Ben Silverman

The holiday season is here, and according to Adobe, Cyber Monday will likely surpass Black Friday in sales (with a predicted $3 billion over $2.7 billion). Google has updated YouTube’s retail ad options just in time for what might be the biggest holiday season yet. Shopping ads on YouTube and TrueView for shopping are now available for all retailers using Google AdWords. These ad options make use of features you may already be familiar with:

  • Cards: Mobile-friendly, dynamic video overlays, which are gradually replacing annotations
  • TrueView ad format: Video which don’t charge merchants for skipped views

Using your Adwords account and your existing product feed in Merchant Center, both of these ad options allow you to design your own cards that will be featured on relevant videos around YouTube.

Shopping ads on YouTubeShopping ads for YouTube

Borrow from others’ organic reach to increase your ads’ impressions

Google’s Shopping ads services have been expanded to display on organic, non-promoted YouTube videos that relate to the product or service being advertised. The ads feature your interactive merchant cards that are overlaid on a video. They are clickable and can pop up whenever the merchant specifies. Google charges you only when a user clicks the ad.


trueview_for_shoppingTrueView for shopping

Make your video ads more dynamic

TrueView for shopping differs from Shopping ads for YouTube by allowing you to showcase your product details as cards within your own TrueView ads. Advertisers are able to control which products show with their video ads. Google only charges the marketer if they watch past 30 seconds (or the duration) of the video.

Benefits of TrueView and TrueView for shopping

According to a report from Google, preliminary partners on these features have seen significant gains. Wayfair “saw a 3X revenue increase per impression served when compared to previous campaigns… Sephora took advantage of this new ad format to drive +80 percent lift in consideration and +54 percent lift in ad recall, and an average view time of nearly two minutes.”

These video ad results are unsurprising, as most brands recognize the value of video in content marketing strategies.

Videos are a great way of communicating, and TrueView ads have proven effective in creating product demand delivering strong promotional messages. AdWeek’s report on TrueView ads are promising:

“7 percent of campaigns saw a lift in consideration, 24 percent saw a lift in favorability, and 35 percent of campaigns saw a lift in purchase intent.”


Since TrueView ads allow viewers to skip that ad after five seconds to continue to their video, your viewers’ decisions will help focus your ad to a qualified audience. The “Skip Ad” feature in TrueView allows views to opt in or out, continue_ineffectively creating a self-selected market for the advertisers.  

With Google’s update to allow cards on your own ads, your promoted videos can include more information, presented in dynamic ways. If an ad video isn’t effective, the cards can be, especially since they can make use of remarketing.

These tiles can also drive real foot traffic into your store using locations listed in your merchant center. Google allows for unique CTAs for each platform. While you might use an “Order Now” or “Visit Site” button in a desktop ad, you can implement a “Call Now” or “Get Directions” button on a mobile ad display.

Benefits of Shopping ads on YouTube

According to Diya Jolly, Google’s director of Video Ads Product Management, “Shopping ads on YouTube work even lower in the funnel, by enabling shopping cards on creator videos that feature your products… These also allow you to extend the reach of your Shopping campaigns beyond”

Shopping ads on YouTube rely on Google’s intelligent algorithms for automatically matching ad content with the host video’s content. Your target audience is already interested enough to watch a video about a product, so this is a way for them to buy it through your store right on the video that they chose to watch.


It’s shaping up to be an historic holiday season in terms of online sales. Whether your goal is exposure to as many consumers as possible, or just a small segment of an interested, local audience, Google’s two new tools offer dynamic control over how you optimize your promoted video marketing.

  • To take a look at some of Brafton’s promotional video work, head to our YouTube channel.
  • For more information about Brafton’s video marketing services, click to our video page.