Challenger to Watch 2019: Narrativ

For fixing the 404


How did the Diane Von Furstenberg brand increase its web traffic year on year by ten times and bring in 29 times more revenue from online content? As the snappy saying goes - behind every e-commerce success is an AI powered affiliate link tech brand. Or it soon will be if Narrativ has anything to do with it.

So what exactly is Narrativ – and why should you care?

As a consumer you are increasingly likely to research online before purchasing, and it’s reported that 44% of us research recommendations for every purchase we buy. For example, we might search for ‘the best…’ - the best lawnmower, the best electric toothbrush, or in DVF’s case, the best wrap-dress. Those searches more often than not will lead to editorial content – particularly those from major publishers, which then often include a link to purchase – a powerful driver for e-commerce sales.

The problem with this model is that, firstly, our internet is getting a bit overloaded with ageing articles containing outdated links – leading potential consumers to a dreaded 404 page. Not great for users, publishers or retailers. Secondly, many of the functioning links are hardcoded to direct to Amazon through its affiliate program, giving Amazon the monopoly on those consumers clicks (a whopping 650million of them a year).

Founder & CEO - Shirley Chen. Credit: Narrativ.

Founder & CEO - Shirley Chen. Credit: Narrativ.

Founded in 2015 by former Mckinsey consultant Shirley Chen, Narrativ is an AI powered technology that not only gives publishers and brands greater control over these affiliate links, it is also able to detect and fix the dreaded broken links – meaning those potential customers always find their way to a purchase.

Like other affiliate marketing networks, the business operates on a revenue share model, which results in a win-win for both brands and publishers. But this isn’t just a tweak to the system, this is a challenger with a bigger mission to drive change. As Chen herself puts it…We’re not building Narrativ to make an incremental improvement to affiliate marketing — we’re building Narrativ to create a fundamentally better ecosystem for publishers, retailers and consumers.”

Credit: Narrativ

Credit: Narrativ

This is a challenger with a bigger mission to drive change

In just one year out of stealth mode Narrativ has made a strong start, raising over $3.5m in funding, fixing more than one billion broken links, winning a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Award and partnering with big brands like Dermstore, Ulta Beauty, and New York Magazine.

While the technology currently is only open to large retailers and brands, plans are in the works to expand the offer to small and medium businesses in the future. So, whether you’re a big retailer, a publisher or a small brand looking to break free from the clutches of Amazon – Narrativ might be the secret weapon you're looking for.

Helen Redstone is Head of Production at eatbigfish.