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StackCommerce Hosts 2nd Annual Publisher Commerce Event

StackCommerce Hosts 2nd Annual Publisher Commerce Event

A major company highlight of 2018 was StackCommerce’s 2nd Annual Publisher Commerce Roundtable, an event that brought together an inspiring group of leaders in the publisher commerce space. Despite it being a rainy November evening in New York City, the energetic group gathered to mingle, discuss the latest trends, and share ideas around the future of the industry.

As we saw commerce monetization shift from small side project to core revenue stream, we also became aware of an increased demand for industry events that enable key stakeholders – from commerce editors to partnerships professionals to sales leads – to get together in a focused environment. This event spoke to that industry gap and featured the perspectives of some of the brightest minds in commerce.

The panel discussion was moderated by Digiday’s Max Willens, a leading journalistic voice whose pieces shed light on the trends and business models publishers are employing to generate commerce revenue. He led a vibrant panel with commerce leads from CNN, Hearst Digital, NBC, and Gizmodo Media Group, who each brought a unique perspective to the conversation. Here are some stand-out moments and learnings:

CNN entered the commerce arena in late 2017 with a stand-alone brand known as CNN Underscored. It has since launched a successful eCommerce shop powered by StackCommerce. Based on CNN’s perspective and experience, Max helped the panelists develop a point-of-view on when it might be appropriate for publishers to build up commerce brands distinct from their core businesses, and when they might be better served by keeping their content unified under their main brand.

NBCUniversal offered a totally different perspective regarding their robust commerce strategy and growing team, which includes affiliate commerce posts across The Today Show (which features an impressive TV deal segment business), NBC News, and other properties. We discussed ways in which publishers can scale up their commerce content, use paid social to increase their distribution, and explore a host of new product categories across a unique array of owned brands.

Next, the head of Hearst Media’s commerce efforts shared insights about how they manage the content generation process across several very distinct properties – from Popular Mechanics to Cosmopolitan – and use commerce data to inform other areas of their business such as direct ad sales and product development. This is best exemplified by their recent launch of a private label yoga mat, which was an idea sparked by strong affiliate sales in that category.

And finally, Gizmodo Media Group, one of the first publishers to develop a robust commerce strategy, shared insights from its successful Kinja Deals brand. Their Partnerships Lead offered interesting thoughts about how publishers should handle Amazon, the industry’s “800 lb gorilla” – i.e. when it makes to send their users to Amazon vs. establishing direct deals and working with partners such as StackCommerce.

Other topics of conversation included:

  • How to stand out from the noise: creating a viable strategy in light of how crowded publisher commerce has become (since “everyone’s doing it”). It’s a challenge and having a real brand helps.
  • Best practices for expanding your commerce content reach through social and other channels.
  • StackCommerce’s expansion into StackMedia: producing sponsored posts for advertising partners paid on a CPC basis rather than conversion.
  • Top sellers this year: DNA kits, robot vacuums, CBD gummies, and Bluetooth earbuds.

It was a fantastic event that provided a needed forum for commerce professionals in New York to get to know each other, talk shop, and learn new strategies. We’re looking forward to hosting an even bigger event again next year – and hope to see you there!

 

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.

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!

Partner Request: Show me the money!

Partner Request: Show me the money!

Electronic payments, digital wallets, blockchains; Payment processing is a constantly evolving technology that makes mailing a check look like ancient history. With each new enhancement comes more opportunities to make payment systems more transparent and informative.

StackCommerce is committed to evolving our platform as well, and to surfacing as much relevant information to our partners as possible. By sourcing helpful bits of feedback we’ve learned that we can easily present answers to common payment questions, including but not limited to:

  • When will my payment be posted?
  • What is the amount of my payment?
  • How will my payment be transferred?

Our latest integration helps answer these questions by leveraging our payment partner’s iframe to display dates, amounts, deposit methods, and status for current and previous payments. Adding visibility to payments helps make our platform more transparent, but most importantly, gives partners immediate access to pertinent info 24/7. To explore, just navigate to the Earnings section of your dashboard and select Payment Status.

We’d love to hear your comments below!

– Stack Product Team

Shhh! The Secret to Growing Your Deal Store

Shhh! The Secret to Growing Your Deal Store

Emails, Emails, Emails. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s how valuable capturing your readers’ emails can be. When studying the way that users behave on our stores, we’ve found that often times, users are interested in our deals, but may not convert at that exact moment. Many of these customers come back later when the product or timing is right. If we don’t take advantage of these precious moments when customers are on the site, we might lose the opportunity to provide them with a killer deal forever. We have a ton of ways to capture emails on our publisher stores, including email capture modals, widgets, exit intent popups, and more. We’ve tested and optimized these email capture tools vigorously – but it’s time to double down. We want to bring our capture tools to YOUR site. Here are the steps we’ve taken to do just that:

Subscriber API

Our first step was to build a Subscriber API. This is basically a place to send emails where we can look at where it came from and where it should go. All our deal emails are white-labeled for your store. This means that any customers that come from you will be sent to your deal store. If you already have a widget on your site that you’re attached to, that’s okay — we understand. You can still send us emails to add to your deals list! Our API allows you to easily add customers to your list, without having to introduce and optimize a new widget. Contact your account manager to get set up.

Our most successful publishers are the ones that make their email list a priority, because it gives us the opportunity to hit those customers with some amazing content, like this:

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 4.06.13 PM           Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 4.06.42 PM

 

Email Capture Widget

Maybe “email capturing” isn’t your specialty — that’s okay too. We built an email capture widget that looks beautiful on all devices and will help you bring out your email game face. What’s great about the email capture widget is that it’s just a snippet of Javascript. Drop the snippet into your site and you can have the emails flowing in no time. The best part of it is, your work is done after that! Let us do the designing, tracking, analyzing, and reporting. We’ll just send you a check — sounds good, right? Here’s what it looks like:

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 4.18.04 PM

One of our biggest goals while building this product was to make it extremely flexible. We want our email capture solutions to work for everyone. If you’re interested in building out your email list, contact your account manager to discuss what you are looking for — we are here to help. One of our favorite things about our deal stores is that the products in them are hand-picked and curated on a store by store basis. Our goal is not to bombard readers with random things to buy; it’s to put the right products, in the right place, at the right time — and make you money. And EMAILS are the golden ticket.

Talk to you soon!

– Stack Product Team

 

Check out our top sellers
StackShops Product Update: Feb 2016

StackShops Product Update: Feb 2016

We’ve enhanced our stores!

This is the latest hot and fresh out the kitchen…

Homepage Customization

 

hp-loop(cut)

We now have the ability to customize the look of our store fronts with our new homepage customization tool.  Publishers can now choose from several different layouts with different options for banner image sizes, products columns and product category order.

 

Enhanced Email Platform

 

emails

Email is one of our most important marketing channels, and we take great pride in sending the most engaging and valuable emails possible to our customers. To that end, we have upgraded our email service provider to Responsys, an enterprise-level platform owned by Oracle! With it, we can create highly customized and exceptionally optimized emails to promote the best products to the publisher’s audience.

 

Deal Feed Widget

 

dealfeed

The StackCommerce Deal Feed plugin is a new way for our publishers and affiliates to get curated products in front of their readers. Since we have data on how the deals on each store are performing, it creates a huge opportunity to surface the top deals to their readers at the right time. The setup takes less than 10 minutes, and the feed is designed to inherit the existing elements of their site’s design, making it a seamless experience for them and their readers.

Check it out here

 

New Checkout Experience

 

desktop-checkout-gif

One of the most important parts of an online store is the checkout page. We rebuilt it to be faster and easier to use by reorganizing the form fields, and cleaning up the look and feel of the page.  The new layout has led to an increase in conversion network wide.

– The Stack Product Team