Many of our clients with existing websites come to us with a sense of being stuck in a rut. They report feeling that their site has ‘gone off the boil’ and has become ‘stale’ and they worry about feeling disconnected from their audience. One way of rejuvenating a website is to update content, through which you can reconnect with your audience and create trust in them. Opinion believes that UGC (user generated content) is the most successful way forward, as it is generally a good indicator of the quality of a brand or service and is by definition an endorsement by the end user.
What exactly is User Generated Content and how can it work for your business?
Webopedia defines UGC as the term ‘used to describe any form of content such as video, blogs, discussion forum posts, digital images, audio files, and other forms of media that was created by consumers or end-users of an online system or service and is publicly available to others consumers and end-users. User-generated content is also called ‘consumer generated media(CGM)’.
Simply put, UGC is any content that has been produced by people, not brands. On a website, for example, ratings and reviews (generated by genuine customers) will help drive traffic to the site and increase conversion rates by providing an actual, real-life experience of the product/service. UGC also allows an end user to share their experience with the brand itself and many brands use this to great effect – who can remember the great Coca Cola “Share a Coke” campaign, based around the company’s personalized bottles? It took off all over the world with bottles named after people in every different destination and customers were asked to share pictures of themselves enjoying a drink with their personalised Coke bottle on social media. The result? Coca Cola’s customers stepped into the role of advertiser.
Or how about Burberry’s Art of the Trench UGC campaign in 2009? By then, many brands were beginning to understand the value in their fans promoting their products. When Burberry asked its ardent followers to upload pictures of themselves and their friends wearing the brand’s iconic trench coat, all the brand had to do was gather the best ones and showcase them on a microsite and other social media platforms.
What are the benefits of User Generated Content and why is it so important?
UGC helps brands to understand their target audience better and it helps to build trust. Relevant UGC will promote authenticity of your brand and can increase engagement and browsing time on your site. This in turn makes your customers feel valued. It increases engagement and time spent on your site or social media platform.
With customer trends constantly evolving, brands and businesses are obliged to keep their customer at the forefront, or risk losing them to another company. And online customers are not stupid – they will see through contrived marketing tactics in a heartbeat, preferring authentic over staged every day of the week and they are more likely to see UGC as authentic, compared to brand created content.
Research in 2018 cited that the majority of millennials (86%) viewed UGC as a realistic and trustworthy indicator for the quality of a product or service. Consumers today want to know from their contemporaries whether a product is any good, and what they are going to get for their money before they order. And it’s all about creating trust in your brand – which would you purchase? Something you know nothing about or something that has been recommended by someone with no vested interest in the brand? As consumers, we’re fed up with traditional marketing content and messaging. We like hearing what people like us have to say.
The impact of UGC on purchasing decisions is its main benefit. Three quarters of consumers rely on social media before making a purchase, while almost 60% of millennials use UGC to inform their purchase decisions about major electronics (medium.com). The majority of shoppers need to see or read only 1-4 reviews before being influenced to make their purchasing decision.
What can User Generated Content do for your digital marketing?
UGC has been shown to strengthen the performance of websites, with sites containing UGC experiencing an increase in return visitors and an increased site visit time of up to 90%. The knock on from this is that UGC can be proven to increase conversions and sales.
Positive, online customer reviews will also raise your SEO ranking. Taking this a step further, if you proofread the reviews for frequently used words and phrases, your customers will provide you with the best keyword data.
Analyzing your customer reviews will yield fantastic customer insights which will help you better understand your audience and what they find engaging. If you receive less than positive reviews, for example, take note of what your customers are complaining about and improve it.
Your customers will contribute in their individual ways which will reflect their style, giving you a near constant stream of original and fresh, ever-changing content. This gives your online presence a huge advantage, by offering your audience a fresh perspective and a different point of view, which will encourage users to stay engaged.
So, if your website shows real accounts from your customers of their user experience, your brand will gain authenticity and credibility. The constantly evolving content will encourage engagement and raise conversion rates and careful analysis of the UGC could inform your keyword research. Can you really risk not including User Generated Content as part of your digital marketing strategy?
If this is something that interests you for your website or social media platforms, give us a call today to see how we could help.