2015 so far has been a stellar year for the social networking giants in terms of releasing action oriented product features. This year social networks from Facebook to Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter, everyone is moving out of the mould of engagement-only networks. Convincing advertisers and users that even commerce can happen on their platform is the new mantra.
The search giant Google has been working on “Purchase on Google” buttons in mobile ads. Subsequently, the decade old Google owned YouTube, video social network has been working on integrating commerce on its platform. In May, YouTube launched TrueView for Shopping – product listing ad format to YouTube video ads.
A bit like “automatic” Cards TrueView simply connects Google Merchant Center feed to the TrueView campaign to dynamically insert product cards within the in-stream ads, based on the products that are most likely to lead to a conversion.
Introduced in March, Cards, which will eventually replace annotations, was extended to TrueView ads in April, giving advertisers the ability to promote their other videos and playlists. They display as an overlay alongside a video on desktop and tablet and below a video on smartphones. Now, with TrueView for Shopping, retailers can feature related product ads in these cards.
The product images and details are passed via the first integration of Google Merchant Center with YouTube. When users click on one of the product ads they are taken to the retailer’s website.
Taking the TrueView ads one step further, the company has announced Shopping ads. “To help advertisers reach all the other product-focused content on YouTube – from unboxings, hauls, product reviews and how-to videos – today we’re announcing Shopping ads for YouTube. These will let you show a click-to-buy ad within partner videos on YouTube, going beyond your own videos to transform any relevant video into your digital storefront. Similar to Shopping ads on Google, you only pay when a user clicks on your ad,” informed Google.
Google has kept the format similar to Cards and TrueView for shopping, so users can easily recognize and click on the “i” icon at the top right of a video to view the Shopping ads. “Shopping ads on YouTube are built off of your existing product feed in Merchant Center. They will enter an auction similar to Shopping ads on Google search and are selected based on a variety of contextual signals.”
The feature is supposed to be rolled out in the near future but Google hasn’t announced a time frame.
Additionally, YouTube is introducing TrueView for app promotion for its in-display format as well. “This format reaches potential users when they’re exploring content on YouTube. Early results from brands promoting their apps with in-display point to strong performance both in cost per install and lifetime value.”
YouTube says that Mobile viewership on YouTube continues to grow. In fact, the average viewing session on mobile is now more than 40 minutes, up more than 50% year over year. Hence the network is concentrating in creating newer mobile ad formats.