At the Digiday Hot Topic: Commerce for Publishers event in May in New York City, we surveyed 53 publisher executives to learn how publishers approach commerce initiatives. Check out our earlier research on where publishers sell their products here. Learn more about our upcoming events here.

Quick takeaways:

  • Less than 30 percent of publishers in Digiday’s survey think editorial content should be independent from commerce efforts.
  • Sixty-one percent of respondents said they use audience data to inform editorial content.
  • Data that informs commerce decisions most often comes from audience development teams.

The wall between church and state crumbles
Editorial content is supposed to be objective and separate from outside interests or influences. However, that separation is diminishing as more publishers commit resources to promoting advertisers’ products in their editorial content. Now, commerce and editorial content have an uneasy relationship. When Condé Nast first announced that its editors would create ads, the backlash was fierce. Since then, attitudes have changed, with only 29 percent of publisher executives in Digiday’s survey saying editorial content should be independent from advertiser endorsements.

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