Only weeks after TikTok Shop’s entry into the U.S. market, YouTube today is making it easier for consumers to shop products presented by its own creator community. The company is introducing new creator-focused features that will allow them to add timestamps to videos for their tagged products and tag their affiliate products in bulk across their video library. Combined, the additions will simplify the process of marketing products through YouTube videos and potentially increase sales, netting creators more money.
YouTube has been steadily rolling out more tools for shopping from its videos for many months, having last year partnered with Shopify to allow merchants to feature their products in videos, expanded livestream shopping features and added shopping features to YouTube Shorts, among other efforts.
Now it’s experimenting with more ways to connect consumers to products creators are showcasing in their videos with the new releases. With the timestamps feature, creators will be able to make the shopping button appear at the relevant points in their video — like when they’re showing off a favorite gadget or beauty product, for example. YouTube tested the feature in the U.S. last month and found that people who saw these timestamps clicked on tagged products twice as often. The feature is only available on long-form content, not Shorts, however. And video must be at least a minute long with a maximum of 30 seconds between timestamps, YouTube says.
The company is also adding new tools to tag affiliate products across the creator’s video library in bulk, based on products added to the video’s description. To use this feature, creators will access the Shopping tab in YouTube Studio to see a list of their videos with products mentioned in the description. From there, they can click the videos they want to tag, make adjustments, then click “Save” to complete the process. The feature will allow creators to quickly monetize videos from their back catalog that are still seeing high views with little effort, the company notes.
Though not available today, YouTube is also teasing new insights and analytics for affiliate products that will allow creators to see things like sales metrics, orders, offer clicks and impressions from Studio’s “Analytics” tab under “Revenue” then “Affiliate program.”
The changes come as TikTok is ramping up its own e-commerce features in the U.S., which include a dedicated shop tab on the home screen, live video shopping, shoppable ads and affiliate programs for creators.
Though a number of video shopping efforts are stalling in the U.S., with some startups failing to gain traction, other efforts are just taking off. For instance, TalkShopLive just launched a new app this week to allow sellers to broadcast on its platform, digital sports and apparel platform Fanatics just launched a live commerce app, a former Amazon exec launched a video shopping app for beauty items (Trendio) and Elon Muks’s X is planning to experiment with live shopping in a partnership with Paris Hilton’s 11:11 Media company as part of a broader two-year deal. Even Apple is embracing live shopping to some extent with a new experience launched earlier this year that connects online shoppers to live Apple sales reps to answer their questions.