Don’t Leave Your eCommerce Strategy Hanging: Why First-Party Data is Critical


  • 66% of publishers worldwide are active in the eCommerce space right now.
  • First-party data is key to creating relevant shoppable experiences.
  • Publishers can serve up targeted on-site and off-site product recommendations and offers.
  • Engagement and interest data lead to closer relationships with retail partners and shoppers.
  • According to Viafoura data, engaged users spend an average of two to ten times the amount of minutes on publisher pages compared to unengaged visitors.
  • Viafoura provides rich, first-party data that media organizations can feed into their eCommerce strategies to engage their users, boost sales and strengthen relationships with retail partners.

With more consumers turning to online shopping during the pandemic, eCommerce has been booming. Media companies are now rushing to enter this profitable space and diversify revenue streams by delivering trusted shopping experiences across their properties. 

In fact, a survey conducted by Digiday found that 66% of publishers are already generating some level of revenue from affiliate commerce. 

It’s clear that publishers are diving into eCommerce so how can media companies maximize their profits and reputation in this space?

Media organizations must serve up products that align with their audience’s interests if they hope to provide trusted shopping experiences and increase related revenue.

And that is where first-party data comes in. 

Discover how first-party data can improve the way media companies approach eCommerce below.

Producing Targeted Shopping Experiences

Just as your business’ editorial strategy can be supported with user data, you can also lean on critical data insights to personalize their shopping experiences with your organization. 

However, it’s essential that you’re leveraging first-party data, not third-party data, in your eCommerce strategy. After all, as third-party cookies are set to be erased from the internet forever, first-party data has become the obvious replacement.

Media organizations are now gradually recognizing how first-party data can replace third-party data and help create relevant shopping experiences for different groups of digital visitors. 

Take Vice, for instance.

“Vice will… focus on curating recommendations for specific micro-communities within its audience as those groups tend to spend money based on their passions,” says Vice Media’s chief digital officer, Cory Haik.  

By personalizing product recommendations through first-party data, media organizations can make smarter, data-informed decisions to grow eCommerce revenue.

Data-Driven Recommendation Tactics

Odds are, you probably already use your audience data to improve visitor interactions with your company’s website or app in some way or form. And you can do the exact same thing with your eCommerce strategy to set your company apart from competitors and build trust from audience members. 

“Even though personalized recirculation has become common across media, the number of publishers personalizing the shopping content recommendations their readers see is small,” explains Abby Campbell, the VP of a marketing agency. 

Get ahead of the game by using first-party data to power your product-recommendation widgets or shopping pages directly on your site based on the unique interests of your audience.

The New York Post, for example, is feeding data from its customer data platform into shopping recommendations that are displayed across its digital properties. 

Alternatively, you can dig into your first-party data to discover the topics that your most active users tend to engage with. You can then send them customized emails featuring shopping offers and discounts to heighten interest in your products.

Audience members will be more likely to purchase products that are relevant to them, after all.

Enhancing Publisher Properties for Retail Partners

Major eCommerce platforms like Amazon and Instagram currently provide consumers with outstanding shopping experiences. As a result, internet users expect every digital shopping experience to be just as engaging and personalized.

Retailers are now looking to deliver unique experiences to potential customers with trusted partners.

For media companies, this means that they have the chance to generate eCommerce revenue if they can impress retailers enough with a unique, data-powered strategy. 

Autovia Chairman Peter Plumb highlights how there is a whole range of “opportunities for those with the broadest and most engaged reach, the richest audience data and the most trusted brands & content.”

First-party engagement and interest-based data can be used to activate digital visitors through personalized experiences, encouraging them to spend more time on your pages looking at — and buying — products. These experiences can also be targeted to highly engaged audience members to heighten product sales. 

Keep in mind that, according to Viafoura data, engaged users will spend an average of two to ten times the amount of minutes on publisher pages than an unengaged visitor. 

Ultimately, first-party data is key for media companies to improve their digital eCommerce services and solidify profitable relationships with retail partners and audience members.

As a first-party data provider, Viafoura gives media companies a 360-degree view of their community’s behaviors and interests. Organizations can access this information and draw critical insights to bolster their eCommerce strategies and attract retail partners.

Here’s How to Win Over Younger Audiences Before You Lose Their Attention For Good

At the moment, 64% of the earth’s population is made up of millennials (those born between 1981-1996) and Generation Z (those born after 1996). That means no matter how loyal your audience is to your media company, if you aren’t attracting younger consumers, you’re losing out on a huge portion of potential subscribers. Not to mention your existing audience is continuing to age out of your target demographic.

It isn’t hard to see why younger generations are becoming increasingly important to the future of your brand. But here’s the catch: millennials and Gen Zers are notorious for their short attention spans, and can’t easily be won over by ads and content. 

So what’s a media company to do in order to attract and retain them? 

We’ve gathered the top, tried-and-true ways to grab and hold the attention of Gen Y and Z. Take your business to the next level by applying these best practices to your company’s content strategy. 

A Flawless Mobile-First Experience

If you know anything about millennials and Gen Z, you probably know that they’re glued to their smartphones.

In fact, 40% of Gen Zers prefer streaming TV over their smartphones, and nearly 20% of millennials solely rely on their mobile devices for internet access. So when it comes to media, the user’s mobile experience is everything to younger audiences.

These individuals expect organizations to offer quick and seamless mobile experiences. Which means your website, app or video-streaming platform must be completely responsive to different device sizes and load content instantly. 

Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on a highly profitable audience that might have been loyal to your brand. 

Social Immersion Outside of Social Media

From the explosion of Facebook in the early 2000’s to the popularity of Snapchat and TikTok, it’s clear that generations Y and Z both value online social interaction.

But rather than allowing these interactions to happen on social media, bring this love for socialization right to your platform. That way, you can directly monetize their time spent interacting with one another. You can also generate consumer loyalty as they build meaningful connections to your platform.

Consider implementing moderated conversation, live chat or interactive blogging tools to give your visitors a way to be social on your platform.

Personalize the Experience

McKinsey and Company, an international consulting agency, conducted a survey and found that “Generation Z is not only eager for more personalized products but also willing to pay a premium for products that highlight their individuality.”

Since younger audiences have grown up in the midst of the digital age, they’re completely accustomed to being bombarded with content from hundreds of media companies. Great content is everywhere these days. So if you want your content to stand out from the competition, your user’s experience must be both unique and personal. 

“Young people are not a monolithic marketing segment,” states an article on Forbes. They expect media organizations to treat them as individual humans, not just a number. 

Want the solution? Simply look to your first-party data to determine how you can customize the experience according to the interests of your visitors. 

Amplify Your Brand’s Authenticity

Millennials and Gen Zers both value a certain degree of transparency and sincerity in their relationships not just with humans, but also with the companies they choose to support. 

“Gen Z craves a personal, authentic connection,” the editor of a report on Generation Z tells CNBC. “The key is to know your brand and evolve accordingly. Quick about-faces and trend-chasing will be seen for what they are.”

So connect with your younger audiences over topics and issues that matter not just to them, but also to your organization.

Fun Fact: Almost 90% of Generation Z prefers supporting companies that help out with social or environmental issues. 

Rely on Visual Content 

“With new voices and new platforms entering the media landscape by the minute, the competition for young people’s attention has never been greater,” VICE’s Senior VP of Global Insights says

Thankfully, visual content like GIFs, memes and most importantly, video, is richer than just text-based articles, and can reach consumers in a matter of seconds.

We’ve all seen how visual-only social media platforms have become extremely popular with younger generations, after all. Brands that want to effectively create loyal and younger audience members must learn to replicate engaging visual experiences on their own platforms. 

In general, to capture the attention of younger audiences, you need more than just great content and products — you need to offer exclusive, unique experiences.

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