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.
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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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リンクシェア・ジャパンは、楽天グループのB2B（Business to Business)マーケティング会社として、アフィリエイトマーケティング、リードマーケティング、ディスプレイ＆ターゲティングなど主にパフォーマンスベースのオンラインマーケティングサービスを提供しています。米国の本社を拠点に日本・英国・オーストラリアの世界4つの地域でアフィリエイトネットワークを展開していることが強みとなり、顧客には数多くのグローバルブランドがいます。日本国内では、大手のECサイトや大手の金融サイトを主要顧客とし、ROI（投資対効果）の高いオンラインマーケティングサービスを提供しています。さらにくわしい情報はこちらでご覧いただけます。
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リンクシェア・ジャパンPR事務局 (㈱アンティル) 担当：仲山
By Mike Butcher
Skimlinks, a platform which allows publishers full control over affiliate links and content monetization, has acquired InvisibleHand for an undisclosed sum. The latter has become a significant player in the realm of real-time e-commerce product and pricing, and is best known for its browser extension which notifies users if the product or flights they’re shopping for is available more cheaply elsewhere.
Founded way back in 2009, InvisibleHand has been trundling along for years, quietly building a sizeable audience, pulling in revenues from these affiliate links, but also generating a powerful API. They claim the consumer-facing product has found over $1 billion of savings for users in the US, UK and German markets. But the underlying business-to-business side allows retailers to do realtime pricing. On the flip side, Skimlinks says the acquisition will enhance its core affiliate products, offer new insights to partners, and boost earnings for its network of publishers.
InvisibleHand’s engineering and product teams will join Skimlinks, as will CEO and founder Robin Landy, but the InvisibleHand product will remain running and now benefit from Skimlinks’ now significant sales force.
Forward Internet Group (known as Forward), the London-based “studio model” investor, was a majority investor in InvisibleHand and now acquires a minority equity stake in Skimlinks.
Alicia Navarro, CEO and founder of Skimlinks says the InvisibleHand team has “tackled two of the toughest problems in e-commerce: algorithmically matching large product data sets across multiple retailers, and pairing that information with accurate price data.” Landy says “Skimlinks is the perfect partner for the next stage of InvisibleHand’s development.”
InvisibleHand was essentially invented inside Forward before it created “Forward Labs”, its ‘startup studio’. Forward’s Paul Fisher says this was the first sale of a Forward Labs project so they are “exceptionally pleased” that the model is starting to bare results.
Skimlinks has been on a roll of moves lately: raising growth funding, launching a real-time product comparison product, a product aimed at the Fashion industry, a new Japanese operation, and a product for publishers affected by the closure of Google Affiliate Network.
Skimlinks competitors include Viglink and Yieldkit.
Content monetisation business Skimlinks, has acquired browser extension firm – the InvisibleHand.
London-based Forward Internet Group (Forward), the media technology and consumer investment firm, has been a majority investor in InvisibleHand since the business was founded in 2009. Upon completion of the deal, Forward will hold a minority equity stake in Skimlinks.
Chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of Skimlinks, Alicia Navarro, said InvisibleHand’s powerful API and technology will allow Skimlinks to immediately enhance its core products, offer unique insights, and maximise earnings for its network of publishers.
InvisibleHand is a browser extension which discreetly notifies the user if the product or flights they are shopping for is available more cheaply from another retailer or travel site. If the user buys a product after clicking on the button in an InvisibleHand notification, the retailer or seller pays the company a ‘small commission’. The price the user pays is not affected by the commission.
Additional Comment from Alicia Navarro, CEO:
Just to clarify, we acquired Invisible Hand because of their awesome pricing and product matching API that we can integrate into our products. The browser extension came with the deal, but is not the driver for it, and we intend to fully abide by all industry policies regarding DSAs.
Skimlinks, which has offices in London and San Francisco, will be bringing on InvisibleHand’s engineering and product teams, to work with it on shaping the future of the e-commerce and online monetisation industries.
“The InvisibleHand team have successfully tackled two of the toughest problems in e-commerce: algorithmically matching large product data sets across multiple retailers, and pairing that information with accurate price data,” Navarro said.
“We have been partners and friends with InvisibleHand for many years so it is a great pleasure to have Robin and his team join Skimlinks.”
CEO and founder of InvisibleHand, Robin Landy, said Skimlinks was the ‘perfect partner’ for the next stage of InvisibleHand’s development.
“I’m excited by the opportunity to turbo-charge Skimlinks’ core products, but also to make InvisibleHand’s unique dataset and services available across the broadest range of applications,” Landy said.
Link monetization company Skimlinks has announced that it has acquired InvisibleHand, a specialist in real-time e-commerce “pricing intelligence” and products.
The deal, size unknown, will bring InvisibleHand’s API and other technology to Skimlinks’ core products, which the company says will allow its network of publishers to receive unique insights and be able to maximize their earning potential.
Alicia Navarro, CEO and founder of Skimlinks said :
“The InvisibleHand team have successfully tackled two of the toughest problems in e-commerce: algorithmically matching large product data sets across multiple retailers, and pairing that information with accurate price data. We have been partners and friends with InvisibleHand for many years so it is a great pleasure to have Robin and his team join Skimlinks.”