User generated content refers to any digital media created and uploaded to the Internet by nonmedia professionals. This new form of content is quickly becoming the dominant media form of the Internet. By 2011, over 50% of all Internet users in the United States will participate in user generated content both as creators and viewers. Additionally, our analysis suggests that over 60% of most successful viral content in the last year was user generated Digital media designers must learn from the successes and failures of user generated content in order to remain competitive in the changing digital media market.
In this report, we present an analysis of successful user generated content from popular Internet video and Flash animation portals. Viewer engagement was measured with OTOinsight’s Quantemo™ neuro-marketing research system. Quantemo™ utilizes a multi-modal approach that combines self-report, physiological and neurological data to holistically and reliably measure user engagement with digital media. Analyzing the results from the Quantemo™ sources, we present a set of four insights concerning how successful user generated content appeals to viewers and what professional marketers can learn from the effort of user generated content creators.
Our research uncovered four significant insights:
1. Traditional evaluation methods are insufficient for explaining and interpreting emotional response to digital media.
2. Setting expectations prior to content viewership encourages positive ratings and engagement.
3. Viewers encourage and respond positively to emotional content.
4. Empathy and appeal are key strategies for promoting positive emotional response and engagement.