Fashion Case Study: launching a User-Generated-content APP
How to go from 0 to 30K users, 50K sessions and 100K views in 6 months (with 0 paid media).
Celebrity stylist Estee Stanley and fashion designer Jenni Kayne were new moms, known for their forward-looking eye in the fashion world. They wanted to capitalize on a new trend of moms sharing photos of their children dressed in stylish clothing (that adults would normally wear). Stanley and Kayne solicited our services to launch a kids fashion app, sparking the development of Ladys & Gents.
We created a user-generated-content (UGC) application. Parents from around the world submit pictures of their children to get featured on the home page. The parents were extremely excited to showcase their moment of fame with their friends. We created two streams of revenue by linking the clothing of the photos to eCommerce outlets, and by selling native advertising to those same brands.
Within 6 months we pulled in 30,000 first-time users, 50,000 sessions, and 100,000 page views. Users would scroll down to browse 20 photos per page, similar to an Instagram feed. As we can see from the analytics below, 67% of users looked only at the first page. The remaining users would look at 3-5 pages, bringing our average page views per session to 2.19. We also had an average session of 2 minutes.
Where did the traffic come from?
Public relations was our biggest strength, making Ladys & Gents synonymous with kids fashion. About 20% of our users came to our website directly typing in the URL or explicitly searching the name on Google. Of that traffic, 80% used a desktop, 11% came from a tablet, and 8% used a mobile device. Mobile phones screens were smaller and less internet friendly in 2013.
Many mom-centric and fashion publications picked up our story, including Refinery29, Jezebel, and Red Tricycle. The traffic from twitter was connected to these publications. We also had a quick segment on CBS The Talk, when they showcased our website during a back-to-school daytime episode.
We leveraged actresses Minka Kelly, Leah Michelle and Soleil Moonfrye, and style icons like the Olsen Twins to visit our office and chose their favorite outfit from the clothing in our closet. The clothing came from sponsors and partners.
Content Syndication on Social Media
We also syndicated the photo submissions onto our social media channels. We created themed Pinterest boards, a Facebook page, and Instagram channel. Our Pinterest page aggregated over a 1000 followers and 2000 pins.
Funny Note: We started receiving a pattern of photos in front of fire trucks, so we created the Instagram hashtag #FiremanFridays. Little did we know, the hashtag was already in use. We were creating our monthly reports and looked back at the tag to see a bunch of muscular shirtless firemen. No wonder the moms loved the hashtag!
We tracked who was sending in the most photos and invited them into our ambassador program. We created an official program where these ambassadors would receive free clothing from our advertisers in exchange for sending us more photos. We set up an automated process to notify the ambassadors when their photos were published so they would share with their friends. But we learned the traffic that came from the ambassadors was small. They were good for being a source of content, not traffic.
Tech Specs, Affiliate Marketing, and selling advertising
Ladys and Gents started as a tumblr page, which was an easy to use platform at the time. Then we switched over to a custom wordpress application. Each photo was captioned with the with affiliate links to buy the clothing, creating additional streams of revenue – though the affiliate links had to be manually sourced.