Why consumer-created content is more authentic—and influential

by | Nov 15, 2017 | Public Relations

Even in today’s consumerist and celebrity-centric culture, authenticity drives brand affinity. The vast majority of consumers (86 percent) in new research from user-generated content (UGC) platform Stackla said authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.

Furthermore, the firm’s new study, The 2017 Consumer Content Report: Influence in the Digital Age, reveals people find consumer-created content to be the most authentic form of content. Consumers are three times more likely to say that content created by a consumer is authentic compared to content created by a brand. The study examines the content being created and shared online, and what influences consumers’ purchasing decisions most.

Brands can’t fake authentic content

On average, adults can correctly identify if an image was created by a professional or generated by a consumer 70 percent of the time. In fact, the study revealed that customers will punish brands that try to fake it, with 30 percent of Millennials saying they have unfollowed a brand on social media because they felt their content was inauthentic.

Why consumer-created content is more authentic—and influential

“Today, authenticity is king. Consumers are inundated with content, and the only way brands can cut through all that noise is with authentic content,” said Peter Cassidy, co-founder, CMO and chief product officer at Stackla, in a news release. “Since consumers see UGC as inherently authentic and trustworthy, the best marketers among us are increasingly leveraging it to build lasting relationships with customers, deliver relevant brand experiences and ultimately drive revenue.”

Key findings for communicators:

Authenticity drives brand affinity

  • 86 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support
  • More than half (57 percent) of consumers think that less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic

Why consumer-created content is more authentic—and influential

User-generated content is more authentic and influential than professional and celebrity content

  • Consumers are three times more likely to say that content created by a consumer is authentic compared to content created by a brand
  • On average, 60 percent of consumers say content from a friend or family member influences their purchases decisions, while just 23 percent of consumers say content from celebrities influenced their purchasing decisions
  • 57 percent of Millennials have made travel plans based on an image or video they saw a friend post on social media
  • 56 percent of Millennials have decided to eat at a restaurant because they saw a friend post about it on social media

Why consumer-created content is more authentic—and influential

Massive amounts of UGC are at brands’ fingertips

  • 85 percent of people (and 97 percent of Millennials) say they would share a positive travel experience on social media
  • 76 percent of people say they would share a positive food or beverage experience on social media
  • Nearly 52 percent of people say they post on social media at least once a month about products they’ve purchased

Download the full report here.

Stackla surveyed 2,000 adults in the U.S., U.K. and Australia for the study.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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