Harper’s Bazaar Pursues Shoppable Ads With Streamwize

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Harpers and StreamwizeFor publishers, the holy grail is to “engage, interact, and convert without leaving site,” according to Gary Portney, founder of Streamwize. Advertisers get their conversion, and publishers keep their consumer on-site.

That’s why ShopBAZAAR, the ecommerce presence for fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar, decided to license Streamwize’s “fractal content,” technology which creates browsable boxes on a website for deep in-page engagement with brands.

ShopBAZAAR is “a convergence of pure editorial content and commerce,” described Anne Welch, associate publisher and general manager for Harper’s Bazaar, who focused on the ecommerce site.

In the magazine, items tagged with a “B” signify they can be purchased on ShopBAZAAR. As part of an advertising buy, brands can purchase placements in the print magazine, the digital version or as dedicated boutiques on ShopBAZAAR. These “dedicated boutiques” are sold like advertising for a flat fee, not through a revenue-sharing agreement.

The women’s clothing brand J.McLaughlin was the first to try out the dedicated boutique using Streamwize. Compared to its boutique the previous year without Streamwize, average time on the J.McLaughlin page increased 36% year over year. The increase in page views per entrance, defined as the number of clicks after a user first engages with the Streamwize box, was 80%.

Keeping the user on-site also means the data stays in one place.

“When someone clicks out, from our point of view, she’s done," Welch said. "We can’t capture the consumer data because she’s clicked off the site. With Streamwize, we’ll have her stay on ShopBAZAAR, buy those shoes, and then stay on the site.”

The retailer also benefits. Since the Streamwize box is a browser in a browser, pulling in the site information in real time, the retailer can monitor performance without relying on outside data. In the capsule as a whole, Streamwize tracks click data and how much time is spent in each section, and it can create heat maps.

Other brands have signed on as well. The September issue, which for fashion magazines is the biggest of the year, will include such placements for a mainstream shoe store, a high-end jeweler and an international airline.

“If she wants to book her flight through ShopBAZAAR, she can do it without leaving ShopBAZAAR. That’s how far-reaching it is for us right now,” Welch said.

Streamwize calls its technology “in-stream content marketing” since it can provide deeper brand engagements as well as conversions. “Publishers are in search of creating different ad solutions and products that build better engagement for their advertisers,” Portney said of the niche he’s trying to fill.

On the page, a Streamwize placement looks only vaguely similar to a display ad, instead matching the look of a website for a more native feel. When users mouse over the placement, however, they can go down the rabbit hole into a deep range of content that resembles a microsite or mobile site, which the company dubs “fractal content.” A user can click through different images like a slide show, watch videos or complete a transaction within the box without leaving a site.

There are also long-term plans to expand use of Streamwize placements on HarpersBazaar.com as well as ShopBAZAAR. One section on HarpersBazaar.com, #thelist, already contains strong links to ShopBAZAAR, and has been identified as a natural fit. Having Streamwize ads throughout the site “will allow our advertisers to maintain their brand identity within the Harper's environment,” Welch outlined. “To the visitor, the experience is seamless and contained within one website instead of hopping all over the web.”

Right now, Streamwize is selling its technology primarily via a subscription fee to publishers. But it’s also having conversations with brands and agencies who also are interested in leveraging the technology. In addition to Harper’s Bazaar, it’s developing relationships with another magazine with an ecommerce portal as well as newspaper and magazine publishers. “With every company we’re talking about this idea of storytelling with our technology with the ability to convert.”

Harper’s Bazaar may use Streamwize’s technology to sell clothing (or airline flights), but Portney is pitching the Streamwize product for all brands, envisioning advertisers could use it to show videos of a new car and have them sign up for a test drive, for example, or browse through photos of a tropical hotel (with the option to buy).  “Advertisers are interested because it brings their brand and messaging closer to the user, it’s less disruptive and they think they will get more conversions,” he summed up.

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