User-Generated Content (or UGC) is, as the name suggests, content that is provided by the user rather than the brand. UGC started gaining popularity around 2005, alongside the rise of media sharing via social platforms like Facebook. By 2013, 114.5 million people contributed to user-generated content. The question is, is this phenomenon at all helpful to ecommerce video production—or ecommerce in general?
Many seem to think so.
According to Optimizely, UGC is highly relevant to retail strategy because of “one key psychological trigger,” which is social proof. Social proof is defined as a “psychological phenomenon that occurs when someone assumes the actions of others reflect correct behavior” in a given situation. It’s basically reminiscent of the monkey-see-monkey-do occurrence; we do what other people do simply because they’re doing it—regardless of rhyme or reason.
4 TYPES OF UGC
User-generated content is divided into four general categories; comments, reviews, photos, and videos. While each option has its advantages (and corresponding disadvantages), there’s one thing worth pointing out. Of the four types, video is arguably the hardest to solicit from users. It requires more time, effort, and planning compared to pictures, comments, and reviews.
Also, not everyone feels comfortable sitting in front of a camera and talking about a product. It requires a level of commitment that not every consumer is happy to give.
However, this struggle is what makes video the most effective UGC out of the four. The fact that a consumer took the time to actually generate a video for your product speaks volumes about how much they love your product. In terms of ecommerce video production, professional actors can be paid and sponsored to promote your product, and that’s exactly why it’s much more authentic and much more compelling when regular consumers do it. There is no pay or compensation involved—just genuine excitement and appreciation.
STATISTICS: CONSUMER TRUST
While online reviews are arguably not as “effective” as videos in terms of compelling content, they are still highly prioritized. According to Business, 46% of American online consumers trust online reviews posted by other customers implicitly. In fact, 70% trust and regard online reviews more than they do professionally written marketing content. Overall, CMO of HigherLogic Hunter Montgomery states that customer-generated reviews are trusted 12 times more than “a marketing piece from an organization.”
STATISTICS: VISUAL PROOF
When it comes to user-generated ecommerce video production for long-term marketing channels, 64% of marketers would choose visual and audio-visual UGC over text. Visual marketing always has and always will appeal to a larger chunk of the online audience. In fact, according to Ad Week, 67% of online consumers will tune in to video reviews about a product at least once before making a purchase. 49% of them will head to YouTube for further information.
Further proof that UGC and ecommerce video production work well together? Purchase intent increases by as much as 97% when prospective consumers enjoy a product video. And on the note of purchasing…
STATISTICS: UGC AND PURCHASE INTENT
When it comes to buying online, 41% of shoppers admitted they need only 1 to 4 user-generated product reviews before they’re fully influenced to buy. Furthermore, the most influential UGC in terms of product reviews are ones that feature a customer’s personal journey with the product (80%) and a pro’s-and-cons video of the product (71%).
So should we phase out traditional ecommerce video production in favor of UGC? Absolutely not. A professional ecommerce video can still do wonders by lending brand premium and credibility. If you rely on nothing but UGC to do the selling for you, you won’t have much sales left. The best course of action would be to integrate both traditional brand-generated videos with user-generated content.