YouTube Bumper Ads Guide In 2024: How to Maximize Your 6 Seconds

In 2016, Google introduced six-second bumper ads to help ads reach more mobile viewers.

“Many ads on YouTube, and you might wonder, why choose 6-seconds ads over longer ones?” This is a common question, especially for marketers unfamiliar with bumper ads.

YouTube is projected to reach a staggering $7.36 billion in US ad revenues this year, surpassing TikTok’s $6.19 billion. Additionally, YouTube boasts 236.1 million US users, compared to TikTok’s 102.3 million.

While longer ads work well for marketing, bumper ads are a sometimes overlooked bonus. These short six-second messages help you keep the audience engaged, shining a spotlight on your brand or product without interruptions.

To show how powerful this advertising style can be, let’s dive into its basics. We’ll also share five great examples of bumper ads, along with a guide on creating them and tips for maximizing their impact.

What Are Bumper Ads?

As they are brief and can’t be skipped, people pay more attention to them compared to other ad types. They’re also less likely to annoy viewers who simply want to watch their video.

When used with other ad types and longer videos, bumper ads increase brand awareness and can improve YouTube SEO.

When to Use a Bumper Ad?

Bumper ads are a great way to beat ‘ad blindness,’ where people tend to ignore ads, even videos.

When you only ask for six seconds of someone’s attention, you’re more likely to get it.

A bumper ad works best when it shares one memorable message about your brand. The aim is to make a strong impression right away and guide people to your website, products, or services.

Many marketers use bumper ads to boost brand visibility and awareness.

How to Pay for Bumper Ads?

Google and YouTube use the Cost-per-Thousand (CPM) method for bumper ads. With this way of bidding, advertisers are billed for every thousand views their ad gets on YouTube.

Google uses Target CPM to help brands stick to their budget. In this system, brands can bid on how much they are willing to pay for every thousand times their ad is played. Google Display then adjusts your bid to get the maximum number of impressions within your budget.

Compared to other advertising methods, bumper ads are quite affordable, ranging from $1 to $4 per thousand views.

Bumper Ad Examples

Bumper advertising is a great way for brands and marketers to show off their creativity. Here are five brands that did well with their bumper ads:

#1. General Insurance

General Automobile Insurance Services specializes only in car insurance. Instead of creating a typical car accident-themed bumper ad, they took six seconds to add humor and grab attention.

They used a tattoo mistake to show that everyone makes errors and needs insurance to protect them, which is a unique and effective idea.

General Insurance also excels in its messaging. They stick to one message and don’t delve too much into details about the brand or the product. Instead, they urge readers to visit their website for more information.

#2. Dove

Dove’s short ad focuses entirely on its product. They talk directly about the problem customers might face: “Does your anti-dandruff shampoo make your hair dry?” — and then provide the solution: Dove Dermacare Scalp Shampoo and Conditioner.

The speaker also shares 1-2 lines describing how this new haircare series helps treat dandruff.

This is a simple ad format, where they only talk about the products. However, it works because in those six seconds, it guides viewers facing the same issue towards a solution.

Since the ads zero in on a single product rather than the brand, this kind of short ad makes sense.

#3. Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual Group provides customized insurance for cars, houses, motorcycles, and more. As their services are more detailed than the Dove ad mentioned earlier, the Liberty Mutual team approached it creatively.

The main advantage of insurance is cost savings. Liberty Mutual’s bumper ad demonstrates the amount of money they can help you save.

Instead of using a straightforward tagline or saying like “we save you money,” they choose to communicate this through a customer who saved enough to buy special things for their dog.

Notice how this shows that they not only save money but save enough to treat themselves to unnecessary and enjoyable things. This shows how great their insurance is.

#4. Grammarly

Grammarly, an online text-editing tool, boosts a straightforward message with their short ad. The ad, aimed at students, uses a number to show how much students like using the tool.

It stresses this popularity by ending with a catchy and relatable line from the actor: “More people use it than all-you-can-eat pizza.” This statement is followed by a final screen showing the Grammarly logo and a clear message that the tool is free.

All these parts aim to convince college and high school students to give this free tool a try to improve their writing.

#5. Adidas

Also, companies can use short ads to show how their products work. Adidas’ ad for their RDY clothing collection is a brief version of a longer talk with Japanese Olympic silver medalist boulderer Miho Nonaka.

The ad shows the athlete in action wearing the gear and includes a comment from her. It ends with a screen telling viewers how to find that particular collection.

A short Ad like this gets straight to the point. Instead of saying how great their product is, it shows the best of the best using it.

YouTube Video Ad Specs & Placements

To help you with your YouTube advertising, we’ve outlined YouTube’s ad specifications below.

#1 Skippable Video Ads:

Video ads you can skip show up before, during, and after YouTube videos. You can skip the ad after 5 seconds, so make sure to include an attention-grabbing start in your video to keep viewers interested and stop them from skipping. These ads show on computers, phones, TVs, and gaming consoles.

What are specs for an ad?

  • Companion image specs: 300×60 pixels
  • Must be uploaded to YouTube
  • JPG, static GIF, or PNG
  • Follow Google’s image ad policies
  • Max. 1KB

#2 Non-Skippable Video Ads:

The ads on YouTube called Non-Skippable can’t be skipped. They have to play before or during a video, making it a chance to tell a longer story instead of just a quick attention-grabber.

Like other ads on YouTube, these non-skippable ones show up before, during, or after the video you chose to watch. You can see these ads on computers, phones, TVs, and gaming consoles.

The YouTube ad specs for non-skippable ads are:

  • Must be uploaded to YouTube
    • Companion image specs:300×60 pixels
    • JPG, static GIF, or PNG
    • Follow Google’s image ad policies
    • Max. 1KB
  • Length: Max. 15 or 20 seconds

#3 Bumper Ads:

YouTube Bumper ads, also called pre-roll ads, are short messages you can’t skip. They show up before, during, or after a video. While you can’t dodge these ads, try grabbing your viewer’s attention in the first few seconds to keep them interested while waiting for their video to start. Bumper ads show on desktops, mobiles, TVs, and game consoles.

The YouTube bumper ads specs are:

  • File format: AVI, ASF, Quicktime, Windows Media, MP4 or MPEG
  • Resolution: 640 pixels by 360 pixels or 480 pixels by 360 pixels recommended
  • Frame rate: 30 FPS
  • Aspect ratio: Native aspect ratio without letterboxing (examples: 4:3, 16:9)
  • Maximum file size: 1GB
  • Length: 6 seconds

#4 Overlay Ads:

Overlay ads are images that show up on top of a video. They are one of the most affordable ad choices on YouTube. You can tap on these ads to visit the advertiser’s landing page in a new tab or window.

The YouTube ad requirements for overlay ads are:

Overlay image: required

  • Unit: 480 pixels by 70 pixels
  • File type: static GIF, PNG, JPG
  • File size: 150KB

Companion banner: optional

  • Unit: 300 pixels by 250 pixels
  • File type: GIF, PNG, JPG
  • File size: 150KB

#5 Standard Display Ads:

Regular display ads are images, either still or moving, that can appear on various Google platforms, often seen above suggestions for YouTube videos.

Here are the specifications for standard display ads on YouTube:

  • Dimensions:300 pixels by 250 pixels
  • 300 pixels by 60 pixels (YouTube Reserve companions)
  • 300 pixels by 600 pixels (Zagat only)

#6 TrueView Video Discovery Ads:

TrueView Video Discovery ads are designed to make your videos show up on YouTube search results pages and the YouTube mobile homepage. The ad consists of a small image from your video, a headline, and a description to help people understand what it’s about.

The specifications for YouTube TrueView video discovery ads are:

What is the best size for a video ad?

  • Resolution: 640 pixels by 360 pixels or 480 pixels by 360 pixels is recommended.
  • File format: AVI, ASF, Quicktime, Windows Media, MP4 or MPEG
  • Frame rate: 30 FPS
  • Aspect ratio: Native aspect ratio without letterboxing (examples 4:3, 16:9)
  • Maximum file size: 1GB

5 Best Practices for Effective Bumper Ad Campaigns

Now that you’ve checked out some fantastic bumper ads and how they grab people’s attention, it’s time to create and launch your own bumper ad campaign. Here are five effective methods for creating engaging and successful bumper ads:

#1. Use Clusters

Promoting a product, service, or brand through bumper ads is effective when they work together in a group. Each ad in this set delivers a specific message.

Imagine you want to advertise a marketing software that:

  • Is simpler to use than other options.
  • Comes with additional features.
  • Provides better integrations.

You can use a bumper ad for each of these advantages. The initial ad can showcase the user-friendly interface, the second can highlight special features, and the third can emphasize third-party connections.

You can split this campaign into more ads, each focusing on a specific feature or important connection. Alternatively, you can blend them into longer ads that provide more details about each.

Topic clusters are a common content marketing strategy that you can also use to organize your bumper advertising.

#2. Avoid Complex Messaging

Since your short ads are only six seconds, keep the messages simple. Concentrate on the key point for the viewer or customer.

Take the Liberty Mutual Insurance ad as an example. Instead of talking about saving clients money, they highlight what they can accomplish with the extra cash.

While longer ads may explain how, bumper ads should just tell why users should care about your product.

Make the message brief, memorable, and easy for your target audience to understand. Focus on one main topic, like a customer question, issue, feature, or product.

#3. Aim for Visual Appeal

Most of the ads you see start with attention-grabbing pictures that make people want to click.

General Insurance grabs attention with funny scenes like someone sneezing while getting a tattoo, while Adidas shows athletes in action.

No wasting time with boring corporate logos here—those come at the end. The first four seconds are all about making an impact.

Even if the ad is short, people will ignore it if it’s not interesting. That’s why it’s so important to get straight to the point.

#4. Mix Bumper Ads With Other Types of Ads

Personalize your short ads to connect with longer ads or other brand videos. You can mix them with TrueView ads, display ads, and overlay ads.

Sheba, a popular cat food brand, created a special advertising campaign to connect with pet owners. They aimed to assist cat owners in overcoming the bothersome “4 a.m. wake up,” so they used short ads during the day and tailored ads at night, creating a 5-hour video to aid owners in returning to sleep.

The advertising effort worked really well, with a 100% increase in people remembering the ads, especially those who own happy cats.

Some ads, like the Adidas one, can be shortened to make short ads, but it’s better to make short ads on their own.

#5. Use Targeted Ads

Like all Google advertising content, you can aim your short video ads at a certain group of people. This includes things like age, gender, where they live, and what they’re interested in, as well as if they’re married or what level of education they have.

You can adjust these settings so that Google knows who should see your ads for the best results. For example, you wouldn’t want to show ads for home insurance to high school students. Targeted ads help avoid situations like this.

Short video ads are also helpful for reaching people again who have already shown interest in your brand, website, or product.

Although you can’t make lists of people who watched your short video ads specifically, you can use information from other types of ads to aim these short video ads at certain individuals.

How to Create Your Own Bumper Ads

Follow these steps to create a YouTube bumper ad:

  • Create a Google Ads account: Create a Google Ads account to keep track of all your YouTube ad campaigns and their details.
  • Create a new campaign: Click on “Campaign,” then the ‘+’ button, and choose “New Campaign” from the menu.
  • Add campaign goal: On the next page, pick “brand awareness and reach” as your ad objective.
  • Select campaign type: When asked, select “Bumper” as the type of campaign you want.
  • Add campaign details: At this point, set up the campaign name, budget, language, and targeting options to make sure your bumper ads reach the right audience.
  • Create and upload ad: Collaborate with your advertising team to create a bumper ad, select a banner to accompany it, and then upload it.

You can learn more about the process here.

Wrapping Up

Adding short ads at the beginning of your current paid ad campaign can boost brand recognition and attract more visitors.

These ads are tailored, budget-friendly, and cater to the shorter attention spans of online users.

Moreover, YouTube’s precise targeting allows you to display ads to specific audiences instead of spending money on ads for millions of YouTube viewers.

Bumper ads work even better when used with retargeting or TrueView ads.

Now that you know how Bumper ads function and how to make them more effective, you’re set to make the most of this flexible video ad style.

Christopher Smith
Author: Christopher Smith

SEO and linkbuilding expert. More than 7 years of work in the field of website search engine optimization, specialist in backlink promotion. Head of linkbuilding products at GREAT Guest Posts, a global linkbuilding platform. He regularly participates in SEO conferences and also hosts webinars dedicated to website optimization, working with various marketing tools, strategies and trends of backlink promotion.

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