Even as preprint circulars continue to account for a hefty chunk of newspaper revenues, the race to migrate these FSIs onto digital platforms that provide compelling shopping experiences and command premium CPMs is revving up. Associated Press will soon release iCircular for mobile devices, Gannett’s PointRoll operates ShopLocal, Local.com has a local option and several deal/offer aggregators are popping up. Travidia’s Find n Save, however, has gained early traction with publishers thanks in large part to a social + local + deals approach.
McClatchy is the earliest adopter, with co-branded Find n Save sites now live in 21 markets, including Charlotte, Miami and Sacramento. Find n Save leverages partnerships with Groupon (daily deals) and Milo (real-time retail inventory) and Twitter (Twitter streams) to create quick shopping routes for deal hunters.
Here are how the different tenets work together within the holistic platform:
– Group Buying: Groupon provides an exclusive daily deal in each of McClatchy’s markets through Find n Save. At NAA mediaXchange, VP of Strategic Development James Calloway said that this co-branded arrangement plays nicely with the separate deal-a-day program that the publisher is now independently marketing through a private label from Second Street.
Unsurprisingly, Calloway has seen the greatest successes in restaurant, recreation and personal grooming verticals. Retail (except for high-margin goods) are more suspect.
In addition to obvious brand and exclusivity perks, the Groupon Find n Save relationship integrates consistently across all McClatchy properties with “zero sales or fulfillment costs.” Effective CPMs have reached $125. The drawbacks: McClatchy controls the user relationship (and thus the data), but McClatchy handles the local merchant. Then there’s margin compression, with the publishers taking only 15 percent.
– Local Coupons: In addition to digital store circulars (listed as clickable tiles on a single page), Find n Save also features searchable local coupons by category and advertiser. Many are online-only, but print-to-online and online-to print also exist. All coupons are socially enabled for sharing, and local advertisers have unlimited coupon-refresh capability.
– Real-Time Inventory: A deal with Milo (now part of eBay) enables product searches primarily for national chains, though Calloway, much like Milo founder Jack Abraham, is hopeful that eventually more locals can participate. McClatchy takes a revenue share on clicks to retailer sites.
– Social Media Integration: Find n Save embeds a Twitter widget that streams active local deals, linking to the source. Shopping blogs from local newspaper columnists such as Sacramento’s “Shop Cheap” infuse useful content into the site. Calloway sees Find n Save’s shopping portal — an advertising vehicle — as primarily a “content play.” Social functionality enriches this ad-as-content value.