Suraj Ramnath and Ashee Sharma

What will brands use YouTube's six-second bumper ads for?

Shock value? As a reminder medium? Pure sales-driven transactional messaging? Or, something else?

Video-sharing platform YouTube recently launched a new 'Built for mobile' ad format called 'bumper ads' that is all about brevity. Introducing the six-second, non-skippable ads in a blog post, Google described them as "ideal for driving incremental reach and frequency, especially on mobile, where 'snackable videos' perform well."

The insight behind the new format came from a research commissioned by YouTube. It suggested that the platform reaches more people on mobile than any broadcast or cable network. Yet, another finding of the study was that half of those in the age group of 18-49 years turn to their mobile devices first to watch video.

Internationally, Atlantic Records experimented with the format to launch the English band Rudimental's second album. Audi Germany also used an edited version of a longer TrueView ad as a 'bumper' to introduce its Q-series SUVs.

What will brands use YouTube's six-second bumper ads for?
What will brands use YouTube's six-second bumper ads for?
While the way these Vine-like ads are used in India is yet to be seen, the challenge it poses to advertisers and agencies will remain the same.

How will YouTube's six-second bumper ads impact story-telling, brand messaging, and creative briefs?

Will we see more transactional, call-to-action messaging, or a desperate attempt to shock the viewer with strong imagery?

Here's what the industry has to say about what Google describes as 'little haikus of video ads'...

Prithviraj Banerjee, head of agency, India, DigitasLBi

What will brands use YouTube's six-second bumper ads for?
Story-telling should be format agnostic, and advertisers, for ages now, have been offering us narratives using multiple formats.

The six-second bumper ad format adds to an already rich canvas of options available to story-tellers. Advertisers can now use such shorter formats to tell smaller/relevant parts of the same story. A good creative brief should never be deterred by the emergence of new formats, but would definitely need some additions. Advertisers will need to select the finer details, call-outs, and clear execution elements, built around clear marketing objectives. Brevity and clarity derived from the master creative brief is a must to create effectively within this format.

Ultimately, brands have great tales to tell, and the emergence of such new vehicles allows for relevant parts of the story to be highlighted.

While the format is new and the go-to assumption is that we will be flooded with tactical communication, six seconds is long enough to be flexible from a messaging point-of-view.

Here's why... The rise of short format, snackable content is testimony to the consumers' acceptance of quick bursts of entertainment and information. Infographics tell a multiple slide story in one image, GIFs depict moods and points-of-view in a few looped seconds, Twitter and Facebook updates have become a news source, and Vine's ever-popular videos never cease to amaze.

Therefore, I do not see the new format as a breeding ground for pure transactional messaging. We could potentially see teaser campaigns, call-to-action messaging, branded UGC content, and even story testing via this format. Naturally, advertisers will need craft compelling imagery in order to be noticed and remembered, but strong, insight-driven relevant content will rule this arena.

Sumeet Narang, vice president - marketing, Bajaj Auto

What will brands use YouTube's six-second bumper ads for?
What will brands use YouTube's six-second bumper ads for?
Short-format ads are not something new. This move could grow YouTube's share in tactical/announcer ads. If the medium is cost efficient, it could give rise to a new genre of quickly made, low cost six-sec announcer ads. Depending on efficacy, these could also be geo-targeted for city specific promotions. One can use them creatively for teasers or brand-building, but I feel more excited about the ability to put together an action-oriented communication within a week and watch results with 10-15 days of airing.

Rohit Raj, co-founder and right brain, The Glitch

If we can write poems and stories in 140 characters, I am sure six secs is a large enough canvas to tackle some clever story-telling. The emphasis remains on the word 'clever'. We at Glitch, have been tackling with micro content for a while where we craft mini-format content that is specific to a very precise brief.

We follow a method used in the product development cycle called the MVP or Minimum Viable Product (which helps you create a product with the basic framework to deliver its points, and anything above the MVP is an addition), and craft a Minimum Viable Brief (MVB). It means that at the end of the ad, this is the precise/basic message that the audience takes away.

The basis of this MVB is that the creative team decides if there can be a story that can drive the message home, or if it needs to be just a direct piece of communication as the message to be driven is complex, or is it just a story with subliminal thought that leaves the brand lurking in your head. So, nothing really changes, except perhaps, the briefs get refined to talk specifics as opposed to a large gamut.

Will we see more transactional, call-to-action messaging? I feel the answer to this question depends on the outcome of the MVB.

If the most creative way to drive the message is to say it with a call-to-action messaging, then so be it. At the end of the day, these formats of six and 15 secs are ad formats that brands pay for to ensure their message gets driven home, more products fly off the shelf, or more downloads of their apps happen. So, the most creative yet effective way to do this within the canvas of six secs will win. Effectiveness is going to be the key here. Creatively, we can find a zillion ways to tell stories in six secs, but the stories have to also lead the consumer to take the call-to-action. So, it depends on the MVB, which could be transactional, call-to-action-led, or even maybe a shock that makes you stay.

It's the size of the canvas that has changed, everything else remains the same.

Rajiv Dingra, founder and CEO, WATConsult

What will brands use YouTube's six-second bumper ads for?
What will brands use YouTube's six-second bumper ads for?
The shorter the duration, the more direct is the communication. I think, two things will happen - one, brands will use this to promote a single message and not clutter the video. Two, brands could also use this to ensure a call-to-action is built which takes the user to the next destination.

The size restriction will mean that brands will have to become more innovative in their ads. They will try to ensure that the view in itself should be worth for to advertise. Hence, I expect more to-the-point and direct ads.

Naren Multani, director, Puppet Pictures

While the creatively executed bumper ads can be used to tell an entire story, in India, I think brands will mostly use them to support bigger campaigns, a teaser perhaps, or a reminder for a successful campaign.

The format can be used across forms of story-telling including advertising, films, television, and even music. For instance, a six-seconder is a great way to introduce the different characters in a film, or a serial, or rock band. It will mostly supplement the main campaigns.

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