YouTube is turning its platform over to small businesses Thursday (June 24) in an effort to make the site more of an eCommerce hub, Bloomberg reported.
The news outlet said YouTube will showcase a live stream shopping event Thursday that allows viewers to buy products directly. YouTube is also trying to convince small businesses to advertise and share content.
It’s all part of the International Small Business Week by Google, which owns YouTube, an event that also coincided with rival Amazon’s Prime Day.
Google wants to be more of a presence in eCommerce, Bloomberg said, citing its deepening partnership with Shopify. In that, the search giant will be going up against Amazon, which has a strong position throughout North America and Europe.
YouTube rolled out shopping ads — and ads with “buy now” buttons — two years ago. Last year, it began experimenting with a feature that allowed content creators to tag and track products featured in their videos.
The resulting data from that tagging/tracking would then be linked to Google’s analytics and shopping tools. YouTube has also tested a similar integration with Shopify, allowing creators to list up to 12 items for sale on a digital carousel that ran with their videos.
Thursday’s live shopping event will feature 20 small businesses showcasing gift suggestions for the summer. The goal is to appeal to companies that may have already advertised on Facebook or Instagram but not the popular video website.
“The volume of viewers who are coming to YouTube because they want to discover a new brand or discover a new product is a shift in viewer behavior that we’ve seen over the last year or so,” Kate Stanford, Google’s vice president of ads marketing, said in an interview. “We’ll see more investments in how to make YouTube more shoppable over time.”