4 Reasons Why User-Generated Content (UGC) Should Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy

By: Heather Karbi

“User-generated content” (UGC) is a term used for any content produced by consumers or users of a platform or product. A brand may choose to start a UGC marketing campaign because it essentially allows the public to promote for them, free of charge. Most of us surround ourselves with user-generated content all day long, scrolling through other social media users’ status updates, pictures, thoughts, and opinions about anything and everything. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that consumers enjoy user-generated content -- even when it is used by advertisers, and ultimately for financial gain.

Why is UGC so successful, and why is it a good approach for your next marketing campaign?
Let’s examine:

  1. Consumers trust other consumers more than advertisers

  2. Studies have shown that consumers are attracted to other consumers’ opinions more than they are to typical advertisement. UGC, however, is different from a typical, sales-pitch-type advertisement. Even though it has the same appeal that word-of-mouth does; getting someone else’s raving opinion about a brand entices us more than messaging from the advertiser themselves. Why? Because we know that advertisers have their own biased interests and this makes it harder to trust their opinion. An advertiser likely would never be brutally honest in criticizing their own brand, however, a random consumer might.

    Thus, when a random consumer decides to create their own content for a brand, it’s not only intriguing and atypical, but it’s also more trustworthy. In fact, the future of digital marketing will only become more reliant on UGC, as studies reveal that millenials trust UGC marketing 50% more than standard advertisement. Moreover, peers’ social media posts influence nearly 70% of millennials to buy new products. We trust our peers to give us the most honest opinions on a brand, which means that marketers should adjust their strategy with this in mind. UGC campaigns spotlight the consumer’s voice rather than the advertiser’s, and are proven to be much more influential because of this.

    Related Article: How to Run a Successful UGC Marketing Campaign

  3. Consumers look for more than standard sales pitch advertising

  4. When viewing UGC as a consumer, you appreciate that someone just like you created that piece of content -- not a team of professional marketing people that feel so far away and disconnected, but rather, an individual with a unique voice. If you’re a marketer, remind yourself that advertising is an interaction between the brand and consumer; UGC campaigns resonate with consumers because they are crafted by consumers, and thus, feel a lot less like a sales pitch and more like a genuine conversation. Allowing consumers to contribute content makes the campaign more personal, authentic, and relatable -- all of which are incredibly enticing to a consumer. When diverse individuals share their own creative ideas and stories, it’s refreshing to see amongst standard advertisement that does not value the consumer in this same way.

    An example of this type of creative, personal appeal is the Starbucks’ White Cup Contest, which encourages customers to treat their Starbucks white cup as a blank canvas and doodle on a new design. The winner of the contest would have their design printed on a new Starbucks reusable cup and win $300. This UGC campaign garnered over 4,000 entries in its first year, and Starbucks gained a new design for their reusable cups along with social media advertisement from their customers. The appeal of the contest is simple, but creative and interesting. Consumers got the chance to showcase their artistic talent, but also to peruse through other entries through the hashtag #WhiteCupContest on Instagram and Twitter. UGC is an experience for both - the brand and consumers, and the authenticity and creativity behind it motivates great success.

  5. UGC campaigns can be cost-efficient and easy to accomplish

  6. Creating a digital UGC marketing campaign is simpler than a standard marketing campaign, as it primarily requires planning the campaign and social media strategies to reach consumers. Unlike standard advertisement, it doesn’t involve creating content, and this eliminates a lot of the work put into a campaign. Moreover, it’s much cheaper than standard advertisement, because content is created by unpaid contributors. Apart from the case of contest winners, the advertiser doesn’t have to spend a terrible amount of money to accomplish a successful campaign.

    However, this isn’t to say that creating a UGC campaign is completely effortless -- it still requires an understanding of your audience, your brand goals, and the authenticity and creativity needed for a successful campaign. Although you yourself wouldn’t be crafting creative content, you would still need to understand how to best approach UGC and how to best gain that creative engagement from your audience.

    Related Article: How to Capitalize on User-Generated Content

  7. UGC campaigns achieve exceptional consumer engagement

  8. Because UGC advertisement allows the consumer to have a voice within a brand, consumer engagement rates are higher on average than standard social media ad posts. UGC posts gain nearly 30% more engagement, and moreover, sites that feature UGC see a boost of 20% in visitors, and from those visitors, a 90% increase in the time spent on the site. Evidently, consumers enjoy viewing and contributing to user-generated content, and appreciate UGC campaigns more than the average ad post.

User-generated content is not only the type of content that consumers are used to seeing on social media, but it is also, in a marketing context, more shareable and likeable. It tells stories and gives rise to creative voices, which ends up gaining more engagement, likely because we appreciate that talented people are given a platform to share their ideas through a brand’s marketing strategy. --

Approaching your brand’s marketing strategy with consumer voices in mind makes for a near guarantee that your campaign will be creative, interesting, and unique from competitors’ strategies. It introduces a very fun take on advertisement, and includes and emphasizes the consumer above all else. Consumers are used to seeing the same type of pushy, biased sales pitches, and as a result, become more aware of marketing strategies and prefer authenticity. If you’re looking to engage your audience with artistic, diverse, genuine campaigns, then UGC might just be the way to go!

If you’d like to learn more, check out more of our blogs on digital marketing strategy, or visit us at uponlinedentalmarketing.com!