New study proves magazine content drives native commerce. Here is how you can get full credit for it.


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In today’s on demand world, it is no surprise that magazine readers want information about what they see — immediately. According to a recent study by ShopAdvisor, women ages 18 to 54 were asked about their shopping behavior as related to the products they saw in their favorite magazines. Some top line results:

Reading articles absolutely influences the way they shop. Over 33% said they often bookmark a page for later shopping reference, or shop for the items they see in the magazines.

– When shown a sample page, the number one “useful” tool would be the ability to get specific about exactly what the model was wearing, including brand, retailer availability and pricing.

– However precision was not always a good thing. The second most useful tool would be the ability to see similar items from different brands, at different price points.

– There’s a lag time between shopping from the magazine and buying in store since often many products are not yet available in retail. As one respondent said “be the first to help me get the looks that I love.”

Price still matters. Almost 50% of respondents said that if they saw something in a magazine and marked the page, they would likely buy that item if it went on sale.

So how can you get credit for this native commerce you are driving with every issue?

1) Make it easy for your readers to get the information on demand. The more you can engage them up front (and track it) the more you can prove you source product demand for your advertisers and retailers.

2) Don’t get too specific. Listing only one retailer isn’t helping your audience and certainly not your chances of driving a sale. Use a tool that enables you to go beyond a simple affiliate link, and feature all available online (and local) retailers.

3) Use changes in availability (or price) as a reason to re-engage and provide value to your readers. Alerting them when something they want is becomes available at retail is not only helpful, it reminds them that your title is where they found what they love.

It is easy to offer native commerce right from the pages of your magazine. Use the new ShopAdvisor Self-Service Tool.  Within minutes create a shopping experience tied to your content, including multiple retailers, automatic price alerts and more. Visit and try our new tool. IT IS FREE!!

Part 1: The Basics – Why Publishers Should Care About Beacons

A mobile couple

Open any marketing article and you’re bound to see the word “beacon.”  They are being positioned as the Holy Grail for retailers since they can be used to drive store traffic and increase in-store conversion.  You’ll be hard pressed to find retailers that don’t have plans to install them in store this year.

For publishers, beacons and proximity marketing is the Holy Grail because it will become possible to track a reader’s shopping journey, from the minute they discover a brand in your magazine, to the moment they walk in the store to purchase.  Since 90% of sales still happen in store, that’s a whole lot of “credit” that is not being attributed to your title right now.

In the first part of this special series, we present a brief primer on beacons – the real challenges and opportunities for deploying them in today’s marketplace.

Poised To Explode

Beacons are not new.  A beacon is simply a transmitter of a signal that can be recognized by a “receiver” programmed to listen.  So why haven’t they been used for marketing until now?  The answer is simple – until the proliferation of the smartphone and advent of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy), it was not practical to place these transmitters in high traffic areas, nor was there a device that a consumer might carry with them to “listen” for these signals.

Thanks to today’s technology, a beacon is roughly the size of a hockey puck, costs about $10 per unit, and can be easily placed in locations where marketers might want to communicate with consumers, for example on an outdoor advertising panel on a city street, or at the entrance to a store.

According to Forrester, about 30% of smartphones are enabled to connect to beacons using BLE today, and that number is expected to grow to 80% in the next 15 months.  So now you understand why we’re early in the adoption cycle, yet there is a real urgency to figure this out.

Let’s Get Practical

To use this technology it takes more than simply placing a beacon and waiting for massive BLE smartphone adoption.  There has to be a shopping related app (of value) installed on that phone, plus the backend messaging infrastructure to turn a signal into a meaningful consumer engagement via that app.

Retailers today are taking a simplistic approach, placing beacons in store to help their existing app users navigate to specific departments.  The more sophisticated (and ultimately the desired) use of the technology by retailers, such as messaging to a broader base of consumers located outside the physical store, who have a preference for that retailer and demonstrated intent to purchase a product the retailer carries, have not been implemented until now.

Companies like Gimbal and ShopAdvisor are changing this, partnering to offer a turnkey solution for taking product/retailer preference data and using it to drive in store purchase from a broader base of mobile shoppers – just in time for this holiday season.

How Can Publishers Play?

Ask yourself this question – what is valuable enough to you as a consumer that you would keep your smartphone location turned on, and install one shopping app that listens for BLE signals?

ShopAdvisor recently did a survey of female shoppers to answer this question.   The resounding answer – the value received had to be personally relevant.  They wanted to know if there was a deal for something they wanted to shop for, or for shopping at a store they liked to shop in.  To sum it up in the words of one respondent, “…allow me to be the first to find the items that I love, with a price point I also love.”

Where do consumers turn to find the latest looks, or see what their favorite retailers are offering this season?  Magazines of course.  And that’s where magazine publishers have a distinct advantage, because they can capture that interest by offering shopping directly from their pages – and now, with the help of proximity marketing solutions from ShopAdvisor and Gimbal – turn that interest into a retail store visit they can get full credit for.

In closing, rest assured you are not late to the party.  We’re just getting started.  But if Forrester is right in their predictions, anything you can do today to pilot a proximity marketing program using beacons will put you way ahead of your competition when these programs are ready to scale.   And that looks to be in the not so distant future.

Stay tuned for part 2:  Creating the Path from In-Book to In-Store

To learn more about the potential of native commerce and proximity marketing revenue for your magazine, visit

Give your audience what they want: Best practices for shop enabling your content


More publishers are offering shopping directly from the pages of their print, tablet and web content. But are they doing it right? Here are some best practices that when implemented, really make a difference.

1. Give them more to shop. A recent survey found that readers want to shop for both ad and edit products.  Don’t frustrate them by selecting just a few articles to curate. Let them shop the entire issue. You’ll get higher engagement and stronger response.

2. Make it easy for your readers to learn about (and keep using) the shopping feature. Give them one main launching point for shopping in each issue. Use a promo page that lets them “shop the entire issue right from this page.” You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the response when they only have to take one action to gain access to all the products featured in the issue.

3. Make it easy for your readers to launch the shopping experience on their terms. Give them multiple options — scan an action code with an app like ShopAdvisor; text a short code to receive a link: or including a vanity URL they can access anytime.

4. Understand shopping and buying are two different things. Discovering is not a signal they will immediately purchase, which is why affiliate links often fail. Be sure to use a platform like ShopAdvisor which offers easy ways for your readers to save the products that interest them, with options to buy later.

5. Be the first to offer a product. On average, a fashion magazine might feature products of which 40% are not yet available in retail. Leverage your ability to be the first to offer a product. Offering them a service where you tell them when products become available at retail is the perfect opportunity to re-engage your readers and remind them of where they first discovered those products.

6. Use early learning as fresh content. What readers are engaging with most in your November tablet issue  within the first two weeks can then be pushed out across digital and social channels as “top reader picks” later in the month.

Want to offer readers the ability to shop every issue – even on mobile?  Try the free ShopAdvisor collection tool.  You’ll have a ready-made catalog of products curated from each issue (edit, advertiser or both) that is completely mobile-optimized, and easily linked from print, tablet, web and social each month.

Next: stay tuned for a three-part series on proximity marketing!

Photo credit: Image courtesy of Ambrose at

Are you maximizing revenue from your holiday issues? Five tips for driving more revenue, instantly


The holiday season brings great joy to the media industry – plenty of ad pages from retailers and an active base of readers who are ready to shop.  But many titles are not maximizing their opportunity to drive incremental revenue during this key timeframe.

Here are five tips for getting the most out of your holiday reader and advertiser base.

Extend the Opportunity

Every year the holiday shopping season starts earlier than the year before – readers are ready to shop right now.  Don’t wait until your December issue to offer special holiday advertising sections.  Make it easy for readers to shop on their own schedule by including holiday themed sections on your website beginning in October, and don’t forget about your January issue (in reader hands just prior to the peak shopping weeks, and the best sales begin Dec. 26 so there is still plenty of shopping to be done).

Do Take Advantage of the Big Three Shopping Days

Putting that gift guide in print early helps.  But there’s no better opportunity to drive measurable sales (that you can get credit for) than around Black Friday, Cyber-Monday or December 26.  Make sure all the gift guide content (edit and advertising) is repurposed and featured prominently across your social channels, where many of your mobile shoppers live.

Gift Guides Are Native Advertising Gold Mines

What better way to offer high value, truly native placements for your advertisers (that will drive measurable sales activity) than by integrating some of their products with editorial picks in your holiday guides?  Everyone wins.  More gift options are a good thing for your readers.  More exposure is good for your advertisers.  And both increase your potential to derive affiliate commerce revenue.

Get Credit from Key Retailers

Why stop with revenue from just your brand advertisers when you can complement the guide with a retailer sponsorship?  Just be sure to align the retailer with a category or theme.  For example, a guide for “best electronic toys for your guy” would be perfect for Target.  They carry the products you would feature in the guide – they want to generate as much traffic as possible to their stores and site – and would surely pay for category exclusivity to prevent their competitors from showing up in it.

Holiday Shopping Is More Than Just Gifts

Consumers are seeking more than just gift ideas from your holiday themed content.  They are seeking advice about what to wear to their office holiday party, or how to entertain friends at home in fun, creative ways.  So don’t keep it to just one holiday gift guide.  Create a shopping guide for every possible holiday theme.  The more guides, the more opportunities for advertiser placements and retailer sponsorships.

Want to create a themed holiday shopping guide that works everywhere – even on mobile?  Try the free ShopAdvisor collection tool.  You’ll have a ready-made catalog of products (edit, advertiser or both) that is completely mobile-optimized, and easily linked from print, tablet, web and social just in time for the holidays.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Native Commerce Done Right: People StyleWatch Draws Over 50,000 to Mobile Experience

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 3.12.23 PMWhat’s the recipe for success when your audience is increasingly mobile – wants to shop from your content – your advertisers want more native opportunities – but you don’t have a mobile optimized solution? People StyleWatch has cracked the code with their Celebrity StyleTwin mobile promotion.

Working with ShopAdvisor, the shopping experience company, People StyleWatch was able to create a mobile experience that provided the perfect context for shopping from editorial picks and advertiser content. The program went like this:

  • Users answered 10 quick questions about which looks they preferred.  The answers were mapped to one of 10 “Style Twins” (People StyleWatch Celebrity Style Council members).
  • Users were presented with their Celeb Style Twin and then had direct access to shopping collections tailored for that style.
  • Shopping collections included “edit picks” as well as fashion and beauty products promoted by advertisers
  • The program was promoted in book, via complementary Time titles, e-newsletters and across digital and social properties.

The result?

  • Over 50,000 (including many potential new subscribers to People StyleWatch) took the quiz within the first 3 weeks.
  • Users shopped. Depending on the day of week as many as 32% of those who took the quiz actively explored the shopping collections, being exposed to advertiser products.
  • Advertisers signed up – over 20 participated in a combination of in book print ads and the promotion.
  • People StyleWatch print ad pages were up 6% over last year’s September issue.

Any title can re-create this successful program by using the free ShopAdvisor collection tool {link to}. In just minutes you can create shopping collections that feature editorial picks and advertiser products around any theme. Try it today!

All You’s Warming Trend

AllYou Dec 2013 cover

Okay, it’s officially winter, or just about. Time to get ready for the cold — and for the style watchers at All You, that’s just a great excuse for a fresh look at your winter wardrobe. They spot the “cozy textures for luxe looks that can ward off the chill” in a lead article, Uncover a warming trend.

We’ve noticed a similar warming trend among publishers who have embraced new opportunities as they explore ways to take their printed content beyond the printed page.

All You is among the first publishers to aggressively use its own branded app to include page-scanning that brings printed content to fuller life on the screen of a mobile phone. In the “warming trend” article, All You has identified over a dozen products worth a look. And they have used ShopAdvisor to engage readers more deeply.

AllYou Dec 2013

When reading this article on a tablet, the ShopAdvisor shop button invites the reader to tap to peruse the collection of warming items, explore where they can be found online and locally, and save some so ShopAdvisor can remind you about them later. With all the busy-ness of the season, having someone remind you of a good find is just what Dr. Santa ordered. If you are reading this on the web, you can click on the article instead, or scan it with the Digimarc Discovery app.

Advertiser Index, not 8 pt. type

ad indexMost publishers provide a reader — a page near the back of the magazine that mentions all the advertisers featured in the issue, or products and brands mentioned in articles. The advertiser index has a familiar look: a lot of text presented in a single paragraph presented in very small typeface. In contrast to the attention poured into all the other pages whose images and headline and text are carefully crafted to evoke pleasure, desire, or curiosity, the index pages have more of a feel like an encyclopedia entry. They’re useful, to be sure, as long as you’re prepared to enter a graduate-student mode of eye-squinting research.

Martha Stewart Weddings has upped the ante on that old model of advertiser index. In the Winter edition, a dozen advertisers have boosted their print ads by making them scannable with a mobile phone. Using the Digimarc Discovery client, readers aim their phone at the ad, and the ShopAdvisor experience allows them to explore the advertised products further, discover where to find the products in store, and to save items to their personal WatchList.

MSW Advertiser Directory_digimarc

You can look at the entire directory of advertisers and their products by clicking the Martha Stewart Weddings index page above. And, click (or scan) the ads below to see how individual advertisers — Noritake, Vietri, and Jenny Yoo — enhanced their lovingly crafted pages with the ShopAdvisor experience.






From Arhaus to Our Experience

House Beautiful Dec 2013House Beautiful joined the growing list of publishers who have extended the reach of the pages of their magazine with a print-to-mobile experience.

In the December-January issue, six advertisers’ pages include a full shopping experience. Using digital watermark technology from ShopAdvisor partner Digimarc, readers simply aim their smartphone at pages identified as shoppable, and they can see all the products from the ads — including name, price, and availability. With just a simple tap on the mobile phone screen, readers can make purchases, save an item for later, or find a nearby retailer.


It doesn’t take long to find a shoppable ad in House Beautiful. Turn over the very first page and an Arhaus 3-panel gate fold presents itself, with more to add in the ShopAdvisor shopping experience. You can click on the ad here, or scan it with HB Connect app, to experience it for yourself.

Better yet, pick up the magazine and sample all the shoppable advertisements from Arhaus, Horchow, Hudson Valley, Estée Lauder, Samsung appliances, Kravet, Elfa containers, Circa Lighting, Target, Bernhardt, Kohler, Uttermost, Toto, Keurig and Gevalia.





The Butterfly Effect

ShopAdvisor added a new feature to our shoppable pages service for media companies and advertisers. Readers of Cosmopolitan have already come to recognize the familiar Cosmo-branded “Shop This Ad!” and “Shop This Page!” pink buttons on certain pages. These pages deepen engagement with readers, showcasing a variety of products from within an article or an advertisement, linking to online retailers for immediate purchase, and providing a “save”function that will keep track of and remind readers of products that have caught their interest.


What’s new this month is the introduction of video as a part of that advertising experience. And, what better place to start than with a product whose salient feature is a physical gesture that speaks well when delivered in video? After all, if you want to see what L’Oreal means by the Butterfly Effect, watching wings spread is a potent visual experience. Click on the ad to see how it works.