By Christine Dunn published March 30, 2012

Use Professional or User-Generated Video? New Survey Says ‘Both.’

video use content marketingThe use of videos in content marketing is growing as more companies try to incorporate visual elements in their content marketing campaigns instead of relying solely on text-based initiatives. Oftentimes, businesses weigh the option of user-generated videos over professionally produced ones. A new study by comScore and EXPO found that the best method is to combine both.

The study analyzed an actual video campaign that included a professionally made “how to” video and a user-generated product video that was created and submitted by an actual product user.

“What we found was strong evidence of incremental benefit with exposure to both forms of media,” Frank Findley, Vice President, Research and Development at comScore, said in a statement. “Professionally produced content and product videos drove strikingly higher lifts when used together than when either was used individually. While marketers may already be familiar with the effectiveness of professional video content alone, these results suggest that even greater returns can be had by combining their use with authentic, user-generated content.”

Professional videos are important tools in helping viewers understand the importance of the key messages presented by a company or brand. Consumers were more apt to understand the described benefits and features of the products in professionally produced content, the comScore/EXPO study found.

User-generated videos, on the other hand, are easier to relate to, perceived as being unbiased, and were considered more believable about verifying specific product claims, such as superiority and convenience. They generate an emotional intensity about a product, and in doing so help drive communication about a company’s key messages.

Filling in the Gaps

“When used together, all of the perceived gaps get filled in and consumers become more confident in their purchase decision, resulting in better sales effectiveness,” said Jessica Thorpe, Vice President of Marketing at EXPO.

The first group of consumers participated in a veiled exercise in order to determine the sales effectiveness of the professionally produced content, the user-generated content, and both together.

The study found that the professional videos generated a 24.7 point lift in Share of Choice for the featured product and a 16 point lift for the brand’s total line. User-generated videos drove an 18.7 point lift in Share of Choice for the featured product compared to a 10 point lift for the brand’s total line. When exposed to both professional content and user-generated product videos, lift in Share of Choice for the featured product jumped to 35.3 points for the featured product and 28 points for the brand’s total line. This demonstrates the powerful combination when used together, the study said.

Lifts in Share of Choice After Veiled Exposure to Video Content
March 2012
Total U.S.
Source: comScore, Inc.
Professionally-Produced User-Generated PP & UG Together
Featured Product +24.7 +18.7 +35.3
Brand’s Total Line +16.0 +10.0 +28.0

A second group of consumers participated in a cued exposure exercise and were surveyed after being directly exposed to the content. On its own, the professional video content resulted in a higher percentage of respondents understanding the importance of the key message presented than user-generated content. The user-generated product videos were more successful at producing emotional intensity

When exposed to both types of videos, the combined increases were greater than for either of the individual media exposures.

Percent of Audience Exhibiting Specified Responses to Video Content
March 2012
Total U.S.
Source: comScore, Inc.
Professionally-Produced User-Generated PP & UG Together
Emotional intensity 77% 84% 85%
Key message communication 55% 60% 65%
Easy to relate to 79% 83% 87%
Importance of key message 84% 80% 89%

comScore and EXPO will be conducting a webinar on Tuesday, April 3rd at 2 p.m. EDT to further explain the methodology and results of the study.

Video image via Shutterstock.

Author: Christine Dunn

Christine Dunn has almost two decades of experience writing about finance and business issues. As founder and president of Savoir Media, she works with companies and executives on developing strategic, integrated media and marketing programs. Prior to starting her award-winning company, she worked at Bloomberg News, where she served as Boston Bureau Chief and ran industry coverage for several national teams of reporters, including consumer/retail, mutual funds and education. She also authors "Dollar for Dollar," the personal finance blog on The Boston Globe's website. Follow her on Facebook or on Twitter @ChristineODunn.

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  • Carl Friesen

    This is good news particularly for organizations where professionally-produced video may be difficult to justify financially. The tools for producing video that conveys information well is now affordable and easy to use. It’s what David Meerman Scott calls ‘business casual video.’  

    Having a mix of ‘professional’ and ‘casual’ video is something like the balance sought by some political campaigns, where organizers strive for a blend of printed placards (showing good organization) and hand-lettered placards (showing grassroots appeal).

    Casual video allows an organization to respond quickly to new developments, with presentable images available online in a matter of hours, rather than days as is often the case if professional videographers are involved.

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