YouTube has confirmed to Slashbeats that it is adding shopping features to Shorts, its TikTok-like short-form video product. Users can now purchase products while scrolling through Shorts thanks to the new shopping features. The Financial Times broke the story first.
The company is experimenting with shopping features on YouTube Shorts with select creators in the United States who are currently testing the ability to tag products from their own stores. Viewers in the United States, India, Brazil, Canada, and Australia can view and purchase the tags and the Shorts. YouTube says it intends to expand tagging to more creators and countries in the future.
Besides the shopping features, YouTube is experimenting in the United States with an affiliate program that allows creators to earn commissions on purchases of recommended products in their shorts and regular videos. According to the company, the test is still in its early stages, and it intends to conduct the experiment with more creators next year.
“We firmly believe YouTube is the best place for creators to build a business, and shopping is an important part of that,” a YouTube spokesperson told Slashbeats in an email.
The announcement comes just a few weeks after YouTube announced that beginning next year, creators will receive a 45% cut off ad revenue. Creators will apply to the company’s Partner Program in early 2023 if they reach a new Shorts-specific threshold of 1,000 subscribers and 10 million Shorts views in 90 days, after which they will receive 45% of ad revenue from their videos.
Despite this success, YouTube’s quarterly ad revenue declined 1.9% year over year and fell short of expectations, according to Alphabet’s quarterly earnings report released last month. YouTube is likely viewing the new shopping features to diversify its revenue streams during a slumping advertising market.
YouTube has been working to transform its platform into more of a shopping destination in recent years, with product launches such as shoppable ads and the ability to shop directly from livestreams hosted by creators. Given these developments, YouTube will bring shopping to Shorts as well.
YouTube isn’t the only digital behemoth betting on the future of shopping; TikTok and Meta have also made investments.
TikTok quietly began testing TikTok Shop in the United States last week. TikTok Shop enables users to purchase products directly from the app. The feature was previously only available in the United Kingdom and parts of Southeast Asia. In addition, earlier this year, the company began testing TikTok Shopping in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada in collaboration with Shopify.
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Instagram, which is owned by Meta, allows creators to share products in livestreams as well as in its shopping tab, which allows users to scroll through recommended products and make purchases. Brands can also make their profiles shoppable via product catalogs.