YouTube offering advertisers ‘click to shop’ buy buttons on videos

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A new feature added to YouTube’s in-steam video ads is making marketing on the site more engaging and interactive.

Click-to-Shop, announced by Google last week, lets viewers  connect to brand websites to purchase products they see in pre-roll advertisements simply by clicking a button that appears on a card during the pre-roll ad.

The buttons are similar to the “skip” buttons that users are already well familiar with.

Advertisers interested in Click-to-Shop need to have a Google Merchant Center account first because that is what allows Google to collect and catalogue information about a company’s product line-up. Once that’s set up, the rest is fairly simple. All advertisers have to do is connect their Google Merchant account to their TrueView campaigns and it dynamically adds the company’s products to the pre-roll ads.

YouTube noticed that people often use the site to research products that they’re considering buying, and then visit Google to find places where they can make a purchase. The enhanced interactive advertisement cards serve to streamline the process of making those purchases.

There are more than one million different channels on YouTube dedicated to product reviews, and views on those videos has increased 50 percent year-over-year. YouTube hopes that Click-to-Shop will help rake in more direct response dollars.

Last year the video streaming site earned $4 billion in revenue, up from $3 billion in 2013.

What’s working so far?

Preliminary results of the tool have been ostensibly positive so far. Sephora tried it and experienced an 80 percent boost in customer consideration, and 54 percent increase in ad recall. Average view time was high at 2 minutes.

Ben Young, media manager of TV and online video at Wayfair, was enthusiastic about the YouTube feature as well. Wayfair tested regular TrueView ads against Click-to-Shop ones targeted to the same audience and experienced a three-fold increase in revenues. “Having the opportunity to lay additional information on top of our pre-rolls is huge,” he told AdWeek.

Advertisers can target their ads using standard criteria such as geographic region, and they can also remarket ads to users based on their search history. On top of adding in the Click-to-Shop button on a banner in the pre-roll ads it also presents a list of products shown in the ad, and links to where you can buy them.

YouTube has always been regarded as a venue to raise a brand’s profile, but not to push products. Click-to-Shop could change all that. It could turn YouTube into another venue for advertisers to generate sales leads, and also another source of user data telling them what makes buyers click the button, and what doesn’t.

Photo via YouTube screenshot

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