If there is one threat to Google Search, it’s that the majority of content created today lives inside social apps like Instagram and Snapchat and can’t easily be indexed to show in search results.
And, even when Google does manage to pull in a piece of content from a social network, it’s nearly impossible to extract any context from the photo, which is essential if Google wants to monetize these searches with ads.
But it seems like Google has now found a workaround, at least for fashion-related content. The search engine just launched a feature called Shop the Look to bring outfits posted by fashion bloggers into search results.
Google is sourcing content (and the links to buy clothes featured in the content) from rewardStyle’s LIKEtoKNOW.it, a company that lets fashion bloggers make money from their social posts. They do this by helping influencers send followers an affiliate link to buy the products featured in their social posts. For example, if I “like” a picture of an outfit on Instagram the service will email me links to buy all of the pieces of clothing in the photo.
So how exactly will Google use this content and the associated product data?
Users can search Google for an outfit, like “cocktail dress”, and the platform will pull in images from social influencers that match that outfit description. Then once users tap on one of those images it will pull up a gallery with each item of clothing featured in the picture, as well as a link to purchase it.
Interestingly, Google is integrating Shop the Look with its Shopping campaign ad product, meaning retailers can create an ad for an article of clothing to potentially appear in these results.
Not only is the move big for Google (because they could potentially steal some search traffic away from Instagram), but it’s big for the fashion influences who use platforms like LIKEtoKNOW.it to make a living. By including their content (and affiliate links) in search results, they have the opportunity to have their content seen by a lot more people.
The partnership with rewardStyle is still in its early stages, so the two companies haven’t finalized a revenue sharing agreement yet – but it’s safe to assume that if an item is purchased on Google the affiliate revenue will probably be divided up between Google, rewardStyle and the actual influencer who created the content in the first place.