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YouTube’s launching another monetization option for Shorts, with a new experiment that will see some creators able to tag products for purchase within their Shorts clips.

As reported by The Financial Times, YouTube has begun a new pilot program with selected creators in the US, which will see product tags displayed within Shorts, with viewers in the US, India, Brazil, Canada and Australia able to see the tags and shop directly in the app.

As per FT:

[YouTube’s] currently piloting its ‘affiliate marketing’ scheme – paying commission to creators that sell products – with a select number of US-based creators. YouTube, the merchant, and the creator all take an undisclosed cut of the sale.”

That could provide a key lifeline for Shorts creators, and another key element in YouTube’s favor, as the battle for creative talent heats up in the space.

The challenge with short-form video is that you can’t just insert pre and mid-roll ads, like you would on longer content, which makes direct monetization difficult. YouTube has already announced a new ad program, which will see ads displayed in-between Shorts, with a percentage of all revenue generated split with creators based on Shorts performance.

But direct monetization, via product listings, could be a more lucrative and direct means to allocate funds to creators in the app, which could make Shorts a more appealing option for those looking to make money from their clips.

TikTok is also developing its own in-stream commerce options, with live-stream commerce a specific focus. TikTok has already seen great success with the integration of commerce in Douyin, the Chinese version of the app, which is why it sees buying links as a key path forward for its app.

TikTok also already has its own version of product tagging options for its video clips.

TikTok product tags

Whether YouTube’s new product tags look similar to this is unclear, but as noted, it’s another step in YouTube’s development of enhanced monetization pathways for short-form creators in the app.

In other Shorts news, YouTube will also now enable Shorts creators to include more than 15-seconds of popular tracks in their Shorts clips.

YouTube Shorts music

Creators: You’ve been asking for the ability to use more than 15 seconds of audio in your Shorts, and now you can! You’ll be able to use 30s-60s of music for most tracks and up to 60s of original audio from eligible Shorts and VODs.”

That will provide more capacity to use music in the app, which will help boost music promotion, while also fueling new creative trends.

The audio picker will display how much audio you can use from each music track or video (15s, 30s, or 60s) and you’ll need change your video recording duration to 60s to use more than 15s of audio.”

YouTube says that the new, longer music clips option is being rolled out to users from today.