Finding content sites to grow our publisher base and feed in to client campaigns is relatively easy, as all sites have content and often will classify themselves as such. However I know through experience that advertisers won’t accept all of these sites on to their program when looking for new ‘content’ sites to push their products or messages. What I’m saying is that the term content site can be quite ambiguous and have different meanings for different parties.
I am going to assume that the lion share of advertisers deem content sites (in their current perceived form) to be the holy grail for their program. What appears to be attractive about these sites is how well respected they are by their users and how they position the advertiser’s brand in a manner in which it is comfortable – but in my view all sites have content which has intrinsic value to its proposition and the users.
Maybe the perception that content sites position the brand in front of a customer who is looking for something other than price comparison or a deal is what attracts advertisers to the content light like a moth? But what about all the other sites out there that are doing just the same thing with the ideal demographic, but they are just approaching it from a different angle? For example consumers visiting price or product comparison sites are arguably more likely to buy as they are actually seeking a product and not being delivered it when reading an article or review. Perhaps some brands like the kind of consumers viewing content sites as they see them as having different buying behaviours and loyalties, which can be converted in a slightly softer manner.
Outside of these content sites there are infinitely more sites which allow positioning directly against competitors based on true comparatives such as price, availability and delivery, which all have a very strong link with conversion. I agree that reach and breadth of coverage are one facet of a successful affiliate program (which content sites will deliver to some degree) but more important is that the right mix of types of affiliates who will deliver direct sales.
Specialist or niche advertisers could fare well by working on building strong relationships with such sites as their product can be positioned in front of an engaged audience. However, it is hard to sometimes get these clients on sites as they might not have the kudos or deep enough pockets, highlighting the complexity of finding the right advertiser to site relationship.
This makes me think more and more about what the holy grail of sites should look like. Surely it’s one where relevant customers want your products or services, have a high average order values and are less likely to return items. It may be sites that deliver repeat customers over time and also where you can gain new customers? Food for thought…
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