016

YouTube also gave their mobile app homepage a makeover to further promote mobile video engagement. The Android and iOs YouTube apps have removed thumbnail previews and replaced these with larger high-resolution images. Other than aesthetics, YouTube has also improved its algorithm to keep users engaged on the platform. They have introduced more personalized recommendations to help users discover video content. A single recommended list of videos (replacing the groups of recommended videos) is provided with an emphasis on fresh content, to promote new videos based on the user’s past viewing behavior.

The need to create an engaging mobile experience is vital for brands and digital marketers. Our video viewing habits have changed, with a recent study showing that over 90% use a smartphone, tablet or television while watching TV. The same study highlighted that approximately 50% of users say they turn to their mobile device first to watch an online video. YouTube and other video suppliers will need to accommodate to these behavioral changes, while brands integrate a video strategy into their current marketing plans. Key considerations will include multi-channel and cross-device placements, creative length, engaging content, and your audience’s unique needs.

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