Content / Google Ads

What’s the Difference Between Bumper Ads vs. Skippable Ads?

February 21, 2020 , 4 minutes
markus spiske u s3EG1QUXw unsplash

The two most popular advert types available on YouTube through Google Ads are bumper and skippable in-stream. We’ve been running both for a client and wanted to share some brief notes about what we’ve seen.

What are the ad formats?

Bumper ads are six second or less promotional videos that run prior to a YouTube video being shown. Because they are so short, they are set as unskippable, so if you’re waiting to watch your next cat video, then you will have to wait a whole six seconds for them to finish. Sometimes there can be two of them. This is obviously not a long time so most people don’t mind the wait and are happy to expose themselves to the message in order to reap the reward.

A skippable ad is exactly as it sounds. Sort of. It will play for up to fifteen seconds but the first five seconds is unskippable. After that, a button will appear on the bottom right side of the ad allowing the watcher to skip the remaining ten seconds and go to their chosen video.

Google mixes up how they’re served so there’s no particular format that will show when you watch your next video.

What are the pros and cons?

Well, obviously the pro of the bumper ad is that its unskippable. People have to watch it. The con of a bumper as is that it is very hard to squeeze a decent marketing message into six seconds. If you’re using a voiceover – which you should – that’s just one short sentence. As part of a bigger campaign, a bumper ad can be very useful to reinforce a longer message the consumer might have seen elsewhere but using it on its own can be a challenge.

The pros and cons of the skippable are also fairly obvious. A lot of people skip these ads as soon as they can which produces a viewing graph like you see below. You don’t need to be a genius to understand where the 5-second point is on this graph. So the goal of the skippable is to try and keep as many people’s attention as long as you can. The numbers show us that 28% of people watched the video all the way through to the end. We’ll tackle whether that is good or bad in another blog.

Screen Shot 2020 02 21 at 10.31.02 am

Another benefits of the fifteen second skippable is that you have much more creative space – at least three or four sentences. Here’s a couple of examples from clients: Touch Rugby League’s fifteen second featuring Darren Lockyer is here, and Kerrie Hess’s ad for her online illustration course is here.

(Note: Kerrie’s is actually 20-seconds long. That doesn’t mean YouTube won’t run it, but it will be harder for it to serve. If a Bumper ad is over 6 seconds, it won’t serve at all.)

From a cost perspective, in two examples, we saw a price of $5.39 CPM for skippable and $5.30 for bumper with one client and $7.11 CPM for skippable and $7.78 CPM for bumper for another client. So not a great deal of difference between the two, except the skippable in both cases had been served a lot more. I suspect this is to do with the overall experience YouTube is trying to deliver to the end user.

Why not do both bumper ads and skippable ads?


In an ideal world, you should do both. Running bumper and skippable ads in conjunction with each other is the best option. Have your customer see the fifteen second, click through to a landing page and then serve them the six second next time they’re on YouTube to reinforce your message. There’s lots of other ways you can mix them up.

But if I had to choose one, I’d go for skippable, mainly because of the broader creative options.

To conclude

YouTube video ads are a great brand awareness tactic for your business, especially as you can target them so well – even to within a 1km radius of your business, to specific age and sex demographics. If you ran a gym, you could use these ads to show to just women aged 25 to 35 within a 1km radius of your business. It doesn’t get much better than that.

If you’re looking at Google Ads and YouTube Advertising as part of your growth strategy, drop us a line on [email protected] and we can run through the costs and benefits to you.

Main photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash