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Strategies, research, industry trends — your pulse on the marketplace
The   Bazaar   Voice
Strategies, research, industry trends — your pulse on the marketplace

The following article is based on a webinar hosted by Jo Callahan, VP of Client Strategy and Insights at Bazaarvoice, and Nisarg Shah, the co-founder of affable.ai, the AI-driven creator marketing platform that’s helped hundreds of brands activate killer creator campaigns. If you like, you can watch the webinar here.

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in consumer behavior, especially among Gen Z, which now influences all age groups. One noticeable trend is the preference for social media over search engines for brand discovery. This shift means that brands need to engage with consumers on social platforms to raise awareness and influence purchase decisions.

While traditional advertising methods are still important, they now need the support of user-generated content (UGC) to resonate with modern shoppers. Product reviews have become crucial, with 78% of consumers stating that reviews significantly impact their purchasing decisions. Therefore, brands must curate and highlight photos, videos, and written reviews across all online channels.

Increasing investment in creator marketing

Brands recognize the importance of creator marketing, with 26% planning to allocate more than 40% of their marketing budget to this area. The growing popularity of creator and UGC content transforms marketing strategies, requiring a diverse mix of branded, creator, and shopper-generated content.

The effective content mix

An effective content mix is essential for brand growth and ROI. Brands need to focus on authenticity and relevance to engage their target audiences better. Insights from a recent LinkedIn poll showed that a UGC-first approach is highly effective, reflecting consumers’ demand for authentic content.

The mix of the branded, creator, and UGC content will vary based on the target audience, but understanding what works for your brand and iterating on it is key to a successful strategy. Brands increasingly invest in UGC and creator content, driven by the demand for more authentic consumer experiences.

The power of authentic content

Today’s consumers prefer content that feels genuine and relatable. 90% of consumers consider purchasing a brand when promoted by their favorite creators. Not only that, millennials actively engage with brands by sharing photos and videos online, highlighting the power of everyday consumers as brand ambassadors.

Brian Gildenberg, CEO of Confluence Commerce, noted that the most impactful content for shoppers often comes from other individuals rather than brands themselves. This shift prompts marketers in industries like beauty, fashion, retail, travel, and leisure to prioritize authentic content from influencers, creators, and everyday shoppers.

Integrating UGC into marketing strategies

UGC meets consumer expectations and supplements creative production needs by providing faster, more cost-effective content. It is critical across all communication objectives, from driving brand awareness to boosting purchase decisions.

  1. Driving Equity and Awareness: Creators can deliver high-quality, authentic content highlighting unique brand attributes, driving metrics like aided brand awareness and message association.
  2. Launching Innovations: Creating bursts of content and seeding reviews for new product launches can spike awareness and drive immediate SEO impact.
  3. Leveraging Seasonal Moments: Planning content around key moments, occasions, and seasons can effectively link your brand to consumers’ lives and maintain a steady flow of relevant content.
  4. Influencing Conversion: UGC and reviews can be integrated into shoppable content, enhancing the consumer journey and driving purchase decisions.

Video content: The future of marketing

Video content is rapidly becoming the preferred medium for consumers, driven by platforms like TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts. Short-form video content is highly engaging and widely shared, making it a valuable tool for marketers.

Popular video content types include:

  • Brand challenges: Engaging users with themed challenges to create and share content.
  • How-to/educational content: Providing tutorials and tips highlighting product benefits and usage.
  • Behind-the-scenes content: Offering a glimpse into the brand’s operations and culture.
  • Authentic UGC: Encouraging unretouched, real-life content from consumers to foster trust and relatability.

Maximizing ROI from video content

To maximize ROI, brands should curate and centralize video content, making it accessible across the consumer journey. This includes displaying UGC on brand websites and social media channels, ensuring it’s shoppable to streamline the purchase process.

Aligning content with marketing goals

Effective creator marketing requires aligning content types with specific marketing goals:

  • Top-of-funnel awareness: Use giveaways and unboxing videos to boost brand visibility and engagement.
  • Middle-of-funnel engagement: Leverage tutorials and “get ready with me” content to maintain brand presence and encourage interaction.
  • Bottom-of-funnel Conversion: Implement affiliate content with clear CTAs to drive purchases and measure ROI accurately.

Conclusion

In today’s ever-changing market, brands need to adjust to consumers’ changing preferences by incorporating genuine, user-generated content into their marketing strategies. By utilizing user-generated content, and creator content, brands can improve their reach, engagement, and conversion rates, ultimately fostering growth and forging stronger connections with their audiences.

As the landscape evolves, it’s crucial to stay in tune with consumer behavior and preferences to maintain a competitive edge. By emphasizing authenticity and relevance, brands can effectively navigate the challenges and opportunities of the modern marketing environment.

Want to learn more? 

Watch the full webinar with Jo and Nisarg for an in-depth look at how Bazaarvoice can help. 

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