Blog, Company News

Authentic, engaging and fun: the StoryStream 2021 Wrap 

It’s been a busy year at StoryStream. And with global searches around “user-generated content” (and marketing SaaS generally) hitting their highest peaks in the past five years during 2021, it’s safe to say it’s been a busy year for marketers looking to gain the edge in their digital experiences too.

Here we take a look back at ten key moments for our customers in 2021, celebrating their success.

Snug Pivots

The furnishing rebels revolutionising the online sofa-buying process, Snug know a thing or two about nurturing a strong relationship with their clientele. Snug initially chose StoryStream as a means to collect the inspiring UGC from their customers and display it on their home page – and after seeing a 50% reduction in bounce rate in the first month after deployment, things scaled quickly. The “@Snugsofa in the wild” carousels now live across Snug’s product pages, and comprise a charming inspiration gallery too.



Boden introduces UGC to their eCommerce stack

UK-based fashion brand Boden prides itself on “making clothes that put a smile on your face, for a long, long time.” And how: Boden’s global customer base repay that promise with stylishly-shot UGC at an incredible rate (just check out the “Boden By Me” gallery). So when the time came to elevate and celebrate that customer-created content online, the fit with StoryStream proved just right for Boden.

Now live on over 60,000 product display pages – the AI does a lot of the heavy lifting there, check out the explainer video here to find out how – Boden is seeing real value from their investment: recent figures show 2.7m total engaged views of StoryStream storyboards, a 60% uplift in AOV for users who have engaged with UGC on-site, and a total return on investment of over 5:1 through StoryStream’s ‘SmartGoal’ measurements. We can’t wait to see what 2022 brings.

You can read the full Boden case study here.


Sweaty Betty drives a 25% increase in conversions

We often hear about the importance of getting your marketing mix right – the received wisdom that investing too heavily in any one channel means you’re likely leaving money on the table. But over the past couple of years, those arguments around “channel mix” in marketing are taking a deserved backseat to more important conversations: ones around representation, and inclusion.

Sweaty Betty’s brand mission is “to empower all women” – so who better to showcase that broad appeal than their loyal and growing global customer community? UGC from Sweaty Betty’s community of women of all ages, heights, shapes, and skin tones is now represented alongside the associated products across the brand’s StoryStream website carousels, and also re-shared via social and email.

The results have been incredible: where customers had seen and engaged with UGC via StoryStream carousels, Sweaty Betty has seen a 25% lift in conversion, and an 18% increase in average order value.

Read the in-depth case study – with plenty of examples – here.

And check out the wrap of our event “Diversity in eCommerce” (featuring speakers from Sweaty Betty, Boden, Vauxhall, and Facebook) here.

Fixing the broken “link in bio” experience

As 2021 entered its final months, StoryStream announced an exciting addition to its product stack. Designed to help brands say “‘bye-bye’ to boring link in bios”, LinkStream brings the power of curated content experiences – and embedded eCommerce functionality – to a part of online shopping that for too long has been decidedly “meh” (where else in your online life would you accept a list of links as acceptable?).

Check out the first experiences off the ranks below, and tune in in 2022 to hear how they’ve been getting on:


William Grant & Sons raise a glass to UGC

“Community” has been an important factor for the independent Scottish distiller William Grant & Sons since its inception in 1887 (fun fact: the first-ever drops of Glenfiddich came through the stills on Christmas Day that year). As the craftspeople behind some of the world’s most iconic spirit brands, putting the voice of their customer at the heart of their digital communication strategy is a crucial strategic aim.

Following a successful six-month trial of StoryStream’s UGC curation technology on the Hendrick’s Gin site, William Grant & Sons extended the deal to cover other major drinks brands within their portfolio (Grant’s Whisky, Monkey Shoulder, The Balvenie, Tullamore Dew). The streams of social content come with eCommerce functionality embedded, meaning that UGC will also help to send traffic to William Grant & Sons’ direct-to-consumer site, Clink.

Read the William Grant & Sons customer story here. 

NYX Cosmetics lay the foundation

Alongside pet photos, gaming streamers and memes, the online makeup tutorial is a perennial feature of social media feeds worldwide. NYX Cosmetics, who encourage their customers to “experiment at full volume” with their range of pro-level products, place a large focus on showing real people posting unedited photos: showcasing how their makeup really looks.

Using StoryStream to curate and manage usage rights for high-quality UGC, NYX Cosmetics Germany has driven engagement on their Instagram channel: customer-generated content performs 33% above “likes” benchmarks, and as high as 90% above “comments” benchmarks.

Want to see it in action? Watch the video case study right here.

Blackwell’s gets a read on their customers

A visibly multichannel approach is a key differentiator for Blackwell’s, who – founded in 1879 – was shortlisted for BookSeller of the Year 2021. Using StoryStream to curate a dynamic feed of both social and UGC, Blackwell’s is able to create a highly engaging customer experience.

It’s a digital update of an experience familiar to book lovers worldwide: browsing the shelves in the hunt for a title that jumps out at you unexpectedly. But with the added twist of UGC, the power of personal recommendation really finds its place in Blackwell’s digital experience: they note an impressive 14% uplift in average order value for those who engage with the curated content in Blackwell’s StoryStream.

Read how Blackwell’s are finding innovative new ways to create the digital bookshop of tomorrow here.

CUPRA takes the scenic route with visual content experiences

Part of the VW Group family of automotive brands, CUPRA launched as a standalone brand globally in 2018. Customer excitement around their flagship models was immediate, offering CUPRA an opportunity to drive home their points of differentiation in a unique, fan-led way.

CUPRA’s official website now carries two StoryStream experiences: ‘More reasons to choose a CUPRA Formentor’ – which curates PR-generated editorial reviews from media, and a curated social media stream, comprised of user-generated and client-activated content. Though still in its early stages, the team at CUPRA see StoryStream as “a true partner, yielding results.” Watch this space for more results in 2022.

Read the full customer story here.

Hyundai bring the power of social to their model pages

It’s been yet another exciting (and awards-laden) year for Hyundai UK, who have partnered with StoryStream to surface expert advocacy content and populate a social media stream across their UK website. Hyundai uses StoryStream’s AI-powered technology to curate content and then link it directly to valuable on-site actions: enquiries, test drive bookings, and ultimately sales.

Badging the streams as “What’s everyone saying about…”, the Hyundai team are able to serve up key social proofs and expert reviews right where they’re needed most: check out this example at the top of the IONIQ 5 page to see how.

And you can read the full Hyundai UK customer story here.


Mazda Canada scale their customer-led digital strategy

As more and more of the car-buying process moves online, Mazda have promoted their commitment to being a “customer-led” business to a core part of their global strategy. For Mazda Canada, who have the unique requirement to nurture relationships in two separate languages within their single marketplace, being able to scale personalisation through UGC has proven an effective means for customer engagement.

Launched earlier this year, the results of their work with StoryStream have been superbly positive: an 84% UGC approval rate, a 23% increase in website dwell times, a 31% decrease in page bounce rate, and a 45% increase in likes on UGC vs Brand content.

You can read the full Mazda Canada case study (c’est un bon!) here.

In review

A bumper year of customer success, and one that we’re proud to say is in keeping with our ambition to make the experience of online shopping more authentic, engaging, and fun. If you’d like to hear more from StoryStream, you can check out our blog now – including this piece on the trend that’s set to shape 2022: live video shoppingsign up to our newsletter, or get in touch with the team directly.