1. User Generated Content Resonates Incredibly Well in Paid and Owned
The data is clear; user generated content performs incredibly well for brands using in owned and paid media environments, especially when marketing to millennials.
Digital Agency, Laundry Service, ran a study testing the ad efficacy of Instagram style content compared to stock and studio photography with fantastic results:
“Using regular photos, the company saw a 2.35% click-through rate. With Instagram-style shots, that increased to as high as 8%. When tying ad performance to sales, Laundry Service saw conversion rates increase by 25%. The data was drawn from over 100 million impressions, according to Mr. Stein, [founder and president] spanning campaigns from more than 15 advertisers.
‘It’s not an opinion,’ Mr. Stein said. ‘This is what was working best.’ ”
In addition to high performance in paid placement opportunities, user generated content has yielded incredibly significant results when used in brands owned media and ecommerce websites.
Pixlee, the leading visual marketing platform, collected data from its clients using customer photos as visual reviews in their online stores. Shoppers that interacted with a customer photo were 2x more likely to purchase. Additionally, clients leveraging user generated content in Look Books and Inspiration Galleries saw a 6% increase in average order value. The platform’s social media measurement gave 6 Pack a concrete social ROI– a dream metric for most marketing teams.
2. UGC Amplifies Brand Awareness
“80% of a marketing campaign’s reach comes from social amplification” (Ogilvy)
For most marketing segments, brands pay for impressions. Success is typically defined by a combination of things; effectiveness of contextual targeting, quality of content, messaging, and budget.
One of the most powerful aspects about user generated content in owned and paid media is that is creates a two way dialogue and amplifies the brand message organically. For the first time ever,brands can directly engage in real conversation with customers.
When a brand buys a traditional ad or placement of content, they are typically paying on impressions or some form of engagement. However, with user generated content, every submission and engagement from social users is amplified by that person’s social following.
Amex recently ran a campaign that leveraged user generated content from top influencers to increase engagement 23% and generate over 10 million impressions in just 2 weeks.
3. It’s Cost Effective
Professional content is expensive. Brands spend millions of dollars building in-house content teams and utilizing creative agencies to create more marketing content.
But so much high quality content is already being generated everyday by consumers, much of which celebrates their favorite brands and products. There is a gigantic opportunity for brands to leverage this high performing and amazingly cost effective resource.
In a digital landscape where over 65% of consumers are seeking out some sort of user generated content before making a purchase (Elon University study), and 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media above all other forms of advertising, (Nielsen) it is no wonder that UGC was picked as a top marketing trend for so many industries.
User generated content is the single most authentic, high performing, and scalable marketing resource available to brands in 2015.