Google last week announced that it will be adding a new feature to its YouTube video adverts, allowing consumers to buy products by clicking on the ad banner. The company has integrated Google Merchant Center into video its ads, meaning advertisers need only connect their campaign with a Merchant Center feed to add products to their in-stream videos, customised for each user through contextual and audience signals like geography and demographic info. The TrueView service has been reported as a success by Google in early tests: online home goods retailer Wayfair saw a three times revenue increase per impression served when compared to previous campaigns.
TrueView is designed to offer marketers better data on user experience by narrowing down the exact moment a video ad persuaded the viewer to become a customer. The service gives consumers more information about the product they are buying, and, it is hoped, will be more likely that the seller’s ad will be relevant to the consumer.
“While Google dominates the online search market, Amazon and Ebay have become annoying flies in its ear,” commented Andreas Pourous, co-founder of digital marketing agency Greenlight. “Consumers are increasingly going straight to these marketplaces to find the products or services they want to buy and this has raised questions over the search giant’s future in the consumer journey.
“Turning YouTube into a giant storefront is the clearest indication yet that Google isn’t taking this threat lying down. By enabling consumers to buy products from within YouTube videos, Google is marking out a new e-commerce battlefield against retail marketplaces – in the realms of consumer entertainment.
“With demand for YouTube videos growing by 50 per cent year-on-year, Google has an enormous consumer audience at its finger tips. The pressure is now on for marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay to respond; will they draw swords and invest in bringing shopping and entertainment together, or have they got another weapon in their arsenal?”
Rakhee Jogia, regional director of Rakuten display, Rakuten Marketing commented: “By adding the ability to click through and buy products from its video ads, YouTube opens up a big ecommerce opportunity for vloggers and video content publishers. For example, influencers like Zoella could start to integrate tags to products featured that prove the number of sales their videos are driving. Particularly for fashion brands, video provides a more dynamic experience compared to a 2D image, and brands will have to use this to their advantage to drive conversions.
“Brands must stay focused on producing engaging video ads that entertain, and this is where strong creative and interesting content marketing comes in. Mobile shoppers need to be catered for too, as 65 per cent of viewers watch video on an iPhone or Android. If YouTube loses its entertainment factor and the ads don’t reach consumers on the right devices, then this ecommerce opportunity will fall flat.”