Shoppable Content: The Next Chapter in Digital Advertising

As competition intensifies across the media advertising landscape, major retail players are differentiating themselves with technologically-optimized content that advances the omnichannel purchasing experience.

The recent partnership between Walmart and media corporation Meredith has upped the ante by releasing interactive offerings like AI-powered meal planning and shoppable social promotions into the consumer value stream.

“Rapid convergence of machine-learning, big data, performance marketing and the singularity of targeting mean the retailers who invest in growing their owned media channels now have an advantage in the race to win in ecommerce,” Richard Robinson, managing director at marketing intelligence company Xeim Engage told The Food Institute.

The Retail Media Boom

With food and consumer brands pouring billions into digital advertising inventory and increased spending projected, major companies across all food industry sectors are scrambling to build lines of ad revenue.

While brands maintain separate budgets for media, The Wall Street Journal reported that the digital ad space has become much more competitive in recent years, with Walmart’s business nearly doubling and Amazon gaining more share (Sept 6).

“Practically, any platform getting ad dollars is competition,” said Cara Pratt, senior vice president of Kroger’s advertising and marketing business told The Wall Street Journal.

Kroger’s digital media arm is one of the fastest-growing parts of its overall business and the company has plans to expand its partnerships with other ad publishers, including Facebook and Roku Inc.

Instacart has also positioned itself for strong advertising growth, with ex-Facebook ad executives Fidji Simo and Carolyn Everson assuming the roles of company CEO and president, respectively.

In addition to implementing display ads and email marketing, Instacart plans to expand its advertising outreach into video, audio, and other media.

Providing more options gives advertisers greater value as more companies join the platform and push up bids for search-result placement, Simo told The Wall Street Journal.

Shoppable Ad Content

Walmart’s hybrid partnership with Meredith takes content differentiation a step further by meshing the retail giant’s robust API technology with the media company’s brand portfolio, which includes Allrecipes, Good Housekeeping, and EatingWell.

The resulting experience will offer shoppers a suite of proprietary tools that look to link inspiration to easy buying and make meal planning fun, such as:

  • Visual and voice-activated search technology. Consumers can take photos of ingredients they have on hand or describe them to receive meal suggestions.
  • Shoppable TikTok video ads and “bookazines” featuring editor-curated recipes.  Tapping the “Shop Now” button in a social promotion video loads all of the related ingredients into a digital shopping cart.

The tools connect recipes with what is available at a shopper’s local Walmart, Sarah Henry, Sr. Director, Content & Influence Marketing, Walmart U.S told The Food Institute.

“You can use a voice-activated experience through Allrecipes Action for Google Assistant that can search for recipes by ingredient, keyword or dish name,” Henry explained. “Then, Meredith’s natural language processing and machine learning technology will offer a personalized suggestion for a complete meal solution available at Walmart for pickup or delivery.”