Beyond plain vanilla links, Chen also stated that Narrativ works together with different components like product galleries. The key, she said, is that it can’t be intrusive into the reader encounter.
“Native advertisements mimics real content,” Chen said. “Narrativ marketing is real content.”
Although Narrativ is officially coming out of stealth now, Chen said the product has already been in experimenting with publishers like New York Magazine, which has witnessed the value of its own content clicks increase by 250 percent, as well as retailers like Dermstore, which saw its own return on investment growth by 67 percent year-over-year.
The product doesn’t require authors and editors to do anything else — it automatically transforms the merchandise links that they were planning to include in their articles anyway into SmartLinks. In the same way, readers click on the links that they want to, and redirecting and the bidding should happen.
“Our opponents were winning 92% of visitors from editorial hyperlinks until Narrativ,” he added. “For the first time, we restrain every time a product featured in articles drives traffic to Dermstore.” (Here’s somewhat more detail about how Dermstore is using Narrativ.)
Sure, affiliate links are a frequent business model.
Narrativ creator and CEO Shirley Chen said there’s a big revenue opportunity that is gone largely untapped by online publishers — especially, the links those publishers are already using to guide visitors to purchase the products mentioned in an article.
However, Narrativ is doing something. These links turn into an advertising unit known as a SmartLink, in which retailers can bid in real-time for every single click.
She argued that SmartLinks are a more effective form of promotion than banner ads (that are intrusive and may be stripped out by ad blockers) and native advertisements.
In a statement, Dermstore Vice President of Marketing Richie Singh said that before Narrativ, the company wasn’t considering promoting itself through editorial content: “The technology just was not there.”
Advertisers can run sophisticated campaigns where they bid different amounts for users that have different degrees of exposure. (Chen contrasted that with the “last click” approach, where all the affiliate cash goes to whoever drove the final click before purchase.) And because the bidding occurs in at the moment of the click, they get to avoid “link rot” when a commodity connection changes.
The Business has raised $3 million in financing from investors