A new report shows user-generated content, such as photos uploaded by customers, plays a significant role in purchase decisions.
eMarketer reports that 62% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy a product if they can see customer photos and videos first.
Survey results include shoppers from the US, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and the UK.
When asked why they seek additional context about a product, like customer photos, they responded:
- It may highlight something that wasn’t obvious (24%)
- Like to see a product in action before they buy (21%)
- Feel more confident that the reviews are accurate (17%)
- It’s easier to see the quality of a product (17%)
- It’s easier to see the size/fit or color of a product (11%)
- It’s easier to see the material of a product (7%)
The influence of user-generated content is most prevalent on Facebook. The survey found 26.4% of respondents said Facebook was a popular destination for them to make purchases based on customer photos.
Content uploaded by customers on Instagram and YouTube is also effective at influencing purchases.
Some respondents said user-generated content on Pinterest, TikTok, and Snapchat helped to drive purchases.
Twitter came in dead last among survey respondents, with few saying customer photos on Twitter influenced buying decisions.
Jeremy Goldman, eMarketer principal analyst, predicts a big pivot to more user-generated content this year.
Goldman states in the report:
“Consumers are less trusting of the mainstream media and slick corporate marketing, turning instead to user-generated content and influencers to find their own truth.”
Consumers are receptive to user-generated content, Goldman adds while describing it as “cheap, easy, and quick” to create.
“Why would brands spend more time and money on large-scale productions when this option exists, particularly in a world where content must be created and shifted quickly?”
User-Generated Content on Websites
The report from eMarketer focuses on the impact of customer photos on social media, but user-generated content can also be effective on shopping websites.
If you have a website that sells products where customers can leave reviews, allowing them to upload photos with their review can assist future customers with their purchase decision.
In addition to potentially driving more sales, user-generated content can be beneficial to your website’s SEO.
Google’s John Mueller has said user-generated content is treated the same as the main content on a web page when it comes to search rankings. So encouraging customer photos can add more signals to a page and even assist with ranking in image search.
Exercise caution when it comes to publishing user-generated content on your website. If you allow customers to insert links in their reviews, Google asks that you use the Rel UGC tag.
For more on the marketing impact of user-generated content, see our top resources below:
- How to Leverage User-Generated Content to Boost Your Ecommerce SEO
- What the Best Social Media Campaigns Can Teach Us
- 3 Ways Social Proof Boosts Customer Acquisition & ROI