The Benefits of UGC Moderation
There was a time, not too long back, when publishing was done by a few people and organizations that were equipped to do so. It was possible to mostly trace back each piece of content that was published to its publisher, should the need arise. Publishers of content followed established and trusted processes for ensuring what they put out was verifiable and accurate, and also maintained high standards of quality as it reflected on their company and brand. They also had processes to enable the published content to reach the target audience through networks of distributors, stores, shops, libraries, and other outlets. One could not just wake up one fine day and become a publisher. Everyone else was a consumer of the content created by publishers.
Much has changed in publishing since the advent and rapid growth of the internet and the many social media platforms that have mushroomed as the internet has penetrated to the deepest and darkest corners of the globe. As human interaction moved from direct physical interaction where communication was done mainly in physical proximity at close quarters and informally or verbally, to communication and sharing of information over the internet with people spread out across the globe, it has taken the shape of content. Once created, it acquires life. It is believed that even if content is deleted, it continues to be available in some shape or form in the deep crevices of the digital world.
As we share and exchange ideas on social platforms powered by the internet, we create content. Each time we share pictures of a newborn, we create content. Each time someone posts a complaint to the public handle of a government department, content is created. Each time an extremist organization raises a slogan for action against a community, and posts it online, content is created. From being mere consumers a generation ago, each of the 7 billion plus human beings, while being consumers, now also have the power and means to become producers of content, and well over half who use the internet and social media platforms with regularity, already are.
Expertise is needed to manage the train that would otherwise be a runaway train, from drowning us all under the sheer weight of the content created. BPO providers like oWorkers have stepped up to build expertise in handling services related to creation of content on the web. They have been recognized as one of the three best BPO providers of data services in the world. It is a testament to the capability of their staff as well as the leadership team that has over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry.
User Generated Content (UGC) and UGC Moderation
UGC refers to User Generated Content, the truckload of content that Average Joe, folks like you and I, are creating on platforms on the World Wide Web, the Internet. In slightly more technical terms, UGC is the content published or created by people who don’t have a commercial or any other connection with the subject they are creating content for.
Truckloads is not an exaggeration. If we look at the internet as a platform, more than 60% of the world’s population are active users of the internet. Over 90% of these internet users, a little over 4 billion, are active users of social media.
What does this mean?
This means generation of a voluminous amount of content.
According to domo.com, that runs a cloud-based operating system that unifies every component of your business, and also collects and publishes information on internet usage statistics, every minute of the day, day after day, the following happens:
- YouTube users upload 48 hours of new video
- Instagram users share 3,600 new photos
- Brands and organizations on Facebook receive 34,722 “likes”
- Over 100,000 tweets are sent
This, as you can guess, is only a sample. There are more than 4 social media platforms as we all know, and there are multiple ways in which content can be created on each. If you have interest in knowing more, you could look at the infographics periodically published by domo.
Social media platforms need to undertake moderation to ensure the sanctity of the space and keeping it safe for everyone. This may include monitoring and removing malicious content such as hate speeches, pornography, violence. Platforms are, after all, also businesses, and they need to protect their business interest by maximizing participation.
Being a people driven activity, it requires a constant supply of competent resources to undertake the task. This is where oWorkers stands out. With its deep connections in the local communities, they are now a preferred employer and attract a stream of jobseekers on a continuous basis. The pandemic has done nothing to stem the flow; it has only moved online. They are able to hire the most suitable resources for client projects and even hire replacements for attriting employees, in good time.
The related advantage this provides, which translates to a significant cost benefit for their clients, is the ability to ramp up at short notice. oWorkers can hire almost a hundred additional resources in 48 hours to cater to unexpected spikes in volume. From the clients’ point of view, this replaces the resources that they would otherwise need to hire and keep idle when volumes were low. It could be a big number for many clients.
Companies’ need UGC Moderation too
While individuals use the internet and social media platforms and create organic content, since the time they have become aware of its possibilities for their business, companies actively promote and solicit user participation. They create communities on social media platforms dedicated to their own brands and try to stir activity around it in an effort to build a self-sustaining community brought together by their common interest in the brand.
While it provides many benefits, as recounted later in this piece, driven by the UGC it can potentially create, this UGC creation also creates the need for UGC moderation as a widely distributed, unmonitored group, even if it of well-wishers, cannot be left to its own devices to drive the groundswell of popular opinion for the brand.
Outsiders may be ignorant
Like they say, ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’ UGC contributors may be well intentioned, but they come from a place of feelings and sentiment, not necessarily supported by research and data that the company might possess. This could create situations and content that is inimical to the brand’s interests and hence may need to be monitored.
Competitors could sabotage content
If the site is open to brand followers and well-wishers, it is also open to competitors. Like spies sneaking into enemy territory in Hollywood movies, competitors could unleash unfavorable UGC through the medium of moles that creep into your territory. They could even use your property to push their own products and brands through fake accounts.
Compliance with brand guidelines
While it is understood that the common user is not a representative of the company and is not expected to abide by its policies and guidelines, each brand does wish to project a certain kind of image and persona. Some may wish to project a family-friendly persona, some others may like to project an irreverent and edgy image, and so on. They would perhaps expect even their UGC creators to be able to link in with their theme and build on it. They may need to look out for content that militates against their target personas.
Responsibility rests with the company
While UGC may have merits, furtherance of the objectives of the company lies squarely on the shoulders of its authorized representatives, and not that of the user who creates content. Hence, while taking action on a particular piece of content may be a choice, monitoring and overseeing that process is not. It needs to be done. The company may choose to leave negative comments untouched for the sake of creating a trustworthy site, but they need to know that negative comments have been posted.
With clients from around the world, oWorkers understand the expectations of corporate clients. They are GDPR compliant, as part of the basic requirements of operating from the Eurozone, and operate from super secure facilities to ensure security of client data. Their ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certification further strengthens their environment. They are also equipped to provide physical segregation between clients with the help of access control.
The strong partnerships oWorkers has built with technology companies gives them access to the latest technology that, again, benefits clients as it their projects that it is deployed on.
Benefits of UGC
If UGC moderation is a requirement that stems from its lack of reliability, why don’t we just get rid of it, or don’t allow it? After all, it is in the hands of creators of online spaces to decide what nature of participation they would like to permit on their space, if any at all. No UGC, no need for moderation. Right?
But that may not be a preferred alternative. UGC delivers significant benefits to companies that they are unwilling to eliminate.
UGC drives confidence in the brand
While advertising has brought many products to the attention of target customers, its messaging is taken with a pinch of salt. Consumers are smart enough to realize that the advertiser has a vested interest and is likely to only put out the good word about the product. Hence, caution needs to be exercised before action upon the stimulus.
UGC, on the other hand, does not suffer from this disbelief. It has increasingly become the go-to source for validation before purchase decisions are taken. The ability of a brand to openly seek and display such feedback creates confidence in the brand.
Creates a virtual, extended team
Every employed resource or hired vendor costs the company money. The greater the requirement for content creation, the greater is the likely cost of doing so.
Enter UGC, and the need for an extended team, and related costs, vanishes.
If the company is able to create a thriving, vibrant community around its brand, they will create marketing content for the company as a result of communicating around the brand. This will create a vast amount of marketing content at no cost, except the cost the company may need to incur on UGC moderation, which is likely to be a fraction of the cost saved in additional hired resources.
UGC comes at almost no cost
As a corollary to the above, fans and members of the community created around the brand, expect no remuneration for their work. They do it because they like the brand and identify with it. It creates a sense of community for them and enables them to be a part of something larger than themselves. It also allows them to connect and interact with other similarly disposed people. This enduring goodwill creation tool comes at no cost for the company.
Gives you good SEO karma
A key initiative for marketing teams in the internet world is to get good search engine rankings for their web properties. This is an organic process and often takes years, and many times does not even deliver beneficial results as there are many other moving parts that are also changing shape and form at the same time.
Getting UGC into the frame enhances the dwell time, the amount of time a visitor spends on your site. Visitors are known to favor UGC over brand-created content and spend more time on it. It also gives you a cache of keywords far richer than your own marketers may be able to conjure up. And, it contains ratings and review scores which are also known to drive SEO optimization.
Is it, therefore, any surprise that companies would rather live with the ill consequences of UGC and handle it through UGC moderation, than eschewing it altogether.
The ability of oWorkers to provide support in 22 languages is advantageous for global clients operating in diverse geographies as well as companies looking for geographical growth. They don’t need to look for a new partner each time they expand. oWorkers becomes a support for their growth and not a hindrance.
Outsourcing for best results
Outsourcing critical tasks to a specialist is no longer an alien concept in business.
oWorkers has built a reputation as a reliable partner. It offers pricing that adds value and is transparent, often giving a choice to the client between two competing mechanisms. Many clients note saving more than 80% cost after engaging oWorkers as a partner.
It has stuck to its policy of working with employees, and not contractors or freelancers. This provides the company flexibility in deployment as well as a competent and experienced middle management talent pool. It has repeatedly been ranked above 4.65 on a scale of 5, on platforms like Glassdoor.
Its 24×7 ready facilities are equipped to handle most requirements and deliver quick turnaround. Several unicorn marketplaces around the world choose oWorkers as their partner for UGC moderation.