'Pics or it didn't happen" might have started as a refrain on Internet forums, but it has become the guiding principle of our social media lives. From big moments like a baby's first steps to the small stuff like what we have for breakfast, there's an image of nearly everything.
As a result, each day over 60 million photos are uploaded to Instagram and 12 million videos posted to Twitter via Vine; every minute 100 hours of video are shared on YouTube. For marketers, this presents a big opportunity—and an even bigger challenge.
Savvy advertisers are looking to user generated content (UGC) for the right combination of quality creative, expansive reach and audience engagement. According to Bazaarvoice, 51 percent of Americans trust UGC above other information when researching a brand, product or service.
Earlier this year, Coca Cola used UGC video for its successful "This is AHH" campaign. Designed to capture the sensation of first opening a bottle or can of the soft drink—cold, crisp, refreshing—the TV spot was crowd sourced from fans. Out of 400 submitted clips, 40 were mashed up into a 30 second Coca Cola ad that aired on teen networks like MTV and the CW.
UGC provided the raw footage, but professional editing was still used to refine the content into finished creative work.
Big-name brands like Zappos, NBC Sports, All Detergent and Discovery Digital Networks are experimenting with another video solution that doesn't require professional editing to produce polished UGC video. It involves running campaigns with the social automated video platform Magisto, which has a rapidly expanding base of 38 million users across the globe, as well as a brand-friendly platform.
"We're excited to be working with Magisto to help our viewers co-mingle their stories with ours," said Jim Louderback, GM of Discovery Digital Networks. After a successful campaign earlier this year around travel that generated 800,000 branded movies and over 4 million views in two months, Discovery Digital Networks announced a new theme and campaign with Magisto called "Wild Nature," which integrates footage from the video archives of Discovery to produce a new mashup theme. "Curation and remixing add depth and context to our narrative in ways we never even contemplated," said Louderback.
Magisto's mission is to provide automated, professional editing of video content through its mobile app. Users upload their stockpiles of personal photos and family videos, choose a custom editing "theme" and a song for the soundtrack and Magisto's artificial intelligence technology converts the raw footage into short, engaging movies. The results can then be shared via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or Google+.
For the brand sponsoring these different themes, it's a content marketing opportunity on an almost unprecedented scale. By facilitating authentic personal narratives about subjects like parenting, sports, travel, food and more, the brand becomes part of these stories within every user's social network. In this way, Magisto has positioned itself to take on the big social video guns like Vine, Instagram and YouTube in the competition for ad dollars.
"Brands were looking for a way to credibly tap into their customers' personal experiences and passions to tell the brand's story," says Reid Genauer, the Chief Marketing Officer at Magisto. "A sponsored theme is a way for brands to convey their messages and values in an organic way, and to have them shared with a qualified and trusted audience."
Here's a peek into campaigns executed by top brands with Magisto:
Zappos finds a way to spread #happiness
For every Magisto user that tags their video #happiness and chooses the "Happiness" theme, Zappos becomes the effective sponsor of the video as it is shared among the user's circle. So far, footage ranges from sleeping cats and wild nights out to intimate shots of newborn babies. Happiness is also an idyllic summer day spent riding bikes along the beach with a loved one—sun on the skin, hair blowing, shared jokes. Check it out:
All Detergent creates magical memories of summer
This June, Magisto is working with All to launch a campaign about the playful days of summer. Parents are encouraged to use the new Magisto theme called "Summer Play" to record and share videos of their children getting messy, especially on the field. All, the official detergent of Little League baseball, is using the tag #LLMoments—"Little League Moments"—along with prize incentives in the hopes of capturing some of the dirtiest moments from Little League games across the country. In the #LLMoments movie below, a user from Florida shares footage taken while cheering on Braden River's team from the sidelines. We see boys dressed in crimson uniforms that show signs of sliding into third as they participate in big plays, receive the championship medal and high-five the opposing team:
Discovery Digital Networks and travel memories from around the world
From Discovery Digital Networks' campaign comes this video submitted by Denys and his family from Ukraine. It was created during their trip to Thailand in 2013. The cinematic movie of snapshots and action footage takes viewers across Thailand via motorbikes and tuk-tuks, from famous landmarks to underwater dives, all seen through the excited eyes of Denys, his wife and his young daughter: