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UGC + Data: Using tech and data to balance UGC strategy

The world of user generated content marketing, or UGC marketing, is filled with plenty of different variables. It’s the form of marketing that you have the least amount of control over, yet it may be the most effective, since 92% of consumers trust organic, user-generated content more than traditi
Parker Dietz
April 14, 2021
April 11, 2024

The world of user generated content marketing, or UGC marketing, is filled with plenty of different variables. It’s the form of marketing that you have the least amount of control over, yet it may be the most effective, since 92% of consumers trust organic, user-generated content more than traditional advertising.

Since you don’t have total control over what’s being said about your brand online, how are you supposed to incorporate it into your user generated content strategy? The same way you do with any other marketing strategy — you rely on the data available to you. 

UGC and data: For marketers, treasure lies in the details

As UGC evolves, so do the challenges that come with it. There are plenty of variables that you can’t control, but one thing that you can always control is your understanding and implementation of the data available to you.

In our recent survey, we found that 91% of brands and agencies said that data takes a central role in campaign strategies at least some of the time. One third of participants said that data is always the essential factor in matching the right creative to the right audiences. 

Check out our chart below to find a visual representation of this data and how different marketers approach the relationship between the data and their creative strategy.

<img src="" alt="IMsjMvFKZnu-G3cli5m_KGVssRhVyP-qICFTmN5dUzsY7RajEANLNMLaqtSx9v73lh3GzuI9zqOYgTsKOXSlXwCEbRjq9v7-H-yvPndnYO9JN_tfv7swx-Baq6muoLyzVkjmDCAY.png">

Data is at the heart of campaign content success

Understanding the data is one thing, but who is actually using their findings to make decisions for how to structure the direction of their campaign? Empowering data to drive the performance of future campaigns is an important step in the process, and in our survey, the respondents highlighted which metrics are most important to them. 

In the graph below, you can get a look at which metrics the surveyed respondents found more important and less important.

<img src="" alt="6humKHyg-bQEVQQX8spfjZq9P3o2hhkVrs3HciTodlG1hiqA1lG-9tphJ62bMdvaJfn1OdZLvvU7WyyufQ0xcAUEb8nc70KIMLjsjfmNsO0qVv68XeIpD3u0RbU0IxdBWOqd4U8j.png">

Performance metrics aren’t confined to revenue

As the graph above shows (and to the surprise of few), costs and returns figure into the data points that matter most to marketers. These can be considered primary metrics — in fact, financially based metrics account for both 49% and 29% (78% total) of what brands and agencies consider to be among the most critical content evaluation metrics.

“In the end, it’s still revenue, right? And it’s one of those things that doesn’t ever go away,” said Jeffrey Douglass, the Vice President of Marketing at Weyco Group (the holding company for brands such as Florsheim Shoes and Stacy Adams.

Weyco Group has leaned into UGC and has used the data to course-correct and develop successful campaigns worldwide, particularly in Asian markets within the past two years. Four Douglass and his team, UGC and data are also introducing them to new audiences, which allows them to discover more about audience preferences and what kind of brand experiences they prefer to have. 

For example, using UGC data insights, a brand could find out that their audience prefers not to buy from the brand’s website. This would encourage the company to pivot to become more of a content provider to retail sites rather than a player in the e-commerce space. 

Metrics other than just primary factors like cost and revenue can play an important role in a marketer’s user generated content strategy as well. These metrics may be considered secondary by some, but they can still unlock details that can make a significant impact to a campaign. 

“The secondary metrics come into play because, depending on the medium in which it’s deployed, what you’re trying to do is say, ‘what kind of cohorts exist within there?’” Douglass said. “It’s what cohorts are available, and how do they perform with the content that’s being delivered?”

When looking at the other metrics, our survey shows that marketers are measuring content performance by analyzing audience attention, reach and overall engagement — total impressions (45%), engagement rates (39%) and total reach (36%) all earned over one third of significance chart above.

How technology builds data-driven UGC campaigns

So if all of this data is accessible and is proven to help marketers out, why aren’t more marketers using it? The main reason may be the task of managing data volume — 90% of survey respondents said they are facing a moderate to very high influx of data for driving campaign content into the right channels to reach the right audiences.

However, in today’s day and age, there are plenty of technologies that you can use to help you manage your influx of data. Proper utilization of this technology can be the missing ingredient to creating a well-run and effective user generated content marketing strategy.

How Marketers are Handling Big Data

There are three types of big data for marketers:

  • Customer data, which refers to any information about the people or businesses that you serve.
  • Financial data, which refers to the information about the company that tells you about its financial performance and health.
  • Operational data, which refers to the information that comes out of your business’s day-to-day operations, including purchase data, inventory, etc. 

When it comes to analyzing big data, these five technologies are the most popular amongst marketers:

Hadoop Ecosystem: The Hadoop Framework was designed and developed to help companies store and process data on different high-speed and low-expense machines, where it can later be revisited to be analyzed.

Artificial Intelligence: Artificial intelligence, or A.I., is the use of advanced computer software technology to develop intelligent machines that are capable of carrying out tasks that would usually be reserved for human intelligence.

NoSQL Database: Technologies within the NoSQL Database family are used to provide a method for data recovery and acquisition. It makes it easier for companies to store, find and utilize their data in real time. 

R Programming: This system is used by companies for visualization, statistical computing, developing statistical software, data analysis and more.

Data Lakes: If you have data in multiple different formats, then you may want to go with a Data Lake. These consolidated repositories for storage can carry all data formats and helps businesses understand the data and make better decisions.

Learn more about each of these technologies by reading this blog post from Jigsaw Academy.

Technologies helping UGC campaigns

Data matters, and putting that data to work for you is the key to changing your user generated content marketing strategy for the better. You could have the best creative assets in the world, but if it isn’t getting in front of the right people, it’s moot. That’s where Cohley can help you and your business to succeed.

Take our recent case study with Rhone for example. Adam Bridegan is the Chief Marketing Officer at Rhone, a men’s performance lifestyle brand. He understood that even though they were making good content, they needed to get with the times and implement a technology-based solution to get it in front of people.

So, they reached out to Cohley to see what could be done. Even with Rhone’s limited resources, they were able to look at the data available, audit their content and have some important conversations which led to some valuable insights — including the fact that their creative looked too similar to their competitors.

So they changed things. 

They started to work with content creators that thought and worked differently than their usual approach — and as you could guess, things started to change pretty quickly.

With an influx of new content at their disposal, they were able to ramp up their testing, which increased the amount of data available to them. While they were originally testing 10-15 pieces of creative  a week with their marketing strategy, they were now able to test 50+ things a week. From here, they can rely on the data to drive the performance, which frees up their limited team to focus on other aspects of the business.

As you can see, when you get an outsider perspective like Rhone did, you can increase your reach without messing with the bottom line. This allows you freedom as a brand to try new things and put yourself out there on different platforms. You never know where your next lead could come from, but data gives you a much better chance of finding out.

Read more about using your UGC effectively here.

UGC + Data - A love affair for the ages

Not only does data help you adjust your marketing strategies, but it also creates opportunities to rethink traditional iterative workflows. When you look at the findings from a case study that Cohley did regarding workflow, you’ll find some great examples of how data can help reshape how your company spends its time and money.

For example, you can rely on data to narrow down how you’re spending your time and money with campaign development. Instead of spending money on a vast array of campaign possibilities, you can use data to make granular decisions along the way to find easily testable units.

The more you learn throughout testing with iterative variables, the more informed your decision making process will be. This pays off in the short term with each individual campaign, and it can be a big factor in any macro changes your business makes, such as an approach to your content production in general.

In the end, it’s all about the details. What data can provide you is more information that can be leveraged into better results. The more you learn and understand about your findings, the better off your strategy and business will be in the long run.

Are you ready to utilize data and implement it into an effective user generated content strategy? If so, contact Cohley today to see how we can help you improve your marketing strategy and grow your brand on the Internet and beyond!

Parker Dietz
Head of Content
With a wealth of knowledge about competitors and pricing, Parker is all about exploring the best way to communicate Cohley's benefits. Outside of work, Parker enjoys poorly playing guitar at parties, watching every Adam Sandler movie ever made, and eating Arabic food.