The Value of Consumer Generated Media & Editorializing Commercial Offers

Nov 12th

Looking for Christmas oriented keyword research? You would be hard press to find a better list of hot toys this year than to look at Amazon.com's holiday toy list. Google also offers their Google Trends product, which will likely confirm the validity of Amazon's list as the holiday season draws near. Both of these lists work to reinforce the market leading position of the associated companies, and editorialize their content based on user feedback.

Amazon.com not only offers stuff like the holiday toy list, but they

  • offer video samples of products in use
  • allow you to find out what is new, what recently got hot, and their best sellers by category
  • list the highest rated consumer reviews near each product
  • allow users to comment on the reviews
  • tell you what other consumers who viewed the item you are looking at eventually bought

All of that editorialized information makes people more likely to talk about their site (free marketing), makes people more comfortable buying (higher conversion rates), and thus increases how much Amazon can afford to pay for traffic (through search or affiliate channels).

But you don't have to have that sort of scale to editorialize your content. Many niche sites would do well to integrate user feedback. How hard is it for your content management system to create a most popular list which links to your highest traffic pages or most frequently sold items? After setting it up, it requires almost no effort to maintain, but provides social validation for what is already popular.

If you sell something expensive and want to avoid being replaced by improved technology and consumer feedback aggregation you should look to sell an experience instead of an object. One of the easiest ways to do that is by editorializing the offer and following up with the customer throughout the purchase process.

Manufacturers are going to foot the bill for some new types of product information packaging, but by the time they do everyone will have the same information and it will no longer be an advantage. Those who are quickest to adopt the new information formats and new types of interactivity will have fatter profit margins.

Published: November 12, 2007

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