How Brands Are Using Interactivity to Shorten the Purchase Cycle

How Brands Are Using Interactivity to Shorten the Purchase Cycle

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With brands expected to pull back on media spending during the first half of the year, media buyers are looking at stretching their ad budgets to activate in more meaningful ways. 

Prices are increasing faster than the average American’s income, and digital ad spending forecasts look cloudy, at best. Despite that, experts say there are areas of opportunity for buyers in 2023.

According to Quotient’s Paul Koop, interactive formats—and specifically, QR codes—are playing a significant role in connecting consumers to offers, coupons, and content within the digital out-of-home (DOOH) space. Brands running national and retailer-specific campaigns are using DOOH to amplify media and placing QR codes in creative as a way to drive consumers to desired locations where targeted offers can be activated — essentially, connecting the physical and digital worlds.

“Consider social platforms, which have traditionally served top-of-funnel goals such as awareness and reach. With economic pressure mounting, brands are looking for new ways to make all their content actionable and a point of conversion,” says Koop. “With interactive formats like shoppable content, a consumer can be inspired by content or an ad and purchase the product directly, or at least add it to their shopping baskets for a later purchase.”

Once a shopper is in-store, QR codes can move the consumer from the in-aisle experience straight to the “digital location of value,” Koop says. That means shoppers aren’t typing in URLs or finding the right page on mobile apps, and they have an immediate path to the opportunities they want.

“Interactivity gives consumers the flexibility to purchase their products in several different channels and ultimately shortens the purchase cycle,” Koop says. 

Pandemic Growth

During the pandemic, interactive ad units like QR codes and shoppable content made it possible for consumers to quickly find products on store shelves. That was important when time was of the essence, and retailers were looking at how to get shoppers in and out of their stores as quickly as possible. 

Now, things have changed. 

Koop says the traditional DOOH style lacks “connective tissue,” without a clear call-to-action. The more modern approach to QR codes allows consumers within range of digital screens to directly engage with media and drive value.

According to a new report by PQ Media, DOOH was up 36% last year. The industry is expected to continue its growth in 2023, thanks largely to positive developments like improved programmatic advertising, smart technology marketing, continually improving ROI measurements, and successful efforts by DOOH industry stakeholders to convince agencies that DOOH media has a positive impact on brand equity.

“For DOOH, it’s still a space that is constantly evolving,” Koop says. “Recently in our network, we have integrated screens in Topgolf locations, on refrigerator cooler screens in pharmacies, and Uber and Lyft screens, so the variety and possibilities are endless.” 

AR in Primetime

In the coming years, Koop expects to see augmented reality come more into play as the next big interactive ad unit to emerge. He says consumers are always looking for new experiences, new platforms, and new products. With AR, brands can create their own experiences in a fun and engaging manner. 

“Catching consumers’ attention will be increasingly challenging as customers become numb to ads,” Koop says. “An AR filter or experience is a new, fun way to drive engagement and experience for a brand. Additionally, video transformation will continue to be the focus.”

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.