Written by Hannah Sears

User-generated content (UGC) is a term that you’ve probably seen before if you follow digital marketing. It’s also a tactic that has gained increasing popularity in the last few years. Understanding what it is and how your brand can use it effectively is a critical skill for marketers. One of the greatest benefits of user-generated content is its versatility.

You can use UGC on ads, emails, social media, and more. The positive impacts of user-generated content have been proven to help drive sales, improve conversion rates, boost engagement, and more. The effectiveness of user-generated content is also one of the driving forces behind influencer campaigns for many brands.

What is user-generated content and why is it important?

User-generated content is any content (text, videos, photos, etc.) that is created and posted by users of a platform such as Instagram or Twitter. Unlike branded content, user-generated content is organic and is created by real people. As consumers become more savvy about marketing tactics and strategies, they’re less easily influenced by slick, branded content.

With the pervasiveness of social media, user-generated content has been booming as people around the world share content, videos, and photos across a wide variety of social media platforms. User-generated content is effective because it’s seen as more authentic and genuine than content created by brands.

As influencer marketing gains popularity–and because it’s so effective–it makes sense that one of the top uses of influencers is to create user-generated content. This can be photos, videos, blog posts, or reviews. And, because user-generated content is so versatile, it’s a great choice for brands of all sizes.

How to use UGC across channels

Consumers see UGC as more authentic and consider it an endorsement from people like them. User-generated content is great at driving engagement and can be used across a wide variety of platforms and types of content. Have a great photo or video from a fan or influencer? Add it to cart abandonment emails, re-share on social, or add it to your product pages (all with permission, of course). How can you feature user-generated content across multiple channels and platforms?

Product pages: Featuring user-generated content on your product pages is a great place to start. UGC helps show your products in use by real people and lends credibility to your brand and to the product. It provides a more personal experience for your customers and provides a great complement to eCommerce reviews.

79% of customers say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions and user-generated photos are 5 times more likely to convert customers than branded photos. Adding user-generated content to your product or eCommerce pages can lead to higher conversions and more sales.

Ads: User-generated photos, videos, and testimonials are a great fit for advertising campaigns. Unlike slick, branded content, UGC looks authentic and isn’t as overtly “salesy” as a lot of branded marketing content. Featuring real people with real products in your ads helps boost your brand image and showcase your company’s personality. Ads with user-generated content see higher engagement than branded ads.

Emails: From promotional emails to cart abandonment and reminder emails, there are plenty of opportunities to integrate user-generated content into your email strategy. Using UGC in your emails can help boost your engagement and click-through rates.

Social Media: One of the most popular platforms for user-generated content is social media. The ease of resharing makes it a natural fit for user-generated content. UGC helps humanize brands and personalizes users’ experience. It’s incredibly effective and outperforms branded content. Sharing UGC on social media can also help you connect with new followers and reach more of your target audience.

User-generated content is being created every single day and there’s a wealth of content out there just waiting for marketers to tap into. Because it’s more authentic than branded content and can be used across different platforms and channels, UGC has a huge ROI, especially for smaller budgets. Since customers value transparency, user-generated content can help show a more personal side of your brand and drive engagement.

For brands that want to get more out of their UGC, partnering with influencers is a great next step. By working with influencers, brands can create authentic user-generated content at scale and leverage photos, videos, and reviews across multiple platforms. User-generated content is adaptable and can be used (and re-used) in everything from emails and eCommerce pages to social media and ads. Get more social proof and drive conversions and engagement by leveraging user-generated content across all your marketing tactics.

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