Olapic, a New York-based visual marketing startup, closed a $15 million round of funding headed by Felix Capital on Tuesday.
Olapic helps brands use pictures from social media, especially Instagram, to advertise on their website and to show the product in a more authentic light. Olapic’s clients include Target, Maybelline, jetBlue and World Wrestling Entertainment, among others.
Let’s say you’re interested in a shirt, and you go to the store’s website to check it out. Instead of only seeing stock photos of a picture-perfect Stepford wife wearing the shirt, Olapic lets the company show you real social media photos of people who posted about that shirt. It’s like skipping over a guy’s Tinder profile picture to see his true candid photos.
“Today’s consumer is speaking a new, visual language that values authenticity and expects fresh, original creative to be ready for consumption at the speed of social,” said Pau Sabria, CEO and co-founder of Olapic.
Giggle, a children’s product manufacturer, claims to have seen great results with Olapic. There was a 5 percent conversion rate ¬between the number of people who saw a product then purchased it ¬once Giggle started using Olapic to show Instagram photos of clients using their products.
The way it worked in this case was that a shopper would hover over the image of a product. A list of Instagram photos showcasing the product would pop up, in order from the highest to lowest rated. While users were not financially compensated for the use of their photos, they do receive credit in the form of a link back to their profile. If companies want to use the image in emails, store displays or for offline use, etc., Olapic can help them engage with the user to gain rights to the photo.
Consumer-generated ads are not a new trend. Contests like the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” competition that featured a fan-made commercial during the Super Bowl have been utilizing consumer-generated content since 2006.