As if being a singer, actress, and half of fan-dubbed duo Jelena wasn’t enough, Selena Gomez just announced a long-term partnership with athleisure brand Puma. Before Gomez, celebs including Bella and Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss, and Kylie Jenner fronted names like Nike, Adidas, and Reebok. In contrast, male athletes have left their mark on everything from Adidas to Givenchy. Is neglecting to include female athletes a missed opportunity for women’s activewear brands?

With the women’s segment driving explosive growth for many activewear brands, L2 research shows that brands are not only neglecting to include female athletes in campaigns, they’re also underinvesting in SEO on Google for women’s-specific keywords.

Additionally, because many athleisure brands rely on reviews to encourage conversion, tapping into people who actually use activewear how it was meant to be used (i.e. for exercise) could imbue brands with a stamp of functionality, as opposed to just style. In fact, while 84% of activewear brands have had supported ratings and reviews on product pages for some time, only a few have accumulated a decent repository of reviews.

While the use of influencers and celebrities can certainly drive social buzz for brands, extending the spotlight to include actual female athletes could more authentically represent what women-focused brands like Lululemon and Sweaty Betty stand for. This would help brands directly target the consumers who are most active when it comes to making purchases.

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