YouTube brings shopping ads to mobile

YouTube shoppings ads are only on mobile, for now

Google is expanding its network of shoppings ads to the YouTube mobile app, hoping to capitalize on the evolving relationship consumers have with the video platform.

Nicky Rettke, director of YouTube product management, said that as more users come to YouTube for reviews and recommendations, there becomes an opportunity to serve engaging, shoppable ad types.

“We're starting to see some different behaviors on YouTube,” said Rettke. “Users can be in very different mindsets depending on what they're doing. Users in an immersive mindset watching a video, they might be a little bit less ‘clicky’. A user browsing through their home feed, they're actually in a pretty open mindset to discovering new content.”

The shoppings ads, a carousel of clickable consumer products, will appear on the mobile home screen and search results page.

Rettke said that this doesn’t mean new ad placements or a higher ad load on YouTube, but instead it provides the opportunity to “show something that's more relevant” to users.

The shopping ads, which had been in a multi-month test mode, are now globally available. Rettke said it’s “very likely” the ad type will soon be brought to other environments, such as desktop.

YouTube’s fastest growing medium is connected TV, an area Rettke said her group is eager to explore. Some YouTube ad formats are already migrating to the big screen, but Rettke said the team will look into bringing shopping ads to that environment next year given the different user expectations and technical requirements of the medium.

“One thing that we know that video alone can drive conversion even if users don't click in that moment,” said Rettke. “Video is such a compelling medium that you can inspire users to take action even if they're not clicking right then and there, and we see that type of behavior with direct response video ads.

“What may be challenging for others is driving that interactive, clickable experience on two different devices when they're not already connected. What's unique about YouTube is that we have a connection across devices.”

Rettke said YouTube will take interest signals, such as search queries on Google, to deliver relevant shopping ads on its app. She added that marketers running shopping ad campaigns can simply opt into running them on YouTube at the same cost-per-conversion.

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