October 25th, 2023

Sebastian Novin

COO

What is User Generated Content (UGC) And Why Is It Important?

UGC has a powerful impact on buying decisions for 79% of people.

Marketing strategy without UGC content can only mean one thing: leaving your money on the table, and then some.

Let’s face it: UGC is a trend that’s here to stay. It can help you increase not just sales, but also brand awareness, customer loyalty, and a strong, devoted community.

Today, we’ll show you how to turn your customers into active participants in your business. 

Learn how to scale user-generated content and include it in your business plan with statistics, examples, and top tips. 

Stay ahead of your competition and reach out to your ideal customers.

Ready? Let's go!

What Is User Generated Content?

User-generated content (UGC) is any form of content created by existing customers instead of the brands themselves.

The most common types of UGC content are social media posts such as photos, stories, and videos. Users can also create testimonials, reviews, and blog posts, sharing them with their friends and followers. 

UGC content has been trending, hashtags and video examples popping up all over TikTok and Instagram. But in fact, people have been generating this type of content for a while. Brands only recently discovered its powerful marketing potential. 

Source: Instagram

Marketing products with professional brand-created content is over. Nowadays, it’s all about the stories and experiences. And who can share an honest experience with your brand better than your customers?

Since UGC is such a powerful marketing tool, 87% of marketers already use it as a part of their content strategy. And for a good reason. 93% of customers make buying decisions based on UGC. On top of that, UGC content shared on social media has a whopping 28% higher engagement rate than branded content. 

So, what does UGC mean for you as a brand? Play it right, and you can expect a stronger customer community, brand loyalty, and higher conversion rates. 

Where Does UGC Come From

User-generated content comes from people who share it with their audience:

  • Customers
  • UGC creators
  • Brand loyalists
  • Employees

Content that’s not brand-created helps to raise brand awareness through word of mouth, which is a powerful marketing tool. The reason why brands use it is that UGC content:

  • has a higher engagement rate than branded content
  • appears more authentic and honest
  • Seems more trustworthy

Reusing the content your customers make and share can help you increase conversions, trust, and brand loyalty and build a stronger customer base. 

But, relying only on this type of content can be time-consuming. You can speed up the process and scale content creation by partnering up with a UGC platform like Influee, which helps you connect with the right UGC creators for your brand. 

Different Types Of UGC

Images and stories

Olapic found that people trust user-generated photos 56% more than brand-created ones. When your existing customers share their pictures and stories, repost them to attract potential customers and raise brand awareness.

Source: Instagram

Video Content

Almost 50% of internet users search for videos related to a product or service before making a purchase. Yep, it’s massive: YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram Reels.

Source: TikTok

Users can now record themselves traveling, shopping, eating, and relaxing.  Anywhere, anytime. Some of the most common videos include unboxing videos and how-to-use videos, but the sky's the limit.

Discover more UGC Video ideas here.

Testimonials 

Another powerful UGC content type to drive sales is customer reviews. Did you know that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? And displaying reviews can increase conversion rates by 270%?

Testimonials on websites such as Trustpilot, Google, Yelp, or Facebook can boost a brand's reputation. They can also attract new customers. Additionally, reviews on your own website can have the same positive impact.

Source: Sand&Sky

Blog posts

The fact is that people still read and write blogs. 

Blogs are a unique way to additionally connect with your customers, and build a community. Adding blog content to your marketing strategy is a common practice to engage with your followers.

UGC Benefits For Your Brand

Leveraging UGC can bring many benefits to your brand, such as: 

Builds Trust and Connects with Customers

UGC content has an honest and raw feel when compared to branded or professional content. 

That’s why brands feel more authentic when using UGC in their campaigns. And that’s what makes the consumers trust them more. 

Users trust consumer content 50% more than other media. That’s how much of an important factor authenticity is when it comes to making buying decisions.

Source: Nosto.com

Affordable, Scalable Content

Content creation isn’t easy. Coming up with great content that converts is challenging, time-consuming, and costly.

Surprisingly enough, UGC content is one of the few that’s cost-effective for two reasons. 

  • There's a ton of free photos and videos already published. Reuse content from your customers; it costs nothing in monetary terms.
  • If you choose to use UGC platforms like Influee for content, the costs are still much lower than traditional marketing. 

Reuse content on different channels and track results to find the most effective content for your audience. 

Builds Brand’s Authenticity

The more the consumers connect with the brand, its message, and its values, the higher the chances that they'll make a purchase. 

This is where UGC steps in. It showcases products and services in a relatable manner that feels and appears real, making it easier for consumers to bond with them emotionally.

Source: Business Wire

On top of that, UGC helps to build a community and create a story around a brand or product. Instead of a soulless corporation with salesy pushy ads, UGC helps to erase the line between a brand and a consumer. It allows the customers to join the conversation (providing you with social proof) and shows them that they matter.

Strengthens Brand Loyalty 

Users are constantly surrounded by ads, which makes them super picky about the brands they trust. And it’s this trust that UGC can help strengthen. This is one of the most important benefits of user generated content.

Think about it: when real people vouch for your product isn’t the same as when you vouch for it yourself. Other customer reviews, look like a thumbs-up from someone customers know. After all, people trust peers more than brands.

Increases ROI and Conversion

Apart from building trust and increasing brand loyalty, UGC goes a step further. Bazaarvoice discovered that adding UGC on product pages can increase conversions by up to 64%! 

Speaking about the powder of UGC, huh? Including it in your marketing strategy is like talking to your customers with the voices of other customers. It's relatable, real, and clear, giving potential customers valuable insights into other users' experiences, helping them make better purchase choices. 

Source: Bazaarvoice

UGC Marketing For Brands

Now that you understand UGC and its benefits, let's quickly go over how to incorporate it into your marketing plan.

UGC vs Traditional Marketing

Compared to UGC, traditional marketing can be much more expensive and the results aren’t as easy to measure.

User Generated Content

  • Cost-effective
  • Time-efficient
  • Honest and authentic
  • Measurable results

Using UGC saves time since the content's already available; just get permission to share it. What’s more, there’s no need for you to have expert-level marketing skills to feature UGC or create campaigns with it. Plus, it feels more authentic. 

80% of people say UGC influences their buying decisions. Now, we’re not saying you should use only this type of content in your marketing, but it’s one of the key elements to consider.

Traditional marketing:

  • Content created by the brand or an agency
  • More expensive
  • Requires skills and experience
  • More difficult for people to trust

The thing is, people tend to trust user content more than professional ads. On top of that, TV, radio, or print ads are pricier, take more time, and require marketing expertise to create winning campaigns. The worst part is that even the best ads might not win your target audience's trust.

UGC statistics

Here are some statistics on how impactful UGC can be:

How to include UGC in your marketing strategy

Let’s have a look at how you can leverage UGC for your marketing strategy: 

1. Paid Ads Campaigns

You have a business. And you want it to be a successful one. But to do that, you can’t just leave anything to chance.

You don’t want to build it on the ifs and the maybes. In order to succeed, you need a plan, a strategy, and set goals. 

Marketing is no different. For a successful marketing campaign that converts, you need a strategy, a plan, and set goals. There’s a reason why marketing is such an important part of any business. 

We’ve established how valuable UGC is, including in paid ad campaigns. But relying only on your customers for it is, honestly, irresponsible. 

Here’s why: you can only hope to get any content in the first place. Sure, users love to connect with the brands they love, but unless you’re Starbucks, getting a ton of photos & videos daily is not realistic. 

And then there’s the question of quality. Let’s say you get content. Can you honestly say that it’s the kind of thing you want to include in your paid ads campaigns?

Taking your marketing seriously means creating a predictable flow of high-quality content for a strategic approach to paid ads. You can’t rely on your customers to receive regular high-quality content that resonates with your brand. You have to have it made proactively.  

That’s where UGC creators step in. Get complete control over your UGC content by collaborating with people who know how to deliver the message, point out just the right benefits, and make it look like it comes from your customers. 

In other words, create a UGC ad with the message and angle that you know will convert, instead of only hoping that it will. There are services that will help you do just that. 

2. Instagram 

Instagram is a great place to source UGC content. Here’s how to do that:

  • Create a branded hashtag, run contests or giveaways, encourage users to share content
  • Select the UGC content that matches your brand message
  • Ask for permission, then share to your Reels, Feed, Posts, and Stories

3. TikTok

Videos on TikTok, right? They’re honest, and engaging, and they go viral. Just the kind of material you need for your brand. Statistics say that on average, we spend 95 minutes on Tiktok every day.

UGC content examples you can get from TikTok:

  • How to videos: showing how to use your products
  • Reaction: people reacting to your products
  • Before & After: customer experiences before and after using your product
  • Us vs. them: comparison between your product and that of your competitor
  • XY reasons why: list of highlights/benefits of your product that customers love

4. SEO

Google is constantly trying to improve user experience, pushing only the content that’s helpful and valuable to the user. UGC is valuable for SEO. It is genuine, high-quality content that users trust and prefer. This content helps your website rank higher on search engines like Google. 

Adding user-generated content such as photos, Q&A, videos, and reviews to your website can improve its search engine ranking. This, in turn, makes your website more visible to people who are searching for similar content. 

Source: Promix

5. Email campaigns

You may be thinking: UGC and email marketing?

 UGC can boost your marketing campaigns by improving conversions and click-through rates, filling any gaps you may have. 

Let’s face it, when it comes to email marketing, many brands struggle with engagement rates. 

But here’s how you can UGC to your advantage. Tweak your current email marketing campaigns by adding customer reviews or images. That way you’ll make them feel more personal and relatable.

Best UGC Examples

Discover some of the companies that have accelerated their content creation with Influee platform.

#1 EQUA Water Bottles

EQUA offers water bottles that “make you feel good, look good, do good”, with an emphasis on sustainability and reducing plastic waste.

The brand wanted to reach more potential customers with the use of UGC in their paid ads, so decided to use the Influee platform to increase their content creation and make the process smoother and easier for their content team.

The results? With the help of Influee, the Equa content team helped to produce more high-quality ad ads in only one month of collaboration than Equa did in a whole previous year! 

Talking about streamlining quality content creation.

Some of their ugc video examples include:

#2 Layoners Sunglasses & Swimwear

Layoners is a sunglasses & swimwear brand, that combines haute couture with street-style sunglasses for the quirky and the fashionable. 

Layoners was looking for a way to boost conversions with their swimwear collection. Since they were looking for people with a good sense of style, they ideally wanted to find fashion creators who would be able to capture that essence.

Through the Influee platform, they were able to find the right creators. Layoners collaborated with 93 creators who made great UGC content that fit their brand image and style perfectly. 

Generated content made their UGC Ads stand out from the crowd on Facebook and Instagram, helping them to increase sales.

#3 LUNA \TBWA Advertising Agency

Luna \TBWA is an international advertising agency that prides itself on using an engaging, out-of-the-box approach to advertising, transforming how businesses work.

With the help of the Influee Platform, the agency was able to get ahead and gain a huge advantage in content diversity, because it enabled them to collaborate with UGC content creators from all around the world

For an international brand, that is a major plus since they can keep complete control of their content creation, production, and creator communication in one single platform across multiple markets.

That way, they were able to source diverse ad creatives for their clients, leading to great results and satisfied clients.

#4 Silvi Pillowcases

Formerly Silvi, now Argie, offers silver-infused pillowcases for clearer and healthier skin.

While they were already including UGC content on their website to showcase the Before & After of their product, they partnered up with Influee to elevate their content creation. Before using Influee, they only worked with top-tier creative agencies. 

The result was that they doubled the view rates in their Paid Ad campaigns. 

Silvi Co-Founder Ben Goodman says “We're extremely happy with the diversity and huge selection of quality creators experienced in making engaging advertising content that sells.”

Impressive, right?

How To Get UGC Content?

From Existing Customers 

  • Promote user community 

Engage with your customers on social media, and create online communities and loyalty programs to acknowledge your customers and their contributions. Connect with them, share tips, and answer their questions. 

  • Run social media contests and giveaways

Create campaigns and a branded hashtag. Encourage users to create UGC related to your brand.

  • Feature their content 

Share their content on your social media channels, website, and email campaigns. Highlight their best videos, images, and testimonials. Make UGC a regular part of your content strategy to nourish and build trust, loyalty, and community. 

However, not all content coming from customers is always something to use on your channels. It may not be valuable, doesn't match branding, and you might not have permission to use it. 

To avoid copyright and quality problems, brands are increasingly turning to UGC creators as a reliable source of content. 

From UGC Creators 

While your customers create UGC that’s free to use, there’s no way to constantly rely only on that for the reasons mentioned above. 

That’s why many brands choose to collaborate with UGC creators. 

To increase creative diversity.

To receive a steady flow of content.

To control brand messaging.

Getting your content created by vetted UGC creators is becoming the go-to method for many brands for a few reasons:

UGC vs Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is when you work with popular people on social media to share and promote their content with their followers. 

Pros

  • Connect with an engaged crowd right away
  • Connect with your target audience
  • Authentic and trustworthy feel when done right

Cons:

  • Pricey (the more followers an influencer has, the higher fees they require)
  • Stories and posts get quickly replaced with the next brand’s product
  • Untrustworthy (when not done right, influencers can come off as untrustworthy or authentic)

Compared to influencer marketing, UGC offers a more authentic, cost-effective, and community-centered approach. In other words, it also gives users a voice and a chance to become a part of the brand’s journey. 

UGC Best Practices

Ask permission to share

Before sharing posts of your customers, ask for their permission. That way you respect them and stay compliant with copyright laws.

Credit the creator

Don’t forget to mention the creator when reposting their content. It’s a way of thanking them and increasing the brand’s transparency.

Use different types of UGC

Mix up your content to reach different audiences and to keep the content fresh and interesting. 

Be clear about the content you want

Be clear about what content you want from your creators. That makes it easier for them to deliver what you require and it ensures that the content fits your brand. 

Pick the platform to target

When posting content, don’t focus on all platforms at the same time. Choose the platform where your audience is most active and concentrate on it to increase engagement and reach.

Set goals and strategy

Before creating UGC campaigns, set clear, realistic goals, and a strategy. Measure results and adjust goals with testing and different ad creatives.

UGC Platform & Tools

Stats indicate that 92% of people trust user-generated content more than ads. Therefore, it is important to locate the most trustworthy and relatable content for your users. 

The top tools to edit UGC content include:

  • Canva
  • CapCut
  • ChatGPT
  • Direct messaging platforms

We could go on. 

But stop spending your money and time on different subscriptions, trying to create the next best-winning ad for your brand. And stop figuring out how to present the content to your audience in a way that’s engaging. 

Use an all-in-one UGC platform to maximize your UGC strategy effortlessly. A platform that makes content production smoother, easier, and faster, compared to many other platforms or UGC agencies.

With Influee, get content that's engaging, relevant, and converts well. Let creators handle UGC content. Focus on what you enjoy: connecting with your audience and improving your products. 

In a world where 92% of consumers trust UGC more than advertising, stop wasting your time second-guessing if your next Instagram ad will convert

Instead, get UGC Ads from a pool of already tested-and-tried ads that are proven to convert. Choose your favorite and relax as vetted creators make an ad (or more) for your upcoming campaign. Run as many tests as you want to discover the winning creatives, with only a few clicks. 

With Influee platform, you can take your video Ad creatives to the next level, while keeping everything in one place: ad creation, marketplace, brief, chat, campaign management, payment, copyrights, and more. 

How To Get Started With UGC For Your Brand

UGC isn’t exclusive to big brands like Nike or Coca-Cola. Here are simple steps to help you create a powerful UGC campaign: 

1. Choose your channel

Start by deciding the best platform for your business. In other words, find out where your potential customers are most active on social media and start there. That way, you can maximize your campaign since each platform attracts a different audience.  

Instagram and TikTok are popular platforms. Instagram has over 1 billion monthly users. TikTok is gaining popularity, especially among younger people.

With many options to choose from, you must choose the best one for your brand to maximize your UGC campaigns.

2 .Set campaign goals

Next, clearly define your marketing goals for your campaign. While wanting to increase brand awareness or sales in the next three months sounds reasonable, try to get more detailed: 

  • Specific: clear and defined goals - key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Measurable: determine criteria to measure these goals and determine their progress and success
  • Achievable: should be realistic to your brand
  • Relevant: they should include a key benefit
  • Time-bound: set a deadline

These are the objectives that can then help establish whether your campaign was a successful one or not. 

3. Collaborate with creators

Next, team up with customers and content creators to get creatives for your campaigns. 

Connect with your users, build a community, and make your brand more human. Give your customers their voice and make them feel like they’re a part of your brand. UGC is a dynamic way of showcasing brand values, story, and mission.  

FAQ

How much does UGC cost?

UGC costs depend on a country and a creator, there isn't one set price. Choose your target country or niche to get a better idea of the UGC costs.

Where can I find UGC creators? 

You can find UGC creators on UGC platform Influee. Choose your target country and a niche for your product or service. Vetted creators then come to you, creating content according to your brief.

What about UGC Privacy and Copyright?

Before you feature any of the content created by your customers, make sure to ask for their permission. To use someone's content on your website, social media, or for marketing purposes, you need their permission.

However, using content from Influee UGC creators because you automatically own all the content rights. That way, you legally secure the use of UGC exclusively for your brand. 

What are UGC Ads?

UGC ads are advertisements with content created by users or customers rather than by the brand itself. They leverage real experiences and testimonials to promote products or services. These ads are seen as more genuine and reliable, often resulting in increased interaction and sales.

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