New YouTube ads will push viewers to download apps, book trips, find movie showtimes

YouTube is expanding the ways advertisers can connect with their audience, thanks to an expansion to its TrueView in-stream ad format that will now push viewers to take actions when viewing ads beyond just a click. The company was already testing extensions that let advertisers add location elements or forms to their ads — to get viewers to sign up for a service or learn more via email. Chili’s tested this to grow its loyalty program sign-ups, for example. Now, YouTube will add more extensions that let advertisers push other actions, like app downloads, travel booking or buying movie tickets.

Early testers of these extensions included Vodafone, 20th Century Fox, Headspace and Maybelline. Vodafone reported a 3.5 percent click-through rate, as a result, and a 2.3x incremental lift in ad recall, says YouTube.

With the new extensions, ads could become more useful to viewers who show interest. Instead of simply getting viewers excited about a new movie, for instance, viewers could be presented with an interface where they can browse nearby theaters and see when the movie is playing and where, then buy their ticket.

But this sort of ad is far more interruptive, too.

In that same movie showtime example, the ad takes over the full screen when the device is held vertically, YouTube notes. That does make it easy to click the showtimes and book a ticket, but some consumers may find this sort of takeover annoying.

Arguably, the ability to drive more than just an increased brand awareness is why advertisers would turn to a digital platform like YouTube in the first place. It makes sense that YouTube would expand the set of actions consumers can take on its ads to offer more than just a click that takes you to a company website. Whether YouTube viewers will actually stop in the middle of their video to buy tickets or download apps remains to be seen, of course.

The news was announced at Advertising Week on Monday, where YouTube also said that CPG advertisers will be able to measure their media using third-party market research firm IRI, in addition to Oracle Data Cloud and Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS).