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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.

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.

StackCommerce CEO Josh Payne Named Semifinalist for EY 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year

StackCommerce CEO Josh Payne Named Semifinalist for EY 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year

We couldn’t be happier to announce that our Founder and CEO, Josh Payne, was named a semifinalist in the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Greater Los Angeles Awards program. Over the past 30 years, this award has been recognizing extraordinary success in areas like financial performance, innovation, and commitment to the community. This prestigious business award has previously recognized leaders like Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company, Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc.,and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn Corporation.

josh

“It’s a privilege to be considered for this award alongside some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs in the Los Angeles area. I’m humbled by the nomination and grateful for the opportunity to lead and grow my amazing team at StackCommerce every day. I’m incredibly proud of everything we’ve accomplished over the past five years on behalf of publishers and brands around the globe, and thrilled to represent our exceptional company,” noted Josh.

The Greater Los Angeles award recipients will be announced at a black‐tie gala held on June 15 at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

Visit the EY Entrepreneur of the Year website for more information and follow us on Twitter @StackCommerce for updates on Josh’s journey!

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.

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.