The Power of Customer-Produced Content @adweek

On June 13th, 2013 Zach James of ZEFR posted a very compelling article in Adweek about the power of user-produced content over branded content. While Zach’s article focused primarily on the power of YouTube, highlighting creative ways brands have leveraged the rich platform to aid their brand initiatives, and tap into the raw power of real fans, we couldn’t help but apply many of his takeaways to what we live and breathe everyday here at VideoGenie.

As Zach mentioned, Cisco’s new Visual Networking Index forecast projected that video usage will outperform Facebook and Twitter by 2017. There’s no doubt that there’s a very real trend towards video. Especially more user-generated video content, as opposed to taking what we’ve seen for decades on television and simply applying that same strategy to digital.

Through this new focus on video, we’re seeing a transformation in how consumers interact with brands. As Zach articulates, consumers are no longer just a passive audience – the new trend is consumers interacting and truly engaging with the brand – oftentimes becoming the centerpiece of the brand image.

This trend is something that we’re thrilled to be involved in, and something that we think will truly transform the landscape of online marketing. A great example that Zach points out in his article is CoverGirl. CoverGirl actually happens to be a client of ours, and their focus and dedication to user-generated content has propelled the brand to new heights. Of CoverGirl’s 251 million total views on YouTube, 249 million (or 99%) are from fan-created videos, according to data compiled by Zefr. Additionally, 99% of Oreo’s views and 99% of Revlon’s views come from fan content.

One of the key realities that Zach highlights in his article is that viral fan videos have a knack for attracting copycat videos by other videos trying to recreate the initial virality. This is an incredible phenomenon that brands need to embrace and take advantage of.

James also highlights a few other big trends on YouTube. Fans are now turning to YouTube for product reviews – relying on the undeniable authenticity of much of this “user-produced fare”. Additionally, people are turning to YouTube in troves in an attempt to educate themselves on how to use new products.

All of this is happening right now on YouTube. As the number one video search engine, this is an obvious place to turn. And a trend we couldn’t be happier with. As the appetite for user-generated video continues to accelerate, expect brands to embrace YouTube more and more, and start to harness the power of user-generated video in the form of brand and product testimonials, social stories, promotions, and sweepstakes in an increasing manner across all of their digital properties (corporate web site, microsite, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest etc.). Video has already killed the radio star. Watch the proliferation of customer-produced video continue to overtake more brand-produced video content. Stay tuned.