How to Tell Better Stories with YouTube Bumper Ads

If you’re going to be telling your story in attempts to raise brand awareness, would you rather do it in a single three minute long video, or a short video that’s kept under fifteen seconds or less? Most people would choose the longer video—it gives you more time for details, story development, and background information. They wouldn’t even think about adding on a short form video. For many businesses, however, increasing the use of short form video ads- alone or in conjunction with longer videos- has proven to be incredibly lucrative.

Despite what all your initial instincts may be telling you, short form video ads-officially known through Google as “bumper ads”- are actually an incredible medium for storytelling and brand building. Google is encouraging brands to use them more frequently, and plenty of businesses are already seeing great results from them. You just need to know how to use them correctly.

In this post, we’re going to go over how you can tell better stories with short form video and YouTube bumper ads for your business.

What Are YouTube Bumper Ads?

YouTube bumper ads are a part of Google Adwords’ ad system. They are just six seconds long, and they’re an add-on to the traditional TrueView video ads, which aren’t restricted by time limits.

They’re meant to serve as short, brief snippets of the big picture, extending the reach of your video campaigns overall. Bumper ads should complement the more long-form video ads in order to be most effective; in many cases, they’ll be used together.

What Are the Benefits of Short Form Video Ads?

Short form video ads– including YouTube bumper ads– have a lot of benefits that businesses sometimes overlook. The first one is obvious: it’s much faster and easier to make short form video ads. They don’t require nearly as much editing, script work, or rehearsals. This is a huge plus, especially considering that it will also be a lot cheaper, too.

Short form video ads can also capture users’ attention just a little bit better. Viewer retention rates can be difficult to hold on to because there’s so much competition for users’ attention online. As a result, being able to get your full-if brief- point across in a 6 second video increases the likelihood that they’ll click through to learn more than if you lost them 15 seconds into a longer one.

Sure, you eventually need longer video content in order to give customers the full picture. That being said, YouTube’s bumper ads are a great way to capture their attention and draw them in. They do this quickly and effectively– and affordably. Based on some case studies, creative use of bumper ads can help increase the reach, impact, and cost effectiveness of your video ads overall.

How to Use YouTube Bumper Ads to Tell Better Stories

Just because you’ve only got a few seconds doesn’t mean that they can’t useful story-telling agents. Let’s take a look at three different ways Google recommends to use short-form bumper ads:

  • Teasing long form content. Six seconds isn’t a lot of time, but when you consider that you’ll gain or lose a users’ attention in three seconds, it looks a heck of a lot better. Use this opportunity to pique users’ interest and get them to click to the more long-form content.
  • Showcase larger parts of the whole. You could, for example, introduce each business participating in the event you’re promoting with bumper ads before sending them to the event’s full promo. You can also focus on individual products within a whole. Make up company La Mer used this strategy, focusing in on a single product in the bumper ads and ending it with zooming out to show the full product line.
  • Tell the story in small chunks. Serializing your bumper ads are a good way to go. Slowly release different bumper ads showcasing different parts of the story. Preferably, they shouldn’t have to fall in a distinct order, but each should be interesting enough to make people want to learn more about the full story. This is particularly efficient as a re-engagement strategy, where you show additional content to users who have already watched long form content through bumper ads. Halo Wars 2 used this strategy.


Can I Repurpose YouTube Bumper Ads?

Absolutely. There are two great ways to repurpose these exceptionally short form video ads so you can get the most out of the video content you’ve created.

The first is to compile the clips, if relevant, into a single more long-form video. You can use video creation software like Shakr to help you do this in just a few minutes; just pick a template, and drop your clips into place. You can then post this on social media for organic hits. Since video is so important on all social media sites (being prioritized by both users and algorithms), it never hurts to have more to add to your video libraries.

You can also upload the short bumper videos to your Instagram Stories, and use it to send viewers to longer newsfeed Instagram stories or to your site. Since Instagram Stories can only last 15 seconds or under, 6 seconds puts you right in the sweet spot. And now, since Instagram lets you keep Story Highlights, you’ll be able to benefit from them long term instead of just for 24 hours.

Final Thoughts

YouTube bumper ads were rolled out last year, and now that brands are starting to use them more, we can see how beneficial they can truly be. They can help you expand your reach, pique interest, and get more impressions while costing less than more long-form videos, and they can also be repurposed outside of Google Adwords. There are plenty of benefits and almost no drawbacks, so test them out and see how well they work for your business.

Want to repurpose some short form videos into longer content for other channels? Check out Shakr’s video templates and see what we can do for you. 


Ana Gotter is a business writer specializing in social media and content marketing, though she writes on a variety of other niches and subjects. She can be contacted at

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