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Author: Katy Logan

StackCommerce Company Update September 2017

StackCommerce Company Update September 2017

Summer is disappearing faster than we’d like here at Stack HQ (and the enormous beach-going Venice crowds along with it). While we’ve definitely found moments to step out and breathe the ocean air, the team’s been busy breaking company records, innovating new ways to serve our publishers and merchants—and preparing for what looks to be an unforgettable Q4.

Here’s a taste of what we’ve been up to:

1. We hosted the 4th annual Stack Olympics, and it was epic.

The in-house team celebrated the fourth annual Stack Olympics on June 23rd and, as always, it was a raucous, competitive affair.

This year’s theme comprised Hollywood classics, with teams based off of The Sandlot, Space Jam, Star Wars, and more ‘80s – early ‘90s classics. The day consisted of a variety of challenges, testing Stackers’ mettle in a range of disciplines. When the games were completed, and the “work” day came to an end, teams retired to the office for drinks and pizza and, once again, were friends, coworkers, and allies. Another rousing success in the books, it’s safe to say Stack Olympics is one annual tradition here to stay.

2. Our publisher family grew by 42, and MediaPost wrote about it.

We would love to brag about our successful first half of 2017, but luckily, MediaPost did the heavy lifting for us. We were thrilled to be featured in their PublishersDaily section, and share some of our latest wins with the community, including: onboarding 42 new publishers, reporting an impressive 20% average gross margin for publisher partners (for comparison’s sake, affiliate networks generally offer 4-8%), and jumpstarting an amazing partnership with Mashable, who saw over 18,500 transactions in the first 60 days alone.

Check out the full post here.

3. We gathered (and got ridiculously inspired) as a team for our annual off-site.

Our annual off-site is one of the team’s favorite events of the year—and 2017 was no exception. This year we welcomed Jason Jaggard and Jon Roberts of Novus , who dished some inspiring wisdom to help us grow and develop as individuals in our careers and lives. We returned to the office motivated, ready to blow our goals out of the water, and (some of us) even a little tan from a day at the pool.

4. We welcomed our new VP of Sales, Paula Campbell—and she’s awesome.

We were thrilled to welcome a new member of them team to sunny Venice Beach, Paula Campbell! Paula brings years of experience leading sales teams at an impressive list of companies, including: Touch of Modern, LivingSocial, and Verizon Information Services. We can’t wait to watch Paula take our Sales Team and product catalogue to new heights—just in time for the holiday season.

5. We made one more big, exciting company change that we can’t wait to tell you about….

I’ll say no more. Updates to come soon!

Introducing Brand Studio: Native Commerce Content Creation at Scale

Introducing Brand Studio: Native Commerce Content Creation at Scale

We’re proud to announce the launch of our in-house Brand Studio, the only fully-outsourced commerce content creation service on the market! We’ve worked with hundreds of publishers and media companies over the years, and found one universal challenge across the board: lack of editorial resources.

Yes, great writers and editors don’t grow on trees (and aren’t free). And while more and more publishers are finding groundbreaking success with native commerce, they continue to struggle when it comes to devoting editorial resources to commerce-related content creation. That’s where Brand Studio comes in.

Scalability Meets Versatility

Established to create quality editorial and video content at scale, Brand Studio delivers an average 5x return and has already helped publisher partners double their number of revenue generating commerce posts per week.

To date, Brand Studio has developed more than 6,000 original pieces of written and video content for over 40 partners including The Next Web, Popular Science and Gothamist. In order to support the growing demand, we’ve added a total of 20 talented writers, editors, and video specialists to the team. This passionate team of content creators has produced a wide array of content ranging from timely, snackable pieces to SEO-friendly evergreen content.

The Continued Rise of Commerce Content

BI Intelligence predicts that native content will be the fastest growing segment of the native ad market over the next 5 years. Yet despite this growth, many publishers lack the in-house resources to develop new native content on a daily basis. We’re thrilled to be able to address this gap by offering quality, engaging and fully-native articles and videos in a cost-efficient manner — and at scale.

We’ve seen first-hand the success of native content, which converts 50% better across our network than other distribution channels. We’ve also seen that partners that post commerce articles five to seven times per week earn on average 2.5x more revenue than those that post only infrequently or not at all. There’s huge opportunity here, and we’re committed to providing our partners with the required resources.

Native Content & Digg

For example, popular news aggregator, Digg, partnered with us for over a year before incorporating native content into their commerce strategy. The addition of engaging, topical commerce content via the Brand Studio resulted in a 40% boost in Digg’s conversion rate without leveraging internal editorial resources for content production.

“StackCommerce provides us with a seamless and scalable solution for producing commerce-focused editorial pieces with its Brand Studio. We’re happy to see Digg’s audience responding positively to the content.” noted Avery Driggers, Content Strategist and Commerce Lead at Digg.

Our own VP of Business Development, Ben Gafni, considers the launch of Brand Studio as a sign of maturation in the rapidly expanding commerce market, serving as a differentiator for StackCommerce moving forward.

“With the development of the Brand Studio, we’ve enabled a never-before tapped source of commerce for our publishers,” said Gafni.  “Our content team is able to creatively tell a brand story in a voice that is unique to each publisher, seamlessly adding value to their unique reader’s experience. While options like Skimlinks and Amazon Affiliates can be time-consuming, we are making commerce easy for publishers.”

Read the full press release here and reach out to your Account Manager for more information.

How to Create Compelling Commerce Content for Mother’s Day (No Matter Your Audience)

How to Create Compelling Commerce Content for Mother’s Day (No Matter Your Audience)

Mother’s Day is around the corner, which means shoppers are scrambling to not disappoint come May 14th. Whether you write commerce content for a tech publication or a female lifestyle blog, you should be using the holiday as an opportunity to cash in with native commerce.

Afterall, tech enthusiasts need to shop for Mother’s Day, too. So why not shop on the sites they read every day? Plus, Mother’s Day is the third largest retail holiday in the US, and also seemingly comes out of nowhere (wasn’t it just Valentine’s Day?). Help your readers out and share some awesome gift deals with these four tips:

Stress the Discount

Prices on everything from flowers to chocolate are notoriously inflated for Mother’s Day, and consumers are not ignorant to this fact. Write about amazing discounts (like this one) and help your readers get through the month without getting ripped off.

Think Out-Of-The-Box

Practically every mother enjoys fresh cut flowers, but that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t enjoy a GoPro or new headphones more. It’s 2017 – let’s not pretend that every mother has the same taste. Help your readers come up with some truly unique gifts that his or her mom will actually enjoy. As they say “it’s the thought that counts, but great gifts count for a whole lot more”. Nobody actually says that, but you get the point.

Target (Or Help Out, Rather) Procrastinators

Mother’s Day tends to sneak up on us, and this leaves many people scouring the grocery store for the last bouquet of flowers. Help your readers out with some great last minute gift options for moms near or far. Ideas likes wine subscription boxes, local flower delivery or a subscription to a service like Audible can be great, last-minute options.

Stay Mindful with Your Commerce Content

Rule number one for creating commerce content for Mother’s Day is remembering that every family is different. Don’t be quick to make assumptions about the reader. Chances are there is a mother, whether it be a wife, sister, friend, etc., in the reader’s life, but it may not be in the traditional sense. Holidays bring up emotions – so be sensitive with your language.

StackCommerce Hack Day Spring 2017

StackCommerce Hack Day Spring 2017

As company traditions go, Hack Day is one of the most beloved events of the year here at StackCommerce. Last week, for the sixth time, we left our daily tasks behind, turned off (or down) our inboxes, loaded up on company-provided grub, and spent the day thinking big and thinking boldly about native commerce.

As with any startup, innovation is our bread-and-butter, and Hack Day is the perfect day to remind ourselves that no idea is too out-of-the-box if it helps our publishers and brands in new and exciting ways. Read on to explore this year’s highlights and look out for some of these features coming to fruition in the coming months (if they haven’t already)!

#1 All-About-The-Customer Hack

What happens when members of our supply chain, design, and customer support teams get together? They develop amazingly thoughtful ways to turn around less than ideal customer experiences. Operation ‘Customer Win-Back’ includes fun incentives like surprise gifts and special (free) e-learning bundles designed to soothe the frustration of unavoidable shipping delays and product issues. Because as we say: happy customers, happy Stack.

coding

#2 ‘Your Wish Is Our Command’ Sales Hack

At StackCommerce, curation is king. We excel at matching our publisher partners with products that their readers will actually like. But in typical Stack fashion, we believe we can always do better. Some of our rockstar Sales reps came together and built a system that would tell them exactly what products our partner audiences are talking about. By swiftly scanning the comments sections and most-viewed articles, we can better serve our partners with great deals on extremely relevant products.

group

#3 Efficiency Hack

One unique aspect of working with StackCommerce is our ability to enhance our partners’ earnings with paid advertising. Known as Amplify and Momentum, these programs help our publishers and brands capitalize on high-converting commerce posts and videos with strategic spend and top-notch management. Together, the best minds in marketing, business development, and data science were able to hack together a tool that sets up paid campaigns faster than ever. Efficiency for us equals more money for our partners. Win, win.

sarah

#4 Storytelling-in-Action: Hack Day Winner!

Let’s face it. Facebook is the new front door to the internet and this fact has huge ramifications for online publishers and advertisers. Native Social Video is a new product at StackCommerce and allows our publisher partners to use Facebook video to generate incremental revenue streams outside of homepage traffic. This year’s Hack Day winner spent the day simplifying the video request process and recruiting the best social video editing talent in the game. The future is video, and this year’s Hack Day echoed that sentiment loud and clear.

Case Story: Rosetta Stone Tackles A New Market with Native Commerce

Case Story: Rosetta Stone Tackles A New Market with Native Commerce

Native commerce offers brands of all sizes an amazing opportunity to grow revenues, enter new markets, and of course, gain invaluable brand equity. Although we often tout the success of niche brands working with our platform, we’ve also seen first-hand the significant role native commerce can play for large national brands like Rosetta Stone. Today, we’re here to share that story.

You’re most likely no stranger to the fact that Rosetta Stone is a household name when it comes to learning new languages in the digital age. But long before the mobile revolution, Rosetta Stone got its start selling CD-ROM software. Eager wanderlusts and budding linguists alike dove into hours of innovative learning lessons that looked unlike any high school Spanish class, and Rosetta Stone quickly became America’s leading language learning software.

The Digital Age Challenge  

As technology quickly evolved, once cutting-edge CD-ROMs became less and less relevant and Rosetta Stone adapted by offering its digital experience via the cloud. As with any drastic product change, this posed the massive challenge of getting their message out to a totally new, younger, and mobile-centric audience. And with shipping challenges eliminated, there was a fantastic opportunity to break into the international market.

Rosetta Stone partnered with StackCommerce with hopes of tackling these challenges through exposure across our vast publisher network. The first step was constructing a robust marketing strategy that spoke to both Rosetta Stone’s core brand message and the wide array of publisher audiences that would be engaging with the content.

By taking into account demographic, interests, and price point, StackCommerce targeted readers who would connect to the Rosetta Stone story, but may not have fit the profile of the typical Rosetta Stone customer.

The Power of Native Commerce Distribution

From Boing Boing to The Daily Dot to Gothamist, publishers from across the network posted a total of over 65 pieces of written native content based around Rosetta Stone, allowing them to successfully reach their targeted demographics in a natural way. Apart from the obvious brand exposure element, the campaign resulted in over 1,200 units sold and 96,000 sessions on their deal page across over 175 white-labeled publisher shops.

“We are delighted to be partnering with StackCommerce as they’ve been able to successfully help us reach a totally different customer, one who might not have looked for us in our traditional channels. The opportunities with StackCommerce not only helped us enter new markets, but enter new markets faster,” noted Mike Fishaw, North American Director of Sales.

For national brands like Rosetta Stone, the native commerce model aligns perfectly with lofty expansion goals and product launches — proving that sometimes impressive gains come from looking outside the comfort zone of traditional marketing channels. Sharing authentic, engaging brand content across publishers that people know and trust is a great place to start.

Introducing Native Social Video for Monetizing Your Social Channels

Introducing Native Social Video for Monetizing Your Social Channels

In today’s digital world, monetizing your audience takes more than focusing on the readers that hit your homepage. With more and more publisher traffic originating from social media sites like Facebook, there’s a clear need for fresh, innovative strategies. That’s why we’re excited to announce our Native Social Video offering, which allows our publisher partners to utilize social media traffic to build a new, video-based revenue stream.

During its first few months in beta, Native Social Video content generated over 100 million views, 500,000 shares, 400,000  likes, and more than $1M in gross sales — clear signs that there is high demand for snackable videos featuring engaging products.

By creating these videos at scale, we’ve successfully helped partners with large Facebook followings that historically struggled to directly monetize their rapidly growing social audiences. By utilizing our platform in addition to their own audience insights to drive on-site impressions and purchases via social video, Native Social Video’s launch partners have seen video commerce increase their total commerce-related revenue over 20%. Users have purchased over 30,000 products as direct result.

“Fresh monetization solutions are critical for the future of publishing, and digital publishers need to be open to utilizing e-commerce in completely new ways” said Ben Gafni, VP of Business Development. “Driving revenue through social commerce — in particular, the way we’re doing so through video — is poised to be a huge trend for publishers in 2017. By creating engaging product videos specifically for social, we’re helping publishers to monetize an increasingly mobile, and ad-averse, readership.”

We’re rapidly rolling out social video commerce across our network. To read more, see our official press release.