Content & Commerce – Their Venn-Diagram is Becoming a Circle


Content and commerce are not distant friends. For as long as humans have been entertained and interested in particular works of art, marketers have been trying to promote their products through these mediums.

Embedded marketing, also known as product placement, has been around for centuries. The first officially documented product placement took place in 1873, when Jules Verne published Around the World in Eighty Days. With such a popular author, the book was famous before it even hit the shelves. This fame pushed dozens of transportation, shipping, and logistics companies to lobby in hopes they would get their company name featured in his novel.

Similarly, the famous painting of Folies Bergere bar (Eduoard Manet) is one of the first instances where a branded product appears in artwork. If you look closely at the bar, the beer bottle is immediately recognizable as Bass beer. At the time of this painting, Bass Beer was a global phenomenon and a marketing juggernaut but the jury is still out on whether Manet received payment for this shoutout. See the red triangle? It’s actually one of the world’s very first trademarks. (Dossey, 2019)


Nowadays, almost all content is consumed digitally. Marketing endeavors seldom hire still-life painters anymore. Content creators aren’t world famous artists or novelists either. Now, anyone with a smartphone can create.

Every 30 days, more video content is uploaded to the internet than major U.S. television networks have created in the past 30 years.

Now, more than ever, content relates to commerce directly. Consumers have endless amounts of information at the tip of their fingers. They are more conscious and empowered to discover specific products that are right for them. As such, marketers need to adapt to this melding of content and commerce.

The venn diagram that compares content and commerce is quickly becoming a circle. Technology is the meaning of content + commerce to simple Content Commerce.

Information Drives Sales

Information drives purchases. We no longer expect consumers to make decisions based on pure emotion. According to Inc, “84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends”. An article from Businesswire expands upon this idea, stating that “97% of consumers consult product reviews while 85% of consumers seek out negative reviews before making a purchase”.

Additionally, not all “information” and “content” is created equally. Depending on your product and target market, your consumers will seek out different information. For example, a Millennial beauty buyer wants user-generated, clickable Instagram pictures and Youtube videos. Whereas, the middle-aged CTO who is comparing SaaS subscriptions will wish to look at whitepapers, blogs, and case studies that prove the software’s worth. Different strokes for different folks.

E-Commerce Pitfalls

The current online marketplace is inundated with copycat products, cheap goods, big promises, and some straight up scams. People hate making returns with eCommerce companies because they feel they have to jump through hoops. According to Shopify, “69% are deterred from buying online because they might have to pay for return shipping”. A fast checkout process reinforces the idea that your brand cares about efficiency and makes people feel more comfortable buying online.

Purchasing via eCommerce has limitations. “Over half of consumers said the biggest drawback of online shopping is not able to touch, feel, and try a product (51%),” according to V12 Data. Content and influencer marketing is the easiest way to see products working in real-time. Users can instantly understand the size, fit, shape, and color from sources they recognize – without needing to leave the platform.

A Google study explains that Youtube is the best medium for people to learn about an item, get product specs, and even read product reviews.


People Still Buy With Emotion

While consumers are more informed than ever, emotion still helps drive purchases. It’s their combination that creates synergy. If a brand story aligns with the viewer’s interests, it has great potential to convert. In a sense, we vote for the future that we want with our dollars.

For example – it’s hard to solve world hunger, but it’s easy to buy a product that helps donate food to impoverished communities. If a product aligns with the customer’s personal values, a purchase can easily make the customer feel good about themselves.

One of the most iconic examples of value-driven video content is the Real Beauty campaign from Dove. After starting the campaign in 2004, their sales increased from 2.5 to 4 billion in just three years time. (Studio Binder, 2019)

YouTube video


The Gap Between Content and Commerce

Yes, the Venn-diagram is becoming a circle – but there is still a gap. This disconnect stems from the almighty algorithms of social platforms like Instagram and Youtube. These companies are not financially incentivized to show people content that makes them leave the platform. They don’t want your customers to leave their app.

Certain companies have taken advantage of this bias. Just look at Buzzfeed and their Tasty videos. Tasty reached over 65 billion views on Facebook in 2017 (3 years ago!) and is still the #1 video publisher on Facebook. “Unlike other publishing companies, BuzzFeed is not concerned with drawing users to their website, rather they give users the content directly on platforms they’re already on such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.,” says Kayla Swanson, of Grow Hauss Studios.


While the Buzzfeed Tasty model works for many groups like Bustle, Condé Nast, and Synacor, it doesn’t always work for pure play eCommerce. AiBuy is changing that. We’ve created a way for companies to keep consumers on an app like Youtube, while still driving purchases directly within the video. We use a proprietary Smart Store Overlay ® to bring commerce literally to any type of content. So much for a Venn-Diagram, huh? Everything has come full circle.

If you are compelled by this blog, then you know it works. Commerce + Content. Let us help you bridge the gap and game the algorithm. Reach out to us today for a demo!


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