YouTube Makes Video Shoppable

Google-owned YouTube will soon make its video shoppable (Fall 2015), with the company announcing a new ad unit this week called Shopping ads.

YouTube has clearly been preparing for this moment, introducing Cards for related content (including merchandise) and launching TrueView for shopping, which allows advertisers to turn their Google merchant data into product cards.

These features are useful for making advertiser videos more shoppable, but Shopping ads take it to an entirely different level as it brings their functionality to all videos on YouTube.

Google indicated that consumers watching something on YouTube will soon see an info icon on the upper right corner of the video. Clicking on that icon will reveal related Cards, including any product ads, and clicking on the ads will direct the user to the merchant website.

Shopping ads will use an auction model (just like Google's search ads) and targeting based on context and audience will be available. Since advertisers will only pay when a video viewer clicks through to a website, the program will likely be well received.