YouTube unveiled a new direct response ad format last week that it claims will make ads on YouTube more “shoppable” by adding browsable product images that link from the video directly to a brand’s own product page.

That makes it differ from similar tools recently released by Facebook and Instagram, which also create online storefronts where users can buy directly from brands, yet require users to remain within the Facebook or Instagram app.

Nicky Rettke, director of product management at YouTube Ads, announced the launch in a company blog post, in which she noted that prolonged store closures and other measures introduced to combat the coronavirus pandemic have forced brands to recalibrate their media campaigns to focus on driving online sales.

She asserted that 70% of consumers have reported buying a brand after viewing it in a YouTube video, which is why YouTube wants to make ads on the platform even more “shoppable” by integrating them with a brand’s Google Merchant Center account.

As TechCrunch explained, brands can then visually expand an ad’s ‘call to action’ button with the best-selling products it wants to feature in the ad, generating traffic that sends viewers directly to the product listing on the brand’s own website.

According to Rettke, apparel and lifestyle brand Aerie tested the new format for its Spring 2020 campaign with the result that the targeted ads delivered a 25% higher return on adspend than the previous year, as well as nine times more conversions than compared with their traditional ad mix.

Automaker Jeep also tested the new YouTube product, but not to drive direct sales. Instead, Jeep used YouTube’s ‘lead forms’ generation tool to drive prospects to its website, which helped its branch in Korea to increase completed leads by 13x at a cost per lead 84% lower than usual.

“As businesses begin to reopen and enter into a state of recovery, we hope these new solutions will make it even easier for you to find new leads, boost web traffic or drive sales,” Rettke said.

Sourced from YouTube, TechCrunch; additional content by WARC staff