Survey: Customers prefer user-generated visual, video content

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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In addition to being worth 1,000 words, a picture from a customer may also be worth a lot of sales.

According to a new global consumer survey from digital marketing platform Bazaarvoice, almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents prefer to see previous customers’ photos and videos on brand and retailer websites, rather than professionally shot images. Results also reveal 62% of respondents are more likely to buy if they can view both photo and video content from previous customers.

Younger shoppers demonstrate a particularly strong preference for visual user-generated content (UGC) on social media, as 73% of 18-34-year-old respondents prefer it when brands use visual UGC for social media outreach, compared to an average of 64% across other age groups.

Shoppable images and videos are the type of content most likely to influence buying choices on social media (19%), ahead of video advertising (14%) and posts from followed brands (13%). Almost half (47%) of respondents want to see new UGC content on social media at least two to three times a week, with 10% of those expecting updates multiple times a day.

Overall, the survey found that Facebook is the most popular social media destination when it comes to influencing purchases (25%), and the most likely social platform for consumers to purchase a product on (26%). However, among 18-34-year-olds, Instagram is the most popular social commerce destination, with 31% using it as their main social source of purchase inspiration and 27% saying it is the most likely social platform for them to buy.

Examining respondent attitudes toward customer reviews, the survey indicates that when it comes to trusting the authenticity of a review when making a purchase, the quality of other customer reviews is the top priority (45%), compared to how recently a review was posted (32%) or the number of reviews a product has from previous customers (23%). For one in 5 respondents (21%), a quality review is judged to be one that includes photos and videos as well as text, more so than a review with good spelling and grammar (16%).

The survey also revealed that technology and electronics is the most important category for reviewing photos and videos from other customers prior to purchase for a leading 36% of respondents.

The research was commissioned by Bazaarvoice and conducted in November and December 2020 by Savanta among 8,051 consumers from the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, and Australia.