KEY POINTS

  • The rise of e-commerce is pushing digital media companies to find ways to incorporate the channel into their platforms. E-commerce is growing nearly five times faster than in-store sales, with e-commerce sales projected to double to $1.1 trillion by 2023. 
    • Digital publishers are seeking to diversify revenue as digital ad dollars flow overwhelmingly to tech platforms: The duopoly of Google and Facebook will absorb 66% of the US digital ad market in 2018. Amazon also emerged as a rising competitor for digital ad dollars this year, projected to take 4.1% of US digital advertising, per eMarketer.
    • Social platforms are feeling pressure to prove their effectiveness to brands — which supply the bulk of their revenue — as they vie for primacy on measures of ad performance, as well as relative scale, feature innovation, and brand safety.
    • E-commerce and retail giants Amazon and Walmart are looking to squeeze additional revenue out of existing consumers through their streaming video platforms, Prime Video and Vudu, respectively, as they look to offset growing investments in original video content and boost retail sales. 
  • Digital publishers, social media companies, and streaming video platforms have built e-commerce into their business models in three primary ways — affiliate marketing, social commerce, and video commerce — offering brands rich opportunities to reach consumers.
  • Through affiliate marketing, brands can partner with publishers to reach audiences and drive sales conversions.
    • Publishers let brands get in front of desirable, highly engaged audiences by leveraging data to inform content decisions. Audiences viewing affiliate marketing content are likely to be highly engaged because they've specifically clicked into it — either by browsing a publisher's site or while researching a desired product via search engine.
    • Affiliate marketing content can drive long-term conversions via search. Publisher content optimized for search generates the biggest sales lift when it’s first posted, but affiliate posts also generate longer-term conversions over time because consumers who use search engines to discover products can access such content weeks, months, or even years after the initial post date. For context, about 4 in 5 (84%) shoppers use Google to help them find product ideas and information before making a purchase, per Kenshoo.
  • Brands can also take advantage of the commerce opportunity on social apps like Instagram and Snapchat.
    • To help brands reach its growing number of users, Instagram has rolled out in-app shopping features [...]