YouTube today gave advertisers a preview of its plans to make its video platform more accessible to everyone. The company will soon introduce a new interactive feature for advertisers called Brand Extensions that will allow YouTube viewers to learn more about a product they see onscreen with one click.
The new ad format will allow the advertiser to feature their website link or other call to action in their connected TV video ad. The viewer can then click on the “send to phone” option, which then sends that promotion or URL directly to their mobile device, without interrupting their viewing experience.
From the mobile device, the consumer can then purchase the website as they normally would: browse products, add items to the cart, and complete the transaction. But they can do it when they’re ready to interact with that product information, instead of having to stop their video to do so.
Advertisers will also be able to intelligently target ads to the right audience, based on the video content. For example, a fitness video might feature a brand extension ad that shows a new pair of running shoes.
Advertisers will be able to measure conversions generated by these branded extensions directly in Google Ads, YouTube says.
As part of an e-commerce advertising effort, brands can now add searchable product images to their direct-response video ads to encourage interested shoppers to click through to visit their website or app.
These are just a few of the efforts YouTube is working on in an effort to expand further into ecommerce.
Consumers, and especially younger Gen Z users, today enjoy watching videos and interacting while shopping, which has led to the emergence of many video shopping services – like Popshop Live, NTWRK, ShopShops , TalkShopLive, Bambuser and others. Facebook has also invested in live shopping and video-based shopping on Facebook and Instagram.
Meanwhile, TikTok has emerged as the birthplace of video-based e-commerce, with Walmart (which also attempted to acquire a stake in the app when Trump tried to force a sale) hosting several live streams of buying these. month. TikTok has also seen success with ecommerce as it has rolled out more tools to direct video viewers to websites through built-in links and integrations with Shopify, for example.
But YouTube still has a large potential audience for video shopping, as it accounts for 40% of the view time of all ad-supported streaming services, per Comscore data. And of the top five streaming services in the United States that account for 80% of the connected TV market, only two are ad-supported, YouTube noted.
Ads are just one way for YouTube to generate e-commerce traffic. Creators will also play a role.
A Bloomberg report from last fall said YouTube was asking creators to tag and track the products they featured in their clips. YouTube later revealed more about that effort in February, saying it was a beta test of a shopping experience that allowed viewers to shop from their favorite creators, and that it would roll out. more widely in 2021.
Branding extensions are separate from this effort, however, as they aim to give the advertiser their own means of generating a shopping experience from a video.
YouTube says the new brand extension ads are just the first of the company’s most interactive features. The feature will be rolled out worldwide later this year.