User-generated content refers to the content created by people who are not associated with your e-commerce website in any way or unsponsored content. It can be in the form of a review on the products on your online shopping website, discussion boards, FAQ forums and consumer-generated media like videos, posts, and photographs.
This content is considered to be the most genuine content that helps in building the trust of consumers on the e-commerce website and its products resulting in the success and growth of the business. As there are numerous online shopping websites in Pakistan competing against each other, this competition can be won by establishing credibility by the third party and developing consumer trust. E-commerce websites that focus and utilize user-generated content tend to generate a more positive response and returning customers which means that the online shopping website is not only successful in making the initial sales but also in establishing the customer or brand loyalty.
UGC versus Traditional Marketing Techniques
Consumers are becoming more active and aware of traditional marketing techniques. They do not frequently rely on advertisements but on authentic product reviews like word of mouth from a friend or product reviews on online shopping websites. According to a study carried out in 2013, around 79% of consumers admitted the fact that they trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. That is a high percentage.
Reasons behind the success of UGC
The success of UGC has gained popularity over the last decade. Remember? “Share a Coke” campaign by Coca Cola created a lot of hype. But the thing to focus here is why are brands turning to their audiences for marketing their products rather than creating their own advertisement campaigns?
The businesses have started giving preference to the needs of their customers because satisfying customers can prove to be most effective than traditional marketing techniques. Online shopping websites are increasing day by day and if the brand ignores the needs of their customers, they will end up losing them to some other brand.
The user of online shopping sites, are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about the companies’ inauthentic marketing tactics and give preference to those with genuine and transparent content.
Consumers Don’t Trust Sponsored Content
People do not like to be forced in any way to buy certain products and tend to lose interest in the product if they are pushed by using sponsored content. These days’ people prefer original comments and reviews by the users.
We have been buying UGC content for centuries but previously we did not have the media platforms accessible worldwide. Considering the fact that 92% of the people are more likely to trust personal recommendation over an advertisement will make the difference more clear.
Todays’ consumers’ are not passive consumers relying on TV commercials or billboards advertisements instead, they prefer authentic user experience and reviews over that. According to Cohn and Wolfe, Amazon is considered to be the number one among 100 brands and that is because most of the content on Amazon e-commerce website is user-generated rather than the brand.
Being genuine and original is extremely important in today’s online world. How do consumers decide who they would prefer to buy from? They would definitely go for brands that they can connect with on a human level and brands those that satisfy their needs.
As most of the content is user-generated, it is unpaid. The cost is considerably lower as compared to a TV commercial where the company has to pay thousands and millions to advertising agencies.
Challenges of UGC
One of the major problems when allowing users to submit original content is that it inevitably carries certain unwanted side effects, so, it is extremely important to monitor minutely the content posted by users and deal with any inappropriate content on the go. This can be controlled by ensuring at all times that the comments and discussions remain productive and keep moderating them.
Do not delete all negative comments because that would make your e-commerce website to appear inauthentic. Instead, ensure that all negative comments are appropriately responded suggesting a remedy for the situation whenever possible.
However, acknowledging the risks involved in UGC marketing is equally important. The critical thing here is to manage the legal rights to the photographs. There are a couple of examples which demonstrate the potential damage caused to the brand image due to the mismanagement of UGC marketing. Clearly, state the ownership and usage rights of the content to the users to avoid any serious legal issues. Take a closer look into the copyright laws to avoid any situations prospectively.
Key Benefits of using UGC
The brands are increasingly incorporating UGC as part of their marketing strategy due to a long list of benefits that it provides. These include:
User-generated content allows saving hefty amounts of cash spent on creating marketing content.
Social Media Reach
Social media websites are the best platforms for starting a UGC campaign such as Facebook and Twitter which proves to be an excellent way to build and strengthen consumer trust.
It’s imperative to respond to users regularly and on a timely basis to facilitate productive interaction ensuring the content is beneficial for the brand rather than detrimental. This will result in
- Increased number of followers
- Extended Reach
- Creates brand awareness
- Boost likes, reposts, comments and retweets
- Increased traffic on online shopping websites
Good reviews can raise the SEO ranking of the online shopping website drastically. UGC allows getting those reviews leading towards increased SEO value. Another important tip is to analyze the comments and content of your viewers for most frequently used words and phrases. It will help you to improve keyword optimization.
UGC provides valuable insights through the content provided by the users. It provides great help in understanding customer needs and applying the strategies to generate leads and increase sales.
Benefits of user-generated content include:
- Building trust
- Establishing credibility
- Creating brand awareness
- Showcasing real-life experiences
- Increasing conversions and sales
- Strengthening brand loyalty
- Creating transparency and originality
Everything is changing so quickly and in order to go with a flow, the content should be up to date and according to the latest trends. UGC marketing campaigns make it easier for brands to stay updated.
The influence of UGC is prominent on e-commerce websites and it is clear that prospectively it will increase as brands prefer more involvement from consumers rather than the marketeers.