UPDATED 14:53 EDT / OCTOBER 01 2018


Google launches interactive YouTube ads that support downloads and e-commerce

In a push to attract more brands to its YouTube video site, Google LLC is launching new ad formats that will let users engage interactive content and even make purchases without leaving the platform.

The company introduced the offerings at an advertising conference in New York today. They build on YouTube’s flagship TrueView ad format, which already provides a number of “extensions” that brands can use to make their in-stream promotions more engaging.

Google’s latest extensions bring a lot more interactivity into the mix. One, a format geared toward companies in industries such as travel and entertainment, enables users to place bookings through interactive elements inside an ad. An airline, for instance, might display a schedule of flights to a destination that a consumer has looked up on YouTube or Google.

Brands can take it a step further by enabling users to purchase the product they’re advertising directly via YouTube. Alternatively, an ad may prompt users viewers to download an app. This latter format should appeal not only to tech firms that develop mobile services but also to more traditional companies such as retailers, which are increasingly targeting audiences via iOS and Android.

The new ad options promise to significantly reduce the number of steps involved in completing the action a brand wants users to take. This in turn should increase engagement and, consequently, the incentive for companies to run campaigns on YouTube.

Brands already spend a lot of advertising dollars on the platform. Google doesn’t break out numbers for YouTube in its earnings reports, but CNBC cited an estimate from financial services firm Nomura Holdings Inc. that puts the platform’s 2017 revenues at $12.8 billion. The bank expects the figure to hit $22 billion by 2020.

The new ad options could put Google on track to hit that milestone even faster. It’s rolling them out in conjunction with improvements to its analytics services that aim to help marketers measure campaign performance more clearly. Among the additions are two new metrics that provide insight into the number of people whose opinion of a brand was positively influenced by an ad, as well the average cost per influenced user.

Photo: Ryan Quick/Flickr

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