Nicolle Fallon | November 13, 2014 | view article
Entrepreneur: Alicia Navarro
Business name: Skimlinks
Years in business: 7
Website address: skimlinks.com
Being a successful entrepreneur is a huge accomplishment. Being a successful female entrepreneur in the tech space is even bigger, especially when your company works with media giants like Hearst and Gawker.
Seven years ago, Alicia Navarro helped to bring affiliate marketing into the 21st century with her company Skimlinks, a platform that helps websites earn revenue from their commerce-related content. Skimlinks works with 1.5 million global websites and 20,000 retailers to turn product links in articles into trackable revenue-generating affiliate links. If a publisher’s readers click on a link and buy something from a retailer, the publisher receives a commission from Skimlinks, thereby helping everyone from small blogs to large media networks monetize their content.
Navarro, who serves as the company’s CEO, shared her experience in online advertising and marketing, and where she thinks the industry will go in the coming years.
Business News Daily: What problem were you hoping to solve when you started your business?
Alicia Navarro: Affiliate marketing is a way publishers can earn a commission for the sales they refer, and has been around for a long time. But before Skimlinks, it was incredibly clunky, technically difficult and time-consuming to sign up with multiple networks, manually create affiliate links and keep them optimized. Skimlinks solved this problem by automating the entire process of earning money through affiliate marketing, and helps publishers earn more revenue through their site.
BND: Could your business have existed 20 years ago?
A.N.: Yes, in that affiliate marketing has been around that long. But the affiliate networks have become so fragmented, and there are now so many online retailers. [This] is what makes Skimlinks — a service that aggregates and automates the affiliate linking of 20,000 retailers — so valuable.
BND: What technology has been the greatest help to your business?
A.N.: Amazon Web Services. We’ve been able to grow quickly and have our hosting needs met virtually and scalably.
BND: What technology can’t you live without?
A.N.: Right now, I love streaming video services such as Hulu and Netflix. I no longer watch commercial television.
BND: If you could hire one extra employee right now, what would you have that person do?
A.N.: Data engineer. They are hard to find, and we have a lot of data that needs engineering!
BND: What technology do you wish existed that doesn’t?
A.N.: Teleporting. I think it would solve all the world’s problems. Environmental issues would abate because humans would be more spread out. Famine, work immobility, wars, poverty — it could all end with a bit of teleporting.
BND: Where do you see technology in your industry going over the next three to five years?
A.N.: I see the [shift] from display to native advertising being the major move, as well as from brand dollars to programmatic, as the fallacies behind many of the success metrics of brand display campaigns are exposed.
BND: What’s the most valuable nontech skill an entrepreneur needs?
A.N.: The ability to get people to help you achieve your vision.
SAN FRANCISCO and LONDON, Nov. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Skimlinks, the leading content monetization platform for digital publishers, today released “Mobile Trends in the Content Publisher Landscape”, a study that examines what devices people use to read content, click ecommerce links and purchase goods online. The company has also launched a live dynamic table revealing how 200 of the top Skimlinks merchants support mobile commerce. Together, the study and table suggest that mobile sales may be trailing mobile impressions because merchants are not providing apps or mobile optimized websites.
As a company that processes over 300 million clicks per month for 1.5 million websites and apps, Skimlinks was in a unique position to study how impressions, clicks and purchases fluctuate across devices, publisher types and categories. The research team made several key discoveries:
– Although smartphones account for 20% of impressions, they only generate 10% of sales value
– Computers still generate 65% of sales value
– Tablets demonstrate the highest conversion rates (2%) as well as the highest sales value proportionally with 11% of impressions and 18% of sales value
– “The discrepancy between smartphone impressions and sales suggested that merchants were somehow underserving consumers along the checkout process,” said Lindsay O’Gorman, Senior Director of Marketing at Skimlinks. “This encouraged us to investigate further and see how our top merchants support mobile commerce.”
The research team developed a live table that shows how 200 of the top merchants from the Skimlinks network treat mobile commerce. Research revealed that:
– 42% of the merchants do not have an iOS app
– 61% do not have an Android app
– 97% do not support deep-linking into their apps
– 11% do not have mobile optimized websites
Although Internet users are consuming much more content from their smartphones, the lack of mcommerce apps, mobile websites, deep-linking and incentives for publishers appears to be limiting mobile purchases.
“Merchants are probably losing conversions when they link mobile users to websites that aren’t designed for mobile purchases,” added O’Gorman. “They need to improve mobile checkout experiences and also reward publishers for driving purchase intent via mobile devices. This will motivate publishers to make quality commerce-driven content for all device types.”
For additional insights, as well as comparisons of which publisher types and categories drive the most impressions and commissions on each device, please download the full study at skimlinks.com/MobileLandscape/Mobiletrends. The live table of merchants is available at skimlinks.com/MobileLandscape/Merchantsonmobile.
Founded in 2007, Skimlinks is the leading content monetization platform that rewards publishers for the role their content plays in creating purchase intent. Skimlinks processes 300 million clicks a month on over 1.5 million sites around the web, including Conde Nast, Gawker, Hearst Digital, Haymarket Consumer Media, Telegraph Media Group and many more. Last year, the company drove $500M worth of e-commerce through its platform. Skimlinks is a team of 65 with offices in London and San Francisco. Learn more at www.skimlinks.com.
Trevor Clawson | November 11, 2014 | view article
Back in 2006, when Alicia Navarro failed to secure VC support for her nascent social-decision making venture she did what any right-minded Australian entrepreneur would do in the circumstances – she went ‘walkabout’ to consider her next move.
Six weeks or so in the Aussie ‘Bush’ clearly stiffened her resolve. The following year, she relocated to London and continued the development of a decision-making tool (Skimbit) aimed at helping shoppers to research products without having to skip laboriously from website to website. The work at that time was partly funded by an agreement to produce a ‘white label’ version but Navarro was also considering ways and means to monetise the platform in the longer term. “I came up with the idea of funding it through affiliate marketing,” she says. “So we developed a monetisation tool to enable us to do that.”
And this is the where the story takes a curve to the left. Fast forward to 2014 and Navarro’s company – now known as Skimlinks – has long-since abandoned its original social shopping/research concept and is instead focused on helping bloggers, forum operators and online publishers of all stripes to monetise their content by tapping effortlessly into a broad range of affiliate marketing schemes. Put simply, the monetisation tool that Navarro spoke of has become the business.
It works like this. When a publisher joins the Skimlinks platform any product links included on their pages are automatically converted to revenue-generating “affiliate links’. As things stand Skimlinks is responsible for an average of 1.5bn page impressions every month and offers publishers the opportunity to link to around 17,000 merchants across 27 affiliate networks.
In retrospect the decision by Navarro and Skimlinks co-founder Joe Stepniewski to changes horses in midstream was an extremely smart move. As publisher of a social shopping site the company as it was originally conceived would have been scrambling for affiliate and advertising revenues in a crowded marketplace. By switching its focus to monetisation, the company became an aggregator for the affiliate marketing activities of hundreds of publishers, creaming off a share of the revenues for each transaction. In 2013 the platform was responsible for $500m in e-commerce sales.
Certainly investors have approved the business model. While VC support proved elusive in the early days of the business, the remodelled company has proved much more successful. In 2011 Skimlinks raised $4.3m in a founding round led by Bertelsmann Digital Media and went on to secure further growth capital in a deal led by Greycroft in 2013. Other investors include, Sussex Place Ventures, Venrex, 500 Startups and the Accelerator Group.
But here’s the thing. When Skimlinks made the decision to change tack in 2008 there was no guarantee of success. So when I spoke to Alicia Navarro a couple of weeks after a Content 2 Commerce summit hosted by the company in New York, I asked her about the realities of building a remade and remodelled business.
As she recalls, one of the early challenges lay in connecting the Skimlinks platform to enough affiliate networks to make the proposition worthwhile. “We started off by signing about six networks, “ she says. “At that stage we were flying under the radar. It was once we were flying above the radar that we really had to prove our worth.”
To the affiliate networks, that worth lay in Skimlinks ability to bring quality content to the party. Content that would fuel traffic. “We began by focusing on forums and blogs, “ says Navarro. “Later we were able to sign up publishers such as Haymarket and Hearst.”
As Navarro sees it, the appeal to the publisher was the simplicity of the system. Content providers have been signing up to affiliate programmes and networks since the earliest days of e-commerce, but each relationship requires a degree of administrative effort. The Skimlinks platform, a single point of access to a broad range of advertisers/merchants and affiliate networks.
But given the early focus on small publishers, can Skimlinks really offer a reliable source of income those who blog or create content for relatively restricted audiences. “It is a scale game,” Navarro acknowledges. “But our bloggers are usually happy because their revenue expectations tend to be low.”
Meanwhile, those with more resources at their disposal – typically the bigger publishers – have an opportunity to increase their revenues by creating content and links that maximise the likelihood of customers clicking through and buying from merchants.
In recent years, affiliate space has been dominated – at least in terms of revenue – by the big price comparison sites and in that respect Skimlinks has the potential to shift the balance – at least to a degree – back towards content providers. However, Navarro acknowledges that publishers often loseout in affiliate relationships because the initial clickthrough very often won’t result in a sale. Rather it will be a kind of research mission and the consumer may well return to the merchant’s site later by a different route to make a purchase. Thus the sale is not attributed to the blogger or forum operator and the money goes elsewhere. “But the attribution problem is something that the industry is working on,” says Navarro . “And we expect the situation to improve.”
The evolution of Skimlinks illustrates that entrepreneurs not only need to have good idea, they also need to be agile and perceptive enough to see where the real opportunities lie. As she developed her company, Navarro made two important decisions. One to move from Australia to London’s Tech City and more importantly to follow the money develop the tool that had the greatest chance of market success and in doing so abandon a long-cherished concept.
But sometimes changing horses in midstream is the best course of action.
Skimlinks Launches Content to Commerce Summit in NYC
Event to Focus on Practical Strategies for Increasing Revenues and Improving Audience Engagement
September 17, 2014 01:09 PM Eastern Daylight Time
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Skimlinks, the leading content monetization platform for digital publishers, will host the first annual Content to Commerce Summit on Tuesday, October 14, at the Openhouse Gallery in Soho New York. An invite-only event, Content to Commerce will bring together 200 publishing professionals from around the world. The summit will focus on how publishers can use commerce-related content to increase revenue and boost audience engagement.
“Many participants are developing commerce-driven content strategies that balance editorial integrity with a viable business model. The future of publishing depends on continual innovation and shared learnings.”
“Although publishers have historically written about products and brands, they haven’t focused on the revenue and insight that comes from having commerce-related content as a core part of their overall strategy,” said Alicia Navarro, Founder and CEO of Skimlinks. “However, publishers have become savvier about the role commerce-related content can play in their organization, and they have developed policies, strategies and structures to make the most of it. Content to Commerce is an intimate event where publishers can share their experiences and learnings with a view to advancing the industry.”
Content to Commerce will showcase examples, strategies and lessons from publishing leaders who have applied commerce-driven content strategies at their own media outlets. Speakers include:
- Erin Pettigrew, VP of Business Development, Gawker Media
- Maura Charles, Senior Digital Product Manager, Time Inc.
- Sandro Del Grosso, Digital Partnership Manager, The Independent & Evening Standard
- Josh Himwich, VP of Product, XO Group
The agenda will cover content monetization, native commerce, mobile strategies and much more. Data scientists will also offer a unique perspective on how to measure affinity and intent using purchase data. The one-day event will close with a keynote address about the future of monetization and an after party for all attendees. Participants can expect to leave with practical knowledge that they can use to more effectively create and monetize commerce-related content.
“We’re invested in helping grow the digital publishing industry, and we want leaders to discover what their peers are doing to drive revenues and create compelling content,” added Navarro. “Many participants are developing commerce-driven content strategies that balance editorial integrity with a viable business model. The future of publishing depends on continual innovation and shared learnings.”
Content to Commerce will be Skimlinks’ first global conference and first event in New York, where the company is building a presence. To learn more about the event and request an invitation to the Summit, visit www.content2commerce.com. To learn more about Skimlinks, visit www.skimlinks.com.
Founded in 2007, Skimlinks is the leading content monetization platform that rewards publishers for the role their content plays in creating purchase intent. Skimlinks processes 300 million clicks a month on over 1.5 million sites around the web, including Condé Nast, Gawker, Hearst Digital, Haymarket Consumer Media, Telegraph Media Group and many more. Last year, the company drove $500M worth of e-commerce through its platform. Skimlinks is a team of 65 with offices in London and San Francisco. Learn more at www.skimlinks.com.
Steve Simon, 847-415-9347
Skimlinks content monetization platform adds ‘intelligent’ links that auto-update, check stock
Ben Woods | April 9, 2014 | view article
Skimlinks, the service that lets publishers monetize content by placing affiliate links to products on a page, has revealed an update that the company says will do away with “decades-old static hyperlinks” and improve conversion rates.
Announced today, the Skimlinks Editor now has a number of new features designed to give users more control over their links. For example, editors can create automatically updating links to products with real-time pricing and stock information, and provide links for up to two alternative merchants too. Links will also now reflect a user’s location and preferences, the company said.
The updated Skimlinks Editor capabilities also bring more control over SkimWords (the system used to automatically find relevant product references on a page and turn them into links) — namely the ability to easily toggle them on and off, and the option to edit the link destination. Users can also now add new links themselves with their own suggested products.
The update follows the launch of a Skimlinks Chrome extension in November last year, which allows users to see referral rates for retailers at a glance.
The success of an ad platform such as Skimlinks rests on a balancing unobtrusive browsing (or visitors to any site using the service) with control for editors and content managers — and of course, worthwhile revenues. In 2013, Skimlinks said it powered $500 million worth of online sales, and is aiming to double that in 2014 by topping the $1 billion barrier. Clearly, today’s update is part of that plan to draw in new users.
Anthony Ha | January 19, 2014 | view article
Skimlinks, a company that helps online publishers make money through affiliate links, says that it had a record year, driving more than $500 million in e-commerce sales.
A spokesperson told me that three quarters of Skimlinks sales go through affiliate networks that report e-commerce sales value, and they reported $402.3 million in sales driven by Skimlinks in 2013. However, since there are other networks that don’t report sales value, the company is estimating that it drove more than $500 million total for the year (more specifically, based on historical analysis, the company says the number was probably between $502 million and $536 million). That’s about double the sales from last year.
Skimlinks’ technology includes the ability to convert regular links and relevant words into affiliate links (in other words, links where the publisher is paid a commission for driving purchases). Recent additions include last fall’s launch of Skimlinks Editor, a browser plugin that allows publishers to compare the current affiliate commission rates across different merchants.
In a conversation with CEO Alicia Navarro before the launch, and in follow-up emails with a company spokesperson, Skimlinks emphasized that the Editor product is the first step toward “intelligent linking,” i.e., links that are automatically updated and don’t require any work from the writer, editor, or publisher: “They won’t have to find products or list prices; and readers won’t be faced with dead links or redirects or outdated pricing.”
Navarro acknowledged that providing monetization data may be seen as a risk to editorial integrity, and she noted that in some cases, publishers have chosen to hide the actual commission rates from editors. At the same time, she said, “There’s a very strong feel that publishers are realizing that if they keep doing what they’re doing, they’re going to become obsolete. … [and] that it’s not a dirty word, making money from something.”
Navarro added that that 2014 will involve building a lot more of that intelligent linking infrastructure.
One thing that doesn’t seem to be a big priority is mobile. While that seems to be where a lot of publishers and startups are putting their energy nowadays, Navarro said that when it comes to actually making purchases, there doesn’t seem to be much traffic from mobile, “So I don’t think we’re missing out on too much yet.”
Ben Woods | November 22, 2013 | view article
Online monetization company Skimlinks has launched a new Chrome Web browser extension called Skimlinks Editor that makes it easy for website owners to see which partners throughout its network will pay the best commissions.
Launched today, the Skimlinks Editor tool simply needs to be installed in Chrome and then accessed via the toolbar. Clicking it will pop up a little sidebar (shown below) indicating the level of referral a user will get for linking to a specific site.
The system, which is primarily aimed at publishers and blogs already using the Skimlinks product, also integrates a real-time price comparison element too, so when they are shared on-site by editors, the site visitor will be able to compare prices from different merchants.
➤ Skimlinks Editor [Chrome Web Store]
Featured Image Credit – Thinkstock
Skimlinks Editor Displays Critical Content Marketing Information Directly Inside Google Chrome, Enabling Faster Decision-Making and Increased Affiliate Revenue
LONDON and SAN FRANCISCO — November 22, 2013 — Skimlinks, the leading content monetization platform for digital publishers, today unveiled Skimlinks Editor, a new web tool that helps publishers maximize revenues by providing them with an effortless way to view—at a glance—all the information they need to make informed decisions on how they monetize their content.
Skimlinks Editor, available at no cost on the Google Chrome Web Store, is the ideal web companion for editors as they create content. With Skimlinks Editor, editors are automatically notified of monetization opportunities and are empowered to instantly compare commission rates across merchants to ensure that they are maximizing affiliate revenue. At the same time, real-time price comparison technology enables editors to direct readers to merchants with the most competitive pricing.
“As digital commerce continues to explode around the world, we’re working to make the interaction between digital content and commerce seamless, transparent, and valuable for both readers and publishers,” said Alicia Navarro, CEO of Skimlinks. “Skimlinks Editor is the next logical step in this progression, enabling an effortless experience for editors to determine the merchants that provide the most value to them and their readers.”
“We’re continually impressed by the ways in which Skimlinks seeks to better service publishers at the moment of content creation,” said Erin Pettigrew, vice president for leading digital publisher Gawker Media. “Skimlinks’ new Editor tool is another innovation in that direction. The Editor allows us to monitor retailer relationships and manage linking while we’re creating content rather than requiring us to move out of our workflow. Basically, it’s bringing the tools to the customer rather than requiring the customer to go to the tools. Great direction.”
Skimlinks Editor features and functionality:
Monetization opportunity notifications — As editors browse merchant websites, the unobtrusive Skimlinks Editor Chrome extension will change color from gray to blue, indicating a Skimlinks partnership that can generate revenue.
Commissions at a glance – With a single click, editors can view referral fees for merchant websites in the Skimlinks network. If a merchant is a “Skimlinks Preferred Partner”, the Editor will highlight their increased commission rates.
Real-time price monitoring – As editors create affiliate links, they can use Skimlinks Editor’s real-time price comparison technology to offer readers the best value on items across popular merchants.
Link shortening and social sharing – With Skimlinks Editor, editors can effortlessly create shortened affiliate links and email or share them across social media networks.
“With Skimlinks Editor, I’m able to see whether a merchant is partnered with Skimlinks—and what my commission will be—without needing to log in to the main Skimlinks dashboard and manually search,” said Paul Cunliffe, affiliate manager at Future Publishing. “Being able to shorten links from directly within Skimlinks Editor is a huge time saver; we create content on our iPad editions and we need to use the shortened links and place them into the copy before going to press. This tool is incredibly useful for short-cutting that process, and because it’s a browser extension, it’s easy to get my editorial team to download and use it instead of the full dashboard.”
“Skimlinks Editor is very, very cool,” said Dianna Baros of The Budget Babe. “I love that all of the critical monetization details are available at a glance; I no longer need to log in to see what my commission will be or whether a merchant is part of the Skimlinks network. Skimlinks simply works its magic on any qualifying link.”
Founded in 2007, Skimlinks is the leading content monetization platform that rewards publishers for the role their content plays in creating purchase intent. Skimlinks processes 300 million clicks a month on over 140,000 sites around the web, including Condé Nast, Gawker, AOL Europe, WordPress, Hearst Digital, Haymarket Consumer Media, Telegraph Media Group, and many more. Skimlinks is a team of 65 with offices in London, San Francisco, and Tokyo. Learn more at www.skimlinks.com.
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Katie McQuater | November 22, 2013 | view article
In affiliate marketing, advertisers naturally focus on big numbers, which more often than not come from big publishers. But there are other, more imaginative publishers out there recognising the value in innovative new propositions, as Katie McQuater reports.
Performance marketing is an industry founded on innovation, and new affiliate models have always been at the forefront of the continued evolution of digital marketing.
The desire to innovate has led to the creation of mutually beneficial approaches that bring value to advertisers and publishers alike, and it isn’t slowing down. As we approach 2014, advances in technology and creative ways of thinking are creating new and lucrative means for advertisers to increase their return from performance-based channels.
The advent of cashback affiliate sites brought an innovative approach to an existing model by incentivising consumers, while voucher codes affiliates brought incremental value to advertisers – but outwith the big affiliates, smaller publishers today are now using different approaches to create valuable experiences for their visitors, while untapped areas such as video affiliate are seeing greater investment from advertisers looking to capitalise on new opportunities in the space.
The Beans Group, the company behind affiliate publisher StudentBeans.com, created an online version of the traditional freshers’ fair in 2012. The site was built with the insight that to reach 100,000 students, a brand would need to have a presence at 35 offline fairs and spend approximately £70,000. In comparison with offline freshers’ events, the website offered measurable ROI for brand partners and allowed students to focus their interest only on the offers, deals and content that was most relevant to them.
In its second year, the campaign has seen 200,000 conversions (visitors clicking an offer or entering a competition), with involvement from over 100 brands.
“Creativity played a big part in the success of the campaign,” says Simon Eder, commercial director at The Beans Group. “When we first ran this campaign in 2012 it had never been done before.”
Content was also important in this year’s approach, adds Eder, with advertisers able to get involved in branded content created to fit their objectives in the tone of a typical StudentBeans.com article.
Eder says that the biggest challenge for publishers trying to innovate is standing out from the voucher and cashback affiliates.
“The market hasn’t changed in a long time, it’s just consolidated itself around the major players. The challenge is how do affiliates stand out from the crowd and break the cartel of these ‘affiliate super brands’. It comes from adding value, which in turn only comes from innovation.”
Mutually beneficial technology
Technology, the foundation of performance marketing, continues to drive the industry’s growth in new ways. Automated link-tagging tools such as Skimlinks and Google-backed VigLink allow publishers to monetise their existing content by changing words or product references into affiliate links.
According to Alicia Navarro, CEO and co-founder of Skimlinks, the means of creating revenue from the affiliate channel has been made easier by this technology, meaning it is a “no-brainer” for many publishers. As a result, says Navarro, affiliate marketing has become a “ubiquitous mainstream form of monetisation for publishers; a natural component of their revenue mix”.
Aside from the removal of complexity for the publisher, other benefits of the technology include insight into which retailers are most popular with their readers, the days that are busiest for shopping, and a host of other data.
“For advertisers, we have created this ecosystem of high quality content sites that are incentivised, encouraged and trained to link out to those advertisers natively in their content, and to create more commerce-related content,” says Navarro. “Advertisers derive all the branding and PR benefits of advertorial, with content created naturally by publishers for their readers.”
Mutually beneficial models that derive value for advertisers yet also incentivise the consumer are key to the success of affiliate channels. Adpoints, a viewer choice video platform that rewards people for watching and interacting with video ads in exchange for Nectar points, segments consumers to show them ads based on their preferences. Meanwhile, advertisers pay on a cost-per-engagement model.
“We’ve found that interweaving relevancy, choice and reward results in a far greater pre-disposition to the messaging and offer,” explains founding director Jason Froggett, who suggests that the future of affiliate marketing lies in the creation of “integrated” rather than “interruptive” online experiences.
“Video is beginning to play a significant role in the consumer’s web experience, so it’s a great opportunity for both advertisers and publishers. However, publishers need to think carefully how they leverage and monetise it. Real estate is limited, so they need to ensure that short-form content isn’t overly disrupted by interruptive formats.”
Size, scale and CPA – barriers to innovation
The importance of continued affiliate innovation can’t be understated, yet publishers face a raft of barriers – not least fending off competition from larger publishers and missing out on revenue as a result of the last click attribution model favoured by the majority of advertisers.
Andrew Copeland, network director at Tradedoubler, suggests that the focus on “instant return” often leads to innovative ideas being dismissed because they can’t deliver immediate results for advertisers.
“Publisher innovation is progressing at a faster rate than ever. Unfortunately, most of this innovation goes unnoticed and is therefore under-utilised. Naturally, advertisers focus on big numbers, which often come from big publishers. Imagination is key in seeing the value in a new proposition, which has no pedigree in delivering results.”
Meanwhile, the failure of the CPA/last click model to adequately recognise the value of all influencers in the path to conversion has created another barrier to innovation, according to Affilinet MD Helen Southgate, who says that the current model means innovative thinkers simply aren’t being rewarded.
As relevancy becomes ever more important to time-poor consumers, affiliate sites who embrace innovation are delivering results for advertisers. Challenges lie in the form of outdated affiliate payment models and a lack of understanding from advertisers, but what’s clear is that creativity and technology – the backbone of performance marketing – will continue to deliver results for forward-thinking publishers and partners. And this, in turn, is what drives the industry forward.
The untapped opportunity of video affiliate
Video is one area that as yet has remained relatively untapped in comparison with more established affiliate models. Yet according to Cisco, video will account for over half (57 per cent) of all consumer web traffic by 2015 – almost four times as much as web browsing and email.
Video affiliate technologies which enable clickable affiliate links to appear over related videos are offering publishers a means of monetising their content. Coull’s Vidlink technology works by adding contextually relevant affiliate links to videos on publisher websites. According to Rae Rawlings, SVP Europe, maximising click-throughs and conversions is dependent on “targeting content, not people”.
“As video grows in popularity, performance models will continue to play a part in the monetisation process for publishers, alongside other models that recognise the power of video to drive wider branding and engagement goals for brands through association with publisher content,” she says.
However, Rawlings adds that many publishers don’t yet understand how to monetise their video content effectively. “The current formats made available to brands when they choose to advertise through video are restrictive. By this we mean they don’t let brands associate with the content itself, which would enable the advertiser to provide a more targeted and bespoke advertising experience. Currently a lot of the formats are predicated on tracking people across the internet, not actually focusing on what the video is about and what contextual relevance the ads have to the viewer.”
Jaakko Iso-Järvenpää, senior partner manager at ‘smart content’ platform Kiosked, echoes Rawlings’ comments on the importance of a contextually relevant model when it comes to unlocking the opportunity of video affiliate. The platform, which enables the addition of shoppable elements to images, videos or apps, has seen a 12 per cent increase in time spent on-site when using kiosks in image content.
“When consumers view videos the focus is in the content itself and anything disturbing will interfere with this experience,” says Iso-Järvenpää as he explains why brands have been cautious and slow to adopt video solutions.
“Marketers (affiliate and others) need to find ways to turn advertising into service. Innovation is the key and it should focus on how to capture impulses people get from visual content and how to deliver call-to-action in a non-intrusive manner.”
This feature was first published in The Drum’s performance supplement on 22 November.
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