With more and more publishers trying to rely less on revenue from display ads, one UK tech publication is gambling that it can use its consumer tech reviews to direct visitors to e-commerce deals on the products featured in their articles and take a cut of any purchases it’s driven.
The publication in question is TechRadar, and it has redesigned its website to facilitate the new e-commerce drive. Linking digital content to online retailers supplying the very products readers have just had their appetites whetted for seems like a stroke of genius. And TechRadar has high hopes for the initiative: it believes it can potentially generate over £1m. On top of redesigning the website, it has also built its own e-commerce and affiliate marketing software to turn that wish into a reality.
TechRadar is one of 30 titles published by UK-based Future and is the first to use the new software (the other titles are expected to follow suit). This is how it works: purchase recommendations are now embedded throughout TechRadar’s review content. A review this week entitled “PS4 vs Xbox One: which is better?”, for example, comes accompanied by a right-rail box featuring pricing information for the Xbox One and PS4 from retailers such as Amazon, Zavvi.com, John Lewis and Currys/PC World.
It’s an interesting development in the quest to find new ways of monetising online content. Soon, it will include an enhanced phone comparison service to allow phone buyers to browse multiple smartphone deals (the idea is to help them make informed decisions based on TechRadar’s reviews).
The publication is fast becoming one of the UK’s premier tech review sites: according to comScore, it attracted 2 million UK desktop visitors last month alone, while the company’s own analytics software suggests that, globally, it attracts 20 million monthly visitors.
In common with most publishing houses, Future is exploring new paths for revenue growth. It suffered an eyewatering £35.4 million loss last year and is embracing content marketing services as well as pushing the e-commerce angle.
TechRadar’s global editor-in-chief, Patrick Goss, says that display advertising remains important for the publication, but its pioneering affiliate deals, too:
“Given we’re principally a review site, telling people why this phone is better than the other is great, but being able to tell them where they can buy that phone as well is a whole other level of user service.”