Blog Shoppable content is the next big thing ...

Shoppable content is the next big thing for CTV

With the rise in popularity of connected TV as an advertising platform, it’s no surprise that we’re starting to see an evolution in ad formats. More captivating formats are becoming available to encourage higher engagement in a world of ever-decreasing attention spans. We’ve already seen the introduction (and notable success) of playable game ads. But how might adaptation for interaction look for e-commerce in the CTV space?

An untapped gold mine for e-commerce advertising

The majority of internet users are now consuming content on a CTV. And this viewership represents a hot opportunity for advertisers as CTV remains a relatively untapped and therefore unsaturated advertising space for e-commerce apps. With the introduction of clear-cut attribution, CTV has even shifted to become a performance channel, creating a huge potential for emerging ad formats. A few formats in particular are paving the way for e-commerce brands to shift marketing budgets towards these higher-engagement, higher-conversion ads. Here are some that stand out.

QR codes

The technology to shop directly on your TV’s interface is still developing. One way advertisers have worked around this is to add QR codes into the end frames of their ads, bringing users directly to a campaign landing page, app store, or to an app on a mobile device.

Why it works: Use just about any existing ad format, but with a more engaging CTA. QR codes can be gamified, even!

Video action

Another way to get users to continue interacting with your brand on their phones is by using video action campaigns. This ad format displays a link at the bottom of the screen that allows the viewer to download or use your app via their mobile device.

Why it works: Allow consumers to do what they’re already doing: Dual screening. The user can continue viewing their show uninterrupted while browsing your website, downloading your app, or using your app.

Pause screens

While a user pauses their video to grab some snacks, take a bathroom break, or answer the door, an ad is displayed on their pause screen. These ads are a particularly good fit for products or services that are related to the aforementioned “pause activities”.

Why it works: A non-invasive method of advertising, the user can click play and immediately get right back to watching their show without having to wait to skip the ad.

Introducing shoppable CTV ads

Recently, an even more exciting ad format has appeared in the CTV space with the launch of Roku and Walmart’s partnership. This collaboration allows Roku viewers to directly shop Walmart ads from their TV without the need for a secondary device. Pre-populated payment and shipping information creates a one-click journey to buy the advertised product.

Shoppable CTV is impulsive, reduces barriers to purchase, and leads to a shorter consideration period. Together, these advantages result in the ultimate benefit: higher sales. While this technology is still limited to Roku’s partnership with Walmart, we expect that e-commerce giants like Amazon will quickly hop on board with their own iterations across ads and video content alike, paving the way for smaller e-commerce businesses and CTV apps/platforms. So how might this look?

TV shows and movies

Product placements

Think back to the beginning of product placement as we know it today with E.T.’s infamous Reese's Pieces placement. Rather than only seeing your favorite candy on the big screen you’ll be able to order it directly on your TV and eat alongside your favorite alien and his heroic small-town friends.

Buy what you see

It’s common to watch a movie and think, “Wow, I’d love to buy that dress Hermione is wearing to the Yule Ball” or, “I need that non-stick pan Gordon Ramsay is using!” Sites like Shop Your TV and Film Garb already facilitate consumers shopping the exact items used on set as well as look-alikes.

Amazon Prime already provides X-Ray, where users can see the names of actors on-screen, what song is playing, and even where to buy certain items across select titles. With such a strong foundation in place, Amazon could likely integrate a similar functionality as a purchase platform directly on CTV. Perhaps alongside actor names, we’ll eventually also see the actor’s purchasable products from Ryan Reynolds’ gin to Paris Hilton’s perfume.

We will likely also see automatic content recognition displaying ads relevant to what’s on-screen. This might look like serving an ad for your local pizza delivery app while you watch “A Goofy Movie”.


Imagine you’re watching your favorite show and you decide you want to buy merchandise to rep your favorite characters. Netflix has introduced a merchandise store to their website for some of their hit shows, but being able to purchase straight from the TV while your intent is at its highest would make for an easier journey.

User-generated content

YouTubers linking products they’ve mentioned in the description box of the video or using affiliation platforms like Like to Know It is currently-common practice. But CTV viewers must move to a second device if they want to shop these links. Embedding a shopping feature straight into relevant timestamps with an integrated shopping platform would make for a seamless purchase directly on a TV screen.

Livestream product demos

American TV network QVC paved the way for product demos/home shopping on your TV in the 80s. E-commerce modules on livestreams are set to take the place of 1-800 numbers. Amazon has already launched Amazon Live, which streams shoppable live demos and product “hauls” on their website. In addition to making streaming content shoppable, migrating this technology to a CTV app would be another natural progression for the e-commerce titan.

Playable ads

We may even see a version of playable ads fit for CTV. Streaming platforms like Roku already offer gaming channels, playable via your TV remote. Letting viewers play a game during non-skippable ads could lead to increased installs of CTV gaming apps, which continue to gain popularity.

How might the infrastructure work?

Shoppable CTV will follow one of two paths, depending on the retailer:

  1. A streaming platform directly integrates with a retailer’s e-commerce platform, giving retailers the most control around inventory management, carts, customer accounts, and data.
  2. A retailer integrates with a third-party e-commerce platform’s existing infrastructure like Amazon or Google.

While we’ll certainly see integrations with existing content streaming platforms, we will also likely see a surge in the development of new CTV apps to help facilitate shopping on your TV screen. These apps may be e-commerce platforms or supportive apps that let you model the clothes you see on screen via a pre-constructed avatar or chosen model.

Until now, brands have assumed that advertising on CTV means less engagement and therefore poor return on investment. Now, we can see that CTV is gaining momentum as an equally interactive and testable platform with massive potential. Regardless of how e-commerce functionality on CTV continues to develop, it’s important that businesses keep logistical capacity and scalability in mind as this new method of shopping will bring inevitable peaks and valleys in traffic.

Learn how to get started with CTV advertising with our ebook, Connected TV: The Ultimate How-To Guide, or how to turn CTV into a performance channel with Adjust’s CTV AdVision.

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