YouTube Might Soon Put Shopping Links In Videos

Netflix may be the king of video streaming and VODs but YouTube remains at the top for all other kinds of videos (ironically except the kind that Netflix offers). As such, it becomes the prime platform for reaching out to millions of viewers and, consequently, millions of potential customers. The latter is exactly why YouTube is apparently experimenting with embedding shopping links right inside videos for the benefit of sellers, viewers, and, of course, YouTube.

YouTube already embeds links in the form of cards that lead viewers to other videos on YouTube. This feature is meant not only to increase engagement but also to keep them hooked on (a.k.a. trapped in) YouTube's network. Now the platform is reportedly toying with a different kind of link that will help you buy stuff instead.

Engadget reports that select YouTube videos will show a shopping bag icon on the bottom left corner of the screen and tapping it will list the items featured in the videos. These can link either to related videos or, better yet, buy the items directly. Currently, the test is limited to creators included in a pilot program and only show up for US YouTube viewers on Web, Android, and iOS.

On the one hand, the feature could actually prove to be useful and convenient, especially with the growing number of instructional videos on YouTube. Rather than having to scroll through the video description to hunt for links to mentioned ingredients or materials. Of course, YouTube is likely to benefit from such a system, monetarily or otherwise.

On the other hand, it's going to irk some users who are already annoyed by intrusive ads on the platform. Unfortunately, integrated e-commerce features are nothing new on social media, like Facebook and Instagram, and it's only a matter of time before Google, probably the world's biggest advertising business, wants a slice of that pie too.