User-generated content (UGC) campaigns are more prevalent, bigger, and bolder than ever before in 2018. As consumers continue to switch off from digital ads and view celebrity endorsements with the skepticism they deserve, brands are continually looking for new ways to connect with more discerning and elusive consumers.
Proactive marketers are slashing the wasteful bucks shelled out on shouty ads and turning to authentic earned content to connect once more, as a hefty 84% of millennials say that UGC directly influences what they purchase.
Leading brands, such as National Geographic, Starbucks, and Ripley’s are incorporating UGC into product pages, Social Stories, and large interactive digital screens to increase sales, drive first-party data collection, and boost advocacy. So here’s our roundup of the best user-generated content campaigns of the year thus far.
1. Bauer Media Scoops "Best Use Of Social Media" At PPA Awards
Approaching its 30th year of publication, Country Walking was tasked with creating a campaign that would increase sales and inspire its audience. From there, the free walking challenge #walk1000miles was created, encouraging people to walk about an hour a day to achieve an amazing total. To join the challenge, readers could register using a Cheetah Experiences-powered sign up form, where they would automatically receive an acknowledgment email, as well as all the latest updates and motivational stories.
The www.walk100miles.com website was full of the latest news, advice, walk recommendations, merchandise to purchase, and a social UGC wall that displayed the best chatter and pictures from walkers on the challenge.
Bauer Media and its publication, Country Walking, scooped up the award for "Best Use of Social Media" for this powerful campaign at the PPA Awards, and the results speak for themselves!
The impact across social media was phenomenal with shareable #walk1000miles infographics, a Facebook group of 28,000 members, 4 million+ interactions, and £23,000 of new revenue from #walk1000miles merchandise and national press coverage.
“Cheetah Digital played a vital part in the creation and development of #walk1000miles, and in fact, it turned us on to a whole new world of possibilities for engaging with our audience.” - Guy Procter, Editor at Country Walking.
2. "The Voice" Showcases Instagram UGC Content Live on Set
As the hit American reality TV show continued to wow viewers, "The Voice" partnered with Cheetah Digital to engage its audience and capture lots of authentic UGC. To amplify the social buzz and incentivize positive comments around the singing competition's contestants and judges, "The Voice" used Cheetah Experiences to build, curate, and display viewers’ kind comments in real-time and on-set during NBC’s live broadcasting. Across a series of eight entertaining episodes, "The Voice" viewers could share their love for the contestants through Instagram using the dedicated the campaign hashtag, #KindComments.
3. COPA90 Embraces Social Storytelling with UGC Snapchat Stories
They say soccer is a universal language spoken in different dialects. Soccer media company Copa90 embraces this when it comes to campaigns surrounding the FIFA World Cup. As an exciting and innovative way to connect with young fans during this year’s tournament, Copa90 partnered with Snapchat to regularly publish new and relevant content and authentic UGC to engage with its followers. Published in various languages, the stories were available to Snapchat users across the globe, drawing in an incredible 31 million unique users over 45 days, with almost 40% of viewers swiping up to "view more."
Copa90 put passionate young fans right in the center of the action as though they were in Russia, using first-person storytelling to show the World Cup from the fans’ perspective. Also complete with the latest match updates, YouTube subscription incentives, and trivia where fans have to "swipe up to find out," the activation successfully drove traffic from Snapchat to its various social channels.
4. Etihad Airways Uses Instagram Stories to Promote UGC Photo Contest
To celebrate hitting an impressive one million followers on Instagram, Etihad Airways is rewarding its loyal audience and driving engagement across Instagram with its newly launched #Etihad1Million photo contest. Promoted through a dedicated Instagram story highlight, throughout the 10-day campaign, Etihad Airways is announcing one lucky winner every day through its Instagram story to celebrate the best, most impressive travel photos.
5. GoPro Turns Customers into Its Best Brand Marketers
GoPro has been long renowned for its successful UGC-focused marketing strategy. Loyal customers upload their best and most inspirational photos and videos to Instagram and YouTube using the dedicated #GoPro hashtag. The HD video camera brand encourages this behavior to turn its customers into its best brand advocates.
GoPro is celebrating its content creators across the globe by rewarding them with cash prizes. Photos, raw clips, and video edits captured using GoPro’s technology can be entered for various challenges and categories in return for the chance to win. To ensure its customers and followers are engaged across various channels, GoPro also re-posts its favorite "Photo of the Day" to Instagram to recognize the high-quality photos submitted from brand advocates. Off the back of focusing on UGC amongst its various social channels, GoPro is even listed among the top 10 brands on YouTube with over 6 million subscribers.
6. Travelex Captures 12 Months of Authentic User-Generated Content
Whether it be kick-starting the new year with healthy and inspiring user-generated content, counting down the days until summer, or capturing the romance throughout Valentine’s Day, Travelex was committed to driving online engagement through Twitter, Instagram, and through its own website with 12 continuous months of seasonal photo contests.
The year-long UGC campaign enabled Travelex to capture masses of authentic user-generated content, where post-submission, all entries could be filtered, curated, and published to the social wall for website visitors to browse, be inspired by, and share with their friends. And by using tagging functionalities, website visitors were also able to browse through an archive of photo albums from Travelex’s previous contests.
7. Starbucks Earns Publicity by Bringing Customers Together
Starbucks’ famous #WhiteCupContest makes the perfect campaign example of how to bring fans closer to your brand. Starbucks asked customers to get creative and doodle their best designs on their white paper cups, where the best entry would form a template for new limited-edition coffee cups to hit Starbucks stores. With close to 4,000 entries in just three weeks, the campaign proved to be a huge success for the coffee giant and was a great way to earn publicity.
Even after the competition expired, the campaign still proved to drive continuous engagement and was a growing success, both in-store and online. Starbucks celebrated the winning design by introducing it as a limited-edition cup within its stores, which customers went crazy for and couldn’t wait to snap and upload their photos to social media.
8. TVNZ & World Vision Captivates TV Audiences
Following last year’s "Selfless Selfie" image generator campaign, TVNZ introduced a brand new way of driving awareness around the 40-Hour Famine challenge. TVNZ teamed up with World Vision to "Stand United" in an inspirational social wall, where those wanting to get involved could share a photo of themselves to join the digital chain. Supporters could then tune in to TVNZ for the exciting chance to see their user-generated content live on TV.
9. Delaware North Socializes Its Property Websites
To integrate social depth amongst its various websites as a way of driving engagement and consumer online interaction, Delaware North has published a series of UGC-powered social hubs, displaying a selection of envy-inducing content from travelers. And, with already 400,000+ accumulative social wall views across these property websites over the past few months, the social hub solution has been a proven hit amongst visitors.
10. The Telegraph Captures Valuable First-Party Data
In conjunction with Tourism Australia, The Telegraph encouraged its audience to share the places they would most love to visit in Australia, as well as any photos from their visits down under using the hashtag #24MillionMates. Participants could get involved through Twitter, Instagram, or by submitting their personal details and photo descriptions directly through the form provided. By showcasing all that Australia has to offer, Tourism Australia engaged a community of those who have already visited, as well as those who aspired to visit.
To display the best entries, The Telegraph also designed a stunning, bespoke map of Australia filled with social content from the hashtag contest. Website visitors could scroll through the map and browse through the latest entries to be inspired ahead of their holiday planning.
11. CBC Inspires Audience Storytelling
CBC is celebrating and recognizing the hard work and determination of young individuals within the Saskatchewan community as part of its annual submission contest, #cbcfuture40.
To get involved, participants could submit their inspiring stories on behalf of their nominee through the form provided on CBC’s website and attach and upload the photo they wished to be featured on the social wall. After confirming their permission to do so, participants were required to submit their nominee’s personal details including their name, email address, and Instagram and Twitter handles to be entered.
CBC is sharing its appreciation for all nominations by showcasing all inspiring submissions and stories amongst its #cbcfuture40 social wall featured within the campaign page. Visitors can browse, filter, and share their favorite success stories across social to maximize campaign awareness and inspire others.
As your brand searches for new ways to connect with consumers, Cheetah Experiences can help you utilize interactive digital experiences to increase sales, drive first-party data collection, and boost advocacy. Request a demo today to find out more.
Jessica is a Marketing Coordinator and Content Writer for Cheetah Digital. After graduating from the University of East Sussex with a first class degree in Marketing and Business Management, Jessica has spent the next part of her career helping brands connect with modern consumers through interactive experiences that capture zero-party data. When not busy in the tech space, Jessica enjoys cooking new cuisines, and training with the Cheetah Digital Run Club.