The blog post is guest-written by Amy Niemann, Bazaarvoice Community Manager.

PETCO continues to innovate with social initiatives – in this case, Bazaarvoice Stories – to increase interaction and drive sales on its site. PETCO knows its customers love their pets – and love showing them off at Halloween – so they introduced their “Howl-O-Ween” contest to not only highlight their consumers, but drive site traffic and sales as well.

This fun contest allows all types of pets to share why “they” chose their Halloween costumes, complete with photos and videos. PETCO promoted this on their home page and in emails.

PETCO Howl-o-weenPETCO partnered with Science Diet to give away prizes, which drives responses, and the responses were overwhelming (and adorable)!

First, contributors and readers can sort by their type of pet – no need to have gerbil-lovers comb through dog stories – creating a customized experience for each visitor. Readers can also vote on their favorite stories and costumes, which lets writers drive additional traffic to the site. Another fun twist? PETCO has changed their regular paw-print rating graphics into season-specific pumpkins.

PETCO Howl-o-ween

As you can tell, photos are very important to this campaign – so far, 85% of the pet stories contributed also include at least one photo, and submitters can designate a “hero” image for each story as the main image, making the layout fun and easy to read for all visitors.

Petco Howl-o-ween

But what really sets this campaign apart is its potential impact on sales. With Social Recommendations, pets (and their “parents”) can link directly to their favorite products. So when a proud pug admires the Gene Simmons costume below, he (or she) can also see what makes the pug so beautiful and wild. We’ve seen about 25% of all entrants link to products, which helps influence other contributors and readers.

PETCO Howl-o-ween

Of course, all this new content helps keep PETCO relevant for natural search – especially for pet Halloween costumes – while continuing to engage its already active online community.

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