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  • Lara Guerard



Today, we're diving into the fascinating world of TV advertising and exploring how it's evolving in this age of personalized and digitally connected television experiences. Let's unravel the mysteries of this ever-evolving medium!

Television advertising or TV ads for short, have been a staple of our entertainment landscape for decades. Picture this: you're engrossed in your favorite TV show, eagerly waiting to see what happens next, when suddenly, a commercial break interrupts the flow. Love 'em or loathe 'em, these little interruptions have played a pivotal role in funding the creation and distribution of TV content.

Traditionally, TV ads have followed a straightforward formula. Advertisers would purchase airtime from television networks and then create 30-second or 60-second commercials to showcase their products or services. These ads would be strategically placed during commercial breaks, aiming to capture the attention of viewers and persuade them to make a purchase or take some desired action.

But, TV advertising is now undergoing a digital transformation. With the rise of connected TV (CTV) and the personalized nature of media consumption, advertisers are finding new ways to reach their target audiences in a more precise and engaging manner.


You're streaming your favorite show on a CTV platform, and instead of being bombarded with irrelevant ads for products you have zero interest in, you start seeing ads that actually pique your curiosity. That's where the concept of shoppable media comes into play.

Shoppable media is leveraging the digital connectivity of CTV to create interactive and engaging ad experiences. It's like the next evolution of TV ads, where you can not only watch but also take action right from your couch. Whether it's exploring more details about a product, adding items to your virtual shopping cart, or even making a purchase directly through your television screen, shoppable media puts the power in your hands.


Simply put, it's an ad, video, image or social media post that allows consumers to buy the products directly from the content they're viewing in real time. It makes digital content more actionable for ready-to-buy consumers. This digital marketing tool taps into modern consumers' proclivity for shopping anywhere at any time, providing them with avenues to purchase regardless of where they are, such as when they're viewing a TikTok video, browsing Instagram, or checking a brand's website.

It is great for marketing because a digital marketing campaign becomes much more powerful when shoppable media is incorporated into its strategy. Shoppable media provides consumers with dynamic digital touch-points and turns them into shoppable experiences, where the consumer doesn’t have to leave whatever digital medium they're in to research a product and can be directed to a brand’s website once they’re ready to buy.


Today FAST (free ad supported TV) uses dynamic ad insertion (DAI), which means ads are delivered based on a viewer’s likes, dislikes, preferences, etc., ensuring better targeting, ad performance, and a higher CPM than traditional paid TV.

This is different from advertising that lets you buy stuff right from the ad itself. It's called "shoppable ads." Now, shoppable ads aren't exactly new in the online world, but guess what? They're making their way into TV advertising too.

You know how we all love shopping anytime, anywhere?

Well, shoppable ads tap into that love. They give us a way to buy things while watching TV, no matter where we are. Streaming services are jumping on board with this trend. Just take the example of that Amazon NFL broadcast. They had a special shop tab right there on your screen. It's like a glimpse into the future of TV shopping.

But, for this feature to be truly impactful, we need to be able to buy things without leaving the TV platform we're using. And guess what? NBCUniversal, AMC, Condé Nast, Hulu, and Roku are all stepping up their game in this area. They're introducing new shoppable ad capabilities, and some brands partnering with them are seeing a whopping 88% increase in people remembering their brand.


Right now, the most common way to shop through TV is by scanning QR codes. You know, those square codes that you can scan with your phone. Since most of us watch TV with our phones or tablets nearby, it's not too much of a hassle. But, brands are trying something new too. They're testing out buying directly through the TV remote. And it seems people are actually more likely to click "OK" on a remote than scan a QR code. Technology keeps evolving, and we can expect even more exciting stuff from connected TV providers in the future.

But let's be real for a moment. QR codes may not give us the smoothest shopping experience. They can be a bit old school and not super user-friendly. So, there's still room for improvement, but, it's a step in the right direction.

Roku and Walmart had an idea, where Viewers simply press “OK” with the remote on a shoppable ad and proceed to checkout with their payment details easily pre-populated from Roku Pay, Roku’s payments platform. From there, tapping “OK” on the Walmart checkout page places the order. A Walmart purchase confirmation is then emailed with shipping, return, and support information. A little better when it comes to delivering on the customer experiences. But still, a little dated.


Here's how it could work. You're watching a show, and a character is wearing a cool pair of shoes. Instead of wondering where to get them, you could simply use your remote to activate a visual search feature. The TV screen shows you options for those exact shoes, where to buy them, and maybe even some reviews. It's like having a virtual shopping mall at your fingertips.

Incorporating visual search as an aid in introducing shoppable media ads across FAST channels would be a game-changer. It would make the whole shopping experience seamless and convenient. No more pausing the show, grabbing your phone, and Googling like crazy. It's all right there on your TV screen. Social media sites have been using visual search technology for a long time. Take Pinterest, google and SNAP. It super easy. Just open the app, and snap what you see in the search bar… options to explore the product you snapped or buy it (or buy similar).

Maybe TV providers can incorporate visual search into their viewing experiences? Controlled from the remote, CTV providers can implement a “visual search” button … or maybe it's an app on my phone that I use to snap the picture of what I see on screen. A (non intrusive) prompt pop up at selected times in the show? When the prompt comes up, I can open my app or click then visual search button on my remote and voila! I'm browsing that lovely pair of shoes that Brie Larson is wearing, And even better, I actually add the sneakers to my cart and qualify into the buy cycle. Win win for the brand.


Now, we're not quite there yet. Visual search on TV is still a bit futuristic. But with the rapid pace of technology advancements, it's not too far-fetched to imagine a future where we can shop directly from our favorite shows using visual search. It's like shopping made even easier and more exciting. We’ve seen significant success with online ads, but shoppable TV is coming into its own. As technology advances to make the process even more seamless, brands should keep an open mind about TV ads to take advantage of the eyeballs watching events like the Super Bowl or the newest hit streaming series.

So, brace yourselves. FAST channels are revolutionizing how ads are delivered, making them less intrusive and more integrated into our viewing experience. And who knows? Soon enough, we might be able to shop effortlessly through visual search, right from the comfort of our couch. The future of shoppable media on FAST channels is looking brighter than ever!

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