Farfetch uses Google+ to drive brand visibility and engagement

January 2014

As an online hub connecting independent design boutiques with fashion consumers, Farfetch wanted to improve its visibility and engagement with users. The solution: use Google+ to deliver rich, unique, and attractive content while driving new shoppers to the website. As well as improving search performance, Google+ has increased the average visit duration and number of page views by a factor of four.


Attract new audiences through the unique benefits of Google+

Create unique content, including rich media and hangouts

Connect Google+ with AdWords to improve search performance


Drive brand visibility

Increase user engagement


Better CTR, CPC, and CPA

Number of Google+ followers increased by 116% per day

Engagement through Google+ four times higher than from other platforms

Farfetch brings more than 280 of the world's best independent designer boutiques together into one website. The Farfetch customer can shop a curated selection of the world's established fashion brands and also discover new up-and-coming designer talent. The company already had a strong social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Polyvore, but were interested in the unique benefits of Google+ and opportunities to integrate with search, YouTube and Shopping ads. Immediate objectives of launching on the platform included driving visibility and encouraging engagement between Google+ users and the Farfetch website.

Building a Google+ page to showcase distinctive content

Matt Ridout, Head of SEO at Farfetch, explains the team's approach. "We have two types of content strategies in place for Google+. We align everything on the platform with our larger marketing strategy, including promotions, sales and editorial stories. Secondly we have a dedicated content plan used each week covering regular themed slots, such as our "Daily Fashion Fixes' and "Tune Tuesdays'. Both strategies aim to deliver our brand message as well as showcase products and styles."

His advice to brands that are new the the platform? "Give people a genuine reason to follow you on Google+. Having a unique content strategy will attract new and existing followers to your profile — so try to stand out." The Farfetch team takes care to present fresh content, rather than repurposing posts from other platforms. "We post regularly on Google+, between two and four posts per day over the business week, and two per day over the weekend," Matt says. "We promote new products and designers by uploading images — static or animated — and link back to Farfetch on each occasion. We also promote editorial stories that are more focused around lifestyle and the fashion industry, allowing us to reach Google+ audiences not already familiar with the brand."

New audiences through the Google+ badge and communities

In terms of reaching new audiences, the ability to create communities on Google+ has proved extremely useful. "We run a community page on the theme of "óFashion Inspiration'," Matt says. "This provides an additional layer of communication and engagement to users we might not normally have access to, which helps build up follower numbers."

The Google+ badge that links from the Farfetch website to its Google+ page has been instrumental in boosting the audience. "In the first few months, adding the Google+ badge and linking to our Google+ platform was absolutely essential for generating a base number of followers," he explains. "Having the additional information in the search results for brand terms allows us to promote content to new and current customers that might not normally be aware of Google+." The numbers back this up, too. "We received a 116% increase per day in followers by adding the Google+ badge and linking the page to the Farfetch website, and saw an uplift of 60% more +1s after implementing the +1 button on the site."

Rich media and hangouts equal compelling content

Google+ makes it easy to upload images, animations and videos, something a fashion brand like Farfetch can really appreciate. "We use rich media content wherever possible; these formats usually result in higher engagement levels with our followers," Matt says. "We find that animated GIFs do particularly well when showcasing products, and trigger more shares than any other format at our disposal."

Farfetch has also used hangouts — the platform's high-quality multi-user video chat facility — to great effect. "Hangouts are new and innovative, and as a brand we wanted to be part of that," he explains. "We wanted to see what impact it made to our visibility on the platform, and we loved the concept of being able to broadcast as well as to communicate directly with customers, new and old."

The company ran five hangouts during one week to celebrate its fifth birthday as a business. "We used Google+ Hangouts on Air, themed around "óhow to' for a celebration, covering food, drink, outfits, decorations and music. We purchased an HD camera and microphone, which really improved the quality of the broadcasts, and ran internal tests with members of staff to ensure it all ran smoothly. During the week we ran the broadcasts, we received the most visits per day to Farfetch from Google+ and also received the highest number of conversions during a six-month period." With promising results like these, Farfetch has plans to roll out more activity of this kind. "Hangouts give us more breadth when thinking of formats to support larger campaigns. They are now considered a necessary part of the overall strategy, and we'll be running many more in the future."

Users from Google+ spend much longer viewing content on Farfetch than users from other social platforms. The number of pages that Google+ users visit and their average visit duration is four times higher. This shows that users are engaged with the brand and have a genuine interest in retail and purchasing when browsing on Google+ — Matt Ridout, Head of SEO, Farfetch

Monitoring the impact of Google+ activities

The Google+ circles feature makes it possible to share content to groups of followers manually defined by Farfetch. "Circles are extremely valuable as they allow us to target specific groups of followers with unique content and promotions. Besides segmenting into the obvious areas like gender, we actively monitor how users engage with our brand on Google+. Those who promote and champion our content have their own circle and we share targeted content with them." The team also uses the Google+ ripples feature to gain further insight into how content is discovered and shared.

Google Analytics is another useful tool in measuring activity on the platform. "We use Google Analytics' URL builder to set up specific campaigns when sharing content so we can measure the success of the different types of content," Matt explains. "We track those campaigns, primarily looking at visits, transactions, bounce rates and pages per visit."

So what do the metrics indicate? "As a company we're still building up our following on Google+ but we're now in a position where the activity generates around 400 visits per month with a conversion rate of about 1%," he says. "An interesting statistic from our analytics data is that users from Google+ spend much longer viewing content on Farfetch than users from other social platforms." While the number of visits to the brand's site from Google+ is currently lower than Facebook and Twitter, the number of pages that Google+ users visit and their average visit duration is four times higher. "This shows that users are engaged with the brand and have a genuine interest in retail and purchasing when browsing on Google+," Matt affirms.

Connecting Google+ with AdWords improves search performance

Farfetch has been using social extensions to bolster its AdWords activity for just over a year. "We were also interested to see what benefits we could discover using the Google+ ad extension, and what uplift, if any, this could bring to existing search campaigns," Matt says. Data compiled from the last quarter shows very positive outcomes. "In terms of CTR, ads that showed +1 annotations delivered double that of ads that did not show them. Our CPC improved by 7% on desktop, and more interestingly our CPA came in at 10% less than if we did not use the ad extension."

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