Brands should consider using more user-generated content in their marketing efforts in order to establish trusted and meaningful interactions with customers, according to a new study and infographic published by visual commerce platform Olapic.
Olapic polled 1,000 US residents aged between 16 and 65 for its Consumer Trust Survey, which aimed to find out how different age groups create, share and consume user-generated content (UGC) on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. These types of images and posts on social networks are now one of the main outlets for talking about big brands.
The study found that almost half of millennials trust UGC compared to 36 per cent of baby boomers. While those under 35 are more open to reviews and information from other social media users, a significantly smaller portion of both generations — 25 per cent of millennials and 24 per cent of baby boomers – trust content created by brands. This indicates that brands should do more to integrate UGC into their marketing campaigns.
“76 percent of consumers believe the content that average people share is more honest than advertising from brands,” Olapic co-founder Pau Sabria said. “That should serve as a wake-up call for brands to start exploring the use of authentic content in ads and marketing to build trust and create a more meaningful dialogue with their customers.”
When asked what exactly makes a branded image authentic, there was a clear division between the two generations. Millennials said that the use of real people in an image makes it more effective, while baby boomers prefer a focus on the advertised product or service. More than a quarter of all shoppers would rather turn to UGC to inform their purchasing decisions than ads or traditional commercials.
The infographic also highlighted how different each generation is when it comes to preferred platforms, hashtags and content. A quarter of millennials chose Instagram as their favourite social platform, but 90 per cent of baby boomers prefer using Facebook. More than half of under-35s also like using hashtags to show friends and brands that they enjoy a particular product, while half of baby boomers don’t use hashtags at all. Older social users also enjoy consuming written content more.