The world of social media. Filled with meticulously staged content and hashtags like #iwokeuplikethis, the need (and demand) for authenticity seems to be on the rise. Authenticity is an important part of any brand (and a Spots & Stripes favourite). Marketers have long strived to get the right message, the right tone of voice, the right content, all summed up as an effortless, authentic brand identity.
On a mission to investigate the consumer and producer perspective on content, Stackla has recently surveyed 1590 consumers and 150 B2C marketers. The results are in, and they are quite interesting:
83% of marketers say authenticity is very important to their brands, and 61% believing authenticity is the most important component of impactful content.
90% of consumers said that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support - up from 86% in 2017.
Enter the curveball:
92% of marketers believe that most or all of the content they create resonates as authentic with consumers. Yet the majority of consumers disagree, with 51% saying less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic.
Influencer-marketing became a hype not long ago. Brands jumped at the opportunity to reach their target audience in a ‘authentic’ manner. This influencer was believed by their followers to really be using this product, to be a real fan. Many influencers with over 100,000 followers could easily make $5,000 for a post where they are seen with the (sponsored) product. This marketing method seems to be dying.
Rules and regulations have come about stating that if a paid partnership is at hand, it must be made known that the content is in fact an advertisement. Hashtags like #spon, #ad or #sponsored need to be used. As far as transparency is concerned, this is of course a good thing. But having to provide this transparency, well, it’s not exactly what brands would prefer. It sours the ‘authenticity’ that they were trying to create and it leaves the followers of the influencer potentially feeling duped or used.
Not only is the authenticity of the content an issue, the authenticity of the influencer is also being questioned. The realisation that many influencers have bought fake followers to amp up their status has prompted Instagram to start a massive cleanup, deleting accounts and removing likes or comments left by the ghost-follower.
“There is no more trust in bloggers, they buy likes and subscribers. Almost half of them did it at least once. We cannot invest in such a shadow tool. We need to take urgent action now to rebuild trust before it’s gone forever.”
Keith Weed, former CMO at Unilever
Creating authenticity... seems like a paradox. Aside from yes - the right message, the right tone of voice, the right content, there is a vast world of content at your fingertips. And, it’s free. What is it? It’s user generated content, also known as UGC. This content has been created by the user (the consumer) for all the possible reasons in the world but most importantly - none that involve a partnership or sponsoring. Purely self-motivated. How much more authentic can it get?
According to the stats, this is what works.
79%of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions
UGC is 9.8x more likely to impact people’s purchasing decisions than influencer content
UGC does something branded content simply can’t do. It’s incredibly diverse, spontaneous and real. It makes a great addition to a brand story. Consumers generally enjoy their content being picked up and shared by the brand, strengthening the brand-bond.
51% of people say they’d be more likely to continue engaging with and/or purchasing from a brand if it shared their photo, video or post throughout its marketing.
Need some inspiration? ↓
Interested in reading the full data report by Stackla? Click here