Commerce content is all the rage.
And after meeting with three top Publishers in the game at CJU17 last year, we know why. These content specialists shared with us their take on affiliate marketing and how Advertisers can best leverage this rapidly growing Publisher distribution model.
What is Commerce Content?
Commerce Content is editorial-based content that gives thoughtful product and service recommendations that are relevant to their readers. While Commerce Content Publishers are paid for purchases and actions driven from their posts, their model differs from sponsored posts in that they first have a responsibility to their readers - editorial integrity comes first, then revenue follows.
Affiliate Marketing, a Natural Fit
An organic interest from readers already existed. They were already visiting these trusted websites (i.e., CNN, Buzzfeed, Wirecutter) for their engaging content—and were also clicking through products and buying!
Affiliate marketing was a natural fit as a means to diversify revenue streams. The Commerce Content publishers provide a valuable service to readers and affiliate marketing has the infrastructure in place to support monetization.
How Commerce Content Provides Value to Affiliate Marketers
While the first priority for these Publishers is their readers, there is still an inherently valuable model here for affiliate marketers. The product discovery and research phase of the purchase path “has emerged as marketing’s most critical battleground,” according to a study by McKinsey. Commerce Content Publishers offer up a more qualified shopper in a different mindset. These shoppers are inherently more engaged as they are reading long-form content, as opposed to eyeballs on banner.
Content Commerce customers aren’t coming for the discounts. Instead, they are looking for the recommendations of a trusted source. That results in high click-through rates, high conversion rates, new-to-file customers that end up as repeat customers, and higher lifetime value customers—these are the KPIs that marketers are after.
How to Leverage Content Commerce Opportunities
Advertisers should understand that Content Commerce Publishers truly view their content as editorial, and strive to create content to meet the demand of their readers. The editorial strategy for these Publishers mirrors other sections of their website not related to commerce.
Here are a few ways Advertisers can best leverage Content Commerce opportunities:
- Understand the voice of the Publisher’s site. Remember: Editorial integrity comes first
- Ensure your product/category is aligned with the Publisher’s audience and content
- Be clear about why your product is the best or most useful and demonstrate how the Publisher’s readers will benefit from it
- Support your claims with independent, third-party sources, if possible
- Provide guidance on your KPIs, yet keep in mind the first rule: Editorial integrity comes first
Content Commerce and Cross-Device
Much of Content Commerce content is consumed through multiple devices, so understanding the customer journey is imperative to provide a holistic view of how and where people are converting. Advertisers require a more complete sense of the customer journey, and Cross-Device tracking solutions solve for that. In addition, it will open up opportunities for advertisers to engage on other platforms outside those with which they’ve traditionally reached audiences.
What’s Next in Commerce Content?
While Content Commerce will probably never deviate from its inherent model, it will likely expand into different verticals and cover content for different types of audiences. Here are some other areas where Commerce Content is expected to head in the near future:
- Content Commerce Publishers will test and expand in this area to further broaden their reach.
- Video will become a big component, but as with social general, it must be the right platform to fit the product being promoted.
- Content Commerce Publishers will work on more collaborative projects with retailers, potentially even developing products in conjunction with them.