The Google-owned company sets up auction-based Shopping ads to enable a click-to-buy feature on videos.

YouTube is making its videos easier to shop.

The Google-owned company is letting advertisers promote their products on any YouTube video in which the video owner opts in, according to a blog post by a YouTube executive.

The feature, called Shopping ads for YouTube, lets shoppers click directly to e-commerce websites to buy products and brands related to the video’s topic, Diya Jolly, director of YouTube’s video ads product management wrote in a blog post. So, for example, if a consumer is watching a how-to video on photography, YouTube likely would show ads for cameras, Jolly wrote.

Until now, the direct jump to an e-commerce website was not available on any video; it was only possible in an advertiser’s own video. Advertisers posted their ads with TrueView, a technology that gives visitors the option of skipping promotional clips before they end. TrueView for Shopping  lets retailers include product details and images within a video ad and provide a link to the retailer’s.

Advertisers will pay per click in YouTube’s ad unit for what YouTube calls Shopping ads, according to the blog. The service is auction-based, like with Google Shopping on Search. Bids are selected based on a variety of contextual signals, the blog says. Shoppers will click an “I” icon at the top right of a video to view the Shopping ads, Jolly says.


YouTube splits the revenue with the video creators. A YouTube spokesman declines to reveal details of the revenue split.

YouTube also is expanding its Brand Lift capability to let advertisers see if their ads are driving searches for brand-related organic video content on YouTube, Jolly says. “Measuring interest is an important part of determining impact, and is a unique benefit of advertising on Google and YouTube,” he wrote.

Advertisers also can use YouTube’s Similar Audiences tool to find new audiences that are most like customers that the advertisers already have, and connect with—or exclude—customers across YouTube and Gmail to drive the best results, the blog says.

The new features coincide with rollouts of e-commerce capabilities on other popular websites and social networking services, including  Google’s Buy button in mobile ads and Twitter’s pitch to become a major e-commerce hub with its Buy Now button. Pinterest in June  rolled out its blue Buy It button to Demandware and Shopify retailers, and Facebook Inc. is running multiple tests with Shopify merchants involving Buy buttons.