User generated content (UGC) is not a new concept, but for digital marketers, UGC has never offered as many exciting possibilities for engaging with consumers and building brand loyalty.
With the recent billion dollar acquisitions of content companies like Instagram and Tumblr, tech giants are further demonstrating the immense value of content today,and the opportunities are apparent for marketers.
In a January 2013 Econsultancy/Adobe report on digital marketing trends, over 700 digital professionals identified content marketing as the single most significant trend in marketing today.
Content, in short, is king, so it’s incumbent upon brands to make good use of it.
Social Media Week in New York started big with Ford's announcement this morning with a new Ford Fiesta ad campaign that will use content created only by users - in fact, it'll be their first ever user generated campaign that spans the entire advertising year.
Ford are focusing on creating a team of 100 social influencers who will create the advertising material that Ford will distribute through a mix of paid media, social media and experiential events. These will be the new Ford Fiesta Agents - I'm just glad they didn't opt for Guru or Ninja. Phew.
So the content the agents create can be in whatever form they choose to do. Ford gives them cars, a camera and in addition to this open remit of any content goes, the group will also have to complete challenges with properties such as American Idol, the X Games and music festival, Bonnaroo.
What do Facebook, Buzzfeed, and Pinterest have in common besides keeping us from getting actual work done?
Each of them is powered by pictures. That’s right: jpegs, pngs, graphics, photographs. Facebook’s April acquisition of Instagram and more recent launch of its camera app announced to the world what it’s known for a while.
That the best way to keep users engaged is to give them lots and lots of images to view, post, and share. This will be among Facebook’s greatest successes.
Thanks to the rise of the social web, some of the most valuable content on many websites isn't created by their owners - it's created by the users in the form of comments.
When it comes to providing the functionality that enables users to comment, third parties often play a key role.
That's because instead of rolling their own commenting functionality, many website owners turn to companies like Facebook and Disqus, which have carved out a niche for themselves by offering commenting functionality that can be enabled with a few lines of code.
I’ve been asked a few times recently how social media users behave over
different channels, and I thought it was worth jotting down some notes
on what to expect if you’re running a campaign that includes
Car companies have had mixed results with using user-generated content (UGC) campaigns to promote new vehicles. Ford’s Fiesta Movement generated tons of positive buzz by seeding 100 social media “stars” with cameras and free compact cars. But who can forget the disaster that was Chevy's "Make your own Tahoe commercial"?
When smart, the ultra-compact brand of Diamler AG, wanted to boost the presence of its smart fourtwo vehicle in the US, the company turned to UGC. And in the safe confines of online artist community deviantART, the campaign was able to flourish.
For companies looking to change consumer perception of their products, user generated content can be an excellent route of outreach. But asking people to submit content and spreading positive word of mouth is not always synonymous.
At the CMSummit in New York this week, Cisco demonstrated a way that the two can work together — through a guided user generated contest.
As the company learned last year, only 60% of homes in the U.S. enabled with broadband have installed home networks. And that's not for lack of money or technical skill. According to Ken Wirt, Cisco's VP of consumer marketing:
"The number one reason for not having a home network is confusion. People say: 'I don't know what I'd do with one.'"
That is a problem Cisco set out to fix with its Digital Cribs initiative.
Less than a year ago, video giant YouTube announced that people were uploading 20 hours of video to the site every minute. They encouraged users to upload even more. Today, they've announced that a full day's worth of content is uploaded per minute.
And finally, YouTube is in a position to monetize those videos.
Wikipedia may be the fifth-most-popular website in the world, but most of those viewers come to look without adding or changing any of the content on the site. And if viewers stop contributing content, Wikipedia will cease to survive.
According to the Wall Street Journal, that's not so far fetched. Wikipedia is currently hemorrhaging article editors. If Wikipedia can't get people to contribute to its voluble entries, is it possible for free user generated content to survive?