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7 of the best User-Generated Content examples of all time and why they work

Back when Netflix was getting ready to release Bird Box, images of the blindfolded Sandra Bullock started circulating on social media. Before long, all of our feeds were flooded with memes and Bird Box theories. However, this content wasn’t made by marketers as part of an elaborate campaign—it was made by regular people.

This type of User-Generated Content (UGC) is the reason that tens of thousands of us flock to Netflix to watch the latest films and series. Within a week, Bird Box hit 45 million views. And that was achieved through User-Generated Content, which didn’t cost Netflix a penny. The key takeaway here is that Netflix recognized when and how User-Generated Content can bolster their own reputation and jumped on the opportunity when it arose.

This type of “perfect storm” doesn’t happen for everyone. Creating a compelling UGC campaign rarely happens overnight. The ability to make consumers care enough about your product that they’re willing to spend time and social real estate on your brand is a creative and strategic process.

The ability to engage consumers so much that they will actively build content for you is invaluable to any marketer. It’s no surprise, given that a staggering 93% of customers believe UGC is very helpful when making a purchasing decision.

We’ve scoured the web for some of the most creative User-Generated Content examples from brands you know and love, and what makes them so successful. Check out 7 of our favorites below.

Why User-Generated Content is exploding in popularity

What started as a fun way for customers to share their favorite products on social media has gained momentum as a marketing strategy of its own. Right now, 87% of brands use UGC for authentic (and free) content.

And why shouldn’t they? Imagine a situation in which you can work on bettering your relationships with customers AND get relevant content from them. That’s what makes UGC such a powerful tool—one that tapped into the human need for connection.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us some hard lessons so far. One of them is working with what you’ve got on hand, and that pairs beautifully with UGC. UGC campaigns are a great way for brands to leverage that content to increase organic growth. Social campaigns that incorporate UGC see a 50% lift in engagement.

By making User-Generated Content an integral part of your marketing efforts, you’re giving potential buyers an authentic look at what your customers think of you, rather than just providing them with your brand’s perspective.

This puts your customers at the front of your brand, which humanizes your marketing and sales. Here are a few more benefits you can reap from a great UGC campaign:

  • Content created by customers can be extremely cost-effective, while maximizing ROI. UGC results in 29% higher web conversions than campaigns or websites without it.
  • People trust real people. 92% of consumers trust organic UGC more than they trust traditional advertising.
  • Content generated by customers, brand fans, or employees is seen as more authentic. 35% of Gen Z believes that in the next 3-5 years, UGC will have more credibility than content created by a company or independent source
  • UGC content maximizes brand reach on social media from networks of people unfamiliar with your brand. Engagement increases by 28% when consumers can view a mixture of user-generated product videos and official brand authored content.

7 of the best User-Generated Content examples of all time

1.Coca-Cola – Share a Coke

We have to give a nod to the UGC campaign that took the world by storm: Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke”.

The project involved fans sharing coke bottles with their names, the names of friends and family, and even strangers across social media. It worked beautifully, tapping into the human need for sharing and community.

Share a Coke Campaign

With a clear call to action (#ShareACoke) and a personal sentiment that anyone can appreciate, the campaign was a huge success. It not only generated tons of UGC for Coca-Cola and boosted social media traffic, but it also increased overall sales of the drink, as well as sales among younger generations.

2.OREO – #stayhomestayplayful

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, cookie connoisseurs OREO got playful in lockdown with a new campaign to help overt boredom.

In a series of posts across social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) OREO aimed to provide its followers with ideas for playful and easily accessible activities to brighten up the global lockdown. A total of 15 activities included baking recipes using OREO cookies, new ways for improving Zoom calls, or creating your very own escape room.

Oreo UGC Campaign

Every idea featured the #stayhomestayplayful hashtag, to inspire those who participate to share their attempts and provide A-rated User-Generated Content for the brand. The campaign also involved influencers, who were encouraged to participate in the 15+ activities themselves.

Creating a designated hashtag for your brand’s UGC campaign is a great idea. A potential customer who’s not familiar with your brand can easily scroll through other customers’ posts and learn about the brand and its products. The more UGC posted under a hashtag, the better.

Plus, when you use a designated hashtag for the campaign, it will be 10x easier to track the content and repurpose it. For example, you can aggregate it in ProductLead and embed it on your campaign’s landing page with a few clicks.

3.Collective – micro-influencers school + ProductLead shoppable galleries

This Collective campaign is an example of how to target a niche audience and have them create and share valuable content. As one of the biggest fashion brands in Romania, Collective is well aware of the power of UGC. In 2018, the brand launched its own micro-influencer school, to boost the quality of their influencer and User-Generated Content.

These content creators learned how to collaborate with an enterprise, improve their posts from different angles, and were the first to learn about the latest industry tips, tricks, and trends.

The success of this UGC campaign was its ability to resonate with a very targeted community in a way they could appreciate and engage with. The retailer created an inspirational community around it that is always on standby to spread the news of a new collection.

Instead of just inspiring customers, Collective decided to empower them to take action.
Collective’s next step in boosting their UGC campaign strategy was implementing its own shoppable gallery of UGC, to help visitors get inspired on their official website. From the Visual Commerce shoppable UGC gallery, consumers could make a purchase directly from the look they wanted to recreate.

Collective UGC Campaign

This kind of imagery enables shoppers to more easily picture how individual items will look on them because they can see real people—not just models—wearing and enjoying the products. When Collective started using this UGC feature, they amplified their conversion rate by 250%, just by building a more intuitive shopping experience.

4.Calvin Klein – #MyCalvins

This Calvin Klein campaign is a great example of UGC that transcends a personal one-off consumer purchase, to become a brand the entire family can share and enjoy.

By involving celebrities and social media influencers, Calvin Klein won over Millennials far and wide with their #MyCalvins campaign, by encouraging them to share pictures of themselves wearing Calvin Klein underwear and then featuring them on their website, in a shoppable gallery.

Calvin Klein UGC Campaign

It was a risky venture, but it paid off. The campaign completely revitalized the iconic brand in a modern way. Love it or hate it, people will keep sharing photos of their Calvins for a long time.

5.Spotify – User Data

Here’s a way of grabbing attention with User-Generated Content that doesn’t involve hashtags or a contest.

Spotify made use of its most compelling user data stories by placing them on billboards across the US, UK, France, and Germany. This was a unique way for the brand to harness content that is already there. By aggregating user interactions with the platform, the streaming music service highlighted some of their users’ quirkiest habits.

Spotify UGC Campaign

It also makes a statement about user individuality by recognizing the uniqueness of their customer base. It was an admittedly creative take on user data, that celebrated users in a light-hearted humorous way, and also piqued the interest of non-users. The success of this campaign has encouraged Spotify to repeat it for the coming years, in slightly different formats.

6.ECOTIC – Micro-influencer PR-KIT

As an NGO for electronic waste, ECOTIC is on a mission to efficiently and sustainably take on the responsibility of collecting WEEE. To further their cause, the NGO embarked on a ProductLead campaign, which involved sourcing 80+ micro-influencers to raise awareness about the importance of recycling electronic devices.

Every influencer had their own hashtag (#reciciclezcuEcoticsi…), in order to develop community support and reduce e-waste. Across the campaign, ECOTIC tracked UGC and distributed it in ads using ProductLead.

ECOTIC UGC Campaign

The result is organic User-Generated Content and reaching consumers far and wide. So smart!

7.Apple – #ShotOnIphone

No “best UGC campaign example” list would be complete without including Apple’s #ShotOnIphone campaign.

Apple already knew that photographers were using their product. They realized that there were trillions of examples of Apple UGC content out there, but practically no one was claiming the Apple brand as their device of choice for content creation.

So, for the release of a new iPhone version which included an improved camera, rather than creating a commercial ad campaign based around the product upgrade, the brand chose to focus on a UGC hashtag campaign.

Apple UGC Campaign

Users were encouraged to share their photos with the hashtag #ShotOnIphone to celebrate the stunning photography created using an iPhone. Apple would then select their favourites, and share them on their own Instagram account, use them in ad campaigns, on their website, on billboards, and other promotional materials.

The secrets behind a successful UGC campaign

Authenticity is the name of the game

Whether you already have a foundation built or you are starting completely fresh with User-Generated Content, authenticity should drive your content strategy. The more real people and the less marketing jargon you use, the better your audience will relate to the content.

Set goals for your User-Generated Content

Setting goals will help you build the strategy and keep everyone focused on what needs to be accomplished. These could include: developing more brand trust, more brand engagement, increasing conversion rates, improving ROI of content (costs and time), etc.

Understand what tools you need to make it easier

While UGC can happen organically, there are ways for you to focus more on customers and make it easier for them to get involved, by using the right tools or platforms.

An all-in-one UGC Marketing Platform like ProductLead can help you create a cohesive and relatable brand experience, generate more trust among your customers, and inspire them to buy faster—all with the power of authentic User-Generated Content.

Build your User-Generated Content Strategy with ProductLead

ProductLead helps your brand genuinely connect with its audiences through relevant context added to the products. Here’s how to use Visual Commerce to turn your customers’ social media posts into real commercial results, automatically:

  • Shoppable galleries – UGC such as images, slideshows or videos can be a great addition to product pages on your website, because customers can see how the product looks “in real life” and even get some tips from fellow customers on how to use the product most efficiently.
  • Digital ads – UGC can help make your ads more authentic and effective.
  • Social media – using UGC from influencers on your social media can increase customers’ engagement and help you reach wider audiences.

Turn your brand’s advocates’ social media posts into commercial results.

UGC can inspire your customers to make faster purchases. In fact, UGC-based ads get 4x higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in cost-per-click than average.

Using ProductLead, you can:

  • Generate hundreds of engaging digital assets in minutes.
  • Cut costs and shorten the time spent by your team for creative production.
  • Optimize and scale your creative process to push ROI.
  • Build trust by showing your products in relevant context across all the buying journey touchpoints.

Create a relatable brand experience and generate trust among customers

Communicate with your customers via engaging visuals on your website, social media & advertising, which can skyrocket your brand and social media engagement.

Use ProductLead to bring more value to your business’ image with authentic content generated by prosumers. Your customers will enjoy discovering your product and you’ll keep your brand top of mind with your current and potential customers.

Are you ready to start communicating with your customers via engaging visuals on your website, social media & advertising? Experience all your UGC’s marketing benefits with the ProductLead free trial today.

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