3 UGC Lessons We Can Learn from GoPro

User-generated content, or UGC, has grown into a massive segment of the digital marketing industry. While there are many companies who are incorporating UGC into their marketing campaigns, there is one company that is leading the pack: GoPro.

GoPro is the maker of the highly-compact, high-definition digital camcorders that were originally designed for surfing videos but can now be found everywhere from snowboarding slopes to outdoor festivals and concerts. GoPro is a company that almost seems designed around the idea of UGC, and in fact much of the UGC that other companies use was originally recorded on a GoPro camera. With so much importance in the use of UGC in digital marketing campaigns, it is worth taking a look at GoPro’s success and how they got there.

People want to share their stories

If there is one thing that GoPro has proven, it’s that people want to share their storieswith their family, friends, and the rest of the world. It is estimated that around 6,000 videos are shot on GoPro cameras every single day, and their YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers (and growing). Not only that, but their YouTube channel has in excess of 521 million views, almost none of which they paid for. In fact, GoPro gets paid by YouTube for those views! Not only are GoPro’s numbers large, they represent significant growth as well, with the number of views in 2014 exceeding three times the number of views in 2013!

Users are doing the marketing work for GoPro

Initially, GoPro would hire professional athletes and other stuntmen to generate video content. What they found was that their users were clamoring to create their own content, and that this content was more popular in the aggregate than their professional videos. This makes sense, as the somewhat sterile professional videos simply couldn’t compete with the excitement of an average user getting to the front of a festival stage, and then turning their camera behind them to capture the enthusiastic crowd. It is also worth noting that GoPro grew their net income by $28 million in FY 2013 while only adding $41,000 to their marketing efforts.

GoPro’s success, driven largely by their UGC marketing efforts, led the company to an IPO in June 2014, at which point their popular HERO camera held 45% of the camcorder market in the United States.  GoPro has shown an understanding of where they success came from, and they now have an entire team dedicated to finding and curating UGC recorded on GoPro cameras.

What can we learn fro GoPro’s success with UGC?

The biggest lesson of GoPro’s success is that customers want to be creators, and there is an audience for the content they create. Customers have consistently shown that they will respond positively to content produced by their peers, and UGC provides the outlet for this desire.

GoPro also reminds us that quality is much more important than quantity. It’s the content that can tug at heartstrings and generate an emotional response that will build brand loyalty over the long-term.

Finally, a deep understanding of social media is essential to any digital marketing campaign, particularly one that involves UGC. GoPro’s loyal following on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is what ultimately led to the success of their YouTube channel and their overall marketing campaign.

It is important to learn from GoPro and think about what your marketing campaign can do to engage users through UGC.


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Topics: UGC, Customer Storytelling, User Generated Content