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With 74% of consumers worldwide turning to the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest for retail inspiration, social media has become a huge lifeline for brands to boost their reputation with customers. Case in point: ever scroll through Instagram and see a photo of your friend wearing a really cool pair of sneakers, and you suddenly find yourself on that store’s website with a shopping cart containing the very same pair of shoes…?


Essentially, the photo of cool sneaker-wearing-friend inspired you pull the trigger on that purchase. That, folks, is the power of user-generated content – and it’s a strategy that’s taking the eCommerce world by storm.

In partnership with UGC providers Foursixty and Olapic, we’re bringing you the ability to leverage user-generated content through Nosto’s new one-click integrations offering. By syncing quality social media images from your audience to Onsite Product Recommendations and Facebook & Instagram Ads, you can enhance the look and feel of your product offerings to build more trust with your customers.

To start, let’s talk about what makes user-generated content such a necessary part of any eCommerce strategy today – plus why and how you should use it to your advantage…

 

First, let’s start with the basics: What is UGC?

User-generated content (or UGC, for the acronym enthusiasts) pertains to any form of content created by users of a service – photos, videos, tweets, etc. The magic of UGC in eCommerce lies in the fact that consumers are promoting a brand’s products through the content they post on social media, rather than the brand promoting itself. This is a huge win for retailers for two reasons:

 

  1. Consumers trust other consumers. In fact, 88% of them turn to their peers for recommendations before committing to a purchase.
  2. It’s an effortless content creation win. Brands can leverage content created by their own customers to build rapport with new ones – with minimal heavy lifting on their part.

 

Let’s look at a few examples of winning UGC strategies:

Calvin Klein’s #MYCALVINS Campaign
Having created probably one of the most iconic hashtags in retail, Calvin Klein has built a social media empire surrounding the #mycalvins hashtag. The hashtag makes an appearance on more than 500,000 photos on Instagram alone – used by everyday consumers and massive social influencers alike – making it a wildly successful campaign for the company.

Fashion Nova
The women’s apparel and accessories retailer has leveraged social media to skyrocket their visibility – using the likes of Kylie Jenner and other celebrity influencers to help boost their brand reputation.

Pura Vida Bracelets

The California-based handcrafted bracelet retailer is a prime example of how UGC enhances personalized product recommendations. Each of their product pages contains a “Styled on Instagram” section, featuring high-quality photos of their bracelets worn by social influencers. The brand has used organic social media to build a loyal following and currently has more than 1 million followers on Instagram.

 

How user-generated content works with Nosto capabilities

For starters, Facebook and Instagram are highly visual social networks, requiring content that really resonates with users in order to attract their attention. Repurposing social photography – whether a photo or a video, especially – in social ads is exactly the thumb-stopping content every advertiser needs to run smart, fun and successful campaigns.

Second, proper high-quality photography plays an imperative role in e-commerce success, especially in verticals like fashion where you can almost predict how much add-to-cart and conversion rates improve if a product features multiple shots from different angles and detail close-ups – while also keeping in mind the value that video adds to this initiative.

Social photography adds another layer to this strategy. Nosto and our recommendation engine is very good at predicting which products an individual shopper is after, whereas user-generated content in a recommendation gives the shopper even more incentive to explore. In short, this creates a positive cycle that benefits both the shopper and the brand.

 

Why consumer-driven content drives personalization

Our Product Manager, Lari, sheds some light on why we’re using UGC to enhance the power of personalization…

“Our founder, Juha, saw a presentation from Puravida Bracelets, an avid user of UGC, and was impressed by how they’ve established approachable, personal and highly visual storytelling – leveraging user-generated content wherever possible and making it a centerpiece of their brand.

From practical standpoint, if an eCommerce website design is based on visual storytelling – and if a notable share of page’s real estate is already driven by personalisation – it only makes sense to combine the two elements and show products in action, by the very consumers who purchased them. Our ‘job’, essentially, is to make it as easy as possible for retailers to offer a personal element to their product offerings – and UGC is a huge part of that delivery.”

We have been trialling Nosto UGC ads for a few weeks now and have seen some great results. The biggest benefit for us is being able to combine the power of personalised retargeting ads with beautiful Instagram content. With limited resource for creating content this has given us the ability to get more leverage out of existing assets and present more eye catching creative than a standard product feed. We are excited to add this format into to our ‘always on’ media and see how the results improve over time as we collate more UGC through Instagram.”

Elizabeth Henty, Digital Manager at Max Fashions

 

Missed Social Commerce Week on April 10-12? Access all sessions on-demand!

To complement the launch of our UGC feature, we’ve teamed up with top brands as well as industry leaders Facebook, Foursixty and Olapic for a full 3 days of social commerce talks! Social Commerce Week analyzes the key components to strengthening customer acquisition, conversion and retention – all through the power of social influence. You can now watch all sessions on-demand!

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