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Some have even gone as far as labelling them Generation C – Generation Content – such is their habit for consuming massive amounts of content on a daily basis.
Whatever you call it, it’s the generation that’s always got a camera phone at hand, ready to snap or shoot at a moment’s notice. The result is an explosion of content from the seemingly mundane to the highly creative that saw 380 billion photos uploaded in 2012 – more than 10% of all the photos ever taken.
And it's not just photos that we can’t get enough of it. One study of this snap-happy generation by Crowdsnap found UGC video content accounted for almost a third of all their media consumption – a total of 5.4 hours per day, more than any other media type.
Why (and how) UGC video works
On the surface of it, much of the UGC video we spend hours watching may seem pointless, whether it’s the latest cat montage or someone’s own take on the Harlem Shake. But the stats speak for themselves and show we’re searching for them, watching them and sharing them with the world.
We like to see things in new ways. Take a baby’s first steps, for example. Yes, you may have memories of your own children, but seeing someone else’s experience can be just as powerful – it’s not that it’s new, more that it’s a new way of showing something familiar.
And we like to give too. Sharing with others is a way of getting more pleasure out of the content – it makes a statement about yourself to say ‘I liked this, I think you will too’. It’s just a new take on word-of-mouth marketing that’s been a powerful tool for hundreds of years.
In fact, in one study from Google, 75% of YouTube users agreed ‘If there’s a brand I love, I tend to tell everybody about it’.
What UGC content brings to the table is authenticity. The same Crowdsnap study we mentioned earlier found that among the millennial generation, UGC video is trusted 50% more than information from other sources and is 35% more memorable than other sources.
It’s driven largely by familiarity and the nature of this content that is created by people ‘just like me’.
What brands can learn from UGC video
With so much content being created, the UGC boom could be seen as a threat to traditional branded content – after all, UGC content is watched, on average, 10 times more than content created by brands.
But what about the opportunity? Pampers turned to YouTube clips to create their first campaign in a decade, Love, Sleep and Play. After gaining permissions for videos uploaded by parents showing babies falling asleep, playing and having fun together, they packaged it all together to create a branded piece of content that received overwhelmingly positive feedback from their audience.
Coca-Cola did something similar with Happiness is Movement – a campaign using a series of UGC videos that perfectly depicted the brand message in a more authentic, trustworthy way than a traditional piece of branded content could.
And Brazilian telecoms company, Nextel, used UGC video of people bungee jumping, base jumping and diving head-first off cliffs to support their message ‘if you're unhappy with something, change it.’ The campaign #1minutdecoragem (1 minute of courage) was viewed over 7 million times on YouTube.
Whether you like it or not, your customers are sharing content about your brand. So why not take advantage and make use of it to present your brand in a whole new way and forge a stronger connection with your audience?
- UGC video is more trusted and more engaging than traditional branded content
- Done well, it’s intrinsically shareable and can spread far and wide across social media
- Your users are already creating content. Now is the time to use it to show your brand in a completely new way