The Shift to Shoppable Media

26 April 2022

Consumers are increasingly turning to digital channels to discover new products. Hootsuite mentioned that 90% of users follow some kind of business account. And, according to the IAB, in 2021 40% of marketers are now using shoppable media to reduce friction, eliminate distractions, and learn more about their customers. 

The rise of shoppable media is a trend that e-commerce marketers cannot ignore as they look to diversify the channels through which they sell their products.

The IAB predicts that directly shoppable media will be the fastest-growing advertising category this year. Social commerce, live streaming, virtual consultations, and other shoppable ad formats are also on the rise. Consumers, attracted by an easy shopping experience, are now increasingly going from the top of the funnel ‘awareness’ stage to the bottom ‘action’ in one simple interaction.

So how can e-commerce marketers capitalize on the growth of shoppable media to increase their sales?

Understanding some of the shoppable media opportunities

Adapting media creatives for ‘shoppability’

Tools that add interactivity to media are more commonly being used in advertising. For example, QR codes are being added to creatives on typically non-interactive mediums (such as TV). This allows audiences to ‘click through’ to websites.

Social commerce

The main social media platforms are adding features to organic and paid posts to allow users to buy the products they see without leaving the app or site. Many e-commerce brands are also turning to influencers to sell directly and rewarding them through affiliate deals.

Shoppable video

Like a new-age TV shopping channel, live streaming is becoming a more popular way for people to discover and buy products online. A ‘professional’ live streamer in China sold nearly $2bn of products ranging from make-up to electronics during this year’s Singles Day (Alibaba’s version of ‘Black Friday’).

What challenges might be involved?

Control of the user journey

When marketers give up ownership of the sale on their channels, there is always a sacrifice to be made. You may be forced to give up access to behavioral and purchase data, for example. It can also be harder to cross-sell during the purchase as you have less control over the variety of products presented to the user. Finally, aligning the user experience across owned, earned, and paid channels is much harder and more time-consuming.

Attribution of ads from non-shoppable media

As discussed earlier, part of the attraction of shoppable media is that the user journey is shorter. Consumers can now move from awareness to action in one interaction. This puts immense pressure on attributing all credit for the conversion on that single exposure – simply because it is very easy to do so. But what if other media influenced that purchase? Attributing conversions fairly can be much harder in this situation because there is less access to user data if the purchase was made on a separate platform.

Syncing sales information across channels 

When you add extra sales channels, it is more difficult to properly synchronize pricing, stock levels, and assets. Put in place omnichannel sales management tools and processes to make sure no mistakes creep through the cracks.


As E-commerce continues to grow, marketers need to ensure they are maximizing reach and distribution by assessing each new development. Shoppable media presents a big opportunity to meet the customer where they are. You can lean on the power of the publisher or platform data to put the right products in front of the right people.

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