Forbes – The Uses And Abuses Of Six-Second Ads
November 7, 2018
Six-second YouTube ads, also known as bumper ads, have proven to be an extremely effective advertising tool. Despite being a relatively new digital ad format, over the past year, six-second ads have jostled their way to the forefront of a crowded marketplace: Research from the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) and TVision Insights found that these short-form ads capture 8% to 11% more attention per second than their longer (see: mid-roll, pre-roll) counterparts.
Bumper ads owe no small part of their effectiveness to the culture in which they thrive. We know that consumers are mercurial and easily distracted, thanks to the abundance of content, information and entertainment to which they have immediate, on-demand access via mobile devices.
We also know that consumers don’t suffer interruptions to their content or entertainment lightly. The rise of micro-content, from the way we ingest entertainment and interact with others (e.g., Instagram stories, Snapchat, etc.) to the way we find out what’s going on in the world (e.g., theSkimm), combined with consumers’ dwindling patience for interruptions to their digital experiences, has created the conditions for six-second ads to flourish.
How can brands make sure they’re getting the most out of short-form ads? Based on my own work with clients in implementing six-second ads within their YouTube campaigns, I’ve encountered some of the best practices by which to abide, as well as the pitfalls to avoid.
Do’s And Don’ts Of Six-Second Ads
1. Do understand the campaign goals that six-second ads are primarily designed to achieve: reach, branding, online visits and other “top-funnel” goals. Because these ads are short-form, pervasive on mobile, can’t be skipped and deliver great value (in the $6 to $12 cost per mille range and 88% to 92% completion rates, according to our year-to-date data), six-second ads are truly an additive ad format that offers campaign optimizations for the aforementioned goals.
2. Don’t forget to use six-second ads in tandem with longer-form adswithin a broader campaign. Given that six-second ads are ideal for driving brand reach, they can serve as compelling pieces of brand awareness to tease or support other long-form advertising content. However, different advertising formats will be more effective in achieving more down-funnel campaign goals, such as evaluation and purchase.
3. Do rely on visuals over text. Six seconds is not a long time. And it’s certainly not enough time to include all the elements traditionally included in a 30- or even 15-second spot. According to Think with Google, six-second ads that include a product shot see a higher lift in ad recall, as do bumper ads with “action packed creative” (as opposed to ads that rely too heavily on text).
4. Don’t be lazy about how you repurpose existing content to fit the six-second format. You can’t simply take a 15- or 30-second ad and carve out six seconds. Advertisers must approach six-second ads as their own format, optimizing toward their specific technical specifications, viewer preferences and copy length. You can communicate something unique and memorable in six seconds, so make sure you do.
5. Do remember to continually tweak, tune and optimize. Because six-second ads are so efficient in price and viewership, this format offers a low-risk method for optimizing a brand’s digital advertising portfolio. Testing 6-, 15- and 30-second ad spots every time a brand campaign is run gives the naturally and artificially intelligent optimizations a much better way to tune the campaign for performance-driven results.
Bumper ads are still relatively new, but I believe advertisers will continue to optimize and innovate within the six-second format. If you’re struggling with how to get started with six-second advertisements, here are some examples of other brands making the most of this latest format.
In today’s ever-changing media landscape, staying abreast of the latest tactic or platform is crucial to success, but the following credos will always apply: Know your brand, know your audience and execute with the medium in mind.
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