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Category: Content Monetization

We’re Celebrating $100 Million In Payouts to Our Creator Community

We’re Celebrating $100 Million In Payouts to Our Creator Community

We’re thrilled to announce today that we’ve reached a financial milestone of $100 million in total payouts to our creator network of publishers and brands! From the beginning, our creator network has been our foundation and driving force, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to reach this pivotal milestone.

Back in 2011, we got our start by connecting niche, tech-focused content sites and their readers with highly relevant tech products through commerce content. Since then, we’ve expanded into the men’s lifestyle vertical, partnering with online content creators like theCHIVE and AskMen and connecting them with awesome up-and-coming lifestyle brands including new-to-market Kickstarter successes like Bomber Barrel and Illumibowl. Today, our brand ecosystem includes over 2,500 product creators big and small including household names like Rosetta Stone, Audible, Grammarly, and Hulu. This milestone is a testament to their innovation, creativity, and strong partnerships.

Since then, we’ve entered the women’s lifestyle space in 2017 with the acquisition of Joyus, and more recently, the news vertical. Today, we work with over 750 diverse bloggers, online media publishers, and linear television producers, including CBS Interactive, Vox Media, Mashable, Gizmodo Media, TechCrunch, Tegna, Aol, Scripps, The Daily Beast and others.

Our CEO and Founder Josh Payne put it best when he noted, “I couldn’t think of a more important landmark as we celebrate our seventh birthday as a company. Our mission is about serving the world’s creators, whether it be journalists creating content, brands creating products, software developers creating apps, or instructors creating online courses to share with the world. Our vision is that StackCommerce not only helps creators financially today, but fuels them to continue to innovate and grow for years to come.”

Looking forward, we’re excited to serve our creators in fresh, innovative ways, including through our recent launch of StackMedia. Our new performance-based native advertising arm leverages network data and partnerships to drive consumers directly to brands’ websites, rather than into publisher shops. We’re thrilled to announce an amazing list of launch partners, including Microsoft, Snap, HelloSign, Monday.com, Vincero, Arcadia Power, Helix, and dozens more. This new division truly rounds out our monetization toolkit, furthering our mission of serving content and product creators.

How to Maximize Revenue with StackMedia

How to Maximize Revenue with StackMedia

You have the perfect piece of content that speaks passionately to your readers. You add some amazing eye candy: lifestyle shots, an infographic, and a can’t-miss CTA button. You post to your homepage. And…crickets.

Even with an incredibly engaging article, you won’t generate a dollar in revenue if nobody sees it. These top tips and tricks, based on network-wide performance data, will help you maximize the success of your campaign using marketing tools already at your fingertips.

Let’s make the best campaign yet.

Share Your Content Via Email

Chances are that you likely send an email newsletter to your readers on a pretty regular cadence. Try featuring your StackMedia article(s) in an email send, even after it’s cycled off your homepage. Matching the article stylistically to the other featured articles and including it amongst related topics is a great way to add value to the overall reader experience, while making sure you meet your revenue goals, too. 

Grow Your Email List

Of course, the more email subscribers, the more potential clicks you’ll garner. That’s basic human reasoning, right? Here are some quick tips for building your email list.

-Add an email pop-up form to your homepage to capture more email addresses.

-Feature your newsletter sign-up in the HelloBar (pinned to the top of each page).

-Include a slide-in CTA that triggers as users scroll 50% down the page (there are easy plugins in WordPress).

Use Facebook Ads to Remarket

Paid Marketing is the most effective way to drive traffic to your sponsored content. If you’re not already doing it, you’ll want to focus in on the platforms where your target readers hang out — whether it be LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook. Google Ads are also a fantastic way to drive readers to your content. Not sure where to start?

Try Facebook Ads.

Tips for Using Paid Facebook Marketing:

-Launch your ads to a wide set of audiences starting with those closest to your brand. You can identify those audiences based on:

  • Page Likes
  • Friends Of Likes
  • FB Page Engagement
  • IG Page Engagement (if relevant)
  • 50%, 75%, Video Views (video is a great way to reach readers that know your brand, but may not actively ‘like’ it)
  • Lookalike Audiences — let Facebook do the heavy lifting 
  • Optimize on the “Traffic” conversion event at the campaign level. Facebook will find you the most traffic for the lowest cost.
  • A/B test your copy and creative to find what combinations drive the lowest CPC (Cost-Per-Click).

-Optimize your placement: if you see the majority and lowest cost traffic coming from a certain placement (newsfeed, audience network, or Instagram), you can deploy more budget to the highest performing placement.

-Set up retargeting: you can create ‘follow up’ ads for audiences that have seen your previous content or advertisements.

-Start small! Even running $25/day can provide a meaningful boost in your traffic!

Pin Your Content to Your Homepage and/or Article Recirculation Tool

Give your content the chance it deserves by pinning it to a highly-trafficked page like your homepage or within an article recirculation unit.

Share On Social Media

Use your social media profiles like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. to get fresh eyes on your content organically. After all, it’s free! Share across all platforms, and share often.

Make It Simple For Readers To Share Your Content

Here are some quick ways to make your content easily shareable:

-Add “Tweetable” blurbs to your content for easy posting on Twitter with a tool like Click to Tweet.

-Add “Pin It” buttons to visuals and infographics for easy sharing on Pinterest.

-Use SumoMe’s website add-on to create a social share button overlay for your image.

Promote Your Content On The HelloBar

Grant permission to your Account Manager to easily change out HelloBar text/links or change out the text on your own.

Update Relevant Content Pages with Links to StackMedia Content

Take advantage of relevant high-ranking articles covering similar topics by adding links to your sponsored content within the article. This quick update can make a significant difference.

Submit to a Content Community

Submit your StackMedia content to a relevant community like those listed below:

StackMedia connects marketers with targeted audiences across hundreds of publisher websites. Learn more about how our products can drive results here.

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 Welcomes Ben Gafni, VP of Publisher & Business Development, to the Executive Team

StackCommerce Welcomes Ben Gafni, VP of Publisher & Business Development, to the Executive Team

We’re thrilled to announce the addition of Ben Gafni to the StackCommerce team! With an expansive publisher network currently reaching over 1 billion monthly visitors across more than 750 publisher partners worldwide, we are always searching for new ways to better serve our ecosystem.

We couldn’t be happier to have Ben leading the charge on the growth and evolution of our publisher network as our new VP of Publisher and Business Development. Ben joined us from Google where he provided incredible leadership to the publisher-facing development team for over 12 years. Today, we are picking his brain on everything from his time at Google to his vision for the future of StackCommerece’s publisher network.

Liz: You recently joined StackCommerce after a long tenure at Google. Can you describe the evolution of your time there?

Ben: After starting my career in strategy consulting in New York, I joined a startup here in LA called Applied Semantics, which launched my career working with publishers. Applied Semantics created AdSense, one of the first contextual ad targeting technologies designed to help publishers monetize in a new way with text ads. When Google acquired the company in 2003, I joined Google’s publisher-facing business development team and worked to sign search and content syndication deals across multiple verticals. My role evolved over time, as Google acquired Doubleclick and began to work with partners in a much more multifaceted way led by ad platform technology and programmatic monetization across display, mobile and video. Most recently, I led a team in LA focused on Google’s largest partners in the entertainment and media space.

Liz: What excited you about the opportunity at Stack?

Ben: In looking towards my next role, I focused on high-growth start-ups in the LA area that aligned with my goals on several fronts — industry, culture, and leadership opportunities being paramount. The more I got to know the StackCommerce team, the more it became clear there was a true synergy on both sides. At Stack, I am able to leverage my experience with publishers but in a novel way: helping partners navigate the emerging sphere of native commerce. I have the opportunity to lead a fantastic team, and absolutely love the open, team-oriented, and dynamic culture.  

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Liz: What are some of your top priorities as our VP of Publisher and Business Development? What type of impact do you hope to make?

Ben: It has been great to dive in, learn the ins and outs of the StackCommerce model, and build a strategic plan for 2017.  Native commerce powered by Stack has become such an important part of our core partners’ businesses that I am focusing on building out our newer verticals such as Women’s Lifestyle and News — with the goal of having a tailored storefront offering for publishers of all shapes and sizes. I am also ramping our PR efforts to ensure our media presence reflects the impact we have been able to drive in the marketplace. Overall, I am aiming to apply rigor and strategic focus to what we do in order to drive revenue growth across the organization.

Liz: What is your favorite thing about Stack so far?

Ben: I have been super impressed with the spirit of collaboration and high energy that permeates the culture here at Stack. There is a constant flow of ideas and nobody hesitates to share thoughts on how we can make the company more successful. As a new member of the team, I have a ton of ideas about where we might take the business and have been encouraged by the collective willingness to entertain new approaches and challenge existing assumptions. Plus, everyone is just plain fun to be around – and working right on Venice Beach doesn’t hurt!

Liz: At Stack, we stress the importance of work-life balance. What do you do to live a balanced life?

Ben: Balance is something I’m constantly trying to achieve across many aspects of my life, most notably between work and family. I have 3 amazing daughters that throw me immediately into “dad mode” once I walk through the door each evening. Being able to toss work aside and focus on my family is something I value immensely. To that end, I try to separate from electronics until after the kids are asleep and avoid distractions as much as possible.
One thing I do for fun, exercise, and general sanity is play basketball. I’ve organized a twice-a-week game with a group of friends for the past 10+ years, which accounts for nearly 100% of my cardio and keeps the competitive juices flowing in a (mostly) friendly environment.

Announcing Our Expansion into the Lifestyle Vertical & Introducing Citizen Goods

Announcing Our Expansion into the Lifestyle Vertical & Introducing Citizen Goods

After four years of focusing exclusively on tech products and publishers, we are thrilled to share that StackCommerce will now be offering our native commerce solution to lifestyle publishers, launching with a stellar list of partners including AskMen, theCHIVE, Digg, Rant, The Awesomer, Everyday Carry, and over a dozen others. These new partnerships expand our reach to more than 200 million unique visitors per month, and open an entirely fresh commerce opportunity to current and future partners.

We would also like to officially introduce Citizen Goods, our brand new lifestyle marketplace featuring curated modern products across home, outdoor, grooming, everyday carry, and apparel categories. Citizen Goods is the destination site for our lifestyle-focused partners that prefer an affiliate solution rather than an integrated Shop. To support Citizen Goods, we’ve also launched amazing new product features that allow for further customization of Shops with adjustable homepage heros, content modules, fonts, and navigation. With more advancements in the pipeline, we will continue to deliver innovative ways for our partners to truly personalize the look and feel of their Shops.

Native commerce is clearly resonating with tech and lifestyle audiences, as our member community within our network of Shops grew by 250% to more than 2.5 million members over the past year alone. The overall effectiveness of Shops is also increasing, and we’re proud to see publishers averaging six-figures of gross sales annually, and top partners generating well into the seven figures. This demonstrates the proven success online media sites have found with native commerce as a new and incremental way to monetize their content.

We believe this expansion comes at an ideal time for lifestyle publishers given the rise of ad blockers and decreasing effectiveness of banner ads. The key factor is that truly native commerce works not only from a financial standpoint as an alternative to ads, but also adds brand value by turning readers into loyal buyers who appreciate access to exclusive commerce content. With native commerce, we also eliminate the need for publishers to manage operations, shipping, sourcing, and customer service so they can focus on creating impactful content for their readers. We will continue to expand further into new verticals in 2016, pursuing our mission to revolutionize content and commerce across all online media categories.