Shoppable video—which allows a consumer to take action, including making a purchase, in response to a TV ad—is picking up speed. While this partnership between video and commerce won't tilt the scales this holiday season, it will be only a short time before it becomes a significant part of the commerce mix. And its evolution will be enhanced by the digital transformation of the linear TV viewing experience, the growing adoption of Smart TVs and maturing technology and data capabilities.
Beyond just making a brand impression, shoppable video triggers a range of consumer responses that marketers want. And consumers can visit a brand site or its product page, request a promotional offer via email or text, visit an app store or place a product in their shopping cart.
Shoppable video is already available in different formats through a variety of underlying technologies, such as QR code, interactivity on connected TV, voice assistance, Automatic Content Recognition (ACR), beacon and Near Field Communication (NFC). A growing number of media owners and technology solution providers are innovating to expand shoppability on TV to brands in the most relevant context for consumers.
Still, from both supply and demand perspectives, shoppability on TV is still in its early stage. But the promise of marketers simultaneously achieving brand building and performance is within reach. We are already seeing how the range of conversions can provide real-time insights into consumer engagement and more granular data for TV attribution, thus allowing for better measurability and accountability. This full funnel video experience also serves as a lead generation tactic to capture new prospects in the moment of discovery and intent.
In addition, shoppable video will likely be a necessary complement to a marketer’s content integration strategy, especially in an ad-free SVOD (subscription video on demand) environment. Combined with an interactive and personalized consumer engagement, shoppable video simply creates a better and more relevant consumer experience that further drives upper funnel brand awareness and affinity.
As they explore shoppable video, brands should:
Keep an innovation mindset. For brands accustomed to mass reach, frequency and gross rating points, a common hesitation centers on scale. A shoppable video unit carries the double duty of delivering on both upper funnel and lower funnel KPIs. But scale should not be a roadblock. Brands and their partners should keep a long-term vision and an innovation mindset. Focus on learnings and insights rather than reach goals.
Build a consumer habit of interactivity with TV. Television used to be a lean-back, passive medium. To ensure the performance of shoppable video, consumers’ perceptions and behaviors need to be changed with clear on-screen instructions and visual overlays. Adequate creative length and pause capability in the video-on-demand environment are needed to give consumers time to comprehend and respond. Moreover, better data usage for targeting and relevant messaging will increase consumer attention and engagement through personalization and localization.
Respect brands’ creative integrity and guidance. Many brands and their creative teams might have concerns about creative asset modifications typically required for a shoppable video unit, such as letter box, overlay and squeeze back. It's important to be thoughtful and respectful for brands’ creative integrity, messaging hierarchy and style guidelines. To ensure a transparent and streamlined process for creative approval, it is extremely beneficial to bring in the partners and start the conversation early with brands’ creative, strategy, and planning teams.
Benchmark and measure. All innovative ad formats need proof points to demonstrate impact and improve product development. When a standard and transparent assessment practice is vetted by all parties, a robust benchmarking and measurement framework can instill trust and confidence. Given the custom nature of many shoppable ad units, repeated tests are necessary to garner scaled and quantifiable insights by brand vertical, creative format and media partner.
It’s early days, but the shoppable video space is burgeoning with excitement as brands, agency partners, media companies and their technology providers to invest and experiment. When partnerships and collaborations are built on trust, communication, coordination and deep consumer insights, innovation is the natural outcome. The ecosystem needs all parties to lean in and work together in order to thrive in the face of change. Now is the moment where we are shaping shoppable television. It’s not too hard to see what the holidays of the future will look like.