User-generated content consists of those snapshots people post on social media where they use, interact, and enjoy a product. If it’s about yours, the brand has just gained a valuable marketing resource. However, can you truly put your finger on the main benefits of user-generated content?
Some specialists claim that UGC is an upgraded version of studio photography. The reason? These are 2-in-1 assets. UGC is both a product image and a product review. Why else would users share with the world their experience with a product if not because they are happy with it?
Now that we’ve identified where the fascination for UGC is coming from, let’s begin our hunt for the biggest advantages only user-generated content brings to brands. You’ll discover deeper reasonings like brand advocacy stimulation, a more powerful decision-making tool, and more.
What Is User-Generated Content?
Before we start with the top 7 benefits of user-generated content, let’s define this concept. UGC refers to the total of images and videos customers create to showcase a brand or product free of charge.
By nature, UGC is organic content, usually at an amateur level. Nonetheless, it appeals to social users as there are consumers just like them who recommend products rather than brands.
1. UGC Simplifies Purchasing Decisions at First Glance
Do you know any marketing team that has ever admitted a tiny weakness of their product? I thought so.
There are many questions that deter consumers from shopping online. They can never be 100% certain of apparel colors, sizing, gadgets working for a very specific purpose, and other details that matter to them.
Studio photography can tamper with colors as the settings are customized with edge sharpness in mind. It doesn’t highlight the size either by using other objects for scale, the product being the only visible prop. By the end of this process, publishers neglect a ton of decision-making details.
By contrast, UGC focuses more on the spur of the moment. Users don’t follow templates. They take amateur photos in the moment. Sometimes, these pictures are simply candid. Other times, they immortalize details producers have never thought of.
As such, information-packed concepts ensue. Before and after pictures of a skincare treatment or gym training. Kitchen appliances that turned a bunch of unappetizing raw ingredients into mouth-watering stakes. Cosmetics that made an exotic vacation a lot more instagrammable. Plus other visual concepts for which marketing teams would have paid a fortune to stage.
Add these to the fact that UGC is not under the control of a brand, and you get a curious audience that has just found reliable, visual, and enjoyable product reviews. Unaltered, non-promotional, easy to grasp, with a meaningful message – that’s how UGC persuades 84% of consumers to push the ‘’Add to Cart’’ button.
2. UGC Raises Credibility Levels
One of the most powerful benefits of user-generated content is trust. People find it easy to relate to others similar to them. Likewise, shoppers resonate not with a brand, but with a satisfied customer. That’s exactly the goal they want to reach too, finding a product that makes them happy.
UGC transmits different vibes regarding a product. The item is no longer alone. Instead, its central position is taken by those problems they solve.
Consumers distinguish in UGC a person just like them, with similar daily issues that they overcame using a specific asset. It makes sense for consumers to replicate the solution by shopping the same effective tool.
3. Millennials As the Target Audience
UGC also communicates effectively with the most active group of shoppers: Millennials. Just for them, TV ads changed their tone. Vibrant, witty scenarios replace the old persuasive ones. Unlike traditional ads, products are present only through suggestions or short apparitions.
However, these ads are mostly great at brand awareness. See in the Rema 1000 commercial above how product suggestion energizes the entire scenario? In their effort to highlight the traditional door locking system over an AI one, advertisers didn’t disclose any competitive advantage over similar products.
On the other hand, millennials prefer realistic product reviews coming from real users when it’s time to make a shopping decision. Actually, studies found that 86% of millennials judge a brand’s level of trust by the amount of UGC it generates.
4. UGC Is Better at Converting Leads Than Professional Imagery
Consumers have different reasons why they feel compelled to try out a product when seeing it on social media. Nobody can read their minds. However, numbers are extremely clear of the impact UGC has on them.
More precisely, UGC is 85% better at increasing conversion rates than any studio content. In other words, users who’ve seen UGC at some point are 85% more likely to shop the product from online stores than those who’ve encountered branded content.
5. Best of UGC on a Budget
If your product makes a customer happy enough, it might end up on their social wall. As long as brands are encouraging user-generated content, UGC can turn into a source of curated content.
To this purpose, brands are recommended to create perfect conditions for easily trackable pictures. Choose a branded hashtag never used before. Launch a campaign with a distinctive CTA that asks for product snapshots in exchange for a chance to win a prize. Host a product launch event full of instagrammable nooks with memorable backdrops.
The benefits of user-generated content reveal an endless source of visuals to fill a social marketing plan for days ahead. Instead of relocating marketing budgets for expensive photoshoots, brands can simply ask customers to show their satisfaction in pictures.
6. Benefit from a Versatile Nature
Many believe UGC can’t go where studio photography can. Or can it? The good news is that social media content can leave behind the platform on which it was created. The destination can be anything: an online store, social media ads, website banners, social feeds, you name it.
What’s in it for you is that you can imbue various marketing channels with the same impact UGC has for social users. Advertising, social schedule, and even street billboards or in-store displays gain a candid personality instantly that attracts consumers.
For instance, the same 95% better conversion rate can be transferred to your website. Use ProductLead Visual Commerce to curate your UGC into a shoppable gallery. In turn, this collection is embedded into your website and adds value to your selling proposition.
7. UGC Inspires Brand Advocacy
Red Bull demonstrates how much users give back when a business places them in the spotlight. Actually, it is one of the few companies that center their social marketing on brand advocacy.
Its #wingsteam unique hashtag appears every time a fierce RedBull ambassador deploys an activation. This is an event where, instead of handing out Red Bull cans for free, Wing Team players get consumers samples through unconventional means. One of the most memorable activations was an airdrop operation delivered on college campuses.
UGC as a marketing tool can turn customers into loyal and active ones also known as brand advocates. Not only do these users restock from the same brand, but they also encourage others to do the same.
To spark a movement through your brand, interact with your community. Comment and regram any post from a happy client and encourage them to try more.
Kick it up a notch and turn their initiatives into weekly or monthly contests under unique hashtags. The bigger your advocate community is, the better the chances are for users to find out about your brand.
This wraps up our 7 benefits of user-generated content! Use these insights to start working on your first wave of UGC. The much-improved conversion rates alone are a good enough reason to give this a shot, while the others are only adding to the advantages of having a long-term marketing strategy based on UGC.