Looking to Save Costs on Advertising? Look No Further

6th Jun, 2016

| by Karishma Desai

User Generated Content (UGC) can go viral on social media in seconds

According to a content marketing institute 2015 report, 86 per cent of businesses now use content marketing and in that, 78 per cent of B2C companies used UGC in 2015. It’s apparent from these statistics that companies now understand the strategic use of UGC.

How Did It Start?

Taco Bell was one of the first companies to start using snap chat to invite customers to color special snaps with a doodling feature that were later used in their campaigns.

What’s UGC?

In simple terms, UGC, or Consumer Generated Media (CGM)  is any form of content created by an unpaid contributor. It can be in the form of pictures, videos, tweets, pins, reviews, testimonials, posts, etc. Often it is created and shared via social media networks. When it comes from a brand’s consumer UGC can be a extremely productive tools for gaining free publicity.

Why UGC?

Customers trust their colleagues, friends and family more than they trust marketers. So when a content piece is shared by a fellow-consumer, he/she becomes an unpaid brand endorser (ambassador). In addition, UGC:

  • Lifts the economic and physical burden of creating original content
  • Widens the brands’ reach to fans and advocates
  • If oftentimes (not always) more creative than orchestrated ads and other interactive campaigns
  • Proves to the customer that you value his/her voice and are proud to have you on the pack (See Asian paints “Let’s play again” highly personalize campaign, or more recently, Nestle’s “Meri Meggi” campaign).

Here are a few more worthy examples:

Smell the Coffee

Starbucks white cup contest launched in April 2014. Across the country they were asked to doodle on their Starbucks cups. The winning entry was later carried on Starbucks limited edition cup. Nearly 4000 customers entered the contest in three weeks.

Capturing Nostalgic Moments

The University of Wisconsin-Madison wanted to celebrate its 1.4 million hours of existence in style.  They showed this by presenting a slice of the University life, captured over a 24-hour span. They inviting UW community to submit videos, tweets, pictures and posts describing their campus moments. The University communication department published the selected submissions on the micro-blogging site using the #UWRIGHTnow  hashtag. Nearly 1000 submissions and 3000 tweets got posted, creating a history of sorts.

Putting Sales Force Behind UGC

They created an online community of small and medium-scale business owners to help them find solutions to supply chain management-related issues. It was a kind of Idea Exchange forum that received an overwhelming response from the target community. Sales Force acted as a moderator in running this campaign.

Lululemon and Apparel Industry

Lululemon has a large following for its yoga and active wear line. Their campaign #thesweatlife asked customers to tweet or post images of themselves in Lululemon gear with the hashtag #thesweatlife .

Lay it thick like Lays

Pepsi Frito Lay’s “Do Us A Flavour” campaign invited customers to invent their own flavour and then vote for their favorite. This campaign powered by a UGC strategy was incentivized with the promise of attractive prizes.

UGC As an Advertising Tool

UGC ads are not just smart but also profitable. Last year’s blog post on Kiss Metrics by Aimee Millwood.on indicates that the return on investment (ROI) on UGC content pieces is often higher than other brand content ads. Overall, Facebook ads with UGC have: 300 per cent higher click-through rate (CTR); 50 per cent lower cost per click (CPC) and 50 per cent owner cost per acquisition (CPA).

Indeed, if you were to combine your Facebook ads with real customer testimonials and make it a social experience, with the use of social media, you can draw the maximum bang from your marketing spend. However to play it safe, before making any commercial use of anyone’s content, even if he/she is your consumer, it might be prudent to run it past your legal desk, to avoid copyright infringement.

Karishma Desai

Karishma Desai

Social Media Marketing Manager

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