Although the paid trajectory of the Rakuten Essential operating model is not yet clear, Myers added, “Over time, our ‘closed loop’ approach to analysis should create great data on what content and what writers are helping to drive sales and what are the best distribution points for that content [paid, owned and earned.]”
The Tidal value proposition can be illustrated in its work to develop publisher Teen Vogue’s "Fashion Click Blogger Network."
“They wanted to tap into the fact that bloggers were creating content that rivaled what they were paying thousands of dollars for,” he said. With the escalation of content marketing and native advertising, traditional publishers are now competing with engineered commerce “platforms” like Polyvore that not only bring the consumer in to share images, but lasso the marketers there as well, to run content marketing campaigns based on their data.
“Rakuten is one of our first clients where the outcome metric is not necessarily page views - it’s actual conversions or sales,” Myers noted.
In terms of demographics, Buy.com had been more male-oriented with a heavy tech-emphasis, but “they have a lot of fashion, beauty and food products that aren’t necessarily presented front and center on their site. We, through our various partnerships, have a lot of strength in those lifestyle categories…so we’re able to bring that knowledge, network and content over to them, which would have been a very expensive and difficult proposition to do on their own.”
Rakuten Shopping's retail merchants find "competitors are just a click away online, and offering them a community to interact can be the deciding factor in a consumers' decision whether or not to navigate away from a website," commented Bernard Luthi, CMO of Rakuten.com Shopping. "Rakuten Essential is a key step [to create] the look and feel of a storefront experience to help small retailers establish brand awareness, drive sales and build customer loyalty."