Amazon is the next company in line to try to generate engagement from a TikTok-like social feed. The e-commerce giant joins the a laundry list of companies that have had the same idea: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Spotify, Netflix… what’s next, a vertical video feed on the IRS app that tracks your tax refund?
According to Watchful, an AI product intelligence platform, Amazon is testing a vertical photo and video feed in its app among staff. Per photos that Watchful provided to the Wall Street Journal, the feed — known currently as “Inspire” — will appear on the bottom navigation bar in the Amazon app. When users tap the diamond-shaped icon, they will see posts on the feed, which will include links to purchase any items featured in the post.
This isn’t the first time that Amazon has followed the same tactics as major social apps. It even has Posts, an Instagram copycat feature, as part of its advertising tools. Of course, Amazon has also invested in influencer marketing and live shopping, a feature that Facebook will soon sunset to focus on… you guessed it, its TikTok competitor.
Amazon’s TikTok clone doesn’t come totally out of left field, though. On TikTok, Amazon product recommendations are extremely popular — the tag #amazonfinds has 25.6 billion views. Some influencers have amassed millions of followers solely by finding interesting Amazon products to recommend to their audience, earning a commission if the viewer uses their affiliate link. So, it makes sense that Amazon may want for its customers to find these “Amazon must-haves” natively on its app, rather than through TikTok or Instagram Reels.
It’s not clear whether or not this feature will eventually roll out on the Amazon app — companies often test feature ideas internally, even if some may never ship to the public. Consumers might find Amazon’s native marketing less authentic than a social media post, but it’s pretty clear that most of those product recommendation TikTok videos are also just part of a money-making machine (why else would so many people make beautiful TikTok grids where they only post videos of cute Amazon gadgets?).
“We’re constantly testing new features to help make customers’ lives a little easier,” an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch.