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Google may turn YouTube into a shopping destination

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Tyumen, Russia - April 30,2019: YouTube App icon channel on iPhone XR


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At some point in your YouTube watching career, you’ve probably dug into the description of a video to tap on an Amazon referral link. Whether you’re into tech, photography, gaming or almost any other hobby, most channels use those links as a way to generate additional revenue on top of the money they make from ads. For its part, YouTube has been content to make most of its revenue off of ads and subscriptions, but that could soon change.     

According to Bloomberg, YouTube recently started asking some of its creators to tag the products they feature in their videos. The company reportedly plans to link those items to shopping and analytics tools offered by parent Google. Bloomberg says the company’s end goal is to remake YouTube into a one-stop shopping destination where you can peruse and buy almost anything you see on the platform. At the same time, it’s testing a new integration with e-commerce platform Shopify

A spokesperson for YouTube confirmed to Bloomberg the website is testing some e-commerce features. They told the publication creators will have control over what products are displayed on their channel, but didn’t go on to share additional details. 

Moving into e-commerce would make a lot of sense for YouTube. Looking at tech alone, the countless hands-on and review videos you find on the platform would be the ideal time to convert views into purchases. It seems Google feels the same way. During a recent earnings call, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said the company could turn unboxing videos into a shopping opportunity. That’s something that would allow the company to grow YouTube beyond the $15 billion business it was at the end of last year.

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