2020 has been a turbulent year and hopes are high that everything will finally go back to normal this year. But one thing is already clear: marketing is changing in the long run and the effect will continue even beyond lockdowns. As we all experienced on our own, a lot was turned upside down last year. Not only we, as people, had to realign and rethink, but also businesses had to face quite some new challenges. Many long established strategies and processes could no longer be carried out  just like that. In a very short time our shopping behavior shifted, inevitably, to the online market. This will likely also have long-lasting consequences for companies and consumers after the pandemic. 

In the face of  the current situation and the accompanying longing for solidarity, which many people express via social networks, social media marketing and user generated content are gaining a whole new level of relevance. Our new infographic summarizes the most important facts and figures about Instagram so you can make the most of the digital platform this year for you and your business.

Today the app is a mixture of microblog and audiovisual platform. But Instagram hasn’t always been Instagram. Initially, the developers Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger created a check-in app called Burbn that allowed users to check in to specific locations, make plans for future check-ins, earn points for meeting friends, and post photos from those meetings. However, Burbn wasn't particularly successful. But before the two founders could bring themselves to write off the app, they had a closer look at the behavior of its users. Lo and behold, no one was using the complicated check-in options, but what people were doing, was posting pictures like crazy. With that, the penny dropped. The developers focused on the photo sharing infrastructure and released the app on October 06, 2010. This is how Instagram came into being more than 10 years ago. Nowadays, for many of us, it is impossible to imagine our everyday life without the social app. The platform is used by 1 billion people, who share, believe it or not, 95 million pictures in a day. 

Why is Instagram marketing worth it?

Social media marketing, explicitly on Instagram, is becoming increasingly important for brands. This is also underlined by the 21 Instagram facts in our infographic. More than 200 million users spend an average of 53 minutes per day on Instagram and visit at least one business profile. 76% of the companies worldwide already use the platform to build their brand identity. The most active members are between 18 and 34 years old, making Instagram particularly attractive to address younger target groups. In general, Instagram has an average engagement rate that is 14x higher than that of Facebook. Compared to Twitter, the rate is even 27x as high. 

As you can already guess, the platform offers an enormous potential for companies and brands to get in touch with their customers. Even before COVID, the trend was moving towards online shopping, and now, in times of Lockdowns and Social Distancing , more than ever. Surveys show that especially online reputations of companies are key  factors for their success. An important part of this are reviews of  products that customers share on the Internet. Many people look at these before making purchasing decisions, in order to get an impression of a company and its products. Over the past years, social networks have also become an important part of the online shopping experience. Clearly communicated corporate values and a strong brand image are becoming increasingly important to consumers as well. Therefore, brands should utilize social networks to build an authentic and approachable brand image. A recent survey shows that 9 out of 10 customers agree authenticity is important to them when it comes to deciding which brands they support. This is why the topic of  user generated content is now more important than ever. UGC describes any kind of content that is shared voluntarily and unpaid by customers and reflects their personal experience with a brand.

What are the advantages of marketing with visual user generated content?

Especially in the last year, user generated content has become even more important. Brands had to find new ways to stay connected with their target audience and promote their products. Large advertising campaigns have not been possible, which is why UGC - totally in line with social distancing rules - comes exactly at the right time. It is an essential marketing tool, especially in times like these, when everyone wants to be more connected. User generated content bridges the gap between companies and consumers with direct interaction, creates space for strong communities and increases the sense of belonging. In this context, the term customer engagement also becomes relevant. It describes the behavior that customers show towards a brand. This includes, for example, the purchase of further products, recommendations as well as uploads of individual content in connection with the brand. When companies publish this user generated content, they show appreciation to their customers and encourage them to continue interacting with the brand. This strengthens customer loyalty immensely and ultimately leads to higher customer loyalty. It is worthwhile to strengthen customer relationships through social media presence, as this can eventually also have a positive effect on conversions.
 

User generated content in figures

Over 92% of consumers trust user generated content more than branded content ads when they are buying products for the first time. Advertisements have ceased to be considered a credible source of information a long time ago. Integrating UGC for marketing purposes counteracts this loss of trust in traditional advertising and provides digital social proof for new customers. Content that comes directly from customers offers above all authentic, but also particularly versatile impressions of a product or service. Consumers can identify with others in the community and get inspiration on how products can be used.

Brand accounts that implement user generated content in their own Instagram feed achieve an engagement rate on Instagram that is up to 6.9x higher than without UGC. For social ads, incorporating UGC reduces on average both cost-per-click and cost-per-acquisition by half. At the same time, this results in an average 4.5x higher conversion rate and 300% more engagement. 

Here’s why You should bet on UGC too

In order to retain customers who are spread all over the world, companies must actively work to build trust and strengthen their customer relationships. Using UGC in marketing is the perfect way to ensure customer loyalty through social proof and active community building. Positive customer reviews are increasingly critical to a brand's success. Advertising efforts will expand to include real customer stories told in various content formats. UGC also enables brands to gather content quickly, share it and create campaigns based on current needs and trends. Such flexibility is a prerequisite for business success in times like these.

The squarelovin UGC tool helps brands collect customer images based on mentions, hashtags or geo-locations, filter them according to individual preferences, legally secure their use and place the content on all relevant marketing channels. For each image and video essential usage rights are requested individually in accordance with data protection law. The effective integration of User Generated Content strengthens customer loyalty and significantly improves the performance of websites and web shops. To learn more about squarelovin, click here to arrange a demo with one of our experts.

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