Fashion App The Hunt uses crowdsourcing to help shoppers find clothes they see on the street. It’s also a goldmine for intent data, since users are literally searching for merchandise they want to buy. Retail brand PacSun recently partnered with the app to style users in summer wardrobes.
In a campaign called “Style Me”, PacSun users uploaded photos of themselves along with summer styling requests. The retailer’s stylists were then able to offer merchandising suggestions along with other “Hunters,” who were able to give their own PacSun styling suggestions.
The initiative drew over 25,000 people engaged with 70,000 engagements as well as 3,384 users “solving” PacSun summer hunts, or picking out merchandise for other users. It also led to nine times more people adding products from PacSun over the week of the campaign.
All of that engagement led to huge amounts of user data for the brand as well as new data about emerging fashion trends in its audience. “Style Me really helped us to hear and understand our customer,” says Kaitlin Mattingly, associate merchandising coordinator for PacSun. “The Hunt is such a unique platform where we feel our demographic is active. We were also able to see current fashion trends within the over 5,000 Hunts that were submitted to us during the duration of this campaign.”
According to Tim Weingarten, founder and chief executive of The Hunt, there could be even more potential around intent data than search data. “One thing we’ve come to realize about intent data that’s different from Google, is that when consumers type something into a search box they’re only providing a limited type of data. Intent data gives a greater sense of scale. It’s great for budget. The level of metadata we have is very robust.”
However, right now, brands like PacSun can monitor that intent data by doing sponsored hunts like “Style Me,” and there’s no real way to measure the impact of that data. Instead, this time around, the brand focused on engagement. “Our KPIs included number of hunts during the campaign period, click-throughs to PacSun’s site and customer engagement with PacSun product,” Mattingly says.
But the sponsored hunt also provides a deeper data that goes beyond social listening. “On Twitter and Instagram interaction is limited,” Weingarten says. “In these two way conversations brands get much deeper interaction around styling and a look. Given the amount of interest of our community to buy, there’s potential for a lot more intent data.”
It’s not just The Hunt that’s providing these kinds of meaningful engagements for brands. There’s a lot more potential for intent data on opt-in apps that forced interaction through paid social that the user hasn’t asked for. It could be the sponsored sessions on apps could soon provide more actionable data than anything available on social, Weingarten says. “The amount of time that’s being spent on apps is increasing all the time. Usage patterns show that consumers are about apps, so the retail industry needs to look beyond Facebook.”
For example, while users may admire things on Pinterest, that’s no indication that they have any intention to buy them. “Really the challenge is that, on social, the actions that generate data are not very meaningful,” Weingarten says. “If I follow you in some social commerce app and you like fancy granite countertops, and I like them too, is that data valuable? What does the action actually mean? Social media has the database but what does all this data really mean unless there’s a clear indication that the user is looking to buy?”
And while many retailers opt for their own apps, the smarter bet is more likely to look for opportunities to collect intent data from other apps used by target demographics.
“The directional trend is that brands have to be involved in the app that has the demographic that they care about,” Weingarten says. “The average person has 25-30 apps in the phone. When you discount all the social media and games, there’s not much room for retail. For retail it’s all about the mobile web and being part of other apps that have the right demographic.”
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