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Growing Appeal of User-Generated Advertising

I previously reported on a comScore Networks market study that found consumers rated most user-generated advertising during the Super Bowl as more engaging, when compared to the professionally produced adverts. Now another independent study has insights on the same topic, only from a slightly different perspective.

Making consumer-generated content part of the advertising mix is one way a company can boost its customer loyalty, according to a study conducted by the American Marketing Association and Opinion Research Corporation.

The study found that most adults (consumers aged 25 to 64) prefer companies that market via consumer-generated media to those that market via professional advertising -- those surveyed indicate that a company using customer-created ads is more customer-friendly (68 percent), creative (56 percent), and innovative (55 percent).

Relatively few adults feel a company that uses consumer-created ads is less trustworthy (10 percent), less socially responsible (10 percent), and less customer-friendly (5 percent).

Young adults (consumers aged 18 to 24), however, are slightly more dubious of what consumer-made content says about a company's character -- 21 percent say they are less trustworthy, 20 percent say they are less socially responsible, and 13 percent say they are less customer friendly.

Clearly, marketers would benefit from further research that would enable them to more accurately target consumers who have a strong preference for user-generated content. The apparent appeal doesn't seem to be linked directly to age, or other typical demographic criteria.

Regardless, most people currently involved in the professional advertising value-chain will likely continue to defend the declining return on investment from the traditional approach, since it's difficult to reject conventional wisdom or disregard vested interests in the status quo.

That said, advertising agency associations in both the U.S. and Europe continue to caution their membership not to be complacent or naive regarding this emerging trend.

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