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Authenticity Analyzed: Why These 4 UGC Photos Work So Well

Brand advocates come in all shapes and sizes. The common denominator, at least for the User-Generated Content (UGC) photos analyzed below, is that the viewer can tell that the person behind the camera really, really loves these brands.

Otherwise, the unique nature of each photo is what makes them compelling, which makes it tough to draw sweeping conclusions. Still, let’s plunge ahead anyway.

These photos were some of the top photos scored by Olapic’s Photorank machine-learning algorithm, which ranks them according to their potential to drive conversions in an e-commerce environment. Photorank is proprietary and based on more than 45 different visual and contextual patterns. Pics that score high on Photorank have shown to perform up to seven times better than marketer-selected photos.

A Horizon Hobby Fan and His Helicopter

My two absolute favorite helicopters! #rchelicopter #bladehelis #horizonhobby #flyhard

A photo posted by Josh (@joshuatchandler) on

This fellow certainly seems happy with his radio-controlled helicopter from Horizon Hobby. In addition to what looks like a very genuine grin, the outdoor lighting, greenery and Chandler’s plaid shorts all evoke a lazy summer day with no responsibilities. Ugh. Makes one wistful for the passing season, right?

What inspired this post? Some things – like oven mitts, paper towels and dog shampoo — you buy out of necessity. Then there are the fun gifts that bring a surge of joy. A radio-controlled helicopter falls under the second category.

How Horizon Hobby earned this content: Obviously, if there was an issue with the service or the product, the customer wouldn’t be beaming like this. Horizon Hobby also makes a habit of reposting similar photos on its Instagram feed with “#repost.”

How this photo influences other shoppers: Are you on the fence about spending money on a toy like this? Seeing the joy it gives to another consumer might prompt you to make that purchase.

L’Oreal Paris’s Ginger Candy Gets a Close-Up Moment

You know it #gingerlife #sweetlikecandy #glossybalm #loreal

A photo posted by Jessica Silver (@jesssicasilver) on

For some, the words “ginger candy” will send a shiver up the spine. It’s an acquired, unusual taste that you don’t see very often on a glossy lip balm.

What inspired this post? Here, Jessica Silver, a self-described “tiny ginger” likely saw a double-entendre that was too good to resist.

How L’Oreal Paris earned this content: Dabbling in offbeat flavors seems to be an excellent method for instilling fan loyalty. It’s hard to get worked up about a new cherry flavor, but “ginger candy”? That’s a different story.

How this photo influences other shoppers: There’s a good chance that casual fans or non-fans didn’t know this iteration existed. Now they do.

A Running Club Steps Up for Brooks Running

All the cool kids are wearing Brooks! #running #runhappy #fastfeet

A photo posted by Gary Brimmer (@coachgaryb) on

Brooks is a real runners’ shoe, and Brooks fans use them for running. Long. Distances.

What inspired this post? Running is a sport that doesn’t require a great deal of equipment, so shoes have an outsized importance. You can tell from the six muscular legs in this photo that these are real runners. They also obviously like and appreciate their Brooks shoes.

How Brooks earned this content: The Brooks Running Instagram feed portrays the running lifestyle and supports users like RunningBecause who celebrate the sport from a non-elite perspective.

How this photo influences other shoppers: Are you interested in running, but want to know what the real runners like? This photo helps add authenticity and credibility.

TopShop’s Mysterious Tattooed Endorser

New blog post • feat. @eliza_moore • link in bio

A photo posted by Aishling Browne (@aishling_browne) on

Sometimes obscuring a face can add an air of mystery. That’s definitely the case here. Who is this woman? What’ is that tattoo about? Does that piece of jewelry on her bicep pinch much?

What inspired this post? It looks like the photographer, Aishling Browne, likes to find and shoot stylish people on the street a la The Sartorialist. This pic is one in a line of many.

How TopShop earned this content: TopShop appears to have a mix of models and civilians in its Instragram feed. Letting consumers know they have a shot of getting into this mix is a powerful incentive to try to get the brand’s attention.

How this photo influences other shoppers: People who put TopShop and other fashion brands in their feed are looking for inspiration. If this ensemble looks good, a user just might try it out themselves or at least be inspired to buy one of the items.

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