Advertising is a gamble. An advertiser pays for the chance to get a message through.  Video ads (sight, sound and motion messages) can increase the odds of effective communications. Especially when the message is delivered to a big screen in the living room.

But audiences have tools to avoid, skip, mute or just buy out of ads.

Netflix or Amazon Prime, anyone?

Enter the 6-second “bumper” video ad spot.

Gartner has predicted that by 2023, consumers will watch 20% fewer minutes of video advertising per day than they do today, and that by 2020 an increasing proportion of short-form ad units will be apparent. See Predicts 2019: Marketing Seeks a New Equilibrium .

As industry spend on six-second ads grows, some early observations:

  • Advertisers are investing in original content. YouTube noted recently that more 6-second ads are being made from the ground up, rather than repurposing longer ads by editing them down.
  • Networks are making 6-second inventory available.  Bumper spots are appearing in the midst of marquee TV programming like NFL games and the World Series.
  • Advertisers in many categories are participating. The 6-second early adopter list was heavy on consumer packaged goods brands (such as Colgate, Duracell and Pringles) and quick serve restaurants (such as Sonic and Dominos).  Many other categories are now in the mix.  T-Mobile, Walt Disney Studios , Gorilla Glue and personal finance company Sofi have all put bumper ads to work.  Groupon ran the 2018 top-voted YouTube bumper ad.
  • A coordinated mix of video ad units works best. A 2018 industry study  found that 6-second spots work best as part of marketing programs that also include longer ad units.  It also found that sequence matters, with 60s best used as a followup to 30s and 15s.  Walmart’s current campaign for home delivery service appears to take this approach. The campaign aired 30- and 60-second ads during this month’s Golden Globes, with follow up 6- and 15-second spots on digital and social media.  Marketing leaders would be wise to take these lessons to heart; clients please see Gartner’s research about how to take practical steps toward integrated TV and video planning (subscription required).

In the current chaotic TV and video advertising landscape, nothing is a sure bet.  That said, 6-second spots look likely to earn a place in many 2019 media plans.

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