User-Generated Content & E-Commerce
Today’s consumers no longer want to be mere recipients of marketing messages. From recommending brands on Facebook, to uploading and sharing videos on YouTube, the increasing influence of user-generated content on purchase decisions means this is one area that brands need to keep in mind while designing their online marketing strategies. The research team at thismoment studied and explored the relationship between UGC and e-commerce and its impact on people’s buying behavior. Here are some interesting findings:
- According to Bazaarvoice, 84% millennials said that UGC has at least some influence on their purchase decisions, compared to 70% of Baby Boomers.
- Many marketers consider UGC to be a cost-effective way of sharing content, improving brand image and increasing sales.
- Whether it is YouTube ‘how-to’ videos or Facebook ‘likes’ , consumers are eager to know more than just product reviews and pricing information.
- From Content Consumers to Contributors
- Strengthening Engagement with UGC
- The Impact of Recommendations and Reviews
There is no limit to how much content people can consume online; however, consumers have evolved from being recipients of promotional messages to becoming actual contributors. When it comes to UGC and online marketing, the first rule for brands is to encourage content contribution. One company that perfectly blended UGC and its brand together is Coca-Cola. Instead of bombarding fans with promotional messages, the company encourages users to upload pictures on their Facebook page, videos on YouTube and contribute and share content in general. The result? Coca-Cola’s efforts at converting their fans from content consumers to contributors earned the company the No.1 spot in social media marketing.
UGC is the foundation for social media engagement. When compared to brands that simply post promotional messages, the brands that feature UGC in the form of pictures and videos showing people using the company’s products, or YouTube contests and Facebook polls, see better engagement levels. One reason for this could be that people who contribute content are engaged with the brand right from the beginning, and actually make an effort to share this content online. How does this increase conversion and impact sales charts? If you want to sell something, you need to engage with the users first. A smart way of promoting something online, without sounding to pushy, is handing over the reins to the consumer. Authentic content leads to increased engagement and better chances of persuading your consumers to buy something without directly having to do so. Check out Canon’s “Project Imagin8ion” (powered by thismoment’s DEC) user-generated photo contest.
Customers looking for unbiased guidance prefer depending on reviews and recommendations by other shoppers than simply trusting what the company has to say. This shift in purchasing behavior indicates that customers want an honest opinion sans the sales talk. For a smart marketer, this can be the perfect opportunity to promote their products, improve brand visibility and increase prospective customers by letting users share this information with others via social media.
Having understood the influence of user-generated content on consumers’ purchasing behavior, today’s brands are leveraging UGC as a marketing vehicle. From the consumer’s perspective, UGC in the form of Facebook reviews, YouTube contests etc a) deepens engagement levels with the brand b) helps them make smarter purchase decisions online. As for brands, UGC, which is also the foundation for further engagement, is a an affordable opportunity to influence consumer’s purchase decisions, improve visibility, generate fresh content ideas and share content via multiple touch points.
- Shama Ahmed