Daily Insights

Top 10 Activewear Brands in Digital

By: Elisabeth Rosen | Mar 31, 2016

Consumers’ insatiable appetite for “athleisure” has benefited just a few Activewear brands: Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, which collectively control over 8.2% of the U.S. market for Apparel & Footwear. But while those companies predictably enjoy high rankings in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Activewear, other brands reach the top 10 with less conventional strategies, like REI’s #OptOutside campaign.

Top 10 Activewear

1. Nike
Digital IQ: 148

Nike has mastered mobile advertising, with one of the highest impression rates in the Index. The brand’s ads link directly to product pages with simple call-to-action buttons as well as media-rich videos with full product menus. Nike also boasts an expert brand site, with features such as a dedicated page curating shoppable looks.

2. The North Face 
Digital IQ: 145

The brand has made strategic investments in guided selling, such as the “Shopping with IBM Watson” tool, which helps site visitors discover products based on a series of questions. The site also offers a comprehensive omnichannel shopping experience: product pages feature “Find in Store” tools, live inventory status, geolocation, and mappable directions. Additionally, experimentation with emerging social platforms like Snapchat and Periscope make clear that The North Face is a pioneer in Activewear.

2. Under Armour 
Digital IQ: 145

The brand’s Health & Fitness app continually tops the charts thanks to features including in-app commerce and social networking capabilities. Crucially, non-branded health trackers are also supported in the app, encouraging product discovery even for those who have not yet purchased Under Armour products. Another way the brand encourages product discovery is through its product pages, which include 360° views, detailed product specs, access to live chat, extensive user ratings and reviews, and advanced True Fit size finders.

Under Armour also gains its high ranking through partnering with celebrities. For example, its high-profile partnership with NBA superstar Stephen Curry boosted brand reach on Instagram by over nine million.

4. Adidas
Digital IQ: 144

Adidas’s continued investments in personalization can be seen in the diverse array of products, collections, graphic libraries and customization options offered on Mi Adidas. Starring international soccer legends such as Leo Messi, Mesut Özil, and Gareth Bale, Adidas’s “Create Your Own Game” campaign video led the Index with over 45 million organic views.

Adidas also delivers one of the Activewear sector’s most sophisticated paid media strategies, controlling 26% of Index brands’ impressions of video web advertisements and 11% of impressions on desktop and mobile.

5. L.L. Bean
Digital IQ: 138

An early adopter of omnichannel features, L.L. Bean continues to set an example for bridging the online and in-store experience. The brand not only provides item in-store availability from product pages, but also lets consumers reserve products online or pick them up at a local store.

6. Timberland
Digital IQ: 132

The Index leader in implementing seamless content-to-commerce tools, the brand specializes in shoppable UGC, lookbooks, and blog articles. Its “Marmakers” section features brand ambassadors and curated localized content.

6. Vans
Digital IQ: 132

Vans leads the Index in share of voice on Instagram by successfully juxtaposing products and iconic themes. Programmatic advertising investments push the brand into the top quartile in terms of mobile and video impressions.

8. Reebok
Digital IQ: 131

Reebok’s “Be More Human” campaign highlights the range of its athlete partnerships through extensive video content and engaging quizzes. The brand’s overall strength at social media is also exemplified by the success of the #BreakYourSelfie hashtag, which motivated over 13,000 UGC submissions on Instagram.

8. REI
Digital IQ: 131

REI is expert at reverse marketing. Exhibit A: the #OptOutside campaign, which generated 1.4 million Facebook interactions and drove a 26% hike in online traffic on Black Friday. REI is also the top Index brand in organic search visibility across all Activewear terms.

10. Converse
Digital IQ: 122

The brand’s user-friendly product customization tool includes 360° views, estimated delivery times, and access to live chat during design process. In social media, Converse joins the top five in terms of how many Facebook interactions each of its posts generates.

10. New Balance
Digital IQ: 122

The brand has a strong loyalty program, Gamified MyNB, which users can enroll for on the New Balance site. Its mobile app also rewards loyalty: every user engagement (for example, following New Balance on social media) results in points that can be redeemed for free shipping, birthday gifts, and concierge service.

10. Oakley
Digital IQ: 122

Oakley’s SEM investments paid off, securing elevated brand visibility against applicable Equipment terms. Furthermore, the brand’s paid search extensions provide turn-by-turn directions or the local phone number for the nearest boutique.

10. Patagonia
Digital IQ: 122

UGC and geo-tagging motivate Patagonia’s highly engaged Instagram community, pushing the brand into the Top 10 on the platform in terms of interactions. The brand also boasts high visibility across e-tailers, from Zappos and Dick’s Sporting Goods to Paragon Sports.