Why Moderation Should be Your First Priority for a Successful UGC Campaign

July 17, 2015 | UGC

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User generated content (UGC) is becoming king of the content marketing world – just ask the millennials who say UGC is 35 percent more memorable and trusted 50 percent more than other media.

So, earlier this year, Chief Marketer posted an article that outlined the “6 Steps to Acquiring Better User Generated Content.”

The article shared six great tips for successful UGC campaigns, from appropriate timing to conversation motivation, but there was one flaw in the list – moderation was the last consideration.

Even so, the article simply discussed moderation as determining what’s useable (i.e. eliminating off-topic submissions or content not in line with your campaign goals), so that you don’t have to manually sort through useless content in the end.

True content moderation means scanning UGC for text, video or images that violate your brand’s values – racism, nudity, etc. The goal of content moderation is to protect your users and your brand, without impacting user experience.

While a good UGC campaign requires a lot of planning and outstanding execution, the campaign could be worth nothing, or worse, seriously negatively impact your brand, if content moderation is not a top consideration.

Here at WebPurify we handle UGC campaigns for a wide variety of companies and brands, filtering over 3.5 million text submissions, 500,000 images, and thousands of videos daily. And if you follow the headlines like we do, you too know the dangers of UGC campaigns and how important content moderation is.

Take for instance the epic McDonalds Twitter fail when the fast food giant asked its patrons to use #McDstories – what it got was a series of “bashtags” from unhappy customers. Or the Puma and the Patriots auto tweet fails of racist and drug-related content.

To make the most of your next UGC campaign by being savvy about content moderation, follow these three steps:

First things first, determine your vulnerabilities: McDonalds probably didn’t think of the possibility that its hashtag would so quickly be used against them – just as Puma and the Patriots probably didn’t think their auto tweets would turn bad. When developing your UGC campaign, take the time to think about all of the possibilities for negative user content so that you can best prepare your content moderation plan.

Only allow as much UGC as your moderation budget permits: While our teams can moderate as much content as you can send us, you may have a small budget for live content moderation. Although you will be limiting your audience’s creativity, you can implement drop down menus where possible, so users still have the ability to select answers that best fit their personality, but don’t have as wide of a range to put in their own potentially inappropriate content.

Be prepared to adjust your content moderation criteria: As your campaign gets started and moves along, you’ll see new issues arise that you didn’t initially think of. Take the time to adjust your content moderation plan which will evolve as you become more familiar with the varying types of content your users are submitting.

Using the three steps above, you will not only be able to get the “useable” content you need, but you’ll also be able to make your best effort in ensuring your brand is protected during your campaign.