Browsed by
Category: Vendors

Case Story: How VPN Unlimited Sold Over 237k VPN Subscriptions

Case Story: How VPN Unlimited Sold Over 237k VPN Subscriptions

Marketing a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is no cakewalk in 2018 — but imagine the task at hand four years ago when VPNs were a foreign concept to most. A secret server that takes your invisible data and does what exactly? Where would you find the right audience? How would you even begin to explain such a complex subject within the confines of a simple ad unit?

This dilemma is what sparked the partnership between KeepSolid (and their product, VPN Unlimited) and StackCommerce. Four years later, the two have sold over 237k subscriptions to VPN Unlimited and KeepSolid has expanded its offering to six products. But let’s pause there and start at the very beginning, shall we?

Designing a Content Marketing Plan 

In August of 2014, KeepSolid, a productivity and privacy protection software company, was looking to expand its product portfolio into digital information security. Long before Equifax, Target, and the daily data breach news reel, there was still a demand, albeit more niche, for an online consumer security solution. In other words, people were seriously skeptical about using the internet, especially in public places.

Vasyl Ivanov, CEO of KeepSolid, noted “existing VPNs were complicated and expensive, so we decided to create a user-friendly, easy-to-use — and at the same time affordable — solution.” The idea was there, but the lean team had no dedicated marketing resources for the service, and enlisted StackCommerce to help get it off the ground.

Reaching New Audiences

Turns out that StackCommerce’s publisher partners provided the perfect ecosystem of engaged readers, starting with tech sites like Engadget, Cult of Mac, and Macworld, to grow the VPN’s user base. Through the distribution of advertorial content ranging from 200-1,000 words, each personalized to individual publisher audiences, KeepSolid was able to fully explain the value of a VPN as a solution to a very serious, growing problem.

VPN Unlimited on Engadget

Not only did they connect with targeted groups of iOS enthusiasts from Stack’s Apple-centric publishers, but they quickly realized an interest in the Android, Windows, and Linux communities, as well — allowing them to prioritize building alternative client apps without significant risk. Later, they started connecting with men’s lifestyle publications. News outlets. Women’s lifestyle blogs. People recognized they weren’t safe from hackers and everyone is ultimately interested in protecting themselves.

Finding a Content Angle

KeepSolid elevated its success even further by curating a “lifetime” deal to be offered exclusively on StackCommerce’s network. That’s when they struck gold. Lifetime access?! You’ll never have to worry about hackers again?! There’s the story — and publisher audiences were ready and willing to get onboard. This deal alone accounted for over half of the overall sales (164k units), thanks to the unique, newsworthy angle.

VPN Unlimited

But we don’t just love this story because of the numbers. We partner with new-to-market brands every day in hopes that they will see the same success as KeepSolid. “The partnership with StackCommerce gave us the chance to make a leap to the next level of quality and performance as well as invest in new projects. We had big expectations from StackCommerce. They surpassed them,” said Ivanov. Music to our ears. Are you ready to become the next KeepSolid? Contact our Sales Department today sales@stackcommerce.com to get started.

5 Easy Ways to Boost Your E-Commerce Earnings

5 Easy Ways to Boost Your E-Commerce Earnings

Every brand wants more customers. More sales. More brand recognition.

If your brand is currently running a promotion with StackCommerce, congratulations! You’re already ahead of the game. But as you battle to stand out amongst the Amazons of the world, there’s never too much you can do to increase brand awareness and boost your acquisition efforts. So whether you’re already working with StackCommerce or just looking for new ways to grow your content marketing efforts, here are five tried-and-true methods that have proven successful across our network.

Price Drop When Possible

It may seem obvious, but pricing is one of the most dangerous weapons you have when it comes to securing content placement across influential publishers. An example:

Say you own a brand of luxury watches and you just saw enormous success from an article posted on The Daily Beast. Although you’re still enjoying the longtail effects of acquiring TDB’s highly-engaged readers, traffic to the article has tapered off as the news cycle continues to move.

You ask if The Daily Beast will do a follow-up article.

Not interested — been there, done that.

You pitch a new article that focuses on your fresh line of watches and also promotes a $30 price reduction on the watches in the original article.

Now they’ve got a story — and they’re in.

Duplicate content is highly taboo in the content world, and price reductions help shape a new story worthy of writing and reading. There’s no tool more powerful or more effective in your arsenal than a price reduction — so use it wisely.

Invest In A Custom Email Placement

dedicated email placement

What’s the simplest way to get your brand in front of a new customer’s eyes? Their inbox, of course. StackCommerce has over 4-million highly-engaged email subscribers, and a custom paid placement is the easiest and fastest way to get a premium placement. With email, your product and brand will immediately reach a considerably larger, more diverse audience than a single editorial post. Chat with your sales representative to secure a spot on the calendar.

Find Your Edge & Tell Your Story

Every product has a story and content marketing is your vehicle for telling it. From your website to email to editorial placements via StackCommerce’s publisher network, make sure you’re sharing your unique story.

Do you have an epic rags-to-riches founder story that’s been totally left out of your featured articles? Is your manufacturing process unique? Are we missing a key use case for your smart gadget?

Make sure to contact our team so we can get it right.

Earn A Fast Shipping Badge

We all know that Amazon sets an unrealistic precedent when it comes to shipping times (although we all admit to using Prime two-day shipping anyway…). But the truth is that customers are becoming accustomed to fast turnaround times, especially due to the pervasive procrastination that plagues us all around gifting-heavy holidays.

Enter: the fast-ship badge.

We built the fast-ship badge to reward brands with rapid turnaround times and alert customers of this significant selling-point. Earn yourself a fast-ship badge and start reaping the benefits.

If you are interested in having the fast-ship badge on your products, reach out to vendortracking@stackcommerce.com for more information on how to earn one!

Improve Your Product Images

Product images are one of the most important marketing tools you have. They make an immediate impact on the potential customer, and bad images can lose them forever. The last thing you want is to waste a premium placement on a top publisher due to low-quality images.

Be sure to consider where your images will end up. If you’re selling a pair of headphones that will be promoted in an article on Mashable, you’ll want a photo of a young person actually wearing the headphones and doing something relatable.

man wearing headphone in nature

Why?

A photo of the headphones on a white background may make your native article look like an ad — totally defeating the point of your content distribution efforts.

Invest in quality images. It’s worth it.

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.

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!

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

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 12.22.34 PM

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

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 4.30.32 PM

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

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 4.38.40 PM

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.

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