Here’s How Interactive Streaming Ads Supercharge Ecommerce

 In Ecommerce

As technology develops, the ecommerce landscape changes to incorporate it. That’s how the online shopping experience has become so sophisticated, especially in recent years. One trend that has made waves is interactive streaming ads, which give consumers an active role in the advertisement. Though these ads have not made their way into the mainstream quite yet—though we’re getting close—they’re already making a huge impact for brands using them.

Curious yet? Let’s walk you through the basics and show you just how valuable these ads will be for your business.

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What Are Interactive Streaming Ads?

You may not have realized it at the time, but there’s a chance you’ve already encountered interactive streaming ads. Hulu, the video streaming service that is a major Netflix competitor, hosts them. Subscribers get access to thousands of popular movies, TV shows and live programs, and higher tier members can experience them without ads. Those using budget plans, however, are served ads while streaming.

It is not all bad news, however. Interactive streaming ads are one of the newer forms of advertising and are designed to fit seamlessly into consumers’ streaming experiences. For example, Hulu users can opt to interact with a 60-second “commercial” and bypass the standard five minutes of commercials that break up every 24 minutes of airtime.

Here are some of the ad types users can interact with:

  • Playable Ads: Viewers get a quick run-through of a game and then can start playing it for themselves. They can either opt to download or skip through to resume their streaming content.
  • Lead Ads: Viewers turn into leads once they fill out your brand’s contact form. This is a great way for meal delivery companies to find new customers who input their diet preferences and household sizes to interact with the ad.
  • Quizzes: BuzzFeed quizzes were once the most popular content on the internet. You can easily engage viewers with a short quiz that will highlight your products and encourage shopping at the end.

The ability to play a game, browse a photo gallery, personalize a product or take other action makes that ad more memorable than a simple graphic or video. These ads also force consumers to remain engaged rather than use their commercial breaks to grab snacks or leave their devices.

Unfortunately, the brilliance of interactive streaming ads makes them expensive. E-tailers who are ready to shell out can certainly reap the rewards, but it’s going to cost them a great deal.

Interactive Ad Statistics

Interactive streaming ads are still in their infancy, so there are very few statistics on the ad type as a whole. However, there is early data about some past successful interactive ad campaigns that may just set a precedent for other ecommerce brands moving forward.

For example, Nissan’s 2016 World T20 tournament campaign is fairly well-known amongst marketers because of its impressive results. Nissan used media-rich display ads that showed teams’ scores in real time, so users could still keep up with the tournament while on the go. They also voted for their favorite teams before each match, driving ad engagement as they did so. In fact, the campaign’s engagement was 10 times the average rate, and website visits increased fourfold.

Another early example of a high-performing interactive ad was BMW’s panoramic view ad that showed a design update and new features of the cars. Per the results, more than 18,000 unique viewers saw the ad and spent over a minute interacting with it. It also lifted brand favorability by 111% and decreased neutral and unfavorable opinions of the brand by 83%. This showed that consumers like to be informed and appreciate when a brand gives them that opportunity.

Finally, let’s look at some recent information from YouTube, which launched shoppable videos back in June. We saved the best for last: Interactive streaming ads are already working for ecommerce sellers. Apparel brand Aerie was an early tester of the new YouTube platform and saw great results. There was a 25% return on ad spend year-over-year, plus nine times more conversions than the average driven by their other advertising efforts.

Why Use Interactive Streaming Ads?

Interactive streaming ads are a new trend, one that 88% of marketers agree will put you ahead of your competitors. After all, if your ad is more memorable, your store is the one getting shoppers’ business. These ads can help you reach your marketing goals: building brand awareness, generating leads, boosting sales, gaining customer insights and encouraging social shares.

According to early research from Magna, IPG Media Lab, and Tremor Video DSP, interactive video ads drive a 47% increase in time spent engaging with the ads, as compared to their non-interactive counterparts. The researchers found this ad type to be 32% more memorable among viewers and multiply their purchase intent by nine times.

Why is this? Well, to no one’s surprise, consumers say interactive ads are more fun, engaging, creative and stimulating than static ads. That’s why interactive ads have a 90% completion rate. Even better for e-tailers, they increase click-through rates (CTR) by 300% and are three times more effective at driving conversions than non-interactive video ads.

The richness of interactive streaming ads also gives you more data points when measuring results. You can get incredibly granular and see how long viewers spent engaging, what they clicked on, whether or not they played the game or which questions they answered. With all this consumer feedback, you’ll be able to slowly tweak aspects of your ads until they are fully optimized.

Let’s recap—interactive ads supercharge ecommerce by supercharging marketing efforts:

  • 47% increase in time spent with the ad.
  • 32% more memorable than non-interactive ads.
  • 90% complete the interaction period.
  • 300% higher CTR.
  • 3X the conversions of non-interactive video ads.

If you have the means, why wouldn’t you use interactive ads?

How Original Video Content Boosts Ecommerce SEO

Did you know that 63% of all internet searches begin on Google? The world’s favorite search engine is 300 times more effective at driving traffic than social media, and 93% of users choose one of the first three results of their searches. Most (80%) ignore the PPC ads at the top. These statistics are very telling, and they show why you need to invest some of your time and resources into optimizing your online store for organic search.

Original content is one of the pillars of ecommrce SEO, or search engine optimization. Google bots crawl the web looking for sites that have created original content, which is categorized as more valuable to readers than copied content. If one site has a surplus of content about one topic, Google recognizes it as an “authority source” and rewards that site with a higher ranking in the search results.

How does this apply to ecommerce? Think of it this way: If you sell leather wallets, you want Google to recognize your store’s website as an authority source on all things pertaining to leather wallets. Then, when consumers visit Google looking for leather wallets, your store is in the top three results.

Video is some of the most valuable content to feed to the Google beast when trying to boost your rankings. It is more difficult to create than written content, so the logic is that the video creators are truly authority sources. Video is also one of the most powerful tools for boosting ecommerce conversions.

Take a look at these statistics if you’re not convinced:

  • Video conversion rates are a staggering 16.85%, far surpassing the conversion rate of standard banners (2.14%) and mobile (1.62%). (eMarketer)
  • 58% of consumers find brands with videos to be more trustworthy than brands without. (Retail Touch Point)
  • 59% of website visitors will take the time to watch a video that is already part of your online content. (Reach Engine)
  • 96% of shoppers rely on product videos to help them make their purchase decisions. (Animoto)
  • 6% of shoppers rely on visuals when making a buying decision. (VoucherCloud)
  • Watching product videos makes consumers 1.7 times likelier to convert than those who don’t. (Invodo)
  • 12% of shoppers will watch a video on an online store. (MediaPost)
  • 57% of shoppers buy in confidence when product videos are offered, resulting in fewer returns. (MediaPost)

The proof is in the pudding. Video drives ecommerce conversions, but there are plenty more reasons to try out this type of content that is almost as engaging as interactive ads.

Why Invest in Ecommerce Video?

Video is a powerful medium that captures consumers’ attention and engages them better than any static banner ad ever could. In fact, over 80% of consumer traffic is from video content, so if you’re not already investing in it, you’re behind the pack. It’s what the people want and expect.

Product videos give shoppers sufficient information about the items they’re interested in buying. For example, an image of a shirt does not always show how it fits, but a video featuring models with different body types wearing the shirt is much more helpful.

Per Multichannel Merchant, 71% of online shoppers agree that videos help them understand products better. This also makes your brand more trustworthy because shoppers see the products in action rather than relying on two-dimensional photos.

Here’s another advantage of video: It helps you decrease webrooming, the phenomenon where shoppers research products online before purchasing them in store, by up to 46%. Shoppers stay on your site for longer, increase the likelihood they purchase and lead to a better conversion rate. It’s an all-around win.

Adding “Shoppertainment” to Your Arsenal

Before the pandemic, ecommerce brands were launching in-store experiences at pop-up shops or within big box stores to better connect with existing and prospective customers. Now, the focus is returning to the online environment and providing experiences there.

Hulu’s shoppable ads were being tested as early as 2017, and Walmart-owned streaming service Vudu debuted interactive streaming ads last year in an effort to grow their slice of the ecommerce pie. As the ads play, shoppers can purchase the products in a pop-up window without leaving their video content behind. (This is similar to social commerce, which lets consumers shop within their social media ads so they can get back to scrolling as soon as possible.) It’s the fusion of shopping and entertainment: “shoppertainment.” YouTube, which we mentioned earlier, is the latest video platform to adopt this technology.

Let’s not overlook the the rise of mobile commerce, either, which is significantly contributing to interactive advertising’s growing popularity. We predicted back in January that based on past numbers, 60% of all internet traffic and 47% of online sales will come from mobile phones. Shopping is the fastest-growing segment for mobile, but entertainment is a close second. It’s only natural to try and hit two birds with one stone and make online shopping an entertaining experience so consumers will come back again in the future.

Ecommerce brands can begin adding their own interactive ads to YouTube by syncing their Google Merchant Center feed with their video ads. Then, simply add your bestsellers to the call to action so consumers will be compelled to visit your site.

The Future of Streaming Ads

Interactive streaming ads have been slow to get adopted by the mainstream, but marketers are already discussing the potential for this type of advertisement to change how we consume video.

Picture this: You’re binging your favorite TV show on Netflix or Hulu, and you see one of the show’s characters wearing an outfit you love. Without ever leaving the streaming platform, you click on that outfit and purchase it. The “ad” is so integrated with your streaming experience, you don’t even notice it. Now, you have a new outfit on the way after one of the easiest purchasing processes you’ve ever had.

This future isn’t so far away, especially considering how much ground interactive streaming ads have covered in the last two years. Savvy e-tailers would do well to get in on the trend now before it becomes a necessity.

For more trends that shook up the ecommerce world, don’t miss our related guide: 19 Things that Changed Ecommerce Forever.