Olapic, which helps brands increase sales with user-generated images from social media, raised $15 million in new funding.
Olapic aggregates images submitted by users on various social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Then, using a curation algorithm and human editors, Olapic identifies images best suited for each brand’s specific use cases.
Felix Capital led the Series B round, with participation from Unilever Ventures, Fung Capital, Longworth Venture Partners and Michael Lazerow.
“When you look at most e-commerce sites, 80% or even 90% of the time you’ll see a white background image of the product,” says Olapic founder Pau Sabria. “Obviously if you use user-generated photos you have a much more contextualized picture of what this product actually looks like.”
Coopting consumer content benefits brands far beyond saving time and money associated with hiring a team and organizing photo shoots.
Olapic’s algorithm tracks 46 different signals to determine which photos drive the highest engagement and conversion rate, and it feeds the results back into its curation engine to make it smarter over time. Sabria claims to have been able to prove that realistic images translate to increased sales.
Modern furniture brand West Elm, for example, has found that consumers express more interest in purchasing products when pets are featured in photos – so much so that they have started hosting their own photo shoots. photo with cats and dogs included, Sabria tells me.
And consumers seem more than willing to have their photos featured by brands. Sabria says 70% of consumers say yes when asked for permission to use their photos, and the average response contains 2.4 exclamation marks.
“If you look at your Instagram feed or your Pinterest page, when brands start injecting advertising, it seems a bit intrusive,” says Frederic Court of Felix Capital. “There is an urgent need for brands to create images that are as authentic and engaging as what you see from your friends and the people you follow.”
This is becoming increasingly important as social media sites like Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter incorporate “buy it now” features.
Olapic is currently used by over 200 brands, including Calvin Klein, West Elm and Target.
“With the rise of the visual web, the brands that grow will be the ones that generate the largest and most compelling amount of visual content,” says Sabria. “Five years from now, we’ll all be wondering how we ever relied so heavily on stock photography to sell products.”