YouTube has rolled out new interactivity to its TrueView video ad offerings, including click to purchase.

Developing on its release of ‘cards’ only last month, which gave video ads capacity for extra information, ‘TrueView for Shopping’ allows advertisers to add contextual product details and click-to-purchase functionality.

The feature allows advertisers to “scale the manual process of connecting individual products with individual videos”, according to parent company Google, which has integrated the same dashboard that it uses for its Shopping platform – Google Merchant Center.

Advertisers can now connect their campaign through the dashboard to add products to their in-stream videos, targeted to specific users based on contextual signals.

This takes into account information such as geography, demographic and interests, but will also be aimed at users who have previously checked out a product on a retailer’s site.

The videos will still be skippable after five seconds at which point a button will appear at the top right of the screen, displaying card overlays when clicked.

Reducing friction

The latest development places greater emphasis on the video-hosting site as a platform for consumer research, serving as a method to reduce the friction of users leaving YouTube to search for the products they’ve just viewed- all while providing the company a source of further revenue.

Early tests of the product with home goods retailer Wayfair saw a three-fold revenue increase per impression served compared to previous campaigns. Beauty retailer Sephora enjoyed similarly positive results, with significant lifts in ad recall and the average view time.  

Much like its ‘cards’ update only last month, TrueView for Shopping has been designed to work seamlessly on mobile.

The pricing structure will also remain the same, billing advertisers only for a full view of an ad or a click, and ensuring accidental clicks are avoided with specific link placement.

‘Giant storefront’

With demand for YouTube videos increasing 50% year on year, Google has an enormous consumer audience at its fingertips.

Turning YouTube into a ‘giant storefront’ is a clear indication that the search giant isn’t taking the threat of Amazon and Ebay lying down, commented Andreas Pourous, co-founder of digital marketing agency Greenlight:

“By enabling consumers to buy products from within YouTube videos, Google is marking out a new e-commerce battlefield against retail marketplaces – in the realms of consumer entertainment.”