Reports Media & Marketing

From social media to creator tools The evolution of UGC

Report by Hanna Kahlert
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The 20,000 foot view:  Entertainment is suffering intense competition as audience attention time, already saturated before the pandemic, is hit by the gradual return of ‘in real life’ activities. A flurry of new propositions over the last year and a half, namely in streaming and social media, are competing on largely similar grounds – making differentiation ever more difficult. Audiences are responding to these demands on their attention by changing their preferences to the scarce and novel, which favours creation and other ‘lean-in’ behaviours. Meanwhile, on the creator side, new tools are simplifying the process of going from casual creator to fully-fledged independent artist. The space between the two is narrowing, introducing new opportunity for social media and digital entertainment alike to step into this creative ‘white space’. This is the early onset of a new era of user-generated content (UGC).

Key insights

  • Highly engaged, UGC-style behaviours are prominent amongst younger demographics.        of males aged        play fantasy sports, more than twice the rate of any other demographic.        of consumers generally curate their own music collections or playlists on streaming
  • This lean-in propensity demonstrates the early foundation of a long-term need for participation in content, rather than purely consumption
  • While consumer-facing creator tools are not new, combining them with social will extend both the potential audience base for creator tools, as well as ensuring the longevity of social media among a more creative-focused consumer base
  • While ‘tech-focused’ propositions tend to skew male, social-focused and user-friendly propositions (mobile games as opposed to console, for example) have much more diverse audiences
  • Combining social and creative will allow the creator tools sector to compete directly with traditional stand-alone digital propositions, including music, video and gaming
  • This means that product strategists in music, video and games should pay closer attention to this merging with social, and optimise their own propositions in order to allow their audiences to diversify on-platform behaviour between lean-in and background

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Apple, Apple Arcade, BandLab, Discord, Facebook, FL Studio, GarageBand, Google Stadia, Instagram, Myspace, Netflix, PlayStation Now, Roblox, Snapchat, SoundCloud, Spotify, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube

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