Turbo-charged gear reviews

Active Interest Media's new gear review program will aggregate media and consumer feedback in powerful, integrated campaigns.

When it comes to ecommerce, few factors influence buying decisions as powerfully as reviews. Studies have shown that 95 percent of consumers read online testimonials before making final purchases. Traditionally, those reviews have existed in different channels—consumer reviews in one place, media commentary in another. Active Interest Media (AIM), SNEWS’ parent company, has created a new kind of platform that brings those voices together in unified campaigns, “surrounding a product with relevant, trusted content from every angle,” according to Sharon Houghton, general manager of AIM’s Active Living Group.

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These three-component reviews will provide consumers with the most robust product performance data available.Courtesy

The program, Gear 360, works by combining reviews from editors at titles like Backpacker, Ski, and Climbing with aggregated customer reviews from Channel Signal, a leader in consumer data collection and analysis. When a brand chooses to launch a product with Gear 360, they get the benefit of these two kinds of testimonials together on one compelling platform, as well as reader reviews (collected by seeding the product with magazine readers before launch) and optional premium add-ons like video reviews.

“Media reviews and consumer reviews have existed in separate channels until now,” Houghton said of the program. “With Gear 360, the combined content will be distributed across media sites as well as direct-to-consumer ecommerce sites to maximize product sales. The unmatched credibility of our gear testers, combined with the technology of Channel Signal, creates an unprecedented combination that will benefit any brand that sells products to consumers online.”

The Active Living Group at AIM will launch Gear 360 with Backpacker, Ski, and Climbing magazines and pilot a similar program called Health 360 at Yoga Journal and Clean Eating. In coming months, the company plans to deploy the program across all relevant AIM brands.

To learn more and sign up, contact Sharon Houghton at