When consumers are weighing the pros and cons of a purchase, who are they more likely to trust: their older brother, or the company that’s shamelessly promoting their own products or services?

Obviously, they’d be more interested in hearing what their older brother has to say. He probably wouldn’t sugarcoat his experience. Older brothers are more likely to be honest about details like the customer service they received, and their genuine feelings about the product. An older brother has probably steered them in the right direction before.

User-generated video is that trustworthy older brother

When a business makes a video using professional actors, they’re essentially asking the consumer to trust someone who’s job is to entice them into buying. In other words, a paid spokesperson. So why are raw, uncut videos outperforming their more expensive counterparts?

It all has to do with consumers being able to trust the person in front of the camera. With user-generated content, consumers are much more likely to connect with a fellow consumer. Someone who has actually used, enjoyed or hated a product or service is much more credible and trustworthy over a paid spokesperson.

Consumers don’t care about the small errors that can manifest in user-generated content. Instead, they see someone who they can easily relate to – someone who doesn’t spend all their time in front of a camera, but has truly purchased a product or a service and is telling a real story about their experience.

Consumers are becoming more and more hands-on

With the use of social media, sharing content between family, friends, and consumers has grown exponentially. Back in 2010, the Internet saw a 146.9% increase in user-generated video views, according to AccuStream Research. And the growth hasn’t stopped there. User generated video content continues to dominate as more and more businesses create campaigns involving consumer participation.

Savvy businesses are engaging consumers, not talking at them

There’s a huge difference between talking at consumers and engaging them. Consumers don’t want to be talked at or sold. And with user-generated video, they’re now being included. They’re adding to conversation and voicing their opinions – instead of feeling removed or unheard.

A consumer looking to get more involved is not a new phenomenon, in the same way that an older brother has always been more trustworthy and credible over a paid spokesperson. It’s just a matter of technology connecting past consumers with potential new ones, and businesses utilizing this newer form of content to build awareness and interest.