User-generated content (UGC) has experienced explosive growth over the past several years. As a result, smart brands have been trying to identify ways in which to best utilize their customers’ content in broader marketing efforts. Of course, engaging with customers on social spaces and featuring the content on brand-owned websites are the most obvious placements. However, it’s a common misconception that the benefits of UGC, in particular the visual content being shared on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, are limited to these primary digital channels.
The truth is that visual UGC becomes more powerful when it is used across all marketing channels to create a more consistent and realistic experience for consumers. In this era of marketing authenticity, consumers are demanding more personalized, meaningful experiences from the brands they engage with, and visual UGC can be the connective tissue between these otherwise disparate efforts.
Many brands are recognizing this potential and already putting it into action. In fact, according to research conducted by Worldwide Business Research and sponsored by Olapic, while 70% of retail marketers are featuring UGC on their websites, a growing number are finding value in other channels, including:
- 43% in paid social ads
- 36% in email promotions
- 30% offline (print, in-store, live events, etc.)
- 15% retargeting search/display ads
Of this group, an overwhelming 90% report seeing measurably positive results from implementing UGC across broader marketing efforts. Still, to this point only 2% of those surveyed have successfully integrated UGC across all channels, meaning there is enormous untapped potential for brands that make it a priority. How can your brand take the training wheels off of its visual UGC strategy and gain the full impact?
One Step at a Time
Like most marketing efforts, making sizable changes to your brand’s existing programs is difficult and will require lots of planning. We work with our clients to take this process one step at a time, focusing on implementing a UGC strategy first on the channels that generate the highest revenue impact.
From a digital perspective, paid and organic search as well as email tend to drive the most revenue for B2C brands. Fortunately, these channels also allow for simple A/B testing, so that your brand can introduce consumer-generated images and test against traditional stock creative to determine if there is sizable improvement in ROI. Once you’ve determined performance improvement on the top channels, you can move down the line and connect the dots on a more comprehensive strategy.
Reaching Critical Mass with Visual UGC
Eventually, brands must get to a place where their UGC strategies span all channels, and enable a consistent marketing experience for important consumer segments. When we think of the challenge of personalization, at scale, it becomes far more attainable through the use of consumer-generated content. For example, the cosmetics industry is especially challenging from a personalization perspective because of the specific attributes that define each individual customer (eye color, skin tone, hair color, facial structure). We’ve worked with NYX, one of the most socially-savvy cosmetics brands in the world, to enable a large media library of visual UGC that gives consumers a realistic, accurate idea of what various products look like on users with similar features and attributes. Olapic’s platform also lets NYX tag its UGC images with
specific products down to the shade level, which has been an invaluable tool for the brand. Not only on the e-commerce experience, but across several digital channels, and even in-store, where NYX has created a kiosk where consumers can scroll through content shared by consumers with similar features. Aside from a more positive consumer experience, NYX’s UGC implementation has resulted in a 93% increase in average order value when consumers interact with UGC compared to when they do not.
How is your brand currently implementing UGC on your website, social channels, and beyond? It may be time to consider a roadmap that can personalize and enhance the marketing experience for your consumers.