This piece was originally published on Retail TouchPoints.
Selena Gomez fans may love her wardrobe in Only Murders in the Building, but those who want to buy clothes like the ones she wears — or products advertised during the show — may find themselves grappling with an experience that’s as old school as her sidekicks in the Hulu series.
Despite an increase in the number of households with smart TVs and the growing number of shoppable ad formats, the shopping cart remains stubbornly elusive for many brands and retailers. And consumers, accustomed to going from discovery to purchase with just a few clicks on social media and retail sites, are primed to do the same with streaming ads. With brands looking to bring direct marketing into the 21st century at last, linking TV ads and ecommerce is critical.
Fortunately, some progress has been made. Today CMOs are navigating shorter purchase cycles by marrying elements of branding and direct-to-consumer marketing so they can better customize the customer journey. The result is that just about every form of digital advertising and content has become shoppable. What will it take for shoppable TV to be a more valuable part of the marketing mix for brands — and a viable medium for consumers who want to shop as new shows and seasons drop? Here are three things marketers can do now.
1. Make the User Experience Easy
It’s no secret that many of us have a digital device in our hands while we’re watching TV — 84% of U.S. adults do, according to Engine Insights. This should provide the ideal bridge for shoppable TV ads, but the experience can be a bit confusing. In some cases, remote controls drive the shopping experience and for others it’s a QR code that can be scanned by a smartphone.
A recent study found that 76% of consumers would use a QR code in a TV ad if it was relevant to them. Given this renewed interest in engaging with QR codes, marketers should consider using this format in ad campaigns.
2. Create Relevant and Engaging Ads
Consumers are viewing programming across more streaming platforms than ever before, and many programs feature streaming ads now. Fortunately there are new studies about streaming ads and consumer preferences to help marketers better understand the overall experience. For example, 50% of consumers in a recent Infillion/Ipsos study said they consider ads “good or helpful” when they are tailored to their interests. What’s more, consumers said they would be willing to share more data with brands in order to see more relevant ads.
This is powerful — marketers have the ability to create ad content that is personalized based on hyper-local and relevant data. By delivering this kind of advanced creative ad, marketers can capture more sales. As indicated by another study, these types of dynamic ads drive a 309% higher engagement rate than standard pre-roll ads.
3. Experiment to Drive Success
A growing number of large retailers and brands, from Walmart to Kay Jewelers, are among those testing shoppable formats on TV. The key word here is testing. In order to find what works for your brand and products, take time to test different formats and messages. The great thing about shoppable video is the immediacy of the medium. Marketers can see the results of their campaigns in real time as they track impressions, add-to-carts and purchases.
Making TV advertising more interactive and ads more actionable, even on streaming platforms, would be no small feat — after all, we’ve been talking about shopping fashions featured on shows since Friends first aired — and it’s time to rise to the occasion. While ecommerce sales are expected to reach 23.6% of total retail sales by 2025, businesses face the most challenging fourth quarter in years. Every stakeholder in the ad-marketing industry should be prepared to meet the moment. The rewards for those who do will be enormous.