← Return to Blog

Everyone’s talking about Shoppable (and Love Island)

With all the sporting festivities happening across the summer, ITV’s new series of Love Island has flown slightly under the radar. This can be seen in ratings for the series so far, which are hovering around the 2m-2.5m average adults mark, down significantly from the peak in 2019 which saw a high of 5.9m viewers. The show however remains a commercial success for ITV this year, Love Island has coupled up with nine official partners – led by returning headline sponsor Just Eat in a deal thought to be worth well in excess of £5m annually. Four other partners are new: JD Sports, official “Feel Good” partner Boots, dating app Tinder and drinks brand WKD. One of the most significant developments, however, has come via ITV’s new Shoppable TV service that launches within the show.

ITVs shoppable service will allow viewers to discover and shop items from its programmes directly on screen. Boots will be the first brand to test the service, having become the official beauty sponsor for Love Island this year. The interactive system uses AI technology from The Take, a contextual product discovery company, which identifies, and tags featured products during programmes and notifies viewers that products on-screen are available.

If a viewer is interested, they can select to view more info with their remote and make a purchase via the vendor’s site or a link sent to their phone. The service is only available on LG TV sets that were made in 2019 or afterwards, so at this stage roll out potential maybe limited.

This comes hot on the heels of sky launching their new ‘shoppable’ pilot which was announced back in May. Sky Shoppable product, is said to “enable advertisers to add QR codes directly into TV advertising, delivering a seamless customer experience directly from the TV screen to a brand’s website or online destination.“ Sky have called out the increase in utilization of QR codes since the pandemic and use of the NHS Track and Trace app, and they view this as a potential long-lasting trend.

Their sales pitch also mentioned the steady increase in online retail taking place via mobile (predicted at 73% in 2021) and prevalence of dual screening whilst watching TV which is now something that an estimated 67% of adults do each week. It should be mentioned that the Sky product is a little simper than the ITV offering, simply adding a QR code as a response mechanic rather than the possibility of a seamless in-screen purchase. It is however more accessible than the ITV’s shoppable service which is currently only offered to sponsorship or product placement partners. To test Shoppable, Sky are offering creative services as well as using ADSmart to A/B test and assist with measurement.

So, do we think these new offerings are likely to revolutionize the TV landscape? This is undoubtedly a very exciting space, offering potential for broadcasters and advertisers to really open up how we sell to customers and break down barriers from advertising through to purchase. ITV’s product straddles the line between product placement and advertising, for brands that can find a clear product content and match up (such as make up and Love Island) – the potential is huge. At this stage however, the offering is limited until more programmes are added to the product. Similarly, until ITV can rollout this capability across more devices and screens, its unlikely to be particularly scalable.

Sky’s Shoppable option is a little more basic, but potentially much more accessible for advertisers – the big gamble here will be whether viewers really are open to using QR codes as a response mechanic. The advantages are obvious, it will give us greater control of the user journey to a specific product page on-site whilst also enabling us to measure response through to sale. The possibilities across categories are clear – FMCG brands could lead to a loyalty scheme, Retail advertisers could bring a shop window to the TV screen, charity brands could link through to a donation page. The huge question will be whether consumers are switched onto using QR codes, rather than following the traditional brand search route as a response. Personally, I have my doubts whether the QR code craze will be anything more than a short-term blip which would limit the effectiveness of them as a response mechanic. Time will tell……

For more information on the TV services we offer, click here.