YouTube Introduces Buyable CTV Ads That Open URLs on Second Screen


YouTube is shifting its focus from computer and mobile screens to the TV screen, as it capitalizes on increasing the number of audiences choosing to watch videos from the comfort of their couch.

A new purchasable ad format sits in front of the “ignore ad” feature and opens a selected purchase URL on a secondary device connected to Google.

Citing internal data showing that 120 million Americans streamed YouTube or YouTube TV from their TV screens in December 2020, the video-sharing platform is taking the opportunity to become more purchasable by offering video action campaigns on the connected television (CTV).

CTV viewers featured with the ad format can activate a web link at the bottom of their screen to be taken directly to the brand’s website from their desktop or mobile device without cutting the content. Additionally, advertisers will be able to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns in real time through Google’s Conversion Lift tool, which provides information on website visits, registrations and purchases.

In a blog post announcing the changes, Romana Pawar, Director of Product Management at YouTube Ads, wrote: “Whether it’s relaxing with a movie or kicking off their fitness routine, more more people are choosing to experience YouTube on the big screen. When they do, they can watch longer, enjoy multiple shows in a row, and experience it all from the comfort of their couch with friends and family. Many even build a routine around it.

“To make it easier for consumers to learn about the products and services they are interested in, we are making YouTube ads on smart TVs more purchasable.”

Using the skippable InStream and Video Discovery ad formats, the new functionality is positioned as a mechanism for advertisers to reach potential customers in their living room.

The move is touted as an opportunity to reach a different audience, with over 90% of conversions resulting from CTV not possible via mobile or desktop, according to Google data for June 2020.

YouTube has long been aiming for a slice of the TV advertising pie, partnering with Nielsen data to help it earn more revenue.

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