Apu Gupta, chief executive and co-founder of Curalate.
It’s no secret that images do better on social media than text-only posts, but making those images interactive could also drive revenue.
By now, most marketers know that just adding an image to a tweet makes the post 4x more likely to get retweeted. However, many marketers are still missing the big picture, which is that making images interactive is the best way to see ROI on pricey product photos. The new reality is that most customers are shopping long before they reach the e-commerce site, and images have become the new buy buttons.
The good news is that as social media sites from Twitter to Pinterest become shoppable, consumers are more interested than ever before in buying the products they see. However, simply adding a link to product pages beneath visuals can be too time consuming for consumers used to instant gratification. Instead, tagging images to link directly to product pages gives brands a better conversion rate on product images.
For example, PBTeen, the youth-focused arm of home furnishing brand Pottery Barn, recently began tagging images on its blog with shoppable links, rather than including lengthy hyperlinks that broke up the flow of the post. The difference was immediate, raising click-through rates by around 110 percent.
And driving those click-throughs has become more important than ever. Studies show that 77 percent of marketers are now facing pressure to show ROI on images, yet only 11 percent feel that their visual content is effective.
Part of the reason so many marketers are feeling insecure about their visual media performance is that social content has such a short shelf life. The average Instagram post is dead within twenty-four hours. What board of directors would allow a CMO to invest in something that’s dead within 24 hours? Adding interactive elements creates a new way of driving ROI on an image.
One brand seeing greater ROI on its social media marketing with interactive images is fast fashion powerhouse Forever 21. The retailer, which generally receives upwards of 100 thousand engagements on any given Instagram image, was having trouble converting those engagements to clicks. So Forever 21 leveraged the link on its Instagram user profile to link existing Instagram images to product URLs, which increased page views by 19 percent and resulted in 24 percent more time on site.
Interactive images are a game changer for marketers looking to transform social media popularity into real world conversions. With only seven percent of marketers saying that their visual content strategy is integral to supporting their overall marketing goals, it’s clear that the old method of posting images and praying for returns isn’t working. Marketers must see images as more than static, and instead look at them as tools for introducing audiences to their products.
Customers are discovering brands and products in more places than ever. And every image a brand posts represents an opportunity for monetization. Pictures are now a point of sale.
With visual social media platforms like Tumblr, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram growing more rapidly than traditional, text-based outlets, most marketers know they can’t ignore visual content. But the marketers that rise to the top on these new mediums will also see that they can’t ignore interaction either.
Your customer is going to scroll through hundreds, if not thousands, of images today, and if you don’t use your pictures to make a connection, they could very well scroll right past.
Apu Gupta is the CEO and co-founder of Curalate. Prior to this position, Gupta worked in retail and technology. He built the second largest drugstore chain in India as the COO & CMO of MedPlus Health Services, served on the interim management team of Peracon, a provider of software for the commercial real estate industry, and was in sales and marketing roles at WebEx Communications from their Series A financing through their IPO. Gupta has an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a MBA from the Wharton School of Business.
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