Global companies (the kind that are key players and household names who can afford just about anything) have been making use of shoppable content for years. However, for most businesses, it hasn’t been so easy. Shoppable content takes a lot of resources to produce and manage. More recently, social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have added advertising options specifically designed to tackle this. They’re helping everyday marketers make shoppable images and creative with just a few clicks.
And why not? Who could resist an ad like this?
Though this change seems to be slowly growing in popularity - trickling down through more and more marketing departments - it won’t be long before it’s a necessity. These ads are available on so many major marketing platforms, and just about every statistic shows that they drive returns:
- Tyme increased traffic 44% with Instagram
- Lulus drove 1200+ orders and 100K+ sessions
- Rich Pins helped increase sales 95% for TIPTOE (Seriously! 95%.)
The where, who, and how of your shoppable image options
Depending on what type of audiences you usually work with, you may associate shoppable images with one particular platform. However, these ad types are already available on Google, Instagram, and Pinterest - they just use different names.
Google Shoppable Images
Google Image results, in the US and Canada
This sponsored format surfaces ad images, and advertisers can tag multiple products in the image for sale
Users searching for general inspiration related to terms or looking for specific products and types of products
Instagram product tags in Feed, Stories, IGTV, Live & Reels
Brand’s own post, ad, story, IGTV/live broadcast or Reel
Advertisers can add product tags directly to their own content
Account’s followers, targeted audiences, and others who may come across post organically
Pinterest Product Pins & Rich Pins
Advertisers can either use a feed or product pages to make pins shoppable
Browsing pinners, targeted audiences, and those using Lens
Advertisers can add “shop now” buttons to their Shoppable AR lenses
In-stream video ads
Using TrueView for shopping, advertisers can add product cards directly over video ads
What’s next for shoppable images and creative?
With so many interactive shoppable content opportunities around, for many businesses the upcoming task will be getting up to speed technologically. They’ll need to ensure that their product data management practices line up with each platform’s requirements for shoppable creative. That may include new software or even new job roles cropping up. It could include an even larger focus on creating high-quality, compelling imagery and video. It’s clear there are also a lot of new opportunities to look forward to. So what can we expect next from shoppable images and creative?
TikTok shoppable video ads & live streams
Popular video app TikTok looks set to join the above channels by rolling out its shoppable video ads worldwide. For a while now, it has been testing this functionality via a 'Shop Now' button in brand's video ads. Its recent partnership with Shopify might turn this into a reality for every retailer. Plus, it is reportedly testing live-stream shopping.
With 88% of TikTok users saying they have discovered new content through the app, and half of them having found new products through ads on the app, it makes sense for TikTok to become more ecommerce-friendly by adding shoppable options.
User-generated content turned ad
User-generated content has been all the rage since the early 2000s. It started with customer reviews and ratings, and now it’s turned to user-created images and video. Whether it’s on YouTube or Instagram, consumers love user-generated content. It cuts the business out of the equation and allows shoppers to speak to one another. Consumers can be assured that the image isn’t doctored marketing material, and they can see products out and about in the real world.
TikTok has been testing 'Shop Now' buttons in influencer videos, YouTube is letting some creators add products to their videos, while Instagram's Shopping from Creators allows users to tag products in their content.
Platforms as shopping malls
11% of US social media users shop on Instagram. Sure, sometimes that is because they were served a beautiful ad and they made a purchase completely by chance because it was just the right time and right place and the moon was new. However, as users flock to social platforms to join groups and be part of a targeted community, they’re also flocking to find inspiration. They’re actively looking for products to complement their lifestyle and choices. They’re seeking out products to build up their life - directly on social.
While shopping malls were once the place to hang out, browse, and share experiences, social media is the new stomping ground. Shoppable content will take the place of window displays and carefully curated racks that were meticulously managed for all those decades. This means businesses also need to start getting their priorities in order. Window display artists have been key to setting the mood in retail for decades - so how will businesses handle digital media?
AR is real and Gen Z loves it
AR has been a popular choice for any “ecommerce trends” assessment over the last five years. However what we can’t deny is that Gen Z has taken an actual, real-world shine to it. Let’s use Snapchat Lens as an example. Snapchat knows teenagers. In fact, it reaches 90% of all 13-24 year-olds in the US.
Thus far, names like Nicki Minaj and Adidas have been popular Lens use cases. Papa John’s drove a huge number of pizza orders one Valentine’s Day by letting users AR heart-shaped pizzas into their house. The results have been undeniably cool.
But smaller names can also benefit from these kinds of ads - if they can get creative. Don’t forget this is the app that created a whole solution to overlay AR on your cat’s face (we highly recommend you click that link for proof). For example, put him or her in a slice of toast.
Shoppable images are here to stay
Shoppable ads are increasingly relevant to shoppers today. Plus, they let marketers personalize ads to their hearts’ content. And with increasing numbers of channels adding shoppable video to their repertoire, it's clear that shoppable creative is here to stay
This updated post was originally published on January 21, 2020.