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    Lights, Camera…Action! The Ultimate High Performance UGC Framework

    May 07, 2024 |
    Written by:
    Luka Falbo-Ellis

    In today’s competitive digital advertising landscape, mastering the art of creating engaging content to capture and retain audience attention is essential.

    Consumer influence has undergone a significant transformation, shifting from the traditional advertising model of high-production content exclusively, to the dynamic realm of UGC Marketing.

    So what is UGC?

    UGC represents any promotional material generated and distributed by voluntary contributors or users of a brand, rather than the brand itself.

    Typical examples of UGC involve customer product reviews, in-use and story-led content about using a brand’s product or service. For more info on UGC see here.

    How can you create UGC that converts?

    To craft user-generated content that truly excels, it’s crucial to plan and execute fundamental performance elements, ensuring your creative shines against the competition. We’ve devised the Lights, Camera, Action framework— a tool designed to help you consistently deliver top-notch performance. With this framework implemented, you’ll hit performance out of the park every single time.

    Lights 💡

    First thing’s first, let’s set the foundations for you to plan amazing UGC content. The absolute first thing you must do, just like on any shoot, is ensure that you have the correct lighting conditions set up.

    Lighting has always been essential as it sets the tone, mood, and quality for viewers. Every aspect of the cinematic process, from arranging the set to directing actors, influences and is influenced by the lighting, and even though we are shooting UGC, it should be no different.

    Ensure that your content creator or product shots are well-illuminated. You don’t necessarily need sophisticated lighting equipment (although it can be beneficial); natural daylight can be utilised effectively. Shooting during daylight hours guarantees consistent lighting, while soft box or ring lights can be employed indoors or in variable lighting conditions. To maintain high visual quality, minimise harsh shadows on your subject’s face.

    • Harness natural daylight
    • Incorporate ring lights
    • Employ soft boxes
    • Steer clear of indoor tungsten lighting

    Camera 📽️

    Now that we’ve established optimal lighting conditions, the next crucial step is to carefully consider what will be captured on camera.

    Far too often, we witness potentially brilliant UGC content marred by a lack of consideration for on-camera visuals.

    So, what exactly do we mean by “what is seen on camera”? Essentially, it’s about leveraging another timeless filmmaking practice: creating the perfect ‘mise en scène’. This term encompasses everything visible in front of the camera, including set design. In film, mise en scène embodies the overall impact of how all elements converge for the audience.

    To set the scene effectively, deliberate on what objects are present and what aren’t in your frame. For instance, if you’re producing content for a wellness brand renowned for its clean aesthetic, ensure your scene reflects this ethos with minimal clutter and a tidy product arrangement. Consider spacing, ensuring ample room for the main visual to shine and highlight the product or creator at the forefront.

    Action 🚀

    The camera is rolling, so what needs to happen? Well that’s easy, there are two key objectives you must achieve.

    You must:

    • Create attention – You’ve only got 3 seconds!
    • Keep attention – Don’t give the user a reason to leave

    Consider how frequently you multitask, such as watching TV while browsing your phone, this is true for almost all social media users meaning that attention has become a commodity that needs to be fought for.

    You may already be aware that the first 1-3 seconds of your ad is crucial for enticing viewers to stop and engage. This rings just as true when it comes to UGC. You need to get people engaged in this ever-competitive battle for attention.

    In order for your hook to hit it out the park every time, try implementing one of the following:

    • Make a bold statement
    • Pose a compelling question that needs resolving, creating intrigue
    • Stir controversy
    • Incorporate a popular or trending sound
    • Showcase your offer right at the outset
    • Embrace the unconventional and be outright weird

    So, you’ve nailed a scroll-stopping hook and grabbed the user’s attention. Now comes the real challenge: keeping it! This aspect is often overlooked in many UGC ads I’ve come across during my audits of numerous brands over the years.

    Sure, having an attention-grabbing opening is great, but what happens next is crucial. It’s essential to consider not only what the creator is doing on camera but also how creatively the content is planned before shooting, and then edited afterward.

    To maintain user engagement, focus on the pacing of your content. As a general rule, aim to change scenes at least every 2-3 seconds, except for in more educational pieces. Additionally, where appropriate, ensure the creator’s delivery is energetic, as incorporating action and movement in each scene increases the likelihood of longer viewing times.

    Regarding content length, it should align with your product vertical and messaging, but shorter is generally better!

    • Keep the delivery punchy
    • Opt for more movement in-frame
    • Change scenes every 2-3 seconds
    • Aim for concise content whenever possible

    Finally, you are done. The masterpiece has been created. By incorporating just a fraction of the advice provided in this blog post into your next UGC ad, you’ll significantly increase its chances of success in your next paid media campaign. These principles are fundamental to any exceptional video content, be it Hollywood-produced or shot on the latest iPhone. Embrace these core fundamentals today, and witness a remarkable surge in your performance.