by Pat McClelland

At the recent HDI Youth Marketeers Summer School, 20-year-old Tyler Reed spoke about user-generated content and how it has influenced the marketing and advertising space.

Reed says that social media and user-generated content are still largely undefined and in an experimental phase, which is constantly changing. The printing press changed society by providing a central place to aggregate and distribute information on a large scale. What has changed now with the internet is that there is no control, no gatekeepers, and no barriers to entry – so anybody with access to the internet can publish and distribute information freely.

Reed mentions that his career actually began as the result of his personal blog, which catapulted him from being an ordinary teenager to a well-known and respected name in the online and mobile marketing space.

He goes on to say that thanks to today’s technology, people decide what messages to receive, and when. The youth, he says, are particularly good at blocking advertising messages they don’t want to hear or see. Messages that work best with them are not intrusive, and are useful and relevant and received on their own terms.

Reed mentions the importance of finding the influencers and making sure they receive your message and pass it on – they are the ones that can truly make or break your brand. He says that technology provides several opportunities for marketers to make themselves relevant and useful. They need to stop ‘push’ marketing and let people ‘pull’ – a useful and relevant service/product is of course a prerequisite for this to happen. Value-added services are the way forward and can create positive brand experiences.

One just has to look at the stats to see how big the online phenomenon is:

• 13 hours of video content is uploaded onto YouTube every 60seconds.
• There are +/- 1 018 860 active South Africans on Facebook in the last 30 days
• Local content is getting more views on than it is on YouTube (so use both if you are using video sharing marketing tools – don’t just stick to YouTube)
• There are almost 9 million Mxit users in South Africa
• 100 966 35 pages were served by the South African blogosphere in the past month (Amatomu)

Reed then goes on to show how brands have cottoned on to the opportunities created by user generated content. He mentions the Doritos ad titled ‘Crashing the Super Bowl’ cost only $12.97 to make – yet generated 1.3 billion impressions world wide.

Looking forward, Reed predicts that the following five trends will shape the market:

1. Mobile advertising: Reed points out that Coke is looking to spend 50% of its ad budget on mobile advertising, a good indication of the significance of the medium.
2. Instant messaging will replace SMS (MXit)
3. Location-based services (LBS) – LBS ads; LBS services like store locators; LBS search
4. Mobile/ micro video content (like mobi-soaps – bite sized; ad funded)
5. Mobile user generated content (mobile wiki; blogging; geotagging; citizen journalism; videos and photos)

Reed ends off with a thought-provoking video titled ‘The Media Revolution’.

About Tyler Reed

Tyler is a young, unconventional and innovative entrepreneur, blogger and speaker. While working as Creative Strategist (and founder) at Younique, he spends a great deal of his time assisting companies in understanding and applying the latest social, mobile media trends and technologies to their business; creating social platforms and engaging savvy youngsters in bold new ways. He regularly uses his blog as a platform to share his thoughts and opinions to help educate people about Social and Mobile Media and other internet related technologies.