Mobile Commerce

Revolve and Ipsy Prove That Influencer Marketing Gets Attention, but Website Speed Drives Conversions

While influencer marketing dominates social and captures buyers’ attention, it's website speed leads them through an eCommerce website checkout.

Today’s businesses are digital-first, customer-centric, and eager to embrace influencer marketing as part of their growth strategy. Influencer marketing leverages word-of-mouth advertising with popular social media figures who have millions of trusted followers and fans. This tactic has proven to be a more effective and cost efficient way of advertising than traditional methods. However, while influencer marketing catches buyers’ attention and encourages them to land on your eCommerce website, it’s website speed that leads them down the path-to-purchase.

Today’s consumers are rooted in the digital world and influenced by social media more than any other channel. But with so much content available, brands are finding it difficult to rise above the noise and get in front of their potential buyers. This is where influencer marketing has bridged the gap. 73% of Gen Zers say they would make a purchase based on a social media recommendation with nearly half using Instagram to discover new brands.

But driving discovery is only half of the equation. Today’s consumers also expect speedy online experiences. A whopping 70% of consumers say page speed impacts their willingness to buy. And that makes sense - our expectations of online experiences have evolved with technology advancements. And when our expectations aren’t met, our emotional state is impacted. In fact, Ericsson researchers found that delays in page loads on mobile create the same psychological discomfort as watching a horror movie. Don’t scare potential customers away, invest in website speed.

From attention to consideration

What good is sending potential shoppers to a landing page that doesn’t perform or meet their expectations? Consider this: you invested in influencer marketing and your social media star had an amazing instagram story that has sent a landslide of potential shoppers your way. They landed on your site and bounced. The influencer did his/her part, so what happened?

We’ve written a lot about website speed and the value has become evident: speed affects an eCommerce site’s entire digital strategy and revenue. The need for speed is true for consumers too. In fact, those who have the biggest need for speed are the ones you want to satisfy most — Generation Z has an estimated buying power of 143 billion, influences 93% of household spend, and has no patience for slow websites.

The youngest generation of consumers grew up in the world of smartphones and AI. They expect websites to load quickly, have intuitive UIs, and the intelligence to anticipate what they would like. Some of these expectations, like a speedy experience, have bled across generations and have become everyone’s standards for eCommerce websites.

While a trusted source can get you halfway to a conversion, an instant eCommerce website will take you all the way through checkout.

From instagram fame to instant checkouts

Influencer marketing has become a powerful tactic to enhance opinions and shape purchasing decisions. Fans or followers value the ability to get a close look into an influencer’s life, form relationships with ‘real’ and ‘relatable’ people, and instill trust in them. In fact, 54% of Generation Z believe internet leaders are more important than politicians. If you have power to influence the internet and build and nurture relationships, you’re worthy in the eyes of these spenders.

The fashion and beauty industries have taken influencer marketing by storm. Revolve, a $1.2 billion fashion retailer, drove 70 percent of its online sales from one influencer, in one year (!). Today, this marketing strategy is a huge initiative for the brand. Revolve has 19 private label brands and has over 3,500 brand influencers, including the fashion industry's most followed influencers such as Kendall Jenner and Olivia Culpo, who wear and tag pieces that are immediately shoppable on Revolve’s site.

To keep potential buyers moving swiftly from social to website and checkout, Revolve is adopting a React Progressive Web App (PWA) frontend for their mobile site. Website speed has become a priority for the company and they are investing in more than just an eCommerce PWA, they are also working on utilizing a Backend For Frontend (BFF) to optimize APIs. A BFF allows a single client to access shared APIs, without the need to optimize the API for that client. A BFF is also the perfect place for server-side rendering and AMP conversion, thus increasing website speed and security.

With this full stack approach to website speed, Revolve is officially tying the knot between influencers and an instant eCommerce site.

An influencer turned empire

Another brand that has used influencer marketing to fuel growth from a small startup to a multimillion dollar business is the beauty subscription service, Ipsy. Michelle Phan leveraged her popularity as one of the most successful social media stars to drive demand for the beauty brand, that is now valued at $800 million. Capitalizing one influencer’s enormous network of trusted relationships to build an eCommerce empire has paid out for Ipsy.

Ipsy was built off the idea that beauty brands shouldn’t decide what products are cool, “Instead, it’s beauty bloggers and other creators that are controlling the conversation,” Ipsy co-founder Marcelo Camberos. This is why the brand has invested in 10,000 beauty vloggers to share their own stories and advice, including Desi Perkins (seeing over 16M views on YouTube) and Loey Lane (seeing over 14M views on YouTube) to successfully drive growth. The result: Ipsy now has 3 million monthly paying subscribers.

But the digital domination didn’t stop there — it went further by adopting a modern website that meets customers’ expectations. Ipsy launched a Single Page Application (SPA) for its mobile and desktop environments. SPAs are another form of a cutting-edge frontend that many industry leaders are using to speed up page load times. Ipsy also adopted Accelerated Mobile Page technology to ensure speedy page loads from search, giving it a higher search ranking and SERP visibility, while decreasing bounce rates. This has paid out for the brand, with Ipsys’ site delivering more than half of the pages in under one second for mobile US shoppers.

Both Ipsy and Revolve are examples of the effectiveness of influencer marketing. Both companies launched without venture capital and utilized influencer marketing to grow their business. This is another success story for influencer marketing, which has been proven to be more cost effective than traditional advertising and generates 11x more ROI. Ipsy and Revolve represent small brands that turned unicorns, born from their investment in influencer marketing and website speed.

Bottom line

Influencer marketing is dominating eCommerce, but those who are seeing the most success are coupling the trending strategy with modern frontend tools to deliver fast and engaging website experiences. While relevance and reputation capture consumers’ attention, sub-second websites exceed their expectations and keep them coming back for more, taking them from attention to retention.

Although modern technology is setting a speed standard in eCommerce, it’s difficult to combine all of the right tools to deliver a sub-second experience across channels and devices. We, at Layer0, are dedicated to helping solve the layers of developmental complexity, so eCommerce businesses can solely focus on providing the best experience to their consumers. That’s why we’ve built Layer0, the only full stack solution for website speed optimization, built for data-base driven eCommerce websites.

By utilizing modern portable frontends, CDN-as-JavaScript, and a Node.js Backend For Frontend, eCommerce websites on Layer0 consistently see median page loads of 320ms (LCP). But don’t take our word for it. Layer0 already powers the fastest websites in the industry, including Shoe Carnival and Kate Spade. And with more than $10B in revenue flowing through the platform a year, scalability is built into Layer0.

If website speed is a priority for you, schedule a consultative conversation to learn how Layer0 can help you delight customers with an instant website.

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