Why Content Moderation is Important for Your Business
Content moderation isn’t necessarily the sexiest topic when it comes to your business. It almost certainly wasn’t what you had in mind when you started your platform in the first place.
Not having a good content moderation system, though, imperils your platform’s very existence. Even in the least-worst case scenario, you risk damaging your reputation as well as missing out on a lot of growth opportunities. Problematic user-generated content (UGC), in the words of Dylan Jhaveri, is a problem that comes with the territory. Ignore the problem and you’ll have bigger problems.
Don’t think of content moderation as just a necessary evil, though. Once you’ve got a good approach down it can significantly improve your brand and platform.
What are Some Examples of Platforms with User-Generated Content (UGC)?
To understand why content moderation is important and how that applies to your business specifically, let’s look at the different types of UGC out there. What’s common in all of the examples below is that they are platforms that are designed for users to interact with each other, sharing content in the form of text, images, and video:
Social media. It’s pretty much impossible these days to build your brand without using at least a couple of social media channels – whether that be Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.
Social media platforms offer you a chance to reach way more people and engage with them in meaningful ways while building your brand (UGC campaigns are a big thing, too). Followers can post comments and start discussions with each other under the original content that you post.
E-commerce. Online marketplaces like Etsy allow users to create their own accounts and sell their own products within the platform guidelines. They also enable conversations between buyers and sellers, and of course, customer reviews that are visible to anyone visiting the page.
Forums and groups. Google is great for looking up basic information, but when it comes to in-depth conversations web users flock to online communities like Reddit and Quora.
These platforms allow users to share insight and opinions and engage in meaningful discussions on just about every topic there is: social, practical, political, entertainment, and beyond.
Educational/learning platforms. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning allow web users to create courses to teach a wide range of skills– from UX design to social media marketing to video editing. These platforms are essentially online educational marketplaces where users can interact with each other in the context of learning a new skill, and some of them even offer professional certificates.
Content Moderation Benefits Your Business by Increasing the Upside
Content moderation isn’t just about avoiding spam and bots. Over time, it can make all the difference in building a high-quality, reputable, and secure brand.
It does this by giving you:
A stronger community. Relevant, on-topic content means higher-quality conversations, more meaningful interactions, and stronger loyalty and trust from your users who will then be more inclined to stay with the community long-term.
Happier users and higher Net Promoter Score. The more meaningful the engagement among your users, the higher your Net Promoter Score (NPS). Why does this matter?
NPS is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to metrics used to rate customer experiences. It measures the loyalty of your customers and how likely they are to recommend or promote your platform or product.
A higher search engine ranking. Google has evolved a lot since its early days and ranks for factors beyond just keywords and relevance. High-quality content with low UGC issues is essential to ranking higher and getting discovered by more users.
Improved ad revenue. If your site shows ads, then investing in quality content will boost your ad revenue. This is related to the previous point: the higher the quality of your site, as perceived by Google and other ad providers, the higher your site will be ranked. To see a dramatic example of this, see this case study of a Nyckel customer who saw a 4x increase in revenue after implementing content moderation.
Better metrics. Good content moderation improves your metrics because you’re filtering out irrelevant and problematic UGC. When all or nearly all of your engagement is authentic your metrics will be much more accurate, making it easier to plan and strategize on how to further grow your platform.
Content Moderation Benefits Your Business by Protecting Against the Downside
Specifically, content moderation helps with:
Protecting your reputation and maintaining user satisfaction. Bad content reflects badly on your brand. Spam, rude/hateful language, and other icky content are distracting at best and a complete turn-off at worst, driving users away permanently.
Once you reach that tipping point of having a questionable reputation, it’s very hard to get those visitors and followers back. Just like in real life, trust isn’t easily regained. It’s much easier to keep this from happening to you in the first place with good content moderation than it is to put out fires later.
Protecting you from legal issues. Losing users to scams, bullying, and predatory behavior can actually be the least of your problems. If your content moderation (or lack thereof) gets out of hand, you could find yourself facing litigation issues from users who have been victimized on your platform.
Keeping you from getting blacklisted. Ever tried visiting a site, only to receive a bright red warning page telling you that “the site ahead contains malware”? You probably were turned off from proceeding (and rightly so).
This is what URL blacklisting looks like, and it could spell real trouble for your platform if it were to happen to you. Search engines like Google blacklist sites if they become too unsafe from scams, phishing, and other criminal activity. Good content moderation will keep this from happening in the first place.
Content moderation may not be the first thing on your mind when you’re building your platform, but it’s non-negotiable if you want long-term growth.
Not only will robust content moderation keep problematic content off your site; it’ll help grow and better define your brand, enrich your community and brand culture and build trust. All of these are critical in attracting and maintaining followers in the long term and distinguishing yourself from your competitors.