Oi, marketers! Has your boss asked you to do more with less this year? We hear you, we see you, and we’re here to help.
The economic pendulum is on the downswing, and that’s put pressure on a lot of businesses. Pressure to reign in budgets, maintain growth and, in some cases, reduce headcount.
Times are tough, which begs the question, ‘How the hell can I generate more with less?’. They say necessity is the mother of invention… but don’t worry, you needn’t morph into Nikola Tesla on your lunch break! For Marketers, answer’s actually pretty simple: customer content. Or ‘user-generated content’ if you prefer the technical term.
Replacing or reducing your reliance upon some of the more expensive sources of content with UGC can not only save you money without compromising quality, but is likely to bring you better results. In fact, there are over 25 different metrics UGC can influence.
That’s why 1000s of companies have already invested in UGC. And they’re not only reaping financial and performance benefits, but are presenting their brand in a more authentic way. This has the effect of retaining existing customers and attracting new ones (don’t just take it from us!).
Now, let’s talk specifics on how you can be using UGC to make and save you money.
1. Undertake a content audit
Taking a long, hard look at where you’re currently spending money is an essential first step to saving it. You probably do this anyway, but taking a closer look may expose potential areas of over-spending and opportunities to pare back in places.
Some common areas your content dollars will be going:
- Internal teams
- Stock photography (think Getty or Shutterstock)
- Professional photographers and videographers
Get a little forensic and do some proper calculations:
- How much money are you spending on each source
- How much content are you getting from each source
- Calculate an average cost per content item for each source
Whatever that cost per unit is, it’s going to be more than the cost of a piece of UGC—and you’ll be surprised by how much!
Our team can run a free content audit for you to highlight where and how you can get more bang for your buck.
2. Let AI choose the right content for you
Of course, manually discovering, curating, rights managing, and displaying UGC takes time, but that’s where UGC solutions come in. One thing to note, is that any platform worth its salt will use artificial intelligence to make your workflows more efficient and drive results. You’ll want a solution that uses:
Platforms that use visual AI can identify attributes within UGC (e.g. ‘beach’) and automatically apply tags to it, making it quicker to organize and analyze. Visual AI can also spot additional, visually-similar UGC.
Solutions with predictive AI capabilities can find high-performing UGC and recommend additional UGC they predict will also perform based on that. Predictive AI can also intuitively suggest additional search queries related to those you regularly input, e.g. ‘summer’, ‘sun’
Harnessing the power of AI in such ways will save you a ton of time—and time is money. You can then deploy this saved time into other parts of your marketing activity.
If your team could save 20 hours a week/80 hours a month/960 hours a year, there’s so much you could do with that time.
Moreover, AI will help you make more informed choices around content that will drive better outcomes, which means more conversions that help your bottom line.
3. Drive more leads from your ad dollars
UGC is proven to perform better than other content types, and it’s no different when it comes to paid ads. Air France, as discussed in the video linked above, saw a 4% uplift in CTR when using UGC for their creative, while 56% of consumers say the types of content they most want to see from brands are user-generated photos and videos. If it isn’t already, now’s the time to get UGC in your ad creative!
Looking to save money? It’s going to help you ratchet down your ad spend without harming results. Air France reduced their CPA by 9% by using UGC as creative in their ad campaigns.
Think about that cost saving in a budget of $1m…
4. Place UGC on your product pages
Strategically placed UGC engages shoppers and gives them confidence that existing customers have had a good experience with your product. We call this social proof, and social proof at the point of purchase drives conversions. So, if you’re an ecommerce brand, you want to be getting UGC on your product pages.
80% of consumers say they’d be more likely to purchase a product from an online store if its website had photos and videos from real customers.
This also begs the question of not doing it, and the potential ramifications. A recent study showed that 58% of consumers have left an ecommerce store without purchasing because the site didn’t contain any customer reviews or photos. Give shoppers what they need to convert: UGC.
5. Incentivise your most passionate followers to become your army of content creators
We all know about influencers. Those people with crazy-big social followings who get paid to spruik products. Essentially, they’re another form of paid advertising, and only 9% of consumers say they actually ‘influence’ their purchasing decisions. You know it, I know it, and the people see through it. And as Bob Marley said ‘You can’t fool all the people all the time’.
Instead of paying people who don’t organically support your brand to create content, why not reward your loyal fans and advocates who’ll happily create it for you?
There are plenty of ways to incentivize your brand advocates, including:
- Discount vouchers
- Free product sampling
- Recognition through featuring their content on your social channels or your website
- Exclusive ‘advocate-only’ physical or virtual events
As well as being one hell of a lot cheaper, this is a strategy that rewards your passionate customers and nurtures their loyalty, gathers authentic content that performs better, and forms a reliable source of content creaters for you to regularly tap into.
If you’re looking for a new technology to help you make and save money through UGC, surprise surprise, we know of a good one!