We all know that when people buy things, they tend to trust their friends’ recommendations. Along the same lines, we are finding out more and more often, that User Generated Content (or UGC), and specifically user-generated images is more trusted by consumers.
A recent report, Consumer Trust: Keeping It Real by Olapic, based on a survey of 4,500 users on social media, found that images of brands that were generated by users were more likely to engage others and generate trust in the brand. Respondents were aged 16 to 49, living in the U.S., and some of the largest countries in Europe (France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the UK).
In terms of the most effective form of UGC, user-generated images came first (52%), user-generated video came second (27%) and written UGC came third (12%). Advertising came in at a dismal 5%! Also, 40% of the survey respondents say that they have created content, tagging their favourite brands after purchase. 34% of them say that it’s because they enjoyed their purchase, whether it was a product or a service.
Another takeaway from the report is that few people actually adopt hashtags when they are promoted by a brand (14%).
The reason most people find user-generated content more trustworthy is because they believe it’s more honest. In fact, 76% of respondents said so. The report also explained why consumers might think this. 9% of the survey respondents actually returned purchases that they had bought online because they didn’t match the branded photo.
However, 70% and 53% of respondents in the U.S. and Europe respectively, said that a positive or relatable user-generated image would increase their likelihood of purchase. So, user-generated content, and images in particular should really have an impact on sales, right? Right. Of course it’s difficult to measure still, but it’s definitely important to remember. And in as far as the role of social media in generating trust, José de Cabo, co-founder of Olapic explained that
[quote]Social media brings streams of authentic images to consumers’ fingertips, transforming how they see products and interact with brands. Today’s low levels of trust in traditional advertising suggest that consumers are seeking a more honest dialogue with brands and marketers,[/quote]