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What is User-Generated Content? | Its Benefits and How to Use

What is User-Generated Content? | Its Benefits and How to Use

Nowadays something awesome is happening with online marketing – it’s called User-Generated Content, or UGC for short.

UGC is authentic content created by users, and it’s getting a lot of attention as it’s super good at making people trust and like a brand.

Through real-world examples, you will understand the knowledge and tools to incorporate UGC into your digital marketing.

Come along with us on this journey to discover the magic of User-Generated Content. 

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content (UGC or consumer-generated content) is content created and shared by users, customers, brand loyalists, and employees, rather than by brands or professionals.

It includes various forms like text, images, videos, reviews, social media posts, and more, and it’s typically posted on social media platforms, websites, forums, or other online spaces.

Why Do Brands Need User-Generated Content? 

Brands need User-Generated Content (UGC) for a bunch of great reasons. Let’s talk about why it’s so awesome to have UGC in your marketing plans.

Benefits of User-generated content

Boost Trust

When customers or brand loyalists share positive experiences about a brand or product, it becomes incredibly trustworthy. MarketSplash reports that 56% of users find UGC more trustworthy than brand-produced content.

Moreover, according to Hootsuite, if a brand uses UGC on its platforms, it can earn the trust of around 65% of consumers. This means that customers tend to rely more on the opinions of their peers rather than what the brand itself says. The authenticity and honesty in UGC play a vital role in building this level of trust.

Improve Authenticity

According to Hootsuite, a whopping 80% of marketers are confident that user-generated content (UGC) has the power to enhance the authenticity of brand communication.

This authenticity arises because UGC isn’t all polished and scripted like traditional ads; it’s unfiltered and real. People can connect with it because it doesn’t feel like a sales pitch but more like advice from a friend.

Furthermore, as reported by Meetanshi, a striking 92% of consumers place greater trust in reviews and testimonials compared to conventional advertising.

This highlights the immense influence of real customer experiences on building trust and credibility.

Increase User Engagement

User engagement is the beating heart of effective digital marketing, and the data underscores the significant impact of User-Generated Content (UGC) on social media.

MarketSplash reports that social media posts that showcase UGC experience a significant 28% increase in engagement compared to conventional brand content.

The power of UGC is perhaps most evident on Instagram, Social Media Today reveals that posts featuring user-generated content boast a staggering 70% higher engagement rate than brand-only posts.

At the end of 2023, Business predicts that brands implementing UGC in their marketing efforts will experience a noteworthy 25% increase in engagement. This cements UGC’s role as a potent force in fostering audience participation and interaction.

Create SEO Impact

Search engines, like Google, really like new and relevant stuff. And that’s exactly what User-Generated Content (UGC) provides. UGC can make your website show up higher in search results, which means more people can find you.

Projections from Shopify suggest that UGC will make up a significant 80% of all SEO-enhancing content by 2030, underlining its growing importance.

Furthermore, according to Insider Intelligence, UGC in the form of user-generated reviews has the potential to boost product page SEO rankings by an impressive 25%, showcasing its vital role in elevating your online presence.


Making your content can cost a lot of money and take up a ton of time. But here’s the good news: User-generated content (UGC) doesn’t cost a thing, and it’s made by your awesome customers.

Social Media Today reveals that UGC content is 50% more cost-effective than traditional campaigns and companies incorporating UGC into their campaigns save an average of 15% on content creation costs. So, UGC is like a budget-friendly superhero that brings you great content without breaking the bank.

Types of User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) comes in various forms, reflecting the creativity and experiences of everyday people. Here’s a list of different types of UGC:

  • Images: Photos shared by users on platforms like Instagram or in reviews and comments.
  • Videos: User-created videos posted on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram or other video-sharing platforms.
  • Social Media Content: Posts, stories, and shares on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Product Reviews: Honest opinions and feedback about products and services left by customers on e-commerce sites like Amazon.
  • Blog Comments: Comments and discussions on blog posts, often adding insights or personal experiences.
  • Forum Discussions: Contributions to online forums and discussion boards, where users share advice and information.
  • Testimonials: Personal endorsements and recommendations shared by customers about their positive experiences with a brand or product.
  • Podcast Contributions: User-submitted content, such as questions, suggestions, or participation in podcasts or webinars.
  • Artwork and Creative Projects: User-created artwork, music, or creative projects that feature a brand or its products.

User-Generated Content Strategies

User-Generated Content Strategies

Social Media Hashtags

Create unique hashtags related to your brand or products and encourage customers to use them in their posts. You can then curate and showcase these UGC posts on your social media channels.

Reviews and Testimonials

Request and promote customer reviews and testimonials on your website. Sharing real experiences from satisfied customers can build trust and credibility.

Contests and Challenges

Organize UGC contests or challenges where customers can submit content related to your brand or products. This encourages participation and creativity.

User Stories

Feature customer stories or case studies that highlight how your product or service has positively impacted their lives. This adds a personal touch and authenticity to your brand.

Product Unboxing and Demonstrations

Encourage customers to create unboxing videos or demonstrations of your products and share them on platforms like YouTube or Instagram.

Incentives and Rewards

Offer incentives, such as discounts or exclusive access, to customers who submit UGC. This can motivate more users to contribute content.

Real-World Examples of User-Generated Content (UGC)

Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” Campaign

Image Source

Coca-Cola printed popular names on its bottles, encouraging customers to find their name or a friend’s name and share a photo using the hashtag #ShareACoke.

By personalizing their product with popular names, Coca-Cola tapped into the desire for individualized experiences. It harnessed the power of social media and encouraged people to share their personalized bottles with millions of UGC posts, turning customers into brand ambassadors. It also personalized the brand and boosted sales.

GoPro’s Photo of the Day

Image Source

GoPro’s strategy capitalized on its users’ desire to showcase their adventures and the camera’s capabilities. By featuring a “Photo of the Day,” they incentivized content creation and community building around their products of loyal users who showcased GoPro’s camera capabilities, fostering trust and boosting sales.

Starbucks’ White Cup Contest

Starbucks invited customers to decorate their plain white cups and share pictures with the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. It leveraged customer creativity and encouraged the personalization of their iconic white cups. This campaign encouraged creativity and led to thousands of UGC entries, promoting Starbucks’ products in a unique and engaging way. By running a contest, they created a sense of competition and excitement, boosting customer engagement.

Airbnb’s #OneLessStranger Campaign

Airbnb’s campaign was rooted in building trust and a sense of community. Encouraging random acts of kindness fostered a positive brand image, with users sharing stories of their experiences using the hashtag #OneLessStranger. It highlighted Airbnb’s commitment to creating a sense of community and trust among users, strengthening its brand image.

Lay’s “Do Us a Flavour” Campaign

Lay’s strategy was a clever way to involve customers in product development. They asked customers to suggest new chip flavors, with the chance to win a prize.

This not only generated countless flavor ideas but also increased customer engagement and loyalty, making customers feel part of the brand’s product development.

User-Generated Content Best Practice

Creating UGC

  • Clear Guidelines: Provide clear and concise instructions for users to follow when creating content.
  • Incentives: Offer incentives or rewards to encourage users to participate.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Encourage a diverse range of contributors to represent different perspectives.
  • User-Friendly Tools: Create user-friendly platforms or tools for content submissions.

Curating UGC

  • Filter UGC carefully: Some content may be irrelevant, low-quality, or even offensive. It’s important to filter UGC carefully before sharing it with your audience.
  • Credit users appropriately: When sharing UGC, always credit the original creator. This can be done by including their name, social media handle, or website link in the caption or description.
  • Use UGC to tell stories: Curate UGC that showcases your brand values, your products or services in action, and the experiences of your customers.

Promoting UGC

  • Consistent Branding: Ensure that UGC aligns with your brand’s identity and messaging.
  • Cross-Platform Sharing: Share UGC across various platforms and channels to maximize exposure.
  • Hashtags and Campaigns: Use unique hashtags and campaigns to encourage users to participate and find UGC related to your brand.
  • Analytics: Monitor the performance of UGC campaigns and adjust strategies accordingly

Legal and Ethical Considerations

  • Privacy: Respect users’ privacy rights and avoid sharing sensitive or personal information without consent.
  • Transparency: Clearly disclose the commercial relationship between your brand and UGC contributors.
  • Rights Management: Ensure compliance with copyright laws and respect intellectual property rights.

From Audience to Advocacy

Using UGC in your marketing is not just a good idea. It’s something modern businesses really need. When you include UGC, you can make a strong connection with your audience, build trust, and help your business grow.

It’s like a plan where everyone wins both your brand and your loyal customers. So, go for it and make UGC a big part of your digital marketing.

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