Events, Industry Trends, Research & Reports

5 Things Marketers Must Know About UGC

Earlier this week, Crowdtap was at the iMedia Brand Summit, where we provided marketers with a summary of our new report, “The Marketer’s Guide to User-Generated Content.” We enjoyed meeting everyone at the event and look forward to seeing you all again soon!

For those of you who weren’t able to join us in sunny San Diego, below is a recap of the five top takeaways from our presentation. If you’re interested in learning more, you can register for our upcoming WOMMA webinar on the very same topic, which takes place September 30 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Here are the five top takeaways from our iMedia Summit presentation, ICYMI:

UGC is the next iteration of word-of-mouth. WOM isn’t a new concept for marketers, but improvements to mobile technology (your smartphone camera is probably better than whatever camera captured your childhood) and apps like Instagram and VSCO Cam are making it easier than ever for everyday people to produce beautiful content. If WOM messages of the past took the shape of things like wearing a T-shirt with your favorite brand, you can image that today, that type of WOM looks like you wearing that shirt in an Instagram selfie that has been shared with all your friends.

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UGC spans the spectrum of social influence. A majority of digital content (80 percent) is user-generated. Who’s creating all of this content? It’s a mix of everyday creators – people like you and I who make self-publishing a part of their everyday routines – and expert creators who have made a career out of creating expert content and building influence within specific topics, such as DIY, beauty and cooking, to name a few. This range of creator types adds a level of complexity for marketers seeking to activate people across the spectrum of influence.

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UGC requires marketers to respect people as publishers. Brands should approach partnerships with expert creators with the same respect and professionalism as they would any other partnership. Respecting this new crop of young creators means understanding what defines and motivates them, their areas of expertise, their vision and their own professional aspirations.

As Vine celebrity Ry Doon puts it, “Nothing kills an influencer’s creativity quite like hearing someone say, ‘I don’t get it.’ Even if you don’t completely understand the creator’s voice, go into the process with an open mind, as there are literally millions of people who DO get it. Trust the influencer as the expert on his or her audience.” For more best practices, read our article on the subject in Adweek.

UGC is ubiquitous, influential and impactful. Navigating the UGC landscape is a complex hurdle for marketers to overcome, so why bother? For one, consumers are spending more time with UGC than ever before. Per our study with Ipsos MediaCT, 30 percent of Millennials’ total media time is spent with content that has been created or shared by their peers. What’s more, Millennials report that UGC is 50 percent more trustworthy than other media types, and 35 percent more memorable.

Moreover, UGC has been shown to outperform paid digital media norms across key brand metrics, including awareness, favorability and purchase intent. Crowdtap recently fielded a first-of-its-kind study with Millward-Brown Digital, which found that UGC exceeded category benchmarks for every brand metric measured. See chart below.

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UGC injects authenticity into owned and paid channels. Given the power of consumer-generated content when it comes to trust, memorability and brand lift, marketers should not be fearful of repurposing UGC across their owned and paid channels. With the right tools in place for content collection, curation and sharing, marketers can use UGC to fuel their end-to-end content strategy. For example, a CPG brand that includes photos of meal creations from real customers on its website; or, a retailer that intersperses ratings and reviews within its product pages. Brands can also use UGC to fuel their social content pipeline, and amplify UGC via paid media.

For more insights, download Crowdtap’s 32-page report on UGC marketing.

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