One site delivers a beauty high and the other, a sweet experience.
What does an advertiser look for in a consumer lifestyle media partner? Besides audience profile, brands are often interested in the two things that make lifestyle publications interesting to the consumer: unique content and relevant, memorable advertising. In this column, we looked at a site that married its advertising with social media exposure, and one that specialized in creating memorable branded content. This week's candidates are equally equipped, ready to deliver a fresh new experience for digital media buyers and the brands they represent.
High on Beauty
According to a new study, 25 percent of online shoppers purchased a health or beauty product online in the past three months. To reach these potential customers brands must know where to go and how to stand apart. Beauty High aims to help. Media buyers may be familiar with StyleCaster Media Group and its flagship site StyleCaster.com, but earlier this year the company added Beauty High to its roster of sites in an effort to "make beauty cool" for a new generation of consumers.
Beauty High is both a beauty site and an online shopping destination complete with exclusive editorial content, tutorials, and interactive features. Celebrity interviews are a frequent item, as are interviews with beauty industry pros. Already the site is luring fashion, beauty, and CPG brand advertisers like Sephora, Victoria's Secret, Hawaiian Tropic, and Coca-Cola by offering the ability to align themselves with editorial content. The site's advertising options include "organically integrated" branded content that includes video, photo, and editorials; high-impact rich media advertising; event integration and influencer seeding; and social media activation through sweepstakes and giveaways.
"Following the success of StyleCaster.com, we decided with Beauty High we wanted to create an experience that had (the) 'cool' factor that many style sites have but that many beauty sites lack. We are making beauty cool for a new generation and attracting the audience that advertisers want to engage with," said David Goldberg, president of StyleCaster Media Group. "We have become a trusted conduit for our brand partners to take their message to the style generation."
Since launching in September 2010, Cotton Candy Magazine has been focusing on developing content that resonates with its target user: the "stylish, forward-thinking woman." This lifestyle publication helps women experience the sweeter side of life with articles and fashion spreads, along with exclusive video content running in the site's video channel, Cotton Candy TV. Celebrity interviews come in both text and video form, and bite-sized blog posts keep readers coming back with tips on everything from style to spicing up one's life. To date editorial features have included the likes of Ritz-Carlton and Macy's.
Apart from standard rich media ad units that run adjacent to editorial content on the site, brands can place pre-roll video in Cotton Candy TV features and even highlight their products through social media; the publication uses its growing social media presence to point to product photo galleries and drive qualified traffic to brands. E-mail sponsorships are also available, as are sponsored links - text ads strategically placed in editorial and e-mail content. Sponsorship packages can include all of these placements, along with offline event sponsorships.
As you might expect from its content, Cotton Candy Magazine appeals to women ages 18 to 44 who are tech-savvy and relatively affluent. According to publisher Nicole D. Smith, 66 percent of users use an iPhone to open Cotton Candy e-mail showcases, and the majority of readers earn over $100,000 per year. The site also recently launched a Tumblr page to extend its reach among social media users.
As a content category, consumer lifestyle is fairly well saturated. To infiltrate it now and garner the attention of top fashion and beauty marketers requires something unique, whether that distinction comes in the form of voice, point of view, or approach to advertising. As you plan your campaigns, look to properties that distinguish themselves but also demonstrate an enthusiasm to create a mutually beneficial media partnership. Your clients' ads will be instrumental in helping these new sites attain and maintain a loyal audience.
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Tessa Wegert is a business reporter and former media strategist specializing in digital. In addition to writing for ClickZ since 2002, she has contributed to such publications as USA Today, Marketing Magazine, Mashable, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa manages marketing and communications for Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy agencies servicing such brands as Bioré, Food Network, illy, and Hunter Douglas. She has been working in online media since 1999.
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