Why Social Teams and IGC are the Future of Content Creation

Tue Dec 05 2017
This is part 4 of our 4-part series: Why influencer-generated content holds the key to serious revenue. If you missed part 3, read it here.

The existing content creation process for most brands is broken, but few realize it. The classic content lifecycle has changed little since the early days of advertising and yet it’s poorly suited to today’s quick pace.

It’s unlikely that ad men in Ogilvy’s day could have imagined targeting an ad to just a few thousand people or creating hundreds of computerized split-test variations to land on the perfect derivative. Yet, marketing teams in the digital age still rely on that same early 20th-century content creation process, and it’s suffocating Facebook advertising teams.

The current (and very much broken) lifecycle of content creation

Many brands outsource their content creation to agencies. It’s an economical move because conceptualizing, scheduling, and executing a photo shoot requires studio space, models, photographers, stylists, and above all, time. Even those companies who create their own content in-house, still model their activities on the same tried-and-true process.

  • Conceptualization - Media planners meet with the creative team or agency of record and brainstorm ideas. Data is rarely considered in these meetings and plans are made based on subjective tastes and preconceived ideas. Whereas Facebook Ads teams have specific performance data on what image types or variants perform best, today, most content is created on intuition.

  • Scheduling - Teams wrangle logistics for locations, models, clothing, props, and sets for several months. During this time, any creative ideas that Facebook Ads teams may have requested, have likely gone stale.

  • Photoshoot - Photographers capture images on subject matter that’s an inch wide but a mile deep. Photo shoots are often thematic and based on a single decade, city, or style. The photos that result are hundreds of variants of just a few particular models and locations. For Facebook Ads teams who need great variety, this is highly restrictive.

  • Approval - Media planners select the best photos by eye. Unlike with Facebook advertising, where testing might reveal the sometimes surprising elements that attract audiences, everything is selected based on just a few people’s judgement. Approved content is released.

  • Repeat - New content creation campaigns are scheduled and the process repeats.

This entire procedure may take 3 to 6 months and at the end, Facebook Ad teams have a repository of images that’s far from adequate. After 2 to 3 weeks of testing these images, they’ll burn through them and go searching for new ones. They'll use Photoshop to flip, colorize, and tweak recycled images and sometimes, they turn to stock image sites.

Through this process, Facebook Ads teams typically accumulate a treasure trove of data on what images perform but it’s rare for this information to get transmitted back to the media planning team. When media planners schedule the next batch of content, they’ll likely return to the drawing board and conceptualize an entirely new theme. Any learnings from the first batch of ads such as, “this model, but with her hair up, performs best” will go unshared and unincorporated. The whole process begins anew.

Social media and IGC to the rescue

 Created by @vis_a Created by @vis_a

Upon the realization that social media and IGC produces higher performing content faster for less, we’ll start to see a shift in marketing organizations. Facebook Ads teams may be among the first to tap into the IGC goldmine provided by the social team, but there will be others. All ad, creative, and demand generation teams will find that they’re interested in better performance, and one that allows a feedback loop. Marketing and branding teams will find that IGC is precisely the content that moderns audiences crave because it’s them, reflected back at themselves. Brand teams will tap into IGC for clues into consumer psychology, and designers will covet it as a source of authentic inspiration.

Social media managers are the gatekeepers to this colossal mountain of marketing value. They hold the keys to not only Facebook ads but to the entire future of marketing content. Once they realize this and tap into the power of IGC, they’ll wield the tremendous power over their own careers and the future of the business.

The content is there and waiting for you. What will you choose to do with it?


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