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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.

3 Ways for Brands to Get the Most Out of Native Commerce

3 Ways for Brands to Get the Most Out of Native Commerce

The elusive black box of marketing plagues brands of all shapes and sizes. No one enjoys spending money on advertising and customer acquisition without knowing the ROI ahead of time. Yet, many agencies require steep introduction fees to establish relationships.

That’s what makes working with StackCommerce so unique. Whether your brand is new-to-market or well-established, you’ll have your choice of multiple pay-for-play solutions for customer acquisition, brand awareness, and revenue growth without paying upfront fees.

Here are some of the ways your brand can quickly expand its digital reach:

#1 Advertorial Content, Exclusive Offers & The Art of Storytelling

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It’s no secret that entering the native advertising playground can be extremely pricey. In fact, digital advertisers are forecasted to spend $28.2 billion on native advertising by 2018 according to eMarketer. However, unlike traditional native ad or sponsored content media buying, StackCommerce allows brands to get maximum brand exposure without any of the upfront costs.

With consultation from our merchandising team, our brand partners curate promotions or CPA offers that are exclusive and newsworthy, giving our network of publishers an opportunity to design authentic content that engages their readers. These brand stories are specifically created to add rather than distract from the reader’s’ experience. The result? The publisher, the reader, and the brand win.

While exposure on publishers like AOL, Gothamist, Digg, and The Daily Dot can often be purchased on a CPM basis, we offer this to brands free of charge as part of our structured promotion. The benefits of brand exposure are obvious for new-to-market brands, but even well-established brands can utilize StackCommerce’s content creation abilities to strategically enter new markets and reach new audiences.

For example, leading national language software company Rosetta Stone used StackCommerce’s platform to break into a new younger and mobile-centric market. With over 65 editorial pieces published across the network and over 96,000 eyes on their product, Rosetta Stone successfully created a presence amongst a brand new audience through engaging content. “We are delighted to be partnering with StackCommerce as they help us reach a different customer, who might not have looked for us in our traditional channels,” noted Mike Fishaw, North American Director of Sales.

#2 Handcrafted, Custom Email Placement

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Email placement is another great way to accelerate your brand exposure. Featuring your brand’s logo, image, or full product line in a dedicated email send is one option available to all brand partners. Our in-house creative team is available to create custom emails to showcase your brand or product line specifically for your targeted market. We segment our email list of over 3 million subscribers to deliver increased value and drive engagement. We always tailor our sends to be 100% unique, and customized quotes are available upon request.

#3 Accelerated Dollar-for-Dollar Ad Spend Matching

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We’ve discussed the power of native content when posted by influential online publishers, but what happens next? Does the content simply disappear forever? StackCommerce’s Amplify program allows brands to double down on their content strategy by attracting more eyes to their brand via social media. The Amplify program is consistent with our commitment to eliminate the black box of unknown fees and unclear ROI. Matching ad spend dollar-for-dollar, we are able to scale targeted, strategic Facebook Ad Campaigns with up to 6x return on ad spend (ROAS). With innovative methods to  showcase content as ads, we are blazing a path for social commerce at scale.

Before we even pitch our brand partners on the Amplify program, we put our money where our mouth is and build a proof of concept ourselves. StackCommerce takes on the full risk during an initial trial period, meaning we only offer this program to a select few brand partners who have already been shown to benefit concretely with actual data. With agency to generate custom, flexible solutions, we are able to drive value and deliver results, without compromising brand integrity.

Stack Chat: CEO Josh Payne Talks Native Commerce on The Makegood

Stack Chat: CEO Josh Payne Talks Native Commerce on The Makegood

We’re thrilled to be included in The Makegood’s ‘People of Ad Tech’ series! In this segment, our CEO and founder Josh Payne explained the importance of ‘native’ as an essential component of the modern digital publisher’s monetization toolkit. Check out the full interview below:

People of Ad Tech: StackCommerce CEO Josh Payne from Tom Hespos on Vimeo.

How to Hit a Bullseye with Your Marketing Strategy

How to Hit a Bullseye with Your Marketing Strategy

It’s a tough job getting marketing efforts rolling, and even tougher trying to scale them. While it’s great to build your brand through snappy messaging and eye-catching creative (and you do NEED those things), it’s not always what grows your revenue and bottom line.

At StackCommerce, each new publisher and new brand we work with is a fresh marketing challenge. Ultimately, we’ve learned that rapidly testing and deploying new marketing channels – and then wrapping them up into a cohesive story – is what will propel each of our partners to the top.

Many people compare marketing to throwing darts at a dartboard. In that spirit, here are 6 tricks for hitting the bullseye – i.e. building out and scaling your marketing efforts from scratch.

1. Throw a LOT of darts.

It’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, so don’t focus your strategy on one channel or one media outlet. Even when you have years of marketing experience, you can never truly know exactly what marketing channels will take off for a new brand. The best rule of thumb is to throw a lot of darts – launch many different channels constantly, and even try testing some channels that are less familiar to you.

How to do it wrong: Pour cash into Facebook Ads for months trying to find the right formula (because that’s where you’re told the money is).

How to do it right: While you’re trying Facebook Ads, also try other social media advertising platforms like Pinterest and Twitter. Run search and banner ads on AdWords. Lock-down your email program for email addresses you’re collecting along the way.

2. Throw them fast, in different colors, both right and left-handed.

Experimenting with various channels helps you focus your attention, and that’s when the real testing begins. Once you’re confident that a channel generates solid returns, dig into the details: can you segment your audience by age, gender, device? What copy/creative works best within each of those segments? These days, segmentation technology is nearly unlimited, so find that dart that stays on target with each throw.

How to do it wrong: Focus all your efforts on creating one killer campaign on Pinterest with an A-list influencer.

How to do it right: Run many smaller campaigns with C-list influencers across multiple social networks, using several mediums (video, listicle, etc.) to determine what works best. Then get the A-lister on the line!

3. Give your darts lead-tips.

Another classic marketing saying is “there is no silver bullet”. You may find an exact combination of channels that really takes off, and that’s great! Always double down on efforts with proven success. Just remember, these are lead bullets, not silver. No strategy is flawless, so continue to diversify for strategy in preparation for when that lead-tipped dart misses the board.

How to do it wrong: Latch onto a successful email channel, and invest 100% of your budget. What happens when conversion rates plummet?

How to do it right: Build out your email program and find out what’s making it tick. Is fresh email content increasing click-through? Is your subscription offer something customers don’t see anywhere else? Find out what’s working, and replicate that success in other channels, too.

4. Throw your darts in handfuls.

Create holistic marketing campaigns where channels crossover or feed into one another. You’ll amplify your results and returns.

How to do it wrong: Focus on isolated strategies for each marketing channel, since they all operate independently, right?

How to do it right: Create a centralized landing page with a giveaway or special offer and feature products below. Don’t forget to offer rewards or bonus entries for sharing on social. Collect emails, create a triggered email series, and drive traffic using digital ads.

5. Make it native.

This is where we come in. Simply selling a product by listing features is great, but younger audiences are becoming numb to the typical advertisement and commerce email. Embed your products into interesting content on your site, or better yet, on an influential publisher or personality’s site or social account. By telling a brand story through your marketing, you’re going to make a lasting impression on your customers that increases brand recall and conversion rates.

How to do it wrong: Send emails about products. Post on social media about products. Run ads featuring products.

How to do it right: Get your products featured in native editorial posts and videos. Let othes rave about your products!

6. Make it rain.

How to do it wrong: Dump a bunch of cash into soulless ads on Facebook, insisting that it’s going to work eventually.

How to do it right: Diversify, rapidly test, and innovate. Tell a story across all your channels, and repeat.

3 UX-Friendly Ways To Upsell Your Customers

3 UX-Friendly Ways To Upsell Your Customers

Upselling or cross-selling customers with relevant products is about more than boosting revenues (although it does that, too). From the user’s point of view, it’s an effortless way to see complementary products without browsing aimlessly. When done properly, upsells can truly enhance the user experience, while simultaneously increasing average order value (AOV) and generating incremental “free” money that the company or publisher would otherwise miss out on. Everyone wins, right?

Unfortunately, not always. Some e-commerce sites make a habit out of constantly shoving upsells in the user’s face, taking away from the user experience and leaving customers with a sour taste in their mouths. Successful upsells start and end with a carefully thought out product selection, but they also require a tactful UX strategy. Bypass common mistakes and read on for my top 3 methods of flawlessly implementing upsells across your site.

Product Page

Across StackCommerce’s 100+ publishers shops, users consistently spend the majority of time on product detail pages, and almost always, this is the first opportunity to provide an upsell to the user.

At this moment in the purchase lifecycle, offering a higher priced, upgraded model of the product at hand is beneficial for both user and seller. One strategy is to promote the cheaper version of a product and then provide options for the higher priced versions during the product selection process.

product-upsell

In the example above, the user is viewing the cheaper plan, but is also made aware that bigger discounts are available for longer subscriptions. The options are laid out clearly but not aggressively for the user, maintaining an overall positive user experience.

Shopping Cart

The shopping cart is another great place to offer upsells. A user with an item in-cart has already expressed an intent to buy, and if executed well, a cross-sell can provide a relevant addition to the user’s purchase. Buying a drone? Perhaps the user is interested in a crash pack. When testing cross-sells across the StackCommerce network, the team was shocked at the immediate success of this technique.

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To date, this has been our most successful cross-sell placement, and we’re continually enhancing it with improved automated recommendation logic and updated visual layouts. 

Note: the cross-sell item remains separated from items intentionally placed in the user’s cart to distinguish it as something different. As with the upsell strategy, the cross-sell recommendation can be easily ignored by the user and does not interrupt the purchase flow. We fixed it to the bottom of the cart nearest the Checkout button for optimal visibility.

Order Confirmation Page

The order confirmation page is one of the most underutilized pages in e-commerce. It’s typically the last page a user views and generally consists of nothing but a simple receipt.

One method for monetizing your order confirmation page is by cross-selling a relevant product with a limited-time discount applied. You may be surprised at how many people are willing to immediately make a second purchase right then and there.

By applying the user’s payment method, you can create a one-click checkout flow on the order confirmation page itself. We offer a selection of relevant products at a discount across the the top of each order confirmation page, all equipped with a seamless one-click checkout solution.

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Upsells and Native Commerce

Unlike typical affiliate commerce which redirects customers to a third party e-commerce site and yields a portion of the profits, native commerce branded shops allow publishers to benefit from techniques usually reserved by the e-commerce sites themselves. Upsells and cross-sells are amazing examples of this. With StackCommerce’s platform, publishers are able to seamlessly offer relevant upsells to their readers and collect on an additional incremental revenue stream as a result.

Whether you’re a publisher or e-commerce site looking for new user-friendly ways to monetize, remember that upsells and cross-sells should be implemented tastefully, carefully, and with a UX state-of-mind.