Shoppable ads

What shoppable ads show us about the consumer purchase journey…

The way in which success is measured in advertising can vary depending on the marketing and wider business objectives, but in general, the role of advertising is to expose the consumer to a product or service with the intention that they will eventually go on to purchase. The traditional purchase journey lays out the path to purchase in a fairly self-explanatory way, for example the AIDA model. However, the abundance in new technologies have seen new ad formats emerge, including shoppable ads, and with that, changes in how the consumer purchase journey should be approached.

Shoppable Ads in particular are becoming more popular, with social channels like Instagram at the forefront of this new type of ad. In a recent study by Gartner, 66% of brands said they’re currently adopting a social commerce strategy, showing that shoppable ads aren’t going to be just another fad.  And it’s not just social channels which enable shoppable ads, with online display, VOD, and even TV advertising utilising this new ad format. Some examples of platforms integrating shoppable ads include:

  • Shoppable advertising platform TheTake announced a deal with LG Electronics at CES 2020 to integrate its AI-enabled shoppable video software directly into LG’s 2020 smart TVs.
  • Instagram launched shoppable ads in 2018, where users could click through to a product seen directly in the post. In 2019 they then launched a “checkout” feature whereby users can purchase items seen on an Instagram post directly through the app.
  • Through linear TV, NBCUniversal began testing shoppable ads in 2019 through use of QR codes that appear on screen which viewers can scan, and are expected to fully roll out the new format this year across their TV network and new streaming service, Peacock.

The introduction of shoppable ads mean consumers are given the opportunity to purchase products directly as they see them on screen, which ultimately streamlines their purchase journey. For advertisers, this is another step in making their advertising more effective and improving the customer experience. Usually consumers encounter a brand/product through multiple touchpoints before they go on to purchase, however a shoppable ad is a touchpoint which could account for multiple stages of the journey i.e. discovery, consideration, and purchase, depending on where the consumer is currently at in their journey.

This amalgamation of the different parts of the purchase journey offers consumers an easy way out of what can be a laborious process. A Mckinsey report shows that consumers are more knowledgeable than ever before, with two-thirds of touchpoints during the “active evaluation” stage coming from consumer-driven marketing activities, meaning consumers are actively researching products/services they are interested in. Shoppable ads provide a streamlined solution for advertisers to entice customers to purchase when they are in the “shopping mode” removing any component of delay or inconvenience that might delay the end purchase. In NBCU’s case, they found that their shoppable TV ad format drove an average conversion rate to purchase which was 30% higher than e-commerce benchmarks.

The consumer purchase journey isn’t set in stone, and differs depending on product, consumer, and the means in which advertisers communicate to them. Shoppable ads won’t work for every type of product, nor should we expect them too. But they do remind us yet again that consumers are complex characters who make decisions in different ways, and reaching them through more appropriate formats can only lead to reaching the end goal of purchase more effectively.

Mitesh Mistry - Junior Digital Executive

Author: Mitesh Mistry - Junior Digital Executive

Mitesh graduated from De Montfort University with a degree in Marketing Management and is a Junior Digital Executive at Total Media Connect. He loves going to a cinema and is a fan of all things Disney!