The future is more embedded technology that turns video into ads
With in-video clickable purchasing, the entire transaction takes place without the user ever having to navigate off-page or out of frame. This means that if I see sneakers I like in my favorite Marvel movie, I could click and purchase and then continue watching without ever having to wonder what’s happening with the tesseract. Think of it like affiliate links in video content but better because I never leave the page. This tag-level integration makes shopping in video and on websites easier than anything I’ve ever seen. What it also does is bring the consumer and the content closer together.
The more direct purchasing can be conducted in the most heavily consumed medium, the less we will need ads and the more video will become advertisements itself.
More and more services are interested in being the middleware between consumer and content creator. Services like Shoppable and Tipser reduce the friction of buying by creating instant storefronts in any digital medium. This means that in the future, you can purchase any product you see on any site without leaving that website. That’s very good for publishers, less good for sites like Amazon where traffic from content leads to spur-of-the-moment referral purchases, and less valuable for those who invest more heavily in ad spend than marketing tactics like PR. This middle layer helps keep more money in the hands of publishers because it keeps customers on site and creates a re-emergence in the supremacy of great content over great ads.
In the short-term, this means more direct feedback for advertisements. Ads will need to become shoppable moments, and performance will be directly dictated by sales. But in the future, do ads go away entirely—only to be replaced by better product placement in our favorite movies, TV shows and reels?
Online, 82% of people are consuming video. That’s over 1 million minutes of video per second being uploaded to websites. Our future is not more ads as pre-roll: It’s more embedded technology that turns video into ads. In the future, you can shop your friend’s TikTok to buy their T-shirt and purchase the same toilet paper that your favorite sitcom dad buys.
Right now, ads function to highlight brands alongside our content. If content can become a more shoppable experience, PR will reign supreme over on-site ads. If video can become more shoppable, the product placement experience will be elevated over the ad experience.
We live in an increasingly ad-blind and content-hungry world. The future is not better ads; the future is more seamless integration between the products we want and the technologies that allow those products to be purchased directly, when we see them. This represents a fundamental change for the consumer from recipient of messaging to seeker of the hidden product of our desire. And, in the game of consumption, buying products when and how we see them is the future. And that future doesn’t need another pre-roll ad.
This article first appeared in www.adweek.com