YouTube is adding shopping features to Shorts, its TikTok-like short-form video product, the company confirmed to TechCrunch on Tuesday. New shopping features allow users to purchase products while scrolling through Shorts. The news was first reported by Financial Times.
The company is beginning to roll out shopping features to YouTube Shorts with eligible creators in the United States, who are currently piloting the ability to tag products from their own stores. Viewers in the United States, India, Brazil, Canada and Australia can view the labels and shop via Shorts. YouTube says it plans to continue providing tagging to more creators and countries in the future.
YouTube is experimenting with an affiliate program in the United States that allows creators to earn a commission through purchases of products recommended in their Shorts. The company says the test is still in its early stages and that it plans to gradually expand the experiment to more creators over the next year.
“We strongly believe that YouTube is the best place for creators to build a business, and shopping is part of that,” a YouTube spokesperson told TechCrunch in an email.
The news comes in a few weeks YouTube announced that creators will take a 45 percent share of ad revenue starting next year. Beginning in 2023, creators will be eligible to apply to the company’s Partner Program if they reach a new Shorts-specific threshold of 1,000 subscribers and 10 million Shorts views in 90 days, after which they will earn 45% of ad revenue from their videos.
There are shorts on YouTube surpassed 1.5 billion monthly usersbut despite this success, YouTube’s quarterly ad revenue decreased by 1.9% year-on-year and missed expectations, according to Alphabet’s quarterly earnings report released last month. YouTube likely sees the new shopping features as a way to expand its revenue streams amid a collapsing ad market.
Over the past few years, YouTube has been working to make its platform more of a shopping destination with the launch of products like shopping ads and the ability to shop directly from live shows hosted by creators. Given these moves, it makes sense that YouTube would bring shopping to Shorts as well.
YouTube isn’t the only digital giant betting on the future of shopping, as TikTok and Meta have also invested in the space.
Last week, TikTok quietly began testing TikTok Store in USA. TikTok Shop allows users to buy products directly through the app. Prior to this expansion, the feature was only available in the United Kingdom and parts of Southeast Asia. The company also started earlier this year piloting TikTok Shopping in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada in partnership with Shopify.
Instagram, owned by Meta, allows creators to share products in live streams and in the shopping section, allowing users to scroll through recommended products and make purchases. Brands can also make their profiles shoppable through product catalogs.