What is UGC?

User-generated content is a broad term that covers any form of content created and shared by users based on their opinions, experiences and ideas. It is often a very sought-after piece of content, as it provides users with honest feedback that can be used as a marketing tool by the company being mentioned.

History of UGC

Although it might seem new, UGC has always existed in many forms, as it continues to evolve with the public’s demands. With the help of public contributions and bulletin boards, UGC can account for the creation of several widely used sources such as the Oxford English Dictionary (1850s), America’s Funniest Home Videos (1980s) and Wikipedia (2000s). At the time, UGC was only used to provide general information about enquired topics or create entertaining content.

From the early 2000s, however, social media and the accessibility to computers and smartphones created a new form of UGC – easily acquired feedback on products and services. Consumers worldwide were given the opportunity and tools to create their own content, share their opinions and interact with brands directly with their close circle and users worldwide.

With the constant evolution of social media and digital technologies, we saw UGC shift from written posts and reviews on directories to images and videos that continued to evolve in quality, with users now being able to share links to products and tag the brands they are interacting with directly.

Fast forward to today, UGC has stepped into a new realm, now covering content created by a brand’s user base and including content commissioned by brands that resemble organic content.

Why use UGC?

While the list of reasons for this sudden demand for organic-looking content is endless, there are a few main motivations for marketers to shift their content plans to fit this new format. Some of these are:

  • Authenticity:

The Hootsuite Social Transformation Report concluded that 78% of marketers agree that special media empowered them to reach prospects more efficiently. Therefore, companies must continue to adapt and look for new ways to connect to their audiences.

This is where UGC comes in. In an era where we have become desensitised to online advertising and high-quality content, seeing content that looks organic can be all it takes for us to notice a product or a service without scrolling past it immediately.

In addition, UGC allows brands to showcase users’ diversity in their content, creating a more inclusive environment on their social media feeds and helping companies increase their conversions, as the Tint State of User-Generated Content 2022 report states that 65% of consumers agree that it is important for them to see brands channelling diversity in their content.

  • Establishing brand loyalty and a community:

By creating filters, trends and challenges, brands have a chance to give their users a sense of community by encouraging them to create their own content and share it. In 2021, Tint found that 73% of consumers wished that brands ran more contests and giveaways. With the current boom of UGC, marketers hope to finally tap into this area and meet their audience’s satisfaction by getting re-sharable content in return.

  • Social Proof Leading to Increasing Conversions:

In the State of UGC Report 2021, the strength of social proof was affirmed, showing that 76% of consumers have purchased a product because of someone else’s recommendation.

With UGC on the rise, audiences can see organic content created by other users, establishing trust between the user and the brand and thus increasing conversions.

  • Cost and time-effective multi-purpose content:

By choosing to use UGC over influencer content, companies can work with more creators for less, allowing them to commission a larger quantity of content for the same price.

When commissioning UGC, companies have full ownership and rights to said content, allowing them to post it on several platforms and accounts in multiple formats (e.g., stories, reels, landing pages, paid advertisements and more). This extends the reach and purpose of the content and makes it evergreen, allowing the company to continue using it for an extended period.

Adding UGC to your marketing strategy

While everyone can agree that UGC is the most effective way to drive conversions for your business, we understand that it is still a format many companies steer away from. Therefore, it is essential to speak to a marketing agency that can advise on whether UGC suits your business and create an effective content strategy for you, covering everything from topics, content style and commissioning UGC.

Are you ready to take your own content strategy to the next level? Contact us today!