Why Consumer Generated Content Could be a Boon for Brands

Thanks to the rise of smartphones, everyone is a photographer these days. That could be a major help to some retailers.

In the U.S. alone, there are some 190.5 million smartphone users of all ages—73.4% of internet users and 59.3% of the population, according to eMarketer. By 2019, the smartphone audience will reach 236.8 million, or 85.5% of internet users and 71.4% of all consumers in the country. And all those smartphones, tiny as they are, sport really good lenses and superb sensors.

Consumers’ snaps aren’t trapped in those phones, either. Facebook counts photos uploaded onto its site at at least 140 billion and counting—an image collection more than 10,000 times larger than that at the Library of Congress, according to internet researcher Jonathan Minard of Deepspeed Media.

In the midst of this photographic onslaught, consumers are creating and responding to imagery on social media that has a certain level of authenticity, says Toni Box, senior director of social media and content at PM Digital. That represents real competition to the polished presentations by the brands splashed on billboards or in the folds of magazines.

Because these social media images reflect people’s aspirations, both in what they hope to buy and how they hope to spend their time, they should be on the radar of retailers and marketers, experts say.

“People can appreciate artistic images coming from brands, especially on Instagram,” Box told Retail Dive. “But they definitely appreciate real-time imagery over the staged images that can be stodgy. There’s something about that off-the-cuff imagery—it’s authentic, and that’s becoming more important.”

Read the full story here in Retail Dive.

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