It wasn’t so long ago that we wondered if YouTube would ever start to flex its marketing muscles. Now it is trying to squeeze more money out of the ads on its homepage and just today it introduced the YouTubevertorial. Starting with music and videogame partners, YouTube will begin inserting click-to-buy links below select videos. Right now, these affiliate links connect to iTunes and Amazon (see them at the bottom of the screenshot above?), but more are coming. From the Google Blog post on the subject:
Click-to-buy links are non-obtrusive retail links, placed on the watch page beneath the video with the other community features. Just as YouTube users can share, favorite, comment on, and respond to videos quickly and easily, now users can click-to-buy products — like songs and video games — related to the content they’re watching on the site. We’re getting started by embedding iTunes and Amazon.com links on videos from companies like EMI Music, and providing Amazon.com product links to the newly-released video game Spore(TM) on videos from Electronic Arts.
This is just the beginning of building a broad, viable e-commerce platform for users and partners on YouTube. Our vision is to help partners across all industries — from music, to film, to print, to TV — offer useful and relevant products to a large, yet targeted audience, and generate additional revenue from their content on YouTube beyond the advertising we serve against their videos
The affiliate links work with claimed user-generated videos as well (i.e., ones that use a potential advertiser’s content without permisssion). In June, Citi analyst Mark Mahaney suggested that YouTube could grow to become a $500 million business by next year simply by pumping up its display ads. It is going to have trouble hitting that revenue number now, but at least Google is thinking creatively.
Anyone want to take a guess at how many of those 5 billion views a month can be turned into advertorials?