Internet giants don't just want their ads to sell to consumers. Increasingly, they want brands to be able to sell, right then and there, without requiring much work or movement from consumers.
Today YouTube announced new Shopping ads, which are designed to turn any YouTube video into what the company calls a "digital storefront." YouTube is targeting what it sees as a growing market: It's seen 40 percent growth in views of product videos in the past year, and 20 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say they go to YouTube to find out what to buy.
The new Shopping ads will appear in the top right corner of a video. A click pulls down images and pricinig of products in the video, another takes consumers to the retailer's website. Advertisers only pay when a user clicks on the ad to go to that site. The ads will launch in a test this fall and will roll out in coming months. They follow a series of products YouTube has introduced for its advertisers — Cards, to share product information from within videos, and TrueView for shopping, to automatically connect those product cards within ads.
YouTube is just the latest ad-driven platform to really embrace e-commerce. It's not just about the potential revenue from taking a cut of sales—perhaps more important is the potential growth in marketing dollars from ads that quickly, easily drive actual sales. For the last year Twitter has been working on the ability to buy within tweets. While Facebook has been working on a "buy" button for online purchases. Instagram advertising options include a "Shop Now" button.