Ecommerce Publisher News: Vox, PopSugar, and More

What does it take to be an ecommerce publisher? Let’s find out from some top digital magazines; plus, Facebook Instant Articles and Time Inc.

Becoming an ecommerce publisher continues to attract publishing executives looking for alternate revenue streams rooted in their content and niche audiences. Selling products isn’t selling out; developing an ecommerce content strategy is an extension of multiplatform publishing.

Digital publishers already sell white papers and tickets to events; a food magazine selling recipe books or a fashion site selling shoes is the natural next step in internet revenue models for magazines, if you can pull off the infrastructure. Seeing how others are achieving just that is a good place to start.

The Wall Street Journal’s CMO Today covers the trend in recent articles, along with checking in on Facebook Instant Articles and the latest moves from Time Inc. digital.

Vox Aims to Become an Ecommerce Publisher

Vox is hiring a “commerce editor” to bolster its efforts as an ecommerce publisher, CMO Today reports.

“Vox follows Gawker and other news outlets like Business Insider, which debuted a commerce platform in 2014, in trying to diversify its revenue sources beyond digital advertising. A host of publishers rely on advertising, from banners to videos to sponsored content, to support their businesses, and the market is crowded,” Nick Niedzwiadek writes.

“Vox Media’s audience of 170 million is affluent and already highly interested in transacting on our platform, so we are exploring opportunities to deliver more value to them,’ a spokeswoman for Vox said. … E-commerce posts generally link to products that readers of the site would be interested in, and publishers are paid a commission for sales generated from those links. In a since-deleted tweet, Shane Roberts, Gawker Media’s director of commerce, said the company’s typically receives a 4% commission.”

PopSugar’s Already There, but Looking to Do Even More

PopSugar is turbocharging its ShopStyle featuring to allow for inline purchasing and streamlined mobile shopping, CMO Today reports.

“The female-focused content company has already built a sizable affiliate marketing business through ShopStyle, which serves as a specialized search engine for women’s apparel and accessories. The product, which PopSugar Inc. acquired in 2007, was responsible for driving $1 billion in revenue to its retail partners last year, according to Brian Sugar,PopSugar Inc.’s founder and chief executive,” Mike Shields writes.

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“PopSugar Inc. plans to promote the new ShopStyle Checkout on its own site, and the product will be enabled on a network of 14,000 partner blogs and niche websites. The benefit for consumers is that they’ll be able to shop for products from Nicole Miller and Neiman Marcus and not have to jump from ShopStyle to these companies’ sites or apps to complete purchases.”

Facebook Instant Articles Convincing Digital Publishers

For a while there, it looked like digital publishers were rejecting Facebook Instant Articles, but the social behemoth has righted the ship where it counts the most: the wallets of participants.

“Publishers were frustrated in the early going by the platform’s advertising restrictions, but now credit Facebook with making improvements. Some say their Instant Articles currently generate the same amount of ad revenue on a per-view basis as pageviews on their own mobile properties,” Jack Marshall writes in CMO Today.

“Publishers are entitled to 100% of revenue generated from ads in Instant Articles, provided they sell and serve the ads themselves. Publishers keep a 70% cut if they’d rather have Facebook sell ads on their behalf through its mobile ad network, the Facebook Audience Network.”

Time Inc. Digital Makes Two More Acquisitions

Time Inc. is keeping up the the acquisition push, this time with auto-focused video content properties, CMO Today reports.

“The company’s investment in the two YouTube channels comes as automotive dealer associations, local auto dealers, and car manufacturers have sharply reduced their print ad spending in auto magazines, while shifting some marketing dollars online. Altogether the trio spent $431 million through the first nine months of 2015 on auto magazine print ads, down from $846 million in 2012, according to Kantar Media,” Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg writes.

“Both YouTube channels will report to The Foundry, which Time Inc. launched last year to hold its in-house native content and marketing teams. The Foundry also oversees the creation of original consumer content such as the, an automotive website that launched last fall.”

Do you consider yourself an ecommerce publisher? Share your experiences in the comments!

To read more ecommerce publisher news and other articles about the digital publishing industry, visit the Wall Street Journal’s CMO Today.


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