YouTube Streamlines Connected TV E-Commerce

YouTube users will be able to shop for a product without interrupting their viewing experience.

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Need to Know

  • New extensions will allow YouTube users to shop for products they see on their screen by clicking a single button, which sends a link to the product to their mobile device.
  • Viewers can then learn more about a product, add it to their cart, and make a purchase, without navigating away from the video.
  • Advertisers can target ads to relevant videos, and monitor conversions within Google Ads.

Analysis

YouTube is making it easier for brands to target YouTube users with a new connected TV (CTV) extension that will allow advertisers to integrate shoppable ads directly into the platform’s video-viewing experience.

The new feature, called brand extensions, is specifically targeted at YouTube viewers who use the video-streaming platform on their televisions. Brands will be able to display a button advertising a product directly on YouTube videos, which, when clicked, sends a link to the product page to the viewer’s smartphone. Viewers can then learn more about the product and make a purchase from their smartphone or mobile device, without navigating away from the video itself.

Advertisers will be able to track conversions from brand extensions directly within Google Ads, and will be able to target viewers with products that are relevant to the video they’re viewing — a cookware company could use brand extensions to advertise kitchen tools on a cooking video, for instance, while an athletic apparel company could advertise clothing on a home-workout video.

In a blog post announcing the new feature, Tara Walpert Levy, Vice President, agency and brand solutions for Google and YouTube, noted that YouTube represents 40% of all watch-time on ad-supported streaming services in the US, making CTV tools a potentially huge revenue-driver for brands.

She added that, because “more and more, people are choosing to watch their favorite content with others”, the use of brand extensions that help brands “easily extend their overall reach and [the] impact of their campaigns.”

In-video shopping is the cornerstone of YouTube’s 2021 roadmap. In a blog post on the company’s website published in February, CPO Neil Mohan wrote that beta testing shopping integrations are an “opportunity to meet the growing demand for e-commerce.”

A month later, YouTube rolled out product recommendations, which creates a list of products seen in videos. The feature, which will also list recommended products that are similar to those that appear in a video, will appear in between recommended videos, below the video player.

YouTube’s integrated e-commerce rollout followed the Google-owned platform’s launch of shoppable ads, which allow brands to convert video ads into storefronts. The company has also experimented with livestream shopping in recent months: QVC, for instance, launched its first livestream shopping channel on YouTube in February.

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