Social TV app Zeebox has moved to monetise its service by launching ‘click-to-buy’ icons during ad breaks.

It is also going to start selling targetable in-app ads to brands.

The iPad and iPhone app recognises TV adverts in real time using speech-to-text and other metadata, then shows icons that link to the product page of an etailer or the brand’s own website.

Zeebox already displays tags that link to additional content during TV shows but up to now it linked to Wikipedia articles rather than e-commerce sites.

Now the click-to-buy tags will show icons for consumer goods such as songs, food, cosmetics or travel services. Zeebox then takes a cut of any product sold using affiliate codes.

So far, the new tags appear on about 20% of UK TV’s commercial break ads, mostly for ITV channels.

Despite only launching in October Zeebox has experienced rapid growth and in January claimed to have 250,000 users.

BSkyB bought a 10% stake for exclusive UK rights to integrate Zeebox into its own mobile apps, so there appears to be huge potential for monetisation.

The affiliate model is an obvious route for generating revenue but whether it can prove enough attributable sales to generate a profit remains to be seen.

It could be that consumers simply use Zeebox’s mobile app to do some extra research on products before buying them on their desktop or in-store.

In-app ad sales could prove to be more lucrative than affiliate sales, particularly as second-screen viewing is a growing trend.

Coca-Cola predicted that 60% of the 100m people watching last week’s Super Bowl would also be using a second screen.

While both monetisation routes depend on Zeebox attracting more active users, so far the signs are pointing in the right direction and the tie-in with BSkyB should be a great tool for attracting new customers.