Setting the Bar: Quality vs. Quantity of User Generated Content (UGC) Contests
There is no short answer on how to get your customers to create a lot of quality user generated content (UGC). But what we see over and over again in our client promotions is that if the bar is set too high, you may only get a few entries. Set it too low, you may get a ton of entries but not a lot of quality or even eligible, entries.
What do we mean by setting the bar too low or too high?
Think of it this way: the more you ask of your customer, the more likely they are to say, “That’s too much work.” Or, “ I don’t have that kind of time.” Or, “There is no way my entry would ever be good enough.” When this happens, you get fewer entries. Meanwhile, if you ask for very little from your audience, then the quantity of entries will go up, but the work they submit will be terrible. In a nutshell: the more time it takes to come up with a creative entry and submit it, the more entries you lose, while the lower the barrier to enter (“Tell us in one word why you like product X!”) the more you lose quality.
So where should your company set the bar?
The first thing we ask when planning a UGC contest is what the goal will be – what will determine success. If your definition of promotion success is a lot of entries and new email addresses for your list, then you will usually need to set the bar lower. If success is to find quality content from only uber-engaged customers, then set that bar sky higher.
The next factor we use to determine were to set the bar is who the audience is. If it’s teenagers, you might have more success getting quality entries using social channels and asking for videos. If it’s a more mature audience, an essay and photo might prove more appropriate. If you have a very targeted, small niche audience that is already engaged, you could set the bar higher than you can if you are a new business launching a new product.
We also like to factor in your advertising budget – how much will you spend promoting this contest and where? National media on TV or radio will help out campaigns where the bar is set high simply because the sheer volume of impressions will be so high. Whereas if you are doing a small social ad buy or relying on the organic reach of your social channels, engagement and impressions will be significantly lower.
And finally you have to factor in the reward, or prizes, the user could win. General rule of thumb is if you are giving away a high ticket item that your audience wants – cash, a record deal, a new house –then they may be willing to put more work into the entry. If you are only giving away one $100 gift don’t expect your entrants to put a lot of thought into the entry.
Planning Your Next UGC Contest
The next time someone at the table says let’s run a UGC contest so we can get lots of cool photos and videos to share on social – take a step back and call us. We can help you determine which UGC promotion makes sense for your business, and how high you should set the bar.
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