Real, uncut, unedited: the growth of user-generated content

Approximately 300 hours of video content are uploaded to YouTube every minute—and the vast majority of it is created by regular users who capture personal experiences with Go Pros, smartphones and laptop cameras. So prolific is this trend of user-generated content that millennials are now sometimes referred to as Generation C, for Generation Content.

And according to a recent post on the Getty Images website, this content is going unwatched. The article references a Crowdsnap study that showed user-generated content accounted for almost a third of millennials’ media consumption, amounting to an average 5.4 hours per day.

And while this trend might seem pointless given how mundane some online content tends to be, there is value in it for brands. 

The most powerful element in user-generated content lies in its authenticity. The smiles are real, there’s rarely any editing and the whitewash of Photoshop is absent. These videos simply present actual moments that resonate with viewers. So effective is this the pull of this authenticity that user-generated content is watched, on average, 10 times more than content created by brands.  

As evidenced by Pampers’ recent experiment with user-generated content, new parents enjoy sharing intimate first moments with their little ones (the average Facebook feed of someone in their late 20s also stands as testament to this fact).

Coca-Cola also tapped into this with ‘Happiness is Movement’, a series of user-generated videos that captured the premise underpinning the campaign.   

Brazilian telecoms company Nextel also got in on the action with a campaign that shared videos of people bungee jumping, base jumping and diving off cliffs to support the message ‘if you’re unhappy with something, change it’. 

Locally, Pump previously ran a user-generated campaign as part of ‘Grab life by the bottle‘ positioning. As part of the campaign, users were asked to send in videos showing how they “grabbed life by the bottle” and then selected videos were included in a compilation, which screened as a TVC. Following on from this, Pump has now launched a new phase of the campaign and is again asking users to send in videos.  

And rather than relying on standard celebrities to market its products, Coca-Cola recently took the unconventional approach of using Kiwi YouTube stars to front digital promotions as part of the #colouryoursummer campaign.


In recognition of the effectiveness of user-generated content in reaching target audiences, Getty last year partnered with social video content manager Viral Spiral to give its clients access to content that has been produced by real people. And Getty will hope this move will proves attractive to publishers and brands looking for a more authentic way to reach their target markets.         

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