User-generated content (also known as UGC) is a great way to market a brand and create authentic and persuasive content. While beautiful ads, a strong spokesperson and convincing pitches from a company are important; UGC is often the most trusted tool for customers. According to studies, UGC is the most powerful type of media in terms of influencing shopping experiences and decisions. And it’s even more powerful for Millenials. On average, Millenials spend up to 18 hours per day looking at media and a third of this time devoted to UGC. According to Millenials, UGC is 35% more memorable than other media and 50% more trusted. So why is UGC so powerful and what can businesses do to better harness it?
UGC is personal
There are so many ways to advertise a business digitally. From sponsored content to banner ads, native advertising and social media campaigns, businesses’ biggest challenge is figuring out which channels are best and how to target users through them in the most effective way. In a world that is crowded with digital advertising and content options, UGC stands out as something far more organic and authentic. Rather than “hearing” the voice of a brand explain why a service or product is best, UGC is much closer to receiving a personal recommendation from a friend or a relative, and this feeling of UGC being both personal and authentic makes it a very powerful tool to increase sales.
When it comes to marketing, one of the most challenging tasks is creating content that is compelling, striking and unique. The right content is the difference between being ignored and generating valuable leads. Compelling content can create brand legitimacy, increase buzz and even (if you are very lucky) go viral. Yet the internet is adrift which meaningless and mediocre content, and clickbait is everywhere. However, savvy marketers are pushing forward and innovating in new ways. So what can we expect for the future of content?
As attention spans shrink and social media is increasingly packed full of blogs, articles and more, a new content trend emerges – “micro” or “bitsize” content. Content becomes shorter but more engaging and compelling. Instead of articles think engaging graphics and minimal copy. Instead of long videos think micro-videos and GIFs. This type of content is easy to consume and makes customers convert even faster. And the truth is people don’t need that much time to make up their mind about a brand or concept. The concept of thin-slicing shows that people can make accurate decision surprisingly fast. In the future, it will be better to create short compelling content than to lose people’s attention with something long and irrelevant.
Content gets even more personal
It has never been more important to curate your content for specific audiences. The age of mass marketing where you would blanket all your users with the same generic campaign about how great your product is, is over. The future is about understanding your users, gaining as much data as possible and focusing on content that means something to them. Tracking user analytics allows you to understand the patterns and behavior of your user in greater depth and provides key insights. Converting these insights into actionable content means creating something of a much higher quality that your users will be far more likely to engage with.
As content struggles to find its niche and gain uniqueness, it’s likely that interactive marketing will grow in popularity. This is a great way for users to feel like they are part of your content and not just a passive force consuming what your brand puts out there. A few great ways to make content more interactive include gamifying aspects of it, adding interactive video tours, creating a competition or giveaway or simply animating parts of your brand. Here are some great examples of interactive marketing if you are looking for inspiration.
User-generated content gains popularity
User-generated content (UGC) is already hugely important, but it looks set to gain further traction in the future. Ultimately there is nothing more powerful than seeing other users singing the praises of a brand. Reading great reviews or happy commenters is so much more convincing than reading retargeting campaigns, mailers or sponsored social media content. A great way to make user-generated content even more powerful is to vary the types of media used. Video and GIFs are gaining popularity with a number of video based review sites. However, a big trend set to take things forward is audio UGC. With the rise of smart assistants, AI and even more accurate voice recognition, people are doing more through voice and less through text. One way to keep content ahead of the trend is to add an audio option for it as well.
Heyoya is a game-changing comments and reviews platform that brings voice to e-publishers and e-stores, improving sales and user engagement by allowing readers to express themselves beyond the medium of text. Heyoya’s new Receiver plan allows for quick and easy below-the-fold monetization through native advertising. Heyoya is a game changer for websites and is proven to increase brand affinity and the quality of user-generated content.
For more information about Heyoya, click here.
It’s 2017 and by now everyone who is anyone knows that user-generated content is important. If you have a blog, a website or an online store, you are probably pretty focused on getting good reviews, replying to customer feedback and making sure you engage with your customers (and if you aren’t then its time you start!). But while UGC is a clear backbone to any modern day business it is also a tool that continues to change and evolve alongside the digital landscape. So what’s next for UGC?
Time to own UGC?
Today the majority of UGC is owned by social media networks. This means while brands are winning short term with hashtag campaigns or viral content, the social media networks like SnapChat and Twitter are the real winners. The future is likely to change this and delves deeper into UGC – meaning companies will spend more time and resources capturing metadata and leveraging UGC beyond individual short terms campaigns and into the realms of long-term meaningful customer relationships.
If UGC is a huge trend already, it looks set to grow even bigger and hasn’t even come close to its peak. We can be sure that brands will continue to invest efforts in encouraging, nurturing and fostering the right kind of UGC (because unlike other marketing channels you can’t completely control it unless you fake it and that basically destroys its nature). UGC is an organic concept that needs to be grown in the right ways and in the right environment. But once you succeed in growing it, how do you harvest what you have? In order for brands to really harness the amount of UGC they need to stand out, it looks likely that aggregation apps and platforms will gain popularity. Collecting the right UGC is an extremely powerful marketing tool.
UGC moves to other mediums
For a long time UGC has been almost exclusively focused on text. Though it has branched out into the worlds of video and images, there is still a long way to go. The future looks set to take UGC into totally new territory like VR. So how can UGC go together with virtual reality? Well, the future will be increasingly about a co-experiential approach where UGC and interactions are encouraged, shared across and leveraged through different mediums. As content moves over to VR and AR so do user interactions (or at least some of them).
But if VR-based UGC still seems a long way off there are more approachable technologies that are already available to give your business the kick it needs. UGC can be the most mundane thing in the world, but it can also be your biggest asset. Moving away from text to new technologies like voice tech can help to increase user engagement and create an environment of interactions that is more personal, more meaningful and easier to access than simply sitting and typing out a really long comment or message.
Heyoya is a game-changing comments and reviews platform that brings voice to e-publishers and e-stores, improving sales and user engagement by allowing readers to express themselves beyond the medium of text. Heyoya’s new Receiver plan allows for quick and easy below-the-fold monetization. Heyoya is a game changer for websites and is proven to increase brand affinity and the quality of user-generated content.
For more information about Heyoya, click here.
The way brands advertise, communicate and interact with customers has changed and evolved dramatically over the past few decades. Just think back to the 50s or 60s when brands communicated almost exclusively through ads on TVs and classic products had strong brand ambassadors – just think of the iconic photos of Marilyn Monroe holding a Chanel No. 5 bottle.
With digital, a lot of how brands communicated themselves moved online into banner ads, retargeting campaigns and everyone possible form of sponsored digital media. But the most dramatic change in branding happened when social media started to take off.
Social media meant that brands were no longer the seamless faces, ads and banners of the products and services that we knew and loved, instead they became conversation and interaction orientated. With the rise of social media, the user really began to take over in all aspects of advertising. And at a certain point, the user-generated content became even more important than what brands had to say about themselves.
Generation Y is one in which people are always looking to the wisdom of the crowd. When it comes to products and services, people are inundated with endless options and the consequence of this is that they have become increasingly skeptical. Hearing a brand tell you it is great via ads (whether online or offline) just isn’t really convincing anymore. But other users opinions are.
The brands that communicate themselves well today are those that really understand the potential of their customers. User-generated content is truly the heart and soul of any modern brand. So how do you get users to communicate and interact with each other in ways that show how truly great your brand is? Well, reviews are one way. Research shows that 86-90% of customers will make their choice on a product or service based on online reviews.
Comments and conversations are also crucial because they keep users and customers coming back. However good a story or photo generated by a brand is, it is ultimately static. What is really interesting is the way that brand-generated content can spark lively user debates, conversations and interactions.
And then there is a question of medium. The problem with the online world is that so much of it is limited to text. Text is fundamentally ambiguous and loses all the “personal touch” of face-to-face communications. And even if you pair your text with great photos, a critical element of communication is still lacking. And while virtual reality looks promising, we all know it will be a while before we can use it to communicate properly.
So what’s the solution? Voice is one of the best channels to generate user content today. With it, users can hear each other and interact almost as they would face-to-face. Voice brings back all the nuances of tone and with high levels of voice authentication software; it is also a great way to weed out annoying bots and spammers. To make your brand really stand out in a world full of great brands and skeptical users, voice can give you competitive edge.
Heyoya is a unique comment and reviews platform that brings voice to e-publishers and e-stores, improving sales and user engagement by allowing readers to express themselves beyond the medium of text. Heyoya is a game changer for websites and is proven to increase brand affinity and the quality of user-generated content.
For more information about Heyoya, or to start using Heyoya for free today, click here.