Marketing and the Marketplace
It’s difficult being a publisher in today’s market. Readership numbers for traditional media forms continue to drop, robbing them of advertising revenue, and new approaches to monetisation have yet to prove the success that publishers need.
Paywalls have paid off for some publishers – the Financial Times and WSJ have found profits by placing their financial and business led content behind paywalls yet for other publications both in B2B and consumer publishing, paywalls simply haven’t, well, paid off. The Sun recently dropped its paywall experiment while in our own sector, Haymarket was forced to close Marketing magazine and fold it into Campaign citing two siloed magazines as untenable.
This isn’t just a problem for publishers, it’s a major issue for marketers. While we may enjoy the trackability and flexibility new advertising models that online publishing have brought about, a falling number of publications in any sector represents a shrinking range of trusted intermediaries through which to reach our audience. Falling advertising values, meanwhile, align with a falling interest in advertising from our audiences. Between 2014 & 2015, ad blocking rose 41% and native content isn’t picking up the slack – Vice, a leader in content marketing is currently restructuring to lower its costs.
So, publishers once again need to find new ways to generate income and advertisers need to find new ways to reach our audiences. One route that’s proving increasingly popular for publishers and holds huge potential for brands is the publisher marketplace. At Fiare, we’ve worked with Time Inc. and Dennis in the past few weeks to launch marketplaces integrated into the websites of Land Rover Monthly and County Life. Marketplaces harness the two huge advantages that publishers continue to have and as marketers we hope to access: community and content.
Magazines are a natural focal point for communities - built around a core interest and home to a range of discussion and debate led by well written insight from their journalists. No matter whether the magazine is about houses in the country or the mechanics of a datacentre, their audience is interested in the subject, has trust in the magazine brand and is looking for insight. Marketplaces become a natural extension, moving readers from general interest to research and, now, purchase. Readers become ever more engaged with content on the site, as it provides truly unbiased editorial alongside the purchasing opportunity, sales increase and a virtuous circle is created. Recent Fiare partners have seen 37% increases in site traffic and 40-50% margins. Brands working with publishers to ensure their own offerings are featured within brand marketplaces gain access to a hugely engaged community and a direct customer journey from initial interest to sales. Even in long lead sales, typical of B2B industries, this integration delivers prospects from cold to engaged with the sales team. All of this can be supported along the way by native advertising, advertorial and any other marketing techniques a brand may employ and in the process multiply the marketing effectiveness and ROI of each tactic.
The same goes for a publisher’s second strength – its content. A magazine’s content is what builds its community and its value to marketers. It fosters engagement and time on site and, in the B2B space, educates its audience. Integrating marketplaces into their sites is allowing outlets to align their editorial with what their audiences are purchasing, opening up new types of editorial – buyers guides released alongside buying cycles and deep dives into popular products or services. Along these same lines, marketers can work in partnership with publishers to create content that gives buyers a clear view of the brand’s offerings alongside the direct opportunity to buy or at least make first contact with the sales team, all housed within a publication the reader loves and trusts.
Publisher marketplaces are creating a virtual circle between content, community and revenue for publishers and have the opportunity to do the same for brands working with the publishers. Marketeers simply need to work with publishers to integrate themselves into the experience from content, to community, to sale.
Kirsi Johansson is a Director and Partner of Fiare UK Ltd with extensive experience in consulting, building and developing online marketplaces and helping clients meet their ecommerce objectives. Fiare enables media companies to unlock the value of their content and audience by providing a sophisticated FiareAds platform for marketplaces and...