Social Commerce Platform Polyvore Tries On Promoted Trends

PolyvorePolyvore, a site where fashionistas make product recommendations, on Monday rolled out Promoted Trends, a native ad package purchased on a per-day basis.

This structure contrasts with the CPC pricing of the company’s Promoted Products, which integrates ads into Polyvore’s news feed. Since its launch in 2013, Promoted Products has more than 300 advertisers, including etailer and BCBGMAXAZRIA, according to COO Arnie Gullov-Singh.

Luxury Italian retailer LuisaViaRoma – which uses Promoted Products – is the first brand to test-drive Promoted Trends, according to Gullov-Singh, and will also promote the rest of its catalogue through Promoted Products. Promoted Trends differs in that it is more of a featured trend than Promoted Products, which are integrated throughout the feed.

Polyvore faces stiff competition from platform heavyweights like Pinterest and Twitter, along with commerce/content hybrids like Refinery29.

While Polyvore active user growth has plateaued, Gullov-Singh claims Polyvore drives a better return on ad spend than some of its peers because of its engaged user base.

“The majority of our business is driven by our Promoted Products program, where we’re driving an average return on ad spend (ROAS) of 6:1, which we’ve found is very competitive,” he said. “The average ROAS on Google Shopping is about 4:1 and the average ROAS on social platforms is about 2:1, so we’ve found it’s been pretty competitive for retailers who are looking for solutions in social media.”

Gullov-Singh partially ascribes Promoted Products’s success to the nature of its platform. Brands already integrate natively into Polyvore’s site and leverage its “Style Graph,” its technology and algorithm that automates product feeds for users based on past purchases and recommendations.

Because users can either authenticate via their Facebook login or email address, it gives Polyvore a way to construct profiles and personalize the overall experience.

“For any product, we probably extract 100 pieces of information that help us understand what that product is about and we match those attributes to every user that’s logged in to understand their taste,” Gullov-Singh said. “If you save outfits on the Remix app [a mobile app launched earlier this month that gives on-demand styling advice], it’ll be personalized on the desktop as well. That’s the big value we get from logged-in users – understand what’s trending to benefit the user who is not necessarily logged in.”

Although others – like Twitter and Pinterest – are rumored to be testing buy buttons to enable transactions onsite, he said that’s not on Polyvore’s road map.

“We’re an open platform, so we want to tell you what’s trending across every retailer and every brand,” he said. “When you become a marketplace like eBay or Etsy, which sell products as well, you have to narrow your focus on the merchants you want to participate in that marketplace, and I think that can put you in a smaller niche sometimes. When you’re trying to drive style ideas across all merchants, you have to be open and that lends itself more to an ad model right now.”

Founded by three former Yahoo engineers in 2007, Polyvore has amassed an audience of 20 million who curate 3 million user-generated outfits each month on its site and apps.

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