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User-Generated Content Draws Fans

Six out of 10 US Internet users view user-generated content.

February 3, 2009 | Advertising & Marketing | Social Media | Video

The number of people who consume user-generated content exceeds the number of creators. This is true in any content loop—more people are always spectators than active participants.

But because user-generated content is affordable, accessible and amenable to mass participation, the delta between creators and consumers is smaller than in traditional media. Maybe that’s why this type of content continues to grow in usage, though not in revenues.

So which types of user-generated content drew the most fans in 2008?

Blogs had the highest rate of engagement, with 54% of the US Internet user base consuming this content. Social network users made up 41.2% of the US Internet population in 2008, while user-generated video viewers represented 36% of users. Wiki content was consumed by approximately 34% of US Internet users.

US User-Generated Content Consumers, by Content Type, 2008-2013 (% of Internet users)

By 2013, all four categories will grow, resulting in 152.6 million blog readers, 114.6 million users of social networks, 108.8 million viewers of user-generated video and 97.1 million consumers of wikis.

US User-Generated Content Consumers, by Content Type, 2008-2013 (millions)

eMarketer’s growth forecasts for user-generated content creation and consumption rates are based on multiple factors, including:

  • Lowered technical barriers in content creation fields such as online video, which to date have required at least some level of technical expertise
  • Increased comfort levels with blogs and user-generated video sites as these platforms solidify their places in the digital content mainstream
  • The rapid rise in popularity of photo-sharing sites, particularly among teens
  • High levels of engagement in most user-generated content activities among younger users, who are considered early adopters and bellwethers of the broader population
  • The emergence of microblogging and user-generated social networks
  • The crowdsourcing of content by companies

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