User Generated Content vs. Brand Generated. Why it is really not a question of which is better.

So, what works better – user generated content or content published by brands, news agencies or other professional sources. There is a lot of conversation on this subject. But it is not as one-sided as you might think. According to Forrester Research, only 14 percent of US consumers trust an ad created by a brand compared to 48 percent of users who trust the words, pictures and videos created by other consumers. Their take: carefully crafted calls to action from ad agencies are no match for the unvarnished truth shown in user-generated videos, shaky camera shots and all. But, not so fast. User-generated content was usually not present among the most prominent stories, according to an in-depth analysis by communication professors at Northwestern University. On average, only 1 in 100 most prominent stories were contributions from the public. Even greater, only 1 in 1,000 stories of the most-viewed on these sites were user generated. So, what does all this mean? First, agencies like GRM have a reason for being. Placement is strategic, analytical and often purchased. Most importantly, content that is framed for consumers to participate (engage) in an interesting way and in conversational terms works best. It’s not just that user generated content is better, it is too often brand-driven content is incorrectly written and is devoid of true engagement characteristics. Incidentally, the visual is an example of a ‘user generated video’ that was actually agency directed in terms of message and direction.