Google is testing the ability to shop directly from YouTube videos

Your favorite creators could become informercial hosts.

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Kris Holt
January 14, 2021 12:54 PM
In this article: google, youtube, ecommerce, shopping, gear
Rear view shot, Asian woman watching live video steaming online chef teach cooking food prepare with vegetable healthy diet menu and many fruit for dinner, staying from home self-isolation concept. via Getty Images

YouTube is testing a streamlined way to buy items that are used or mentioned on your favorite channels. The service says that creators who are part of the pilot can include certain products in their videos. If you click or tap on a shopping bag icon in the bottom left of the screen, YouTube will display a list of the featured items.

You'll be able to check out more information about those products, watch related videos or buy the items. Only US users who access YouTube through Android, iOS and the web will see the shopping bag icon.

It’s easy to imagine scenarios in which this feature would work in an on-brand way, such as cooking creators linking to kitchen accessories, gamers hawking components from their PC build videos and, of course, unboxing channels hyping up the products they show off. Creators have been able to sell merchandise through a shopping hub on their channel for the last couple of years, and this latest experiment looks like another way for them (and YouTube) to generate revenue.

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Not now

Reports have swirled for quite some time that YouTube has been exploring a feature along these lines. A number of platforms are incorporating more shopping features, including Instagram and WhatsApp, so it's not too surprising that Google is doing the same on YouTube. After all, Google Shopping ads started showing up under YouTube videos back in 2015.

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Google is testing the ability to shop directly from YouTube videos