Retail Focus: "Shoppable Content"


Advertising in the digital space is always evolving (duh) and there are constantly new tactics deployed by publishers and platforms.

Enter, Shoppable Content.

After getting its start on YouTube, shoppable ad formats have become prominent on a variety of social media platforms. While this ad format is most effective when selling products direct to consumer, the strategy behind shoppable content applies across industries. The modern digital landscape has reshaped the way all brands think -- as it should have -- but this tool works especially well for retailers.

First, let’s be clear. Ecommerce is no longer optional. If your business is in retail and you’re not selling product digitally, you’re probably not selling enough product.

But it’s not enough to just exist in the digital space; you need to be in tune with it. In order to maximize advertising dollars, you need to fully understand which tactics are having the greatest impacts right now and why? Currently, the answer to that question in the retail industry is shoppable content.

“Shoppable content” is a relatively vague term as it comes in different shapes and sizes. However, the core strategy behind shoppable content is the blending of storytelling content with product/conversion-focused content into a singular and cohesive creative asset.  To provide true context, a few examples are listed below:

What it isn’t.

Shoppable Ad

  • A sponsored Facebook carousel of your favorite Nike shoes. Each frame of the carousel contains a “shop now” button and features strictly the product on a white background. While the viewer can purchase directly, the ad isn't telling a story or conveying any brand message. It's just image and price tag.

Storytelling Content

  • A sponsored Facebook video of your favorite athlete sporting a pair of Nike shoes. The ad features the athlete in various training scenarios (running, weight-lifting, etc.) eventually leading up to their game day. Here, we see a potentially compelling story with an aspirational message, but there's no opportunity to shop from the video. The experience ends with the viewing.

What it is.

Shoppable Content

  • Imagine the same video from above, but as part of a Collections ad. The top half houses the video, while the bottom half is a stream of products seen in the video. With this content combination, we give them a reason to buy AND the opportunity to complete their purchase. #WIN

OK, so why does it work?  

Shoppable content has completely changed the way people shop. Storytelling content creates the most brand resonation but is ultimately unsuitable for driving conversions. Product-focused content, i.e., product-featured carousels, work the opposite. But shoppable content combines the two. It serves both awareness and conversion purposes simultaneously, ultimately getting more out of your advertisement.

Additionally, traditional digital marketing tactics are progressively feeling more forgettable because they’re f****** everywhere. Banner ads don’t stand out the way they used to. Social media is so flooded with ads; users are tuning them out more frequently. But shoppable content allows for reciprocation, as it’s a two-way interaction. Even when users don’t convert, the average amount of time spent interacting with shoppable content is astronomically higher, resulting in a plethora of retargeting opportunities.

Here’s one of my favorite examples…

#missadventure films // Kate Spade New York



Riyad Bennoui

Digital Marketing Strategist

Morgan Johnson