If I see another handshake image on a website, I think I'll vomit.
In the world of Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, anyone with an internet connection or a smartphone can distinguish the difference between stock photography and unique, genuine imagery (Matt Munson, CEO of Twenty20, recently revealed a terrific website that highlights the ridiculousness of extreme stock photography). Meanwhile, research shows that more than half of Americans trust user-generated content (UGC) more than any other information on a company website, anyway. And 84 percent of millennials - a generation with $200 billion in annual buying power - report that UGC on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy.
UGC trumps stock photography in today's social-influenced world. But marketers considering these campaigns should be careful because they can be fraught with the potential for scandal. Take for instance the New England Patriots' racist auto tweet of a personalized jersey and the embarrassing drug reference in this Puma auto tweet of personalized "autographs." It's possible that Puma didn't even think it needed to worry about drug references in its campaign.
Content moderation protects against this, but getting good coverage is tricky. Sure, it's easy to filter out naked body parts, violence, offensive gestures or language, etc. But what about the simple campaigns mentioned above that turned to controversy quickly due to poor (or complete lack of) content moderation filtering.
Josh Buxbaum, co-founder of the leading content moderation company, WebPurify, knows this all to well as he consults with brands across the globe on how to keep their websites safe and clean from a variety of UGC. According to Buxbaum, there are three basic considerations when it comes to developing a content moderation plan for your marketing campaign.
Who is your audience?
When creating a content moderation campaign, you need to determine who your audience is, what they're concerned about and what their vulnerabilities may be. You'll need to balance your audience profile with your brand's voice so that you can define appropriate criteria and determine where you need to draw the line.
Balance your campaign budget with the safety of your users
When creating a UGC campaign, companies often consider the costs of what it takes to implement and complete the campaign, but very few consider the costs of content moderation. Or worse, the costs of cleaning up the results of a poorly moderated campaign. So, if you only have a budget for moderating three-minute videos, maybe automatically weed out any video over three minutes. Or, maybe you use text drop down boxes instead of open-ended response options to ensure your users don't get out of line.
Prepare to adjust your moderation criteria after your campaign begins
Let's say you created a campaign for Father's Day where you ask everyone to submit a video about his or her father - the nature of UGC is that not everyone will play nice. So, some people might change the topic altogether and hope to use the campaign as a platform to be funny or offensive. In fact, according to Josh, this happens at least 50 percent of the time in his experience. The off-topic response might not necessarily be within your original moderation criteria of no vulgar language, for example, so you'll need to adjust your criteria to include no off topic submissions.
The ultimate goal of content moderation is to control what you can without hurting the impact of the project or limiting creativity. By following the three considerations above, you can help protect your brand from unruly UGC without breaking the bank.
Main image via Shutterstock