Why Consumers Favor User Generated Content | Branding

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Why Consumers Favor User Generated Content

Doritos’ hugely successful “Crash the Super Bowl” ad campaign that ran for 10 Super Bowls probably contributed to sleepless nights for many advertising executives who feared for their jobs. The airing of commercials rank amateurs produced – often on a shoestring — put the crowdsourcing of advertising on the map.

A 2013 Harvard Business Review article carried the ominous title, “The End of Traditional Ad Agencies,” as it trumpeted the ascendance of the crowdsourcing model. This obituary is a bit premature, but the inclusion of consumers into a secretive creative process does show how the business is changing now that the wall between advertising creatives and creative amateurs is being dismantled.

Perhaps the bigger story is the content that people create on their own and share directly with others, as opposed to submitting concepts or actual executions to agencies. While a lot of this content just provides new takes on dancing cats and other mindless fodder for procrastination, a good amount advocates or disrespects specific products and services. Fifty-four percent of adult Internet users regularly create and share photos and videos. The rest of us watch this content, and we use it to help us to decide what to buy and what to shun. The simple reason is that Generated has a lot more “street cred” than paid advertising.

New survey data from 4500 active social media users in the U.S. and Europe found that only 6% of people trust traditional advertising, while over three-quarters prefer to look at user images than the ones they see in professional executions. What’s more, photos that feature “real people” are trusted seven times more than the pictures people see in traditional advertising. Furthermore, over half of the respondents said they are more likely to click on an ad that features a user- photo, and the same amount are more inclined to buy the product after they see this kind of ad.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Michael Solomon. Excerpted and adapted from his book “Marketers, Tear Down These Walls!.”

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