Social Media

YouTube is testing automatic product detection in videos

Written by Hamza Zakir ·  1 min read >

YouTube is notoriously fond of testing interesting features and running experiments. One of its latest experiments involves testing an automated list of products detected in videos uploaded to the site.

As reported by 9to5Google, an early version of this feature was tested with a very small subset of YouTube users midway through 2020, but it looks as though it is being expanded further for those viewing content in the US.

It’s not clear just how it will look, as the initial rollout of “Products in this Video” proved to be very small, to the point that there are little to no examples of it in action online.

This time around, in one of its blogs, a YouTube representative has given a little more detail about how this particular feature will be deployed:

Testing automated list of products detected in videos: 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 goal is to help people explore more videos and information about those products on YouTube. This feature will be visible to people watching videos in the US.

Right beneath the main YouTube player, you’ll get a list of any products feature with related content for each item prominently displayed. The 9to5Google report believes that this could appear like a banner advert, but with more interactive elements. However, rather than taking you off YouTube, you’ll see videos from other channels and creators that have showcased things auto-detected within the initial video.

This might work almost as a secondary recommendation tool, which complements the recommended videos section that appears to the right of the main video player. The YouTube algorithm already does a fairly solid job of auto-detecting just what content you’ve been watching and serving up related videos, but this feels more aimed toward the kind of content that people watch as pre-research before making a purchase.

If expanded further, the ability to auto-detect products within YouTube will give it a portion of the same shopping space occupied by platforms like Instagram, and it will also give Google an additional revenue stream.

YouTube hasn’t specified just what platforms this will be available upon, simply stating that it “will be visible to people watching videos in the US.”

Written by Hamza Zakir
Platonist. Humanist. Unusually edgy sometimes. Profile