The VigLink Q4 Content-Commerce Report

Littlewoods is the leading online performance marketing advertiser in terms of earnings-per-click (EPC) rates. The most lucrative categories for publishers are housewares, jewelry, and flowers. Clicks from mobile devices are worth 53 cents on the dollar compared to clicks from desktops. These are just some of the surprising findings of VigLink’s inaugural Content-Commerce Report.

Because we are tracking over 10 billion monthly page views across more than 300,000 sites and enable the automatic monetization of clicks to more than 35,000 participating merchants, VigLink has a unique position to observe, aggregate and analyze trends in the emerging Content-Driven Commerce marketplace.

So what, you ask, is Content-Driven Commerce? It’s a category with roots in affiliate or performance marketing but is rapidly expanding into something entirely new – a marketplace and exchange for content that drives shopper intent (traffic) and the merchants who want those shoppers (sales). Simply put, Content-Driven Commerce is the seamless, automatic monetization and insertion of links to e-tailers in native content. Content-Driven Commerce is the most native form of advertising, with zero interruption to the user experience. All the secret sauce sits on VigLink servers including advanced contextual logic that automatically finds and links mentions of products and brands to the highest bidding relevant merchant.

In June 2013, VigLink opened the first Exchange for Content-Driven Commerce, the last frontier in online advertising that did not have RTB capability. The VigLink Exchange (VLX) allows publishers to accept multiple bids for a click in near real time from different merchants and send the click to the highest relevant bid. These clicks are coming from publisher properties that are using VigLink Insert and Convert, two of our revenue optimization technologies that automate link insertion and monetization for publishers. Publishers that submitted existing links to the Exchange for optimization increased their EPCs between 200% and 300%, on average (this is one of the key findings of our report).

EPC of clicks priced through the VigLink Exchange

To document all the happenings in our network as well as the transformation of Content-Driven Commerce in general, we are now compiling metrics across a wide variety of categories and topics. This matters to merchants, publishers and anyone else who wants to better understand how content is shaping the world of online commerce. For example, our look at the Top 50 Advertisers in terms of EPC gives publishers a glimpse into which merchants are paying the most. Similarly, merchants can benchmark their own EPC offerings against those of peers and better understand whether they are paying enough to change publisher behavior and drive real traffic and conversion. We are also tracking the impact of mobile device usage on Content-Driven Commerce, looking at conversions and the ultimate payout from merchants for clicks coming off these devices (including smartphones and tablets). Mobile is the future of the Web, but it still lags desktop in terms of retail performance. We aim to track this over time and point out who’s making the most headway.

Our goal with this report is to provide the industry with more transparency, to help publishers create shoppable content that is as valuable as possible, and to focus merchants on the metrics and benchmarks that will help them win more sales from these publishers. Please look for this report to come out on a quarterly basis. As we ramp up, we’ll be adding new metrics and new findings. Also, as the VigLink Exchange grows and pulls in new publishers as well as more clicks, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of how a new, more liquid market is driving competition, performance, and profits. Please read the report and shoot us your feedback. It’s a work in progress and we look forward to your comments.

Posted by Oliver Deighton, VP Marketing

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