Since 2016, YouTube has been offering advertisers six-second ‘bumper ads’ to help beat short attention spans, and 2018 has seen a rise in brands fully embracing this format.

Studies have shown that our attention span can be as short as six to eight minutes and that 74% of ad recall is achieved from the first 10 seconds. To meet this challenge, brands aren’t just simply editing or diluting longer ads, but carefully crafting bite-sized campaigns specifically for the format.

Mark McMaster, video product strategy lead at YouTube has commented that people consume video differently on YouTube compared to TV. YouTube users want immediacy, therefore those first few moments of a YouTube video/ad are really important.

Whether it’s the cause of a short attention span or an audience just wanting to get to the point quicker, there is certainly value in ‘bumper ads’.

One of the best examples of using this format is the ‘High Driver’ advert made by Mother NY.

Creative, Maud Deitch commented on working with this format that: “The biggest surprise was honestly the fact that six seconds really is enough time to get a big message across…. you can get to a level of human connection and poignancy that you cannot get to even in a 15 second spot.”

Another example from Optus shows how only a small glimpse of something can deliver a message fast.

Three top tips for creating ‘bumper ads’

1. Focus on a single, simple purpose

When you’re working in six-second formats, there isn’t time for multiple messages. So rather than trying to do a little of everything, aim to keep it simple and do one thing well.

2. Your 30-second spots don’t hold all the answers

Take a clear-eyed inventory of your full-length story, and retain only the aspects that will serve a powerful, memorable six-seconds.

3. Build in series, rather than singles

Thinking of bumpers as a set of three to five ads can free up your focus—and your expectations for each spot. If you create the expectation of what viewers will see, such as a similar but not identical joke, you can engage viewers quicker and with more impact.


The Behaviours Agency are experts in delivering outstanding creative work across digital and social. If you want to expand your digital advertising, get in touch.

By Charlie Sadler

Account Manager