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01 July 2016

Shop on the spot: Welcoming shoppable video to the mainstream


TV viewing figures are on the decline. The UK has seen a 13 per cent drop in viewing in the past two years, according to Accenture – far from promising for TV advertisers. Conversely, due to a deluge of platforms, services and devices, online video is stronger than ever.

The IAB reports that the UK’s online video ad spend grew by 56 per cent to £292m ($387m) in the first half of 2015, demonstrating the recognition of the ad potential of online video. Its latest iteration, shoppable video, brings another opportunity to win over brands and advertisers who may have otherwise been unconvinced of its success.

Ads that earn money in seconds

Shoppable video provides a direct route to commercial opportunities, by providing a link to shop the products featured in the video. Burberry’s runway video, for example, incorporates new looks with the purchasing experience, allowing viewers to scroll fashion stills, click for more information, and buy. By combining video with an interactive component, brands can capitalise on‘in the moment’ consumer impulses. 

Many have been quick to realise the potential that shoppable video holds and are beginning to experiment with the format, developing innovative campaigns that take advantage of the decreased gap between purchase inspiration and transaction completion.



Very.co.uk is a perfect example of a brand that recognised this potential early. Last summer, the brand produced a new music video for the 90s classic ‘Summertime, featuring Rizzle Kicks. A small banner appeared in the corner of the video as it played, saying ‘Shop the video’. Clicking this message allowed the customer to scroll through a range of products which were featured within the video, as it continued to play. Clicking on a specific product then took them to a dedicated ‘Summertime section’ on Very’s site. Simple but elegantly executed. [Note from Cream Editor: The Very #Summertime campaign won Silver for Best Use of Video at the Festival of Media Global Awards 2016 - check out the full case study here]. 

Interaction means data

Data forms the bedrock of intelligent marketing, and interactive video allows brands to gather specific, real-world data at an individual level. With these deeper insights, brands can tailor calls-to-action, leading to better engagement, or – in the case of shoppable video in particular – greater likelihood of purchase.

With the aim of turning passive viewers into active consumers, the natural question then becomes how else can this be done more frequently? Mobile holds the key. The IAB has reported that mobile accounts for an impressive 40 per cent of the time we spend online, as consumers continue to expect on-the-go experiences. However, while mobile is favoured for browsing, actual purchases are still largely made via desktop. Easy to interact with, shoppable video has the potential to tip the shift of conversion rates towards mobile devices.

Any device, any time

The brands who want to come out on top need to make sure they’re providing a seamless, cross-channel experience. Consumers expect entertainment, news, and retail to be channel and device agnostic, with a familiar interface and process, regardless of the mobile device or computer platform they use. Convenience and consistency are the fundamental driving forces.

Looking ahead, the future is bright for video, and it won’t be long until it provides a shopping experience that’s as interactive as the real world. We’re undoubtedly moving towards a point where much of the  online video content we see will be connected, intelligent, and shoppable. A screen playing a video will become a portal to the world of retail in an unobtrusive way, and one that supplements and augments the viewer’s experience. Good news for brands and consumers alike.

By John Babcock, VP, National Sales, RhythmOne


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  • Right Brain, Left Brain sums up the dichotomy of a media business that’s constantly battling with the challenge of delivering a profit and discovering new ways to communicate to consumers. The Cream editorial team combined with a dream team of industry pioneers from around the world share their expert opinions.

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