The Wall Street Journal is finally entering the trade space after spending a year figuring out what that business will look like for the Dow Jones.
Launched last month, WSJ’s Buy Side is a standalone site whose editorial team operates separately from the Journal, but has the same goal of helping people make financial decisions, a shared mission for Dow Jones’ other properties, including MarketWatch and Barron’s, according to the firm’s head of revenue Josh Stinchcomb.
The timing of the Buy Side launch, which will likely take place just before a recession, could be a unique challenge for most ecommerce publishers, with audiences starting to pinch their pennies and brands reconsidering their budgets. affiliate marketing. But Leslie Yazel, Buy Side’s content manager, believes these circumstances could benefit her team’s editorial strategy, thanks to the focus on personal finance featured in each article.
In the latest episode of the Digiday Podcast, Stinchcomb and Yazel discuss how Buy Side is balancing consumer product recommendations with detailed budget breakdowns to help readers make purchasing decisions through the lens of value, as well as aiming for partnerships. of affiliation with financial institutions.
Below are the highlights of the conversation, which have been slightly edited and condensed for clarity.
The WSJ approach to commercial content
Yazel: We have consumer goods that we sell and we also have personal financial advice, which we can also monetize. But at the heart of this are money decisions, whether you’re buying a coffee machine, deciding which credit card to choose, or whether you should upgrade to a high-yield savings account. We believe WSJ.com has great authority there [and] we want it to be useful for people.
But I also think that we are now well positioned for the economic situation, because one of the main things we do is to strictly care for people and to reckon for people. So when I say we care strictly, [I mean] when you travel the Internet and look at all the best lists available, you sometimes see “19 Best Credit Cards” or “12 Best Any”. We really narrow it down for people. When it comes to cashback reward cards, we’ve narrowed it down to four so people can really make an easier decision.
Let’s create a criterion for this. We work with a group of experts in the financial services industry and work tirelessly on spreadsheets to narrow it down, but we also do the math for people. And what I mean by this is if we’re looking, if I were to get one of these coffee subscriptions that are so popular now, let’s not just look at the tasting notes. We also look at how much it actually costs per ounce because you can compare that to what you might be buying at your favorite market or grocery store.
The financial benefit of making affiliate deals with financial institutions
hair comb: [Financial services partnerships tend to be] more varies in terms of [pricing] Models. And I read your piece on [cost-per-click] compared to cost per acquisition – the different currencies in this space that are evolving – and on the financial services side, it’s a combination of cost per acquisition and cost per lead. There are several models. On some types of products, that can be a percentage of a loan amount and other models is a flat fee of $ 50 for each new verified credit card application.
On average, I think those rewards end up being greater per capita than most consumer products, to the point where that customer’s life value to a credit card issuer, for example, is greater. So you’ll often have a range or flat rate on a cost per lead or cost per customer acquisition. And these can change over time because as you grow and deliver more volume and more success to a particular issuer, for example, you may be able to trade better per capita rates.
Higher rates but higher barriers to entry
hair comb: The financial services space is more complicated. There [are] compliance issues that do not exist in other categories. You have to test yourself with many credit card issuers, for example, before you can become an accredited affiliate partner for them. And so this is a process, you have to earn and prove your way in this and prove that you have the proper compliance and put in the proper resources to be compliant. And this is a barrier to entry.
There are great competitors out there, but there are also competitors who are partners. Red Ventures is the operator of some pretty big sites in the space, like Bankrate, but they also have a really sophisticated affiliate offering for publishers. We work closely with Red Ventures and are able to work with them to be an intermediary for many financial institutions because they have a very thorough understanding of compliance and complexity and can help accelerate our participation in that market. [It’s] somewhat similar to SkimLinks in the consumer space.