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YouTube introduces shoppable CTV ads

The new functionality is positioned as a mechanism for advertisers to reach potential customers in their living rooms

YouTube is shifting its focus from computer and mobile screens to the TV screen as it capitalizes on a boost in audiences choosing to watch videos from the comfort of their sofa.

A new shoppable ad format sits opposite the ‘skip ad’ feature, of which viewers would manually type in that URL on a secondary device to shop.

Citing internal data showing that 120 million Americans streamed YouTube or YouTube TV from their TV screens in December 2020, the video-sharing platform is taking the opportunity to become more shoppable by bringing video action campaigns to connected television (CTV).

CTV viewers presented with the ad format can type in the posted web link on their desktop or mobile device to access the brand’s website without cutting away from the content. Moreover, advertisers will be able to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns in real-time via Google’s Conversion Lift tool, which provides information on website visits, sign-ups and purchases.

In a blog post announcing the changes, Romana Pawar, director of product management at YouTube Ads, wrote: “Whether kicking back with a movie or kicking their fitness routine into gear, more people are choosing to experience YouTube on the big screen. When they do, they can watch longer, enjoy multiple shows back-to-back, and experience it all from the comfort of their couch with friends and family. Many even build a routine around it.

“To help consumers more easily learn about the products and services they’re interested in, we’re making YouTube ads on connected TVs more shoppable.”

Employing the skippable in-stream and video discovery ad formats, the new functionality is positioned as a mechanism for advertisers to reach potential customers in their living rooms.

The move is being promoted as an opportunity to reach a different audience, with over 90% of conversions arising from CTV found to be impossible via mobile or desktop, according to Google data for June 2020.

YouTube has long angled for a slice of the TV advertising pie, partnering with Nielsen data to help it win more revenues.

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