YouTube Wants Viewers to Buy Directly From Product Review Videos

Monetizing the increasingly popular content

YouTube wants to make it easier for viewers of its product review videos to buy the actual products, so it's launching ads that let viewers shop directly from the videos. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki made the announcement today during the IAB MIXX Conference at Advertising Week.

"There are more and more creators uploading content on YouTube that actually helps users do research about products and help them make their shopping decisions," Diya Jolly, director of product management at Google, told Adweek. "We have 1 million channels on YouTube that are related to product review videos."

Shopping ads combine features of YouTube's Cards and TrueView. The ads appear as icons in the top right corner of YouTube videos. When users click the icon, cards drop down that let them scroll through images and pricing info on the products featured in the video. Creators can opt in to the service, providing another potential revenue stream.

Views of product review videos are up 40 percent over the past year, according to YouTube. A Google consumer survey found that one in five 18-to-24-year-olds say they go to YouTube to find out what's cool to buy.

Jolly said that in addition to product reviews, brands may want to buy into other types of videos like how-tos, tutorials or travel destinations.

Shopping ads on YouTube enter an auction similar to Shopping ads on Google search and are selected based on a variety of signals including contextual and audience relevancy. The ads will be tested this fall and be available to advertisers in Adwords in the coming months. As is the case with Google shopping ads, advertisers pay only when a user clicks on the ad.