15 reasons to use crowd-sourced photos for eCommerce

August 11, 2014 Written by NetSphere Category: Marketing
15 reasons to use crowd-sourced photos for eCommerce

In the whitepaper titled, “From Ripple to Wave: The Ascent of Authentic Visual Content,” the editors at Olapic, a company focused on visual content, brought to light the flood of customer photos that are being taken every day. They also focused on the benefits that can come from taking advantage of all of those selfies and pics shared on Instagram on eCommerce websites.  

“Customer photos are the most authentic and compelling brand assets available today,” the editors said. “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.”

To better understand the power of crowd-sourced photography, Olapic provided various statistics supporting the adoption of crowd-sourced photos on eCommerce websites – and many of them just go to show how effective customer photography can be for increasing overall shopper engagement.

Highlights from the Olapic whitepaper, included:

1. On average, Olapic clients see a 4.6 percent conversion rate when customer photos are displayed on a product detail page and a 9.6 percent conversion rate when visitors interact with these photos, meaning that this interaction nearly doubles conversion.
2. Research from L2 Think Tank, a digital research firm, shows that while 93 percent of prestige brands have an Instagram profile and 54 percent link from their websites to that profile, only 14 percent have integrated Instagram photos into their websites.
3. The Content Marketing Institute found that 71 percent of B2C marketers list customer acquisition as a content marketing goal (second only to brand awareness), and 44 percent list direct sales as a success metric. B2C marketing challenges include lack of time (57 percent), producing engaging content (51 percent), lack of budget (48 percent), producing enough content (45 percent) and the inability to measure content effectiveness (36 percent).
4. In 2007, only 4 in every 100 people in the world had an active mobile-broadband subscription. In 2013, it was 30 in every 100.
5. 2.25 billion picture-taking devices will be sold in 2014. Smartphones as a percentage of picture-taking devices sold exceeded 50 percent for the first time in 2013; in 2009, smartphones accounted for roughly 11 percent of total sales.
6. 54 percent of adult Internet users in the United States have posted original photos or videos online, 47 percent have reposted photos or videos online, and 17 percent are Instagram users.
7. 500 million photos were shared per day in 2013 while 1.8 billion photos are being shared per day in 2014. That’s 75 million per hour, 1.25 million per minute and 20,833 per second.
8. Top brands have millions of customer photos on Instagram alone, like Nike, which has more than 27 million, and Disney, which has more than 16 million.
9. 63 percent of U.S. consumers and 66 percent of U.K. consumers trust customer photos more than brand or retailer photos.
10. 54 percent of U.S. consumers and 55 percent of U.K. consumers have postponed or decided against a purchase due to unhelpful product photos.
11. 32 percent of U.S. consumers and 33 percent of U.K. consumers have returned a product because it didn’t look like the photos they found online while shopping.
12. 32 percent of U.S. consumers and 39 percent of U.K. consumers would be more likely to buy a clothing item if it was “modeled” by a fellow customer.
13. When shoe brand New Balance encouraged customers to share photos to link directly to products, the company created a shoppable community gallery and increased conversation rates by 39 percent.
14. Via a Twitter campaign, the brand White House Black Market received more than 1,500 photos in less than one month. The company’s hashtag volume increased 40 percent every two weeks.
15. Through the use of customer photos on its homepage, in galleries and on product pages, accessories brand Pura Vida saw a 25 percent increase in conversion rates when visitors interacted with photos in the gallery. Furthermore, when visitors clicked on a photo on a product detail page, they were twice as likely to convert as those who did not.

To craft your own customer photo success story, check out the rest of the Olapic whitepaper. It includes practical tips for how to leverage customer photos as well as additional case studies outlining the strategy's potential. 

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Abbe Miller is the marketing manager at NetSphere Strategies, located just outside Chicago. NetSphere Strategies is a boutique eCommerce company positioned to help businesses transform their online presence by providing a full complement of services that starts with our strategic consulting and creative design teams, then continues with building innovative solutions and providing ongoing post-project support.