Across the globe, right through 2020, the extreme economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak was felt, affecting industries like manufacturing, logistics, airlines, and travel, etc.

At the same time, industries such as E-commerce, banks, insurance, etc. thrived, with E-Com making the most of the pandemic.

Check this out -

Amazon shares skyrocketed during the pandemic.

CEO Jeff Bezos's net worth grew by $72.7 billion in 2020, increasing by 63.3% over the course of the year, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index.

(Source –Business Insider, 24th December, 2020)

This pandemic-induced recession has actually benefited retailers, especially those with connectivity and delivery capability.

In fact, the pandemic, together with increased social media consumption and interactive shoppable ads, has presented a great opportunity for the maximization of sales.

In this article, we will talk about shoppable ads - why they are important, what disruptions they have made and why they are the next big thing for retailers in the post-pandemic world.

Shoppable Ads

“A shoppable ad is usually an ad inventory with single or multiple product images or tags (or markups) that will enable users to know more about the product or purchase it in or outside the advertising platform, as the case may be”

These are some of the popular shoppable ads.

Google Product Listing Ads

Product Listing Ads (PLAs) allow you to place your products in front of millions of online shoppers searching on Google for the products you offer.

PLAs show shoppers exactly what you have for sale before they even reach your site, which will have a significant impact on your portal’s overall conversion and shopping cart abandonment.

Google Showcase Shopping Ads

Google Showcase Shopping Ads allow you to combine a selection of related products aka your product catalogue with vivid, high-quality images or video to influence your audience to make purchases.

YouTube Shoppable Video Ads

YouTube Shoppable Ads are a new direct response ad format that makes ads on YouTube more “shoppable” by adding browse-able product images that link from the video directly to a brand's own product pages.

Facebook Collection Ads

Facebook Collection Ads allow you to advertise a primary video or image with four smaller accompanying images in a grid-like layout that will allow your audience to tap on your collection ad, so they can browse or learn more about your products without leaving Facebook.

Instagram Ads with Product Tags

Instagram Ads with product tags allow you to navigate your audience that clicks the ad in Instagram directly to a product detail page to learn more or complete purchasing the product.

Instagram Ads with Product Tags and Checkout

Instagram Ads with product tags and checkout allow a US checkout-enabled business to help those who click the ad to directly purchase the product without leaving Instagram

Pinterest Shopping Ads

Pinterest Shopping Ads allow you to advertise either single image ads that promote a product relevant to people’s interests or multi-image ads that display a lifestyle image of your choice, followed by a group of products relevant to people’s interests

Shoppable Snap ads

Shoppable Snap Ads also known as Collection Ads allow you to feature a collection of products within a single ad. The audience can tap on each product image to get more product details.

Note:

We have long been waiting to see Facebook monetize WhatsApp. Despite Oilivier Ponteville’s announcement that Facebook will start rolling out ads in WhatsApp stories by 2020, we are yet to see that happen.

However, Facebook’s recent privacy policy update is a strong indicator that it’s only a matter of time before ads are rolled out in stories. Given its relevance coupled with WhatsApp payment options, these are very likely to be shoppable ads.

Why are Shoppable Ads Important for Retailers?

Shoppable ads are easily trackable, attributable and should be a part of retailers’ media mix for higher Return on Advertising Spends (ROAS).

Here are some reasons why shoppable ads are important for retailers.

  1. Reach a Large Audience for New Products. Shoppable ads allow you to not just create an awareness about your new products, but also helps you provide price disclosure and facilitate instant purchases where possible
  2. Increase Average Order Value. Many shoppable ads allow you to showcase multiple complementing products in a single sponsored ad thereby helping you increase the Average Order Value of every transaction.
  3. Promote Limited Time Offers. When you have limited time offers, it is good to extend their reach beyond conventional media channels by leveraging shoppable ads. These ads will help you break geographical barriers while making the checkout seamless.
  4. Leverage Influencer Reach: Influencer marketing is quickly becoming a key ingredient of the media mix. This is especially true of fashion and lifestyle brands who can use Livestream Shoppable Ads.

3 Big Disruptions of Shoppable Ads

Here are the three big disruptions that Shoppable Ads have made so far.

1. Shoppable Ads collapsed the AIDA funnel

As marketers and advertisers, we used to run different types of ads for different stages in the funnel.

For instance, we run display ads to create an awareness of our products and build top of the funnel traffic.

Our focus here was the number of eyeballs received for products advertised.

Then comes the middle of the funnel, where we use highly focused ads to drive audiences from awareness to the interest / desire stage.

Finally, to drive those audiences in interest / desire stage and to get them to take action and convert, we use retargeting.

We focus more on what we want to communicate to each of our audiences here, by contextualizing the creative more.

With Shoppable Ads, there are no journey stages at all. The beauty of these ads is that, the same ad used to create awareness for the first time could well be the direct response ad in itself.

This has impacted the way we develop creatives addressing the sensibilities of different segments of audience in the different funnel stages that we target.

This is both a challenge and an opportunity for marketers like you.

The challenge is that with the limited access to their attention, you need to convince your audience to pay for your product.

The advantage is that you can save a lot on media costs that you otherwise would have incurred driving your audience between stages.

2. Shoppable Ads disrupted every aspect of digital advertising

There was a remarkable shift in advertising when televisions arrived. It happened again when the internet arrived.

Then it was when Google Adwords and social media arrived.

Now it’s the time for Shoppable Ads to disrupt things.

In fact, the disruption can be felt in all stages of campaign processes from media planning to creative development to advertisement to tracking to attribution.

You can no longer plan long term with Shoppable Ads. Your media planning should have shorter cycles.

Ideally, you need highly flexible 24X7 campaigns to ensure ‘Just in Time’ marketing with Shoppable Ads.

With Shoppable Ads, your ad needs to be really creative as the window to influence the audience is really small and the stages in the buying journey are collapsed.

Thanks to the non-standardization of Shoppable Ads, you need to be completely innovative to pick the right kind of Shoppable Ad technique for your business, which is entirely different from the way you conventionally plan a media campaign.

As marketers, we use to track different campaign metrics based on campaign objectives.

However, with the rise of Shoppable Ads, metrics other than conversion have almost become irrelevant.

Regardless of the number of exposure or clicks received, it’s only conversion that actually matters.

Finally, attribution used to be a huge challenge for marketers as the purchase journey usually involves multiple channels.

However, with Shoppable Ads, movement from awareness to action is possible in a single ad and the need for multiple channels is almost eliminated.

Even in the rare cases of using multiple channels as part of campaign strategy, the last touch attribution i.e. the  Shoppable Ad will be the most relevant attribution technique.

3. Shoppable Ads democratize online selling further

When e-Commerce arrived, everyone thought it was the death of retail.

Innovative retailers embraced e-Commerce and moved in to the category of e-tail.

Similarly, the arrival of Shoppable Ads have extended the e-tail industry.

Brick and Mortar stores are just a step away from reaching their audience now.

With Shoppable Ads, anyone can become an e-tailer regardless of whether they own a physical store or not, thanks to the extended yet targeted reach that these ads offer.

As long as you have the ability to ship products within promised time and provide a good customer support, nothing stops anyone from becoming successful.

In fact, Shoppable Ads are a boon for brands with niche product offerings, thanks to the finer targeting options with significantly lesser costs.

Why are Shoppable Ads the next big thing for Retailers?

Shoppable ads are consistently growing.

Source: Interactive Advertising Bureau

Several studies and reports indicate that Shoppable Ads are here to stay and can help retailers increase online sales.

"Shoppable media such as livestreams, social commerce, virtual consultations and shoppable ad formats, will be the fastest-growing advertising categories in the near future as retailers and brands seek to reach consumers who are more likely to shop online.

Interactive Advertising Bureau

According to Kenshoo, product-specific shopping ads across channels experienced robust spending growth even as overall social and paid search spending declined year-over-year (YoY).

Source: Kenshoo

Pinterest reveals that its pinners use its platform significantly to make purchase decisions as well as product discovery.

Source: Pinterest

YouTube is also becoming a key channel contributing to purchase decisions.

Source:  ThinkwithGoogle

Source:  Marketing Land

This clearly shows that shoppable ads are silently growing and are largely adopted by retailers thereby confirming that the future of shoppable ads are very bright indeed.

Summary

So we conclude by saying that since Shoppable Ads are prospering as the next great digital retail opportunity, you can start off by engaging in new productive platforms and ad units.

You have multiple options and opportunities available now and there will be more in the future.

The trick is how you bring your Shoppable Ads strategy in line with your overall advertising strategy.

Let us know in the comments section, your shoppable ad experiences after trying.