Helen Aboagye
Helen Aboagye 3 April 2020
Categories Content, Technology

How Brands Can Extract Value from UGC

With almost everybody armed with a smartphone, in this day and age, everyone is a content creator, and nothing goes undocumented. Whether it be an unfolding event or a freak weather phenomenon, members of the public are likely to capture it on video. Despite the increasing amounts of user-generated content (UGC) being created, a large proportion isn’t being used to its full potential.

Instead, it is predominately being circulated on social media sites such as Instagram or Twitter and much of its value is going unrealised. Consequently, broadcasters and brands must consider the benefits UGC could offer their organisations and explore how to unlock its true value.

Using UGC for marketing

For brands, UGC can be instrumental in creating more impactful marketing materials which resonate with customers. 85% of consumers find UGC more influential than branded content and 79% watch UGC before making a purchase. Additionally, UGC is considered 35% more memorable than other media.

Its use in adverts and marketing resources can also have a substantial impact on how a brand is perceived; for instance, consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content specifically created by a brand. Furthermore, Nielsen has found that 92% of consumers trust organic UGC more than they trust traditional advertising.

Additionally, 70% of consumers say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from influential publications above paid-for advertising. This is inspiring brands to make use of the following two types of UGC: organic consumer reviews and paid for product placement with social media influences - both of which  can be a hugely influential tool for brands and help to inspire customer loyalty.

As companies begin to recognise the power of these types of content, more enterprises are beginning to make it an integral part of their marketing campaigns. For example, GoPro has consistently weaved UGC, created on its devices, into its marketing strategy over the years, incorporating video from both paid influencers and authentic consumers.

This real-life footage enables GoPro to sell a lifestyle of endless possibilities which seems more attainable with the use of UGC than it would with a traditional advert. UGC often allows businesses to create a community around their brand. This is something both Urban Outfitters and Burt’s Bees are succeeding at by integrating customer reviews into their homepages and social media strategies, encouraging more engagement and creating brand evangelists.

Meanwhile, lingerie brand Aerie has been praised for harnessing organic UGC which it has built into campaigns to empower women and to buck the airbrushing trend that is so often associated with such brands - concepts which have ultimately become part of its brand USP.

Implementing a marketing campaign which makes use of UGC can also give brands a cheaper and quicker way of getting new products to market. For example, brands can utilise consumer tech review programmes to circulate review samples with recipients then sharing reviews on their social media feeds. This is a win-win approach for both the content generator and the brand as the former is given access to great new products before anyone else and the brand receives the promotion and engagement it needs while using resources and budget more efficiently.

This is something we see regularly in fashion PR with a prime example being the launch of Beyoncé’s latest Ivy Park/Adidas range whereby Beyoncé gifted a wide range of celebrities the collection in their size. The recipients then took to social media to document the unveiling of the outfits and to spread the news of the latest collection among their followers. While this was on a much larger scale than most brands could achieve, it shows that the strategy template is there for other companies to follow suit at different levels.

Collating UGC

Working in the world of marketing and media production often requires delivering content and marketing materials to tight deadlines; this requires finding and inserting the right clip into adverts as fast as possible. While UGC presents brands with the opportunity to enhance their storytelling, the challenge lies in accessing and utilising this content. One of the most effective ways companies can tap into the growing volumes of UGC is by creating their own portals through which the public can upload their own content.

This can be achieved through the use of cloud-based platforms, which can act as an extension of the brand and scale with the growth in volume of content. Alongside this, brands can encourage its online community to upload their own content by showcasing examples and outlining the process in simple steps.

There are a multitude of tactics brands and organisations can adopt to incentivise its users and wider community to share and create UGC using an online portal. One method is to enable individuals to monetise the assets they upload - an approach being used successfully by companies such as ViralVideoUK. In this scenario, the public could upload their footage to the portal and receive a flat fee from the brand if their assets are utilised; essentially automating and simplifying the process for clip licensing.

It is expected that by 2022 internet video traffic will make up 82% of all global consumer internet traffic - an increase from 69% in 2017, indicating that the volume of UGC is set to rise. As consumers continue to capture important moments that could otherwise go undocumented and their reactions to products and situations, it’s time brands took matters into their own hands by creating their own portal in order to access, utilise and share this content.

In an increasingly competitive landscape, this could prove to be a key differentiator for brands, enabling them to create more authentic and compelling materials and making their community feel part of that process. 

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