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Monetising User Generated Content - Alicia Navaro/Skimbit
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  • 1. Monetising user generated content whilst keeping the user (and the money makers) happy Alicia Navarro Joe Stepniewski
  • 2. User Generated Content (UGC) is like the wind …
  • 3. All around us
    • Opinions on a topic (forums, blog/news commenting)
    • Knowledge of a subject (wikis)
    • Conveying an experience (reviews)
    • Sharing of content (youtube, flickr)
    • Creation of content (ICHC, jumpcut)
    • Aggregation of content (digg)
    • Social communication (facebook)
    • Marketplaces (ebay)
  • 4. e.g. News & Comments on Digg
  • 5. e.g. Photos on Flickr
  • 6. e.g. Travel Knowledge on Wikitravel
  • 7. e.g. Reviews on Reevoo
  • 8. but UGC can sweep you away …
    • Harder to implement, less predictable
    • Requires moderation, spam control
    • More infrastructure needed
  • 9. UGC can be harnessed
    • 86.9% of respondents said they would trust a friend’s recommendation over a review by a critic, while 83.8% said they would
    • trust user reviews over a critic .
    • (Marketing Sherpa, July 2007)
  • 10. Momlogic added a community via Ning
  • 11. Mydeco added a custom room planner
  • 12. Wedding TV added a decision tool via Skimbit
  • 13. AWHosts added reviews via wordpress plugin
  • 14. Additional benefits of UGC
    • Increases user trust
    • Lots of search engine friendly content for SEO
    • Creates a community, increases stickiness
    • “ Crowdsourcing” effect
  • 15. And it will actually make you money
    • Increased page views
    • Increased conversion opportunities
    “ 79% of online UK retailers surveyed reported that the main benefit of consumer-generated rating and reviews was that they improved site conversion rates.” (eMarketer, 2007)
  • 16. History of UGC in the buying decision
    • Web 1.0
    • S tatic sites, more like online catalogs
    • Forums, guides for recommendations
  • 17. History of UGC in the buying decision
    • Web 2.0
    • User generated reviews, comments, photos
    • Users posting their own links/recommendations
    “ A consumer survey ranked consumer content as the #1 aid to a buying decision, cited by 91% of respondents.” (JC Williams Group, 2006)
  • 18. This all sounds great – lets make some cash!
    • Hang on …. because of its heavy influence on the purchasing cycle adding UGC has ethical implications
    • UGC blurs the lines between editorial and user generated content
    • Users feel more ‘possession’ of their content
  • 19. Why do I need to do it ethically?
    • I just want to make mo ne y as fast as possible as long as its not illegal, what’s the problem? I still have morals …
    Unethical monetisation methods mean in the long term users are unhappy, and long term revenues decrease
  • 20.
    • “ Unethical ads will get you more fixations, but ethical business practices will attract more loyal customers in the long run .”
    • (Jakob Nielsen)
  • 21. Lets consider both perspectives
    • When we want to monetise user generated content:
      • How do we keep users happy and what are the ethical implications?
      • How do we keep everyone in the value chain happy and what are the ethical implications?
  • 22. Users perspective
    • Give the user what they expect, deliver what they expect from an interaction…
    • … and they’ll tolerate and even respect you
    • Users are more engaged with UGC, have more ‘buy-in’ and therefore less happy with direct or aggressive monetisation methods
  • 23. Commercials Perspective
    • Value chain exists and contributors need to get paid
    • Creation of content isn’t free
    • Maintaining a balanced eco system
    • Disruption can occur through evolved business models and/or abuse of the system
  • 24. Real world commerce example
    • See some ads/billboards about shoes
    • Read a magazine see ads about shoes
    • Pass a few shoe shops, see shoes on display
    • Look around a shoe store
    • Try some shoes on
    • Buy the shoes
  • 25. Vs online commerce
    • Display ads around the web send you brand and product messages
    • See discount offers around which spur you to purchase
    • Use a price comparison site to compare options
    • Go to online retailer, find product, possibly go for an alternative
    • Maybe use a voucher code for discount
    • Buy the product
  • 26. Real world value chain Online value chain
    • Ad Agency
    • Billboard
    • Magazine Publishers
    • Store / Asssistants
    • Shoe Distributors
    • Credit Card Company
    • Trade standards, regulations in place
    • Ad agency
    • Ad network
    • Publisher/Affiliate
    • Merchant
    • Non sequential, less regulated
  • 27. Monetisation Methods
    • Remember:
    • Think about whether its ethical to users (keeping the users happy)
    • Whether its ethical to the value chain (keeping the money makers happy)
    • 5 rules will be highlighted along the way
  • 28. CPM / CPC
  • 29. CPM / CPC
    • Most common method for UGC
    • Ethical issues from a user perspective
      • Contextual ads can be complementary
      • Non intrusive
      • Cases of accidental clicks / sneaky ad placement
    • Ethical issues from a commercial perspective
      • Advertiser / publisher all get paid, with sophisticated revenue sharing (smart pricing) and generally click fraud tracking
  • 30. UGC Monetisation Rule #1
    • Keep ads relevant and deliver on user expectations
  • 31. Content Rewriters / Ad Injectors
  • 32. Content Rewriters / Ad Injectors
    • Scan content for keywords, linked to ads when hovered over or clicked
    • Automatic ‘enabling’ of user generated text content (inline)
    • User perspective
      • Disguised as links
      • Not a pleasant user experience, not relevant
    • Commercial perspective
      • Diminished revenues from user backlash
      • No control over which keywords are monetised
  • 33. UGC Monetisation Rule #2-3
    • A good user experience = repeat users
    • Be contextual and non-jarring
  • 34. User Profiling / Sale of Data
    • User perspective
      • Privacy concerns
    • Commercial perspective
      • Potentially very lucrative
      • Leads to next gen advertising
    • Works with social networks where user registration/demographics are taken
    • Tracking interesting actions / behavioural targeting
    • Available through Nugg.ad, Behavioral science etc
  • 35. Facebook Beacon
    • Sends data to external sites via a 1x1 pixel and cookies
    • Controversy over sending data without permission
  • 36. UGC Monetisation Rule #4
    • Don’t engage in trickery and/or the passing on of personal information without permission
  • 37. Affiliate Marketing
  • 38. Affiliate Marketing
    • Promotion of affiliate offers around UGC e.g. Amazon purchases for a film review
    • Dixons affiliate link next to a forum discussing a Samsung LCD model
    • User perspective
      • Relevant, timely and non disruptive to the user
    • Commercial perspective
      • CPA model paid on performance especially attractive to merchants
      • Respecting the value chain by adding value
  • 39. Affiliates - Coupons
  • 40. Affiliates - Coupons
    • Increasing in popularity due to press/virality
    • User searches for “model # + coupon” in Google when ready to buy
    • User perspective
      • Cash saving on purchase
      • Voucher code lure could abuse user trust
    • Commercial perspective
      • Last cookie model means previous affiliate will not get paid, could disrupt the value chain
      • Alternatives proposed including commission sharing and separate programs for coupons
  • 41. Affiliates - Cashback
  • 42. Affiliates - Cashback
    • Increasing in popularity due to savings potential
    • Memberships encourage the site to be the single point of contact for purchases
    • User perspective
      • Cash saving on purchase
    • Commercial perspective
      • Bypassing affiliates totally, could disrupt the value chain
      • However encouraging innovation and setting the bar higher to convert traffic
  • 43. Affiliates – Cookie Rewriters
  • 44. Affiliates – Cookie Rewriters
    • Toolbars based on Greasemonkey scripts
    • Rewrite links and cookies when on merchant sites
    • User perspective
      • Users like seamless experience and cash savings
    • Commercial perspective
      • Taking unearned commissions, nothing added to the value chain
  • 45. Affiliates – Post Impression Cookie Dropping
    • Legitimate method for tracking sales via banners
    • Can be corrupted by cookie stuffing …
    • … adding lots of cookies for unrelated offers via iframes/images
    • User perspective
      • Tricking the user if its abused
    • Commercial perspective
      • Affiliates adding zero value to the value chain
  • 46. UGC Monetisation Rule #5
    • One click or one view should equal one cookie
  • 47. How to monetise UGC with affiliate marketing
    • Association of products/services with specific user generated content
    • Manually after users have posted
    • Automatically – requires investment in tech
    • Automatically – through 3 rd party products:
      • APIs for product reviews
      • APIs for affiliate link insertion
      • Skimbit has a range of solutions
  • 48. How to monetise UGC with affiliate marketing?
  • 49. Youtube just launched affiliate links
  • 50. Spout Movies
  • 51. Skimbit.com’s social decision-making tool
  • 52. Offered to sites to add community & revenue
    • Customised & integrated white-label service
    • User’s findings get converted to affiliate links where appropriate
  • 53. 5 rules for ethical UGC monetisation
    • Keep ads relevant and deliver on users’ expectations
    • A good user experience = repeat users
    • Be contextual and non-jarring
    • Don’t engage in trickery and/or the passing on of personal information without permission
    • One click or one view should = one cookie
  • 54. Skimbit’s philosophy
    • Don’t push or sell overtly – scares users away
    • Provide a useful tool/service to add value
    • Be useful even if results in no sale
    • Therefore earn user’s trust and repeat usage
    • Keeps ads to a minimum
    • Be true to the user’s expectations
    • Build lasting relationship & sustainable business
  • 55. Monetisation methods summarised Method Users Commercials Display / CPC Link Injectors User Profiling Affiliate Marketing - Cashback - Coupons - Post Impression Cookies - MUGIC
  • 56. Conclusion
    • Affiliate marketing is a fantastic method for monetising user generated content
    • Consider the user and respect the value chain to achieve long term success
  • 57. Thankyou
    • [email_address]
    • [email_address]
    • http://www.skimbit.com