As direct-to-consumer brands from Brooklinen to Curology try to wean themselves off of Facebook ads, commerce-focused publishers are trying to help fill the marketing gap. This spring, the science publisher Inverse began pitching DTC brands sponsored posts about their products.

The posts, marked as advertisements, would run on Inverse’s site and in its newsletter, and link to the brands’ sites. When the posts drove sales for products, Inverse has forged deals to get a cut of the sales.

Branded content is often thought of as too expensive for most DTC brands, which remain small relative to major retailers or legacy brands. Inverse founder Dave Nemetz said the publisher’s average branded content deal costs over $100,000.

But its DTC packages start in the five-figure range to let these performance-obsessed marketers see if they’re a good fit before ramping up spending. Using this approach, Inverse said it is negotiating “six-figure” investments that involve more content and more distribution with DTC brands that initially signed on for the five-figure trial.

“We’re trying to put ourselves in the shoes of the marketers,” Nemetz said. “I think a lot of them felt that as Facebook’s targeting capabilities have narrowed and they’ve kind of mined out the audiences they can reach there, they’ve looked for other places.” E-commerce has grown as a percentage of overall sales, leading publishers to get more involved in it and spawning new brands that appeal directly to shoppers through digital and physical channels. Read more from…

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