2023 is Quickly Becoming The Year of UGC
Community Commerce Marketing4 MIN READ
Recently here on CIPIO.ai’s blog, we talked about how brands can use UGC or user-generated content for their marketing. We even started that piece off by saying a few years ago, those letters … U-G-C … meant nothing.
How quickly times change. If you’re reading the tea leaves in the brand marketing space, you probably know what we’ve begun to conclude at CIPIO.ai: 2023 is quickly becoming The Year of UGC.
Let’s explore why so we as marketers can better understand the importance of user-generated content and why and how our brands should be shifting to ensure UGC is a part of an overall marketing approach.
So why does UGC matter?
Well, we are in the everyone-as-marketer economy. Whether you think of social media users as influencers, content creators or something that bounces between both descriptions, each has their own publishing platforms. And each can leverage those to attract an audience.
Social media democratized content creation and consumers are taking advantage of it. Some of them … probably less than 10 percent … create content that is informative, engaging or compelling to other consumers. It may not have anything to do with products or services, but whatever topic the creator is creating about, gives them some degree of influence over those who wish to consume that content.
When social media creators started collecting large enough audiences that brands took notice, a small few saw the opportunity and said, “Yes. I will talk to my audience about you. Here’s what I charge.”
It is the rise of Everyperson Marketing. We all have some level of an audience who will listen to us. If it makes sense for a brand to reach that audience, you have the opportunity to monetize your content, recommendations and reviews.
The technology is also helping consumers along. Did you know that 90 percent of the U.S. population is in possession of a smart phone with 4K video and image capabilities? That’s a lot of people who can point, record and post. If they all know how to point and record interesting things to post, they’re a publisher. With an audience. And potentially influence.
All of these people are users that are generating content. Sure, some companies out there talking about all this differentiate between UGC and, say, content generated by influencers. But they likely have some reason to suck up to creators with big social media followings. At the end of the day, a piece of content is a piece of content. The person who generates it and posts it on the social web is a user.
And that implies they are real people. That they aren’t controlled by media publishing companies, big corporations, or even advertisers. They’re people, just like you me. And when people publish content, consumers respond.
According to Stackla Surveys, 60 percent of U.S. consumers say UGC is the most authentic type of marketing content. Three-fourths of U.S. marketers think UGC helps humanize their marketing. Brands who are leveraging UGC for paid and organic marketing efforts report that creative generated by users out-performs the professional creative developed by the brand, almost across the board.
And when the data backs up the assertion, well, the market changes.
We’ve been listening a lot to our customers and prospective customers over the last few weeks. In almost every conversation there has been some indication that UGC is top-of-mind, is sorely needed and is a high priority.
Today’s advertising creative directors are beginning to move budgets from production houses to UGC campaigns, and even influence marketing for the sole intent and purpose of filling their coffers with more of that high-performing, authentic content from users.
Brands are insisting upon the same shift because better performing ad creative means more efficient ad spend. That means more bang for the buck; more revenue with less investment; a better ROI.
What brands and agencies need for this shift then, is an easy and efficient way to find or incentivize the creation of UGC. To negotiate an agreement with the creators in question to allow the brand to use it as many ways as possible. And to measure the efforts to prove value.
You probably knew this was coming, but that’s what CIPIO.ai does.
And you are likely to notice we will make a subtle, but important shift, in what we talk about here on our website; on The Rise – The Community Commerce Marketing Show, our weekly podcast; and in our weekly webinars to help you get smarter with Community Commerce and Influence marketing.
Brands and agencies need UGC at scale. But they need more than just finding people posting about the brand already. They need ways to treat a community of content creators as brand content creators. They need to be able to call upon these creators and influencers to create the type of content the brand wants, not just that which the brand is lucky to get.
At CIPIO.ai, we’ve developed our Community Generated Content application, which is essentially an engine to scale the collection of UGC. With this approach and application, you identify content creators who are relevant to your brand, engage them to create content about your brand that you then own and can use however you like, and brief them to create the type of specific content you need.
If there’s benefit to the creator also posting the content on their channels, you get UGC Plus and the content reaches their audience, too. (UGC plus is really just our Community Influence Marketing approach … but the tools allow you to do both.)
Brands and agencies alike need help filling the content coffers with videos and images that simply perform better. We can help make that happen. Let’s set up some time to chat and see how CIPIO.ai can bring better UGC solutions to your company.
Also, don’t forget we are offering a free webinar about our Community Influence Marketing platform on Friday called Unlocking the Power of Community Influence Marketing to Grow Your Brand. It is available for you each Friday through March. Head to the link in this post at CIPIO.ai, or look for the link on our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn channels to register.
If you want to cut to the chase and see a demo of our Community Influence Marketing platform, head to our website at CIPIO.ai and schedule one. We can talk about both it and UGC at the same time if you like.