It’s officially summer: beaches are packed, the straw hats are out and some of the best cooling fruits are back in season. As we sail into July, living for the sunny days, advertisers are planning ahead with the second biggest shopping season of the year around the corner: Back to School.

With so many changes across the digital landscape, one thing remains the same, parents are planning and hopeful to send their children ‘Back to School’. And how ever that looks, platforms are competing to get in front of those eager parents, offering more flexible and convenient ways to shop.

As a brand, staying on top of the latest shoppable ad placements will be pivotal to your success this season. We’ve put together a guide to help you get the most out of shoppable ads across YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok.

Shopping on YouTube: Direct Response Ads

You’ve seen success in promoting your product on Instagram and Facebook, YouTube is now making it easier to sell your products with direct response ads. The latest update to the video platform includes shoppable product images under the video ad, which drives traffic directly to the brand’s product pages.

As businesses begin to reopen, these shoppable ads can drive both online and offline action, with 70% of people saying they bought a brand as a result of seeing it on YouTube.

Shoppable Ads on YouTube

To use this ad format, you need to sync your Google Merchant Center feed to your video ads. From there, you can then edit the ad’s call-to-action button like c’Balm (above) with the best-selling products you want to feature.

BTS tip: Leverage direct response on YouTube by including a specific campaign goal like “Shop Now” with an irresistible offer to drive traffic to your website. When it comes to video, remember to catch the viewer’s attention and provide as much value to the consumer in the first three seconds. This includes the sale offer and product shots to ensure the consumer knows what you’re advertising.  

Related to this shoppable ad format is YouTube’s new Video action campaigns, which allows brands to bring their video ads to YouTube’s home feed, watch pages and Google’s video partners, from within one campaign. YouTube will also include an inventory that becomes available, like the What to Watch Next feed.

Shoppable Ads on YouTube

Brands can also add lead generation forms to their video ad campaign to capture more leads while running their shoppable ads, as Jeep did with their Korea branch and saw a 13x increase in leads at an 84% lower cost per lead (see below).

Jeep's Shoppable Ads on YouTube

In an effort to make it easier for businesses to connect with people across their family of apps, Facebook is introducing “destination optimization for ads that click to message,” allowing users to create campaigns that start conversations with people in their app of choice. 

Advertisers will be able to select Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram Direct as the messaging destination in the ‘messages’ objective. These shoppable ads will then deliver and open conversations in the app people most prefer. 

Facebook will be testing this feature in select markets with plans to expand to all advertisers later this year.

Shopping on Facebook: Facebook Shops

Amidst the pandemic, Facebook released Facebook Shops to help companies, and especially small business owners, survive by bringing their storefront online. Businesses can create a store online for shoppers to access on both Facebook and Instagram (Shops can also be featured in ads and Stories!)

Shoppable Ads on Facebook

The process is simple: Choose products to feature from your catalog and customize your online shop with a cover image and colors that highlight your branding. People will then be able to browse your collection, save items and make purchases without having to leave the Facebook and Instagram apps.

And just like any online business with customer service capabilities, Facebook Shops will become your one-stop shop (no pun intended) to facilitate conversations with potential customers through Whatsapp, Messenger or Instagram.

BTS tip: Put mobile first! More than 91% of Back to School-related Facebook conversations between July and September in the US were shared on mobile. Remember to use mobile-first creatives and visual experiences that capture attention on mobile and use targeting and insights to ensure your customers come across your shoppable ads on mobile at the optimal time.

Shopping on Snapchat: Dynamic Ads

Want to highlight your products on Snapchat? Upload your catalog and target Snapchat users based on their past behaviour with Dynamic Ads, providing a simple way to personalize ads for customers.

Last month, Snapchat announced its Dynamic Ads expansion worldwide, allowing brands to run automated product ads using templates connected to product catalogs. (Before June, dynamic ads were only available in the U.S.) 

Another way Dynamic Ads can reach users is by utilizing a wider audience and finding prospective customers by showing them relevant products built directly from your catalog.

Shoppable Ads on Snapchat

A great advantage of this ad format for advertisers is that when product availability or pricing changes, Snapchat ads automatically adjust as well. For example, users can simply swipe up on a product like Adidas (above) and be directed to the brand’s product page to purchase the item.

BTS tip: Reuse existing product feeds to create high-quality and full screen ads. Take advantage of Snapchat’s dynamic ads to appeal to the platform’s college or university students (Snapchat is especially popular with 18 to 24-year olds) and provide streamlined purchase offerings within your campaigns.  

Shopping on TikTok: In-Feed Ads

TikTok while relatively new to the advertising class of 2020 is already creating huge opportunities for brands, whether you’re looking to drive online sales or boost traffic to your website. As one of the most downloaded apps of 2020 with over 800 million monthly users, consider the power of creative TikTok ads.

You can incorporate Back to School advertising in TikTok with In-Feed Ads, which appear in between videos as users scroll through their For You page. This ad format is similar to the sponsored ads that appear while tapping through Instagram Stories.

You can include multiple call-to-actions such as shop now, download your app, or visit your website. See how Adobe uses a clear CTA in their In-Feed ad below.

Shoppable Ads on TikTok

You can even use influencers in your in-feed ads to maximize the reach of your campaign.

Levi’s partnered with TikTok creators by sending them their Future Finish 3-D denim customization technology, giving them full control of the design of the jeans. The creators’ videos appeared on the platform as In-Feed Ads with a “Shop Now” CTA to buy the same design on Levi’s website.

BTS tip: In-feed ads allow multiple call-to-actions. However, focus on one CTA in order to make the most out of your redirect link. When it comes to your video ad, ensure the key creative elements are in the middle of the screen as to avoid congestion from the ad description placed at the bottom of the screen.

Whether you choose to advertise on YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat or TikTok, ensure you Back to School campaign is top of class. With more moms and dads shifting their Back to School purchases online, your product or shoppable ads might just inspire them to discover new ideas and ultimately make a purchase.

If you are looking to improve your social media results or have questions regarding the latest platform updates, we’d love to chat!