Consumer video can match TV ads

15 October 2010

NEW YORK: User-generated online video reviews can replicate several positive effects typically displayed by television commercials, according to a study.

Research firm comScore and EXPO Communications, which runs a website housing material created by consumers, assessed whether the output of amateurs could match that delivered by specialist practitioners.

EXPO selected a sample of 25 relevant videos covering various categories, such as electronics and packaged goods.

These were rated via the 100-point scale comScore ARS employs when pre-testing official executions, based on the utilisation of rational, emotional and wider structural factors influencing recall and persuasiveness.

For comparative purposes, corresponding TV and digital ads were also then identified from comScore's ARS database, including examples its clients submitted for pre-testing.

Overall, 68% of the user-generated content (UGC) fell in the "average" range concerning copy-testing scores, with 32% "above average", and none considered sub-standard.

The top-ranked videos discussed brands like Clairol, Gain, Mr Clean Magic Eraser, LG Electronics and Apple.

"The results indicate that the highest performing user-generated product reviews contained many of the sales effective elements seen in professionally-produced television commercials," the report said.

"Furthermore, the rates of presence of many of these elements were greater than those typically seen in the rival digital format of banner and rectangle display ads."

Moreover, the findings proved the importance of looking beyond web metrics like viral success, and suggested that UGC complements traditional media.

This is because feedback from the public boasts particular strengths often neglected by brands using different mediums.

"When conveying their experiences, the product reviewers were naturally more apt to focus on the product and its attributes," comScore ARS said.

"This resulted in a strong branding presence and communication of such elements as product convenience and quality, which are key rational elements in increasing an ad's persuasiveness to a prospective buyer."

Joe Torpey, director of digital marketing for LG Electronics USA, argued the results seemed simultaneously confirmatory and disruptive.

"It's no surprise that consumers can persuade each other, but it is surprising that in consumer-produced video, people are naturally exhibiting behaviours that years of research have found to be persuasive in professional television commercials," he said.

"Brands are only beginning to uncover the value that lies in giving consumers their own voice on the social web."

Data sourced from comScore; additional content by Warc staff