NEWS

From retailer to publisher

Born05 and bol.com reveal their content strategies

Wanna take a peek in the future of content marketing? Then this is your chance. In Adformatie’s coverstory Walter Kraus, director marketing & media services at bol.com, and our topman Rogier IJzermans talked about bol.com’s content strategy and online publishing in general. E-commerce meets inspiration. A long story short.

Around 1 million people visit bol.com every day. That’s a massive amount of customers, but also a whole lot of potential readers. This idea is continuing to grow at bol.com. Especially since Born05 joined forces with Holland’s biggest online retailer. Walter: “Back in 1999 all our efforts were aimed at efficiency; making sure our customers could order their products as fast as possible. But now we want to be more than a webshop. If we rush customers to the check-out, we’re missing valuable interactive touchpoints. We want to offer our clients a world of inspiration.”

Bomvol

To add inspiration to its channels bol.com needed smart content strategies. Well, hello Born05! Bol.com and Born05 have been working together for around ten years now. It all started with the award-winning interactive magazine Bomvol (may it rest in peace) and has since led to numerous digital campaigns, platforms and brand utilities. Bomvol was like the spiritual father of modern content marketing. It was very successful in adding inspiration to products and some of its earliest elements are still used in today’s bol.com channels and strategies. Take for instance weblog.bol.com. A strong online content platform aimed at everyone. It reaches thousands of readers who – on average – stay for six minutes each. But there’s a lot of ground to be won in fine tuning content to the specific interests of audiences. Walter: “We want to create more domains, more inspiration platforms, with special interest content aimed at targeted groups. Each platform has its own editorial staff, articles, reviews and vlogs. We’re firstly delivering inspiration and then products.”

 

Pop-up platforms

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The first of these new inspiration platforms was launched during the Amsterdam Fashion Week. Bol.com Style Magazine is about beauty and fashion. It offers product reviews, how-to-video’s and beauty tips, all sparsely linked to the products at bol.com. The second bol.com platform, Lees Magazine, followed shortly after and just recently Tech Magazine – about gadgets and appliances – was launched. With each platform bol.com shows that it’s not only offering products but also information and inspiration. Plans for new platforms are already made. According to Born05 seo, Rogier IJzermans, all platforms are based on techniques (and know-how) that can be used to quickly roll out new concepts, campaigns, utilities etcetera. “It’s even possible to build pop-up platforms surrounding important events. Take for instance our Sints Cadeaumachine. The first ever digital Sinterklaas toy book that lets children playfully swipe their favorite toys onto their own wish list.”

“We can become the third power”

Walter Kraus, director marketing & media services at bol.com

Data-driven

Like everything at bol.com all its publishing activities are data driven. Data sources show exactly what people are looking for and the content on the inspiration platforms follows shortly after. If someone’s reading a product review he’s in a different phase of the customer journey than someone who’s searching something on Google. The bol.com platforms and editors use this information to come up with razor sharp content. Rogier: “Editorial stories and original content are of the utmost importance. If things turn too commercial readers will turn away from the magazines. Of course there’s room for sponsored content, but only if it fits our editorial formula.”

Google, Facebook, bol.com…

One thing’s absolutely clear: e-commerce and publishing are becoming one. Whereas Sanoma’s VT Wonen turned content platform – turned webshop, bol.com is going at it the other way around. It’s a mega webshop with thousands of visitors every day and therefore is able to create an enormous amount of traffic to its content channels. And the statistics are looking good: page views to the current platforms are averaging around 360.000 a month. The growing content production is going hand in hand with bol.com’s new advertising program. For advertisers a world of possibilities is opening up. Audiences are evolving from ‘shoppers between 20-49’ to ‘shoppers with a specific product or content interest’. Targeted advertising becomes way more easy.

WPP boss Martin Sorell has repeatedly attacked the power of Google and Facebook in this field. He wants a third power next to these digital giants and local publishers. Kraus: “bol.com is a shop with a publishing flywheel bolted on it. We’re shifting from buy and pay to just browse and be inspired. We can become that third power.”

22nd Dec 2016

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