YouTube Shopping ads turn videos into virtual storefronts

In an effort to make video sharing site YouTube more shoppable, the Google-owned giant is premiering a new way for ecommerce brands to convert browsers into buyers more quickly.

YouTube Shopping ads, the site’s latest way to target consumers and monetize videos, was announced on stage Tuesday during Advertising Week in New York City. The feature will roll out this fall and allows viewers to buy products directly from videos on the site.

The site’s latest ad component aims to turn hosted videos into bonafide digital storefronts. That means viewers watching a video starring someone sporting the newest pair of Jordans will see a small icon in the corner of the screen. When clicked, a Card will drop down and offer pricing information for the sneakers and any other products in the video. Interested shoppers then click through to the corresponding retailer site to complete their purchase.

Image courtesy of Google
Image courtesy of Google

While this adds a layer of interactivity for consumers casually browsing video search results, the feature is a boon for retailers on the prowl for new ways to introduce buyers to their products and boost traffic to their ecommerce sites.

Shopping ads will work as part of the Google Merchant Feed, allowing retailers and marketers to create products ads to appear alongside select videos. The pay-per-click ads then enter an auction (similar to Shopping ads on Google), and are chosen to accompany relevant videos based on comparable criteria.

YouTube isn’t the first social site trying to cull the number of steps between first seeing a product and clicking “Buy Now.” This closely follows an announcement in late June from fellow social sharing site Pinterest rolling out the embattled “Buy” button. The Pinterest concept is similar — buyable product pins are embedded throughout users’ home feeds, boards they follow and are mixed in with search results.

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Lindsey Peacock
Lindsey Peacock
Lindsey Peacock is a freelance writer, editor and American expat based in Toronto. This proud Atlanta native has written for a variety of news and business publications across North America, including Business in Vancouver, BCBusiness magazine, Fort McMurray Today and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Blogging, sweet tea and black-and-white movies are a few of her favourite things.

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