45% of Consumers Would Lose Trust in a Brand After Exposure to Misleading User-Generated Content Online

45% of Consumers Would Lose Trust in a Brand After Exposure to Misleading User-Generated Content Online

With toxic user-generated content, respondents believe that the buck should stop with brands
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In a society filled with companies clamoring for a consumer's patronage, shoppers must often rely on what they read about a brand to determine whether or not they will purchase from them. However, a new report shows that certain kinds of user-generated content (UGC) can do more harm than good to a consumer's brand loyalty.

TELUS International, a provider of customer experience and digital IT solutions, discovered that over half of consumers (54%) have noticed an increase of improper or deceptive UGC during the coronavirus pandemic — with 15% saying they're noticing inaccurate, fake and even toxic pieces of content every day.

This is hurting the relationships these companies have created with their supporters, as 45% of respondents would lose all trust in a brand after even one exposure to inappropriate UGC.

Consumers believe brands should take more decisive action against unwanted UGC

According to survey respondents, the kinds of unwanted content they saw the most often included:

  • Spam (61%)
  • Fake reviews and testimonials (61%)
  • Inappropriate or harmful images (48%)

And with many consumers saying that coming across these pieces of content make their day worse (38%) or ruin it entirely (30%), it's no wonder that they're willing to help brands in the fight against misleading UGC.

Two-thirds of respondents say they have flagged inappropriate UGC to the brands in question, but consumers still feel like brands can do more. In fact, almost 70% of consumers believe that brands need to protect users from toxic pieces of content while another 78% feel that it's up to the brand to provide its customers with a positive and welcoming online experience.

In the future, they hope to see companies take greater actions against toxic content. Some suggestions they recommend include:

  • Removing the content (69%)
  • Giving consumers a direct response about the action the brand has taken (46%)
  • Banning the offending user, at least temporarily (40%)

Positive engagement with consumers can improve brand loyalty

A recent Savings.com survey found that nearly all Americans are loyal to at least one brand in 2021. But for a majority of consumers (60%), their sentiments towards a brand can change depending on how they treat their customers.

So it may come as little surprise that positive brand engagements with a customer, such as liking a social media post or responding to a review or comment, make 53% of respondents more likely to buy from the company again. For 45% of consumers, these interactions also make them more likely to post even more user-generated content and also increases the chances of them recommending the brand to others.

This offers a great opportunity for companies to instill greater brand loyalty in their customers, as TELUS International found that 83% of respondents report having posted UGC of their own, such as:

  • Images (52%)
  • Reviews or testimonials (51%)
  • Comments in forums, social communities or online communities (44%)

Methodology: TELUS International conducted a Pollfish survey on June 7, 2021 of 1,000 Americans who are familiar with the definition of user-generated content.