YouTube's New Shopping Feature Proves That Video Selling is Here to Stay
In many ways, YouTube is already a major shopping destination. Many of its 2 billion users tune into the video platform to watch unboxing videos and product reviews. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Google subsidiary is now testing a new feature that will make it easier for users to make purchases without leaving YouTube, following in the footsteps of Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms that have already introduced in-app shopping.
Creators participating in the pilot will tag products that appear in their videos. Viewers will then be able to browse and buy those products by clicking a shopping bag icon in the corner of the screen.
While the feature is still only being tested on a limited number of videos, the fact that a behemoth like YouTube is diving into video selling shows that this new and innovative way to shop is here to stay. Here’s what you need to know about video selling — and how your brand can make the most of the trend.
The Advantages of Video Selling
The traditional pre-roll ads that play before YouTube videos have multiple disadvantages. First, 67 percent of viewers skip them if given the option, and many viewers have ad blockers installed that keep them from seeing video ads to begin with. Second, pre-roll ads aren’t always relevant to the content they’re attached to, a disconnect that likely contributes to viewers tuning out.
By solving these two issues, YouTube’s new shopping feature has the potential to boost ad revenues on the platform — and payouts to creators — overnight. In addition, syncing Google Merchant Center feeds to creators’ videos allows YouTube to be included in Google Ads attribution reports, which lets advertisers tie ad views directly to conversions.
3 Tips for Successful Video Selling
Whether it takes place on YouTube or another platform, the basic principles of video selling are similar. Follow these tips to maximize your video selling success:
1. Target the right audience.
While TikTok and Instagram host short-form content, YouTube is known for long-form videos that explore niche topics, from cooking to gaming to arts and crafts. This presents a unique opportunity for retailers looking to sell their products to specific target audiences. The brands that get the most out of video selling will build strong relationships with creators in their space, ensuring their products get tagged in relevant videos.
2. Tailor your approach to the platform.
As with any new social media ad opportunity, it’s important to test what type of product data works best for engaging users on the particular platform you’re using. In this case, brands should experiment with using product descriptions that match YouTube’s style to help develop a more authentic, personal relationship between the brand and consumer. Featuring celebrities and influencers could also help your brand stand out.
3. Ensure product information is up-to-date and accurate.
This sounds basic, but it’s a common hiccup for brands in video selling, and social commerce more generally. When consumers are excited about a product, it’s extremely disheartening to click “buy” and discover it’s not actually available in the size or color they want. Putting technology and processes in place to update product information in real time will protect your brand’s reputation and avoid customer frustration.
Getting started with video selling can seem intimidating, especially when there are so many other channels and platforms already demanding time and resources. However, with some careful optimization of your product feeds, expanding into this new and exciting area will yield big dividends. Your audience is out there — don’t miss out on the right video selling opportunity for your brand.
Marcel Hollerbach is the chief marketing officer of Productsup, a platform for feed management, product content syndication, marketplace integration, and seller onboarding.
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