Amazon is testing TikTok-like feed on its app, AI company says

NEW YORK — Amazon seems to be getting the TikTok bug and joining other companies looking to grab consumer attention by introducing replicas of the popular social platform.

The e-commerce giant is testing a feed on its app that allows shoppers to scroll through TikTok-esque photos and videos of products posted by other users.

Using the feature, called Inspire, customers can like, save and share posts from products and purchase items directly from the feed, according to Watchful Technologies, an Israel-based artificial intelligence company that analyzes apps and has tracked the feature.

The test doesn’t mean Amazon will roll out the widget in its current form — if at all — to the public. Alyssa Bronikowski, an Amazon spokesperson, declined to say whether the company has plans to introduce the feature to all of its customers. In a statement, Bronikowski said the company is “constantly testing new features to make customers’ lives a little easier.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the test. Citing an anonymous source, the magazine also said the company is testing the feature among a small number of Amazon employees.

Amazon often experiments with new features, sometimes even targeting specific regions. Amid regulatory pressure over its private label business, the company was testing how it could identify its brands in search results by tagging them with badges such as “Amazon Brand” or “Amazon Exclusive,” research firm Marketplace Pulse previously discovered. year. .

In its current form, the experimental TikTok-style feed mainly shows photos, says Daniel Buchuk, a researcher at Watchful Technologies. But when the feature rolls out, Buchuk suspects the feed will feature a lot of videos as Amazon sellers create content to make it more appealing to customers.

The parent companies of Google and Facebook, the two largest digital ad vendors, have already pushed their own TikTok clones to capture the attention of their services so they can continue to increase their revenue.

Google’s YouTube video service rolled out a “Shorts” feature last year that was limited to clips of a minute or less in the US, after it was first tested in India in 2020. In June of this year, Google said YouTube Shorts registered more than 1.5 billion users each month, although analysts believe TikTok’s popularity is undermining ad sales on the video site.

Those concerns were compounded by Google’s latest quarterly results, which showed YouTube’s year-over-year growth in ad sales had slowed to its slowest pace since the site’s public earnings announcements.

Meanwhile, Facebook is now offering its own take on TikTok, a short video feature called Reels, on its Instagram app and its main social networking service, which are now part of Meta Platforms. Earlier this year, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Reels accounted for more than 20% of the time people spend on Instagram.

But it’s not clear that engagement is driving ad sales, after Meta recently reported the first year-over-year decline in quarterly revenue since Facebook went public a decade ago.

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AP Business Writer Michael Liedtke contributed to this report from San Francisco.

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