- Starbucks, Netflix and Aerie are among the brands that see varying consumer reactions to user-generated content (UGC) or branded posts on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. People said they're more likely to prefer UGC on Instagram than on Twitter or YouTube, per a report on content trends by Visual Objects, a guide of service providers for businesses.
- When shown examples of branded content and UGC, consumer reactions varied by brand and platform. As an example, 61% of consumers said UGC about Starbucks was likely to influence them in making a purchase, compared with 39% who said the coffee chain's branded content was more influential, the survey found.
- On Twitter, U.S. consumers favor branded content over UGC, tending to find it more authentic. As an example, 68% of survey respondents said Netflix’s original tweet about the show "Selling Sunset" would likely drive them to make a purchase, while only 32% said the same about a UGC tweet that Netflix shared on its account. Visual Objects surveyed 401 U.S. adults about their content preferences, per its report.
Differing consumer preferences for branded content or UGC on various social media platforms can affect the marketing strategies for brands and retailers, the survey results from Visual Objects suggest. The finding that Instagram was a better platform for UGC than Twitter or YouTube at driving purchase intent has implications for mobile marketers seeking to reach shoppers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Many people, stuck at home during lockdowns, are using Instagram to see pictures of friends and family. The photo-sharing app makes it easy to swipe or scroll past sponsored content that’s expensive for brands to produce. Marketers can identify which accounts post about products, or search for hashtags to find people talking about specific brands. UGC including product reviews, pictures and demonstration videos can be more effective than branded posts while also saving money for marketers facing budget cuts, per Visual Objects.
Visual Objects recommended that business make their Instagram posts as authentic as possible to be effective. The company cited fashion brand Aerie as an example of compelling UGC. Nearly two-thirds (60%) of survey respondents said they were more likely to buy from a user-generated image on the company’s Instagram account than its branded post. The user-generated post was consistent with the brand's theme of body positivity and its broader #AerieReal campaign that urges people to share pictures wearing its clothing, per Visual Objects.
On YouTube, consumers favor branded content for product demonstrations rather than "unboxing" videos that show a person unwrapping a purchase. As an example, 71% of survey respondents preferred a branded video from subscription box service FabFitFun, while only 28% said a user-generated video would compel them to make a purchase. UGC is more effective when it shows product comparisons, such as beauty influencer Kelly Shahbazian's "Product Battle" videos that have side-by-side demonstrations of personal care and cosmetics brands, per Visual Objects.