User-Generated Content: Photography from Social Networks

User-generated photography from social networks (especially from Instagram) is an effective way to establish trust, bring your brand alive through brand ambassadors, and generate a nearly infinite feed of free and compelling product photography from your clients. As if that weren’t enough, it can also improve the performance of Nosto’s Onsite Product Recommendations.

Ecommerce is, above all, a means of visual storytelling

Ecommerce is foremost a visual work of art. This is because sight is more or less the only applicable sense when browsing online (Unless, of course, you’re one of those people who enjoys being scared senseless by videos that auto-play at full-volume when you open a website or app).


When I land on Helly Hansen’s homepage, I can almost hear the downhill skiing. This is clearly due to the incredible imagery I am presented with.

When a consumer has found a product that interests them, there is an expectation for multiple hi-resolution product images. These images should be shot from different angles and include close-ups, so that every aspect of the product is visible. Including more than three to five images on a product page is an effective tactic to drive more add-to-carts and increased conversions but also to reduce returns. If you really want to master this strategy, go one step further by including product videos. Granted, there are also other options such as 360-degree photos and early adoptions of AR/VR, but before these technologies are widely adopted and accepted by consumers, user-generated photography (especially from Instagram) combines compelling photography and social validation by showcasing products in real life situations.


Melvin & Hamilton does a great job by featuring a multiple product images on a product page – with the ability to zoom in and out. They also strengthen the message by featuring a #mymnh ribbon by Olapic at the bottom of the page.

Especially in verticals like fashion, cosmetics, and home & garden where visual storytelling is crucial and an imperative decision making factor, user-generated photography (from Instagram) builds an emotional connection between the shoppers and the brand and products. This is because the images shared by people in social networks are essentially free and show the products in realistic environments as compared to studio photoshoots which generate sharp but also somewhat clinical stock-photos.


Puravida’s Instagram advocates are gorgeous but there is a clear distinction between a product image with a white background and women enjoying their purchase in the “Styled on Instagram” ribbon.

Enhance merchandising with user-generated photography

Nosto’s AI-powered personalization finds and displays the right products at the right time for each individual shopper through its Onsite Product Recommendations. However, when social photography is integrated into the Nosto recommendations, it creates a visually consistent experience for the customer by improving the site’s design quality. The result: stronger social validation – a key ingredient of the personalization journey.

The simplest way to get started with social photography is to subscribe to a platform which handles it for you. If you choose one such as Yotpo, Foursixty, or Olapic, good news: We have a simple one-click integration available!


Importing social photography from Yotpo to Nosto is as simple as inserting your API key and clicking “Submit”. Workflow is the same for other support technologies: One-click and you’re done!

Once the photography has been imported from social platforms into Nosto, it can replace regular product photography or be re-purposed as alternative product photography.

Many of the UGC platforms also support “Shop the Feed” functionality, in which images can be grouped into a shoppable board as seen here on Unif:

Image ribbons on pages can launch a shoppable UGC banner as seen here on Gymshark:

Intrigued to learn more about how-to get started? Read more on how to integrate and use user generated photography. Don’t feel shy to ask our product specialists by emailing us or starting a chat here!