Publishers and Brands View Commerce Content as a Key Revenue Driver
impact.com, the leading global partnership management platform supporting over 480K active partnerships for more than 1,800 clients, released two new research reports that reveal key drivers for commerce content and the massive revenue opportunity it presents for digital publishers and brands. Commerce content, published by independent media organizations, allows readers to understand the goods and services promoted by an editorial team.
“Driven by evolving consumer preferences, coupled with the diminishing measurability and trackability of ad success, commerce content is commanding a larger share of marketers’ budget,” said impact.com CEO, David A. Yovanno. “This, in turn, opens up unprecedented revenue growth opportunities for digital publishers.”
Meanwhile, the survey that examined how brands are faring in the commerce content landscape, was conducted by impact.com with their own customers in August 2021. In particular, the survey showed that 65% of brands said commerce content was an important strategy this year and 40% expect to increase budget in this channel.
Commerce Content’s Benefit to Publishers
impact.com conducted a survey of 200 publisher executives from around the world in partnership with FORTUNE Brand Studio in June and July of 2021. The report, “Commerce content providers and the new digital paradigm,” found that 57% of respondents expect revenue from commerce content to grow by at least 25% each year and one-quarter of them expect an annual growth rate of more than 50%.
Nearly eight out of 10 respondents believe that commerce content will contribute to a larger portion of their publishing revenue in the future and 90% expect online direct-to-consumer sales to grow. They are already seeing solid ROI from their content programs, with 45% of the respondents citing higher total revenue, 41% seeing improved cash flow and 34% having realized increased profit margins.
“Over the past three years, Meredith has seen more than 100% year-over-year growth in affiliate revenue [thanks to commerce content],” said Chloe Reznikov, General Manager of Commerce Content and Strategy at Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP), the leading media conglomerate and owner of 40+ iconic brands including PEOPLE, Better Homes & Gardens, Allrecipes, Southern Living, REAL SIMPLE and Magnolia Journal. “During the 2020 holiday season, Meredith drove $35 million in Prime Day sales and $36 million in Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales via our commerce content program.”
In addition to revenue gains:
- 45% of digital publishers say that it makes their own brands more recognizable to the public;
- 40% say that their digital content keeps their audiences more engaged and 36% believe that it expands their audiences;
- And more than one-third of respondents say that these relationships have improved because they provide links or offer incentives for directing readers to the brands’ websites.
impact.com also conducted a survey of 168 brand users around the world between February and April 2021. The report, “The State of Commerce Content in 2021,” found that 56% of brands work with 10 or more content publishers. They also found that product reviews are the most common format of commerce content, with 86% of brands saying they use it. New product announcements and comparison shopping articles followed closely behind, at 75% and 71%, respectively.
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The rise in commerce content has been seen in a variety of ways and it’s clear that it will continue to become a major part of marketing plans for years to come with 65% of brands saying it will be part of their marketing strategy for the coming year. As more consumers seek trusted information, brands have an opportunity to prioritize commerce content and not only rebuild lost trust but also to grow revenue and audiences. Additionally:
- Investing in commerce content has benefits. Brands with at least 20 content publishers are twice as likely to see increased revenue than when working with five or fewer.
- Brands in the retail vertical are more heavily invested in commerce content brands in other verticals. In fact, 53% of retail brands said commerce content would receive increased budget this year (13% above average).
- Brands benefit from increased brand awareness (73%), improved customer acquisition (55%), and revenue growth (49%).
- Product reviews (86%) and new product announcements (75%) are the most common content formats that brands use.
- Commerce content fits into the typical partnership compensation model — given that 83% of brands pay on cost per action (CPA).
“Commerce content has been a key part of our strategy since our launch almost two years ago and we only see this becoming more important,” said Josh Knopman, Director of Growth and Digital Product at Caraway. “Establishing partnerships with publishers is an important way to drive awareness and provide authentic & trustworthy content to consumers on their purchase journey. Through impact.com’s platform, we have been able to increase our content partner base by 66% all as a result of establishing authentic and trustworthy relationships with publishers and consumers.”
With the partnership economy growing, the only way to have a mutually beneficial relationship depends on trust. It’s for this reason that commerce content has become such a major part of the partnership ecosystem and a way for publishers and brands to create a reliable partnership with consumers.
“Commerce content is only effective when both the publisher and the content provider keep their voices authentic,” added Yovanno. “Trust is foundational. And when that trust is secured, publishers, influencers, affiliates, and readers come together to create a partnership economy, which is made up of the people, services and technologies that enable entities to generate revenue by working together.”
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