User-Generated Content and Consumer Brand Engagement

User-Generated Content and Consumer Brand Engagement

Muhammad Naem (University of Worcester, UK) and Sebastian Okafor (University of Cumbria, UK)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7344-9.ch009

Abstract

Debates on the importance of user-generated content (UGC) and consumer brand engagement have increasingly gained attention amongst researchers, practitioners, marketing managers, and business leaders. UGC is a concept popularized in the 21st century with the advent and rise of Web 2.0 technology. Web 2.0 has gained recognition due to its novel features that include openness, participation, and the facilitation of the creation and sharing of content. It revolutionized interactions amongst people, and users are now able to share and create personalized content on the internet instead of merely using the content available. The primary objective of this chapter is to evaluate the influence of UGC on consumer brand engagement and discuss its impact on customers and organizational marketing practices.
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Introduction

User Generated Content (henceforth UGC) which is alternatively known as ‘user created content’ is content published by users on various online platforms (Shneiderman, Preece & Pirolli, 2011). UGC has been described as content created by a consortium or an individual and published through diverse online platforms (McNally et al., 2012). Leung (2009) notes that UGC is any form of content that is developed by users of a service or system and published openly on an associated online platform or system. Most traditional UGC definitions describe the importance of online platforms and technologies that support the generation of such content. These online platforms and technologies are forms of social media, social computing, Web 2.0, collective action tools, social Web, read/write Web, consumer-generated media, virtual communities, computer-mediated communication, online communities, and socio-technical systems (Shneiderman, Preece & Pirolli, 2011). However, prior research presents a clear restriction upon the definition of UGC: when any user copies any content and uploads or posts it on a social media application then he/she is not creating new content or fulfilling the criteria for UGC. UGC is something which generates the content with transformativity or originality or a combination of both (Kaplan and Haenlein 2010). Other researchers have highlighted the fact that UGC became popular in 2005. UGC comprises various forms of media content that should meet three conditions. The content must be published on any social networking sites or website; it must be created outside professional practices and routines and it needs to highlight some unique or creative effort (Kumar et al., 2016). However, most social media applications are used with the purpose of forwarding the copied content of others. All types of social media have their own culture, norms, architectures and unique features. Users visit social media sites with different intentions and interact in diverse ways. McNally et al. (2012) describe the various forms of UGC such as audio, multimedia productions, individual texts, images, and videos. These are distributed through Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, and personal blogs. They are also distributed across software applications or modifications that are generated to operate within hardware platforms or in existing databases (e.g. game or virtual world modifications, iPhone apps, and utilities that influence publicly available databases); and informal or formal groups that generate and disseminate UGC (such as Linex or Apache, open source software, and Wikipedia).

It has become necessary for nations to make a policy framework in order to create and distribute UGC because these contents can bring creative expressions, innovation, and economic growth (Tang, Fang & Wang, 2014). In certain situations, UGC can bring revenue for its creators though voluntary donations, direct payments, content licensed to third parties and advertising revenues. About 80.7 percent of US internet users are seriously consider product reviews before making a purchase decision (eMarketer, 2016). Marketing communication using social media tools such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Flicker has increasingly gained the attention of many fashion brands, service providers and consumers.

The recent past has witnessed the advent of a new capability acquired by humans. The internet has become omnipresent, enabling users to share newly generated content with other users by delineating their buying intentions, product, and transaction-based experiences (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2016; Ozuem, 2016). Content generated by users can be accessed via applications (‘apps’) or websites viewed by visitors with an internet connection. Such content can include textual comments, video, images, profiles, votes, usernames, ‘hearts’ and likes and other media (Ryan & Jones, 2012). Adverts however are not considered to be examples of the type of User Generated Content (UGC) seen on social media platforms (Ryan, 2014). Voluntary contributors contribute UGC to increase numbers and support each other, generating new content that involves a wide range of creative media. Other users co-create such content beyond the prevailing professional traditional environments. UGC as a concept was popularised in the early 21st century with the advent of “Web 2.0” (Charlesworth, 2014).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Consumer Buying Behavior: The total buying behavior of the ultimate consumer when purchasing a product or service.

Social Media Networks/Platforms: Groups of internet-based applications that facilitate the creation and exchange of personal information or contents or participating in a social networking User-Generated Content

Consumer Engagement: Consumer engagement is an action-oriented relationship and commitment that extends beyond purchasing.

E-Word-of-Mouth: E-word-of-mouth can be described as a deliberate influencer of customer-to-customer interactions using online social networking tools. Consumers can generate online content and share such content with their online networks with the purpose of creating word-of-mouth reviews for brands.

Brand-Oriented UGC: Brand-oriented UGC is any content related to a brand and created by a user with the purpose of sharing content with others using social media tools.

Customer Trust: A belief in the given content of a social commerce organisation that enhances e-word-of-mouth and the purchase intentions of customers. Customers are more likely to buy from people they trust or purchase a product or service that performs what it claims.

User-Generated Content: UGC is any form of digital content users generated and shared online with other users. These contents produced can be viewed and shared by other users of the service or websites.

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