The Unheralded Benefits Of Shoppable Media

Akama Davies - Director, Global Solutions & Innovation

A consumer sees a brand’s message and from right within the ad is given the chance to buy. That kind of “shoppable media” seems a perfect way to seamlessly close the loop from exposure to purchase, to attribution for an advertiser. It is. But click-to-buy is just a fraction of the value shoppable media can give brands.

Shoppable media messages also can aid interactive product discovery and help brands acquire prospects through signups and downloads. They can improve customer engagement with integrations such as recipes and native content, and special branded offers.

Shoppable media are especially prevalent in social media, where they help amplify social influencers by giving users a way to act immediately on the influencers’ messages. The ads can inspire purchases elsewhere online, too, such as when consumers go to a favorite e-retailer to order a brand.

Shoppable media give brands the chance to engage and interact with consumers along the entire consideration chain while gathering new data and insights on those consumers’ desires and preferences.

Shoppable Media Drive Offline Results

Shown a shoppable media message, only a fraction of consumers will click to buy right then, especially for high-consideration items such as TVs, smartphones, couture, and cars. For the brand, the power of shoppable media goes beyond the utility of closing the sale right away.

Shoppable media can play an important role in cultivating better outcomes overall for an advertiser. They can spur sales from customers who may see the ads while in store webrooming or showrooming. They increase purchase consideration and intent through interactivity in search, video, and social media.

“Predictable shopping patterns … have fallen by the wayside,” Walmart Media Group VP and General Manager Stefanie Jay said at Vudu’s NewFronts presentation in New York in May. “We need to make meaningful, relevant, and appropriate connections with customers along their entire journey.”

Shoppable Media In Action

Shoppable media are gaining headway. They can run in nearly every digital channel and any type of screen. At its presentation, Vudu showed off its new shoppable ad units, available in streaming video programming.

Weeks earlier, Instagram announced a new in-app checkout feature, smoothing the shopping experience on the platform for users. Advertising integration platform Adimo has been refining multiple new in-ad opportunities. Google late last year introduced shoppable images in time for the holiday season.

One electronics maker my company has worked with wanted to use shoppable media to promote and drive sales of a beard trimmer they had brought to market. By using targeted shoppable media messages, they increased their purchase lead rate, consumers’ purchase intent, and brand awareness well above industry norms for non-shoppable messages. They found more than 30% of users compared prices after having seen the ads.

Enhanced Data Gathering

Marketers often think of marketing channels as living discretely in their own silos. But we need to match our media planning and buying to consumers’ real behaviors. People step into stores, look at their screens, and buy what they want however they want — via the click of a button or a swipe at a cashier stand.

For the advertiser, each shoppable media placement becomes another touchpoint with consumers that becomes another data point on actions and intent. Every action within a unit can be measured as a discrete event. Those data can feed messaging on still other programmatic channels, including fast-evolving opportunities such as digital out-of-home and voice. They enrich first-party data, to help optimize programmatic creative and other big data techniques using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Beyond the blunt measure of immediate conversion, shoppable ads can utilize metrics like engagement rate, purchase lead rate, CTR, interaction rate, retailer comparison rate, and the average basket size uplift — getting into consumers’ baskets either in store or online.

Shoppable ads are part of a mix an advertiser can use to optimize and track toward better outcomes and higher ROAS. They give them opportunities to reach and engage consumers, especially younger ones who are harder to reach on more traditional channels such as television.

Used skillfully and integrated well into a campaign, shoppable media can improve the online shopping experience, drive revenue online and off, engage with new and existing customers, enhance data, and build loyalty and retention. Click-to-buy? Sure, shoppable media are good for that. But they are really so much more.

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