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The Media Vampire

May 9, 2019
The challenges of making video work for real users

In a world saturated with marketing conspiracies and advertising schemes, here's a few facts we all need to cope with while we live our life online:

  • At best, looks are deceiving; most often they are plain lies.
  • Fakes and click-baits are everywhere.
  • Reality and truth are more elusive than ever.
  • No one is to be taken to their own words.
  • Is there any reliable, independent, honest and unbiased voice left?

So how can regular people -- people like you and me -- cope with these rather depressing facts on a day-to-day basis? How do people manage to uncover the truth, knowing that what is true probably lies buried under a mountain of fairy tales and illusions? The answer is simple: they rely on their peers.

I suspect that most buying decisions are done based on other, most often anonymous, users' input and validation. Before setting on anything, users will look up comments, evaluations and reviews that provide independent information. In 2019, I cannot imagine why anyone would do otherwise. Personally, I will often select a particular product based only on its users' reviews. I many cases, I will even neglect reading the official description in favor of scrolling directly to the reviews section. In short: I trust user-generated content over the manufacturer's own. Do you?

As anyone who currently selling anything online (including digital goods and services) will acknowledge: it is very, VERY hard to convince users to rate or review your product(s) in writing. To make matters worse, since we've collectively entered the age of video, that mountain now appears impregnable. How are we to convince users to create video content relevant -- and ultimately, beneficial -- to our products?

For a moment, I thought that the author of a recent post on SpinSucks stumbled upon a solution to this problem. Despite its promising title, "How to Find User-Generated Content in a Video-Driven World" does not provide a direct clue on how to proceed and entice users to make relevant video. I can think of at least a dozen reasons, technical and otherwise, why expecting video UGC is asking too much.

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