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New Opportunities as TV Streaming Becomes More Shoppable

Last month, Disney became the latest streaming service provider to introduce new products and tech partnerships aimed at increasing the shoppability of its ad offering.

Gateway Shop is an evolution of their commerce-focused opportunity that enables advertisers to send QR prompts, mobile push notifications and emails to users without disrupting the viewing experience.

The endeavour to make streaming more shoppable is gathering pace and is taking precedence over live shopping experiences, which have struggled to gain traction. By integrating shoppability into the content viewers want to watch, in non-disruptive ways, shoppable streaming taps into existing behaviours rather than trying to alter them.

In October last year, a survey of over 1,000 smart TV owners by Samsung Ads and Kerv Interactive showed that over 25% of TV viewers actively shop online or via mobile while watching TV. 28% of those respondents claimed that they browsed for an item after seeing it on TV.

It’s almost as if advertising and product placement are interest and intent drivers! Who knew!?

Of course, now, streaming is providing the opportunity to shortcut that user journey from awareness and inspiration to purchase. With that, the connection of commerce to streaming and TV provides advertisers with all the benefits of programmatic ad buying, including new ways to deliver relevance, efficiency and short-term effectiveness.

These benefits include:

  1. Increased ad relevancy with the ability to reach advertisers in contextually relevant moments, matching product ad prompts to onscreen content. So rather than a user going to search for those new Nike trainers displayed on the screen, a relevant prompt or QR code will be available to shortcut that journey to the advertiser’s shop.
  2. Closed-loop measurement and the ability to attribute sales directly to ad exposure.
  3. Subsequently, the ability to optimise ad spend and delivery to these measures in real-time.

It’s like bringing the opportunities and benefits of paid social advertising to the big(ger) screen and high-impact formats. But with new opportunities come the same potential pitfalls and the industry must be aware of them.

Firstly, a poorer user experience. Of course, the focus of Disney’s developments is to be non-disruptive. No one intends to disrupt the user experience, but only time will tell. In general, it’s easy to see how streaming and smart TVs are seeing the proliferation of interfaces and complexity that make it harder for the user to get to the content they wish to watch without jumping through hoops and navigating past sponsored content. Will this only get worse as vendors seek to increase ad load?

Secondly, the opportunity for closed-loop measurement inevitably encourages advertisers to overinvest in short-term outcomes. We’ve seen how detrimental this can be for brands as the digital media landscape has developed. As always, the key is to understand the long and the short and retain the perspective that not everything we do must, or should, prompt an immediate action from the user.