« How do you get the attention of consumers who are increasingly bored with advertising? » A question, a priori simple but which obsesses more and more marketers.
Consumers’ habits are changing as fast as their relationships with brands. In fact, they are now looking for ultra-personalization of the services offered to them and instant interactivity with brands.
Faced with its “Consumer Actors”, brands must re-adapt their discourse.
In recent years, relationships between brands and their customers have grown strained. Between over-solicitation and a lack of authenticity, brands are having more and more difficulty in retaining their target audience. Companies must now ensure an unprecedented customer experience by putting their consumers at the heart of their strategy.
The key to achieving this? Place the voice of consumers at the center of their communications thanks to UGCs.
UGC or how content created by its community becomes a real marketing asset?
UGC (User Generated Content) refers to all content created primarily by consumers on e-commerce sites and social networks.
They can come in different forms:
- In the form of editorial content: comments on a site or under a photo, opinions on sites like TripAdvisor, tweets, blog articles, etc.
- In the form of visual content: photos on social networks, Youtube videos …
Published spontaneously and without financial compensation, UGCs are real marketing levers. By adopting them, brands differentiate themselves through an authentic posture, reinforcing their credibility, their visibility and ultimately, allowing the acquisition of new customers. In addition to being an engaging and advantageous marketing lever, it is a strategy that has proven to be beneficial in the long term; the cost of producing content is reduced to zero.
I. UGC in marketing: a strong ally for brands
Consumers are over-solicited: we are talking about advertising pressure that can range from 500 to 2000 messages from brands, in a single day!
In this context, how can brands communicate more impactful messages?
According to the Nielsen study, 92% of them say they trust content created by other users, more than any other form of advertising.
From BtoC marketing, dictated by communication campaigns or Brand Content, strategies are now evolving towards CtoC marketing. Brands have every interest in placing their consumers at the heart of their communication, thus adopting an empathetic and inclusive approach towards their communities.
Who can be more legitimate, authentic and credible than a consumer to recommend a brand’s products?
Thanks to UGC, users become creators. Many companies then relay this content, on their e-commerce site or on social networks, such as:
For Airbnb, the strategy is simple and effective: traveler photos are better than a thousand words! By sharing photos of its customers, Airbnb unites its community around lived experiences … All at a lower cost!
The company values this positioning: « Your community, your customers, are the best marketing asset you have » James McClure, General Manager of Airbnb – Northern Europe. In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
The visibility and loyalty of the Apple community is well established. This Love Brand uses UGC to enhance the photos of its customers, taken by the iPhone.
Their most famous marketing campaign focusing on UGCs is none other than “Shot on Iphone”, produced in 2017 and repeated in 2019. Putting people back at the heart of its strategy, even for the most technological brand in the world, it is possible and even strongly suggested!
Nyx, the brand with millions of followers on Instagram, has also adopted this successful marketing strategy. She puts forward her most talented fans.
The brand does not encourage taking pictures of its products, but to publish the result of a make-up test by its customers. User content is then displayed by Nyx, which strengthens the emotional and creative connection the brand has with its community.
UGC are not a trend or a one-off practice to use when the company lacks content, but an effective marketing lever to activate frequently and over the long term.
All businesses (from DNVBs to multinationals) can benefit from UGC, by using them intelligently throughout the customer journey.
II- The benefits of a UGC strategy throughout the customer journey
Integrating UGC into a marketing and communications strategy has multiple benefits for the brand, as well as for the target audience. These benefits show up at every step of the buying journey.
1- Discovering the brand, the first step in the customer journey
Betting on UGC reinforces the authenticity of the messages to be conveyed … But it also increases the brand awareness and visibility, while promoting the co-creation of content with its communities. In reality, an Internet user will prefer to discover a brand through content co-created by one of their peers whom he/her would passionately express their creativity around the values he/her shares with the brand.
This first step is crucial. Indeed, for brands, it is essential to promote an omnichannel UGC strategy (like Apple, Airbnb or Nyx), user content then becomes the first point of contact on the brand’s social networks, as well as on website, or during a OOH campaign
2- The comparison before the purchase
In this first step, the consumer seeks information about the brand and its products. If the shopper discovers the brand and its products through UGC, a bond of trust is established. By seeing consumers recommend products and the brand promote the content of its community, credibility is reinforced.
It is at this stage of comparison that social and visual proof play a decisive role.
Take this situation: by hesitating between two restaurants or two products on Amazon, the choice is more easily oriented towards a product or service with real customer reviews. When these reviews are supplemented with photos of dishes for the restaurant or the use of a product received for Amazon, the feeling of preference is even stronger.
The target audience can identify and project themselves more easily thanks to UGC, unlike a traditional and standardized product sheet.
Even before the purchase, the uuser can already feel this feeling of belonging to the brand community. The customer can assess the level of user satisfaction, project themself into their own future experience… By joining an active community, new followers will be inspired to in turn create content around the product and the brand.
3- Conversion, the culmination of the customer journey
At this stage, UGC strengthens the interest of leads and positively impacts the conversion rate. If the user content highlighted by the brand is visual, the switch to purchase is even more favored! 2 in 3 users say images have more impact on their buying decision (Crowdriff)
Photos or videos are therefore to be preferred on all channels, from social networks to product sheets.
4- The use of products
Once the product has been purchased and tested, the user can choose to share their feedback on the Internet, by identifying the brand (by a tag, a link, a hashtag, etc.).
By directly showing the product or a final result (such as makeup made with the products purchased), customers become ‘ConsumerActor’. If they like a product bought, he lets his entire virtual circle know. UGCs therefore actively participate in a word-of-mouth strategy. According to the Mckinsey study « The consumer decision journey », two-thirds of the information collected by an Internet user during their product evaluation phase comes from their peers.
At this stage, the UGCs reinforce word of mouth and ultimately brand awareness.
This proof of customer satisfaction is also an ideal proof of commitment to move on to the last phase of the customer journey.
5- The final step in the customer journey: loyalty thanks to UGC
When a consumer spontaneously shares content highlighting the brand, they join a community. He trusts the brand and even recommends it to his peers and thus becomes a loyal customer.
According to P. Farris’s Marketing Metrics study, the probability of selling to a prospect is 5-20% … But the probability of selling to a current customer is 60-70%! UGCs are therefore an excellent lever to enhance the value of its clients and engage them in a lasting relationship.
To do this, some brands can encourage customers to post regularly using hashtags (like Coca-Cola with #ShareACoke), via contests on Instagram, challenges on TikTok, etc.
The CtoC revolution is underway. It is high time to make the most of it with UGC! It’s up to brands now to adopt this strategy that puts consumers at the heart of their communications.
The resulting key benefits are numerous: brand authenticity, high added value content, enhanced credibility and visibility, etc.
To discover the AdAlong platform to curate and diffuse User Generated Content at every touchpoint of your customer journey, contact us.