Checking In On The State Of Shoppable TV Ads

Imagine seeing an ad on your TV and then using your remote to buy the item and have it delivered to your house.

Such imaginings, which have been on marketers’ radar since the start of the Internet in 1994 or so, have gotten new life recently.

YouTube announced in 2020 a direct-response format that made YouTube video ads more shoppable. Facebook and Instagram also introduced Shops that year, and viewers of Hulu and NBCU’s Peacock let viewers buy items using their remote control.

Now, Roku has introduced shoppable ads as well.

Proponents say such ads work. Some  79% of marketers polled said PPC ads are hugely beneficial to their business.

While marketers figure out the complexities of making a remote control ready to seamlessly purchase items from the TV, one shortcut that has emerged is the QR code. QR codes have been around since 1994 and brands including L’Oreal, Starbucks and Coca-Cola have used them to engage consumers.

But it’s likely that shoppable TV ads won’t really take off until our remote control devices become smarter. One possibility is that we’ll do away with the need for a separate device and just use our smartphones. Roku lets you download its app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Amazon’s Fire TV Omni Series doesn’t need a remote, but instead lets you do everything by speaking aloud.

It may be a short time, in other words, before you can see something advertised on TV and say “I want that,” and the item will then be shipped to your home.

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