In the past few weeks, we’ve been talking a lot about Google Shopping’s new policies, and the “improvements” they are doing in order to create a better user experience. It is pretty clear that the amount of updates created in the recent past is not a coincidence, and that Google is really going all about promoting their Shopping platform. Keeping that goal in mind, they have been making gradual changes towards what’s allowed to be advertised or not, benefits for certain types of publishers, and recently the order of priorities that will be given to the ads published. However, now they’ve taken one step forward on these improvements and figured a new placement strategy.
Ever since July (ish), YouTube has been pilot testing Google Shopping’s newest addition: Viewers will now be able to shop from livestream videos. As an expansion of YouTube’s integrated shopping experience, the new feature is designed to be tested in a selected couple of brands and creators and allows viewers to choose and buy products based on the knowledge and trust of the creator. So, while you are watching a streamed video, an auto-generated ad will appear and you’ll be able to make your purchase right then and there.
Previously, YouTube had also launched a merch shelf that allowed users to see and buy products specifically chosen by the creator. So let’s say you are a big fan of some YouTuber and they sell t‑shirts with their face on it, now, instead of having a URL that redirects you to their online store, you will be able to just buy it from there. This is a great improvement specifically when it comes to online security, and avoiding putting your credit card info on not-that-reliable websites. Not to be judgemental, but I know that at least I would trust YouTube better than some random site to give them my credit card info.
In addition to those, this new integration also lets you see a list of the products featured in the very same video. So, for example, let’s say your YouTuber of choice has an awesome phone case, and that they’ve chosen to let viewers know where it comes from, you can click “view products” and see a whole list of featured items that you can buy for yourself right there! Again, YouTube saves us some time in stalking people and brands to find out where that case is from, and how we can get it.
In order to properly test these features, YouTube hosted a one-day shopping event where users were able to buy products from small businesses. With this e‑commerce event, they were able to see how their audiences would receive the features, and eventually add the improvements needed in order to make them even better.
But of course, YouTube was not the pioneer in launching video shopping experiences, and it was actually the follower to a list that included Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Amazon, and Snapchat. However, they decided to take a step further and announced that they will be acquiring the Indian video shopping app Simsim which indicated that Google’s definitely interested in integrating video shopping experiences into its own platform.
So, to conclude, I believe this feature will be a great addition to YouTube’s already existing shopping integration, and that, for sure, will improve users’ experience by a lot, saving them time, and protecting their private information. It is also important to say that, since most of these are still in the testing process, we shouldn’t expect our lives to get awesome overnight, but you know what they say, good things take time, especially when they involve complex advertising software. And yes, probably soon we’ll be able to see Google Shopping ads in our dreams as well.
Mora is a PPC Analyst at Hellbent Digital at work, and a theater nerd when not at work. And it turns out understanding theater—that is, how to put on compelling live shows that engage the audience—is a very useful skill for understanding digital marketing.