Flipboard And Thrillist Are Turning Into Shopping Sites

One of the flaws of native advertising is that while a brand can increase its perception among consumers by putting its name beside an engaging and relevant piece of content, the link between sponsored content and increased sales isn’t always clear.

In fact, a survey conducted by Sharethrough earlier this fall found that just 33.8% of marketers who purchased native ads on mobile devices said increasing purchase intent, a consumer’s likelihood of purchasing a specific product, was one of their goals.

A new product from Thrillist Media Group, the men’s lifestyle publisher, hopes to bridge that gap. Already, the company was an e-commerce engine through its JackThreads shopping club, which curates and sells clothing to Thrillist’s urban, male readership. Now, Thrillist Media Group will embed a shop function into some of its editorial content, according to a report from MediaPost.

This new “Shops” feature will allow people to purchase products mentioned in editorial content on Thrillist and sister publication The Crosby Press directly from Thrillist.

The “Shops” function is just one of several recent attempts by online media and e-commerce companies to imitate the print catalogue in a way that gives consumers a seamless path from editorial content to product purchase.

The mobile news curation app Flipboard announced today it is introducing a catalogue feature that allows users to search for, curate, and purchase clothing and other products from within the app. The new product will also allow retailers to purchase ad space beside editorial content in the app, which can then lead users to a purchase landing page or a catalogue a retailer has created themselves.

Here’s what the user-created catalogues look like:

Flipboard’s new product is similar to the e-commerce function offered by the social media site Pinterest, where users collect and “pin” items they’re interested in purchasing to their own personal bulletin boards.

But where Pinterest and Amazon’s Collections, a copycat content curation product offered by the online retailing giant, seem to target prospective customers while they are already browsing for products, Flipboard and Thrillist’s ability to pair editorial content with e-commerce links could help brands present a path to purchase to users who were not already thinking about making a purchase when they began perusing editorial content.

While this may seem like a marketer’s dream come true, Forrester Research e-commerce analyst Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali warned that integrating editorial with e-commerce could upset regular readers.

“It really never works,” Mulpuru-Kodali told MediaPost. “People just don’t read editorial and then buy.”

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