Certainly one of the biggest barriers to entry in the world of user generated content is proving its benefits and advantages to the boss. Sure, identifying brand influencers and increasing social mentions are nice, but what are some hard metrics you can put in a pie chart and present to the c-suite? Glad you asked.
So How Can We Measure the Impact of User Generated Content?
1. Time on Site: It's simple, really. The longer a user is on your site, the more time and chances you have to convert them to a customer. And UGC has been proven time and time again to increase this number.
Moz member Jiyan Naghshineh Wei ran a test comparing time spent on web pages with images to those without any and found that pages with photos outperformed the others by 10%. He took it one step further and made a permanent place across all pages of his site to feature user generated photos and saw total time on the site increase by nearly 150%.
2. Bounce Rate: A metric in the wheelhouse of many marketers already, bounce rate is a pretty quick way of telling whether or not your site is keeping users engaged. The higher it is, the more people are exiting your page upon first entry. There are a number of things that can lower this number, but a well-placed video or photo gallery has been proven to decrease bounce rate and keep potential customers engaged and interested in what you're presenting.
3. Reach/CPM: I've talked a bit about this before in the Benefits of User Generated Content post, but UGC consistently comes in at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising - in both production costs and network reach. It's a no-brainer that using fan generated content in place of something professionally produced is a huge savings, but in terms of pure advertising reach, one engaged fan can reach nearly the same number of people with a single share of their content to their existing network that you'd pay for access to via paid channels. And higher returns at a lower cost is music to any executive's ears.
4. Conversion Rate: This is more focused on e-commerce sites, but placing user generated content along the purchase path has successfully increased conversion rates for many e-retailers. Seeing the product on or being used by people just like them provides a level of trust that is tough to get any other way. In the Does UGC Help Sales post, we reviewed Lululemon's #TheSweatLife campaign, which is a great example of using UGC to increase sales conversion.
For a comprehensive look at the benefits of user generated content and how several nationally recognized brands are using it to their advantage, get this free guide: Five Reasons to Incorporate UGC Into Your Marketing Plan.