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YouTube to serve shopping ads based on items in videos


Video platform YouTube will start serving users shopping ads based on the items shown in the videos themselves, reports the Wired. Other than popping up during the video, the shopping ads can be found by clicking the ‘info’ icon when a relevant video is playing. The ad displays a list of sellers and prices selling the products displayed in the vide.

For example, a user watching the video of a speaker review, will be able to view the same speakers (and maybe similar speakers), for sale at various stores like Bestbuy and Amazon. According to YouTube, it’s specifically targeting videos that are reviews, how-tos, tutorials etc., as these viewers are researching things to buy. Additionally, the company mentions that there are over a million channels on the platform that feature product reviews.

With this move, the company aims to shorten the time between when viewers see and ad and when an actual purchase is made. Note that the platform is still in the testing phase, and will roll out to advertisers to buy in the coming few months.

Interestingly in May this year, YouTube added buy buttons to TrueView ads (as opposed to inside videos), which would let users click to buy stuff after being redirected to the product page. With the feature, advertisers could overlay ads with product info, images and links where users could buy them.

The same month, Google said that it was looking to add a buy button on its search results pages for products on mobile devices. The button would appear next to sponsored or paid search results, and would be displayed under “Shop on Google”. It was reported that retailers such as Macy’s were in talks to take part in the launch and that the products would still be provided and sold by retailers, and not by Google.

Medianama’s take: The number of Internet companies and social networks who are adding buy buttons on their pages has implications for online advertising. The buy buttons will fuel a lot more impulsive purchases and with the option of storing payment details it can be done in probably 3-4 clicks making them quicker. Companies can no longer rely on banner ads to result in purchase conversions. It means that every additional step and click is a cost as users will drop off. Viva la consumerism then.

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With respect to discovery, especially in Google searches, the buy buttons shifts user behaviour from a serendipitous discovery of products on a consumer ecommerce site, to intent based purchases. On social networks, recommendations to buy could be based on social graph, what users follow and what their friends buy.

Other buy buttons:

– Earlier today, we reported that Twitter has partnered with various platforms that maintain ecommerce websites like Bigcommerce, Demandware and Shopify, to enable their customers to offer a ‘Buy Now’ option to users, directly through Twitter.

– In June, social bookmarking website Pinterest unveiled a way to buy items on the website through what it calls “Buyable Pins” marking its foray into ecommerce. Pinterest, on its blog said that the feature was available in the US and users could pay for items through Apple Pay or a credit card. The company said that it would not store card details of users and that it signed up with Stripe, an e-commerce start-up that focuses on small and mid sized online businesses to handle payments.

– In July, social networking platform Facebook, which had started testing a buy button for Shopify the month before, extended the feature to various business’ Facebook pages. Note that the company had initially started testing the feature in July last year.

Image source: Flickr user jm3 on Flickr

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