Shorten Your Checkout Funnel By Effectively Integrating UGC On Your Website
If you were to pull your smartphone out of our pocket at this very moment and tap to launch Instagram, you would be joining approximately 1 billion monthly active users (subscription required), up from 800 million in 2017. And i t shouldn’t come as a surprise that, according to a recent survey reported on by Forbes, 72% of users say they have purchased a product they saw on Instagram.
The continued popularity of this social media platform has fueled marketers to increase spending on Instagram advertising over the years. With a projected net mobile advertising revenue (subscription required) of just over $6.84 billion in 2018, up from $1.86 billion in 2016, it is hard to believe that Instagram advertising is still accessible -- but it is.
I find that Instagram ads, if optimized, are a cost-effective layer for any brand’s digital marketing strategy. But what about leveraging your Instagram content to increase your overall site revenue outside of ongoing ad campaigns?
Let’s start with a buzzword marketers can’t seem to stop talking about (and for good reason): user-generated content. We all know that user-generated content (UGC) can help with optimizing your marketing campaigns, but what about your website performance?
As Shopify experts, our team at Grass Monkey works closely with our clients to constantly enhance their customers’ on-site experience. Through user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), we work to relate and connect with website users while they browse and shorten the funnel to checkout. One of the primary functionality add-ons we have found to yield the greatest return in the least amount of time is -- drum roll -- user-generated content.
As a Shopify merchant, you have a variety of highly rated UGC plug-ins available to you to enhance your online store’s content. Our team has two favorites: the Foursixty and Shop Instagram & UGC apps. When incorporating UGC into your e-commerce site, however, there are several key factors that must be considered in order to reach your audience effectively and yield results.
Bridge the gap between your feed and your product offering.
When it comes to millennials, 84% say that “UGC on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy,” according to the “Talking to Strangers: Millennials Trust People over Brands” report published by Bazaarvoice, which surveyed 1,013 adult Americans.
It is critical that your e-commerce site’s voice, messaging and content marketing align with the content on your company’s social profiles. For example, if a user clicks on an Instagram post featuring a dress worn by a notable influencer, but when they load your site, they see a no-name model wearing the same dress standing in front of a boring white background, their interest and excitement in that same item might drop off dramatically.
Want to know if this could be an issue for your business? Do a quick analysis of your top-performing posts/stories. Evaluate posts with the highest click-through rate (CTR) to your site, then check the Google Analytics stats on those product pages. Do those pages have a low average time on site and high bounce rates (over 50%)? If yes, then you might need to optimize the design and content of your product pages to better mirror the look and feel of your social presence.
Maximize your return on influencer marketing.
According to one survey, “90% of consumers say they have posted about an experience with a brand or product in social media,” and 75% say they’re compelled to post about brands because they “want to inform others” about brand and/or product experiences they’ve had.
But before you invest your marketing budget into influencer marketing, you need to know what you can and cannot do with the images influencers produce that feature your product.
In a digital world flooded with UGC, brands and e-commerce managers need to be aware of the two main types of UGC and how to approach them across organic and paid marketing activations. Why is this important? Three words: Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Since 2017, the government regulatory agency has been cracking down on social influencers in an effort to protect the consumer. Influencers are now required to disclose sponsored posts in a number of ways (whether paid in product or money), and with these changes, brands must take necessary steps to practice compliant influencer marketing.
Featuring influencer imagery in your paid ads requires consent from the influencer and oftentimes paid usage rights. But what about organic uses such as reposts and website content?
• Tips For Website Usage (Paid Influencers): Website usage, such as banners, blog posts and product pages, do not typically require paid usage rights, but many top-tier influencers (50,000 or more followers) may request this. At Grass Monkey, we work with our clients to create easy-to-understand, one-page contracts that clearly state the desired use of images, duration and, if necessary, compensation. I think this is a step any company should take when developing a contract between your brand and an influencer.
• Tips For Website Usage (Customers): When it comes to website usage of customer photos, the process is far more simple. Many brand marketers simply direct message customers, compliment them on their photo and ask permission to repost or use it on their website. But we strongly recommend brands document this process and, if customers have more than 10,000 followers, we recommend having them sign a consent document just to be safe.
Based on our own client data, we find that UGC, when executed effectively, can have a great impact on increasing your website performance. So, the next time you sit down with your team to discuss the marketing budget, make sure to include a line item for UGC usage.
Amelia Castellanos | Vp of Digital Media