From the marketing world comes this quite useful subcategorisation of ‘consumer generated content’. Indeed, seeing co-created content through the lens of marketing can itself be quite revealing.
Consumer-generated media (CGM): At its core, CGM represents first-person commentary posted or shared across a host of expression venues, including message boards, forums, rating and review sites, groups, social networking sites, blogs, and, of course, video-sharing sites. It’s commonly influenced or informed by relevant experience with brands (e.g., “I’m so angry with Jet Blue,” “I love Target”).
Consumer-generated multimedia (CGM2): This subset of CGM is more anchored to “site, sound, and motion” components, each with the potential to dial up the effect and persuasiveness of the consumer storytelling. Visualization elevates drama, emotional resonance, and the ability to prove one’s case through documentation (one big reason TV commercials have been so hard for advertisers to shake).
Consumer-fortified media (CFM): Unilever’s Dove Evolution is a classic example of CFM. The advertisers created the spot, but its meaning was shaped, or fortified, by the conversation, commentary, and debate that wrapped around the content.
Consumer-solicited media (CSM): The term that most commonly captures this form is “co-creation.” Others loosely call it “participatory advertising.”
Compensated consumer-generated media (CCGM): This is when marketers outright pay consumers to do certain things, or when publishers compensate artists or content creators for submissions.
Paid media: This is exactly as it sounds. Marketers buy media, usually in the form of impressions, to affect sales. Some call this “marketer-generated media” (MGM), but the old description works just fine.