Zeebox click-to-buy makes TV advertising interactive and accountable

February 15, 2012

Dual-screen social TV start-up Zeebox has launched a click-to-buy service designed to let viewers buy products directly from TV ads. The feature means viewers can purchase products advertised on the TV via their tablet or smartphone-enabled Zeebox app in real time. The start-up has made the move in a bid to provide brands with more insight into the effectiveness of their TV campaigns while providing measureable performance tracking. Every time a viewer sees a TV ad, a corresponding click-to-buy button appears in real time via the Zeebox tags. Each of these tags will feature an icon that alerts the viewer to the type of ad product, whether it is a song, product or travel service. Once they click on the tag, the viewer will be taken to a retailer’s product page, such as Amazon or Tesco, to buy the product, or to the advertiser’s website for more information. 

The move means that a brand like Waitrose could allow viewers to buy ingredients from their online store while Delia rustles up a Christmas pudding, or Coca-Cola could link viewers towards its competitions and Olympic engagement activity as they tap their feet along to Mark Ronson for the company’s forthcoming 2012 ad.

This format’s biggest attraction to advertisers is data. Click-to-buy offers a quantifiable metric that links advertising spend to consumers’ spend on their products. It allows advertisers not just to correlate the buzz created by a TV campaign with revenue boosts, but actually directly connect the two. The added feature could mean that smaller advertisers are more willing to trial TV, which can often be off-putting due to cost, because they can finally demonstrate ROI in an easy to understand way.

The ability to make TV ads clickable and interactive is the “holy grail” for brands. Similar attempts to roll out click-to-buy via the red button have lacked web integration, but the new functionality from Zeebox truly synchronises what people are watching with the ability to buy or price compare.

As well as click-to-buy, Zeebox is also offering brands another format that can see them placing measurable second-screen ads on its platform alongside their already-existing TV advertising. This can only add to viewers’ engagement with ads, especially those consumers that tend to use ad breaks to check their Twitter and Facebook.

Zeebox claims it currently has around 250,000 users but the start-up is likely to truly achieve scale as Sky begins to integrate the service into its mobile portfolio, which includes apps such as Sky Go and Sky+.

The principle of showing exactly how many people are prompted by a TV ad to seek out the brand is a good one. As viewing of TV on web-based platforms grows, it should be possible to expand the function to click through on an ad itself as it plays. These include online media players, where viewers streaming a programme live should be able to click through on the ads in real time. Brands could also be buying complementary time-sensitive ads on social media sites, where TV viewers are simultaneously surfing.

If TV is to demonstrate its effectiveness in terms of direct response, ads need to be tailored accordingly with specific calls to action. They also need to incentivise consumers to sit, watch and interact rather than tuning out to go and put the kettle on.


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