Google allegedly wants to turn YouTube into shopping platform

A report from Bloomberg indicates that Google is already in the early stages of transforming YouTube into a shopping site. This would allow users to buy items they see in product review videos, unboxing videos, tutorials, etc. directly on the platform.

YouTube is already a kind of shopping destination, as videos are used by 55% of users to make purchase decisions. However, when users decide to buy a product after watching a video, they first have to go to another website to buy the product there.

Now Google wants to ensure that users can buy the products they see in videos directly on YouTube without having to leave the platform. Bloomberg reports that Google is already taking the first steps to put this plan into action.

For example, Google is said to be currently collecting information about products shown in videos. To collect this information, creators are asked to tag and track the products shown in their clips.

YouTube video library to become a product catalog

Google’s goal is to turn the YouTube video library into a product catalog where users can click on the items displayed and buy them directly. Thus, the video platform would become a shopping platform rather than an intermediary to external websites.

A spokesperson for the platform confirmed that product tagging capabilities are currently being tested with a limited number of channels. According to the spokesperson, creators have control over which products are tagged in their videos. This action is described as an “experiment” on Google’s part.

Google is also in the process of testing an integration with Shopify to sell products through YouTube using the shopping software. It’s not clear how Google plans to make money from this endeavor. Presumably, Google will receive a percentage of each transaction.

Collecting user data also for advertising purposes

The amount of user data Google is likely to collect is also valuable for advertising purposes. The report does not mention whether there is a financial incentive for creators to tag products in their videos.

On the one hand, this could open up another revenue stream for YouTubers if they receive a commission when viewers buy tagged products. On the other hand, it could affect the authenticity of the creators’ content if they suddenly start making money from the products they feature.

Hopefully YouTube will find a solution that benefits creators without affecting creators’ content.

Combining YouTube with shopping would be an ideal combination

This isn’t the first time Google has tried to integrate shopping features into YouTube. Last year, the platform partnered with Merchbar to sell official merchandise among videos. This offered creators a way to promote their merchandise, but transactions still had to be completed on Merchbar’s website.

Also last year, Google introduced Shopping promotions on YouTube. This feature helps users purchase products featured in videos, but it is still necessary to visit another website to complete the transaction.

So far, Google has not offered consumers the ability to purchase products directly on YouTube. Although there are many signs that this is the direction the company is going.

We’ll see if the feature might show up in time for Christmas shopping. In addition, Google is trying to ride the hype around TikTok videos with its new YouTube Shorts feature. We have also written a blog post about this.

Source: Bloomberg

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