Why You Should be Using Consumer Content in Your Marketing Campaign

By: Rachel Hanks

In the spirit of all things “content-based,” for this blog post I decided to take a deeper look at a marketing tool called user-generated content. According to Webopedia, the term user-generated content is defined as “ any form of content such as video, blogs, discussion form posts, digital images, audio files, and other forms of media that was created by consumers… and is publicly available to other consumers.” An example of user-generated content that you might be familiar with is the “Share a Coke” campaign. For the campaign, Coca-Cola created personalized bottles in an effort to encourage consumers to share pictures of themselves online with the custom product. You might have seen friends share pictures of Coke cans with their names on it– or even uploaded an image yourself! The “Share a Coke” campaign became an online hit and increased revenue for the company, proving the power of user-generated content. But why exactly do these custom products and social media-friendly campaigns work?

According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report, more than 80% of consumers trust product and service recommendations from peers. With this statistic in mind, it doesn’t make sense for businesses to create broad campaigns that might have little to no effect on their target audiences. Instead, a focused marketing campaign that allows consumers to interact with a product, or better yet recommend it to friends, might have a much greater impact on brand awareness and revenue.

Adweek suggests that user-generated content will become a bigger trend in the future. Additionally, user-generated content does not have to be exclusive for a one-time campaign, but rather can be integrated into the brand itself and used to build a story about a business.

Twitter: @rachelhanks18

LinkedIn: @rachel-hanks

This Article Has 10 Comments
  1. Tess Meyer says:

    I 10/10 would recommend this piece! I look for friend recommendations for everything. Where should I eat dinner, what should I do on my next vacation, where should I get my hair cut. Yelp and Facebook recommendations are my go-tos!

  2. Zach Rosen says:

    I love the idea of user generated content as a large part of the future of advertising. With everyone having their own high powered camera right in their pocket, the average person is capable of creating incredible content, and it’s so cool that big brands are keeping up on that. Great read!

  3. Kelsey Fagan says:

    I was abroad in France when this campaign came out and I thought it was a European thing! I was pleasantly surprised that it was a worldwide campaign when I returned to the US. I think Coca-Cola really hit the nail on the head with this campaign. User-generated content is a great way to get free advertising and its a connection to the consumer that opens up the door to many other opportunities for a brand. Great example!

  4. Steve Karandy says:

    It has the upside of providing the company with free content. Instead of spending millions to hire photographers and models for a campaign, it gets free submissions from customers who are just happy to be included, if chosen. And instead of following a plan based on what it thinks consumers might want, it allows the agency to “discover” what consumers want organically.

  5. Kenden Blake says:

    It’s so interesting to see how this concept has evolved as consumers have adapted to filtering out advertisements everywhere, including their social feeds. User-generated content is such a powerful tool for brands who win in the digital and social space. People, especially in the US, have become skeptical of businesses and are much more receptive to seeing brands in an unfiltered light, through the posts of someone they know or follow.

  6. Audrey Marlatt says:

    I really like how you touched on Coca-cola as a personable consumer brand and their “Share a Coke” campaign. I think that is one of my all time favorite campaigns. They were able to use consumer content and make it so personal but also relatable at the same time. I actually loved that campaign so much I ordered my best friends their own that you could never find at the store because they all have such unique names. It’s something special yet normal in a sense. Makes for great content as a brand.

  7. Brian Willison says:

    Great post! User-generated content is a great way to get free advertising and Coca-Cola did a great job of connecting with its consumers with its “Share a coke” campaign. User-generated content can be tricky as it can backfire on a company if not properly vetted or specified by the brand. I did one of my case studies on a company that tried to use user-generated content but backfired in a huge way and not only hurt their brand image but that of the brand they were working with.

  8. Lauren Muniz says:

    User-generated content, specifically within the context of Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign, is a great example of how a personable and interactive brand experience is key to achieving a loyal consumer following. Consumers want to invest in a brand that makes them feel like they are an integral part of their narrative. This is exactly what Coca-Cola did and I think other brands should adopt this approach to better connect with their consumers.

  9. Grieta King says:

    When conversations and mentions surrounding a brand are positive, the consumers reading and seeing this content are reaffirmed with positive feelings and perceptions of the brand. User-generated content on a specific product that is overwhelmingly positive or negative would affect how I think about the brand and determine my interest in the product. User-generated content is extremely valuable. It is honest content that tells a story or an experience that a brand inspired or provided that is then shared with potential consumers. As brands look for ways to connect with consumers in honest ways, user-generated content will grow in popularity and relevance within social media marketing. We trust reviews of products we’re considering to buy, so we’re likely to also trust what we see others buying, using, and enjoying.

  10. Rita Herbstman says:

    Rachel – great blog post! It was an interesting read that kept me hooked. I love how you incorporated the video within the post. Also, definitely a good call to pull in a link from Adweek.

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