Future PLC Generated Nearly $ 1 Billion In Online Sales In 2020

Future PLC’s e-commerce boom in 2020 continued into 2021.

The British media company – which owns brands such as Tom’s Guide, Cinema Blend, Golf Monthly and Marie Claire – generated nearly $ 1 billion in e-commerce revenue for its affiliate partners in 2020, thanks to content at evergreen leaves and shopping holidays like Amazon’s Prime Day, as more people have turned to online shopping during pandemic lockdowns.

In the first half of 2021, Future saw the money he makes from increasing sales of other companies’ products increase 56% year-over-year, to around $ 62 million. E-commerce affiliate revenue for the first half of 2021 was £ 85.2million, or roughly $ 116.5million. This revenue represents more than 30% of Future’s total revenue, according to James Nieves, head of US business marketing at Future PLC. From November 2020 to March 2021, Future achieved total revenue of £ 272.6million (or $ 374.0million), an 89% increase year-over-year, according to the company’s financial report published in May.

Future sold $ 960 million in sales order value (or SOV, the gross value of a product sold through Future content) to affiliate partners in 2020 through Hawk, its proprietary price comparison platform launched in 2013. Hawk automatically identifies the products and suppliers that the company has an affiliate relationship with and embeds those links in product review articles, so readers can see the prices and retailers next to the products mentioned. Hawk works with large retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target, as well as smaller affiliate partners.

The total number of transactions generated by Future increased 109% in the United States from April 2020 to April 2021. Future declined to say how much money from each transaction the company keeps. Commission rates can vary widely by product and retailer and can range from one or two digit percentages.

“We are able to produce and display real-time price changes for different retailers, for millions of different products and services,” said Jason Webby, director of revenue for North America at Future PLC.

The pandemic is changing what people buy from Future

When the pandemic hit and the company switched to remote working, Future noticed that some product categories were increasing as a result, Webby said. These categories included automotive (243% increase globally from April 2020 to April 2021), photography (179%), clothing (174%) and wellness (98%). The main items sold in the United States were cameras, headphones, home appliances, health and beauty, and the gym and fitness.

The biggest categories for the business’s affiliate activities, based on transactions per day, are technology and video games. IT products generate an average of 1,600 transactions per day, for example. When the pandemic hit, people “needed to buy things like laptops to work from home and play video games at home… It allowed us to thrive during the pandemic,” Webby said.

The “best” buying guides draw readers to sites

There are certain techniques that help fuel Future’s e-commerce business. The use of the word “best” in titles makes it possible to show the buying guides of its brands (an overview of the “best” shoes for cycling or washing machine) in search engines. Almost 80% of Future’s traffic from new visitors comes from people looking for the “best” products to buy, Webby said. Buying guides represent 60% of Future’s SOV per year. Its top performing articles (based on SOV) have the keyword “best” in the title.

This could be appealing to brands looking to market their products and find ways to get people to their sites. The iOS 14.5 update in April gave people more control over who tracks their data and “moved the entire business advertising world,” so “brands need to think about how they can differentiate themselves. where they can drive traffic to their site, as the advertising channels are less successful than in the past, “said Ben Zettler, digital marketing and e-commerce consultant. Affiliate links are one way to do it .

Hawk’s first-party data reveals “where a user enters our ecosystem,” such as search terms that took them to a Future site, what post they clicked on, how long they spent on the page , whether or not he clicked on an affiliate link and what it was for, Webby said.

“We can understand a user’s journey, across all of our sites,” he said, adding that the data informs coverage, determining which items are sending people to shop and which are not, by depending on the categories of products examined. “You can’t get this [information] from third-party data, ”Webby said.

Old Articles Bring New Money, But Buying Events Really Generate Income

Future’s ongoing content drives sales conversions for years after publication, Webby said. Forty-nine percent of all SOVs in Q1 2021 were from articles published before 2020. For example, a mattress buying guide on Tom’s Guide sells eight mattresses per day.

These guides are “updated slightly if there’s a new version of the product, or if we add another retailer, but remain as they were originally written,” Webby said.

But news-related content also supports Future’s affiliate activities. During this year’s Amazon Prime Day, June 21, Future generated over $ 25 million in Prime Day sales in the US and UK. SOV is up 5% globally from last year’s event. Affiliate purchases in the lifestyle category are up more than 50% from Prime Day last year, due to Future’s acquisition of female publisher Marie Claire in May 2021.

Future will continue to expand into new verticals to recommend products in more categories, according to Webby, perhaps by adding more media brands to Future’s portfolio. Future CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne “wants to make an acquisition every nine months,” Webby said.

Future PLC drove nearly $1 billion in e-commerce sales in 2020