Blog Post

Shoppable Ads: Using this Tool to Reach Gen Z & Millennials

February 6, 2019 - Sierra Ducey

It is becoming increasingly evident that advertisements are starting to look less and less like obvious ads on social media platforms and becoming more native to the experience of that platform. On Instagram, we scroll right past them; on Snapchat, we click right through them. Sometimes, we know these ads exist because they feature a certain CTA. Other times, we can’t distinguish them at all. But typically, consumers, (referring specifically to Gen Zers and Millennials) aren’t bothered by shoppable ads – or ads that allow viewers to buy something without leaving the context of the ad- because they mirror the content they already expect and accept in the digital space. In a survey conducted by Marketing Charts, 7 in10 respondents feel their mobile transactions would increase, which means they would spend more money, if all social content were to become shoppable. In 2019, this ad format will take off and become a necessity for marketers in the retail industry to put into practice as part of their media plans when seeking to reach consumers between the ages of 18 and 38.

Instagram is one of many platforms to adopt this trend with its September 2018 expansion of Shopping in Stories. This update effects companies in 46 countries, giving them the unique opportunity to make their Instagram Stories shoppable via links to featured products. The app’s Explore page will also have a new Shopping channel that is highly personalized to each user. On the shopping channel, individuals can scroll through shoppable content from brands they already follow and from similar businesses that may be of interest. These additions come at the perfect time, especially as 90 million Instagram accounts click on shopping posts to reveal tags in one month’s time. Numbers continue to speak volumes with the knowledge that 400 million accounts check Instagram Stories each day, one third of the most viewed originating from business accounts. This is valuable information for Instagram and those investing in advertising inventory on the platform to consider,because this isn’t an app people think to visit when they go on a shopping spree. Users come here to explore, to curate, but now if they are in they right frame of mine they might also shop.

Shoppable video content is also on the rise. Digital advertising via video as a channel has become a necessity, so the idea that it can now be linked to one click shopping makes it a game changer. A Brightcove study on the shopping habits of millennials revealed that 53% of adults engage directly with a brand after coming across their videos, 85% actually making a purchase. Users are interested in a more streamlined process, however, as 30% of those studied crave access to links that allow them to directly purchase something right away.

Walmart’s video streaming service, Vudu, is becoming a leader when it comes to filling that gap. Vudu’s shoppable banners, personally targeted to each user, can add products to one’s Walmart shopping cart with just one click. The company plans to tie this functionality into the network’s or publisher’s brand integrations – meaning if during a show/ episode a user saw a character using a certain item, a shoppable banner would pop up, promoting that item from Walmart’s site – but they worry about muddying the viewing experience.

Vudu’s 25 million users might be in for something big. But if this trend takes off with positive ROI for the brands, all video-watchers may be exposed to one huge data-driven revamp.

2019 Programmatic Media Buying Trends


Interactive content has altered the way in which brands form relationships with consumers. Whether it be through photo or video, shoppable ads are popping up more and more across all platforms. According to IAB, Gen Zers will outnumber millennials this year. And what’s most unique about Gen Zers is that they are 56% more likely of all consumers to use ‘buy’ buttons and 34% more likely to make purchases off of shoppable ads. Programmatic media buyers should take this into consideration while writing media plans for 2019, as this new group begins to transform where and how they do their online shopping.

Digilant has identified ten programmatic trends that will impact 2019. To read them all you can view our infographic here.

Like what you see? Join the 500+ clients that have partnered with Digilant.