Youtube Bets Videos Can Sell

Many see video mostly as a top-of-the-funnel, brand awareness tactic, but Youtube wants to prove video can drive direct sales.

The video giant introduced a tool that lets consumer goods brands feature relevant products alongside their branded videos, giving consumers the option to get more information, price compare and buy the product. Google’s rationale for the new tool is that people don’t just watch Youtube videos for entertainment. People on Youtube are in research mode and offering them an opportunity to buy, could help brands increase sales.

Unilever’s Tresemmé is tying products to its collection of how-to videos. The channel has more than 2.7 million views to date. For example, when watching the video, “How to Get Lose Waves,” Tresemmé’s Platinum Strength Shampoo is featured on the right side of the screen. There’s a “buy now” button that when clicked, gives the user the option of going to Amazon to purchase the item.

“Our target is young and influential,” said Amrita Uttamchandani, associate brand manager at Tresemmé. “They rely on digital channels to communicate and learn about the latest trends, tips and information. This new tool allows Youtube users a more seamless and convenient path to purchase, bridging the gap between online search, education and purchase.”

A potential issue is that Youtube itself is not commerce-enabled, so people are taken off of the platform when they click to buy. Facebook ads and even mobile apps prove that consumers don’t like to be taken out of the experience they are in.

“Getting in the way of people and their content is never a favorable impression for a brand,” said Eugene Kim, social media strategist at Arnold Worldwide. “It’s annoying when you have to leave what you are doing to be sold products to.”

According to Kim, whether or not the new Youtube tool is worth it really depends on how much it costs a brand. It would not hurt to give people the option to buy. But people don’t come directly to a brand’s Youtube channel. Typically they enter sideways from links on social media platforms and via search. In order to get these videos to convert, a brand would need a paid media strategy to drive people to watch the videos.

“The way it’s setup with Tresemmé, is a brilliant partnership,” said Kasey Skala, digital communications manager at Great Clips. “The way the channel is structured doesn’t come off as a blatant ad – it’s well put together and focused on providing value.”

Image via Shutterstock

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