Commerce Content In The Changing Advertising Landscape For Malaysian Brands And Publishers

By Cris Tan, Partner Development Manager (SEA), impact.com,

Digitalisation and the constantly evolving world of consumers have made it difficult to keep up with the changes of consumer behaviour today. Many of us found ourselves shifting to digital platforms to have our needs met – whether it be shopping or maintaining our social circles. In fact, more than 65% of Malaysian consumers last year saw digital consumption becoming a permanent way of life, having bought the majority of items they needed online instead of in-store.

In addition to this, more Malaysian consumers have also become savvier on the internet, prioritising transparency and doing their research when it comes to making purchases from different brands. While internet advertising expenditure has seen steady growth in the last decade, brands are now faced with the challenge of appealing to the trust of consumers.

So how can businesses ensure that they keep up and still generate sustainable growth and revenue? A more authentic way of reaching audiences should rise to the occasion. One emerging approach is commerce content, where collaborations between brands and content publishers happen and they fulfil both consumer interests while benefiting a brand’s topline.

Why creating branded content is more engaging and effective for both brands and publishers as compared to traditional online advertising

In short, commerce content is the strategic partnering between brands and media to create unique shopping experiences through branded content for consumers. Publishers produce editorial content that upholds their established values while educating consumers about brands and products that resonate with their guiding principles.

There are many different ways a publisher can work with a brand via content commerce, such as unboxing videos, buyer’s guides, and new product coverage, among other content types. For example, a content publisher can be writing a review about comparing smartphone models of a popular brand, and an affiliate promo code can be included in the article to provide a discount if the reader decides to purchase any smartphone from the brand’s website thereafter. Ultimately, it’s about providing the consumer with helpful information during any stage of their purchasing journey. Through this, readers also benefit from an existing trust and ongoing loyalty to these publishers when seeking new products or researching a brand before purchase.

Having users engage with brands through content has proven more successful than display ads. For example, social platforms like TikTok have found that 67% of its users in SEA felt inspired to shop when engaging with the video content on the platform even when they were not looking to do so.

Symbiotic relationships like these are fast becoming top of mind when marketers and brands plan budgets and goals. Why? Brands and merchants get exposure to new audiences who are more likely to buy sooner than they might if they were first hearing of the brand through a traditional advertising channel.

Ultimately, commerce content enables an encompassing marketing approach that not only creates better brand awareness, but also new opportunities for sales and conversions. Whether a brand decides to work with a publisher on an affiliate performance model or by simply tapping on the publisher to create awareness and engagement and pay a flat fee — the bottom line is, both businesses can align and agree on their goals and needs and have complete and direct control of the partnership. And with the right tools, they will be able to measure the incremental value of each contribution.

Knowing where to start and making the best out of a brand media partnership

So how do brands or publishers know if they are in the right partnership, and where do they start? This is where someone like myself comes in. As a Partner Development Manager with impact.com, a lot of what I do is about putting the puzzle pieces together. In Malaysia, I am seeing a growing number of requests from brands and publishers here who are eager to adopt content commerce but just don’t know where to start. Here’re my thoughts.

● Brands – Setting brand objectives and weaving value into publisher content

Working with publishers directly allows brands to set different engagement and monetization models depending on their business needs – it could be getting audience views on content, potential customers who clicked on the brand’s website, or even through affiliate promo codes used by a customer.

When brands engage in content partnerships, it’s important that their product or service fits naturally with the content and is not confused with an advertorial or sponsored content. The idea is to utilise content created organically to appeal to the consumer’s interest without hard selling.

● Publishers – Tapping into existing audiences and diversifying revenue streams

The recent years have seen shifts within the advertising economy in the region. Asia Pacific continues to see more targeted lower funnel advertising formats that favours consumer action over general brand awareness, contributing to hurdles publishers go through to maintain and grow their revenue streams. The value of monetizing content organically is gaining recognition amongst publishers, and we can expect commerce content to emerge as a potentially large revenue source.

But how do we identify and pair the right brand to the most fitting publisher? That’s where having a technology platform comes in handy – whether it is analysing first party data to engage target audiences or having a full overview of a running campaign, the right intelligence makes a world of difference. More importantly, the ability to track the performance of each partner and have the visibility of how much revenue and value they contribute to the business.

On the publisher’s end, automation also means payouts will be distributed and received on time. This also leaves them with more time and resources to focus on better content creation.

Shoppers are truly discerning consumers, and so brands need to be authentic and trustworthy – your buyers won’t settle for anything less. Having this in mind, it’s easy to see why this new type of commerce-driven content is on the rise.

As we become smarter consumers, brands can no longer rely simply on the traditional ways of marketing. By connecting with people where their interest lies, there is an opportunity for us to create a more organic marketing experience that benefits everyone – be it the consumer, brand, or even content creators.

 

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