TL; DR: The phrase “Content is king” took the online marketing space by storm in the late 1990s. But things have changed since Bill Gates made the saying famous. Today, while the phrase still rings true, the type of content in question matters — a fact that Pixlee addressed with its user-generated content marketing platform. The company’s solution allows businesses to integrate customer feedback, reviews, visuals, and other content into their online touchpoints. And, as Senior Marketing Strategist Lexy Wright told us, the modern marketers and eCommerce shops leveraging Pixlee’s platform are optimizing how consumers are engaging with their brands and building trust by focusing directly on the customer experience.
As an integral piece of every online business strategy, marketing is the backbone of sales generation. Promotion drives significant profit and gives companies, and their customers, more opportunities for interaction. By spreading awareness of products and demonstrating their practical uses, marketing helps secure new and repeat customers who trust a brand’s messaging.
Today, marketers have found that one of the most effective ways to build brand trust is through user-generated content (UGC). As a self-sustaining marketing strategy, UGC nearly automates the entire promotion cycle — and Pixlee has been helping businesses leverage customer content to promote their brands since 2012.
One of these businesses, Munchkin, a leading manufacturer of baby products, uses Pixlee’s UGC Marketing Platform to showcase its products and build consumer trust as a family-oriented brand. Winner of over 40 industry awards, Munchkin’s reach spans multiple retailers across the globe and owes a large part of its success to user testimonials and brand reputation.
By employing user-generated visual content, such as photos of babies enjoying a drink from a Munchkin mess-free sippy cup, the company is able to place products in a context customers can relate to. This allows Munchkin to demonstrate how customers “just like you” trust the company’s products with their most precious loved ones.
As a result of UGC, Munchkin has experienced significant growth, with customers more than twice as likely to purchase its products. Munchkin has also seen the value of an average order increase by 20%, indicating its customers have become more willing to try lesser-known products.
Like Munchkin, many other top brands, including Panasonic and Gaiam, have benefited from partnering with Pixlee. No matter the product, customer satisfaction becomes increasingly evident with testimonials, photos, videos, and other content types that speak directly to a user’s experience.
“Any brand that has a passionate business quality can use Pixlee,” said Lexy Wright, Pixlee’s Senior Marketing Strategist. “We cater toward marketers who are looking to stay on top of trends and engage with their customers, activating and amplifying the voice of their community.”
Enhancing Word-of-Mouth Marketing Across Devices and Platforms
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the oldest forms of brand promotion — it’s also one of the best ways to spread product awareness. Today, consumers interact with brands like never before. The rise of the internet and social media has placed word-of-mouth content at customers’ fingertips, making it accessible whenever a consumer is ready to make a purchasing decision.
Twitter offers just one example. The platform is a popular outlet for brands to share information with customers and for consumers to broadcast their experiences with those brands. In addition to text and other content, Tweets often include hashtags based on product names, taglines, and other brand-specific information that make it easy for other consumers to find related comments, and research a product more thoroughly. And sites like Facebook and Tumblr feature promotions with sharing incentives, coupons, and giveaways.
The social media revolution was enhanced by the parallel smartphone revolution, which was a major turning point for UGC-based marketing. This made producing, sharing, and accessing information even more convenient. Before smartphones, the decision to snap a quick picture or video review of a product — and upload or mail it to the company to feature on its site — was a much more laborious process for consumers, even with incentives. Today, the high-res cameras and continuous connectivity of smartphones make reviewing products and getting in touch with companies much easier.
When Pixlee was founded in 2012, it was the perfect opportunity for businesses to take advantage of these new trends.
“We came into the space at a really interesting time when smartphones were suddenly the center of the world,” Lexy said. “Now, people are carrying devices in their pockets that allow them to capture the moment, share it with their friends, and share their insights.
Tracking Campaign Performance with Comprehensive Analytics
While all marketing campaigns are made with the same goal in mind — conversions! — some are more successful than others. To use UGC to its fullest, businesses must be able to gauge which products and customer interactions are the most effective. Luckily, Pixlee comes packed with a comprehensive analytics suite that alerts users to the biggest sales trends.
“On the hard numbers side, we track average order value, conversion rates, what kind of products are leading the purchase, and the total dollar value of your user-generated content in the buyer’s journey,” Lexy said.
One of Pixlee’s most popular analytics tools is its free Instagram suite, which identifies — and connects with — a company’s biggest social media influencers. With Instagram Analytics, businesses get an overview of product-related conversations to find the highest-performing UGC and the most engaging company posts. A surprising 70% of hashtags are branded, according to Pixlee’s research, with half of Instagram users conducting product research through social media.
“On the soft numbers side, we’re helping you get a pool of not only free, but also highly-converting content, and then use analytics and insights to help you shape your marketing tactics,” Lexy said. “We want you to see what customers see when they’re buying.”
By using the voice of their customers, businesses are able to demystify marketing and gauge customer satisfaction through direct feedback.
A Variety of Solutions that Make UGC Work for Businesses
In addition to analytics, Pixlee’s platform encompasses a wide range of features that enable businesses to make the most of UGC during every phase of the customer journey. First, photos and videos are collected from social media, mobile apps, and email submissions. Next, businesses can curate this content with the help of eCommerce integrations, identifying popular posts and using photo recognition for products. After a business obtains customer permission via built-in multilingual email templates, the content is published across multiple channels, allowing businesses to easily update their websites and experiment with dynamic pages.
When selected content is in action, Pixlee measures its performance and lets businesses connect with their biggest fans to establish powerful relationships and enrich CRM.
“We’re almost like a content management system where we manage all of your content and help make it shoppable,” Lexy said. “Brands are not only saving time and increasing their success, but also getting to know their customers and shape their marketing efforts according to the content and insights that Pixlee provides.”
Pixlee offers a number of solutions to market and enhance customer relationships. For eCommerce, Pixlee’s Shoppable Instagram converts simple social media pages into storefronts that prominently display user photos. Additionally, lookbooks, social photo contests, and inspiration galleries can also be integrated into one’s site. When featured on the homepage, the first thing visitors will see is a dynamic display of other customers enjoying the brand’s products, effectively complementing existing marketing strategies.
Pixlee’s automated campaigns offer more direct tactics via promotional emails, ads, and mobile app notifications. Using an omnichannel approach, businesses can reach customers no matter where they are.
Changing the eCommerce Game by Listening to End Users
Given its prevalence as one of the top UGC management platforms, Pixlee focuses heavily on the end-user experience. As such, Pixlee’s design process is primarily influenced by industry trends and client feedback. Furthermore, Pixlee’s flexibility lets clients readily adapt to these trends at the same time.
“As the industry is changing, Pixlee is changing day-by-day,” Lexy said. “Word-of-mouth marketing and user-generated content are on the rise, and we see ourselves as a thought leader and a friend who helps these brands grow.”
User-generated content builds trust and boosts sales by demonstrating the real-life results of using products in a way that even the most skeptical consumers can trust. Considering the versatility and power of UGC, Pixlee is leading the charge in eCommerce’s latest revolution.
“We didn’t invent the concept of social proof — we just had the technology that made it more scalable across organizations,” Lexy said. “Our customers’ success is our success.”