Content to Commerce is a way of promoting products in a clear and useful way. Unlike banner ads, which try to distract web users from their browsing by offering them products, Content to Commerce comes into play when the web user is in the process of making a purchase.
These are quality contents on specific products and themes. These buying guides, or product tests, are generally placed on key queries such as "Smartphone under 200€" or "How to choose your 4K TV". They include affiliate links to ensure that they are both useful for the surfer and profitable for the media producing them.
Content to Commerce has many advantages, the first of which is that it's informative for web users. If you respect your audience and are honest in your content, without trying to sell them something at any price, then you're being useful, or even offering a service for free. If you intervene at a time when a web surfer is looking for information on a specific type of product, but hasn't yet made a choice, needs advice or the information they need to make their decision, then you have a good chance of converting.
Several publishers have become experts in the content-to-commerce field, enabling them to generate comfortable revenues. Here are four examples of sites with different operational methods:
Wirecutter is a site that has been acquired by the New York Times. Launched in 2011 by a Gizmodo alumnus, it generated $150 million in revenue between 2011 and 2016 thanks to affiliation. Initially separate from the news site, it is now fully integrated into the parent site, which hosts it on its own URL: www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/.
In short, Wirecutter leaves no stone unturned, testing everything from gardening tools to deep fryers to menstrual cups. Each product presented is truly tested, and for each product category tested, the results are presented in the form of a summary of four products:
If sometimes they test 20 products, the summary allows visitors to make a decision quickly and easily thanks to this presentation.
While Les Numériques started out testing high-tech products, it has now diversified to test a wider range of products. Its reputation has been earned by its serious and detailed product tests, to the extent that the scores awarded to products are sometimes reproduced by the manufacturers on the equipment's packaging. On each test, in addition to a summary of the product's main features, there is a price comparison table (at the top and after each test). So, once convinced, the visitor is directly redirected to the merchants. Les Numériques also features buying guides that bring together the tests. These cleverly direct traffic to the test pages, creating a virtuous circle of audience generation.
Dealabs is a community site for good deals. Its main feature is that users do most of the work for the site, which is known as UGC (User Generated Content). Indeed, anyone can propose an offer, which is then validated by the site's administrators before appearing in the feed. Behind each link proposed by a visitor, the site takes advantage to add its tracking tag and generate revenue. Unlike the two previous sites, visitors come with the desire to buy a particular type of product or simply to spend money, and scroll through the offers whose main information is the price. Its members are very active and formidable when it comes to finding offers that have gone unnoticed by everyone else. Add to this keyword alerts, and you have the war machine that Dealabs has become over the years.
The first three sites are veritable industries, some employing dozens of people. BelleBarbouze is an example of an affiliate site created by a single person on a specific theme. An expert in his field (beards), this enthusiast shares his advice and tests products, not forgetting to include affiliate links in his articles. He doesn't publish at a high rate, but his articles are of sufficiently high quality to appear on the first pages of Google on several queries. If you take a look at this article, you'll see that it shares a common structure with the one you're reading right now.
Many other sites exist with different operational methods for different audiences in different sectors. These sites are given as examples because they represent good case studies, but don't forget that you'll need to optimize your site to find what works (see our article on WebPerformance andincreasing affiliate income).
The world of affiliate marketing is full of success stories, whether written by companies looking to make millions, or by people simply looking to make ends meet. There's room for everyone on the Internet! The important thing is to find the method that works best with your core target audience, to find the right approach for presenting your content and generating clicks on your affiliate links.