This article creates an interesting look at the visual posting social media sights like instagram. In fact they could deliver so much more to commerce and consumable companies if they allowed richer data to be posted along with the image they post online. Perhaps their limitations create a new opportunity for someone else to enter the marketplace.
Gizelle’s article opens up the question of how you use these sights to truly generate the action that you desire from the social media you use and how you use it. It points out how retailers can truly benefit thru doing daily (or more frequent) postings to sights like instagram. But the secret also lies in you having a strategy for doing so. It just cannot be random. It has to tell a sequence of stories. It has to build momentum. It has to create interest. It needs to showcase what action you want taken, and drive traffic to activate that plan you have laid for for generating that action.
Social media is not just a communication tool, but it is a tool that when properly developed and used can effectively build momentum to an action you actually want to track and measure to improve sales, and customer connections with the brand.
The Page Group specializes in setting up these strategies, and implementing them with the IT team to you get real measurable results that can track the future growth of your business.
User-Generated Images Can Boost E-Commerce, Study Says
CMO EXCLUSIVES | February 13, 2014
by Giselle Abramovich
Senior & Strategic Editor
A new study by L2 Think Tank, in collaboration with visual commerce company Olapic, found that putting user-generated image content into the context of e-commerce is a big opportunity for brands.
- Instagram has reached 150 million monthly users in just three years.
- A whopping 93 percent of brands now have a presence on the photo sharing network.
- Instagram provides velocity in the purchase funnel.
There’s no doubt that the Internet is shifting from text-based communication and media to more of a visual, image-based Web. Search advertisers already are realizing its benefits, a recent Adobe Digital Index report shows. The biggest driver of this shift is that the majority of consumers in the United States, and abroad, now own smartphones and, therefore, are armed with cameras at all times. So little wonder that they’re using them to take photos of the brands and products they love–and hate–most.
“Even when you think of the early days of the iPhone, it quickly became the camera most used on Flickr,” said Pau Sabria, co-founder and CEO of Olapic, in an interview with CMO.com. “It’s become easy for mobile phone users to generate image content. Smartphones are basically enabling a change in the behavior of consumers.”
Instagram: The Bell Of The Image-Based Social Ball
Social media is also a driver of digital image-sharing, according to Pau. Consumers share about 500 million photos a day via networks including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, and Twitter. From an image standpoint, Instagram is the most valuable for brands, Pau said. Its amount of engagement and growth over the past couple of months are larger than any other network’s.
In just three short years, Instagram has reached 150 million monthly users, the report said–two years faster than parent company Facebook and twice as fast as Twitter. Instagram also gets 15 times the engagement and double the engaged user base than Facebook.
In addition, the report says, 93 percent of brands now have a presence on the photo-sharing network, up from 63 percent in July. Brands post an average of 5.5 times a week, and 43 percent of accounts post more than once a day. Ninety-nine percent of user engagement is from likes, the report said.
It stands to reason that retail and fashion brands dominate the top 10 largest communities on Instagram. “For these categories, Instagram is an evolved form of window-shopping enabling users to see products on organic mannequins,” the report stated. “Beauty brand accounts are the fastest growing and yield the greatest engagement. Cult Beauty brands Urban Decay, Essie, and Lush outperform the establishment.”
According to Pau, marketers should start to consider visual communication as a key component of the marketing strategy, though there is no on-size-fits-all approach. This means every brand should be thinking about creating, curating, and aggregating engaging pictures in a meaningful way.
“The way to think about this new image strategy is laying out what problems you want to solve and how these challenges can be alleviated with pictures,” Pau told CMO.com.
Pau said he believes there is a big opportunity in tying e-commerce to social media and using user-generated Instagram photos on brand and retail sites.
A plethora of studies have found consumers trust user-generated content, such as ratings and reviews, over brand communications via email and social media, for example. And it’s no different from an image perspective, according to Pau.
“With consumers more likely to trust and take action based on user-generated content than brand advertising, Instagram provides velocity in the purchase funnel,” the report says.
However, Instagram doesn’t allow the use of links in photo captions. Pau suggested that brands get around that by using Instagram photos outside of the platform on their own e-commerce sites, within branded galleries, on product detail pages, and even on checkout pages. According to the research, brands experience a 5 to 7 percent increase in conversion rate and a 2 percent increase in average order value when they incorporate, or link to, user-generated content on product pages.
“CMOs and heads of digital at different brands talk about social media and ROI,” Pau told CMO.com. “If you tie social media like Instagram to e-commerce, then you can create differentiation and also see the effect that social has on sales numbers. And at a time when brands are starting to act more and more like publishers, relying on Instagram photos means original content from the brand, but also means an opportunity in using user-generated content and curating content as well.”