Particularly with the growth of UGC creators (more on that later), user-generated content (UGC) has recently reemerged as a trending issue on social media. Putting creators aside, traditional UGC is still a huge advantage for businesses wanting to expand and increase online sales.

80% of respondents to a study from 2021 stated that UGC significantly influences their shopping decisions. Why? Because user-generated content (UGC) resembles a word-of-mouth referral on social media. But how can you take advantage of UGC marketing’s potential? Read on as we explain what it is, how to identify excellent UGC, and offer some advice to get you going.

What is User Generated Content (UGC)?

User-generated content, commonly called UGC or consumer-generated content, is unique content developed specifically for a brand by customers and shared on social media or through other channels. It comes in various formats, including social media posts, visual content, pictures, reviews, and endorsements.

Social media users who discuss a brand can impact the purchasing behavior of their followers. According to 85% of respondents, UGC has more sway than content explicitly produced by brands.

The existence of user-generated content is not an essential component because people always talk about the things they find enjoyable. What counts is how you employ it to build your brand.

What Are the Types Of UGC?

UGC is not constrained by a company’s size, sector of operation, or range of products. User-generated content may connect with all audiences, whether they are consumers of premium brands or everyday goods. These are the primary categories of user-generated content:

Images: Unpaid customer product photographs published on blogs, social media, and other internet venues

Videos and Live Streams: GoPro videos, YouTube videos, Instagram Stories, natively filmed videos, live Facebook video streams, and other content the artist doesn’t monetize. Unboxing and haul videos can also be included in these.

• Social Media Content: Any mention of a brand on social media, including a tweet, Instagram post, or Facebook update.

• Testimonials and product reviews: A portion of a product’s website or a third-party website, such as Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, or G2, may contain customer reviews.

Blog Posts: A product review or lesson that bloggers publish on their websites without being compensated.

• Q&A Forum: A public discussion forum where users and the brand can interact and respond to queries about a product.

• Case Studies: The benefits and drawbacks of products and services are discussed in-depth, unpaid user reviews.

• Surveys: Opinions or descriptions of a specific feature or product that customers have provided.

How Significant Is User-Generated Content?

User-generated and organic-reach content has never been more commonplace because of the expansion of social networking outlets. The leading creators of this brand-specific content, essential in shaping the buyer’s journey, are customers and brand devotees.

The benefits of incorporating user-generated content into a company’s marketing mix are demonstrated in the following.

Authenticity: Brands can gain validity from genuine evaluations, opinions, and attention their customers generate in a cutthroat online environment. Because most consumers are prepared to accept recommendations for goods and services made by actual people rather than the business itself, UGC can help increase social media reach and growth. For instance, when the iPhone 6 was introduced, Apple urged consumers to take regular images with their phones and post them online with the hashtag #ShotOniPhone6. The finest photos were chosen by Apple, who then used them to promote their products on various print and digital media outlets worldwide.

• The loyalty of A Brand: UGC fosters brand loyalty since consumers rather than authorized brand personnel provide the material. Companies can increase customer trust by prioritizing their audience and inviting them to contribute to creating the brand’s image.

• Cost-effectiveness: Businesses wishing to market their brands without wasting thousands of dollars on promotions and TV advertisements can use user-generated content (UGC). Most UGC content is created naturally by unpaid users attempting to share their experience with a product or service, connect with like-minded people, or merely hope to take advantage of certain benefits.

SEO Boosting Qualities: Positive customer feedback and surveys can improve a brand’s search engine optimization (SEO). UGC from customers is typically posted on blogs that link to retailer websites. Brands can enhance their keyword optimization research by looking at consumer search terms and keywords.

UGC can have some disadvantages in addition to its many advantages. The increasing usage of user-generated content by commercial media has created debate in the publishing industry. Some organizations carefully check UGC for foul language, fabrications, and criticism of other contributors. Other companies allow customers to monitor their material.

The Value of User-Generated Content

User-generated content’s authenticity is where its true worth rests; statistics support this. The significance of user-generated content for forward-thinking brands is highlighted in particular by two reports mentioned below.

• “93% of marketers agree that consumers trust content created by customers more than content created by brands,” according to the 2021 State of UGC report by Tintup. People have people’s trust.

• Furthermore, according to Nosto’s research, “79% of people say UGC highly influences their purchasing decisions.” and “Consumers find user-generated content (UGC) 9.8x more impactful than influencer content when making a purchasing decision.”

Marketers and consumers say peer influencers are more successful than other marketing strategies. Include the authenticity of user-generated content in your marketing strategy to foster a relationship of trust with your audience and consumer community.

It’s important to remember that sponsored posts and user-generated content are distinct. Sponsorships suggest that a transaction has taken place. Hence, they typically call for a transparent disclosure. You may have noticed Instagram posts that have ‘Paid partnership’ or the hashtag ‘Creator is a partner’ at the top. Those are often paid for by sponsors or receive things from companies to promote on their platforms.

However, the distinction between paid user-generated content and content supplied by influencers is hazy. The size of the audience and the location of the posts’ publication are typically the key differentiators. The influx of content producers who work on producing material for businesses’ social media platforms demonstrates the importance and development of user-generated content.

Existing brand affinities among consumers and the content that results from those affinities can support brands in various ways.

The Best Ways to Include User-Generated Content in Your Marketing Plan

According to a UGC survey by market research company Dynata for software provider Redpoint Global, 80% of consumers are more willing to buy from firms that give personalized customer experiences. This information only illustrates the value of user-generated content (UGC) in a brand’s marketing plan.
Companies can include UGC in their content marketing strategy in the ways listed below:


Most customers check product reviews before making purchases since they give them a peek at the item they want to buy. Reviews can raise website traffic and a brand’s perceived reliability, increasing conversion rates.
Companies should encourage customers to post evaluations for every product they buy to include review-based UGC in their marketing plan. To increase conversion rates, businesses should give customers the choice to leave reviews across various websites, including Facebook, Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, and other independent websites.
Another option to include reviews in a marketing plan is to reward them by offering coupons, reward points, or gift cards in exchange for their reviews. Customers might be encouraged to take action by this added incentive.
Additionally, companies should remember that customer reviews might be neutral or critical. But both contribute to creating a brand’s identity. A company should consider any negative comments as an opportunity to improve and win customers over. This trust can be enhanced by reviewing every review and genuinely caring about it.

Contests Of Hashtags:

Contests for hashtag contributions might inspire fans to use a brand’s hashtag. When posting information on a social media platform, such as images and videos, followers can use a particular hashtag to enter to win rewards. These contests are a fantastic choice for businesses looking to popularize their hashtags because they increase brand recognition and may even increase sales.

Companies should produce material with hashtags that are memorable and distinctive to use this well-liked UGC tactic. For instance, Trivago, a website that compares hotels, ran an Instagram photo competition with the hashtag #trivagofaves. To enter to win $500, participants had to post unique images of their favorite Trivago hotels using the designated hashtag. Over 37,000 people watched the contest, which produced many posts featuring top hotels and partner promotions.


Customers will find UGC gratifying and fun thanks to this incentive-based method. After accomplishing a few activities, users receive recognition and rewards. High scores, badges, leaderboards, levels, and points are just a few ideas brands employ to entice consumers to accomplish activities and share their experiences with the company.

Businesses can use gamification to their advantage by rewarding customers with points for posting on social media. Following that, customers can redeem those points for deals and coupons. The incentives can also include additional choices, such as gifts that can be unlocked with subsequent purchases.

Visual Contents:

Customers can be reached primarily through videos. Their potential for sharing and the likelihood of becoming viral can significantly increase a company’s following. Additionally, it naturally instills confidence in those goods and services when people watch actual customers documenting their shopping, vacation, or user experiences.
Brands may produce UGC videos that feature unique perspectives and sincere insights into their brands by using handpicked content from customers. UGC videos can engage the audience more personally than branded videos, so consumers prefer to trust them more.

Seasonal Content:

There are several opportunities for businesses to market through UGC as the seasons and holidays change. Brands may engage their fans emotionally around special occasions and holidays. To successfully include seasonal UGC into their marketing plan, businesses should research their target market and seasonal goals.

Additionally, brands can invite their fans to publish films, photographs, hashtags, and testimonies and enter contests. As an illustration, Starbucks once held the annual #RedCupContest in December, inviting customers to post pictures of their personalized coffee cups on social media to win a Starbucks gift card.

User-Generated Content Examples

The companies listed below are amongst the few who have successfully used user-generated content to market their brands.

Coca-Cola: Share a Coke campaign

In 2011, Coca-Cola put the 150 most popular names on their bottles in Australia, launching this well-known UGC campaign. Share a Coke with your loved ones was the message intended to convey. After the concept gained popularity, individuals began posting photos of their customized Coke bottles on social media with the hashtag #ShareaCoke. The enthusiasm immediately spread to 80 other nations, making this the most extensive UGC campaign in history.

Belkin Lego iPhone cases

Belkin created a UGC effort to promote its brand that targeted the well-known companies iPhones and Lego. They urged users to make cases for their iPhones using interchangeable Lego parts as part of a collaboration with Lego, after which they were requested to take pictures. Participants used the hashtag #LEGOxBelkin while uploading their images to Instagram. This user-generated content campaign was successful because consumers could naturally picture how distinctive and fashionable Belkin cases could be.

National Geographic’s Wanderlust contest

National Geographic created the Wanderlust Contest 2015 to use photography-based user-generated content (UGC) to further brand exposure and growth. To participate in the contest, users had to use the hashtag #WanderlustContest to upload their best photos of the outdoors. The prize from National Geographic was an unforgettable seven-day vacation for two adults to Yosemite National Park. This competition increased outdoor activity and increased National Geographic’s engagement rates.

T-Mobile breakup campaign

Most cellular consumers are discouraged from switching when a mobile data plan is terminated because of potential penalties, such as a hefty termination charge. T-Mobile started a user-generated content (UGC) campaign asking users to submit their breakup letters describing reasons for quitting their present cellular providers to make switching simple for customers. T-Mobile agreed to cover the price of switching service providers in exchange. Users posted their breakup letters on numerous social media platforms after submitting them using a branded app. This effective UGC campaign generated about 113,000 breakup letters, 2.7 million app page views, and 67 million social media impressions.


User Generated Content is one of the best methods a company can adopt in their marketing strategy to increase their awareness, validity, authenticity, and customer loyalty. When utilized properly, UGC can take your business goals to greater heights with lasting benefits and success.

You can gain from incorporating UGC into your content strategy, regardless of your social media objectives. Sharing UGC is a powerful marketing strategy, whether you intend to do it on Instagram or by including customer feedback in TikTok posts.

Additionally, you may increase sales, expand your online community, and establish trust far more significantly than any sponsored marketing campaign with the proper UGC plan.