How Media Buyers Are Adapting To The ‘Homebound Economy’

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As social distancing and work-from-home become the new normal during the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19), consumers globally are searching for news and useful information to stay productive as they work remotely.

This is the perfect time for brands to reach consumers with shoppable content that can drive purchases that are useful and helpful for them, Verizon Media believes.

Rose Tsou, the head of international and e-commerce at the media platform points to the ‘At-Home’ edition on Yahoo shopping, which has curated content and ideas to help users work from home, stay fit and balance family, with the apps and products that can make this a more seamless transition.

“In this difficult time, consumers are not in the mood to browse shopping sites. Shoppable content can open a new window for retailers already coping with the loss of foot traffic and falling consumer sentiment. Content commerce can become a bridge and a powerful channel to reach consumers,” she explains.

“At Verizon Media, we are building the customer journey from content and discovery to transactions. We are closing the loop between content and commerce to drive deeper value for our consumers and brand partners. Our campaigns are delivered across our trusted editorial content. As a company, we believe in driving commerce in a safe place.”

Tsou explains that Verizon tries to make sure the shoppable content is integrated seamlessly and in a way that is fun and engaging for users across the Verizon Media ecosystem. For example, shoppable video on Yahoo Lifestyle leverages an editorial format that makes it easy for people to shop from their favourite videos.

Verizon has launched specific features to try and make the experience instant, convenient and interactive for consumers like handy ‘Buy Buttons,’ so users can shop right within an article. ‘Image Hotspots’ optimized for mobile that takes editorial images and makes them shoppable as users can hover over a hotspot area and view ‘call to actions’ to purchase the product.

In Taiwan, Yahoo auction introduced live auctions for sellers to live stream demos and interact with buyers through live chats and buying real-time.

Who does Verizon Media work with?

Verizon Media works with partners globally to build commerce experiences that aim to bring value and utility to customers at the highest points of engagement, therefore turning browsing into buying.

It claims it has seen some “strong successes” globally with shoppable content.

Working with Walmart in Yahoo’s 30 Days of Savings, selected Walmart products were featured across editorial content, on Verizon Media’s platforms such as Yahoo Lifestyle, HuffPost, and AOL. Editors could choose and highlight products.

“Our customers loved it, as the results showed. Readers of Yahoo Lifestyle, HuffPost and AOL got a first look at holiday must-haves from Walmart.com and daily deals through the month,” says Tsou.

“In the first 11 days, we exceeded expectations with a strong click-through rate and a consistent conversion with an average order value exceeding US$200.”

Tsou adds: “In Asia, we have also seen promising results in our initial work with our partners who have come on board. This includes our recent work with Lazada Singapore during the 11.11 sale in 2019, where just one deals alert article on Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore drove more than 500 transactions.”

How does shoppable content benefit brands?

As shoppable content unlocks an opportunity to bridge the gap between discovery and purchase, Tsou claims brands that have partnered with Verizon Media on shoppable content campaigns see the value of when browsing moments become transaction moments. She explains that’s because people see compelling deals, useful tips and recommendations on a site they trust, which inspires shoppers.

This is because campaigns keep the brands top of mind through activations, across social, email, custom editorial and digital advertising.

“The future of commerce belongs to brands and creators who can bring commerce and content closer in a seamless, engaging, and interactive environment,” she explains.

“Shoppable content such as shoppable video experiences meet viewers where they are, have the potential to unlock valuable user data and empower brands to connect with consumers through more immersive interactions.”

She continues: “The results speak for themselves, with campaigns exceeding expectations – with click-through rates two times and engagement rates three times higher than the industry average for custom interactive videos.”

Shoppable content beyond Covid-19

Beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, shoppable content can be a particularly exciting opportunity for marketers and an evolving one as 5G technologies come into play in the future of media.

With 5G, marketers will be able to explore the full spectrum of consumer engagement when it comes to shoppable content beyond video like experiential marketing, live events, games, immersive experiences.

In addition, the rise of online shopping has forced brick and mortar retailers to develop ways to draw consumers in with “shoppertainment” experiences that combine shopping and entertainment.

Such experiences, like e-commerce live streaming, are surging online too, ushering in a more experiential, engaging way to shop online.

“The pervasiveness of mobile also points towards shoppable content as the way forward. Shopping was the fastest-growing mobile segment in 2017 (up 54% year-over-year), followed by entertainment (43%), making smartphones an ideal tool for keeping consumers engaged, putting the power of interactive e-commerce in their hands,” explains Tsou.

“Many brands are recognising this potential and finetuning their focus on mobile. Lazada and Shopee, for example, brought shoppertainment to smartphones through in-app live streaming events that allow customers to make purchases in real-time.”

She adds: “In 2020, e-commerce spending will most likely continue to outpace brick and mortar sales, especially in SEA where the mobile economy has outpaced China. Mobile devices are used not only to research brands and products but also to make purchases in real-time.”

Shoppable content will help drive the shift from browsing to buying and also engage consumers averse to advertisements and sitting through commercials. For example, fashion brand Pomelo recently launched a shoppable video function on its app to allow its app users to then buy the products in the video directly from the app.

While the video is playing, the app will show icons representing the items that people can then click on to buy, selecting size and other details before adding to their carts.

Through interactive gift guides, customised landing pages, shoppable image carousels or hotspots, interactive polls or quizzes, and shoppable video carousels – these formats of shoppable content will help arm consumers with everything they need to take action during key shopping opportunities throughout the year.

For marketers, shoppable content is not just a way to make buying easier and more convenient for consumers, but it is an opportunity to engage them in an environment they trust. Brands who are able to create the most seamless and innovative experiences that inspire through trusted content will truly be able to stand out and stay ahead of the competition.

Credit: The Drum

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