Google is testing a new AdWords shopping feature called Shop the Look, which delivers photos of outfits posted by fashion bloggers and other social influencers into Google search results, along with links on where to buy the ensembles in question.
Google is sourcing the image content from content partners such as rewardStyle's LIKEtoKNOW.It, Polyvore and Curalate.
- Google is integrating Shop the Look with its Shopping campaign ad product, which means that retailers could create ads for outfits and outfit components to potentially appear in these results.
Google is a major success in more ways than we can count, though search is still what you would call its core business. Also, one of the few ways in which Google hasn't succeeded is as a social media company, at least not yet (sorry, Google+ circle members).
But through Shop the Look, Google may have come upon a way to make a connection that all social media companies and retailers are striving to make — connecting social media influence with shopping searches and follow through to purchase completion. Big brands are getting pretty good at generating social media chatter and activity, but the sector's ability to convert that behavior into revenue with concepts such as buy buttons has been slow to develop.
Google has been cultivating efforts in this area for a while now. It has refined AdWords in recent years with sharper ad targeting capability, and earlier this year introduced Real-Time Ads with instant updates to help brands leverage topics trending on social media in their marketing messages. Shop the Look is in the same family as that capability, as it can help apparel brands and retailers draw some shopping traffic from whatever fashionistas are saying about a particular outfit or style trend.
A TechCrunch report on Shop the Look says it also might be able to help Google steal some search results from social media sites like Instagram on which the images first appear. If you can't join 'em, beat 'em.