Zeebox creates click-to-buy feature in social TV app

By Natan Edelsburg Comment

Zeebox still hasn’t launched in the US, but shortly after the London-based social TV company scored a large round of funding they’re launching clickable TV ads across their platform. Their press release reads, “in a world first, UK users will be able to purchase products advertised on TV through their tablet or smartphone in real time.” Zeebox seems to be one of the only major players in the UK giving them the opportunity to really build a great product in their market and then come to the US with a fine-tuned model and case studies. On the other hand, Shazam, Viggle and the other US social TV startups are working with brands to finally figure out how to make ads useful.

How the new clickable ads work:

“Within seconds of a TV ad appearing on screen, a corresponding click-to-buy button appears – as if by magic – in Zeebox’s real-time tag stream,” their release explains. “Each tag is marked with an icon that denotes whether the advertised product is a song, product, travel service, etc.” We spoke with Zeebox cofounder and CTO Anthony Rose who explained the new clickable ads further. “We use advanced video fingerprinting to recognise ads as they appear on TV,” he explained. “Within a few seconds of an ad starting on TV, we can serve a click-to-buy or a display ad in zeebox, in sync with the ad on TV.”

Are there partnerships set in place yet with advertisers?

There are no partnerships with advertisers in place yet as Zeebox is just at the beginning stages of rolling this out. “We don’t need to partner with anyone, we simply select ourselves what ads are useful to augment, and where to send the traffic to,” Rose described. “We got started with around 1000 ads, which is about 20% of the ads on TV in a given week, with us covering about a half of the top commercial channels.” They’ll be increasing the percentage of ads they add “zeetags” too over the coming weeks.

How the click through they’ve designed is already benefiting the ads they’ve tagged:

While there’s no doubt that we’ll soon be seeing UK brands testing out Zeebox’s clickable ads, Rose explained how they’re already providing click through for the ads they’ve tagged. “For now we’re using click-to-buy zeetags, with our systems and operators selecting the destination – for example, we send music purchases to iTunes, DVDs to Amazon, food to Tesco, cosmetics to Boots.”