Why The Wall Street Journal is centering personal finance on its new commerce site Buy Side

The Wall Street Journal is finally entering the trading space after spending a year figuring out what that business will look like for the Dow Jones.

Launched last month, Buy Side of WSJ is a standalone website whose newsroom operates separately from the Journal, but has the same focus on helping people make financial decisions – a shared mission for Dow Jones’ other properties, including MarketWatch and Barron’s, according to the company’s chief revenue officer Josh Stinchcomb.

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

In the latest episode of the Digiday Podcast, Stinchcomb and Yazel discuss how Buy Side balances consumer product recommendations with detailed budget breaks to help readers make purchasing decisions through the lens of value, as well as to set the goal of establishing affiliate partnerships with financial institutions . .

Below are highlights from the conversation, which were lightly edited and summarized for clarity.

The WSJ approach to trading content

summer: We have consumer goods that we sell and we also have personal financial advice, which we can also earn. But at the heart of this is money decisions, whether you’re buying a coffee maker, or deciding which credit card to choose, or whether you should switch to a high-yield savings account. We feel that WSJ.com has great authority there [and] we want it to be useful to people.

But I also think we are now well positioned for the economic situation, because one of the most important things we do is that we are really strictly composed for people, and we do the math for people. So when I say that we are strictly composed, [I mean] if you travel the internet and look at all the best lists out there, you sometimes see “19 best credit cards,” or “12 best whatever.” We really limit it to people. When we talk about cash back rewards cards, we have reduced them to four so that people can truly have an easier decision.

We create a criteria for this. We work with a panel of experts in the financial services industry and our spreadsheet relentlessly to limit it, but we also do the math for people. And what I mean by that is if we look at, should you get one of these coffee subscriptions that are so popular right now, let’s not just look at the tasting notes. We also look at how much it actually costs per ounce because you can then compare it to what you might buy at your favorite market or grocery store.

The financial benefit of making affiliate transactions with financial institutions

Stink comb: [Financial services partnerships tend to be] more varied in terms of the [pricing] models. And I read your piece over [cost-per-click] versus cost-per-acquisition – the different currencies in this space that are evolving – and on the financial services side, it’s a combination of cost-per-acquisition and cost-per-lead. There are different models. On certain types of products it can be a percentage of a loan size and other models it is a fixed fee of – just to make it up for illustrative purposes – $ 50 for each new verified credit card stock.

I think on average that those rewards end up being greater per capita than on most consumer products to the point that the lifetime value of that customer is greater for a credit card issuer, for example. So you will often have a range or a fixed fee on a cost-per-lead, or a cost per new customer acquisition. And that may change over time, because as you grow and deliver more volume and more success to a particular issuer, you may be able to negotiate better per capita rates.

Higher rates but higher barriers to entry

Stink comb: The financial services space is more complicated. There [are] compliance issues that do not exist in other categories. You need to kind of prove yourself with many credit card issuers, as an example, before you can become an accredited affiliate partner for them. And so it’s a process, you have to earn and prove your way into it and show that you have the right compliance and put in the right resources to comply. And that’s 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 fairly large sites in the space, such as Bankrate, but they also have a very sophisticated publisher-friendly affiliate offering. We work closely with Red Ventures and we can work with them to be an intermediary for many financial institutions because they have a very thorough understanding of compliance and complexity, and they can help us increase our participation in that market. accelerate. [It’s] somewhat similar to SkimLinks in the consumer space.

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