Future Publishing doubled commerce transactions to top 1 million using search data

Magazine publisher Future, with a portfolio of 50 brands spanning consumer electronics, music and photography, is among the many publishers plowing into the commerce business.

In the last year, Future combed through data to determine what products people search for, and it then created articles that match those individuals’ interests, complete with affiliate links. That approach doubled e-commerce transactions in 2016 to 1.1 million, bringing in £4.3 million ($5.4 million) in annual revenue for the publisher, 15 percent of its total revenue.

“The theory is if we write content they want to read and are most interested in, then they will want to buy anyway,” said Zack Sullivan, director of operations at Future. The publisher is reliant on search for its commerce strategies, because it’s still an effective way of gauging interest in big-ticket items like TVs, mobile phones and computers. Now it’s using search data to inform what specific content will drive more transactions.

Future doesn’t fulfill the orders. Instead, it sends the user to the merchant. The publisher takes anywhere between 2 percent to double digits, but it’s a high margin, according to Sullivan.

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