YouTube Introduces 6-Second Video Ads For Mobile Users With Short Attention Spans

Image courtesy of 吉姆 Jim Hofman

Internet users are spending more of our time online staring at the tiny screens of our mobile phones rrather than the larger screens of our computers, and that includes short videos. Users don’t really have a long attention span for ads before the video that they actually tapped on, though, and that’s why YouTube is now selling 6-second “bumper” ads to keep viewers from tuning out.

Well, technically, the other reason, Geekwire points out, is that the top spot for watching online videos is now Facebook, which means that Facebook gets to sell video ads, too. (It doesn’t help that some of that video content that people are devouring on Facebook started out on YouTube.)

At only 6 seconds long, there’s no point in skipping to the end of bumper ads, but they won’t replace full-length commercials. Examples that YouTube showed in its announcement of the 6-second spots were short sections of existing full-length ads.

One early adopter was Audi in Germany, which took a long ad full of “Q” words for their Q-series SUV, and made each segment a bumper ad that works on its own, and also reminds viewers of the full-length spot if they’ve seen it on YouTube or elsewhere.

Here’s the full-length ad, which is in German:

Here’s a slice as a bumper:

Google says that its tests showed that pairing up full-length ad spots with shorter bumpers made ads and products more memorable later on, but didn’t annoy them enough to make them tune out.

The change comes as YouTube is improving its recommendation engine, hoping to keep users watching video after video on YouTube, not wandering off after they see the same ad too many times in a row and get bored.

Built for mobile: Bumper ads drive incremental reach and frequency, particularly on smartphones [Google]