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YouTube Bumper Ads Guide: How to Make a Big Impression in Just 6 Seconds

By | June 2, 2022

“There are hundreds of thousands of ads on YouTube, so why bother with six-second ads instead of long-form video?” is a common question from marketers that don’t understand bumper ads.

While longer ads are an excellent marketing tool, bumper ads are an often-overlooked complementary element. These six-second messages let you retain audience attention and shine the spotlight on your company or product without interruption.

To highlight how great this advertising format is, we’ve delved into its foundations and provided five excellent bumper ad examples, along with a guide to creating bumper ads and tips on how to get the most from them.

What Are Bumper Ads?

Bumper ads are unskippable YouTube ads that are up to six seconds long. They appear before a video begins or during it and are a great opportunity for brands and marketers to showcase a concise yet highly impactful message.

Understanding bumper ads on YouTube(Image Source)

Since they’re only a few seconds long and unskippable, audience attention retention is much higher than with other ad formats. They’re also less likely to frustrate viewers who just want to get to their video.

When run alongside other ad formats and longer videos, bumper ads build brand awareness and can help with YouTube SEO.

When to use a bumper ad?

Bumper ads are an effective way to get around “ad blindness,” a term used to describe how most users have learned to ignore ads — even video ads.

When you demand just six seconds of someone’s attention, there’s a higher chance you’ll get it.

The best way to use a bumper ad is to send a single memorable message about your brand. The aim is to make a great impression from the first second and lead users to your website, products, or services.

Most marketers primarily use bumper ads to boost brand reach and awareness.

How to pay for bumper ads?

Google and YouTube use the Cost-per-Mille (CPM) model for bumper ads. In this bidding model, brands are charged for every thousand views their ad gets on YouTube.

To ensure brands stay within their budget, Google uses Target CPM. This is when brands can set the bid for how much they want to pay for every thousand times their ad is played. Google Display then optimizes your bid to get the maximum number of impressions within your limit.

With an estimated cost of around $1 to $4 per thousand views, bumper ads are relatively cheap compared to other forms of advertising.

Bumper Ad Examples

Bumper ads are an excellent avenue for brands and marketers to unleash their creativity. Here are five brands that got it right with their bumper ads:

#1. General Insurance

General Automobile Insurance Services is primarily focused on auto insurance. However, rather than creating a generic car accident/mishap-based bumper ad, they used their six seconds to add humor and catch attention.

Using a tattoo error to highlight how everyone makes mistakes and needs insurance to cover them is an out-of-the-box concept that works.

Another thing General Insurance gets right is the messaging. They focus on a single message and don’t delve deep into brand details or product features. Instead, they entice readers back to their website to learn more.

#2. Dove

Dove focuses solely on its product in this bumper ad. They go straight to the customer’s pain point — “Does your anti-dandruff shampoo leave your hair dry?” — and then provide the solution — the Dove Dermacare Scalp shampoo and conditioner.

The narrator also says 1–2 lines to explain how the new haircare series helps with anti-dandruff care.

This is a more generic bumper ad format, where they simply talk about the product. But it works because those six seconds lead any viewers with the same problem directly to a solution.

Since the ad focuses on one product rather than the brand, this kind of bumper ad makes sense here.

#3. Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual Group provides customized insurance for auto, property, motorcycles, and more. Since its offerings are more complicated than the Dove ad above, the Liberty Mutual team went the creative route.

The main benefit of insurance is to save money. Liberty Mutual uses their bumper ad to show just how much money they can save you.

Rather than a simple tagline or statement saying “we save you money,” they choose to show it via a user that has saved enough that they can now buy customized items for their dog.

Notice how this implies that they don’t just save money, but they save so much of it that they can also afford to splurge on unnecessary and fun purchases. Thus, proving how great their insurance is.

#4.Grammarly

Grammarly, an online text-editing platform, adds flair to a direct message with their bumper ad. The student-focused ad uses a statistic about how prevalent the tool is among its target demographic.

It further underlines its popularity by adding a catchy yet relatable line at the end, with the actor saying, “It’s more popular than all-you-can-eat pizza.” This statement is complemented by an end screen that shows the Grammarly logo and a clear line that says the tool is free.

All of these elements combined are aimed to entice college and school students to try out this free app that can make writing easier.

#5. Adidas

Brands can also show their products in action in their bumper ads. Adidas’ ad for their RDY collection of sportswear is a cut-down version of a longer interview with Japanese Olympic silver-medal-winning boulderer Miho Nonaka.

The ad shows the athlete in action wearing their gear, plus a quote from her. It ends with a screen that tells users how to find that specific collection.

A bumper ad like this gets straight to the point, and instead of telling users how good their product is, it implies it by showing the best of the best using it.

5 Best Practices for Effective Bumper Ad Campaigns

Now that you’ve seen some excellent bumper ads and how they get viewer attention, it’s time to create and implement your own bumper ad campaign.

Need help getting started? Our PPC experts can help.

Otherwise, here are five best practices for engaging and profitable bumper ads:

5 best practices to build stunning bumper ad campaigns

#1. Use clusters

Bumper ads must be a part of a cluster of ads that highlight the product/service/brand. Each ad in this cluster is focused on one specific message.

Let’s say you want to advertise a marketing software that:

  • Is easier to use than competitors
  • Has more features
  • Has better integrations

You can use a bumper ad to showcase each of these advantages. The first bumper ad can focus on the great UI, the second can focus on unique features, and the third can focus on third-party integrations.

You can break down this campaign into more ads, say one for each feature or key integration, or you can pair these up with longer ads that explain them more thoroughly.

Topic clusters are a common strategy in content marketing and can be used to plan your bumper ads as well.

#2. Avoid complex messaging

Since your bumper ads are only six seconds long, you must avoid complex messages. Instead, focus on the key takeaway for the end-user or customer.

For example, in the Liberty Mutual Insurance ad, rather than delving into HOW they save customers money, they focus on what customers can DO with the extra money.

Longer ads can explain the how, but your bumper ads should simply tell users why they should care about your product.

The message must be simple, memorable, easy to understand for your audience and handle one main element (customer question, pain point, feature, product).

#3. Aim for visual appeal

In most of the ads we’ve shown above, eye-catching visuals are what reels users in at first.

General Insurance hooks viewers with the sneezing-while-getting-tattooed gag, while Adidas directly shows the athlete in action.

Notice how there’s no dilly-dallying or basic company logo, nothing that a user would see in another generic ad. All logos and slogans are saved for the last two seconds. The first four are all about impact.

Even if it’s a very short ad, users will turn away or tune it out if there’s nothing interesting. This is why it’s important to get straight to the point.

#4. Mix bumper ads with other types of ads

Tailor your bumper ad campaigns such that they lead to longer ads or other brand videos. You can use them alongside TrueView ads, display ads, and overlay ads.

Sheba, a popular cat food brand, created a unique ad campaign to connect with pet owners. They wanted to help cat owners get past the dreaded “4 am wake up,” so they used bumper ads in the daytime and customized ads at night — all of which led to a 5-hour video created to help owners get back to sleep.

The campaign was a massive success, with a 100% increase in ad recall among satisfied cat owners.

While some ads can be cut down to create bumper ads, like in the Adidas example, it is recommended to create bumper ads separately.

#5. Use targeted ads

Like most Google Ads assets, you can target your bumper ads toward a specific audience. This target audience is defined by demographics (age, gender, location, etc.), interests, marital status, education, etc.

You can set these parameters so Google knows who to show the ads to make the biggest impact. You don’t want to show high-schoolers ads about homeowner insurance. Targeted ads help prevent situations like this.

Bumper ads can also be used for remarketing. This is when you target people who have previously interacted with your brand, website, or product.

While you can’t build remarketing lists off of bumper ad viewers, you can use data from other ad formats to show bumper ads to the right people.

How to Create Your Own Bumper Ads

Follow these steps to create a YouTube bumper ad:

  • Create a Google Ads account: Start by creating a Google Ads account to monitor all your YouTube ad campaigns and related data.
  • Create a new campaign: Click on “Campaign” to navigate to the campaigns page, select the ‘+’ button and choose “New Campaign.”
  • Add campaign goal: In the following screen, select “brand awareness and reach” as the ad goal.
  • Select campaign type: When prompted, select “Bumper” as your campaign type.
  • Add campaign details: Campaign name, budget, language, and targeting options can be customized in this step to ensure that your bumper ads reach the right audience.
  • Create and upload ad: Create a bumper ad with your advertising team, choose a banner to go along with it, and then upload your ad.

You can learn more about the process here.

Give Your Brand a Much-Needed Lift with Bumper Ads

Bumper ads can elevate your advertising campaigns by exposing your products to a focused audience that can’t ignore the message. They can lead viewers directly to your website or longer ads or videos that further explain your offering.

If video production, Google Ads, and paid campaigns are not your forte, you can always let the experts at The HOTH handle it. Schedule a call today!


Director of Marketing

Bobby has over 10 years of experience in digital marketing and has worked at The HOTH for over 4 years. Throughout the years, The HOTH has been featured in Inc 5000, Forbes, SMX, Pubcon, Content Marketing World, Affiliate Summit, Brighton and more. To book some time to chat with The HOTH, click here.

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