Meredith Acquires Product Recommendation And Affiliate Network SwearBy

The women’s lifestyle media company Meredith is advancing its commerce strategy another step with the acquisition of SwearBy, an affiliate marketing platform used by women to save and recommend products.

The deal, which will be announced Thursday morning at CES, is Meredith’s second affiliate-focused acquisition in the past year, following its purchase of Linfield Media, which operates the coupon aggregation service PromoCodesForYou, last March.

Meredith did not disclose terms of the deal.

The publisher wasn’t proactively shopping for more affiliate media, but SwearBy fills an important role at the intersection of ecommerce and influencer marketing, said Catherine Levene, who joined Meredith as president and chief digital officer a year ago.

SwearBy also helps Meredith’s overall effort to diversify revenue away from advertising and magazine subscriptions.

Meredith’s affiliate retail sales surpassed $1 billion in 2019, Levene said. Meredith generated $400 million in 2018 via affiliate commerce integrations, SVP of revenue Andy Wilson told AdExchanger last year after it acquired Linfield Media.

SwearBy has its own site where users can write blog posts and list products they recommend, with everything linking back to social media accounts. It’s an incremental revenue tool for influencers who already endorse content.

Meredith plans to integrate the SwearBy service into all of its digital magazine titles, Levene said. So, for instance, when Entertainment Weekly interviews a celebrity or a columnist writes new film and movie reviews, their recommendations will connect to the SwearBy platform with an icon that lets readers save something to their own SwearBy account, like an online cart, or link them directly to a product page – à la affiliate marketing. The icon will be like a “pinky swear,” she said, a cheeky nod to Facebook’s thumbs-up button.

Levene said Meredith publications and interview subjects are constantly recommending books, products, TV shows, recipes, games and more as part of the normal course of editorial. The SwearBy integration will help capture value and consumer intent generated by those recommendations, she said.

SwearBy could also be a useful piece for Meredith’s data and analytics platform. For example, Levene said a beauty brand could identify which products Meredith readers swear by or if characteristics such as chemical-free or sustainable drive affiliate traffic.

Delivering insights and predictive analytics to advertisers beyond standard programmatic data returns is a priority, Levene said. And SwearBy “fits in perfectly” with those goals for Meredith’s data service.

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