“Content is King” in Digital Marketing but it is equally true when you consider many other areas of marketing like social media posts, web pages, product descriptions, emails and SEO, paid ads, keywords that people type into search engines and many other things. In fact most of the key elements listed below are really only around because of content.
Also, consumers are becoming increasingly shrewd and knowledgeable about getting rid of the advertising they don’t want to see, so content is becoming the only way to get the message across. People hate being interrupted by ads, but love to consume content.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
When it comes to eCommerce there is a great emphasis on User-Generated Content (UGC).
The use of user-generated content (UGC) has emerged as an important component of the content marketing mix. It’s seen as the next big thing in content marketing and it’s particularly useful for your eCommerce business.
What is User-Generated Content?
Short for user-generated content, UGC is the term used to describe any form of content such as video, blogs, discussion-form posts, digital images, audio files, and other forms of media that have been created by consumers or end-users of an online system, product or service and is publically available to other consumers and end-users. User-generated content is also called Consumer Generated Media (CGM)
It’s any type of content generated by customers and visitors to your site (or any other of your web platforms). It can be user reviews, questions and answers, word of mouth, positive shares, social buzz, anything from a tweet to a hashtag. UGC can be in the form of rich content like photos, videos, or other visual media.
User-generated content (UGC) has been around for a while now but it’s becoming increasingly important, even vital, in influencing customers’ decision to purchase. Consequently it is a huge marketing trend for eCommerce owners to incorporate UCG to increase their conversions.
It takes some effort up front to encourage your customers to post content on your online spaces, but once you have a system in place it becomes quick and simple.
Now, you might wondering if you should focus on UGC, why it should take precedent over other areas of marketing, if it will take up too much of your time, or if it’s going to be that hard. You might even have some reservations about the effectiveness of user-generated content, see these statistics showing where UGC can benefit your business and why it’s worth the investment:
- 92% of shoppers trust User-Generated Content (UGC) and Word of Mouth (WOM) more than advertising. UGC is extremely valuable to them when making a purchase decision.
- Brand engagement increases by 28% when customers are exposed to both professional content and user-generated product videos.
- In fact, research shows that you can see up to a 25% increase in the eCommerce conversion rate when user-generated photos are used instead of professional product shots.
- 48% of consumers say that UGC is a great way to discover new products, brands, and retailers.
- 75% have purchased something because they saw it on social and 57% are more likely to buy from a brand they follow.
This could represent a huge amount of sales for your business 😉
Now this is why
- UGC Builds Trust
“Trust is your most valuable asset, so it’s time to embrace the most trusted source: Other People” ~ Jake Rheude
Online community is a noisy and crowded place, so friends help us to filter through the noise. And social media has reinforced the common belief that many of us have “I know my friend Kate likes me – So her product recommendation carries more weight”. The painful reality is that consumers trust each other more than they trust you.
- UGC Creates Relationships
Reviews or UGC that’s part of a larger marketing campaign also increase existing customer retention and create a feeling of appreciation when you actively seek out the content.
When customers provide, or when you requesting user-generated content, it’s a unique opportunity for encouraging a genuine conversation and relationship.
It’s good to have a place where you’re not hiding information and where customers expressed themselves in such a way that both the “good” and the “bad” side of things can be articulated.
The relationship that you nurture and strengthen is between you and your current customers, but it’s also between past and future customers. This relationship can actually become the foundation for a community based simply on shopping at your eCommerce store.
- UGC Helps you build a free and honest Customer Service
You can answer all your customers’ questions, but other users provide empiric insight and this is what potential customers want to hear from your existing customers.
Visitors to your e-commerce site are looking for real information, including answers to a wide range of questions that they want answered from others customers.
You can see this happening on any Amazon product page where customers turn to each other to see what your products are like in reality , not just the professional and fancy image that you display on your site.
The great thing is that you might get free customer service because users are doing this job for you or to each other.
- UGC Helps to get your Brand out there
The “unboxing” trend is all about customers showing others what your product looks like when it arrives on your doorstep, how it is packaged inside and outside, whether there’s a free gift inside etc. It is a great user-generated experience that usually comes in the form of photos or videos and delivers excitement about a product.
Fundamentally, people like sharing great experiences. 4 in 10 consumers would share an image of a delivery via social media if it came in a unique package.
TrunkClub is a great example of how people share a good unboxing experience.
If you Google search for “TrunkClub Unboxing” you’ll find a huge number of blog posts, images and videos created by customers.
Here’s an example of “TrunkClub Unboxing” video
This helps TrunkClub spread their name across the web, along with valuable back links which in turn help improve their SEO
- Consumers like UGC-Based Ads
Ads containing UGC can not only generate up to four times more click-through rates but can also reduce both cost-per-click and cost-per-acquisition by 50%.
UGC helps to see what works and what doesn’t. It will actually help you learn more about your customers, especially concerning how they like to communicate. This allows you to build a wealth of information and potentially increase engagement as you do it. It also means that there will be less and less need for you to do A/B advertising testing as you get to know your customers in a different way – through UGC and interaction.
Now, that you know a little more about UGC (its benefits and its benefits to your eCommerce business), my next blog post will be all about how you can make it work for you.