UGC (User Generated Content) — is a content, created by a brand’s user. This commercial information includes diverse types of content — reviews, videos, photos, blog posts. The author is a usual brand’s customer, a follower in social networks or a regular company’s site visitor.
According to statistics, most customers of commercial online platforms and stores tend to trust the UGC and not the information about a particular product provided by the company. Even the most comprehensive and detailed product information imposes on the product rating worse than user ratings and reviews. According to marketing agencies, the focus on a productive UGS is in third place in the current list of goals for a quality and effective marketing campaign to promote a brand, after adaptive and flexible mobile promotion strategy and efficient content-marketing (meaning comprehensive and detailed product maintenance with professional content — photos, videos, interactive elements, like virtual dressing rooms etc).
So, why UGC is so important for eCommerce now?
First of all, it is necessary to understand that modern eCommerce is fully based on the mechanisms of influence on the buyer and promotion. There is hellish competition in the world of eCommerce, so standard methods of promotion must go side by side with high-quality dialogue with the customer. No one, except your customers, will be able to visually indicate to you errors in the marketing campaign and any shortcomings or trivial impropriety of products to be used. Suppose if you promote high-tech products, dialogue with users is a key stage in the final testing of a product. Users will be able to point out those bugs that may not be detected even with the most professional alpha testing of the product by developers.
Official statistics for 2018 state that 84% of users trust customer feedback as if they heard advice from familiar people, and 74% said that the prevalence of positive feedback is the first sign that a product is worth a purchase.
Given the overall socialization of eCommerce, the dialogue with the buyer is hard to overestimate in terms of benefits for promotion and a clear indicator of sales success. Most well-known companies have their offices on the Internet and social networks, and even small online stores based on platforms such as Shopify and Magento, try to acquire their own pages on social networks.
The main channels for the promotion of goods on the Internet and the integration with UGC
Currently, there are many channels for the promotion of goods and services on the Internet. Most of them can be supplemented with custom content in order to make products more “lively” for users. If there are reviews of the product, and you can look at its unpacking, then it is perceived with a greater share of the confidence of future buyers, who first of all look at the User-Generated Content, accompanying company’s product.
Let’s take a closer look at the most used brand promotion channels on the Internet and how they can be combined with custom content:
- Search engine optimization. SEO is the first and main channel for the promotion of commercial pages, as the most customers come from the search engines. According to the latest statistics, the probability of transition to your site, if it is in the first place of search results — 71%, and if on the second page — the probability of getting a client from the search is less than 6%. High-quality custom content can greatly embellish the page of your online store for search engines. First, search engines much more trust those pages that are actively studied by users — in other words, the more often real users visit your page, the higher it is indexed in search results. If you establish a quality dialogue with the client and bring top reviews, custom photos, and video content directly into the content of the page, this optimizes the ranking. Secondly, the conversion significantly increases, because, after the transition from the search engine, the user sees that the page is “live” and this product or service is bought by other users. In general, high-quality search promotion, combined with high-quality UGC, can significantly improve conversion and direct sales statistics.
- Promotion in social networks (SMM). Nowadays, this promotion channel for a commercial project on the Internet means nothing less than search engine promotion. The representation of your online store or another commercial platform in a social network increases your chances of increasing the target audience of customers. Social networks today offer tremendous opportunities for product advertising, and setting up personalized pages for companies and products can make a real multifunctional representation of an ordinary public page, with feedback and narrowly-focused marketing. In addition, social networks are real live communication with the audience, where all feedback from users is based on reviews, reviews and user content. It is SMM tools that perfectly correlate with UGC and provide an optimal understanding of the goals of advertising your product. The right marketing campaign in social networks and the creation of representative pages in more social networks can bring you a huge number of customers, especially if they are in constant dialogue with them about the quality of products and the reputation of the brand as a whole.
As we see, the main channels for the promotion of products and services on the Internet are perfectly combined with high-quality custom content. Effective promotion of the company in the network is impossible without filling the website or page of the online store with UGC, that animates the page for future visitors.
The main types of User-Generated Content
User content is based on information whether the customer liked the product or service. Most often, these are customer reviews, but modern commercial platforms should provide an opportunity for customers to leave a photo and video reviews. Such types of content as banal video unpacking of the goods or photos from the fitting are much more popular among other visitors. In addition, modern social networks provide ample opportunities for product representation in the form of entire posts in personal blogs — if you link this information to the selling product page directly, you can attract more customers from among readers of blogs.
Let us examine in more detail the main types of user content.
- Customer Reviews. According to statistics, 66% of visitors to online stores firstly looking at reviews left by previous customers and tend to trust them much more than the information provided by the company. For now, almost every online store page template on popular commercial platforms provide a reviews section, and most new sites do not operate without reviews section at all. Customer reviews are not only additional information about the product and constructive feedback from your users but also the ability to establish communication with users. On popular websites of online stores, you can see that almost every review is accompanied by a response from the manufacturer or at least from the technical support manager of the online store. Positive reviews can raise your rating on the Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and other platforms. And every negative review is a chance to review the online store service and improve the organization of work or product quality. It is strongly recommended to give users the opportunity to leave a video or photo reviews, as the visual content significantly increases the level of trust in the brand.
- User-Generated Content: Social Media. According to modern statistics, 75% of users during the year buy something that they have seen on a photo or video on social networks, and 57% tend to buy products of those brands to which they are subscribed through social networks and follow the updates. Now, almost every brand has its own representation in social networks — and it is not just that. Own page in social networks, like Facebook or Instagram, makes the company closer to customers, and customers, in turn, tend to trust the company to which they subscribe to the social network. In addition, social networks are now actively developing and provide an opportunity not only to create a full-fledged multifunctional page of a company or product, using modern instruments for promotion but also significantly expand the ability of users to keep some feedback. The clients of the companies post on their pages video and photos, comment on their impressions of the purchase or visit to this or that shop, which in itself is an excellent advertisement. Modern social networks are built entirely on User-Generated Content, so communication with users through Facebook or Instagram is one of the most effective ways of interacting with customers.
- Blogs. Each blog is an opportunity for a person to express his opinion about something, and the modern Internet of things is built on the blogs of people who give feedback on purchases of new products or popular things. Communication with popular bloggers provides unique opportunities for advertising your own products because top blogs have thousands, even millions, of subscribers, each of whom can become your potential customer. The opportunity to be supported by the creators of popular Youtube channels or other platforms built on user content gives you the opportunity to significantly expand the reach of your audience. In addition, people tend to trust bloggers, if they already read them or subscribe through this or that social network, and consider them professionals in their field. A positive assessment of the product by a blogger or a mention in one of the thematic videos on the mentioned Youtube will ensure you the influx of clients from the audience of the blog channel.
The main advantages of the User Generated Content
After analyzing information about the promotion channels using custom content, we list the main advantages of the UGS:
- An open dialogue with visitors will allow you to immediately pay attention to all the flaws in the organization of work or in product quality. User reviews will give you objective information about the quality of your company’s work.
- Positive customer reviews increase the level of trust in your brand.
- Even a professionally designed product page, with photos and video materials, loses in relation to user content. Videos and photos left by users in their reviews or in posts dedicated to buying in your online store provide another level of trust, as new visitors see how the company’s products look in the hands of other, real customers.
- Social involvement of the brand in the life of their customers. Representing the company on a social network or on popular blogging platforms increases the level of attention to your company. So, according to statistics, only 1% of people can buy a thing, only once seeing it on the social network. And 85% of Internet users prefer to buy from brands that they can subscribe to on Facebook, Instagram and on a number of social networks. Your customers can follow the assortment and stock updates, so it’s important not only to get a product or company page but also to actively communicate with users. This, in turn, provokes the target audience to create content dedicated to your company — which in itself is an excellent advertisement.
- Custom content is a storehouse of ideas for promotion. Perhaps among product reviews, you will find ideas for a future marketing campaign or even for a new product line based on user preferences.
- Cost savings. User content is absolutely free, and active product tracking with reviews, video and photo content can work much better than popular methods of product promotion on the Internet.
User-Generated Content — the key to the active development of your brand and to expand the audience of customers. The integration of modern solutions to support active dialogue between users and representatives of companies brings unique opportunities for advertising and an objective assessment of your products by customers.