- YouTube is testing a software tool called "Bumper Machine" that aims to optimize video ads for mobile audiences, TechCrunch first reported. The video-editing tool uses machine learning to pick out key moments from a longer spot and condense them into six-second bumper ads, a format that the video-sharing site introduced three years ago.
- Food delivery app GrubHub shortened two 13-second ads with Bumper Machine by identifying more exact marketing messages the company wanted to show. A GrubHub spokesperson told MediaPost that the short-form videos gave it more flexibility in its ad placements as part of ongoing campaigns.
- The Bumper Machine looks at video spots and identifies elements such as human characters, motion, sharpness of the focus and quality of the framing. It can help marketers to identify the message and how best to convey that in six seconds, Vishal Sharma, VP of product management at YouTube, told MediaPost.
YouTube developed bumper ads, which appear at the beginning of videos on its site, to be less intrusive for mobile viewers who don't want their viewing experience interrupted. By using machine learning to fuel the Bumper Machine, YouTube could encourage adoption of the six-second format by cutting costs for mobile marketers who can rely on artificial intelligence to edit previously produced ads and repurpose old content.
Agency creative executives have fretted that the short ads make it harder to make an emotional connection with viewers, but other studies have shown that viewers can mentally process an ad quickly. Mobile ads start triggering an emotional response in consumers in less than half a second, according to a study by brain researcher Neurons for the Mobile Marketing Association. On TV, six-second ads captured 8% to 11% more attention per second than longer ads, per a study by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) and TVision Insights.
YouTube's Bumper Machine test comes as research shows that mobile video ads are a key driver of digital media spending. U.S. mobile advertising grew 40% to $69.9 billion last year, making up 65% of total digital ad revenue, per an annual report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC. Digital video ads on mobile devices expanded 65% to $10.2 billion, outpacing the 37% growth for digital video in all formats, including personal computers. Mobile video ads are forecast to grow as high-speed 5G mobile networks expand nationwide over the next few years.
Google-owned YouTube isn't the only platform expanding its inventory of six-second ads. Snapchat last month announced plans to introduce a service to let brands reserve and buy non-skip, six-second commercials during premium shows in the image-messaging app's Discover section. The Snap Select service features ad inventory in Snap Originals, sports programming and premium shows on a fixed cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) basis.