How to Make Compelling Six-Second Bumper Ads

Written by Team SI on Friday, May 17, 2019


How much of a story can you tell in six seconds? Think you could complete a story in that amount of time? That’s the challenge many advertisers are facing after Youtube unveiled the unskippable six-second video, or bumper ad, in 2016.

While eMarketer says it’s mainly teens who prefer the six-second mobile ads and many consumers altogether despise unskippable ads, 81 percent of marketers and agencies worldwide labeled the bumper ads as effective or very effective.

Regardless of what you might think at first, it is possible to make an effective six-second ad, but there are certainly some best practices to follow. Let’s look at examples of great bumper ads.

Party on with Hefty Brands’ ad for their Hefty® Party Cup.

If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll be drawn to this one from Sonic.

Airbnb created a bumper ad showing how connections made on family vacations can transfer into wanting to make more memories at home.

Did any of those ads elicit an emotional response or bring out a strong desire in you? Did they make you smile? Hungry? Want to book your next vacation?

With six seconds, your goal should be to get to the heart of your campaign’s message and quickly establish a human connection with the viewer. While that can be challenging to do in a short time frame, take it as an opportunity to get creative.

Here are some things to keep in mind when making bumper ads.

Great for achieving top-funnel goals

Bumper ads are best used for “top-funnel” goals – driving brand awareness, highlighting a deal, etc. They aren’t great for retargeting campaigns, where you’d want to spend more time going in-depth about a product or service your business offers. Instead, they should be used in conjunction with other 15-second or 30-second advertisements to create a well-rounded advertising campaign. Remember, bumper ads are just one tool in the toolbox. Pair it with other longer form ads to create a campaign fit to hit any part of the sales funnel.

Keep it simple and visual

Google says these ads “are designed to reach viewers in moments when a quick, focused message is most appropriate.” Therefore, your message shouldn’t be too complex and is likely best communicated mostly through visuals. While text can be applied in some scenarios, it will need to stand out to effectively draw the attention of the viewer and it should be concise so it’s not overwhelming for the viewer to read quickly. Some of your audience might also be watching these videos without audio, so though you might have a catchy track playing behind your ad or a voiceover, let the visuals do most of the talking for you. If your entire ad focuses on a specific product, put a visual of that product at the beginning of the ad so viewers won’t miss it.

Take time to think creatively

Youtube recently announced it is working on a new feature, Bumper Machine, that will take video advertisements up to 90 seconds and trim them down into a variety of bumper ads for businesses. Google says the Bumper Machine could quickly provide an ad that is ready for a business to use or it could help businesses gain inspiration for creating their own bumper ads.

When you’re just starting out though, it might not be in your best interest to trim a 15-second or 30-second ad that you already have in your repertoire down to six seconds. It takes work to tell an effective story and make that human connection in such a short amount of time. Sometimes your longer ads, even trimmed down, just won’t do the trick. So, put in the time and creativity to make your bumper ads as visual and compelling as possible.


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