How Apartment Therapy’s Riva Syrop is aligning its events business around the economic environment

It only made sense for Apartment Therapy to connect its events business with commerce. According to Riva Syrop, the company’s president, it’s not because she expects to make $10 million in affiliate commissions, but because it’s only fair to give attendees the opportunity to buy as much as possible — which is what she’s doing at industry trade shows. difficulties that are often encountered.

So at this year’s flagship shopping event, Small/Cool, and smaller co-sponsorship events like Dine By Design, Sryop’s team is working on figuring out how the model works for both consumers and sponsors, including using transactional data as KPIs.

That said, experiential advertising — no matter how transaction-focused it may be — will likely be sidelined until the end of 2023 as the economy tightens and advertisers look for more bottom-of-the-funnel advertising strategies.

“[2022 has] Honestly, this was definitely not my favorite year. This is a difficult process. Syrop said on the latest episode of the Digiday podcast. “It’s been very difficult to advertise. A lot of our normal, big partners backed out in the second half. So we’ve done well this year, but I’m more optimistic about what’s coming next [in 2023] Better than our results,” she added.

About 70 percent of Apartment Therapy’s revenue comes from advertising, split evenly between direct and programmatic. Commercial contributed 15%, events contributed 10%, and the remaining 5% came from the company’s licensing business, which includes product and content licensing through multiple partnerships.

To give advertisers and consumers more “breathing room,” Syrop said Small/Cool will delay the launch of Small/Cool from the second quarter to the second half of 2023, in the hope that the downturn has rebounded by then.

“What we often see is a change in consumer content consumption behavior, you sometimes see a change in consumer buying behavior, sometimes you see a change in advertiser behavior, but they rarely change at the same time. So it’s important for us It was definitely a year of adjustment,” she said.

Talking points have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Advertisers express interest in experiential experiences, but hold on to the pocketbook

So what we see is that this year, in terms of advertising, especially in the second half of the year, we all have to adapt to a lot of changes.i think a [change] Kind of like this – I hate using the term bottom funnel because it sounds dirty – but it’s really like getting someone right at the moment of purchase.Of course, the other part is [including] Very data-infused, insight-infused decision-making. So instead of just running a butter campaign, you can survey your audience to find out all the things they want to bake, and then craft an entire campaign based on insights from butter and three desserts that everyone seems to be talking about.

So I think there’s been a definite evolution of what advertisers are looking for. However, my gut tells me until we get into the first quarter and really see how the year shakes out, I don’t know that brands will release budgets like experience, while they have strong bottom-of-funnel components and strong the top of the funnel assembly.

Why Syrop thinks bottom of the funnel isn’t the best way to advertise right now

Most of the RFPs we see are for 2023, full year, six months — some kind of bigger plan. This shows me that when there is economic uncertainty, brands always tend to go straight to the moment of purchase and get as close to the bottom line as possible. But I do think that when talking to our audience, when their wallets are feeling a little bit tight, or they’re worried that they’re going to be a little bit tight, I think the branding part is really key. I think brand and awareness and some of those KPIs have slipped this year just because it’s very urgent to bring in revenue again.

Finding the “magic mix” of social and video commerce

The whole business world is constantly evolving, and I think there are other ways to figure out how to make it work well.In terms of social e-commerce, I was optimistic about social live shopping two years ago [media]. We tried all kinds of different ways, [but] Honestly, it didn’t work. We have a small audience, they’re not really buying, we haven’t quite figured it out yet.

But recently, we launched a franchise called Personal Shopper, where one of our editors goes into a retail store and he or she picks out all their favorite things by category. We went to West Elm and it was full of couches. We created a series of social-first videos, [our editor] Go around, try out all the sofas, and explain what she likes. We paired these with high SEO value print content so that it had two components and it wasn’t entirely reliant on social video. Those two things combined generated $500,000 in sofa sales for West Elm, all of which are being tracked. So I think a lot about events is also figuring out what’s the magic combination that makes all these things fire.

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