Why Does User-Generated Content Work?
In the past, consumer attention was easier to capture as people sat around a television or radio in awe and paid full attention to the programing. Advertisers pushed their ads in front of the consumer who happily engaged with their message: this is no longer the case. Things have gotten far more complicated. Consumers now have access to multiple information and entertainment channels as well as many social media outlets that they access from multiple devices.
Today, consumers scroll through social media on their phones or tablets during commercial breaks. TV ads are being tuned out—that’s if consumers are even watching traditional television. With the emergence of online streaming video and creator platforms like YouTube gaining popularity, traditional programing on television is dwindling.
We behave similarly against online advertisements by avoiding them. We’ve adapted to click out of an ad without even reading what it’s offering. We’ve even created programs to help us avoid them. The consumer is willing to even pay a small price to avoid advertisements while using these newer entertainment services.
How are brands engaging with a new tech-savvy and steadfast consumer?
Let’s take a look at where consumers (especially millennials) are spending more and more time: online. Millennials spend 5.4 hours a day engaged with user-generated content (UGC). They spend time on social media platforms and engage not only with their peers, but others in their community.
In the past when a consumer wanted to make a purchase, they would rely on television ads, celebrity endorsements, and possibly published reviews. The consumer has lost trust in brands today. A recent survey of 1,300 millennials, conducted by Elite Daily, found that authenticity was valued the most over all other factors when it comes to content and consumption. Combine that with the fact that consumers attention is harder to hold, and you’ve arrived at today’s marketing situation.
Do you trust someone being paid to give a good review of a product, or do you trust the person you’ve been following on social media for over a year who likes the same things you do?
"Social media [is] never about brands. Nobody actually wants to be friends with a toothbrush; they want to be friends with a person." - Matt Britton, CEO of MRY
As a result, brands are learning to adapt and fight for consumer attention. They’re learning to play on the same field that the consumer is playing. Brands are no longer marketing themselves as a vacuum retailer, for example, but a lifestyle. They’re creating engaging content and giving consumers a reason to engage with them. And it’s paying off; customers are 6 times more likely to purchase a product if the page includes pictures from social media.
Consumers aid in these campaigns and marketing ploys and create content for the brand itself. This is the best case scenario for a brand; to have consumers who love your brand so much, create and share their own content around your brand, and share it with their communities. Brands are capitalizing on this user-generated content.
“In the past, women would predominantly turn to bloggers they trusted. But today they are turning to what we refer to as 'everyday experts' on YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram." - Samantha Skey, CMO of SheKnows Media
So how can Brands cash in on this? Content marketing efforts are proving to be the best way for brands to come to the consumer level and engage with them.