Why Brands Are Beginning to Monetise Their Content

It used to be difficult to get brand backing for large, time-consuming content marketing strategies. All that resource, both in time and money, to produce something that was then given away for free at first didn’t seem to work into any kind of profitable business model. But since the benefits of content marketing have been proven, and the return on investment can now be suitably measured providing you are tracking the right data, you may be quite surprised to see that a few big brands are now beginning to monetise their content.

The most recent example of this monetisation comes from luxury online fashion retailer Net-a-Porter. Since the start of 2014 Net-a-Porter have launched their new bi-monthly glossy magazine, Porter, and have demoed a new form of shoppable video with Smartzer who recently appeared on BBC’s Dragons Den . Shoppable content isn’t a new trend. In the past brands have added a shoppable layer to existing publications, but what is unique on this occasion is that Net-a-Porter have designed their new magazine and accompanying app specifically to help readers shop in real-time as they come across something they like.



Shoppable content is editorial or video that contains information which can be accessed in addition to the standard content. It is essentially another layer of content, purely digital, which can come in the form of images, videos and web pages designed to provide another level of engagement to the user. Rather than an advertisement pushing a specific message onto a reader or viewer, the shoppable content provides the customer with the ability to find further information and rich-media around a particular product or service. This extra digital content can only be seen by clicking on an icon within the editorial or video and won’t just pop up by itself. As a result, only engaged shoppers will be the ones to access it. In the case of the Net-a-Porter video, the shoppable content can be accessed by clicking a branded icon that hovers over the items that are monetized. One click of the icon will pause the video and bring up a pop-up within the video that displays the item, the price and the option to ‘Add to shopping bag’ which takes you directly to the product page on the Net-a-Porter main website.



The Net-a-Porter video is still a demo and hasn’t actually been released to customers yet, but Smartzer have been working with some exciting brands to bring shoppable video to their target audience. Designer Orla Kiely trailed a 1 minute shoppable video to display their Autumn/Winter 13 collection, adding distinctive buying icons in their signature print designs to a collection video which, when clicked, would bring up a full image of the product and the option to place an order from the main brand website. Since adding this layer of shoppable content engagement time on the video has increased by 220% and the click-through rate of the embedded icons reached 45%.

More importantly, the percentage of viewers who clicked ‘order now’ and actually went on to complete a purchase topped 30% - quite impressive statistics for the retailer’s first trial of shoppable video. The newly launched Marks and Spencer website also features shoppable video content which is mainly used to display trend collections. It will be very interesting to see the impact these videos have on the retailer’s online sales, and I’m quite certain that as brands continue to search for new and exciting ways to capture customer buying interest we will begin to see shoppable content becoming more mainstream over the next 18 months.

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