Effectiveness of Consumer-Generated Advertising: Pros & Cons

Instructor: Lauren Riley

Lauren has taught college level organizational behavior and has a master's degree in Business Administration.

In this lesson, we will discuss different forms of consumer-generated advertising such as sponsored posts and communal marketing. We will also look at the pros and cons of using outside sources to create material for an advertising campaign.

What Is Consumer-Generated Advertising?

Consumer-generated advertising refers to any content created by individuals which involves the branding of a company, product or service. In today's age of social media and constant digital interaction, anyone with a smartphone or laptop can easily create content, positive or negative, about a brand. Consumer-generated content can come in various forms, which we will discuss more in this lesson.


Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts are any type of post to a social media platform, website or blog run by an individual who is then compensated by the company to endorse their product or service. The individuals are often called influencers, or someone with a relatively large following, who has access to potential customers who fit well within the company's target market. Followers often have more confidence in the opinions of an influencer than they do the company and are more apt to listen to the messaging as it's coming from someone they trust.

For example, when a travel app was looking to gain more users, they reached out to a young couple who hosted a YouTube channel entitled ''The Texan in Tokyo Show.'' Their channel had a good number of subscribers and followed the couple's adventures as they explored Japan. The travel app identified them as a prime influencer for their market, knowing many of the Texan in Tokyo subscribers were interested in traveling and learning about other cultures. The company reached out to the Youtubers and sponsored a trip for them, which they planned using the app and recording their experiences as they had with their previous videos. The couple also spoke briefly about the app and how easy it was to plan a trip using it. This gave the app access to a pool of customers they may not have been able to reach through more traditional marketing methods.

Communal Marketing

Communal marketing is any type of campaign where a company enlists the help of the public to crowdsource ideas and content along a unified theme. Contributions come in many forms including print media, film and audio and are curated then used by the company in their campaign. An example of a large communal marketing campaign was the Doritos Crash the Superbowl Contest. The public was encouraged to submit funny self-made commercials, and winners were broadcasted during the Superbowl. The campaign ran yearly for ten years and was seen as a wildly successful communal marketing campaign which deepened the company's relationship with their customers, specifically within the millennial market.

How Effective Is Consumer-Generated Advertising?


While still a relatively new form of marketing, there are many examples of consumer-generated advertising campaigns that worked extremely well for the organizations using them. For example, Burberry increased their Facebook following to over 1 million and had a 50% jump in e-commerce sales after their trench coat campaign enlisted customers to share photos of their favorite Burberry fashion. The Ice Bucket challenge, where individuals uploaded videos of themselves dumping cold water over their heads in the name of charity, raised an unprecedented amount of money for the ALS Association, who had not even instigated the campaign. Consumer-generated advertising can be a low cost way of generating both buzz and marketing material for a brand and leveraging the influence of audience gatekeepers.

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