As customers battled to get used to the “new regular” in 2020, manufacturers had been additionally confronted with discovering new methods to remain linked with their viewers.
Not solely that, however the final twelve months have fully destroyed the idea behind large promoting campaigns. Social distancing meant digicam crews weren’t capable of collect, whereas many manufacturers confronted content material manufacturing limitations.
However there was one kind of content material that was significantly pandemic-friendly: user-generated content material (UGC).
In 2020, we noticed a dramatic surge in customer-created pictures and movies, throughout all totally different industries. Manufacturers had been capable of gather and share content material beneath tight budgets, with brief deadlines, and with out going all out on manufacturing.
Extra importantly, they had been capable of share content material that tapped right into a rising want for human connection – which can stay a key component to think about in your 2021 method.
‘Connection’ was the buzzword of 2020.
Folks had been pressured to remain residence beneath strict lockdowns, as a part of the COVID-19 mitigation effort. We had been separated from household and pals, and the entire ordeal left lots of people trying to find connection anyplace they might discover it.
The pandemic has introduced a way of “we’re all on this collectively” with it and types, are ready to make use of this to maximise their very own connection.
Take Michigan Drugs, for instance. They inspired folks to share drawings, pictures, and phrases that acknowledged the sacrifices that medical staff have made.
Understandably, folks didn’t wish to really feel alone, and the web introduced consolation within the type of UGC. It introduced folks collectively, and created communities round manufacturers, whereas additionally giving folks hope and uplifting tales to deal with.
UGC wasn’t simply the best kind of content material to create in 2020 – it was wanted.
Right here’s why: It facilitated a surge in ‘globally-focused’ content material
Manufacturers that attracted an area viewers pre-pandemic discovered their doorways blown huge open to a world buyer base. As stay-at-home orders pressured folks to, properly, keep at residence, giant numbers turned to on-line buying. This enabled manufacturers to deal with optimizing their on-line shops, and serving prospects that weren’t simply within the native neighborhood of their brick-and-mortar retailer.
UGC helped deliver all of this collectively, enabling manufacturers to attach with prospects wherever they had been on the planet.
Basically, UGC fostered human connection – and that connection is extra essential than ever throughout a world disaster.
As people, we wish to really feel part of one thing, and a pandemic is a scary time for everybody. UGC helps deliver like-minded folks collectively, inject a way of group, and create extra “human” campaigns as an alternative of polished, branded choices.
Mastercard’s “Apart, but united” campaign is a good instance of a model doing this properly – they pieced collectively actual footage from prospects into a brief, docu-style video that was emotional and connective.
Shoppers had been actively looking for inspiring, uplifting, and relatable content material throughout the pandemic. In actual fact, one research confirmed that 70% of individuals wished manufacturers to share positive content.
They particularly sought content material that acknowledged the turbulent state of affairs we had been all in, however that did so in a delicate manner.
UGC bridges the hole between manufacturers and patrons and will increase the sense of belonging.
Oreo’s #stayhomestayplayful cross-platform marketing campaign reveals this in motion. It reminded their viewers that happiness can nonetheless be discovered, even within the hardest of instances.
If 2020 has taught us something, it’s that something can occur at any time. Nobody anticipated final 12 months to prove the way in which it did, and it reveals that with the ability to efficiently pivot is a must have for manufacturers.
The fast-paced nature of UGC, and the rawness of content material from actual folks, signifies that manufacturers are capable of be much more versatile. This was very important when the state of the world was altering so quick – the very last thing manufacturers wished was to spend two months engaged on a marketing campaign, solely to search out it fully out-of-date after a few weeks.
UGC allows manufacturers to collect and share content material rapidly, and create in-the-moment campaigns based mostly on present wants and traits.
Jack Daniel’s did this via their “With Love, Jack” campaign. Utilizing actual footage from their viewers, they edited collectively a brief video displaying folks at residence.
It elevated belief at a very untrustworthy time
Folks had been damage, confused, and skeptical in 2020. Many individuals had their livelihoods destroyed, tens of millions misplaced their jobs, and much more had sick members of the family. There was a number of dangerous information all spherical.
As such, belief was completely essential for manufacturers wanting to draw and keep their buyer base throughout the pandemic, and UGC is vital to constructing belief. In actual fact, 70% of consumers trust UGC more than branded content, whereas 75% suppose UGC makes content material extra genuine.
I feel we may be fairly assured that most of the traits in 2020 will carry over to 2021, together with the surge of UGC. As an alternative of ready for the “new regular”, we must always settle for that we’re already experiencing it, and on this new regular, belief, group, and connection are completely essential.
Manufacturers at the moment are serving a a lot wider viewers, and that viewers is commonly sprinkled all around the world. To keep up these new buyer bases, companies might want to proceed constructing belief, and cementing buyer relationships. UGC is the right manner to do that via social proof and group constructing.
The State of UGC Report states that UGC will nonetheless be large in 2021. The consequences of the pandemic proceed to ripple all through the world. That gained’t change anytime quickly.
Nevertheless, we are able to anticipate manufacturers’ use of UGC to develop and evolve as they settle into this new groove of customer-focused advertising.
In 2021, manufacturers will:
As an alternative of sharing UGC as and when it turns into accessible, it can turn out to be an integral a part of each advertising marketing campaign. Optimistic buyer evaluations will likely be crucial for model success, and social proof will increase to incorporate real-life buyer tales informed via totally different content material codecs.
Staff have been caught at residence too. In 2021, extra manufacturers will loop their employees members into content material creation to deliver collectively dispersed groups.
Most customers right this moment anticipate customized campaigns. In actual fact, they’re completely happy at hand over their knowledge in exchange for personalized product recommendations and particular person journeys based mostly on their wants.
Based on one study, nostalgic emotions make prospects extra keen to spend their cash. As folks try for “issues to return to regular”, we’ll see extra manufacturers tapping into the previous.
UGC has confirmed to be an integral a part of advertising in 2020. Subsequent 12 months, we’ll see it popping up in different forms of campaigns, too.
Take White Plains’ ‘Digital Oktoberfest’ occasion, for instance. The principle marketing campaign is a digital occasion, however the organizers turned to UGC to generate elevated buzz round it.
Dwell-streams had been extremely well-liked throughout 2020 – which isn’t stunning actually, given customers had been caught at residence and craving connection.
2021 is more likely to propel video-based UGC campaigns into the limelight. Sephora began to extend their IGTV output throughout quarantine, and it seems to be like they’ll be doubling down on that over the following few months.
At this level, you’ve most likely mapped out your advertising plans for the following few months, perhaps even the following 12 months when you’re significantly organized. However have you ever included sufficient UGC within the combine?
We will’t predict what’s going to occur in 2021 (and we wouldn’t wish to, if 2020 is something to go by), however we are able to be taught from issues that labored previously. And UGC was positively one factor that labored properly in 2020.
In actual fact, it was the right advertising tactic throughout the pandemic. It introduced folks collectively, instilled a way of “we’re all on this”, and helped manufacturers cement belief with an more and more skeptical shopper base.
So, when you haven’t already, it’s time to begin serious about the way you’ll inject a hearty dose of UGC into your advertising campaigns.
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