Are shoppable ads finally ready for prime time?

Discussion
Photo: @JIRAIST via Twenty20
May 18, 2022

At International Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) NewFronts showcase for digital marketers, Condé Nast, AMC Networks, Roku, YouTube, NBCUniversal and Amazon’s Twitch platform were among those pitching the promise of shoppable ads.

“How cool would it be if you could buy dresses right off the red carpet?” wondered Pam Drucker Mann, Condé Nast’s global chief revenue officer and president, during the publisher’s NewFront presentation in early May, according to Advertising Age.

Shoppable television ads — called t-commerce (television commerce), back in the day — were first hyped in the nineties when network executives promoted the idea of couch potatoes clicking a “buy” button on their remote control to purchase the sweater worn by Friends’ star Jennifer Aniston. Since then, experiments with apps, QR codes, website links, chatbots and screen placement to drive TV-watching impulse buys have taken place to little progress.

One reason shoppable ads have been receiving renewed interest is that more content is being watched online. The commercials that run alongside Hulu’s movies and shows online all include an advertising link.

A second is the rapid expansion of connected-TVs and streaming platforms. Hub Entertainment research shows 76 percent of TV households in the U.S. now own a smart TV, up from 70 percent a year ago.

According to Fierce Video, Julian Mintz, Roku’s national brand team lead, during a NewFront presentation said the platform has further learned that streamers are five times more likely to click their remotes than scan a QR code. He said, “Phones distract us from TV, remotes bring us in.”

IAB’s “2021 Video Ad Spend and 2022 Outlook” report found Connected TV (CTV) ad spend increased 57 percent in 2021 to $15.2 billion and is expected to grow 39 percent in 2022. CTV was found to enable buyers to leverage many types of data not available within linear TV buys, including first-party brand data (65 percent), location data (61 percent) and shopping data (50 percent).

Eric John, VP, IAB Media Center, said in a press release, “The amount of dollars currently allocated to CTV is not proportionate to the amount of viewer time spent with the channel.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do shoppable ads, whether delivered online or on smart TVs, now hold enough appeal to convert viewers into buyers? Have you noticed any shoppable ads that hold potential?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"I do think we are on the cusp of something big with shoppable ads, but the key to unlocking their full potential will be, as with so many things, the shopper experience."
"Talk about instant gratification! When the technology is ready this really will be a game-changer."
"The technology is still at a very rudimentary level, but shoppers would definitely use it."

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13 Comments on "Are shoppable ads finally ready for prime time?"


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Dion Kenney
BrainTrust
1 month 17 days ago

The technology is still at a very rudimentary level, but shoppers would definitely use it. Prediction: the technology will be embedded in articles, videos, and blogs to capitalize on consumers’ “in the moment” impulse buying.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

The line between social commerce is extremely fine. Because of this, I think consumers are absolutely ready for shoppable ads. Content consumption decisions are very intentional, and often the cast/characters are aspirational for viewers. Thus, shoppable ads not only make sense, but would be helpful for many consumers who hope to buy based on the trends they’re seeing in their favorite shows.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Shoppable ads are an added convenience for the shopper, whether purposeful or casual.

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

Wait – I’m watching a movie, it’s reaching it’s dramatic climax, and the protagonist is wearing a really nice button down shirt. You want me to pause the movie, click on the shirt, find my size and color, decide if I like the price, give them my personal info, then hit play again? Have we lost the ability to pay attention to anything?

Dion Kenney
BrainTrust
1 month 17 days ago

Exactly! I do this already while watching movies: search IMDB for actors’ names, what model car is that, where is this filmed, etc. I am (and everybody else is) in information twitch mode.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

I do think we are on the cusp of something big with shoppable ads, but the key to unlocking their full potential will be, as with so many things, the shopper experience. I am not convinced we have cracked the code on seamless, convenient and minimally disruptive experiences. I can tell you I have no desire to interrupt one of Kim Wexler and Saul Goodman’s tension-filled scenes to break away and shop, no matter how much I may want to try that $495 bottle of Zafiro Anejo tequila. Perhaps a simple “Add to list” button on my remote is the answer? I’m not a CX person, so maybe not, but I suspect once someone cracks the CX code for shoppable TV ads, I’ll be back here to say “it’s all good, man.”

Brian Delp
BrainTrust
1 month 17 days ago

The Today Show for example has been featuring shoppable QR codes on-screen for some time and we all heard/saw the crypto QR code ad during the Super Bowl. These ads offer convenience and as customers become more comfortable with this tech it will certainly develop into new revenue streams and be incorporated into developing RMN rate cards.

Carol Spieckerman
BrainTrust

Yet more validation for retailers morphing into media companies and ad agencies. Shoppable ads will quickly emerge as the shiny new offering within retailers’ agency arsenals, ensuring acceleration. Amazon’s recent enablement of in-media product placements, retailers’ growing obsession with live streaming — off to the races!

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

Talk about instant gratification! When the technology is ready this really will be a game-changer.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

I absolutely agree.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Passing judgement about something in early stages when it is new, or when it is not yet available, I have learned can be dangerous. However change is coming and this change will be huge.

Holden Bale
Guest
While I agree with the general commentary that the technology is still its infancy … we’ve been talking about shoppable advertising for over 15 years. At a certain point, it needs to crawl. Our best prediction is that by ‘27, most advertising will be natively shoppable, either through the device (the TV) or through a device “tethered” to a media device (a wearable, a phone). The rise of connected TVs is one part of it, so was people steaming on their laptops — but the seemingly overnight adoption of QR codes in North America with COVID (pre-COVID, QR codes were at best a novelty, and even younger demographics barely used them) is another part of it. The kind of advertising that some brands have done on Hulu with a QR code at the end has performed well. The real unlock will be when more consumers tether their phone to their TV to control it, like some people do with the Apple TV or Roku app. Then it’s not a question of pausing a “show,” it’s… Read more »
Anil Patel
BrainTrust

Customers are influenced to purchase things after seeing their favorite celebrities use them. This means that retailers are not required to sell directly to customers given that product placement in TV shows is done right. The desire to own those things combined with the ease of shopping for them by clicking on a single link leads to impulse purchases. This will almost certainly boost conversions from shoppable advertisements.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I do think we are on the cusp of something big with shoppable ads, but the key to unlocking their full potential will be, as with so many things, the shopper experience."
"Talk about instant gratification! When the technology is ready this really will be a game-changer."
"The technology is still at a very rudimentary level, but shoppers would definitely use it."

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