The media industry isn’t what it used to be. The golden age of lifestyle editorial has been dying for years and the digital evolution has brought us along the influencer rise and reign of social media. It continues to become increasingly unsettled by declining news consumption and a growing fatigue in negative news reporting, Reuters shares in their 2022 Digital News Report. Users are opting to scroll social media platforms and independent blogs for selective glimpses at world news instead. According to Deloitte, today’s media consumer often engages with a digital, mobile and free news experience.
It’s no wonder that in the midst of changing consumer preferences and a looming recession, publishers aren’t feeling super optimistic about traditional revenue streams.
A Digiday survey of publishers has found that on average, the number of revenue sources media companies rely on has dropped slightly in 2023. And with fewer readers willing to fork over a subscription fee to pay for publications, commerce revenue has been stepping up in importance on balance sheets across the industry.
While the media industry isn’t what it used to be, affiliate commerce, too, is shifting. Affiliate commerce continues to be top-of-mind for media executives and savvy marketers alike, however, the business-to-consumer (B2C) affiliate marketing model isn’t as foolproof as it once was. The pandemic days of affiliate marketers herding consumers into creating an e-commerce boom are over. The traditional B2C affiliate commerce model has been disrupted by supply chain issues that complement exhausted consumers’ wallet pinching during record-high inflation.
So, what’s next for affiliate commerce?
You might also like: These are the best ways to use affiliate links in B2B marketing.
The B2B revenue opportunity for media brands
The B2B segment opportunity represents the next frontier of commerce revenue for media companies. As businesses continue to organize key strategic pillars around software, that software spend is anticipated to increase by up to 9.3% in 2023, reports ComputerWorld. Online software reviews and recommendations will continue to power growth, with 86% of buyers using reviews to make a purchase decision.
Furthermore, we know that the B2B buying cycle is getting shorter, thanks to an increased research and evaluation from key business decision-makers. As a result, software and SaaS products have become more consumable than ever before. For publishers and media companies that are ready to review, discuss and recommend software, this is great news — it signals an opportunity to monetize their content like never before.
Why should publishers invest in a B2B affiliate commerce strategy?
B2B commerce operates very similarly, if not the same, as B2C affiliate marketing — except the commissions are usually higher and paid out for longer terms. Partners that explore B2B programs stand the chance at earning more in commissions compared to B2C affiliate commerce. Why? Simply put, B2B customers are purchasing high quality SaaS solutions that address key business challenges, with a high sticker or subscription price to match.
There’s also a lifetime value calculation built into B2B affiliate commerce commissions that the B2C affiliate commerce model simply doesn’t support. This means that when publishing partners connect SaaS vendors to quality customers, not only do publishing partners earn revenue share on the initial sale, they can typically earn on renewals, too.
B2B affiliate commerce is endlessly flexible. For publishing partners uninterested in revenue sharing, they can benefit from cost-per-action commission structures that reward meaningful buyer activity. It’s a win-win on the sale of digital products that businesses need to survive and thrive in this economy.
How publishers can get started in B2B affiliate commerce
What do you need to successfully monetize the B2B software buyer’s purchasing process? The same ingredients as B2C commerce: a platform and an audience of potential buyers who are paying attention. From there, all that’s needed is the flexibility to explore the most innovative areas of software that are transforming the way we do business.
How B2B commerce can support growth for media companies
For media companies who remain agile and growth-savvy in hard times, B2B commerce is the next revenue opportunity worth pursuing. By leveraging their platforms, content and authority, media companies are perfectly poised to make the reviews and recommendations that business executives need now more than ever.
While trust is at the cornerstone of all affiliate commerce, it is particularly important for B2B buyers and B2B publishing partners. "PartnerStack understands the value media companies bring to affiliate relationships,” says Nick Latus, Director of Partner Development at PartnerStack. “The power of their audiences, the incremental lift those savvy audiences can provide to vendors and the trust that has been established over the years between the parties is invaluable in so many ways.”
How PartnerStack can power your B2B affiliate programs
As the largest network of B2B SaaS affiliate programs in the world, PartnerStack is home to the partner programs of products that will define the success of post-recession growth in 2024. With an extensive selection of programs that span marketing, productivity, VoIP, HR verticals and more, PartnerStack is the affiliate commerce network that allows publishers to promote the best B2B SaaS products on the market today.
Latus knows that finding the right selection of programs to join is just half of the battle. What matters next is how the relationship between partners grows, which is a process that PartnerStack is committed to supporting.
“Whether it is new customer growth, product launches or industry updates, the PartnerStack platform is focused on putting our media partners and other publisher models in a position to grow in partnerships based on relevant data, world-class monetization tools and a services team that will help facilitate introductions in our network,” says Latus.