YouTube is adding shopping features to Shorts, its short-form video product for TikTok, the company confirmed to TechCrunch on Tuesday. New shopping features allow users to buy products as they scroll through Shortcuts. This news was first reported by the Financial Times.
The company is starting to roll out shopping features on YouTube Shorts with eligible creators in the United States who are testing the ability to tag products from their stores. Viewers in the United States, India, Brazil, Canada and Australia can see the tags and shop Briefly. YouTube says it plans to continue bringing tagging to more creators and countries in the future.
In addition to shopping features, YouTube is experimenting with an affiliate program in the United States that allows creators to earn commissions by purchasing products recommended in their short and regular videos. The company says the test is still in its early days and plans to gradually expand the test to more creators next year.
“We strongly believe that YouTube is the best place for creators to build a business and acquisitions are a piece of that,” a YouTube spokesperson told TechCrunch in an email.
The news comes just weeks after YouTube announced that creators will take a 45% share of ad revenue starting next year. Beginning in 2023, creators will be able to apply to the company’s Partner Program if they reach a new Short-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.
YouTube short peaked at 1.5 billion monthly users, but despite this success, YouTube’s quarterly ad revenue fell 1.9% year-over-year and beat 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 shrinking advertising market.
Over the past few years, YouTube has been working to transform its platform into a more shopping destination with the introduction of products like buyable ads and the ability to buy directly from creator-hosted live broadcasts. Given these moves, it makes sense for YouTube to bring shopping to Shorts as well.
YouTube is not the only digital giant to bet on the future of shopping, as TikTok and Meta have also invested in this space.
Last week, TikTok began quietly testing the TikTok Shop in the United States. The TikTok Store allows users to purchase products directly from the app. Before this expansion, this feature was only available in the United Kingdom and parts of Southeast Asia. Earlier this year, the company also began testing TikTok Shopping in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada in partnership with Shopify.
Meta-owned Instagram allows creators to share products on live broadcasts and in its shopping tab, allowing users to check out recommended products and make purchases. Brands are also able to create their own profiles purchased through product catalogs.