Why The Wall Street Journal Is Focusing Personal Finance on Its New Commerce Site Buy Side

The Wall Street Journal is finally entering commerce after spending a year trying to figure out what that business would look like for the Dow Jones.

Launched last month, Buy Side from the WSJ is a standalone site that operates separately from The Newsroom Journal but has the same focus of helping people make financial decisions – including Dow Jones’ MarketWatch and Barron’s, among other assets. A shared mission, according to the company’s chief revenue officer Josh Stinchcomb.

The timing of Buy Side’s launch — which is likely happening just before the recession — can be a unique challenge for most commerce publishers, with audiences putting their money and brands starting to rethink their affiliate marketing budgets. But Buy Side’s head of content Leslie Yazel believes these circumstances could benefit her team’s editorial strategy, thanks to the personal finance focus in each article.

In the latest episode of the Digiday Podcast, Stinchcomb and Yazel discuss how Buy Side is balancing consumer product recommendations with detailed budget breakdowns to help readers make purchase decisions through the lens of value, as well as financials. Sights can be set for striking affiliated partnerships with institutions. ,

Below are highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

WSJ Approach to Commerce Content

Heat: We have consumer goods that we are selling and we also have personal finance advice, which we can also monetize. But at the center of this are money decisions, whether you’re buying a coffee maker, or you’re deciding which credit card to choose, or whether you should switch to a high-yield savings account. We think WSJ.com has a lot of authority out there [and] We want it to be useful for people.

But I also think we’re in a good position for economics now, because one of the main things we do is we curate really strictly for the people, and we curate math for the people. We do. So when I say we strictly curate, [I mean] When you go around the internet and look at all the best lists out there, sometimes you see “19 best credit cards” or “12 best whatever.” We really narrow it down to people. When we talk about cash back rewards cards, we narrowed it down to four so that people can find a really easy decision.

We create a criterion for this. We work with a panel of experts in the financial services industry and we constantly do spreadsheets to get it all down, but we also do the math for people. And by that I mean, we’re looking at, should you get one of these coffee subscriptions that are so popular now, we don’t just look at the tasting notes. We also look at how much it actually costs per ounce because you can compare it when you’re buying at your favorite market or grocery store.

Financial benefits of having affiliate deals with financial institutions

Stitchcomb: [Financial services partnerships tend to be] more diverse in terms of [pricing] model. and i read about your part [cost-per-click] vs. cost-per-acquisition — the various currencies that are evolving in the region — and on the financial services side, it’s a combination of cost-per-acquisition and cost-per-lead. There are different models. On some types of products, this may be a percentage of the loan size and other models, it is a flat fee – making this for illustrative purposes only – $50 for each new verified credit card lead.

On average, I find those rewards tend to be higher per capita than most consumer products, for example, the higher the lifetime value of that customer to a credit card issuer. So you will often have a limit or a fixed fee on cost-per-lead, or cost per new customer acquisition. And they can change over time because as you grow and deliver more volume and more success to a particular issuer, for example, you may be able to negotiate better per capita rates.

High rates but high barriers to entry

Stitchcomb: The financial services space is more complex. There [are] Compliance issues that do not exist in other categories. For example, you have to prove yourself with a lot of credit card issuers before you can become an accredited affiliate partner for them. And so it’s a process, you have to monetize and prove your way in that and show that you’ve done the due diligence and put the proper resources behind the compliance. And it is a barrier to entry.

There are big competitors out there but there are also competitors who are partners. Red Ventures is the operator of some of the biggest sites in the space, like Bankrate, but they also have a really sophisticated publisher-friendly affiliate offering. We work closely with Red Ventures and we have been able to work with them to be the intermediaries for a lot of financial institutions because they have a very deep understanding of compliance and complexity, and they are able to accelerate our participation in that market. can help. [It’s] Somewhat similar to Skimlinks in the consumer sector.

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