While the new feature does not let consumers buy directly from YouTube, retailers can list products alongside video ads so viewers can easily purchase from a brand’s site.

Retailers can now list their products adjacent to their video ads on Google’s YouTube with a new feature, TrueView for shopping. The tool lets retailers promote product details and images within a video ad and to provide a link to the retailer’s site for consumers who want to buy the product.

Google emphasizes that TrueView for shopping does not let consumers purchase directly from YouTube. It’s making it easier for viewers to buy from retailers’ websites, “similar to our shopping product on Google search,” a spokeswoman says. Recent published reports that Google plans to add a Buy button to mobile search results has led to speculation that Google is seeking to become an online marketplace where consumers would purchase, rather than a conduit to retail websites, as it is today.

TrueView for shopping will make it easier for advertisers to connecting many products with videos, Google said in an Inside AdWords blog post Thursday. TrueView for shopping, built on a platform called “cards” that was announced in April, gives advertisers the ability to overlay information about their brand onto a video ad. That includes incorporating links to related videos, playlists and other websites. For example, a retailer can put a “Click to shop” banner on top of the video ad or a “card” that highlights individual products in the video, such as a sofa. TrueView ads also allow viewers to skip promotional clips before they’re over, and the advertiser’s fee varies with how much a consumer watches.

For an in-stream ad—one that plays like a TV-style ad before or during another video from a YouTube partner—a retailer pays if a viewer watches for at least 30 seconds or to the end of the video (whichever is less), Google says. TrueView in-display ads show up next to other YouTube videos, in YouTube search pages or on websites on the Google Display Network, and advertisers pay only when a viewer chooses to watch the video by clicking the ad.

“Brands that have participated in our early tests of TrueView for shopping have seen strong results for driving interest and sales. Online home goods retailer Wayfair, for instance, saw a 3X revenue increase per impression served when compared to previous campaigns. And beauty retailer Sephora took advantage of this new ad format to drive +80% lift in consideration and +54% lift in ad recall, and an average view time of nearly two minutes,” according to the blog post. Wayfair is No. 33 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide.


“We see that after watching a YouTube video, people actively search for products. Across more than 800 campaigns studied, 65% of campaigns see a significant lift in brand interest after viewers watch their TrueView ad on YouTube,” Google’s Allison Mooney and Brad Johnsmeyer wrote in a Google research document about how people shop on YouTube.

Google has been investing in YouTube’s services as it seeks to attract marketers to its platform while competing with such rivals as Hulu LLC and Facebook Inc. YouTube has more than a million channels focused on product reviews, according to Google, and the number of advertisers using TrueView ads jumped 45% last year, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company said.