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News Corp Australia: What we’ve learnt in the first 12 months of Commerce Content

Posted 4 months ago by Debbie Gainsford

In the fifth and final part of our series with News Corp Australia, Jade McDade, Head of E-Commerce – Audience and Partners, talks to us about what they’ve learnt in the first 12 months of their Commerce Content journey.

It’s been 12 months since you launched your Commerce Content strategy, what have you learnt during that time?

Jade: Our key learnings are centered around:

  1. Audience first
  2. Retailer strategy
  3. Management of content

Placing your audience first is key. Integrity and empathy for the reader really drives the outcome. To have a real understanding and picture of who your audience is and what their needs are, you need to place yourself in the reader’s shoes. Is this solving a problem? Is this really a great deal? Is this really a great product? Are we providing a good experience?

We’ve also progressed our thinking around retailer partnerships. We now know that comparison converts really well, and where traditionally with our advertising client hats on we might have thought “you can’t put retailer A next to retailer B”. We now appreciate that great Commerce Content is defined by servicing the reader, not the retailer. It’s service journalism.

That’s important because we can produce, say an article about the 19 best white sneakers, and they’re from 19 different retailers at 19 different price points and the outcome is that our readers are assured that they’ve seen enough variety that they don’t need to look anywhere else to make their decision about which pair to buy.

Similarly for key sales events, we’ve learnt that when executed correctly, a single article with an almost exhaustive list can achieve more than 20 different articles focused on one retailer or one product. It’s much easier to get lots of traffic and focus on one big article than trying to service multiple pieces of content.

Something that we didn’t give enough weight to in our strategy and resources early on was updating old archive content and out-of-stock products. We didn’t appreciate just how quickly a product can go out-of-stock, and that’s something that we have no control over. So we can do a really great job in producing a piece of content that engages with our readers but we have no control of the stock levels of the retailers and the product can sell out quickly. This is especially true for fashion products. We’ve almost become a victim of our own success.

While it’s been one of our challenges, it’s also helped inform our strategy to have balanced content. Along with fashion content, we’ll also write about other products such as home appliances or watches for example that won’t sell out as quickly. We don’t want to miss out on revenue opportunities and we know that it’s a frustrating user experience to click on a product that’s out-of-stock and it takes a lot of resources to continually identify and fix out of stock links. That’s one of the main reasons that we switched on Skimlinks Dynamic Link Optimization as soon as it launched because it helps us identify and solve those problems.

How has Skimlinks helped you scale your Commerce Content over the past 12 months?

Jade: That’s the first thing, it was the scale of our partnership. Just unlocking and being able to scale something quite quickly has been brilliant.

Having Skimlinks negotiate commission rate increases on our behalf and knowing that we are getting the best rate is very important to us. We understand that retailers value content above anything and everything else and we know we have the best brands and we’ve got the biggest audience. So, we believe we deserve the best commission rate.

I describe Skimlinks to people as a technology solution because that’s what it is for us. It’s able to plug into all the different affiliate networks and all those different advertisers and automate the tracking of tens of thousands of links within content.

So yes, it’s the scale, the technology solution and the preferred partner rates that have helped us the most over the past 12 months.

You’ve had a great first 12 months, what are your goals for Commerce Content for the coming year?

Jade: We have more sites and environments that we haven’t commercialised content in yet. We’ll be expanding to more sites, more sections, more categories, more channels and aiming to bring the end transaction closer to our content. There’s a lot we still haven’t unearthed, and a lot of expansion opportunities we still need to discover and are looking to explore.

News Corp Australia: Distribution is key to building a Commerce Content revenue stream

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