YouTube Introduces Shopping Ads

YouTube videos are going to get more shoppable, with the company announcing a new ad unit today called Shopping ads.

The Google-owned video site has been moving in this direction for the past few months, with the introduction of Cards for related content (including merchandise) and the launch of TrueView for shopping, which allows advertisers to automatically turn their Google merchant data into product cards.

“While both of these features are great for making advertiser videos more shoppable, Shopping ads bring this functionality to all videos on YouTube,” the company says.

The point is, Google really wants advertisers to promote their products on YouTube and to allow consumers to start the purchase process directly from those videos.

So if you’re watching something on YouTube, you might start seeing an info icon on the upper right corner of the video. Clicking on the icons will bring up related Cards, including any product ads, and clicking on the ads will take you to the merchant website.

That’s a different approach from the recently announced Purchases On Google, where mobile advertisers can direct consumers to Google-hosted product pages.

Google says this will run similarly to Shopping ads on Google Search, with an auction model, targeting based on context and audience (so hopefully the ads will be relevant to you and related in some way to the video you’re watching), and advertisers only paying when a viewer clicks through to their website.

YouTube says product videos (such as reviews and tutorials) have seen 40 percent viewership growth in the past year. These kinds of ads are a natural way to make money on those videos. While Google is making the announcement as part of Advertising Week, it says testing will start this fall.

You can read more on the AdWords blog.