Destination Canada pioneers industry-wide UGC network to address content marketing needs

Destination Canada
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Destination Canada has launched a network to collect, manage and share user-generated photos and videos with other travel and tourism marketing organizations, offering an example of how non-competitive firms in the same industry can work together to solve content marketing challenges.

Based on technology from Toronto-based CrowdRiff, the user generated content (UGC) network pulls in photos from social services such as Instagram and Twitter as well as their own internal sources. The platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) software to make sure the content is searchable and easily found. The content can then be automatically sent through a variety of marketing channels, including e-mail, ads, a web site or digital display screens.

Businesses who join the network — which may include museums and art galleries as well as destination marketing organizations (DMOs) — can use the system to automatically link back and attribute it to the original creators. This keeps within the usage rules of the social services.  Consumers aren’t necessarily compensated for the use of their photos and videos but there are features in CrowdRiff to inform them that they are being featured.

In a live webinar Thursday to discuss the UGC Network, Destination Canada’s global content leader Helen de Faye said the project came out of an audit of 22 of its partners on how they were using visual assets. She said that while  70 per cent of the content Destination Canada and similar organizations were using on social came directly from consumers, there was a lot of duplication of effort. For example, Destination Canada might be doing a search for photos related to Winnipeg, but so might a DMO based in Winnipeg.

“We also saw that many partners were already using a rights management tools to source content, and those who weren’t wished they could be, but that the cost was prohibitive,” she said.

When Destination Canada developed the RF with CrowdRiff, therefore, it did so on behalf of the entire Canadian tourism industry, which means anyone who joins the UGC network wont’ have to go through their own competitive process for a rights management tool.

“No country has developed a system that has the ability to unite all of its industries to source its content nationally,” she said.

Courtney Ristow, an account executive with CrowdRiff, said the company had started out with a tool to display social content on a dedicated web page, like a social hub. It later morphed into a social media aggregator and more recently, an AI-powered content marketing platform to discover top-performing visuals and share it across all channels.

Businesses can also use the platform to use social photos in other commercial contexts. An advanced version of CrowdRiff can go through terms and conditions around rights management, Ristow said.

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.