This post is an installment of our partnership series where we invite our esteemed partners to write about trending topics and industry news that impacts our mutual clients.

We’ve heard it before: Content is king. Consumers are in control. Trust in traditional advertising is down, and according to Nielsen, 92% of us trust the recommendation of a friend or family member over any other form of advertising. Even so, brands still need to advertise; they still need to drive awareness, consideration and ultimately purchase in a meaningful and engaging way. The challenge is that it’s becoming harder and harder to do.

Enter influencer marketing — a relatively new segment expected to grow to $10B by 2020. It has become a proven strategy and marketers have increasingly turned to influencers for reach, awareness and content creation. But not all influencers are the same. Celebrity influencers can lack credibility and at times, their star power overpowers the brand message. As for the latest YouTube star or Instagram phenom? Most consumers know they are being compensated for their how-to videos and pretty posts. But what about the influencer next door? The everyday consumer who enthusiastically and authentically shares recommendations and reviews with friends and family, online and off?

That’s where Ripple Street comes in. We connect brands like OREO, Kellogg’s, Kikkoman, Nickelodeon and many more with our community of over 1.1 million everyday influencers, and give them the tools to experience and share the products and programs they love. According to a 2017 Accenture study, these ‘consumers influencers’ (everyday people who aren’t paid for their product recommendations) have twice the impact of paid influencers. A recent Huffington Post article noted that 76% of consumers view user-generated content (UGC) as more honest than traditional advertising and marketers should strive to insert UGC into all phases of the purchase cycle, from discovery to point of purchase to post purchase. That’s exactly what our partnership with Curalate allows us to do.

Together, we are turning the authentic UGC that our peer-to-peer influencers create into a shoppable photo gallery, making it fun and easy for consumers to simply click to get product information, access coupons, purchase products and more. Why is this so compelling? Because if content is king and consumers are in control, this gives brands the best of both worlds – content that’s created and shared by the very consumers who are not only their ideal target, but their loyal shoppers. Our research shows that making consumer content shoppable drives brand engagement and, even more importantly, conversions and basket size. Pair that with industry research citing that 75% of millennials crave real content when making a purchase and you have a winning formula: authentic consumer content that’s engaging, shoppable, and leads to more sales.

Interested in becoming a partner or writing a guest blog post? Send us an email at partnerships@curalate.com or click here to learn more about our partnerships.