When a consumer consumes content on the internet, they leave a digital footprint.By Suveer Bajaj
Back to the Basics
Before we dive deeper into the potential and increasing importance of the Content Community and Commerce model, let us try to understand what the terms signify in the advertising realm: – ｀Content¨ refers to the information and experiences shared via media in the form of print ads, blogs, webinars, contests, sharing avenues etc.
– ｀Community¨ is a group of people with similar likes or interests.
– ｀Commerce¨ refers to the monetizable opportunities, advertisers can leverage over a period of time.
Content is still the King
When brands go down the Purchase Funnel (Awareness, Consideration, Trial, Re-engagement), they have to identify which marketing route to prioritise. A 2020 report suggests that 70%1 marketers are actively investing in Content Marketing. Content is that unfailable tangible measurable medium, majority of brands, gravitate towards as it aids awareness and consideration amongst audiences.
Role of Influencers in Building Community
While Content remains that constant, the means of creating an effective content marketing strategy is one that is constantly evolving. Recent phenomenon has led to the rise of influencers who play the role of advocates for the brand as they build a community around their content. These communities are people/consumers that resonate with the values of the influencers and buy into their beliefs and thought processes. In the last 5 years the influencer marketing industry has boomed, based on Mediakix data2the industry may be valued at $15 billion by 2022. The power the ｀right¨ Influencer can yield in building consideration, education and brand advocacy is unparalleled. While there was never a direct correlation between the top (awareness) and middle (trial) funnel, this has changed, with the increasing emphasis on brand community building and influencer marketing.
Suveer Bajaj Let’s take the simple example of driving consideration for a pair of shoes for a brand ｀XYZ¨ in two scenarios one without an influencer and one with;
(i) XYZ serves you a Google Ad, where you hear about the brand for the first time and might consider clicking the add as the shoes are at a 30% discount;
(ii)You see the same Google Ad but about 3-4 days prior you¨ve seen the influencers that you follow not only use the product, but tell you the pros, cons, price point and even share an exclusive discount code. Let’s be honest, the chances of you considering the purchase of the product in the second scenario is much higher.
ROI vs ROAS
In the second scenario you also get to measure the impact of the content and get access to the consumers content patterns and other data signals. Earlier, Content Marketing spends were primarily viewed as an expense, that would be amortised with the customer acquisition costs, over a period of time. The bigger question to ask is whether a direct correlation can be drawn between the content-community model and an instant monetisation/commerce opportunity?
Primarily, publishers/influencers have been the ones to carry the content on their native platforms through various means like videos, blogs, articles etc. The effectiveness of this content was measured in terms of likes, shares, reach and the impact that they generated aka Return on Advertising Spends (ROAS). In the Content-Commerce-Community model, publishers and advertisers both, aim to convert this ROAS metric into an ROI metric (Return on Investments). For example you are the marketer of a men’s grooming company and have been creating videos on YouTube, using influencers. The role of the content here is that it seamlessly creates an awareness and consideration for the product via the authentic advocacy of the influencer. The question that needs to be answered here is whether a monetizable opportunity can be created in the exact same interaction?
The Influence of a Publishing Platform
When a consumer consumes content on the internet, they leave a digital footprint. Thanks to this and the availability of secondary data, intelligence has evolved to be able to identify distinct consumption patterns amongst users. Through these behavioural inferences, platforms are becoming smarter and are able to serve distinctive ads to consumers. The Content-Community-Commerce model aims to showcase purchase opportunities to a cohort of people based on the content they are consuming and offer a monetizable opportunity in a single ecosystem. It would be akin to creating a ‘shoppable’ unit that will drive conversion in the same interaction.
A Publishing Platform will help create an ecosystem that will serve monetization opportunities to brands not only on the basis of content that consumers consume but based on the entire cohort that has been created by interacting with communities on publishing platforms, social platforms and the internet. It will create a link between the advertiser who is spending money to popularise the brand and the expected outcomes that the advertising partner is able to deliver in terms of sales.
The Content-Commerce-Community model shapes a new narrative wherein the same marketing campaign is able to guide the user through all the four purchase stages,making content marketing a much more accountable and measurable medium as opposed to just a creative one.The transformation from ROAS to ROI from a non performance unit to performance unit is a truly a game changer and will be, if not already, the new mantra amongst advertisers.
There are effectively 7 salient points that advocate the potential of the Content-Community-Commerce model
1. Own – Advertisers will be able to own the entire ecosystem by navigating the consumer journey through the purchase funnel;
2. Friction – It will decrease points of friction by taking the consumer to complete the purchase via one single platform;
3. Conversion – The natural impact that less friction in the consumer journey, will be an increase in conversion;
4. Attributable – The content in this model, takes responsibility for the conversion. Content creators will be more accountable since the final purchase will be directly attributed to the content that is being created by them and consumed;
5. Affiliates – Typically Influencers charge a fee per brand post. However in this model, Influencers become the new affiliates shifting their stance from ｀content creators¨ to ｀product co-sellers¨ who assist in driving product sales;
6. Performance Metric – Performance-led content marketing models such as this will add a performance metric to the otherwise creative art making Content Marketers and the medium a lot more accountable and measurable;
7. Monetizable Opportunities – While product placement as a strategy has been around for some time, this model will allow for more monetizable opportunities in the edutainment and infotainment segments.
-The author is co-founder of Zoo Media and the upcoming infotainment platform Man¨s Life. Views expressed are personal.