YouTube is adding affiliate marketing, shopping features to Shorts

Tomiwo Ojo
YouTube Shorts

YouTube is adding shopping features that allow users to buy products as they scroll through content to Shorts. The company also seeks to provide a chance for creators to earn through affiliate marketing.

YouTube Shorts is short-form video content available on the video media platform. While Shorts is modeled similarly to TikTok and Instagram Reels. It presents 15 to 60 seconds long, user-generated videos in portrait model also known as vertical video.

It allows users to add licensed music and captions. Viewers scroll through endless videos. Shorts offers editing capabilities and the ability to interact with viewers by responding to comments with additional videos.

YouTube Shorts

Although primarily intended to be watched on smartphones, YouTube Shorts can be viewed on computers and tablets by typing #Shorts into the YouTube search bar. YouTube creators have leveraged the product to produce videos with minimal effort. About 1.5 billion people use Shorts every month.

According to the Financial Times, The company will introduce the shopping features on Shorts, starting with eligible creators in the United States. These creators are currently piloting the ability to tag products from their own stores.

YouTube plans to continue bringing tagging to more creators and countries soon. Viewers in the United States, India, Brazil, Canada, and Australia can see the tags and shop through the Shorts.

Read also: Asake, BNXN make list of Africans selected for the 2023 #YouTubeBlack Voices fund

YouTube Affiliate program

Also, YouTube is testing an affiliate program in the United States that allows creators to earn commissions from sales of products they recommend in their Shorts and regular videos. The company disclosed that this test is still in its formattive days. However, there are plans to expand the experiment to more creators next year gradually.

In an email to Techcrunch, a spokesperson for the company said that “We firmly believe YouTube is the best place for creators to build a business and shopping is a piece of that.”

These new features are means to generate more income for the company. Although there are billions of monthly active users, YouTube’s quarterly ad revenue declined 1.9% year over year and missed expectations, according to Alphabet’s quarterly earnings report released last month.

The news of the shopping and affiliate marketing features comes a few weeks after YouTube announced that creators would take a 45% share of ad revenue starting next year.

Creators will be able to apply to the company’s Partner Program when they meet a new Shorts-specific threshold of 1,000 subscribers and 10 million Shorts views over 90 days, after which they will earn 45% of ad revenue from their videos.

Read More: YouTube announces new ways for creators to make money with content

YouTube has been working to transform its platform into more of a shopping destination with product launches like shoppable ads and the ability to shop directly from livestreams hosted by creators. The new features are ways for the company to broaden its revenue streams amid a slumping advertising market.

YouTube will not be the first social media outlet to venture into affiliate marketing and rewarding cretors or users for short videos. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and instagram- as well as TikTok, the king of short video content have also invested in the space.

TikTok Shop, a feature that allows users buy products directly from the app, has been testing in the United States. The feature is also available in the United Kingdom and parts of Southeast Asia.

While Instagram, owned by Meta, allows creators to share products in livestreams and in its shopping tab, which lets users scroll through recommended products and make purchases.


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