The digital world consistently places the consumer in charge of the buyers’ journey. The prevalence of User Generated Content (UGC) has led to a power shift from marketer to consumer. The consumers now dictate when and where they will consume or purchase products. As a result, brands are forced to find new ways to integrate themselves into the consumers’ daily lives. One of the most popular solutions is the use of UGC. From the Go-Pro YouTube video stunts to Sony Electronics, UGC is dominating the way that ecommerce sites attract consumers and motivate them to purchase.
According to Barbara Ross Miler, head of Sony Direct at Sony Electronics, “For us, [user generated content is] really about creating a lifestyle experience. If you look at the consumer and you look at how the consumer is using the product to enhance their life, user-generated content tells that story. And through that story, you bring other consumers into the conversation.” This concept was further illustrated in a 2014 study released by L2 Think Tank. The research division found that putting user generated image content into the context of ecommerce could prove to be a hugely profitable solution, improve consumer engagement, and encourage click-to-buy ratios.
Realizing the Benefits of UGC in Ecommerce
Internet content has continued to shift away from text-heavy sales to visual cues. This shift is, in part, due to the rise of mobile based Internet searches, where the pixel to viewable space is diminished. As the old adage goes, “a picture can say a thousand words.” And what is better than an image? A user generated image of course!
In conjunction with this growing phenomenon, a January 2014 Adobe Digital Index Report showed that the biggest catalyst in the shift from text to image lay in the use of smartphone cameras by U.S. consumers. In fact, more photos are taken every two minutes than were taken in the entire 1800’s. The growing power of the photograph has only increased with the age of improved smartphone cameras and social media interconnectedness.
The Strength of Social Media
Smartphone cameras coupled with easy access to social media has caused an abundance of user generate content that is repurposed to the benefit of many companies. According to L2 Think Tank’s 2014 social media report, Instagram has a 15x higher engagement level than Facebook. The social media platform’s improved performance is due to its “proliferating and attractive user base, high engagement levels, and ecommerce conducive format.” The site allows for instant gratification via photo sharing, and in our consumer-driven digital economy, brands are quick to jump on the network’s band wagon of success.
- 93 percent of brands have a presence on Instagram.
- Instagram has more than 75 million daily users.
- Brands can market themselves to the consumer with a simple click of the button.
- Branded galleries and strong visual cues improve the effectiveness of ecommerce Instagram campaigns.
- More than 500 million photos are uploaded and shared via Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, and Instagram on a daily basis.
UGC Benefits to Ecommerce
As a continued number of ecommerce sites jump onto the success of UGC visual campaigns, there are a few niche sectors that are primed for improved results. For starters, retail and fashion brands will continue to dominate the trend for UGC marketing. In fact, the latter sectors account for the top 10 largest communities on Instagram.
Digitally speaking, consumers decide in the blink of an eye if they will continue looking at a website, newsfeed, or visual gallery. UGC images offer an improved version of window shopping. In keeping with this concept, 52 percent of consumers say that watching product videos make them more confident in their purchase decisions. Now, add the benefits of UGC to a product page, and L2 Think Tank claims that brands will experience a five to seven percent increase in conversion ratings. With improved sales beckoning, brands will continue to adopt the Instagram trend of using UGC to improve consumer engagement and enhance call to purchase ratings on ecommerce product pages.