With the average modern consumer being exposed to an estimated 5,000 ads a day, it’s no surprise that audiences are craving more authentic content and brand interactions. So, what’s one way brands can break through the noise and empower their consumers? UGC: user-generated content. Different from influencer marketing tactics, UGC is all about marketers activating the voices of “average Joes” who have voluntarily become passionate sharers of feedback and content that positively promotes brands.
“The advent of social commerce and the growing consumer distaste for aggressive marketing tactics has led many brands and advertisers to turn to user-generated content to connect and engage consumers.” —Pau Sabria, co-founder, Olapic
So, what is it?
User-generated content really doesn’t hold tight to any barriers, and yet it allows users to submit their opinions in their formats of preference, whether that’s livestreamed videos, photos, social posts, or even reviews or comment-forum replies. The purpose is to leverage UGC into brand marketing efforts as a way to help boost efforts and increase engagement with target markets.
But that sounds like influencer marketing?
Similar, but not quite. According to the Federal Trade Commission, influencer marketing requires full disclosure of the “material connection” provided by the brand to the influencer in return for the influencer’s support. With UGC, however, there is no material connection, and therefore, there’s no need for disclosures. Simply put, with UGC, marketers can leverage the enthusiasm of consumers who already love—and share their love of—products and services.
How is UGC changing the game?
A TINT survey of more than 500 marketing and business professionals found that UGC is influencing marketing in three key ways: humanizing marketing, boosting social media engagement and supporting marketing campaigns.
- One of the most significant benefits of UGC is the genuineness of the people creating it. Consumers today are eager to hear how their peers review and use the brands they’re considering, and UGC allows them to get just that before they move down the funnel and convert. Having the ability to share content produced by actual consumers who aren’t incentivized brings a higher level of credibility and authenticity to the table.
- According to survey responses, 45% of marketing professionals agreed that UGC helps boost key social media metrics. Forty-one percent agreed that the engagement KPI has increased the most as a result of UGC while also impacting other KPIs, such as revenue, leads, impressions and more.
- UGC also enables a brand to stretch its resources from a time and budget perspective. Integrating this type of content can be beneficial to supporting brand marketing efforts by providing extra content to promote and share without having to allocate internal resources to create it.
What’s driving the growth of UGC?
With digital advances, customers are constantly seeking out and consuming content. There are some key factors that heavily influence users’ ability to create quality content on a brand’s behalf.
- Social platforms and technology are empowering consumers to capture, comment, review, and share their feedback instantaneously with their followers. Add in perks like filters, emojis, live sharing and other capabilities, and you have the perfect mix for users to record and post in their preferred methods and channels.
- Mobile devices also go hand in hand with those technology improvements that are making UGC even more friendly and convenient. With advanced camera and video capabilities, as well as quick and easy editing apps right on your phone, the perfect pictures and videos can easily be created, edited, and shared within a matter of minutes.
Overall, it’s clear that brands are becoming more aware of the influence of UGC on more than just top-level activities. Authentic marketing, across various platforms, can be utilized at all stages of the consumer journey and help marketers save valuable resources in the process.