Publishers Can’t Compete with Google, Amazon & Facebook – So They Should Complement Their Commerce
Publishers -- especially commerce-focused publishers -- can’t beat Google, Amazon and Facebook. They’re just too big, too powerful, and all-pervasive. To be successful, digital publishers need to augment the experiences that start and end with Google, Amazon, or Facebook. It’s time to stop competing and start complementing.
The move to complement rather than compete is not just a benefit to publishers. Amazon, for example, still sees value in publishers’ content and audiences. Publishing Executive contributor Peter Houston wrote in his post on how publishers can take advantage of ecommerce opportunities: “Inherent in Amazon’s appetite for working with publishers is a recognition of the value in the attention of their audiences and more and more publishers are working to leverage that advantage.”
The best way for publishers to play a complimentary and profitable role with platforms is to provide consumers with compelling content that enables them to make buying decisions and offer a seamless way to make purchases.
Facilitate Ecommerce, Focus on Intent
For publishers, joining or complementing the titans of the internet means positioning themselves where they can provide real value through facilitating user intent on their way to and from platforms. For some publishers, this means moving away from early discovery and moving closer to the transaction by opening online stores to sell their own and curated merchandise directly to their audiences. Publishers who have adopted a commerce mindset are going beyond a narrow definition of ecommerce stores. They look to facilitate commerce by providing consumers with compelling content -- such as product insights, unbiased reviews, and feature and price comparison tools — and offer a seamless way to make purchases.
The key to success for these publishers lies in attracting consumers who have purchase intent.
Intent-based buyers don’t just fuel the success of online stores -- they attract marketers who are looking for in-market consumers. A publisher’s role in this ecommerce scenario is to connect readers with the right product, at the right price, from the right retailer. Doing so provides marketers with a well-informed consumer who is ready to make a purchase.
Content that Leads to Commerce
Here’s the kind of content that connects and provides the added value between search and shopping cart, and enables the decision enablement that both consumers and marketers want:
- Product news and reviews need to be rigorous, unbiased, credible, helpful and easy to read
- Price and feature comparison tools are a vital step in the customer journey
- Polls, surveys and white papers add depth to the editorial content and help establish thought leadership
Category-related news and analysis needs to bridge naturally from general consumer interest to products and services that make sense in that context
In addition to content that enables decisions, publishers need to eliminate factors that can distract from a seamless path to purchase, including advertising that is slow or clunky to load and in subject matter that is inappropriate or not tailored to the consumer’s preferences.
Open New Revenue Streams, Dive into Data
That brings up another key benefit of bringing the buyer and seller together through compelling content for affiliate marketing partners. Done right, you’ve opened a new revenue stream that lessens your reliance on revenue earned in a volatile ad market.
By connecting the in-market consumer to the right marketers through compelling content, publishers will foster marketplace interactions between buyer and seller that can be tracked, analyzed and, with that data, improved upon. Publishers in the content and commerce space need to be looking at their numbers on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to ensure they are achieving the value needed to both sides of the marketplace.
The old publishing model was to create the content to attract a bunch of eyeballs and connect them with advertisers, but in today’s turbulent landscape that focus should be on directly connecting buyers and sellers. There is a different mindset at work in making the content and commerce model work in the world of Google, Amazon, and Facebook. The shift is from the brands and the audience publishers are trying to serve to creating the intent marketplace that provides real value for buyer and seller.
Doug Llewellyn joined Purch, formerly TechMedia Network, in 2013 and, as President & Chief Operating Officer, he is responsible for the company’s three core business units, strategic planning, corporate development activities, and Purch’s business metrics and operational framework. Prior to Purch, Llewellyn spent two years at Manta Media, the leading online community platform for SMBs. At Manta, he was responsible for partnership strategy and outreach, as well as leading their digital advertising sales team. Before joining Manta, Llewellyn was with CBS Interactive / CNET Networks for 12 years and held several key operating positions, including Vice President and GM of the B2B portfolio of properties that includes ZDNet, TechRepublic, and SmartPlanet. He is a graduate of Bucknell University with a BA in Economics and French.