As UGC gets a pandemic bump, brands need to leverage customer content

Bagmaker Calego says the manual developed before COVID-19 is really bearing the fruit of the growing importance of user-generated content.

Promoting brand awareness and conversions through user-generated content isn’t a new tactic for digital marketers, but these methods are finding new levels of success during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canadian manufacturer Calego, which makes it brochures and accessories, for example, used user-generated content to sell more than 250 million face masks during the pandemic.

The successful registration and distribution of customer reviews also resulted in the sale of approximately 8 million iFLY Smart Kits, inexpensive rubber glove packs, wet wipes, and other items that enhance the safety and comfort of air travelers.

The company developed the Smart Kit concept in 2017, in a completely different climate for travel safety equipment.

“We were able to gather analysis and commentary on this article before COVID-19,” said Calego president David Rapps. “In fact, it didn’t sell well. We knew there was nothing wrong with the product and that it was getting a good evaluation from everyone who bought it.”

Rapps said Calego is not selling pre-COVID but through user-generated analytics. They have received enough positive feedback to know that it will be worthwhile to make more iFLY smart kits available amid the huge demand for protective devices and accessories.

It feels like a new place to multiply user-generated content. Google and Amazon are giants, but other large-scale retail markets, such as Walmart and Target, are heavily criticized by brands like Calego. Social media platforms are generating a constant flow of UGC between products and brands, and new platforms (Hello, TikTok) and content formats, such as Stories, are creating even more options for users to enjoy.

The result? A funnel is bigger than ever.

An online world

Managing and posting content to social networks, where audiences and buyers have been around for a while, is nothing new, but the global pandemic has made online virtually the sole means of communication for marketers in these segments. With more time online, there is more engagement with user-generated content than with reviews.

According to an analysis by Power Reviews, a content management and analytics platform for users, engagement with reviews, including search, filter, and click to expand and read reviews, grew by an average of 50% in 2020.

The increase also leads to higher conversions, Power Reviews concludes. About 5.3% of buyers who responded to comments changed, compared to 4.25% before the pandemic. At one time of the year, the conversion was 7%.

Use what they have built

Rapps said he realized more than five years ago that consumer-ready brand eCommerce was starting to stand out and that at the time his company was looking for a way to increase iFLY exposure. As Google and Facebook ad rates rise, Rapps aims to increase its small marketing budget through analytics, analytics, and other content shared by iFLY customers. In 2015, the company established a customer engagement platform and an expert KGA Bazaarvoice to help them implement the strategy.

“We have so many buyers and customers who shop in stores or on walmart.com, and why don’t we know how to communicate with them?” Rapps explained. “We invite you to judge and judge. In 2016, our mission was to make valuable bags from the leading brand, even though they were sold by a retailer. “

According to Rapps, Calego has become very effective at collecting ratings and reviews. When distributed, they will have approximately 250,000 ratings that can only be viewed on their luggage products.

Calego uses the platform to contact customers and ask them to write reviews about the product they have purchased. Bazaarvoice then allows the company to post reviews on third-party websites elsewhere on the Internet for others to see and influence.

A complete funnel strategy

“When you think of e-commerce in 2005, all the retail product pages were filled with editorial content from the brand,” said Keith Nealon, CEO of Bazaarvoice. And the UGC originally appeared on the product details page in the form of ratings and reviews. Consumers primarily trust what consumers say. “People want to know how they feel and how others feel about a product,” he said.

Today, brands are bringing their experiences to product pages on social media platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest, where the trade funnel has become easier. Essentially, the buying cycle is shortened by exposing consumers through social media to products that they can buy more easily and quickly online, where they discover the product for the first time.

“Wherever consumers jump, brands want to show where they are,” says Nealon. “In this way, you manage the customer journey and respond to this change in buyer behavior.”

Part of the success is the right strategy and tools to leverage the UGC. “You need a stack of technology that supports conversion at all stages, for recognition, conversion, and purchase stages. You all need it, ”added Nealon.

For Calego and its iFLY brand, UGC also means authenticity. Real customer feedback is not only attractive to brands but also attracts the attention of important business partners. Calego products have been sold by Walmart since 2013.

“The UGC is bigger than ever today,” said David Rapps. “There is so much emphasis on retailing for better content. The reason retailers are like ‘original content’ is because organic content works.”

As video content becomes more popular on social media, Rapps is particularly interested in tagged posts from customers showing their travel stories while using their products, he said.

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