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.

Read more: https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2016/12/09/publishers-need-ready-wether-like-not-qa-phil-barrett-svp-gm-purch/

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By Max Willens

On Monday, The New York Times announced it had purchased The Wirecutter and its sister site, The Sweethome, for just over $30 million. The deal gives the Gray Lady a new source of income and its first taste of affiliate marketing, a revenue stream publishers have been exploring to supplement display ad revenue.

The Times is hardly the first publisher to go there. Publishers have for years been trying to get credit for the purchases they inspire on their pages and websites. Some experiments are now scuttled, like New York magazine’s Shop-A-Matic and ShopVogue.tv, but new ones are popping up all the time: In the past two months, Style.com relaunched as a commerce hub, and New York unveiled The Strategist, a web page offering product recommendations.

But these days, publishers aren’t trying e-commerce out as an experiment. Several publishers’ operations have gotten more sophisticated. Here are three ways publishers are making e-commerce into a real business.

Rewarding loyalty
Two years ago, Purch, a publisher of B2B and B2C brands that earns more than half of its revenue from e-commerce and lead generation, decided that it was overly reliant on search traffic, and that it needed to find a way to get more people to come back to its owned and operated sites.

Purch launched Perks, a loyalty site similar to another site it acquired, Active Junkie. Perks customizes its look and feel based on the site its visitors arrive from and has a loyalty program that offers cash to shoppers as a reward for buying there.

While Perks has only been live for a month, it’s already attracting the same number of daily users that Active Junkie did. “I’d much rather make $3 off you three times than $5 off you once,” said Phil Barrett, Purch’s senior vp and gm of shopper services. “Give away and build trust, and you will be rewarded.”

Read the full article here: http://digiday.com/publishers/three-ways-publishers-bringing-sophistication-e-commerce/

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By Phil Barrett

Google recently released a report on the rise of comparison shopping, quantifying the growing trend as brand loyalty continues to decrease and shoppers are slower to pull the trigger, looking for the best product or waiting around for the best deal. As this consumer behavior has become the norm, many publishers – from Gawker, to Lifehacker, to Business Insider, to Food & Wine – have capitalized on comparison shopping. But many have only gone as far as offering holiday gift guides, product comparisons, or other sales-orientated content to their readers.

Just as consumers are fickle about brands, looking for the best deal, they can be fickle about content. Oversaturating users with products won’t keep them coming back – they seek unique, quality information that makes purchase decisions easier, as more and more product choices and shopping destinations (online and off) flood the market. Today’s consumers are looking for content and tools to help them make the most informed purchase possible, and publishers are uniquely suited to sit in the middle of that transaction in ways that extend beyond traditional content.

Many publishers have already diversified to meet this emerging need, creating tools that act as service extensions on top of their content. This can lead to user loyalty, which generates repeat traffic that you don’t have to acquire otherwise. TripAdvisor, for example, has created an engaged and loyal audience by offering its users helpful content in the form of reviews and expert advice along with booking services that together serve a very specific need, travel in this case. It’s low-funnel marketing at its best and it’s helping boost the bottom line.

Read the full article here: http://www.talkingnewmedia.com/2016/10/04/as-comparison-shopping-becomes-the-new-norm-many-publishers-expand-services/

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By AdExchanger

The Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Doug Llewellyn, chief operating officer at Purch. 

Digital publishers are worried about how publishing platforms meant to speed up mobile load times, such as Google’s AMP, Facebook’s Instant Articles and Apple’s News, will impact their bottom lines during a period of already-declining ad revenues. A quick look back at some recent history shows why. 

First, publishers saw Facebook cut down their referral traffic in favor of keeping readers within its app and site. Then it launched a mobile publishing platform that promised the traffic back, but at a fraction of the ad revenue and the users would stay within Facebook’s domain. Next, it introduced Instant Articles as a faster-loading alternative to mobile web browsers. 

Sensing an opportunity, Apple and Google recently jumped in with their own platforms aimed specifically at mobile users. While there has been and continues to be some panic within the industry as revenues fall, we need to keep the bigger picture in mind. 

Relying strictly on an ad-supported publishing model is today about as realistic for a publisher as preventing digital piracy once was for the CD-based record industry. As that industry learned, new paths to monetization are always possible as long as the underlying demand for a quality product remains. Restricting access to one platform or another is not generally feasible in the long term.

Read the full article here: http://adexchanger.com/the-sell-sider/instant-articles-friend-foe-publishers/

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