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How can retailers capitalise on YouTube’s click-to-shop button?

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8th Jun 2015
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Last month, YouTube announced that it will be enabling consumers to buy products from within TrueView in-stream video ads.

Enabling video viewers to be taken to the brand’s website to make a purchase, simply by clicking on the shopping ad, the new ‘TrueView for Shopping’ service is clearly a move by YouTube to compete with ecommerce players.

Founded in 1998, Google has long been the go-to search engine of choice, with one of the strongest brand names in the world. Positioned at the forefront of technology and as an innovator of data analytics, there is no question that Google dominates the online search market.

However, Amazon and eBay have become annoying flies in the search engine’s ear as consumers increasingly go direct to these retail marketplaces to find the products or services they want to buy.

Shopping habits are changing. With the average customer interacting with a brand nine times before buying according to Rakuten Marketing, there’s no exact pathway to a purchase that a brand can expect their customer to follow. This has raised questions over Google’s future in the increasingly complex customer journey, with more opportunities for individuals to be derailed across devices and channels.

Concentrating on one channel alone is no longer enough and a joined up approach is essential to ensure that the marketing a customer receives is consistent, and that it follows on from their latest interaction with the brand.

So, with the announcement of the new click-to-shop button, how can marketers adapt to encompass this new functionality in their plans? 

1.      Engage shoppers right at the moment of discovery

The new ‘TrueView for Shopping’ service for YouTube advertisers makes it possible for advertisers to target potential shoppers right at the moment of discovery, by embedding an immediate call to action.

This presents advertisers with a few options. They can produce their own branded video content – such as product demonstrations or expert advice tutorials – and promote products featured within the footage. Likewise, brands that are working with influential video bloggers, can make more of these commercial relationships, by making it super easy for viewers to buy products or services that appear within a bloggers video. 

2.      Present relevant products to your audience

Beyond owned and paid media, advertisers can target earned media too, by ensuring that their adverts appear in video content produced organically by customers or other reviewers. In a similar vein, advertisers can target videos which are relevant to their product. For instance, B&Q could promote its product range within DIY tutorial videos. If a user is watching a video about how to put up wallpaper, it’s fair to assume that they will be thinking about making a purchase soon.

Already, this approach appears to be delivering strong results. A recent trial with Wayfair – a home goods retailer – drove a threefold increase in revenue per impression through the new service. Similarly, beauty retailer Sephora also trialled the new service, achieving an impressive 80% increase in consideration as a direct result of the campaign.

3.      Target high-intent shoppers

If you consider how many people actively use YouTube to watch product reviews or demos, in addition to those who discover products that they might like to buy while being entertained, it’s clear that there is a huge opportunity for advertisers to reach high-intent shoppers. 

YouTube’s ‘TrueView for Shopping’ service will give advertisers the ability to catch consumers’ attention at a critical ‘moment of truth’ – the point when they are fully engaged and have the intent to purchase a product or service. By appearing in the right place at the right time, advertisers can direct those users straight to the seller’s website to complete the transaction in just one click.

4.      Carve out new territories in the eCommerce battlefield

YouTube’s move into a becoming giant storefront is the clearest indication yet that Google isn’t taking the threat posed by marketplaces lying down. By enabling consumers to buy products from within YouTube videos, Google is marking out a new eCommerce battlefield in consumer entertainment.

As consumers can now click these ‘buy buttons’ and purchase a product or service without leaving a Google-owned property, the consumer cycle can now go full circle within the platform. This presents Google with the ability to further its data collection by feeding off click patterns and products purchased, which will only help to improve its targeting strategy.

With YouTube views growing by 50% year-on-year, and consumers increasingly turning to video to make considered decisions before making a purchase, Google’s TrueView offering looks set to reverberate across the advertising industry.

Not only should marketers be thinking about the advertising goldmine that YouTube (and Google) can offer, they should pause to consider how other retail marketplaces will respond - especially as ad spend on online videos increases. The pressure is now on for marketplaces like Amazon and eBay to bolster their own ecommerce offerings; will they call a check-mate and invest in bringing shopping and entertainment together, or have they got another plan up their sleeve? 

Andreas Pouros is COO and co-founder at Greenlight.

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