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Jan 26, 2009 | 2 minute read

Youtube Experimenting With Video Ecommerce

written by Linda Bustos

Hat tip to Xavier Casanova of for posting this news update on the Youtube ecommerce project:

Can't see video? Visit Xavier's original post.

Youtube launched click-to-buy links in the US and UK last October. (I'm Canadian so sadly I can't see what they look like or post a screen shot for you.) It's now expanding this feature to Spain, the Netherlands and Germany.

From the Youtube Blog:

Last year we launched our eCommerce platform for YouTube, which allows users to easily "click-to-buy" products -- like songs and movies -- related to the content they're watching on the site. The past few months have demonstrated that great content on YouTube leads to increased sales. For example, when Monty Python launched their channel in November, not only did their YouTube videos shoot to the top of the most viewed lists, but their DVDs also quickly climbed to No. 2 on Amazon's Movies & TV bestsellers list, with increased sales of 23,000 percent.

What Youtube Click-to-Buy means for Ecommerce

As mentioned in Xavier's video, this has some exciting implications for video ecommerce:

1. This is more validation that video ecommerce has a viable future, rather than just branding
2. By experimenting with overlays, Youtube recognizes links in overlay are more usable than links and calls to action on the page around the video
3. As a retailer promoting your own videos in Youtube, the last thing you want is Youtube to overlay an ad from your competitor when you upload content. Giving retailers control to include their own links (will this become a pay-per-click service?) can eliminate that chance of having competing Adsense ads displayed over your video.

I also feel the video link-overlay is huge, because when videos are shared with your affiliates and customer evangelists, the links you want that appear in the video description or in the Click-to-Buy field are not necessarily considered by the person syndicating your video.

Video Analytics

Hopefully Google Analytics will include video link tracking tools, since the clicks happen off your own domain, it would be very beneficial to have a Youtube Insights tool which you could sync with your Google Analytics account, or extract the data to import or mashup with your enterprise analytics tool of choice. (Avinash, I'm looking at you.)

Protecting Copyright

In other recent news, Youtube is cracking down on copyrighted music in user uploaded videos by muting them. I personally use Youtube to sample music I want to purchase because I can hear the full song for free, rather than a 30 second snippet through iTunes or Amazon. In my case, the copyright infringement actually causes me to buy more music.

Though the new policy sucks for Youtube fans and music samplers like me, it's beneficial to music companies like EMI - if unauthorized copies of music cannot be heard, music lovers may go directly to the music companies' accounts to sample music and buy directly from the "official videos."

I'm excited about the new ecommerce options for video. I believe any retailer that plays in the Youtube sandbox will benefit from this, so I hope that they expand it to a worldwide feature soon.