Potential impact of shopping ads for Youtube

Potential Impact of Shopping Ads for YouTube

Whenever Google announces a new feature for advertisers, we all rush to find out whether or not it will be something that’s more useful for advertisers than it is for Google. In this case, it looks like advertisers have a really great feature to take advantage of!

In Q4, Google announced a few enhancements for YouTube & Google Shopping integrations, one of which being Shopping Ads for YouTube. This fell under the radar for many advertisers but could greatly impact the volume seen from Shopping campaigns.

While previously retailers could show ads on their own YouTube videos (TrueView for Shopping), Shopping Ads for YouTube will allow retailers to display Shopping ads on other YouTube videos. These are contextually targeted and have the potential to reach millions of users. These are displayed under the “i” icon/sidebar on eligible videos, as seen below:

These ads are built off of a brand’s Google Merchant Center feeds.

Youtube as a Decision Maker

Personally, I like to have as much knowledge about a product as possible before completing a purchase. It can take me weeks to decide which brand or model to go with and often times I go to YouTube to watch video reviews about the products I’m considering. If I’m watching videos on a product, I’m a pretty qualified potential customer and there’s a good chance I’m going to convert. To be able to show product ads on these videos has a ton of potential and the conversion rates are likely to be high.

Shopping Ads on YouTube

It’s extremely easy to enable Shopping Ads for YouTube within your Adwords account. Simply opt your Shopping campaigns into Search Partners under Settings, then Networks. For those who never opted out in the first place, congrats, you’re all set! For those that previously decided to opt out of Google Search Partners for whatever reason, now is a great time to re-enable and monitor results.

While there’s no easy way to view results for YouTube specifically (or any Search Partner), I was curious how this would affect the volume coming in through Search Partners. I went through and looked at how the percentage of impressions on Search Partners changed during the second half of the year for some of our retail brands at Elite SEM. I chose a group of 5 retailers across a few different industries, each of which had relatively even traffic/impression numbers.



The results are hard to ignore. Google started rolling out Shopping Ads for YouTube around the end of September and the percentage of impressions that came from Search Partners jumped up almost immediately. While typically Search Partners made up around 15% of impressions for these brands, they jumped up to over 25% of impressions in November and December. Now we don’t know for sure that these numbers were impacted by YouTube as we can’t break the results out, but it seems to have played a part.

I would imagine as time goes on we’ll begin to see more products eligible to show on YouTube and Search Partner volume will grow even further. Regardless of whether you’d like your ads to show on YouTube or not, it’s recommended that you monitor your Search Partner volume on Shopping throughout the next few months as it seems like we’ll see some shifts.


Evan Kirkpatrick

Evan Kirkpatrick

Evan runs the Shopping & Feed Division at Elite SEM, leading the agency in Shopping/Feed/CSE strategy. He’s worked in Digital Marketing since 2011, with previous experience managing Paid Search at both eBay and QVC. Evan has worked with some of the largest retail brands in the country, including Internet Retailer Top 10 and Top 100.

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