Data-driven marketing helps brands understand where consumers are within the shopper journey, enabling them to predict better what the customer might do next. And while this data allows brands to target advertising throughout the path to purchase, the method is reactive. Conversely, brands and publishers that allow consumers to shop directly from content are proactive and this immediate gratification approach adds value to the consumer experience.
“We should be designing experiences that are additive rather than being a distraction,” says Dave Lowe, strategy partner at Digitas UK. “Brands and publishers need to have empathy for what the consumer might be wanting to do at the time. For example, if they are flicking through a digital magazine, they should be able to make the purchase without leaving the page,” says Lowe.
Rather than distracting or directing them away from their original purpose with interruptive ad formats that link out to other sites — a tactic that comes with its own brand safety concerns — content commerce differs from other well-known affiliate programs. It creates a checkout opportunity that’s contextually aligned with the content itself; if a consumer is reading about a product they like and want to buy, they don’t have to leave the article, feed or post to do so.