Targeted Marketing takes Aim

That time West Elm advertised to me with a photo of my living room:

Last week, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and came across a photo of my living room. This wasn’t something I had posted on Facebook, it was a West Elm ad. I snapped it on my iPhone when my new couch finally arrived and uploaded it to Instagram with the hashtag #mywestelm.

In April 2015, Facebook began testing a new product ad with Olapic that pulls in user-generated content for ad imagery. This is the first true test of user-generated content in a Facebook ad.

In the past, consumers didn’t want to interact with brand content on their social platforms. But with the rise of image-based platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, a shift happened. Consumers now want to share how they engage and interact with their favorite brands and products. Because of this and consumers’ need and desire to have everything hyper-personalized, we are seeing the rise of user-generated content, from staged food photos on Instagram to product hacks on Pinterest. When consumers started seeing products friends and influencers were showing interest in, they found a desire to buy, right from social. They became shoppers.

Facebook is taking the Instagram and Pinterest user experience that motivates shoppers to make a purchase, and applying it to their ad units. West Elm didn’t know they were showing me my own photo (why would they sell me a product I already own?). What they do know is that consumers are more responsive to user-generated photos than branded content and I was the type of consumer likely to shop at West Elm (which is very accurate). My photo could have sold someone a coffee table. I should probably take a new picture now that I have a new West Elm rug.

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Mara Greenwald

For digital strategy success, Mara clearly has all the right ingredients: one part smart thinking, one part spot-on intuition, and a just splash of her generational experience of being a Millennial. It’s a good mix, especially since she works as a Digital Strategist for TPN, where she gets results for clients of all kinds: Increase Facebook engagement for a baked-goods company while organic reach is on the decline? Check. Generate social buzz about a product launch in the beauty blogosphere? Check. When she isn’t measuring social engagement or searching trending hash-tags, you might find her updating her blog, which features all kinds of DIY projects, home décor and design inspirations. Offline, and after work, you might catch her at the ice rink, coaching a girls’ hockey team.

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