Unlike paid media, such as print or banner ads, consumer-generated media is created solely by consumers, not professional writers, journalists, or publishers. It is created by consumers, for consumers. It can include anything from facts, opinions, impressions, experiences, rumors, ratings, reviews, complaints, praises—anything. CGM is made available to other Internet users through their participation in groups, review and rating sites, discussion boards, blogs, and other social media networks. CGM encompasses opinions, experiences, advice, and commentary about products, brands, companies, and services, and is usually a result of personal experience.
According to Pew Internet & American Life Project, 90 percent of consumers have used the Internet to research a product or a service. Consumers are using the Internet to consult with other consumers. They are reading sites dedicated to consumer opinions, consumer reviews, and personal experiences. They are frequenting discussion boards where they share information, give feedback, ask questions, or simply read what others are saying.
CGM is viewed by consumers as trusted third-party advice and information; they are using this information to form their own opinions on your products, services, and packages and are using this information to help them in their purchasing decision.