Ash (Ashish) Puri
CANNES, France — Looking to offer fashion, luxury and cosmetic brands a 360-degree view on their investments in both digital and traditional print communication, Launchmetrics has acquired Visual Box and launched a new product, dubbed Discover.
Billed as the first one-stop tool for measuring print, online and social, the new platform is geared at allowing brands to monitor the impact of campaigns and events as well as garner key insights into their cross-channel performance in the media and with influencers.
Discover marks the first launch for Launchmetrics since the company’s creation in January 2016 when Fashion GPS, a technology provider for the fashion industry, merged with influencer marketing specialist Augure. The company, which has also appointed Paolo Valota senior vice president, monitoring, is based in New York and counts 1,700 clients spanning 70 countries, including Dior, Fendi and Levi’s.
Founded in Italy in 2000, Visual Box, meanwhile, is billed as being a leader in international fashion beauty and lifestyle media monitoring and analysis services, with a fully searchable fashion media database spanning editorial coverage and advertising data. The platform monitors over 1,800 titles – from daily newspapers to niche bi-annual books – with around 5,000 pages analyzed daily.
“Our aim is to offer brands, in one tool, the ability to measure the value of each medium,” Michael Jais, chief executive officer of Launchmetrics, told WWD in an interview in Cannes. “This acquisition will allow us to bring the market a way to really evaluate the return on investment of a campaign. Today it’s really difficult to benchmark the value of a ‘like’ or of an article in a title like Vogue, say, for a brand.”
Jais was in town to meet with city officials to discuss the launch of a fund for fashion-tech start-ups planned for June. “The idea is to create a kind of ecosystem for start-ups dedicated to fashion-tech luxury in Cannes, like for Silicon Valley but for fashion and luxury,” said the executive who also revealed that Cannes is planning to open a university “that can also host a lot of programs” dedicated to the subject, due to open in around 2019.
“There will be the incubation program, and investment fund, and also an academic program. It will be a joint program between the city of Cannes and a group of individuals, including myself,” he added.
Jais declined to disclose the terms of the Visual Box acquisition, but said it will give Launchmetrics access to 12 years of data linked to how brands interact with print. The company is actively looking to make further acquisitions in order to grow revenues from the current 25 million euros, or $27.9 million at average exchange rates, to 100 million euros, or $111.8 million, by 2021, he said. The plan, he added, is to invest in two directions: in the services area, “to help improve the user experience in terms of helping customers better understand the data,” and in data itself.
Launchmetrics currently monitors 100,000 influencers, and 1.7 million websites worldwide, has “a lot of data on the brands,” including monitoring “everything that is published by 20,000 brands in the world,” as well as “a lot of data” linked to “the interaction between influencers and the brands,” said Jais. “But to really take it to the next level, we need to invest in technology around image recognition and product classification.” He also revealed plans to bring in retail data and integrate data “related to the entire value chain of the fashion luxury business.”
On average the return on investment for brands using all of Launchmetrics’ tools, he said, is around 80 percent, “meaning it improves the efficiency of their launch by 80 percent.”
The company currently offers six tools covering areas including sample, content, and event management.
The firm’s revenue is partly generated through subscriptions, according to Jais. Customers pay anywhere from $200 to $50,000 per month, he said, with a current total of around 900 customers.
Jais also shared insights gleaned from recent analytics campaigns carried out for brands. “For example, at the shows, the real celebrities are the models. The reach that is driven by the models when they publish anything on Instagram is at least 10 times superior to the reach of the celebrities watching the runway,” he said.
“It shows that the audience is really there to see the product, which is good news. It also shows that people are interested in what is behind the scenes, and the models are the only ones to get access behind the scenes. Five percent of guests invited to the show make up 90 percent of the global reach of a show, and they are mainly bloggers and two or three celebrities.”Launchmetrics, M&A, VisualBox