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“Multi commerce is one of the things that we’ve been taking some time to figure out the way to match because … YouTube is already a huge part of offline commerce,” YouTube’s vp Americas, Tara Walpert Levy, told The Hollywood Reporter from Google’s offices in Chelsea. “There are thousands of creators who are already experimenting with much more regular VOD-driven shopping, so stay tuned on that. That’s a big bet for us, and we’re excited about it.”
Though Walpert Levy did not disclose specifics for YouTube’s upcoming shopping features, the executive teased that YouTube is pursuing a “more direct tie in to the videos and experience” for creators outside of affiliate links, which are currently run by outside companies.
“Creators were asking us to try to make this easier and better. You can already see there’s a meaningful amount of money going through affiliate links on YouTube today, and [creators were] like, ‘Can’t we make this more direct?'” the executive said. “We want to be able to connect it — especially since we can, in part, through Google and other things we do to purchases that happen off the platform as a result of YouTube, in addition to the direct purchase online.”
YouTube is also focusing on its live shopping offerings, which allow viewers to purchase products via a livestream. On Tuesday, YouTube partnered with Netflix for a live shopping stream featuring the YouTube creator Jackie Aina interviewing the makeup artist Pat McGrath about her new Bridgerton-inspired collection. Viewers were able to click through the various products underneath the stream, which brought them to Netflix’s shop where they could purchase the products.
The efforts to expand monetization outside of traditional advertisements placed during videos comes as YouTube reported $6.86 billion in ad revenue during Q1, missing Wall Street expectations and representing a slowdown in growth after the video platform experienced a major boom in ad revenue during the earlier parts of the pandemic.
“There were a lot of external factors going on, many of which we hope change. But the part that we control is the lean into monetization of new formats or feed,” Walpert Levy said. “The heart of YouTube and Google has always been about innovation, and we’re just always looking for new ways that we can help creators make more money and that we can grow along with them.”
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