The biggest digital properties have monetized their platforms with advertising and have generated billions in revenue. Now, they need to generate transactional revenue for advertisers.
There's a lot of chatter around voice -- digital personal assistants like Alexa and Siri -- and for good reason. Voice's potential is huge and already impacting how consumers interact with, if not buy from brands. But perhaps one of the more immediate trends in commerce recently got a boost when Google introduced two new image-focused ad formats earlier this fall. One is a new video version of the Showcase Shopping ads that began testing with 500 advertisers in September. It's an extension of the Showcase Shopping ads introduced in October 2017 and integrates YouTube videos into paid search ads. The second is called Shoppable Images, and lets advertisers attach shoppable ads to select published content.
It's all about tapping into the growing power of images to connect with and convert shoppers into buyers.
We know that images sell goods and that they are more impactful in reaching shoppers than many other digital tools. A recent study from the Intent Lab, a partnership between Performics' and Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications, proved that brand video ads are assistive to consumers in their journey and lead to purchase. Video proved 1.2x more effective than text in improving product evaluations when a consumer was in a browsing mode, moving them closer to buying.
Performics found that video content has a high impact on brand evaluations early in the shopper journey as options are evaluated, before decisions are formed. "Video storytelling isn't just about driving short-term campaign wins -- it's also about driving measurable results at every stage of the consumer journey," noted Vishal Sharma, Vice President of Product Management, YouTube Ads in this announcement.
Video is helping to incite and deliver on consumer intent. Video ads are a powerful marketing tactic to generate brand awareness and help consumers explore and evaluate products and categories. Now, advertisers have a reason to deploy video ads to drive consumer action and connect directly to a transaction.
CMOs are challenged to drive growth, not just build brand equity -- and can now do both. We can expect additional strategic moves for platforms to begin mirroring each other.
Search companies have been successful at monetizing their platforms and providing advertisers with data and tools to reach consumers. E-commerce brands started with monetized transactional platforms but are rapidly trying to make these accessible to advertisers. While the two started at opposite ends of this spectrum, they are racing toward each other for what will inevitably be a grand collision. At the center of it all are consumers, and it will be interesting to watch their responses as channels blur. Consumers seeking entertainment and informational videos will now be confronted with or given an opportunity to satisfy their needs. Consumers seeking a product purchase from an online retailer are now faced with a sea of sponsored ads.
The platforms are busy generating revenue for their coffers and giving advertisers access to their viewers and customers. The consumer response to one-stop shopping -- mixing information, entertainment and transactions -- will likely produce lovers and haters.
The next iteration will be to simply say "buy it" while watching videos.
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