User generated content (UGC) is a critical part of fostering active engagement across online users. In some applications, it is considered the holy grail of brand authenticity. What makes layering a UGC strategy into your promotion so powerful is that it carries a prize incentive for users to participate and become part of the conversation. UGC can be incentivized by almost any promotion type – whether you’re looking to collect UGC entries via a microsite, social channels, or both!

One of the hesitations around collecting UGC for promotions is that the content you are collecting is not “brand safe.” This could include a variety of red flags, from hate speech to just plain inappropriate content. While you cannot block a user from posting content that violates your brand’s standard on public social media, you can make sure that content entered into your sweepstakes or contest does not make it to your promotion’s gallery and – more importantly – doesn’t get selected as a winner.

Content moderation, an umbrella term that refers to the process of reviewing UGC entries, consists of two key areas of work: Content Screening and Judging/Scoring. Each is an important step of promotion administration for photo contests & sweepstakes, content moderation services all take place starting from the moment a user decides to share content.

Content Screening for Galleries

For digital promotions that leverage UGC, featurings user submissions in a gallery on the microsite is a great way to create additional engagement. Not only do galleries create additional touch points for users, keeping your brand top of mind, they also allow users to feel like they are making a contribution toward building brand image.

As previously noted, one concern with galleries is that the entries that are shown might violate your various brand standards. In order to avoid unwanted content from making it to the gallery many brands will choose to screen content as it comes in.

Through the use of an admin tool, screening content serves to insulate UGC content from live gallery posts. Powerful admin tools like Realtime Media’s will allow you to not only screen and filter out content for visual reasons, but also allow you to rate, tag, and see all collected entry details in one streamlined view.

Judging & Voting for Contests

A critical part of all contests, judging and voting, is how winners are determined. Unlike sweepstakes where winners are chosen at random, contests are games of skill. While winners are selected based on the results of subjective criteria, all judging selection details must still be outlined in the program’s official rules. This gives the contest sponsor ultimate governance over winner vetting.

Most often, winners are selected in one of two ways - judging and voting:

  • Judging – While there is no “correct” way to judge entries for a promotion, the most standard way is to score each entry across a series of criteria. Take, for example, video contests - users are invited to post a video explaining why they feel as though they deserve a prize - those entries are then judged and scored in the areas of creativity, uniqueness, and talking about your brand’s product or service. At the end, the entry with the highest score is considered the winner.
  • Voting – Similar to judging, there is no “correct” way to vote. In fact, voting is often more subjective than judging as there are no defined criteria that you vote for. Instead, voting functions as a “choose the one you like the most.” A best use case for simple decisions such as a “photo of the year” contest, voting is a quick and easy way to field public opinion and keep users engaged after the initial call to entry.

Regardless of which method you go about selecting prize winners, judging and voting will play a critical role in your contest. To assure you maintain ultimate control of your image as displayed through the winning entry it is often recommended to write into the rules that your brand has the ultimate determination of the winner. This is particularly important with public votes, and you don’t have to take our word for that, check out this famed contest that wound up naming a British research vessel Boaty McBoatface!

How Can Realtime Media Help?

With over 25 years of experience and a team of promotions experts dedicated to your success, Realtime Media helps to make content moderation easy. Helping to drive time savings for your team, RTM can screen, moderate, and judge UGC entries for your sweepstakes or contest promotion.

As entries are collected from social networks or directly uploaded to the microsite, our team can help make sure that only ones that meet your standards appear in the gallery or are even considered for the winning spot. Our industry-leading admin tool allows for easy screening, moderation, and judging of content - all backed by rigorous data security protocols. Totally customizable to meet the needs of your brand and promotion, your team can set entries live to the gallery, tag, rate, and review all assets in real time as they are collected.

Other Promotional Services

Not only can our team assist in the screening, moderation, judging and voting of UGC entries, we also handle digital promotions from start to finish for some of the world's biggest brands. Our in-house team provides flexible support across development, project management, legal administration & compliance consulting, winner administration and fulfillment support.

Interested in getting a quote for our products or services for digital promotions? Get an estimate in 5 minutes right now!