What is UGC?
User Generated Content (UGC) is the authentic, unpaid, and unsponsored content that your consumer base creates in connection with your business, brand, products, or services. As it is consumer-created, UGC is a unique tool in a business’s marketing strategy. In fact, according to a 2023 survey by Ipsos, reviews from other users are the only information source that a majority of consumers trust more than distrust.
As some digital advertisements become more obscured and predatory, perhaps due to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), UGC becomes increasingly vital. In a world where trust is paramount, UGC allows your target audience to speak authentically about your brand, cutting through the advertisement noise seen across all mediums.
Types of UGC
- Reviews, Comments, Testimonials, Blogs: Whether through word-of-mouth, forums, or news articles, these UGC forms are prevalent. Industries like ecommerce, healthcare, and finance can leverage positive feedback to drive customer engagement and trust.
- Photos & Videos: In today’s digital landscape, social media is a hub for visual UGC. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok amplify the impact of customer photos and videos, as people tend to trust content created by their peers over polished advertisements.
Implementing, referencing, or focusing on UGC is a strategic move for several reasons:
- Authenticity: While other forms of advertisements and methods of marketing may introduce distrust and skepticism in a brand, UGC shines as a beacon of authenticity. Your audience is more likely to resonate with genuine user experiences than with paid advertisements disguised as authentic content.
- Building Trust: Reviews, comments, testimonials, and blogs are powerful forms of UGC. In the healthcare and finance industries, for instance, positive feedback from patients or satisfied customers can significantly boost trust and credibility.
- Visual Impact: UGC in the form of photos and videos, often hosted on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and others, provides a visual testament to your brand’s appeal. Sharing these visuals on your platforms further enhances their impact and reach.
- Dynamic: UGC isn’t limited to one medium or one channel. Its malleability lends usefulness to a diverse marketing strategy. A plethora of marketing campaigns, such as social media, direct mail, print, video, etc., can utilize the same piece of content.
Benefits of UGC
Understanding the benefits of UGC is key to unlocking its potential.
- Low Cost: As there is little investment needed, UGC is a cost-effective tool. While influencer marketing shares many similarities of UGC, the cost of hiring an influencer can stress a campaign budget quickly.
- Loyalty and Identity: With the consumer doing the talking, brand identity evolves in a unique manner. As the consumers combine to create an active community, the conversation is no longer one dimensional. Between the consumers speaking and sharing content, brand loyalty and identity strengthens and develops.
- Authentic and Trustworthy: Misleading, disguised, and intrusive advertisements are common occurrences nowadays. Consumers can identify generated advertisements, and they don’t resonate like UGC.
- Generates Awareness: With likes, shares, and reposts happening in the billions per day, no other content can compare to the reach and influence UGC can have. Outside of social media platforms, word-of-mouth, blog posts, podcasts, and testimonials still foster growth and encourage engagement.
To summarize, as digital marketing evolves, user generated content emerges as a powerful tool to connect authentically with your audience, build trust, and amplify your brand’s impact with minimal risk, aversion, and cost associated.