During the last five months or so, shopping behavior has been quite erratic, which has acquired publishers to adapt to customers’ purchasing whims. Hearst is a premium content creation company uniquely positioned to understand what people want and when they want it. Hearst boasts of a total brand reach of 13.8 million, with 1.3 million annual event attendees and 850 dedicated, enthusiastic employees. Its portfolio includes ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, and Good Housekeeping, among others. These brands reach over one in every three women in the UK and one in every four men in the UK each month.
Despite the many problems, e-commerce has emerged as a winning point for publishers troubled with advertisement revenue lines. Hearst recorded revenue growth of 322% during the second quarter compared to the second quarter from the previous year. The third quarter brought normalcy back to the e-commerce segment, with category searches health and fitness seeing stabilization. In contrast, the home and garden categories are still high due to the amount of time people spend inside their homes now.
Hearst UK’s chief content development officer, Betsy Fast, says, “The biggest drop in sales is for things like face masks.” She goes on to state, “So many of our sites were winning on face masks since it’s something everyone needs. Now that’s leveling off, and we’re finding other ways to provide recommendations, whether it’s specialized light-weight masks or exercise-ready masks.”
With the increase in brands opting for direct-to-consumer sales through e-commerce, the lockdown months noted significant budget shifts as advertisers focused more on e-commerce rather than upper final media expenditure. At the Lions Live event, Scott Galloway stated, “The percentage of retail done on digital channels has gone up one percent each year. And as of 2020, it was at 18%, and then in eight weeks, it went to 28%! We had a decade in eight weeks.”
For Hearst, the fourth quarter, which typically is a busy time for publishers, seems prepped for even more growth. The company offers shoppable ad units as a part of client campaigns, which has been improved by-product sampling through social links. Over the previous year, Hearst’s magazine group of affiliates and e-commerce revenue lines, which include the likes of Skimlinks and Amazon, on-boarded eight shopping editors to speed up growth across the fashion, beauty, travel, home, and tech sectors.