User-Generated Content will Win the Day in Mobile Marketing – But Brand Safety is Paramount!

Here at Vivoom we recently completed an analysis of more than 4,000 user-generated videos to understand some of the common pitfalls of marketing campaigns that tap into the power of user-generated content. We found that while the vast majority of consumer co-created marketing content is brand-appropriate and effective, 6.6 percent of the videos we reviewed were problematic for brands.

The Background

Our platform enables advertisers to combine the strength of their brand assets with the authenticity of consumer voices to generate short, co-created mobile video spots that are shared socially across the consumer’s own social networks. A core part of the Vivoom platform is its patented moderation capability, which ensures all of the content is fully brand-safe. We used this very same content management capability to study what content was rejected by our brand clients, analyze demographic data on who was creating the questionable content and understand why it was seen as unacceptable by our clients.

To help us make sense of the content, we used four categories to classify problematic content:

  • Inappropriate or objectionable content – profanity, nudity, hate speech, etc.
  • Off-Brand – content that simply isn’t in keeping with a brand’s cultivated image or specific campaign objectives
  • Copyright violation – use of content that is owned by someone else (e.g., a musician or artist)
  • Unapproved people – when children appear in a video without the approval of their parents or guardians

The Findings

Once we’d crunched the numbers, we found that 43 percent of the flagged videos were off-brand, making it the most common cause for content being rejected by brand moderators. Copyright violations were the second most common cause for rejection, at 28 percent. Typically the issue was the innocent or inadvertent inclusion of music, which was viewed as unacceptable by brands nevertheless given the substantial legal risks involved. Twenty-one percent of the videos were deemed inappropriate or objectionable. Finally, 8 percent of the videos included unapproved people.

The following charts illustrate what we found.

 The Opportunity

After reviewing data from our own research as well as numerous third-party reports, and discussing it with colleagues and clients, there were a few key research observations worth noting:

Consumer backlash against interruptive advertising is driving brands’ interest in co-created content – particularly on mobile, which now accounts for 52 percent of consumer screen time. According to industry research from Millward Brown, Ipsos, Forrester and others, user generated content is 35 percent more memorable, three times more trusted and 20 percent more influential on purchase intent. This makes high quality, brand safe content a must-have asset for marketers.

That’s important, but it’s also important to recognize that brands are scared to death of the potential for trouble – and rightly so. (A quick tour of Google Images makes it clear why.) Without a reliable way to make sure content is appropriate and on-brand, user-generated content can be a minefield many marketers simply decide isn’t worth crossing. These marketers need a way to work with their customers to create authentic, high-quality, brand-safe content at scale. Solving for all of these seemingly conflicted needs is what sets Vivoom apart.

The performance numbers our clients are seeing from their co-created advertising campaigns suggest that co-created, moderated video is one of the most effective paths forward on mobile. I believe it’s what’s next after television, but it has to be done in a way that is brand-safe and appropriate – for both the advertisers and for the audience.

The Final Word

There’s an old expression in IT – “You don’t get fired for hiring IBM.” The corollary for brand marketers in 2015 is that they’d love to move from television to mobile (and what works on mobile is user generated marketing content) – but it’s not a move worth risking one’s own career over. Is it fabulous that over 93 percent of co-created videos are acceptable to brands? Absolutely. Is any major consumer brand willing to risk and just “live with” the other 7 percent? Certainly not. That’s why Vivoom’s solution makes so much sense for brands and agencies – we’re the only bridge between this hesitancy (and justifiable insecurity) and the undeniable, growing necessity of user-generated marketing content.