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HomePodcastGen3 Marketing Logo - Light Blue Background By Gen3 Marketing Posted on Mar 11, 2024

Actionable Insights – March 11, 2024

Episode Sixteen: P is for Performance

Unveiling Five Cutting Edge Strategies for Today’s Full Funnel PR.


In this special podcast episode, host Kerry Curran brings together the Affiliate Summit West Panel members for an industry leading discussion and a replay of the session titled: “P is for Performance – Unveiling Five Cutting Edge Strategies for Today’s Full Funnel PR.”

Kerry is joined by Yesica Lepe, Director of Content Partnerships, Meg Kernahan from Condé Nast, and Jamie Zimmerman representing ThirdLove, a valued client of Gen3.

The team explores the importance of planning and strategy in performance PR, the collaboration between publishers and agencies, and the value of search engine ranked content. They also discuss the differences between marketplaces and brand direct approaches and share insights on pitching for placements.

The panelists discuss the importance of detailed briefings and forecasts, effective communication, and planning in advance, reviewing pitches and key elements, determining commissions and cost per action, and performance evaluation and measurement.


Kerry Curran

Hello, and welcome to our latest episode of Gen3’s Actionable Insights, where we provide performance marketing and affiliate strategies for driving your business results.

Today we have a very special episode where we are bringing back our panel from Affiliate Summit West. The panel that we presented at the conference.

The origins for the panel go back to our original research based on consumer behavior, shopper journey. And what we found was when it came to mass media, it was favored 62% more than retail marketplaces when looking for shopping inspiration, with 37% of respondents reporting they started with popular magazines versus 24% starting on search engines and 21% starting in retail marketplaces.

So, our data just reiterates the importance of Performance PR. And today we want to share more insight into how brands and agencies and publishers work together to secure those premium placements.

So, today’s podcast is ‘P is for Performance’ Unveiling Five Cutting Edge Strategies for Today’s Full Funnel PR.

With over one third of shoppers initiating their journey with mass media publishers, top placements are more crucial than ever. However, relying on traditional PR tactics from yesterday won’t yield the results needed for tomorrow.

We’ve observed a swift evolution in the mass media and brand advertiser partnerships, demanding a cutting-edge approach to stay competitive. Today, we’re gonna share actionable strategies to enhance your placement rates, foster full funnel audience engagement, and boost your brand revenue through mass media partnerships.

Welcome Meg, Jamie, and Yesica. I would love for you to each introduce yourselves and tell our audience a bit of why anyone should listen to you today.

Jamie Zimmerman

I’m happy to go first.

Hi everyone, I’m Jamie Zimmerman. I lead the Paid Marketing efforts for ThirdLove. We are an intimate’s company, and we are very much in the performance DTC space.

I’ve been in the industry now for almost close to 18 years. Very heavy agency background actually and moved over to the brand side a couple of years ago. I’m really excited to be here today and start talking a little bit more and growing awareness around PPR.

Meg Kernahan

Hi, everyone. I’m Meg Kernahan. I am the Senior Manager of Commerce Partnerships at Condé Nast. I oversee all of our affiliate partnerships across our portfolio of brands including titles like Vogue, GQ, Wired, Glamour, Bon Appetite, and more.

I’ve been in the publisher side of affiliate previous to this role and then at an agency managing merchant partnerships prior to that, so have a holistic view across both sides of the affiliate relationship.

Yesica Lepe

I am Yesica Lepe. I am a Director of Content Partnerships here at Gen3. I oversee our Performance PR team that essentially functions to manage all of our mass media partnerships within our clients affiliate program.

So, work very closely with mass media partners who have over one million monthly visitors. And there’s our team is specifically trained within that particular subset.

Kerry Curran

Great. Thank you all. And I’d love to have you each kind of share what you’ve seen as the evolution of the traditional PR and mass media relationships into Performance PR and what that’s looked like and if anything, has surprised you and help give our audience a better understanding of what performance PR is today.

Meg, would you like to go first?

Meg Kernahan

I think the biggest surprise for me on the publisher side of things is just how much more closely we are working with our affiliate partners. We’re really deepening these relationships to understand how we can really be an extension of the marketing team and utilizing our platforms, our audiences to really grow businesses in a more collaborative way.

So, I think that’s a bit different of an approach than even it was a few years ago.

Kerry Curran

And Jamie, how about from your perspective?

Jamie Zimmerman

I think so much of it for us on the brand side is the trackability of it. So, traditional PR has very much always lent itself to more brand awareness, growing a brand or crisis management. And with performance PR, there’s this ability to now actually show a number to how editorial itself drives an action for the brand.

Kerry Curran

Yeah, thank you.

Yesica, can you share your perspective in a bit of how you define Performance PR.

Yesica Lepe

Yeah, absolutely. Performance PR, I’d say is very much an intersection of your traditional affiliate practices alongside traditional PR practices when it comes to securing digital content.

What’s really great about Performance PR is we can really tap into leveraging those traditional affiliate practices and working alongside Meg while we can also tap into our traditional PR practices, tapping into the editorial side of things.

Working with those two departments is really key. They have a lot of influence in terms of what content is created. They’ve got data on their side, and we’ve got data on our side and really being able to merge those two to secure that content that hopefully performs is really key for us.

And overall, I think what I’m most surprised about this evolution of Performance PR is the precipice of it even six, seven years ago, when it was still very new compared to what it is today, things are just moving so fast.

There’s new software out there, new technology that allows us on the agency side to really leverage as well as the publication side.

So, it’s been really great to see the evolution of the last six to seven years and I’m just excited for what’s to come.

Kerry Curran

Great, thank you.

And so, the inclusion of Performance PR all needs to start at the very beginning of planning and strategy. And Jamie, from your perspective, how do you approach planning for Performance PR in conjunction with your other media and digital marketing strategies?

Jamie Zimmerman

So, for us, it really starts to understand where our goals are for the upcoming year, or even for the initiative, if that is how we’re planning at that point in time. And it’s also understanding where the consumer is.

So, we try to keep the consumer at the center of everything we do, and then work from there to align with the KPIs. We work closely then with our partners, really, to just brief in and ultimately really become integrated.

So, we are understanding what is available, where the opportunities are, how can we drive sales, and ultimately where can we be a little bit more flexible if we need to think about getting somebody just to site before we actually go after that conversion.

So much of it is intertwined closely with Yesica and her team, and then my team, and ultimately actually my finance team in a lot of ways because we’re manipulating some of those goals to help identify where the best opportunity is for that moment in time.

Kerry Curran

Great, thank you.

And Yesica, when you’re working with clients like Jamie, how do you plan for which mass media partners really align with their business goals and product strategy for the full funnel customer journey?

Yesica Lepe

I’d say there are a lot of factors that we consider too, just in simply approaching the strategy for Jamie and the ThirdLove team.

And I’d say three key factors that I’d like to call out particularly is audience. So, with audience, and particularly with

ThirdLove’s audience, it’s always important to make sure that we know who that audience is. Is there an existing audience that is outperforming another audience subset? Is there a new audience with an upcoming campaign that Jamie wants to tap into? So, that really helps us determine ultimately like which publications we’d look to target based on those different audience categories.

And then second factor that I think is really important are campaigns. So, Jamie’s team does a phenomenal job of putting together a marketing calendar for us. So, we know what they’ve got upcoming, whether it’s for new product launches, whether it’s promotional items, that also allows us to inform what that strategy is going to look like and what that end goal targeted mass media publisher list is going to look like.

Say Jamie’s got a product that they’re looking to phase out and replacing with a new product that’s upcoming. If that particular product is lowered in price, and we know that Meg at Condé Nast and some of her properties have performed very well for this product in the past, we might reach out to Meg and say, hey, we’ve got this product phasing out it’s going to be lowered in price, is your editorial team interested in doing something based on the historic data of the SKU?

So, there’s a lot that we could particularly do with different product strategies, different campaigns, just based on what the ThirdLove team has upcoming.

And then lastly is budget, which I think is very important, but very important for Jamie and Meg. And when it comes to budget, it really informs whether we’re after prioritizing like CPA based content.

So, do we just have CPA to leverage with Meg and other publications? Is there a flat fee budget that perhaps we could utilize to maybe drive further performance or test placements with other publications. That also helps inform what that larger strategy is going to be.

There’s a lot that goes into it, but I’d say those three are really important for our team to keep in mind when we’re putting that strategy together.

Kerry Curran

Meg, from your perspective on the publisher side, I know you have the commerce and editorial team and the commerce more business development arm.

Can you talk about how they work together and how Yesica and Jamie might pitch their respective teams differently and the importance of the relationships across both?

Meg Kernahan

Yes, absolutely.

As you said, each brand of ours has their own commerce editorial team that executes all of the content, and they work really closely with me on the central team that kind of aggregates all of these partnerships together.

I really see it as the editorial team being the top of funnel within our organization where they’re really focusing on awareness and these kind of branding moments. Then I sit kind of in the lower funnel area with where we’re really focusing on conversions and performance.

We’re obviously very editorially driven working within editorial integrity, but ultimately at the end of the day, we’re very performance driven.

So, we need to work within the guardrails of edit to come up with a good strategy on behalf of our partners. So, oftentimes there’s relationships between brands and editors and writers and making sure they can test samples and keep them informed on these brand moments.

And then on the flip side, I work closely with agencies and brands on kind of the more performance element of things of, as Yesica was saying… for a specific campaign that their clients are working on. I often have editors will forward me pitches that they get that include affiliate information.

So, we have a very dynamic relationship. And really what we can do when working together cross-functionally is take this brand moment, maybe it’s a new ThirdLove product launch. We can take it just from this brand awareness kind of news buzzworthy moment and really build a fuller campaign around it. Maybe we feature the product in some top performing roundups and included in newsletters, and we can really amplify this bigger moment for our partners driven by CPA or flat fee or whatever budget and strategy we have available to us.

Kerry Curran

I know one of the important aspects of the Performance PR and mass media strategies is to look at the search engine ranked content.

Yesica and Meg, can you speak to how there’s value placed on the SEO ranked content and how you can kind of look for that material and the content for securing your placements?

Meg Kernahan

Yeah, I can start on this one. Obviously, this is a huge component of our strategy. We found more than half of our traffic coming to commerce articles comes from search.

So, we really want to meet the audience where they’re coming from and really build that organic traffic. And so, we found that our evergreen content consistently performs throughout the year.

So, we’re constantly refreshing the articles, making sure we’re up to date with Google’s algorithm. Making sure the content is really valuable and interesting to readers. Really getting the product in hand, getting that first-hand experience also performs very well, not only with Google, but with our audiences.

So, making sure it’s still audience driven, but able to rank very well. And I think we also are very uniquely positioned with such strong kind of brand domain authority within the space that really helps us to continue to outperform.

Especially in key moments like, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, a great example is when Glamour’s article about the Victoria’s Secret sale actually outranked Victoria’s Secret’s own site.

So, we find that these types of articles can be very valuable in positioning our brands where the audience is coming from and where the traffic really is.

And so, we then optimize all of our partnerships to make sure these inclusions are in these top traffic, top performing articles to really drive that performance.

Yesica Lepe

When it comes to SERP content, I’d say it’s valuable for both brand awareness, credibility, and performance purposes. SERP content is often the most sought after for all of our clients. We know just how impactful getting a ThirdLove in SERP rate content is.

We see the impacts as Meg said. They are often times the most traffic driving the most performing out of all of their content. So, for us, it’s very important that it’s a big piece of our strategy.

So, when evaluating the SERP, it’s really important to use SEO tools that we have on hand.

So, whether it’s a SEMrush, whether it’s an AHREF, there are various keywords that we will analyze on an ongoing basis. The SERP is constantly changing. There are publications that are constantly vying for those top 10 spots.

And for us, when it comes to a brand like ThirdLove, we’ve definitely got specific keywords that we will analyze within those SEO tools that are more brand specific, more product specific. We’ve also got keywords that are more so editorial focused that we will also evaluate.

So, Mother’s Day is coming up, could be a big moment for ThirdLove. We definitely make sure that we can analyze the SERP using an SEO tool and perhaps, analyzing various Mother’s Day, like best Mother’s Day gifts, any keyword that aligns with a gift guide, that could also be a part of the overall strategy just in like key tent-pole moments.

When it comes to actually reaching out to secure particular SERP content, there’s a lot that we learn from the agency perspective. Sometimes we learn that those articles are updated maybe once a year. Maybe they’re very much editorially led. So, if you know or have an idea of who that editor is, you kind of owns that article, or whether it’s multiple editors, it would very much be in our best interest to develop that relationship… get some product in their hand and hope that once that once a year time comes around when they’re updating and evaluating different brands that ThirdLove is considered.

Sometimes we do learn that they are paid. So, maybe we’ll get feedback from Meg that perhaps if we want to get included in a particular article, we could maybe pay for a spot so long as it doesn’t compromise editorial ethics. And then sometimes we also learn that those particular articles are purely at editorial discretion. So, as I mentioned before, you cannot pay for them purely editorially from that standpoint. They own it.

So, there’s a lot that we learn. And ultimately, they’re very valuable for the overall contribution of the program. And it’s just an ongoing cycle of evaluating.

Kerry Curran

Thanks, Yesica.

So, when we think about links going to the brand site or to marketplaces, we are seeing an increase in demand for marketplaces. Our previous podcast episode featured Levanta, who’s opening the ability to drive more editorial links to Amazon for our brand partners.

How do you look at marketplaces and third-party sellers versus brand direct and the instances where the publications prefer marketplace or brand direct and how does that all fit within the PPR strategy?

Jamie, do you wanna go first?

Jamie Zimmerman

Sure. So, for ThirdLove, when we look at marketplaces, it’s really in the lens of efficiencies and fast conversions. We also have looser goals around that too, where we’re not requiring that it’s more of a new customer lens. It can fall within new or repeat. We tend to see, for example, higher repeat conversions on marketplaces versus when we do direct buys, it’s usually paired with something bigger.

So, when we think about doing a larger integration with a specific publisher that ties itself to more of a full funnel approach. There’s a bigger appetite to it, where we’re looking to do more custom editorial.

We’re looking to lean into maybe something that they already have in the works and seeing how we fit into that story line, stuff to that extent.

It also ensures that we can typically guarantee better inventory, which is something that we would bucket more in the higher quality element. It really depends on kind of the goal at hand, but when we do look at marketplaces, it is meant to be more of an efficiency driver for us on the bottom line.

So, we’ll try to ensure that we have a healthy mix of both.

Kerry Curran

Thanks, and Meg, how about your perspective?

Meg Kernahan

Yeah, we ultimately want to offer a best-in-class shopping experience for our audiences. So, conversion rates will reflect where our audiences prefer to shop.

So, our linking strategy is usually determined by that performance. However, these marketplaces, multi-brand retailers just have a larger share of the industry in the e-comm space overall.

So, we are seeing some growth there. But in some instances, linking DTC does have a lot of advantages.

There are things like… better customer service or warranties or new colorways or things that are more exclusive to the DTC site. And so, we found that over time through these deeper partnerships, we’re really able to help train and change consumer behavior to start shopping DTC and understand the value, get to know the brand a bit better.

And we’ve been able to kind of grow that line of business if that’s a priority for the brand. If it’s open, we and to Jamie’s point, if there are benefits to either way, we can often have both buy buttons or prioritize accordingly.

And just working with our brand partners more closely will help us strategize better.

Kerry Curran

Great, and Yesica, how about your perspective coming from the agency? Yeah, so I’d say from the agency side, our perspective and overall strategy is largely dependent on brand goals.

Yesica Lepe

So, we’ve got some brands who come on and they are definitely interested in receiving those retailer links alongside direct to site links.

So, from our side, we can definitely support both. And then on the flip side, we’ve got clients who maybe only want to focus on direct to site links because the affiliate channel is where they’re attributing that performance to.

So, we’ll support just depending on what overall brand goals are and we’re very upfront with having those conversations. Ultimately on the agency side, we do not dictate, we cannot oftentimes give that influence as to where an article is linking to, as Meg said, conversion rates are very much factored into those overall links.

So, if we do see that there is an article that’s got perhaps a marketplace link and our client wants that direct to site link, if we know that they have maybe multiple buy button capabilities, or if we want to perhaps share any data that could influence a link swap, and we’ll definitely have those conversations, but they are never guaranteed.

And then furthermore, I’d say for, particular retailer for retailer links. And even just campaigns, I know with Jamie and the ThirdLove team, they’ve recently launched an Amazon last year. So, we’ll have the conversation sometimes when they’ve got upcoming campaigns. Sometimes it’s more of an Amazon led campaign and maybe affiliates not going to touch it. Maybe it’s a mix of both pushing Amazon and pushing the direct to site. And then other times it’s just purely pushing a direct to site initiative.

Again, largely dependent on the brand, largely dependent on their overall goals. That just helps inform how we approach from the agency side.

Kerry Curran

Great, thank you.

So, I know one of the biggest questions from our audience is how do we pitch for placements? How do we secure those premium reviews and content in those top brands?

So, starting with Yesica, can you walk us through your process? You’ve mentioned storytelling and making the pitch more compelling.

Can you talk through kind of what elements can make a pitch stand out?

Yesica Lepe

Yes, absolutely.

So, I’d say first and foremost, personalization and aligning your pitch with the publication audience, along with aligning your pitch with the department that you’re speaking to goes a very long way.

My pitch to a Meg, at Conde Nast who’s on the commerce team might look slightly different than what a pitch to an editor might look like.

So, when it comes to overall pitch elements, storytelling and campaign details are very much the same. The overall ethos of the brand does not change in the pitch, depending on which department you’re talking to.

When it comes to more of like the affiliate-centric data, any data that you can pull oftentimes is very much favored from a Meg at Conde Nast. Where it gets tricky with sharing some of that affiliate data with other editors is that it’s largely dependent on the publication. We know publications who are very strict with maybe not going as deep into some of those affiliate details like a CPA, an EPC, maybe revenue – so that they don’t compromise any editorial ethics.

But then there are other editors who do want that information. So, it’s just really dependent on knowing who your recipient is, knowing what perhaps their guidelines might be, so that you’re not compromising any journalistic ethics, but you’re also creating the most compelling pitch possible.

So, again, very much differs based on the department that you’re working with. But overall, the bread ethos, the storytelling, the campaign details remain the same.

Kerry Curran

Great, thank you.

And Jamie and Yesica, how do you work together to partner on this stage of the process? Can you share some examples?

Jamie Zimmerman

Yeah, so from the brand side, it really starts with detailed briefings and detailed forecasts.

So, what we typically try to share with all of our partners is a breakout by channel. What the expectations are, where are we as a brand have seen year over year success.

So, we’re ultimately either able to map to a similar success line or we can actually show growth based on category trends, audience trends and so on. But it really all ties to the numbers and what the ultimate goal is for the year.

So, with ThirdLove being a DTC brand and performance driven, we very much focus on how we can get that click, how can we get that new customer to site, and then how can we get her to convert quickly. And so that is a big component in the thought process that goes into how we have to determine what that plan looks like and what are the right partners to pitch for the brand and for the product.

So, much of what we do is very product focused, but we try to interweave the brand ethos into everything that we do as well. So, whether it’s focused on solution-based products and finding right editorials that speak to that, or if it’s more about an enticing deal or promotion, who are the right partners for that?

Those are the types of things that we need to be able to share with our partners, ideally more detail upfront versus… month-over-month, which I know sometimes is kind of where everybody stands, especially in the world today. That’s the detail that we’ll try to share to ultimately lay out the right plan.

The next piece of it, which Yesica spoke to a little earlier, is with the right target audience and the right moment to be out there for the objective at hand and figuring out how do we scale and do more of a plug and play approach sometimes.

We want to make sure that the message is… accurate, feels on brand, feels tied to the objective. We have big promotional moments as a DTC brand, but we also have very big moments that in general just feel tied nicely to who we stand for as a brand and how we support women.

Those are areas too that from a more branding perspective, we’ll try to lean into and really lean into a storyline that brings the world of intimates to a whole other light.

Yesica Lepe

From the Gen3 side and from the agency side. So, I’d say with the ThirdLove team, communication is absolutely key. It has been key in the overall success of the mass media contribution to their affiliate program.

So, we are very much having those conversations, as Jamie said, well in advance. So, knowing even three months in advance what we’re planning, what we’re looking ahead to, Jamie’s team is really great at that.

Sometimes Jamie’s team will share major moments that they have planned for the year, maybe even six months in advance. In the case that, it’s something that affiliate needs to start thinking about, needs to start strategizing so that we know that that’s coming up and we know that it’s going to be a huge moment for the brand.

When it comes to overall planning as well, I’d say from the mass media standpoint, we’re very much on an editorial timeline. With Meg and the Condé Nast team, we know that there are certain tent pool events throughout the year that we want to plan for. We’ve got Earth Day coming in April. We’ve got Mother’s Day coming up in May. And to your best to be most competitive and to have the best chance to get included in content or to secure content or to be considered for content… you definitely want to make sure that you’re pitching at least a month and a half to two months out.

So, we’re constantly communicating deadlines with Jamie and their team if we need information, we’re asking for that information. And we can be flexible if there are last minute updates. I know with Jamie’s team, sometimes we get promotions two weeks out and it’s still something that we can work with, but definitely be mindful of the planning, definitely be mindful of the editorial calendar so that our client has the best chance to be included in that content.

Kerry Curran

Great, thank you.

Now Meg, Jessica and Jamie kind of talked through their strategy and process for preparing and pitching to you and your team. Give us a bit of an insight into your process in reviewing pitches and the key elements that you’re looking for.

Meg Kernahan

Yeah, absolutely.

So, I will say, first of all, my inbox is kind of a disaster. So, all of these tactics that Jamie and Yesica laid out are really helpful to kind of cut through the clutter and kind of get noticed and get put to the top of the list, really.

I’d say that personalization especially is key. I had a pitch recently come through that was addressed, “Dear Sir”, which did not really get much follow up, to be honest. It just goes a long way to kind of show that there’s really thought put into it and really understanding what our goals and objectives are when partnering together.

I will say as well, having a very clear goal in the pitch can be very helpful so that we on our end can come up with a very clear action plan.

So, if the goal is purely just brand awareness and storytelling from the editorial perspective, that will be executed on in a very different way than one that has clear budget and conversion goals attached to it.

We can strategize for what that execution plan would look like. So, that’s really the best way to not only get through to us and to be read by my team and the editorial teams, but then also have an action put in place as a result of that.

Kerry Curran

Great, thank you.

So, one of the biggest differences between traditional PR and the performance PR is the commissions and the commission strategy that goes with the placement.

So, I’d love to hear from each of you, how you’re thinking about commissions, the competitiveness, and at the same time, what is the right cost per action or acquisition that you are looking for?

So, Jamie, if you wanna share first.

Jamie Zimmerman

Yeah, so it really doesn’t go, it kind of all goes back to the numbers and the goals, but at the same time, it’s also understanding the type of content you wanna be in.

Typically, when we’re on just a peer CPA based, we tend to find ourselves in a lot more of marketplace type of inventory, coupon type sites, things like that, versus when we work into the paid placements and or work out like a flat fees plus commission, we are guaranteed in an area that just speaks more I think, high value from a content perspective.

And it’s working with publishers like Meg to know where we show up, how we show up, the guarantee we have behind it, how can we integrate into the editorial, how can we ensure that we know we’re getting the right consumer with those types of publications.

So, over the course of the last year, we’ve actually leaned a lot heavier into more PPR because it is more about content strategy versus just a commission strategy, which is how we’ve always kind of talked about it from an affiliate standpoint on our side is anything that’s pure commission or CPA based is really more your traditional affiliate lens versus PPR allows us to be more of a content strategy focused brand. And those are areas that we are trying to dial up.

Kerry Curran

And Yesica, how about your perspective?

Yesica Lepe

So, when informing our clients as to what their commission strategy should be within the mass media space, there are a few factors that we’ll consider. Other overall margins, the AOV, as well as the vertical that they’re in.

Those three elements can really allow us to put together the most competitive commission strategy that we can start with at the baseline. And then from there, maybe we give a range that we can use to pulse and offer CPA increases to partners like Meg throughout key moments throughout the year.

We definitely recognize that the upper funnel is very competitive, especially within these mass media publications. We know the value of the performance that they can drive. We know that there’s brand awareness and credibility that comes along with it. And oftentimes, we do see that they command the highest CPAs because of where they sit in the funnel, and because we know that oftentimes most programs are within a last-click model. So, we do want to incentivize them with that higher CPA for every conversion that they can drive.

So, again, there’s a lot that we consider from our side and there’s a lot that we can do with the overall baseline CPA, the increased CPA that we might want to offer to partners like Meg. And it’s really helpful in securing that overall content.

Kerry Curran

Thank you.

And Meg, how do you determine the CPA that you will require or when you need to require a higher CPA than typical?

Meg Kernahan

Yeah, so we ultimately look at our earnings per click or EPC as kind of our key metric, which is a function of CPA, AOV, and conversion rate.

So, CPA obviously is the easiest one of those metrics to manipulate to help increase that EPC. So, it obviously depends kind of on the category, what’s competitive, but ultimately how much will an increase kind of create a lift on the EPC for us.

We always appreciate those CPA lifts, especially for specific campaigns or specific SKU’s, if that’s how the strategy is being operated. That’s something that I communicate to all of our teams so that they know that that’s going on for their editorial consideration. The best way to really incentivize or guarantee, I should say, inclusions is through that flat fee partnership, where we can really dedicate a lot more resources to securing content within those editorial guardrails and understand also for the DTC links, we can guarantee those links might go DTC versus another retailer.

So, there’s just a lot more resources that we can dedicate on RN towards that partnership. So, CPA, it is a very easy piece of the puzzle to manipulate, but it’s a part of the bigger picture that we look at overall.

Kerry Curran

Great, thank you.

So, as we’re following along the kind of linear process of planning and strategy and pitching and commission strategy, now we wanna measure and track and measure the performance So, I would love to hear about the performance evaluation and what you’re looking for and how you’re measuring that performance.

So, Jamie, would you like to start? Yeah, so we rely on our partners as well as our internal analytics.

So, we have for a while now been on GA4, so it’s a very last-click focused, but we are moving to a more attributed platform called Measured, which will help us get a little bit more insight to how things are driving traffic, where attribution really falls, so it can allow us to rightly attribute the… performance to the right channels.

But working closely with Gen3, it’s been a huge help as well, because not only do they look at the individual partner metrics, they also look at GA4. They also provide us with Muck Rack reports, which allow us to understand a little bit more of the impact that the PR channel actually has provided for the brand and how it’s aligning closer to our KPIs.

So, all of those kind of work together to help us develop the right story and performance overall for the channel.

Kerry Curran

And Yesica, how about from your perspective, what does the team, what does you and your team ensure you have in place for measurement?

Jamie Zimmerman

Yeah, so very much agree with everything that Jamie just said. When it comes to us evaluating overall performance and measurement of success for the upper funnel, we definitely evaluate a lot of metrics.

Based on where we set the upper funnel, traffic is definitely a key marker of success, evaluating the overall total of traffic within that program. Did we increase that traffic year-over-year? Did we decrease it? Collectively all that content funnels into that overall performance of the program.

And it’s really helpful for us to kind of then dive deeper into the publisher level to see who were those contributors for a particular metric. Are there particular contributors that we need to lead into a bit more?

Are there publishers that maybe have the opportunity to be optimized to then take the next step

And perhaps getting them to be higher performers in the program. And then outside of the program, what’s really great about having the Muck Rack tool and being able to lean into the PR side of things is that there’s a lot that we can measure from the brand awareness side that very much can help support the overall affiliate strategy.

So, even within Muck Rack, for example, sharing a Share a Voice report, letting the client know the overall contributions of the content, the number of content that we’ve been able to secure outside of just the performance.

Have you seen a growth in Share a Voice quarter-over-quarter or year-over-year? We’re really able to track that amongst their competitor subset and that also helps evaluate how the channel is doing as a whole and how we are doing as a whole as well.

So, there’s a lot that we can evaluate, common metrics. Again, traffic, ROAS, revenue, new to file, along with unique visitors monthly, that’s more so brand awareness focus, but definitely dependent on the brand, what key metrics they’re after, and we’ll align with that to measure success as well.

Kerry Curran

Great, thank you.

And Meg, from your perspective, how are you comparing the performance of the different brands and products?

Meg Kernahan

Yeah, so again, similarly to how Jamie and Yesica are evaluating on their end, we’re looking at very similar data in terms of year-over-year growth and performance across several metrics.

So, understanding how traffic is improving for specific brands, what that click-through rate looks like within our content. If sales are also proportionately growing in comparison, if they’re not, where is the gap? What’s impacting the conversion rate once we send our users over to our partner sites?

So, kind of understanding what that full user experience is like. And then also we can really evaluate on the per article level, understanding how each individual partner of ours performs within specific articles to really understand what type of content is resonating with our audiences. What products are re-featuring that they’re ultimately converting on. Where can we really continue to optimize by including that product maybe in more content or scaling back if we’re seeing it not perform as well, or moving it up higher in an article because we’re seeing strong performance.

So, we’re very closely monitoring not only the year-over-year, but even week-over-week, month-over-month changes in share of voice, in traffic, in conversions and really optimizing our content to best reflect where that performance is.

And that’s where working really closely with our brand partners can really help grow that partnership and grow that share of voice based on some of these performance metrics.

Kerry Curran

This was incredibly informative.

I definitely learned a lot from each of you and I really appreciate how you’ve each contributed your own unique perspective to the conversation.

Before we wrap up, are there any other key points or ideas or recommendations that you would leave for our audience?

Jamie Zimmerman

I would say, at least from the brand side, if you haven’t tried performance PR, take a risk and see how it works for your brand.

I think it’s so new that I’ve talked to a few other brands out there before and they’re not necessarily leaning into it a ton just yet. They’re sticking still more with traditional PR, but knowing that it can be tracked, knowing that it can serve a similar purpose as traditional PR, but now actually, be a bit more conversion focused.

I’d say definitely it’s worth a test to see if it’s right for your brand.

Meg Kernahan

Just off of that, the more partners that I speak with, they’re mentioning their PR teams and collaborating and kind of collapsing those teams internally, or at least working more closely with them.

And so, I think to Jamie’s point, it’s just kind of the direction it seems that the industry is going and how we on the publisher side are operating. So, highly recommend at least if not fully moving forward with performance PR, at least kind of… bridging those gaps and having those conversations to make sure the strategies are more fully integrated.

Yesica Lepe

Yeah, and going off these incredible trends of thought from the agency perspective to add to that is we on the performance PR side can be very flexible and working internally with different teams, with different teams that are contracted by the brand.

So, we can work alongside a PR team as Meg said. We’re very much leveraging the affiliate side and oftentimes working alongside their PR teams like we do with Jamie. They give us a lot of incredible insight. They lead a lot of the branding, the comms, and that can help inform our overall storytelling and pitch and it only strengthens what we’re able to do on the performance PR side that then parlays to, the Megs, the Condé Nast, the Meredith’s out there.

So yeah, I very much agree with what Meg and Jamie have said there.

Kerry Curran

Excellent. Thank you.

Well, I really appreciate all of your insight today. And I’m excited to hopefully we can get ourselves back on stage together at some point in the future, too.

But thank you, Jessica, Meg, and Jamie. Thank you so much.