Images are creating a universal currency and increasingly dominating online marketing strategies. Pictures have the power to convey what words cannot; delivering a massive amount of information to our brains every day. It’s no secret that images have been steadily sweeping social media for years, considering that a post featuring a picture is 10 times more likely to receive engagement. Curalate observed the power of pictures and saw the opportunity to not only measure their impact but to help brands capitalize on it by combining social and commerce.
How Does Curalate Work?
Brands and their products need to be easily discoverable. Curalate’s CEO, Apu Gupta, saw social media’s inundation of images and developed a business around the merging of commerce and social platforms. User-generated content converts more than 6 times higher than traditional ad content, and brands need to align with the great shift to bottom-up marketing. Curalate relentlessly crawls the internet for pictures of a brand’s products and tags them with information so users can easily purchase them. Curalate develops analytics to uncover why certain images do well, and builds algorithms to decode over 30 million images per day. At just 5 years old, Curalate already boasts more than 850 clients and reaches over 100 million consumers. Curalate simplifies consumer discovery and makes social media shoppable.
The Creation of Curalate
Timing and consumer need are crucial factors to building a startup company, and no one knows this better than Curalate founder and CEO, Apu Gupta. While earning an MBA at the Wharton School of Business, Gupta met Madhukar Gangadi and the two formed a friendship that later evolved into a business partnership. The two friends moved to India and started Medplus, an India-based chain of pharmacies with a customer-centric approach. The concept skyrocketed and Medplus quickly went on to become the fastest growing pharmacy chain in India. Gupta served as both the COO and CMO.
After 3 years, he returned to the United States, but was unable to get a job despite his education and experience. Gupta was forced to take odd jobs until his sheer determination led him to create his own opportunities in the tech world. He started a tech startup called Storably with his new business partner, Nick Shaftan. Storably aimed at being an Airbnb for driveway and basement storage. Backed by powerful investors, the two co-founders recruited a talented team to help launch their business. The concept was good, but there were irreparable flaws. No matter how they reworked the business model, it was impossible to hit the metrics. After much turmoil, the partners ditched the Storably concept and returned the money to their investors; except the investors didn’t want it back. The team was given 30 days to develop another concept, so they immediately went to work brainstorming the next big thing. They created 70 different ideas, and the one concept that everyone was equally enthusiastic about would eventually become Curalate, a powerful analytics tool for images across the internet. It started with a primary focus on Pinterest, but quickly blossomed into working with all different brands. Pictures are a powerful communication tool, and Gupta and his team hit the market at the precisely perfect time to capitalize on the power of pictures.
The Curalate team invested 6 months into building and polishing their product. During this time they utilized Twitter to reach out to big brands and pique interest in their services. With more than 850 clients, 200+ employees and 4 locations (Philadelphia, Seattle, New York and London) it seems as though the Twitter correspondence was beneficial, to say the least.
In July of 2016, the Democratic National Convention (DNC) took advantage of Curalate’s services when Hillary Clinton toured through Philadelphia. The DNC wanted to boost engagement for event goers and beyond, and partnered with Curalate to understand the analytics behind their demographic’s behaviors through a stream of image-centric content. The pictures and videos posted on the DNC website allowed Instagram users to click around for information on platform details, read white papers and purchase party merchandise.
Facebook has been a lifeline for a myriad of brands, helping businesses engage with consumers and target their advertisements. In 2016, Curalate was named as Facebook’s official marketing partner, further launching their proven formula for success via their discovery-driven commerce platform. “Visual content is the lifeblood of social networks. Curalate gives brands the ability to leverage the images and videos that surround them to drive discovery, engagement and revenue,” said Gupta. Curalate immediately helped businesses advertising on Facebook by restructuring their dynamic product ads (DPAs). Instead of using awkwardly cropped stock images, the Curalate-Facebook partnership created aesthetically pleasing lifestyle photography with tactful product placement. The DPAs were instantly more effective and helped increase revenue for various brands.
Through Curalate’s continued partnerships with Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, they are able to study brand analytics and consumer trends to see what is most effective. The power of Curalate’s image analytics leads to decreased bounce rates and increased time spent scrolling through a website after users are brought there via social media posts.
Is Curalate Right for Your Business?
With Curalate’s client base totaling more than 850 (and still growing), it’s easy to see that their algorithms are successful. If your business has hit a plateau; whether it be with traffic, conversions, social engagement or ROI, Curalate may be able to help. Brands have to resign their control over certain factors, like inventory information and aspects of management, which may initially be challenging. Curalate works to aid in consumer discovery by creating easily navigable showrooms via social channels. If your company has a developed online marketing strategy, Curalate’s services offer great potential and ROI. Your brand can generate sales through Curalate’s discovery-driven platforms in 4 major ways.
1. Empower Your Target Market
Curalate collects user-generated images of a brand’s products for businesses to display on their website. Your consumer base will visit your website and find shoppable pictures to help generate the cycle of like it, click it, buy it. Curalate client, Urban Outfitters, reportedly saw a 20% increase in click-through rates in addition to an increase in revenue and conversion rates when the “shop it” button was added to users’ Instagram images. Brands want to be where their consumers are, and there has been a great shift in how consumers communicate with brands; through fewer words and more images. When you empower your target market, you build brand loyalty.
2. Stay Relevant with Social Trends
Curalate works closely with its clients to stay relevant in the social media world and stay on top of marketing trends. Create thumb-stopping content to garner attention, generate website traffic and increase conversions. You can gain further insight into your demographic and feature the merchandise that is more connected to their needs and wants. Curalate generates image analytics to provide insight for where merchandise visuals are being shared (Pinterest, Instagram, etc) to better help businesses understand what is trending. Once specific items start trending, your company can reach out to social media stars and thought leaders for sponsored content opportunities. Your company can gain insight into engaging customers and keeping them engaged.
3. Capitalize on Pinterest Opportunities
Pinterest has more than 200 million monthly active users. This is clearly a number too big to be ignored. Millions of users are browsing Pinterest for various retail goods and inspirations, and going further down the rabbit hole of aesthetically pleasing images. The Shop the Look feature is highly effective for conversions, allows content to reach a larger audience and helps to extend the life of a brand’s content. Curalate allows brands to effortlessly distribute their commerce-enabled content to Pinterest’s international audience.
4. Like2Buy Capabilities
The single link on a brand’s Instagram profile has been invigorated thanks to Curalate. Users’ Instagram feeds go beyond pictures to include shoppable products. Once a company signs up with Like2Buy, they gain access to a dashboard to manage and schedule posts, and tag individual items within an image. When users click the Like2Buy link on your profile, they will be directed to the product page on your website. Companies are also able to include an email sign-up feature for efficient list-building benefits.
Pictures are not just pretty, they’re a conversion-driving machine. Curalate allows brands to monitor the success of their products and figure out which ones are trending; giving those brands a competitive edge over their competition failing to see the commerce-boosting capabilities. Visuals are changing the market entirely, and laying down new groundwork for the status quo. When consumers have the ability to discover your brand off-site and convert on-site, they can effectively measure click-through traffic and conversion rates.
CTA: They’re searching. Be found. Looking for a partner in this process? Laughing Samurai offers digital marketing services including community management for your social media and search optimization.