Why shoppable video may be the next big thing

Although video is still consistently hailed as valuable content for marketers, previous attempts to  make shoppable video content mainstream have fallen by the wayside. Could Facebook be the one to transform shoppable video from a novelty outsider to a content game changer?

Facebook goes shoppable

According to Business Insider and The Information, Facebook is set to launch shoppable video ads as an integrated element of a user’s newsfeed. With The Information suggesting Facebook will start testing shoppable video as soon as next month, all eyes will be on the social media giant this summer.

Hailed as ‘the next step in Facebook’s strategy to prove to marketers its ads can drive consumer purchases, not just raise brand awareness,’ shoppable video ads could cause a storm for content marketers.

For Business Insider, this is a logical extension of Facebook’s recent moves towards integrating more commerce into its platform - pointing to Facebook’s enabling of a “Shopping” section on a businesses’ page, and Messenger’s new shopping assistant feature as prime examples.

With figures suggesting that ‘social media increased its share of e-commerce referrals nearly 200% between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015’, we may be looking at the dawn of a new era for video, content and sales.

The age of video

If ever video was in doubt as a valuable content tool, the stats are now so overwhelmingly in its favour they are difficult to dispute.

According to a recent whitepaper by Instinctif Partners and Marketing Week, video is one of the biggest drivers of success in content marketing. Here are just a few facts highlighted by the whitepaper;

    • By 2017 video will account for 69% of all Internet traffic.
    • 7 in 10 people view brands in a more positive light after watching interesting video content from them.
    • The online universe streams more than 38.2 billion videos per year.
    • Video marketing effectiveness is increasing for 87% of companies.
    • 80% of millennials reference videos when they’re making purchasing decisions.

Quite why video is so popular and effective is open for discussion. Perhaps it is the organic feel of the content that engages consumers looking for authenticity. Perhaps it is that moving images have always evoked a more emotional response from audiences than words. Perhaps it is a product of the coming of age of the digital native.

Instinctif argues that the ability of video to ‘build a unique narrative that inspires reputation’ and to show consumers their brand purpose rather than preach it, are just two reasons that video is a vital tool for any content marketer.

Can Facebook succeed where others failed?

While the value of video is an accepted wisdom for brand image, this success has yet to translate into the widespread usage of shoppable video.

It is not that no one has tried. Back in 2015 econsultancy published an article suggesting that shoppable video could be ‘the missing piece of your marketing strategy.’

It was argued that thus far ‘most shoppable videos that we have seen are typically moving ads rather than a helpful shopping experience’ and that ‘for shoppable video to be a more effective tool, marketers need to incorporate it into their broader content marketing strategy and use it as an assistant to help the customer in their buying journey.’

As media publication Digiday conceded, YouTube introduced a click-to-buy feature back in January 2009, but without compelling statistics to back up shoppable videos’ efficacy, it still has a way to go.

Big brand names including Nike, GAP and Net-A-Porter have played with the idea, but with a lack of successful campaigns to follow others have been slow on the uptake. To this day, it would be a challenge to think of a shoppable video that has gone viral.

To borrow Digidays’ phrase’ ‘shoppable video is growing up’, and still has a way to go before it reaches its full adult potential as a content marketing and sales driving tool. But if Facebook’s influence in the chatbot arena sets any precedent, if anyone can make shoppable video happen it will be Zuckerberg and his 1.65 billion strong army of monthly active users.

Why shoppable video may be the next big thing