YouTube debuts ‘Shoppable Video Ads’ to drive Christmas sales

12/12/2012

Google is testing a new shoppable video format on YouTube, letting viewers click on products and text displayed in video. YouTube's shoppable video ads will display a shaded rectangle in the middle of the screen whenever a product appears. When a user rolls over that embedded video link, the product name is displayed with a link to the purchase page.

Watch a video demnstration from Juicy Couture below:

The beta feature is available to all existing clients, although Google won't disclose how many advertisers have shown interest or signed up thus far. Juicy Couture, one of the first brands to adopt the shoppable feature, released a new video directed by Terry Richardson featuring Candice Swanepoel at the famed Chateau Marmont hotel.

"With YouTube external annotations, we're trying to make it a very seamless process," said Lisa Green, industry director at Google. "If while you're watching it, you see something you really want, you can click... We've allowed the user to make the decision to make the purchase" in the video.

"Retailers and fashion brands in general are really starting to use YouTube as a place to showcase their brands, and during the holidays in particular to drive sales," she said. "It is going to play an even bigger role in the holiday shopping season this year - more than any other year."

In late October, a study from the market research firm Ipsos commissioned by Google found that 80 percent of shoppers will research online before making a purchase this holiday season.

The report also found that 51 percent of shoppers will research online before making the purchase in store, 44 percent will research and buy online, 32 percent will research online and in store before making the purchase online and 17 percent will research in store before buying online.

Todd Pollak, industry director of retail at Google, summarized what he calls the first "Nonline holiday shopping season" in a blog post. "In short, the shopper's journey looks less like a funnel and more like a flight map, and the lines between online and offline shopping experiences are blurring," he noted.

"Retailers are centering their campaign around these videos" as the medium "becomes a place of influence for their brand," said Green. "These don't always have to be high-end, edgy content... I think it really ranges depending on who your target audience is, but ultimately it is about the investment you put in to drive traffic to these videos."

"The sort of myth of the viral video has passed. These videos are all out there, but there's ways to drive traffic to these videos," she added.

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Read the official blog announcement here

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