Posted by Mark Grainger 07 Oct 2015

YouTube unveils shoppable ads

There was a time, not so very long ago, when if you were struggling to get a new product or piece of kit you’d turn to looking frantically for the instruction manual. This was usually followed by a good few minutes of twisting and turning the flimsy paper brochure in several directions in a vane attempt to find the relevant section before you scrunched into a ball ready for defenestration (or chucking out the window, if you prefer).

Now though, as with everything, we turn more and more quickly towards a digital solution to our problems, with millions across the world searching YouTube for tutorial videos and product reviews.

Having more and more active daily users has meant that YouTube has steadily increased its advertising output, with ads of varying length now appearing in front of just about every video you play. Amazingly though, YouTube still struggles to convert that into profit, just breaking even in 2014 after bringing $4 billion through the doors.

Unsurprisingly then, YouTube is looking at more models to help boost profits, settling on e-commerce as the best option. It’s the natural choice, after all the US economy was bolstered by $300 billion thanks to e-commerce last year alone.

For advertisers and agencies, YouTube has announced that the process of buying space on videos will be similar to Google’s search and shopping ads, which are sold and placed via an auction system.

What this means for us regular cat video watchers, is that you’ll soon be presented with the chance to buy products relevant to whatever you’re watching. A pretty inconspicuous button in the top corner of videos will give access to a dropdown menu of shoppable items, letting you browse the native ads whilst your content, hilarious and cat-based or otherwise, continues to play behind them.

We’re told to expect the ads to begin cropping up within the next week before a broader rollout hits in early 2016. Happy shopping.