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Polyvore acquired by Yahoo as social’s role in commerce grows

The announcement that Yahoo is acquiring Polyvore is the latest signal of the growing potential in social media to drive mobile conversions for retailers through both organic reach and paid placements.

Like Pinterest, Wanelo and others, Polyvore is a social shopping site where users can give and receive ideas from the community. Polyvore’s focus on encouraging users to create sets of clothing as well as the recent creation of a My Brands section where users can keep up-to-date on their favorite brands, underscores the site’s strong focus on driving engagement and conversions for marketers.

“This is another clear sign of the industry convergence of commerce and media,” said Jonathan Opdyke, CEO of HookLogic. “Mobile is an essential component of this given the way people consume media.

“For Polyvore, this enables new revenue generating potential through advertising, which should help the company grow much faster,” he said. “Pinterest has a huge share of the market, though, so it will be interesting to see how this pans out.”

A fashionable move
By acquiring Polyvore, Yahoo – which has been trying for a several years to build its prowess in mobile – will look to strengthen its digital magazines and verticals by incorporating the social site’s community and commerce offerings while looking to further drive native shopping ads on the site.

As consumers, especially younger ones, spend more time on social media – typically from a mobile device – as well as research and complete purchases from a smartphone, it is critical for Yahoo to have a strong presence here.

Polyvore focuses on fashion, beauty, accessories and items for the home.

It also offers brands and retailers a way to connect with consumers and drive sales through native advertising solutions.

Polyvore becomes smarter over time when users engage with the app, helping the system learn about users’ style and which products they may like more.

When users first download the app, they are encouraged to take a quiz and choose items they like the most, which tells Polyvore what sorts of items to recommend in the future.

Competition grows
Some brands leverage Polyvore to encourage users, particularly those with a lot of followers, to create their own brand specific sets.

For example, Tory Burch encouraged users to create Venetian themed sets using the Tory Burch pieces.

The app also boasts a crisp, smooth look that is appealing to users.

Yahoo is betting on Polyvore to help it accelerate its mobile, video, native and social strategies. However, the space is increasingly competitive, with Pinterest, Wanelo and others going after the same consumers and brands.

The company sees an opportunity to integrate how Polyvore enables users to put together sets of clothing, accessories and lifestyle goods with its own Yahoo Style and Yahoo Beauty offerings.

Yahoo also expects that Polyvore’s strong media experience via community-powered content that is curated and actionable for shoppers will enhance its own portfolio of digital magazines and verticals.

Yahoo will also enhance its own native advertising platform Yahoo Gemini with Polyvore’s proven native ad model, new native ad formats and advertising relationships with more than 350 retailers

The Polyvore services will continue to operate once the acquisition in completed.

“Mobile’s role is critical in social commerce,” Mr. Opdyke said. “As more shoppers become comfortable buying from their mobile devices, the revenue and advertising potential for marketers through social sites like Pinterest and Polyvore – as well as on retail sites such as Walmart and Target – gets greater.

“It sounds like the Polyvore ad solutions will be native, which is the strongest form of advertising when it comes to mobile,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York