Tis the season to scour the internet’s Holiday Gift Guides for the best presents for all the friends and family on your shopping list this year.
Publications have found a new way to monetize their audiences by producing content with shopping recommendations utilizing affiliate links.
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which the advertiser rewards an “affiliate” (aka publisher – online or otherwise) for each sale driven by that affiliate’s own marketing efforts.
So in other words, when you see a Gift Guide with clickable links published by the New York Times and you end up purchasing a product they recommend, that advertiser will give the publisher a percent of the sale to reward their efforts.
Instagram has made many of their “influencers” rich through affiliate networks such as RStyle, LIKEtoKNOW.it, ShareASale, Impact Radius, and others. This has long been popular among bloggers and independent website publishers as well. Though there are ongoing issues with disclosure and there may be more regulations in the future, this revenue stream is likely here to stay.
Now, many publications are getting into the game. The New York Times launched a beautiful interactive Gift Guide with dozens of product recommendations divided by category. This comes as no surprise following their acquisition of The Wirecutter, an online consumer guide which publishes in-depth product reviews.
The NYT includes the following disclosure (if you know where to look for it). But for many readers of the NYT unfamiliar with this type of advertising, it certainly further blurs the lines between editorial and advertising.
The gifts included in this guide were chosen solely by The New York Times. Our editorial content, including that by Wirecutter, which recently became a part of the company, is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships.
Through a third party, we may receive commissions on sales made on the linked sites. When our editors and writers make selections, they do not know what products may generate a commission, or what that commission might be, and payments play no part in their decisions.
Similarly, New York Magazine has a recommendation page called The Strategist. Real Simple has many holiday gift guides available as well, and I’m sure most magazines are building these types of pages now, if they haven’t already. Wired, The Atlantic, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, the list goes on and on.
Buying print advertising, for years we’ve seen publications try to maintain “church and state” separation between their editorial recommendations and the revenue generated from their advertisers. But there are huge monetary opportunities from affiliate advertising revenue in providing product recommendations to loyal readers.
Sometimes we describe what we do here at Mediabids with per response advertising (or performance marketing) as affiliate advertising since many e-commerce companies are already familiar with affiliate programs and do these types of campaigns online. Supplementing their online affiliate campaigns with a print campaign is a great way for advertisers to reach a new and desirable audience. Likewise, it benefits publications by bringing revenue back to print through advertisers that wouldn’t otherwise consider the medium.
For publications looking to add an alternate revenue stream, or if you’re an advertiser interested in reaching new consumers…call Mediabids today at 860-379-9602.