Google is experimenting with new features to drive online shopping dollars to YouTube and is encouraging some creators there to tag and track any products used in their videos.
Features are being trialed with some creators, and the move is an “experiment,” a YouTube spokesperson told Bloomberg on Friday (Oct. 9), adding that creators will direct which products are displayed.
The resulting data will then be linked to Google’s analytics and shopping tools. YouTube began testing a similar Shopify integration for creators who can list as many as 12 items for sale on a digital carousel below their videos, according to the company.
“YouTube is one of the least utilized assets,” Andy Ellwood, president of eCommerce startup Basket, told Bloomberg. “If they decided they want to invest in it, it’s a huge opportunity for them.”
Sources familiar with the situation told the news outlet that the hope is that YouTube’s millions of videos can be turned into shopping opportunities. A Shopify integration for YouTube merchandise sales is also in the works.
The global pandemic has been a driving force for eCommerce, with Amazon and other online shopping outlets cleaning up while people hunker down. The coronavirus has also triggered a slowdown in advertising spend, which has affected Google’s bottom line. The Alphabet-owned Silicon Valley company reported its first drop in revenue in the second quarter of this year.
Google said in July that it was launching a plan to attract more businesses to its online storefront Google Shopping. It followed Facebook’s May upgrade to its Shops tool for merchants.
At the end of 2019, YouTube reached out to some creators to trial an integration with Shopify, providing they had a minimum of 12 items they could list for sale below their videos.
Amazon and Walmart have unsuccessfully tried making shoppable videos a new revenue stream. Douyin — China’s version of TikTok — cashed in on influencers selling everything from cosmetics to electronics.
Google has made many unsuccessful forays into eCommerce. Last year, it started embedding shopping links beneath YouTube videos and testing shoppable ads in image searches. It also teamed up with UPS company Ware2Go for fast Google Shopping deliveries.
Ware2Go said its recent survey indicated that “52 percent of merchants found a fast shipping promise to be the most effective tactic to increase cart conversion.”