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The 2016 State of User-Generated Content

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Authentic media, earned media, user-generated content (UGC), word of mouth - marketers have a lot of names for the pieces of content created by consumers recommending their products and services. Anecdotally, we’ve all been told how important this content is for marketing - especially in the social age. However, just how effective is this media? How do the people who create content most want to be engaged with by brands? What are the biggest hurdles when it comes to using it in marketing? To answer this, we surveyed more than a hundred millennials along with digital marketers to get their thoughts on all things UGC.

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Chute powers enterprise UGC for brands, agencies and publishers – from discovering consumer photos and videos, both with visual and text search, to the ideation, production and amplification of compelling visual material. Chute works with some of the world’s biggest brands and publishers including Benefit Cosmetics, NBC Universal, Adidas, Brown-Forman, Condé Nast, NBA, United Nations, New York Times, and Ford.

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The 2016 State of User-Generated Content

  1. 1. Presented @monicakwatson The 2016 State of User-Generated Content R E P O R T
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction Meet the Millennials Consumers  User-Generated Content Marketers Weigh In Conclusion @katejoie @r_greenfield 1 2 3 7 12
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION Authentic media, earned media, user-generated content (UGC), word of mouth - marketers have a lot of names for the pieces of content created by consumers recommending their products and services. Anecdotally, we’ve all been told how important this content is for marketing - especially in the social age. However, just how effective is this media? How do the people who create content most want to be engaged with by brands? What are the biggest hurdles when it comes to using it in marketing? To answer this, we surveyed more than a hundred millennials along with digital marketers to get their thoughts on all things UGC. 1@ozeias
  4. 4. @ozeias First, let’s kick things off with the millennial consumer report. It’s pretty clear: marketers are obsessed with millennials - and for good reason. They’re the largest generation alive today, according to Pew. However, that size is also the problem - it leads marketers to create wide generalizations about a group of people who are all at differing life stages. Plus, if there’s one thing to know about millennials it’s that they hate being generalized - personalization is key for this audience, so thinking of them as one big monolith inhibits brands from really targeting and creating effective content. That’s why on top of defining this generation as those born between 1981 and 1997, we also break up millennials based on 3 life stages: the student, the early careerist, and the budding parent. MEET THE MILLENNIALS @samsteinsf STUDENT ( 19-24 ) 2 IN MILLIONS Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of U.S. Census Bureau population projections released December 2014 EARLY CAREERIST ( 25-30 ) BUDDING PARENT ( 31-35 ) Millennials: Aged 19-35
  5. 5. CONSUMERS  USER-GENERATED CONTENT Generating Conversations Through UGC Just to get it out of the way - if anyone was questioning the importance of user- generated content, it’s time to reevaluate. Overall, 78% of millennials said they would rather see photos of real customers over professional photos created by the brand, and this remains consistent across all 3 groups of millennials. How does this fluctuate based on industry? We gave consumers a series of images and had them choose the ones that most inspired them to travel or purchase. For travel, 74% said the UGC most made them want to visit the location shown. For CPG, that jumps up to 83% saying the user-generated image made them want to research the product. And for fashion, 85% were inspired to look into a clothing item after seeing it worn by a fellow consumer. 3 @agatakamler % of millennials (per industry) who said UGC inspired a purchase over professional photos 74% TRAVEL CONSUMER PRODUCTS FASHION 83% 85%
  6. 6. @ozeias And this trend continues when these millennials were asked what type of media they need in order to buy or research a product. Overall, 69% said positive online reviews and comments, 55% also want to see people who they relate to using the product, and 53% get recommendations in-person. You can also really see how this is a growing trend by noticing that as the respondents get younger, the more important earned media becomes. @jleighfarrar @kimmiier 4 What would most get you to buy or research a product? Students Early Careerist Budding Parent 69% 55% 53% Positive online reviews or comments Seeing people like me use the product In-person recommendations 76% 73% 62% 62% 64% 43% 69% 44% 51% Not only are millennials looking to UGC to make real purchase decisions, they’re also making this content. Across the board, 64% post to social media to recommend a product of service at least once a month. And what do these consumers want in exchange for their interaction? Not a whole lot - the majority said they just want a comment or reply from the brand they’re posting about. 64% recommend a product or service on social media at least once a month. Students Early Careerist Budding Parent 67% 62% 64%
  7. 7. Top social platforms millennials follow brands:Growing An Audience With UGC In our research, we found most millennials follow brands on social media. In fact, only 10% of millennials who use social media follow no brands on any platform. However, one specific platform stood out the most: Facebook. This is fairly unsurprising, considering it is the platform that has become practically omnipresent in all of our lives. However, the younger the millennial is, the more likely they are to follow brands on other social platforms - especially image and visual-first platforms like Instagram, Youtube and Snapchat. Meanwhile, Twitter grows especially in importance for older millennials. Facebook 74% Instagram 36% Pinterest 24% Twitter 23% YouTube 22% Snapchat 12% Tumblr 10% None 10% Facebook 83% Instagram 50% YouTube 33% Twitter 27% Snapchat 27% Pinterest 20% Tumblr 17% None 3% Student Facebook 71% Instagram 38% Pinterest 31% YouTube 27% Twitter 18% None 13% Snapchat 11% Tumblr 11% Early Careerist Facebook 72% Instagram 26% Twitter 26% Pinterest 22% None 11% YouTube 11% Snapchat 6% Tumblr 6% Budding Parent 5
  8. 8. But what factors play into these consumers’ decision making processes for whether to follow a brand or not - especially on a platform like Instagram? Overwhelmingly, “amazing content” in the form of a good theme or aesthetic was the top factor. This was particularly key for millennials in the Students group - 73% of them selected this option. Amazing content even beat out “offers and contests”, which was selected by 48% of respondents. 6 What would most get you to follow a brand on a platform like Instagram? 57% 48% 27% 24% Amazing content of a good theme/aesthetic Offers and contests Re-posted my content/gave a shout-out Engaged with my own content (commenting/liking) Students Early Careerist Budding Parent All On the other hand, there are some social media taboos brands need to avoid to hold on to their audience. Overall, the top reason millennials unfollow brands is because they post too often. That is closely followed by posting images that look or feel too much like ads. However, keep in mind that this shifts based on group - students are most turned off by ad-like images whereas budding parents don’t have patience for too much content. Posting too often is the top reason people unfollow brands, followed closely by posting images that come across like ads. 64% 55% 26% Posting too often Images look too much like ads Overly produced photos This changes by age group 73% 58% 72% Images look too much like ads Posting too often Posting too often STUDENT EARLY CAREERIST BUDDING PARENT 73% 56% 50%
  9. 9. @ozeias With these shifts in consumer preferences and additional outlets and channels, marketers are under increasing pressure to maximize resources, which haven’t increased at the same pace. In our survey of U.S. marketers, we found few seem to be lacking ideas. Instead, they are challenged with limited time, staff, and budget to put those ideas into action. And many brands are turning to UGC to help with this - 57% said the content is an easy and inexpensive resource for their brand. But that’s not the only, or even top reason 78% of digital marketers turn to UGC - the top 2 reasons are because marketers want more authentic media and to engage audiences. @howdoestheshoefit 7 MARKETERS WEIGH IN Biggest challenges for marketers? 67% Lack of time or staff resources 62% Limited budget 49% Difficult approvals and legal processes 43% Poor measurement and attribution 42% Maintaining timeliness and relevance 12% Lack of creative ideas/inspiration 7
  10. 10. @ozeias Where are they implementing it? The top place is organic social posts - especially on Instagram, however many are also using it in paid social and on their websites. Instagram is also the top place these marketers are sourcing user-generated content - unsurprising, considering the caliber of content that tends to be posted vs. other social platforms. @mixoftwo 7 Where are marketers using UGC? Why do brands use UGC? 87% For authentic content 72% To engage audience 57% Easy and/or inexpensive to source 25% Performs better 21% Consumer insights 80% Organic social media posts 47% Paid social posts 47% Websites 34% Email 23% Live events 17% Ads 15% Print media 6% Retail/eCommerce experiences 8
  11. 11. @ozeias 2 Where do marketers publish UGC? Where do marketers source UGC from? However, there’s more to UGC than just content. Marketers also see value in the data behind it - to find new influencers with targeted niche audiences or to surface demographic and social media trends. However, user-generated content also has its pain points. 57% of marketers utilizing UGC said discovering good content was their biggest hurdle. In fact, when asked what part of UGC marketing they most wish could be automated, the top pick was discovering and managing their media. A huge issue is that so many marketers are trying to tackle UGC manually. There are tens of millions of photos being shared daily on Instagram alone - discovering the best on-brand content by using their search bar is impossible to scale. Instagram Instagram Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Pinterest YouTube Blogs Pinterest YouTube Tumblr 81% 87% 72% 54% 13% 13% 77% 62% 23% 21% 17% 6% What UGC insights would be most valuable? 45% Influencer discovery 23% 17% 9% Demographics Social media trends Geo-location 9
  12. 12. What is the biggest hurdle when using UGC? How are marketers managing their UGC? 10 What do marketers most want to be automated? 1 Collecting and managing data 2 Content creation 3 Discovering influencers 4 Content discovery, creation and search 5 Mining consumer insights 6 Getting permission to use content 7 Performance measurement 8 Scheduling/publishing content 9 Approvals and goverance 57% 20% 14% 9% Discovering good content Manual, in-house Takes too much time to source Software ( like Chute ) Legal worries Manual, agency Getting permission Other @lionfour 45% 25% 21% 9%
  13. 13. @ozeias Lastly, the biggest worry for marketers around user-generated content are the legalities. Rules and regulations haven’t adapted yet to this new form of marketing. That’s why, of the marketers who aren’t yet using UGC, 57% said legal concerns were their biggest hurdle. And of the marketers already using UGC, 38% said copyright was their top concern. Again, the majority of marketers are doing this completely manually - directly commenting on or messaging creators. Not only is this not scalable, but it also leaves room for human error - something most legal teams are going to be wary of allowing. Without access to software, that leaves marketers with the less safe options of either using a branded hashtag and hoping consent is implied or not getting rights at all. @kaliegeo Why don’t marketers use UGC? How are marketers getting rights to UGC? 57% 38% said legal concerns are concerned about copyright regarding UGC Manually commenting to get rights Using software like Chute Branded hashtag Don’t get rights 53% 25% 17% 4% 11
  14. 14. Chute powers enterprise UGC for brands, agencies and publishers – from discovering consumer photos and videos, both with visual and text search, to the ideation, production, and amplification of compelling visual material. Chute works with some of the world’s biggest brands and publishers including Benefit Cosmetics, NBC Universal, Adidas, Brown-Forman, Condé Nast, NBA, United Nations, New York Times, and Ford. For more information, visit www.getchute.com If there is one key takeaway from this report, it is that user-generated content is not just a passing fad, and it’s not just restricted to select industries. It is growing in importance as demographics get younger, and marketers should be prioritizing authentic media and stories today. CONCLUSION 12

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