Time Inc. UK has assigned 20 people to write commerce content ahead of this year’s Black Friday, taking place Nov. 24 — twice the number it had creating content last year, when each magazine brand created content individually, according to the publisher.
The journalists, from Time Inc. UK brands, including Trusted Reviews, Marie Claire, NME, InStyle and Cycling Weekly, will source and write content that falls into three categories: aggregations of the best Black Friday deals for each of the publisher’s brands; the best deals by retailer; and content on specific products. An additional four people will edit the content and check working links. The deals will be published across relevant brands and through the brands’ social media accounts. Not all of this content will be tied to affiliate partners.
“There’s a much bigger opportunity if we work together, particularly in digital,” said Evan Kypreos, Time Inc.’s content director for technology and homes, adding that the emphasis is on speed and promoting the best deal. “There’s so much noise out there.”
Kypreos estimates the team will publish around 200 pieces of content on Black Friday, although some of these will be updates on where deals have expired. On last year’s Black Friday, reviews site Trusted Reviews, which is Time Inc. UK’s most established title when it comes to driving people to buy products, created roughly 50 pieces of content.
The team will sift through deals on social media, particularly Twitter and Reddit, look at search trends and use audience analysis and keyword tools to determine what people are searching for. Journalists have been trained in writing content that serves a more commercial purpose, emphasizing the savings upfront and writing eye-catching headlines.
Savvy consumers have caught on to the fact that some retailers inflate prices in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and lower them on the day. Trusted Reviews has archives of hundreds of thousands of products, and Time Inc.’s experts in content verticals, like cycling, fashion and electronics, will judge whether an item can be bought cheaper elsewhere.
For the rest of the year, Time Inc. UK has proprietary tech that plugs into different affiliate networks, pulling in the best deals. So far this year, Trusted Reviews has driven £15 million ($19.8 million) in products to retailers, and it expects to double this figure by the end of the year, largely through Black Friday. The revenue share for affiliate deals depends on the price: Electronics vary between 1 and 3 percent, but other items can be higher. According to Kypreos, conversions for Trusted Reviews are between 4 and 12 percent.
Publishers that are more established in e-commerce, like Future, have warned of the dangers of cannibalizing display ad revenue. “It’s possible a piece of content can make a lot more out of affiliate revenue than a display ad,” said Kypreos. “The problem is when everything clashes together. Content about deals [behaves] differently to other content; perhaps there are fewer ads there. We’ll be doing lots of tests to see how we can best tackle it next year.”