YouTube tests 'click-to-buy' ads

Text link ad units to be just below YouTube's video player

YouTube announced that it has begun testing new ads which direct users to purchase items featured within individual videos played on the popular video sharing site, such as songs and video games.

On Oct. 7 the Google-owned site rolled out what it's calling "click-to-buy" ads. These text link ad units appear just below YouTube's video player alongside the common community tabs which allow users to share and rate videos. Google has initially inked deals with iTunes and Amazon to sell various products using these links, including songs from EMI Music and the recently released Electronic Arts game Spore.

Though in the past YouTube has been able to target ecommerce advertisers' messages to specific content channels and genres, click-to-buy marks the first time the company has enabled brands to cherry pick individual videos, said Google officials, who indicated that the new offering will eventually be tested by marketers across numerous industries.

In addition, Google executives said that these ads may at some point be used to monetize user-generated content, a task that has proven difficult to date for the search giant, and the Web video industry as a whole.

Mike Shields is a senior editor for Mediaweek.
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