The following is an exclusive guest contributed post from Dippak Khurana, Founder & CEO of Vserv.

The online advertising industry has for several years been faced with the challenge of how to distinguish between user intent and actual conversion. Until recently, the model has stayed the same: impression, intent, click, landing page, and purchase. The issue has always been in the steps impeding a consumer from getting to the point of conversion. However, this challenge is today being addressed with the integration of smart data. Smart data is making it possible to now identify intent prior to broadcasting an impression. This still leaves several steps before the actual purchase, and as with all things online, the more steps necessary, the greater the drop-off.
That being said, recent developments by major online providers is now making it possible to close this gap. By providing secure Buy Now buttons on display ads, these ads have changed from just delivering a promotional message to now appearing like recommended content. The algorithm and methodology behind the ad is still the same, but by eliminating the several steps between impressions and purchase is now turning out to be a seamless single action.

This is most notable on two significant platforms. Pinterest, the social network for sharing images and ideas, recently introduced a Buy It button for its promoted pins (advertising). Still in its early stages, this feature is currently only available to major retail chains like Macy’s, but will eventually gain wider reach. Instagram, another visually oriented social network, also announced call-to-action buttons for purchasing, downloading an app, or simply requesting more information.

In India, one of the steps we took toward bridging the gap between intent and purchase was by adding the Buy button in ads for telecom operators. With this, customers can now recharge or subscribe to offers across data, voice or segmented channel packs from within the mobile ad. Similarly, Google recently introduced a Buy Now button to display on mobile AdWords impressions in exchange for a higher cost per click.

You can read the entire story on Huffington Post.

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