A global report conducted by Olapic, an earned-content platform, confirmed that traditional methods of advertising are stalemate for social conversion. Especially speaking to the priority of authenticity among Millennial and Generation Z shoppers, the study found that this need is spreading to older demographics as well.
The research was performed across six markets in Europe and the U.S. Conducted in April 2016, the survey was managed by market research company, Censuswide on behalf of Withpr and Olapic. The online survey consisted of 15 questions and was completed by 4,578 active users — those who use social media at least once a week — between the ages of 18 and 50 in the U.K., U.S., France, Spain, Germany and Sweden.
The study discovered that shoppers are highly driven by peer-created content resulting in high returns. The survey found that respondents trust images of other consumers on social media seven times more than advertising. “Seventy-six percent of respondents view content posted by other consumers as more honest than advertising,” the report said.
Honesty is the best policy — the study found that authentic posting results in high social conversions in an area that most retailers are still struggling to master. “Fifty-six percent are more likely to buy a product after seeing it featured in a positive or relatable user-generated image,” the report said. The influence of celebrity endorsements might be waning. “Forty-nine percent of respondents are more likely to buy a product across verticals when endorsed by a real person,” said the report.
Consumers are increasingly visually swayed and accordingly, active in social platforms that promote this type of engagement. This marks huge opportunities for brands to align with bloggers and social media influencers in order to tap organic marketing strategies. The study found that 45 percent of respondents looked at peer-created content for inspiration at least once a day.
“Forty percent of respondents said that the main reason they upload photos with branded hashtags was to share purchases with friends,” said the report. Retailers would benefit from considering the employment of micro-influencers who might have lower follower numbers, but higher engagement levels to speak to authentic marketing and branding.