In case you haven’t noticed YouTube has become the way that today’s youth prefer to learn, share, and be entertained. Some of today’s biggest stars are YouTube personalities and commentators. The rise in YouTube’s popularity is a new frontier for ecommerce, as it provides new marketing channels and additional visibility.

So just how popular is YouTube? Well here are a couple amazing facts as stated by the video giant.

youtube for ecommerce youtube stats

If you are an ecommerce marketer you might start licking your lips at this point. Look at all those potential buyers looking for videos that I can reach with my video advertisements. If only it were that easy!

Not as Many Eyes as YouTube States

While YouTube has become a great medium for ecommerce marketers it is not as easy as it may first appear. There are three main problems an ecommerce marketer has to battle when putting together Youtube advertisements.

1. Many Viewers Have an Adblocker Installed

That’s right, you could spend hours perfecting that magnificent ad only to have it not even displayed by your target audience. According to AdNews, north of 23% of internet browsers have some sort of adblocker installed.

youtube for ecommerce adnews quote

The scarier thing is that it is estimated this number will rise 43% each year or the foreseeable future. So, say goodbye to 230 million of those monthly visitors right off the bat.

2. Viewers Are Given the Option to Skip After 5 Seconds

There are two types of YouTube ads at your disposal, one is non-skippable (in-stream) and the other is skippable (TrueView). I will go over the two of these in more detail but for now lets look at skippable.

In a skippable ad a viewer can skip the ad after 5 seconds. In fact most of us do, according to AdWeek about 94% of displayed ads are skipped immediately after the skip button is displayed.

youtube for ecommerce adweek quote

We have grown accustomed to hover the mouse over the button just waiting for the moment we can take back control and eliminate that pesky ad. So if you are keeping tabs, are 1 billion visitors are now down to 4.62 million.

3. Viewers Do Not Want to be Sold On Your Product

The 1 billion eyeballs that YouTube gets each month is drastically cut when you look at the statistics. 1 billion to 4.62 million. That is 4.6% of what we thought we were getting when we first looked at YouTube as an ecommerce marketing medium.

youtube for ecommerce reachable audience

Today’s YouTube viewer will look for your product if they are interested. They do not want to be directly sold. At this point you may ask how do I advertise on YouTube if there are all these negatives. Well, lets go over that.

How to Use YouTube for eCommerce Marketing

Now that we know that YouTube is not all sunshine and rainbows, let’s look at how to promote on YouTube to avoid the negatives.

In my opinion traditional advertising on YouTube is a dated way to promote your store/brand. I would recommend using the platform to advertise rather than paying to advertise on it. However, if you are going to buy ad spots on Youtube, I would recommend the skippable variety.

Skippable Ads

Skippable ads give your viewers the option to watch your ad, and does not leave them feeling forced into doing something they do not want to do. This obviously leaves you vulnerable to being skipped over, but don’t worry here are 2 tactics to get people to watch.

Be Outrageous:

In a skippable ad you have 5 seconds to capture the attention of your audience. That is very little time, you will have to be creative! Not a lot can be said in 5 seconds so you will need to rely on visual cues. try to display something disruptive right away. Like my favorite YouTube ad of all time, Poo Pouri!

The ad grabs your attention right away by displaying a scene you would not expect, a woman in a dress in a bathroom stall. That disruption is immediately followed up with language you would not expect from a woman dressed as elegantly as she is.

Draw attention to the ability to skip

YouTubers have their cursors hovering over the skip button as soon as an ad is displayed, waiting for the exact second they can skip. Break away from the usual ads by calling attention to the action they are waiting to perform. This breaks the schema they have come to expect and actually makes a viewer less likely to skip.

Here is a great example of calling attention to the ability to skip:

If you are thinking about using non-skippable ads, I would strongly encourage you not to. Just look at all the comments out there about how much users hate it.

If you are thinking of using a non-skippable ads because you believe viewers will skip because they don’t know who you are. I would strongly recommend reading “generating brand awareness in ecommerce”.

Give Product to a YouTube Personality

Instead of paying YouTube to advertise, you can pay or just give product to a YouTube personality that already has a following of viewers in your target market. The deal you strike with a “YouTuber” will vary depending on the size of their following and the stance they take on marketing.

Some will do a review of your product if you send them some product (mostly smaller channels). Others will want to be financially compensated or given an affiliate link for traffic they send to your ecommerce shop.

youtube for ecommerce give product to youtubers

Regardless of the terms you come to, this type of marketing is a much more effective way to use YouTube. Many consumers are looking to YouTube for advice on which products to buy or are swayed by their favorite personalities. This strategy is effective for consumer electronics, supplements, and especially cosmetics.

My girlfriend has become obsessed with watching makeup tutorials online. Every tutorial has the brands and products that were used listed in the description so she can try out the products she is interested in. Here is my girlfriends favorite channel as an example.

The cosmetic industry has really become a hotbed for ecommerce activity, and that trend extends into the YouTube world as well. It also explains why we have seen a steep increase in ecommerce loyalty programs for cosmetic brands.

Sell Through YouTube

This last recommendation is obviously more suited to certain products and industries, but you can turn YouTube from a marketing medium into an additional sales channel. There have been a bunch of companies using a YouTube channel as an extension of their brand and sales funnel

My favorite example of this is Slikhaar TV, a YouTube channel that focuses on mens hairstyling tips and also sells their own line of haircare products. The channel gives tips on how to create the trendiest hairstyles, using their products of course. A dedicated brand channel is a great way to use YouTube to market a product.

Every episode features a combination of tips you can try and products you can use. The Channels creators Emil & Rasmus are seen as experts and viewers are willing to give the “by Vilain” products a try to achieve the same results.

They encourage you to visit their ecommerce site Slikhaar Shop to purchase any of the products you liked from the video. Slikhaar and others are using YouTube as way to do business rather than just promote products. I see this as the new frontier for YouTube and there is much we can learn from sites like

I hope this has given you some insight and examples into how to promote your ecommerce site using YouTube. If you wish to promote through or using YouTube here are some useful tools you can try.

Manage your videos and track performance with TubeTracker

Find YouTube personalities to promote your brand with Famebit

youtube for ecommerce ultimate guide to retention cta