By Savannah McClelland
Some cutting edge marketers have been experimenting with the possibilities of what has been termed “shoppable video”—that is, videos with coded links that allow viewers to shop directly for an item that takes their fancy. YouTube, following the trend, has released a new “channel gadget” which will allow that functionality in YouTube videos.
The new function was announced in a blog post on Wednesday; the company explained, “This new channel gadget will enable shoppers to seamlessly move from browsing how-to videos and featured products to finding which retailers carry them, check availability, compare prices and make a purchase, all with fewer clicks than today.” The idea sounds a bit odd, but shoppable video campaigns have been successful for Neiman Marcus, Ssense, and other retailers looking for interesting methods of stimulating sales. Neiman Marcus’ campaign used a music video of models dancing, wearing pieces from Rachel Zoe’s first costume jewelry collection. Wherever a close-up shot was featured, white circles appeared which allowed viewers to pause the video and view the official product shot and price; it also included an outbound link to the product page, and a link to share the item on Facebook and Twitter.
The first client to get access to the new gadget is Unilever; its hair care brand, Tresemmé, has already built a unique YouTube channel featuring a variety of style gurus and personalities. Viewers will be able to click on the products being used in the videos and get more information, as well as the ability to buy products from various retailers. A Google spokesperson made sure to note that the function only appears on branded channel pages—not when the video is embedded.
Google further explained in the blog that the functionality will be made available to its consumer goods clients as a “premium offering,” and requested that interested advertisers seek out their Google reps to explore the option. Perhaps most interestingly, at this point Google is not taking a cut of sales made through the gadget, according to a spokesperson for the company.
Shoppable videos makes sense; as we’ve mentioned before, video content and video advertising is the new dimension for marketers all over the world. By creating a video experience where interested customers can not only learn more about products but, with just a few clicks, also purchase them, these advertisers are using the compelling medium for tangible results, not just brand recognition.