Curalate, a start-up with a visual analytics and marketing platform, has launched Fanreel, a product it says enables brands to increase engagement and revenue by incorporating user-generated images into their e-commerce sites and product pages.
According to chief executive Apu Gupta, Fanreel allows brands to add scale and celebrate the fans celebrating them as well as to provide inspiration for prospective customers.
"Today's fans are generating photos of brands organically and celebrating brands in lots of different places [like] Facebook and Instagram and those are great endorsements of a brand and great opportunities for brands to highlight these fans on a big stage," Gupta says.
Fans can voluntarily provide images to brands in a number of ways, including via hashtags, Facebook albums and camera rolls on iOS and Android mobile phones, Gupta says.
Brands are able to moderate photos and associate user-generated images to product pages on the brand's e-commerce site, which Curalate says drives users "further down the purchase funnel."
"People who arrive on the site and are faced with product choices are looking for more than inspiration," Gupta says. "They see ways to use products from real people in real environments and that keeps people on sites longer, creating discovery."
According to Curalate, brands can also use Fanreel to grow their email lists and reward fans with special offers. What's more, Fanreels can be customized to mirror the look and feel of a brand's site, Curalate says.
Fanreel also provides analytics, which are integrated into the Curalate dashboard and include page views, impressions, interactions, interaction duration and number of photos submitted.
The product officially launched September 16, but Curalate's launch partners - including specialty retail company Urban Outfitters, designer Rebecca Minkoff, sports clothing and accessories company Under Armour, beauty product website Beauty.com and bridesmaid dress and formal gown company The Dessy Group - have been working with Fanreel for over a month.
Gupta says the Dessy Group has integrated a film strip on its homepage and throughout the site to show multiple product images at once and has seen engagement rates of over 30 percent.
"We're seeing tons of photos uploaded to the site, not just Instagram, but directly via mobile uploads, Facebook, etc.," Gupta says. "I think that's one of the other cool things about it - the call to action is very minor...but the engagement is still pretty high."
He says Fanreel helps fans feel connected to brands and drives affinity. For a brand like Urban Outfitters, which has extremely loyal fans, the feeling of connection to the brand is a big deal, Gupta adds.
Fanreel also helps brands monetize their sites more intelligently by linking user-generated photos to specific product pages, he says.
Curalate works with brands in the consumer-packaged goods, retail, publishing, luxury, automotive and media sectors and is backed by $4 million from NEA, First Round Capital, SV Angel and MentorTech Ventures.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.