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Two thirds of consumers prefer customer photos to professional shots

By Huw Hughes


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Visual and social user-generated content (UGC), as opposed to professionally shot imagery, is driving online retail purchases, new research reveals.

As much as 74 percent of consumers prefer to see previous customers’ photos and videos on brand and retailer websites, rather than professional snaps, according to a report by digital marketing firm Bazaarvoice.

The findings, based on responses from over 8,000 consumers across Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and US, also reveal 62 percent of consumers are more likely to buy if they can view a mix of photo and video content from previous customers.

“Relatable voices commenting on and reviewing a product instill trust in a brand and product amongst other consumers online,” commented Bazaarvoice chief revenue officer Joe Rohrlich. “The more realistic and authentic audiences feel the review content is, the more confident they become when deciding to make a purchase.”

Breaking it down by platform, Facebook is the most popular destination for influencing purchases (25 percent) and the most likely for consumers to purchase a product on (26 percent).

Among younger shoppers (18-34 year-olds), Instagram is the top platform, with 31 percent using it as their main source of inspiration and 27 percent saying it is the most likely place for them to make a purchase.

Younger shoppers also have a particularly strong preference for visual UGC on social media - 73 percent of 18-34 year-olds prefer brands to use visual UGC for social media outreach compared to an average of 64 percent across other age groups.

Fresh content and ease of purchase are also key. Shoppable images and videos are the type of content most likely to influence buying choices on social media (19 percent), while almost half (47 percent) of consumers want to see new UGC content on social media at least 2-3 times a week, with 10 percent of those expecting updates multiple times a day.

Photo: Pixabay, courtesy of Ecommerce Foundation