YouTube Puts E-Commerce Into Video Ads

By Rory Betteridge | 01 Oct 2015

YouTube has debuted a new ad unit, Shopping Ads, which allows advertisers on Google’s video service to place e-commerce functionality within popup ads.

The move follows developments over the past few months, including the introduction of Cards to showcase content and merchandise, and TrueView for shopping, which automates the generation of product cards directly from Google merchant data.

“To help advertisers reach all the other product-focused content on YouTube – from unboxings, hauls, product reviews and how-to videos – today we’re announcing Shopping ads for YouTube,” reads an AdWords blog post. “These will let you show a click-to-buy ad within partner videos on YouTube, going beyond your own videos to transform any relevant video into your digital storefront. Similar to Shopping ads on Google, you only pay when a user clicks on your ad.”

Shopping Ads in situ. Image courtesy of AdWords

Functionally the ads work the same way as Cards and TrueView ads, requiring viewers to click an innocuous information icon in the top corner to display them. Clicking on the ads takes the viewer directly to the advertiser’s product page, marking a major point of difference from the recently unveiled Purchases On Google, which redirects consumers to a Google-hosted product page.

“Shopping ads on YouTube provide an entirely new revenue stream for creators, providing another way to monetize product-focused videos,” the company said. “They also provide a more interactive experience for viewers, letting them shop directly from videos. Stay tuned as we roll this new capability in the coming months.”

YouTube has seen product-oriented videos – including unboxings, reviews, tutorials and so on – benefit from viewership growth of about 40 percent in the past year. Being able to monetise videos such as these with services like Shopping ads is a natural progression, and fits in with Google’s intent to be involved in their advertiser’s purchase process.

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