How publishers are future-proofing their business offerings for post-pandemic consumers

Amid Digiday Media’s first week of commerce, publishers met virtually on Thursday to agree on their business strategies.

Executives from Vice, Vox Media, Leaf Group and BuzzFeed took part in roundtables to discuss how — with home buyers during the pandemic — they’ve expanded their offerings and where they’re investing to sustain that side. of their businesses.

Here are five takeaways from the event:

Expand audience without diluting audience.

When publishers expand their commercial offerings, it’s important not to dilute the portion of the audience that these products already reach.

Take it from Samantha Baker, vice president of commerce and partnerships at Vice Media Group. Baker argued that affiliate content would and should only appear in appropriate places across all brands. This means in particular placements away from media coverage.

It also means not applying a one-size-fits-all approach to where affiliate content would appear on non-news brands. Instead, Baker and his team focused on driving audiences back to new affiliate content from their social channels. “We didn’t want to alienate our audience or make them think the content would be tainted,” Baker said.

Direct relationships with advertisers can help inform new strategies.

Leaf Group managed to create an in-person activation to reach the public. Called Hunker House, in Venice, California, the house was designed to create a space that could sell products in person and provide a space where influencers could create their own organic content.

In this case, Leaf Group’s house brand, Hunker, relied on contracts with advertisers who had direct relationships with the publisher’s sales team to sign packages that included those that placed the brand in the house, a printed version of Hunker and digital components.

“While affiliation can function as its own source of income and its own method of diversification, it is also becoming a more important part of the partnership conversation with people at all levels,” said Eve Epstein, svp & gm, Hunker.

It’s a strategy Vox Media has also deployed, particularly given its profile of brands, which have grown to include New York Magazine, NowThis and Thrilist. With direct relationships, the Vox Media team has worked on advertiser terms that have longer lead times.

“If we understand a metric you’re moving on this year or quarter…we can take that into account and plan accordingly, provide our editors with moments that would align well with our sites. And share data,” Camilla said. Cho, please trade at Vox Media.

KPIs change and advertisers/publishers arrive at new contractual conditions.

Contractual agreements between advertisers and publishers are evolving, as the measurement of successful affiliate content is also evolving. “Retailers and advertisers value content more than ever,” said Nilla Ali, vice president of commerce at BuzzFeed. “And that’s the daily bread of publishers, there’s a mutual incentive to break those formats and those trends.”

Whether it’s measuring value in CPA or CPC or negotiating a package, publishers work on the terms. And often, this indicates where – and how – publishers present content recommendations to the public.

At Vice Media Group, for example: “When we want to convert our audience, we really lean into our stories,” Baker said.

With the state of the economy and inflation, publishers must not forget the purchasing power of consumers.

With inflation and a likely downturn in the economy, publishers should consider the purchasing power of their audience, hence the types of content recommendations they should make to reach them.

Vox Media has managed to offer deeply discounted content recommendations around key moments to introduce new brands to its audience. He works with The Strategist’s content team to make sure the product types match the readers.

“We may also share data and let [advertisers] know they’re starting to gain momentum with readers,” Cho said.

The purchasable video has a few bumps in the road.

Vice Media’s Baker and BuzzFeed’s Ali announced new offerings built around buyable video, a topic that garnered outsized attention at this year’s NewFronts, but a channel that’s seen as still struggling with the consistency of video. industry in accessible measurement and inventory.

“Shoppable video hasn’t been cracked yet,” Baker said. “That’s where the biggest real opportunity lies.”

Particularly within social platforms, Baker noted, which can provide publishers with the infrastructure for live shopping, like Pinterest, which is built around conversion. “I’m just cautiously optimistic that they’ll figure it out,” she said.