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11/16/2021

YouTube launches livestream holiday shopping promotion

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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YouTube is enabling some of its leading influencers to set up live shopping streams in advance of the holiday season.

The Google-owned, video-centric social media network is integrating digital commerce features directly into its platform as part of a new seasonal offering called “YouTube Holiday Stream and Shop.” Temporarily hosted at YouTube.com/Shopping and lasting through Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, the service will feature influencers including Gordon Ramsay, Jackie Aina, and Mr. Beast hosting shopping livestreams.

The livestreams will include exclusive access to new products, special discounts, and product giveaways, as well as the ability to purchase featured items via onsite checkout or at retailers’ sites. Influencers can leverage platforms like Shopify or interactive production companies like Stage Ten to support their shoppable livestreams.

Once their store is connected to their YouTube channel, influencers can tag selected products and set up a live shopping stream. Live event watchpages can feature a trailer to remind customers, and livestreams also suppport activities such as live product drops and live audience polling and feedback. On Wednesday, Nov. 17, YouTube will premiere a new shoppable film featuring products from Black-owned businesses that customers can purchase.

Rival social media network Facebook is also expanding its social shopping features for the holiday rush. Daily live shopping experiences are available on Facebook and Instagram, with brands such as Benefit Cosmetics, Cocokind, Macy’s, Paintbox Nails, Tanya Taylor, Ulta Beauty, Vuori and Walmart. The programming includes exclusive drops and deals, and allows consumers to connect with celebrities, creators and brand experts, according to Facebook. Eligible purchases can be completed directly on the company’s apps using Facebook Pay. Facebook is also bringing exclusive gifts to its Shops tabs that will be available when people check out on Facebook or Instagram.

The YouTube.com/Shopping destination also allows consumers to revisit livestreams, discover new ones, and browse products shown in the videos in categories such as makeup, skincare, haircare, and electronics. In addition, customers can search featured gifts from brand and creator stores, along with the top trending gift ideas from Google shopping; as well as browse trailers to upcoming shopping livestreams and set notifications for select livestreams of interest.

“Our week-long YouTube Holiday Stream & Shop event introduces a new way of shopping on YouTube that allows you to discover, consider, and buy the products recommended by your favorite creators,” said Lax Poojary, product manager, YouTube Shopping, in a corporate blog post. This event is going to tell us a lot about live shopping on YouTube and help us understand what users most want to see in shoppable streams and what features creators and brands find most useful.

“Our ultimate goal is to build a platform that allows anyone with a mobile device and a product to easily host a live shopping stream, but these early events will tell us a lot about what that looks like,” said Poojary.

Heading into 2022, YouTube says it will continue building and investing in shopping, including features for video on-demand and personalized shopping, as it hosts live shopping events and experimenting with new formats.