Let me know if this sounds familiar…

You’re at a dinner party, and you’re talking about a hilarious YouTube clip that a colleague showed you. Amazed that they haven’t seen it you immediately go to fire it up on your phone.

It turns out that video you wanted to show was pretty popular, and you’re now stuck in a 30-second ad… with no skip option. If you’re a marketer like me, you already know you’ve lost your friends interest. Who has 30 seconds anymore?

YouTube is saying “goodbye” to painful experiences like this and is getting rid of their 30-second, long-form ads format.


Hello Six Second Ads

YouTube will now be working with a six-second format that it calls “little haikus of video ads”, or bumper ads.

In an effort not to say “told you so”, we couldn’t agree more with this decision. Being able to tell your brand’s story- in a meaningful and engaging way – in six seconds is life or death in the attention economy that we live in. Time is the most valuable resource we have, and it has never been more of a scarcity. Brands that recognize and can capture this will be the ones who win in the 21st century.

Since Google first announced these short-form ads, the format has generated buzz and several companies, including Fox and Facebook, have since hopped on the bandwagon.

“Bumper ads are ideal for driving incremental reach and frequency, especially on mobile, where ‘snackable videos’ perform well.” – Zach Lupei, Product Manager of Video Ads at Google

As with any investment, marketers will want to know if these short-form ads are worth their advertising dollars. Will these six-second ads yield a significant return or are they a bust? Marketers want to know if they can effectively yield returns in 6 seconds.

Here are four simple steps that you can use to propel your brand story:

  1. Simplify a complicated issue or problem with which your customers are wrestling. Your brand assumes the role of a guide or Sherpa who helps them identify their challenges and solve their problems.
  2. Stir emotion. People buy on emotion and then rationalize their decision with facts.
  3. Be memorable in striking a chord that prompts an internal question or reflection. People can more readily relate to a story than fact-laden statements about the wonders of a product.
  4. Make your customers the hero of the story (not your brand) for making the correct decision to use your product or service to fulfill their needs.

It’s important for brands to effectively tell their stories and make a memorable point; otherwise, they are just adding to the noise. Make your customer the hero. Figure out how to successfully engage them in six seconds. For example, people are more likely to watch humorous ads, and those ads also see greater lifts in ad recall and brand awareness. In today’s fast-paced, digital world, it’s crucial for companies to understand what captivates their target audience and to deliver it quickly.

“To tell the essence of a longer story in a short form.” – Sadie Thoma, YouTube’s Head of Creative Agency Development

The switch to the 6-second ad lines up well with Google’s new TrueView concept. Trueview was built on the premise that brands should only pay when someone wants to watch their ad. Viewers are more likely to watch a six-second ad: within that short window of time, viewers are still engaged because they’re anticipating the content they initially clicked on. These short-form ads are a much more equitable trade for content compared to the 30-second disruption.

The brands that have and will thrive in the 21st century are those who have figured out how to tell a compelling story and align that brand’s promise at every customer touch point. If you want to learn how to harness the power of your brand story to create a clear and compelling message that engages your customers and grows your business, download our highly downloaded ebook: TRANSFORMATIONAL MARKETING: Moving to the TopRight.