By now, if you’re experienced in the ecommerce world, you know that cultivating and utilizing user-generated content (UGC) is key to properly engaging and inspiring loyalty in your customer base. After all, UGC boosts incoming traffic, features your best customers, and maximizes conversions.
In the rapidly expanding online shopping world, UGC can give customers the personal, authentic shopping experience they crave and have a major impact on your bottom line.
But why is UGC so effective and how can you take advantage of it? Read on for our analysis of the power of UGC and some new takes on how you can get in the UGC game.
Why User-Generated Content is so Powerful
User-generated content is ecommerce’s secret sauce, and here’s why:
User-Generated Content Drives Traffic
Whether you use UGC in ads or repost customer content on your social media accounts, it’s an effective way to drive genuinely interested, high-converting traffic. For example, reviews—an essential form of UGC—can really boost efforts to increase traffic.
Ads that include customer reviews have a click-through rate four times higher and a cost per acquisition (CPA) 50% lower than other ads, making them cheaper and more effective than standard ads.
User-Generated Content Boosts Conversions
Thoughtfully placing customer photos, videos and reviews on product pages can greatly increase a product’s conversion rate.
In fact, an A/B test of 5,723 visitors to a top ecommerce site showed that including Instagram photos on the product page of one of their top sellers increased orders by 24.3%!
User-Generated Content’s Authenticity Fosters Customer Trust
UGC builds trust among your customers because it represents the unfiltered, authentic voice of other shoppers.
77% of shoppers prefer to see customer photos over professional photos when shopping online because UGC gives them a better idea of what products really look like and how they perform in the real world.
5 New Strategies to Show Off User-Generated Content
Soliciting reviews, running social media contests and opening a shoppable Instagram: these are all the basics of UGC strategy.
If you’re looking for some new tactics, here are our top 5 fresh ideas:
Connect Shoppers With Previous Customers Through Reviews
By featuring a reviews section on your product pages, you empower your customers to get real answers to their product questions from your best experts: Previous customers.
Here’s an example of product page reviews by Pura Vida bracelets.
This achieves a number of benefits:
- Conversions increase because customers who ask questions are 30% more likely to make a purchase.
- Customers stay engaged by taking the opportunity to answer questions. Everyone likes being an expert, and shoppers enjoy coming back and helping others by sharing their experiences. They get exposed to new products on the site in the process.
- All of this new UGC is indexed and increases your search rankings and can be used in other brand projects such as ads and marketing campaigns.
Make Sure Google is Indexing Your Review Content
Once you’ve put a customer reviews process in place and have gathered valuable review content, it’s time to make the most of it.
Did you know that reviews can dramatically increase the quality of your search engine traffic?
Reviews introduce thousands of new keywords to your online store, leading interested shoppers to your products. In fact, including inline SEO in your reviews section has been shown to improve search rankings and increase organic traffic by an average of 48% over three months!
While you’re at it, you should also invest in improving your products’ rich-snippets, or the blurb that appears beside products in Google searches. This is also known as meta tags and descriptions.
By including extra information in snippets such as UGC like review quotes, star-ratings and price, you can increase your click-through rate by up to 30%.
Rather Than Product Info, Show Reviews on Hover
As mentioned above, reviews can increase an ad’s click-through rate by 400% so imagine what they can do to increase traffic to product pages.
Generally, when you hover over a product on a category page, you see an enlarged image of the product, its price, and a few specs but what if, instead, hovering over a product showed you a glowing review?
Here’s an example from The Gap:
On average, 32% of visitors to ecommerce sites read customer reviews or look at customer photos before making a purchase.
Real feedback and reassurance about a product is a major factor in whether or not a shopper chooses to go to check-out.
This tactic gives customers instant encouragement that a product is well-loved when it first catches their eye.
Share Screenshots of Customer Reviews on Social Media
In addition to sharing customer photos and videos, directly sharing customer praise on social media can really attract quality traffic to your site.
In fact, site visitors directed from reviews posted on social media spend 35% longer on site than the average visitor.
In general, traffic coming from reviews has a lower bounce rate and a higher number of pageviews per visit than traffic coming from Google, Facebook, or Twitter and 77.3% of respondents to a Yotpo survey said that reviews impacted their purchasing decisions.
So think big about what you can do with a great review, it can make an impact far beyond a single product page.
Showcase User-Generated Content in Product Packaging
Utilizing UGC can go much further than your brand’s web presence – UGC is an amazing element to add to your physical product packaging, as well.
Take Jones Soda, for example. The niche beverage company uses only user-submitted photographs on their bottle labels:
The featured photos are selected based on an online vote. This kind of approach has several major results:
- More Exposure: Nearly 40% of online shoppers said they share items on social media based on their packaging.
- Inspired Customer Loyalty: There’s little that creates a stronger bond with a brand than having your own face on the box. Put your customers in the spotlight and watch how they quickly become your ambassadors.
- Higher Web Traffic: You’ll have hundreds of fans regularly sharing your site to generate votes for their submission which spreads the word about your products along the way.
- Higher Conversions: The bottom line is that those you feature and their friends and families will want to cache the products that feature their work. They might just fall in love with your product while they’re at it!
With its power to drive traffic, increase conversions and engage your customer base, it’s a good thing there are hundreds of ways to collect, display and capitalize on user-generated content.
So, what did we learn? Some highly effective UGC strategies include:
- Featuring Q&As on product pages to connect shoppers with previous customers
- Using reviews and ratings to enhance your SEO and traffic from Google
- Displaying reviews in product hover-over to simultaneously spark interest and reassurance
- Including reviews in social media posts to drive high-quality traffic
- Featuring UGC on your packaging to build brand loyalty.
Some of the best new ways to use UGC comes from getting creative and experimenting. Have you discovered a new strategy to feature customer content and engage your brand’s community? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.