LiketoKnow.it, a shopping app populated by influencer photos, has broadened its search feature to allow users to leapfrog the usual product search tabs or influencer channels and scan directly for things anywhere on the platform.
The new search feature is designed to capture things the previous iteration would have missed. For instance, before even if an influencer had the username ilovebluejeans, that would not pop up in a product search for “blue jeans.” Now, the search function will start returning results from influencers who have tagged a given product, included the term in a caption or labeled their account with certain types of content.
The update is an attempt by the platform, owned and operated by RewardStyle Inc., to address its users’ interest in finding specific items they would like to buy instead of just browsing influencers’ looks, said Amber Venz Box, co-founder and president of RewardStyle.
Searches on the app increased to 20 million in November, up 60% from a year earlier, the company said.
Released in 2017, LiketoKnow.it takes ingredients from social media and combines them with online shopping, part of the growing field called “social commerce.” The app’s visitors follow influencers, who make their posts shoppable by adding product information and links to sites where the item can be bought.
“This is influencers creating a shoppable experience for their followers specifically and creating that and publishing it into our environment, which is why we’re uniquely able to return those search results,” Ms. Venz Box said.
Influencers on LiketoKnow.it, who include fashion blogger Aimee Song and model and actress Molly Sims, are first vetted by RewardStyle to make sure they align with the brands on the platform and meet other criteria such as posting frequently and engaging with followers.
RewardStyle said its revenue last year was more than $125 million, and that it has been profitable for the last three years.
Influencer marketing became more prominent last year as the coronavirus pandemic kept people at home and on their devices, while marketers canceled many of their planned photo shoots, according to industry executives.
Impressions on sponsored posts across
Instagram increased by 57% in 2020 to an average of 7,806, according to a report from Klear.com Ltd., an influencer marketing platform.
The share of U.S. marketers using influencers is expected to increase to 72.5% by 2022, up from 62.3% from last year, according to a report from eMarketer, a research firm.
Brands turned to influencers to replace the outreach lost to pandemic production delays, said Kyle Wong, co-founder and chief executive of Pixlee Inc., a user-generated content marketing company. That often means more direct encouragement to buy, he said.
“A lot more emphasis on influencer marketing is moving from that kind of … traditional brand marketing play to a lot more about e-commerce,” Mr. Wong said.
And rival shopping services are racing to outdo each other’s offerings and user experience. LiketoKnow.it faces heavy competition from powers including
Google Shopping, for instance, has released a number of new features in the past year, one of them the ability to track price changes on an item and see whether a price is high, low or typical compared to what is on offer around the web or in stores.
Pinterest has said it will start testing Story Pins, or short, shoppable posts created by influencers, as part of its broader rollout of a social-media format known as stories.
And Facebook’s Instagram app was redesigned last year, adding a dedicated shop tab to the app’s navigation bar.
Other competitors include The Yes Platform Inc., Verishop Inc. and ShopStyle Inc.
Each social-shopping platform will offer its own consumer experience, said Kristen Groh, group vice president, North America consumer products lead at Publicis Sapient, part of Publicis Groupe SA. Google takes a practical approach to getting a good deal, for example, while LiketoKnow.it offers the gloss of influencers, she said.
“When you start to get into the influencer platforms, there’s a bit more of a curation to it,” Ms. Groh said.
Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at [email protected]
Corrections & Amplifications
RewardStyle Inc.’s revenue was more than $125 million last year and it has been profitable for the last three years. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the revenue figure was for LiketoKnow.it. (Corrected on Feb. 1, 2021.)
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