Why UGC Is The Key To Authenticity & Consumer Influence

By Peter Cassidy - November 10, 2017
3 mins read time
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Today’s marketers are in constant competition for consumers’ attention – not just with each other but also with people’s social feeds.

Consumers have more ways than ever to discover, research, purchase and promote products and services, but what content and sources do people seek out, trust and find most influential?

We conducted the Consumer Content Report: Influence in the Digital Age to examine the content being created and shared online, and find out what truly influences people’s purchasing decisions. This is what we found.

Authenticity Matters

Since consumers are increasingly distrusting of advertising and marketing, authenticity has become absolutely critical for brands.

The vast majority of consumers (86 percent) said authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. And that number is even higher among Millennials, with 90 percent saying authenticity is important when choosing which brands to support.

90% of Millennials say authenticity is important when choosing which brands to support.Click To Tweet

With this in mind, how are brands stacking up?

Brands Are Failing To Produce Content That Resonates With Consumers

" "More than half of consumers think brands aren’t creating content that feels authentic. Fifty-seven percent said less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic.

Consumers can’t be fooled either. People can distinguish between consumer-created content and brand-created content 70 percent of the time.

Authenticity matters because not only can consumers tell the difference, but they’ll also punish brands that try to fake it by disconnecting with them online – particularly younger consumers. Our study revealed that 30 percent of Millennials have unfollowed a brand on social media because they felt their content was inauthentic.

But if authenticity is king, what type of content reigns supreme?

User-Generated Content Is Seen As Most Authentic and Influential

" "

Sixty percent of people said UGC is the most authentic form of content. In fact, they’re three times more likely to say that content created by a consumer is authentic compared to content created by a brand. And authenticity equals influential to consumers.

For all the buzz around influencer marketing, it turns out celebrities and influencers are seen as the least influential in impacting consumers’ purchasing decisions.

On average, 60 percent of people (and 70 percent of Millennials) said social media content from friends and family impact their purchasing decisions, while only 23 percent said celebrity influencer content was impactful.

And it’s not just talk. Over half of Millennials have decided to eat a restaurant or book travel because of consumer-created content they saw on social media.

Consumers Are Creating Massive Amounts of Positive UGC

People aren’t just referencing UGC when making purchases, they’re actively creating it once those purchases are made.

Consumers regularly share positive brand experiences on social networks about everything from the places they visit to the products they purchase and the food and beverages they consume.

Nearly 52 percent of consumers say they post on social media at least once a month about products they’ve purchased, and people are even more likely to post about experiential purchases.

Nearly 52% of people say they post on social media 1+ times per month about products they’ve purchasedClick To Tweet

Seventy-six percent of people say they would share a positive dining, food or beverage experience on social media, and an impressive 85 percent of people (and 97 percent of Millennials!) say they would share a positive travel experience on social media.

85% of people (and 97% of Millennials) say they'd share a positive travel experience on social mediaClick To Tweet

This abundance of UGC is a goldmine for marketers who are constantly struggling to break through the noise and reach people with content that resonates.

So don’t forget: Authenticity matters most to customers. The content is out there – marketers just have to tap into it.

Read the full 2017 Consumer Content Report: Influence in the Digital Age for more insights.

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