Visual commerce whitepaper: The Ascent of Authentic Visual Content
When the numbers get this big, we tend to think of them only in the abstract:
Our new visual commerce white paper places this content explosion in context. We filled it with data that matters, insights from our experience with over 150 brands and retailers, and strategic guidance for companies ready to plan their approach to the visual commerce opportunity.
From Ripple to Wave: The Ascent of Authentic Visual Content is available in full here, and you’ll find an excerpt below.
The Ascent of Authentic Visual Content
Customer photos are the most authentic and compelling brand assets available today. Thanks to the mass adoption of smartphones and photo-sharing platforms like Instagram, they are also incredibly abundant.
Until recently, few brands understood the true depth and breadth of the customer photo opportunity, but as more and more of them begin to incorporate photos into the ecommerce experience, real, measurable results are proving that visual commerce is changing the way we shop.
When the first ripples of authentic visual content started to swell, some dismissed it as merely a fad. But the ripples became waves as camera-laden smartphones, mobile broadband connectivity, and image-centric social media platforms became standard features in people’s lives. It was the perfect storm of technology, personal expression and communication.
Many brands began by sticking their toes in the water, crafting strategies that pursued engagement and reach. Measured against likes, comments, and shares, this “strictly social” approach can be remarkably successful, but customer photos offer brands much more than the promise of engagement.
On average, Olapic clients see a 4.6% conversion rate when customer photos are displayed on a product detail page and a 9.6% conversion rate when visitors interact with these photos, meaning that this interaction nearly doubles conversion. These engaged visitors look at nine customer photos, on average.
Laundry Service, a social media agency based in New York, analyzed data from 100 million impressions, including ad campaigns from more than 15 advertisers. The agency found that “Instagram-style” photos yielded a conversion rate increase of 25% over “glossy product shots.” These organic photos also triggered two to four times the engagement rates of the traditional product photos.
Most brands are still just skimming the surface of the customer photo waves. For example, L2 Think Tank’s research shows that, while 93% of prestige brands have an Instagram profile and 54% link from their websites to that profile, only 14% have integrated Instagram photos into their websites.
Marketers are feeling the content crunch. The Content Marketing Institute found that 71% of B2C marketers list customer acquisition as a content marketing goal (second only to brand awareness), and 44% list direct sales as a success metric. Their challenges include lack of time (57%), producing engaging content (51%), lack of budget (48%), producing enough content (45%) and the inability to measure content effectiveness (36%).
Olapic believes that brands and retailers can overcome these challenges while also improving sales—and nearly every aspect of the shopping experience—by collecting wave after wave of fresh visual content and making it shoppable by placing it in the purchase path. We call this simple idea “visual commerce.”