Brands that use shoppable ads report a four-times increase in brand awareness and up to a 70% increase in consumer purchases. These in-app adverts allow users to buy products without navigating away from the platform they are currently using. This is increasingly important in a digital landscape where users prefer to make quick shopping decisions.

This article will focus on shoppable ads, why they are important, who uses them, and how they appeal to customers.

What Are Shoppable Ads?

Shoppable ads are adverts that appear on platforms such as Google or social media apps that the user is currently browsing. When the user clicks on the image, they can purchase an item without leaving the app. Ads include product images, descriptions, and prices.

As an example, an Instagram post might include a product image tagged with a link to the product page. The user can click on the image to see the details and complete the purchase on an embedded storefront within the app. Integrating social media posts with shoppable purchases helps make the journey from browsing to buying incredibly easy.

How Are Shoppable Ads Different From Traditional Adverts?

Traditional ads will often redirect to the business website where the user will complete their journey to purchase. If they are using a social media app, for example, they will need to navigate away from the website in order to complete their browsing. Shoppable ads, however, are embedded into the social media app, so that you have less of a disconnect between the app and the purchase. The user has to take fewer steps to navigate from seeing the product to completing a purchase.

How Do Shoppable Ads Work?

There are a number of different ways to leverage shoppable ads, with the main three being:

Shoppable social media posts

Shoppable social media ads are tagged with links that allow the user to click through to a purchase. The post will include an image of the product, and the ad will be tagged so the user can tap through to make a purchase. If a social media post is a paid ad, the format may look slightly different, as the ad will be marked as sponsored and include a “Shop Now” button.

Shoppable videos and live streams

Shoppable videos or live streams are often product reviews of a specific item or service. Similar to social media posts, they will be tagged with a link that enables you to buy the product in the app or generate a coupon code that you can then use. This is increasingly popular on sites such as TikTok.

Shoppable User Generated Content (UGC)

Shoppable UGC is when businesses showcase user-generated content alongside their products. This could mean sharing customer reviews or ratings alongside a product in order to generate interest. They can also showcase influencer posts or videos as a way to build confidence in their brand reputation.

The technology behind these ads largely focuses on tagging products in images or posts and embedding a storefront. UGC content is largely embedded alongside product posts so that users can see reviews of the product in real time.

Why Do Shoppable Ads Matter?

During the pandemic, online shopping naturally became the most popular way that consumers could purchase items. But even after the pandemic, the growth in online purchasing has continued by 10% year on year, with 20.8% of retail purchases expected to take place online by 2023. An increasing number of people shop online each year and expect a higher level of tailored shopping experiences.

Shoppable ads have several advantages over traditional advertising, including:

Convenient Purchases

Convenience is a huge driver in purchasing decisions. 97% of consumers state they will not make a purchase due to inconvenience. The easier a purchasing journey is for a customer, the more likely they are to buy an item. Shoppable ads present an opportunity for customers to navigate straight from an online advertisement to a purchase without leaving the app or platform.

Instant Gratification

Over 25% of consumers consider themselves impulse buyers. A quick journey from decision to purchase can feel satisfying to the consumer, meeting their need for instant gratification. Traditional ads that take you away from the app or original post can feel like a drawn-out process, taking away the thrill that comes from instant gratification.

Increased Profits & Brand Awareness

Shoppable ads don’t just meet the needs of consumers, they also increase profits and brand awareness for the advertiser. Creating a seamless journey from post to purchase can improve customer experience, giving them a better user journey, and fostering greater brand loyalty and awareness. The easier it is to purchase, the more likely a customer will follow through and buy a product, which will naturally translate to better profits for the advertiser.

Shoppable Ads In Action

Shoppable ads have increased profits and success for many businesses, with some of the big names including:


Roku, a streaming platform, recently invested in a shoppable ads program with their partner Walmart, which enables them to host interactive shoppable ads on the Roku Channel. This also enables one-click purchasing on a product if the user’s payment details are already integrated.


Boots ‘Best for Less’ campaign allows users to click through to a product page hosted from ads on Meta and TikTok. They were among the first retailers to take advantage of the TikTok shoppable ads format, and they benefited from strong sales in the past year.

NBC Universal

NBC Universal took advantage of shoppable ads in 2022, when they allowed users to buy items that appeared on Love Island USA. This allowed the studio to leverage the relationship with existing partners and see this translate directly to profits for both parties.


Amazon Ads allows advertisers to showcase shoppable images on their web pages, with an integrated Amazon storefront that allows them to purchase the item or add it to their cart.

Final Thoughts

Shoppable ads create a convenient experience for customers, which translates directly to increased brand awareness and greater profits for advertisers. Shoppable ads are on the rise due to their ability to transform a social media scroll into a quick purchase that fulfills the consumer’s need for instant gratification. Exploring shoppable ads for your business can help your customers make the easy journey from browsing to buying.