Publishers don’t have an easy ride; and with so much to navigate in a constantly changing digital environment, the challenges they face become greater and more pronounced. How can publishers win in a world where Facebook and mobile apps seem to rule the roost? ExchangeWire speak with Phil Barrett (pictured below), SVP & GM, Purch, about where publishers should place their focus to achieve success in the long term.

ExchangeWire: How should publishers approach their relationships with walled gardens, such as Facebook? Are they working for or against publishers?

With approximately 40% of mobile app time spent on Facebook, publishers must access that audience, but they need to do so cautiously and strategically. While Facebook is certainly an effective vehicle to help drive users to publishers’ sites, becoming too reliant on a third party for traffic can be risky – just look at what happened to Buzzfeed when Facebook changed their algorithm.

In quantifying ROI within these walled gardens, publishers must figure out how to make their business model and revenue lines fit into Facebook’s platform and then compare it against the right metrics. For example, at Purch, we separately analyse our mobile and desktop engagement results. We’ve found that comparing results from Facebook Instant Articles to Google AMP and mobile web, for instance, helps us make informed decisions on where to invest in each platform.

Publishers should recognise the value in the Facebook Network as it provides decent monetisation, generally speaking, but the real ROI will come from Audience Acquisition (ex: lead generation, email signups) and Direct (native and affiliate) within FIA. That’s where publishers will see the long-term value from walled gardens.

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Tech’s largest digital publisher extends value proposition of enabling buying decisions to the “small screen;” will integrate ShopSavvy price comparison and deals technology across portfolio of sites

NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2015 – Purch, a digital content and commerce company that reaches 100M consumers monthly, today announced it has acquired ShopSavvy, one of the largest mobile shopping apps (available on iOS and Android) with more than one million active monthly users and 30 million downloads to-date, backed by Facebook co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, and former CEO of Saks, Brad Martin, among others. The ShopSavvy deal marks Purch’s fourth acquisition in 12 months as it continues to leverage its $135 million funding round to enhance its mobile strategy and extend its mission of making buying decisions easy for consumers and businesses.

“2015 has been a big year for Purch and we’re thrilled to close it with such a valuable addition to our portfolio of brands, services, and technologies,” said Greg Mason, Purch CEO. “Mobile apps are the future of mobile content and shopping. ShopSavvy supports our strategy of service-oriented publishing and building a loyal user base. Not only are we gaining an app with new monetization opportunities, but also incredible talent, a powerful technology infrastructure that will be integrated across our portfolio of sites, and a massive user base.”

ShopSavvy will remain a standalone app, adding to Purch’s growing mobile app ecosystem, meant to enable buying decisions for the “small screen” and bridge the online and offline retail. Similar to Purch’s previous acquisitions, ActiveJunky and Consumr (now PurchX), ShopSavvy’s powerful back-end mobile product search and machine-learning technology will be integrated across Purch’s sites to surface and categorize deals and power price comparisons for its growing audience of more than 100M users.

ShopSavvy features over 40,000 retailers and 100 million products and includes the following industry-unique functionality:

  • Leading Mobile Product Search: Can search by product name or scan barcodes to find items at nearby stores or online and compare prices, product details, and reviews.
  • Powerful Backend Technology:  ShopSavvy’s backend and machine-learning technology powers a unique, multi-retailer product catalogue that classifies products, sales, and deals. Its machine learning capabilities categorizes millions of products from thousands of retailer product catalogues into one “Rosetta Stone” for mobile product search.
  • Next Generation Mobile Targeting and Personalization Technology: ShopSavvy aggregates and categorizes deals from thousands of retailers, sends sale alerts on searches, and shares daily and weekly deals based on shopper interest, intent, and location.

These acquisitions are also part of a larger strategy to drive loyalty and increase the lifetime value of users through Purch’s Shopper Services. “This influential price-comparison app will integrate with our other brands so we’re able to provide all of our users with the information they need to find the best product, at the best price, in the most convenient way possible,” added Mason.

“Since its inception in 2008 as one of the very first Android apps, ShopSavvy has been an unbelievably successful venture, leading a once-in-a-generation transformation in commerce. I’m thrilled to see its services integrated across Purch’s family of brands,” said Rylan Barnes, CTO and co-founder of ShopSavvy. “While the app will remain a standalone product and continue to deliver the same services to users, pairing its backend mobile product search and machine-learning technology with some of the most popular review sites around will create a more seamless purchase journey for millions of shoppers.”


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