B&T: How publishers and brands can win the content commerce game

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In this guest post, Nick Morgan (lead image), CEO and Founder of Vudoo, offers his pro tips on how online publishers can make more of a buck from their content…

Publishers invest significant resources to create content that attract audiences to their sites, but the process of generating revenue through advertising and affiliations often result in users being redirected elsewhere to complete their purchases.

As a publisher, growing and maintaining an audience while effectively monetising online properties is getting harder, with TikTok and Amazon setting a high bar for customer expectations of what smooth, content-led commerce should be like.

A new technology that enables in-stream checkout, which empowers consumers to shop right at the point of inspiration, can help tackle this issue. A purchase can be completed without leaving the publisher’s site, streamlining the buying journey and allowing customers to easily continue reading or viewing the content they were previously engaged in. Brands can extend the shopping cart through programmatic advertising, taking the checkout to where their audiences are – and helping premium publishers monetise their content.

While in-stream checkout can be effectively used in images, it stands out in video content, particularly in interactive shoppable videos – redefining the way consumers shop.

‘Buy now’ while in the video

Most shoppable videos haven’t really been shoppable, but a browsable video with a link – there is an opportunity to change this. We’ve seen the successful rollout of in-stream checkout by News Corp Australia in a world-first direct-to-consumer ecommerce trial by Moët & Chandon via a shoppable video unit. Consumers can personalise their very own bottle of champagne, make a purchase and then have it delivered to their door right from the video.

A study by Kantar revealed that more than four out of five (81 per cent) of users thought the shoppable video ad made product discovery and shopping easier, 80 per cnet found it innovative, and 75 per cent said it was a seamless experience. Users exposed to the ads saw an uplift in unaided brand awareness of 38 per cent, while aided brand awareness lifted by fiver per cent, from 91 per cent to 96 per cent. Purchase intent saw a double-digit increase of 10 per cent, from 73 per cent to 83 per cent.

Maximising shoppable content

The continued ecommerce boom represents a huge opportunity for publishers to win customers’ hearts. By providing contextually relevant and authentic opportunities to shop on their titles, media, video, imagery, and text buttons, consumers can have shoppable, interactive moments and highly engaging experiences.

Publishers can leverage interactive videos, from ‘choose your own adventure’ style videos, step-by-step product guides, interactive quizzes and consumer polls to virtual tours, to increase time spent on sites and improve lead generation. The dynamic nature of the format empowers choices for consumers and drives better audience engagement.

When coupled with in-stream checkout, it allows advertisers to insert real-time pricing and availability into ads plus upsells and cross-sells.

Credible and high-quality content experiences

Interactive shoppable content also creates more clicks. The more clicks are generated, the more data points are collected. This interactivity drives deeper engagement with video content, and the data holds insights to unpack the journey of the viewer, showing how the content was consumed – delivering a single source of data for the entire consumer journey. Publishers, agencies and brands can get top and bottom funnel insights for their campaigns to see what’s working and what isn’t. Real-time data points mean advertisers can tweak their ads instantly and ensure they make the experience as smooth and captivating as possible for consumers.

In this era of digital immersion, producing top-notch content experiences is key. Publishers, brands, and their creative teams will need to take a creative-first approach, rethink their structure and build a process that will encourage consumers to interact and convert right at the moment of inspiration. Leveraging video, particularly to tell compelling, multi-dimensional stories that connect with audiences, will be crucial to achieving high engagement and brand uplift, ultimately increasing the bottom line.

As consumer behaviours evolve rapidly and the demand for seamless customer experiences remains high, there won’t be a publisher in any country that doesn’t have a transactable media strategy in the foreseeable future, and their (publication) titles or mastheads will be virtual shop fronts. News Corp is at the forefront of the industry by recently launching an Australian-first commerce content platform to deliver better shopping and content experiences to consumers.

Publishers must adapt to take advantage of the opportunity now to keep hold of their hard-won audience. By creating a richer content environment, publishers can deliver brands and advertisers the best advertising opportunities, benefitting readers and all parties involved. Successful ones will use interactive and truly shoppable videos to create effective campaigns that enable customers to make transactions anytime and anywhere, ensuring higher performance, improved transaction rates, more engagement, better purchases and richer data.