Digital media continues to get more shoppable. In the Covid-era of eCommerce inflections, the idea is to meet the moment with more transactional functionality for everything consumers see on their screens. This has been a gradual trend in social feed-based media like Instagram, which is now accelerating.
The latest shoppable content updates have emerged over the past week from YouTube and Pinterest. Like Instagram and others, both players have made their content more shoppable over the years. Pinterest especially has a product discovery use case that makes shopping functionality logical.
The idea for such providers is to compress the consumer purchase funnel… and bring it within their four walls. Doing this can ensure a tighter feedback loop to report their attribution and effectiveness to advertisers. They want to go from upper-funnel discovery engines to lower-funnel transaction engines.
So what are the latest moves? Starting with Pinterest, it rolled out a series of shopping features last week. These include shoppable videos and the ability for creators to tag brands for affiliate marketing. Merchants can also feature values and attributes such as “women-owned.” or “eco-friendly.”
Going deeper, shoppable videos will let merchants automatically create videos from the products they’ve already displayed on Pinterest. This creates a sort of slideshow that taps into the demand around videos and stories-based formats in social feeds. They also link directly to merchant check-out pages.
Pinterest creators can also now tag brands or products in their pins, as noted. This is a sort of insular affiliate marketing program in that brands can be alerted to these tags and then amplify them. The same pins can also be easily converted into ads on the fly, known as Idea Ads with Paid Partnership.
The opportunity, according to Pinterest is to reach high-intent users who are in product discovery mode. Moreover, the company reports that 97 percent of the billions of monthly searches on Pinterest are non-branded. This gives brands a chance to influence decisions before consumers make up their minds.
Next up for Pinterest is “native checkout” which compresses the purchase funnel to an even greater degree within Pinterest. It currently links off to merchants’ own pages for most transactions but, as Instagram has done, it will increasingly host transactions on its own pages to reduce shopping friction.
On to YouTube’s latest moves, it’s similarly elevating its status as a place where shopping is done. It announced last week that it’s expanding its existing video action campaigns to connected TVs. For those unfamiliar, this is one of Google’s interactive video ad types on YouTube desktop and mobile.
Specifically, it lets users click in-video links to be taken to a shopping page on a brand or advertiser’s website. The connected TV expansion now brings this functionality to the living room for better “lean back” interacticivity. It will do this by working with connected TV interfaces such as Apple TV.
The timing and relevance of this move are underscored by the growth in connected TV viewers, which has inflected over the past 18 months. YouTube reports that 120 million people stream YouTube on their TVs monthly. And 90 percent of conversions in its trials weren’t reachable on mobile and desktop.
So there you have it… two formidable players have raised their shopping game in the last week alone. What’s next? We predict more such activity, while the wild card in all of this is TikTok. It continues to accelerate its eCommerce efforts to buttress its core ad business. We’ll be watching for more evidence.