Amazon testing new TikTok style feed on app, AI firm says

The feature, called Inspire, allows customers to like, save and share product posts and buy items directly from the feed.

WASHINGTON — Amazon appears to be getting the TikTok bug and joining other companies trying to grab consumer attention by launching replicas of the popular social platform.

The e-commerce giant has been testing a feed in its app that allows shoppers to scroll through TikTok-like photos and videos of products posted by other users.

The feature, called Inspire, allows customers to like, save and share product posts and buy items directly from the feed, according to Watchful Technologies, an Israel-based artificial intelligence company that analyzed apps and tracked the feature.

The test doesn’t mean that Amazon will release the widget to the public in its current form – or at all. Alyssa Bronikowski, an Amazon spokeswoman, declined to say whether the company plans to roll out 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 bit easier.”

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

Amazon often experiments with new features and sometimes even targets its tests at specific regions. Under regulatory pressure surrounding its own-brand business, the company had been testing how it could identify its brands in search results by tagging them with badges like “Amazon-branded” or “Exclusive to Amazon,” research firm Marketplace Pulse discovered earlier this year.

In its current form, the experimental TikTok-like feed mostly features photos, said Daniel Buchuk, a researcher at Watchful Technologies. But when the feature rolls out, Buchuk suspects the feed will be video-heavy, as Amazon sellers create content to make it more engaging for customers.

The corporate parents of Google and Facebook, the two largest providers of digital advertising, have already used their own TikTok clones in offers to draw attention to their services so they can continue to grow their revenues.

Google’s YouTube video service launched a “shorts” feature in the US last year, limited to clips lasting a minute or less, after first testing it in India in 2020. among users each month, although analysts believe TikTok’s popularity is undercutting ad sales on the video site.

Those concerns were compounded by Google’s most recent quarterly results, which showed that YouTube’s annual growth in ad sales had slowed to the slowest pace since the site began reporting earnings.

Meanwhile, Facebook is now offering its own version of TikTok, a short-form video feature called Reels, on its Instagram app as well as its main social networking service, which are now operated as part of meta-platforms. Earlier this year, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that reels make up more than 20% of the time people spend on Instagram.

But it’s not clear that the engagement is helping to boost ad sales, after Meta recently reported its first year-over-year drop in quarterly revenue since Facebook went public a decade ago. Amazon testing new TikTok style feed on app, AI firm says

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