YouTube Will Test Auto-Detecting Products in Video

Chuck Forbes - August 11, 2021

YouTube is a large player in the digital advertising space, allowing users to capture the attention of users and build brand loyalty through engaging video. Like other social platforms and search engines, YouTube is always looking to scale efficient ways for users to see a product they like and be able to get instant information on it, or in a perfect word for e-commerce brands – buy the product.

In March 2021, YouTube started testing an updated version of their “Products in this Video” feature, which gave users linkouts to pages where they can purchase the products they saw in the video. This new layer seems to be more focused on engaging users with more information and relatable videos about the products in the videos they watched, versus taking them immediately offsite to potential complete a purchase.

Here is a statement from YouTube:

We are experimenting with a new feature that displays a list of products detected in some videos, as well as related products. The feature will appear in between the recommended videos, to viewers scrolling below the video player.”

The idea is to show users the products in the video in a list format right below the YouTube players where the video description can be found. Users will then have the option to click out to another site if they are interested or continue watching more videos with these same products featured. Basically, YouTube is adding a layer of engagement to give users the option to stay within their platform and watch more content on products they appear to be interested in, or if they are sold, go right to the page to purchase. We already experience this in a very similar fashion when YouTube’s algorithm presents us with “more videos you might like,” taking into consideration your search history and engagement with the videos you watched.

YouTube hasn’t specified what platforms this will be available upon, only stating that it “will be visible to people watching videos in the US.” Digital marketers should be conscious of this update. If this becomes a new norm for the platform, products for e-commerce brands will be much more visible to users without them searching further – having clear and engaging videos for the YouTube algorithm to detect is very important. If you have not evaluated your YouTube channel strategy in some time, this new test may be a good reason to start. Future impacts on digital advertising within YouTube may also be a consideration – if the search engine is making products more accessible and efficient for users to purchase without running paid campaigns, YouTube strategy could significantly shift to boost organic engagement. Video ROI and YouTube will continue to grow and expand how users can identify and purchase desired products.

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