7 User-Generated Content Ideas to Create a Trusted Brand

Advertising’s not quite dead, but it seldom pays off like it did in decades past. In fact, it tends to turn off the new app-happy generation.

Suffice to say if you aim to claim the attention and admiration of the smartphone clan, it’s smarter—and more lucrative—to try different approaches.

Obviously, content marketing is the approach most brands are moving to. And most strive to write, design, shoot, record, and publish helpful content. The “teach, not preach” approach has proven to help create brand affinity, and often, generate sales.

But c’mon now, the truth is phone fanatics aren’t always keen on embracing old standbys such as “how to” articles and list posts. They’re far more inclined to spend their time Gramming, Snapping, Tweeting and Tubing.

So let’s talk about the approach today’s most trusted brands use to operate more effectively in age of the small screen…

Don’t expect to get user-generated content produced all alone. You need happy customers to pull it off. They vouch for, and rave, about your product. Viewers are more inclined to buy the message—and subsequently—the product.

Ipsos-ingrographic-UGC

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Snapchat is becoming the social network it never wanted to be

https-blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.comuploadscardimage528340543cbcbb-256a-4d12-b852-72baadd7888cEven though Snapchat tends to get lumped in with other social platforms, it’s never really been much of a social network — until now.

While Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like thrive off the vast amounts of (often public) frenetic sharing that happens on their networks each day, Snapchat has made no secret that its users turn to it for a different type of interaction.

Rather than the megaphone of Twitter or the popularity contest that’s Instagram, Snap has prided itself on the large volume of private sharing it sees, its users’ “creativity” and the fact that its app enables a kind of authenticity not found elsewhere on social media.

Snapchat has embraced this with an app that’s been far more closed off than any of its counterparts. Until Stories launched in 2013, there was no way at all for users to publicly share any updates at all and even then the feature got off to a slow start. The app eschewed other common “social” features, too.

While select publishers (including Mashable) can produce content for Discover, and advertisers can sell ads in Discover or between Stories, the company has done little to court influencers and smaller outfits. Snapchat still lacks a formal verification system, other than the emoji-based “official stories” that’s still reserved for the app’s biggest names.

But if Snapchat is still embracing its role as the anti-social network social network, you wouldn’t know it from its recent updates. On Wednesday, the company announced that it would allow anyone to share links within any snap they share with friends or post to their Story.

That may not sound like a huge change in itself but it stands to be hugely significant to brands, publishers, and any influencer not well-known enough to be verified or part of Discover. On a philosophical level, it also raises questions about whether Snap is finally starting to admit that it is, in fact, a real social media company after all (despite Spiegel’s insistence that Snap is “a camera company”).

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A New Look at Millennials’ Favorite Brands Shows a Few Surprises Climbing the List

It’s probably no surprise that millennial consumers tend to spend their time and money with big digital brands. After all, many in this age cohort (now somewhere between 18 and 29 years old) were hitting their teens right around the time that today’s online Goliaths were grabbing their first market share. So it follows that the results of a new study of brands favored by Gen-Y consumers, released today, is chock full of familiar names.

YouGov BrandIndex, a public-perception research firm that interviews over 1.5 million consumers yearly, just unveiled the results of its latest survey, which ranks the brands that notched the biggest gains in making millennial consumers into current customers. As one might expect, the ranking of 20 companies is heavy with digital heavy hitters like like Twitter, Snapchat and Airbnb. Each brand’s customer score is the percentage of U.S. millennials who are current customers of that particular brand. Current customer means they bought the product or visited the web site within the past 30 days.

Even so, dismissing this list as yet another confirmation of tired assumptions about millennial tastes would be a mistake: Lurking between and among the usual suspects on this ranking are a few genuine surprises. And foremost among them is right at the top.

most-improved-20

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9% Of U.S. Broadband Households Plan To Buy A VR Headset; Samsung Leads

shutterstock_491411806_c3KIOtIIt’s still not really in the mass market category, but the number of virtual reality headsets to be bought this year will be nearly double those bought a year ago.

One of the main reasons is that consumers still are not very familiar with virtual reality, based on new tracking data.

Within the next year, 9% of U.S. broadband households plan to purchase a virtual reality headset, up from 5% a year ago, according to research from Parks Associates.

Gaming still leads the list of VR activities. Here, in order, are the activities consumers expect to use virtual reality for:

  1. Play video games
  2. Watch entertainment videos
  3. Virtual tours or travel
  4. Watch live events (sports, concerts, etc.)
  5. Social interaction
  6. Educational purposes
  7. Shopping

There are some obstacles holding back VR growth.

For example, fewer than a quarter (23%) of consumers are familiar with virtual reality and even fewer with specific VR headsets.

“Familiarity is low, with fewer than 13% of consumers having experienced VR first hand,” stated Hunter Sappington, Parks Associates researcher.

Samsung’s Gear VR currently leads the VR market, with Sony’s PlayStation in second place. Among U.S. consumers who bought a VR headset last year, 31% bought a Samsung VR device and 12% bought Sony’s.

Approximately 24 million households worldwide will own at least one virtual reality device by the end of this year and 77 million households by 2021, according to Parks Associates.

Some in the industry are working on this, such as via demos at stores including Best Buy and GameStop.

The biggest VR hurdle at the moment may come down to the value proposition.

While the majority of consumers said they would like to be able to experience VR in their own homes, more than half in the Parks Associates study said they do not think the experience is worth the extra expense of buying a headset. A third of consumers also found the VR experience disorienting or uncomfortable.

Virtual reality still has a few hills to get over.

Facebook Will Soon Let Brands Target Ads at Entire Families or Specific People Within Households

household-targeting-CONTENT-2017-840x460While brands have been buying ads for niche audiences on Facebook for years, they’ll soon be able to target ads down to the specific household.

Just in time for the holiday-planning season, the social network is introducing a new household audience feature that will let brands direct ads to entire families or to specific people within a household. The tool, which the company announced today, could help aim ads at people who influence purchasing decisions and other ads to the people making the actual purchases.

Here’s how it works: Brands can select a source audience—a custom audience uploaded to Facebook that represents their customers based on an email list, for instance—and then turn on the household audience feature to reach not just the person they’re targeting, but also other people in the same household.

“What we want to do basically is leverage the power of our network to enable that kind of influencing or to support that kind of influencing across the family,” Graham Mudd, Facebook’s product marketing director, said this morning at a press event in New York.

The feature is yet another way Facebook plans to siphon advertising dollars away from television networks, which have historically been how you show the same ads to the same household at the same time. Facebook executives said they’ll be able to identify members of the same household based on signals, such as their familial relationships on Facebook, but also based on the frequency of shared check-ins or where they access the internet.

According to Mudd, there are three use cases for how brands might want to target household audiences. In one instance, he said, a travel brand might want to target ads at the person paying for a trip—flights, hotels, etc.—but the marketer might also want to make sure the people voting on the destination also see the ads. For gifting, if one person might benefit from getting something from a certain retailer, then the ads might be directed at people in the household likely to be buying rather than receiving the gift.

The tool might also be used to reduce wasted ad spend. For example, if someone has already bought a household-specific product or service—a Netflix subscription, an Airbnb reservation—then based on the customer database, the marketer and Facebook know to stop showing ads to that household.

Along with the added targeting, Facebook is adding additional measurement capabilities. The updates will appear in the Ads Reporting dashboard and show how campaigns perform in terms of driving results across members of a household. Metrics will include how many households the advertising reaches, along with the frequency at which they were reached. (It’ll also potentially show how an ad shown to one person affected a purchase made by someone else.)

Mudd shared an example of how this might work around the holidays: Because he has purchased products from Sonos, he’s in the brand’s customer database. So, if his wife wants to get him a gift, Sonos might try influence Mudd’s wife and their kids with ads as they’re shopping for their dad.

“You can image that if you’re a parent with kids, while you might not be personally interested in the toys that your kids are looking for for the holiday, you might find it useful to know where that hot toy is and where it’s in stock,” Mudd said.

The updated audience targeting comes as Facebook also introduced video capabilities for its Dynamic Ads product, which will allow advertisers to move beyond the static images that have only been allowed in the past. (According to Facebook, 30 percent of mobile shoppers prefer to discover products through video.)