YouTube Will Let You Buy Stuff You See in Anyone’s Videos
YouTube is making it easier to buy the stuff you see in its videos. Not only do you not have to get up from your computer—you don’t even have to change the channel.
The Google-owned company announced today that YouTube will soon be serving up shopping ads based on the items shown in the videos themselves. If you, say, watch a video review of a camera that takes especially stunning portraits, you may see an ad pop up that will take you straight to an option to buy it.
“Over the last couple of years, we’ve discovered that there’s a lot of content on YouTube that actually is things like how-to videos, reviews, tutorials—things that people look at to research things to buy,” says Diya Jolly, YouTube’s head of advertising.
While advertisers can already offer up more information about a product (or the option to buy it) over their own ads, these new ads will be possible over any video whose creator allows them. YouTube says that this is part of the company’s larger goal to shorten the time between when viewers see an ad and when they make an actual purchase. The company will be testing these ads this fall; advertisers can begin to buy them in the coming months.
Google says that there are more than 1 million channels on YouTube with product reviews—and these kinds of videos, including reviews, unboxing videos, and tutorials, attract a huge audience. YouTube says it has 40 percent growth in viewership for these types of videos in the past year alone.
“Now advertisers can reach users at the point where it benefits the user the most—when they’re looking for something,” Jolly says. “And it will benefit advertisers as well, because they’re getting information in front of users when they really want it.”
The new ads will appear first as an icon in the top right corner of a video. If users click on the icon, they can scroll through images of the product and find out how much it costs. To purchase the item, users can click the image to be taken to the retailer’s site to find our more.
These new ads come at a time when social media sites, from Twitter to Pinterest, are increasingly trying to make it easier for users to buy natively on their platforms. Tech giants are hoping to appeal to advertisers who want to translate digital window shopping into real shopping while keeping users in their worlds. But for users fed up with online ads, the incessant reminder that they can buy more stuff may turn out to be more of a nuisance than a nudge.