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The State of UGC: A marketer’s guide to effective campaign assets

As digital marketing continues to be prominent in our daily lives, marketers across all companies compete for attention and loyalty from consumers. Creating and strategizing assets is tricky because as companies try to immerse themselves in the lives of their target audience, it’s possible to miss t
Parker Dietz
April 9, 2021
April 11, 2024

As digital marketing continues to be prominent in our daily lives, marketers across all companies compete for attention and loyalty from consumers. Creating and strategizing assets is tricky because as companies try to immerse themselves in the lives of their target audience, it’s possible to miss the mark.

What to do with your marketing assets

External marketing assets are made to promote a brand. They’re made to strategically emphasize all of the positively unique aspects of a brand message and product. Gathering marketing materials from company assets takes patient planning. Several things to do with assets include:

  • Develop strategies across all social platforms that cater to specific audiences. This ensures advantages like increased visibility, but it’s important to remember to remain consistent with a brand’s message.
  • Master metrics by knowing what has or hasn’t been effective in a campaign. Edit and fine-tune content to increase effectiveness.
  • Categorize and archive content files in an organized list for reference and future use.

Types of UGC campaign assets

With plenty of brand-owned content on social media, consumers continue seeking content created by fellow consumers. In a Cohley survey, we discovered that just over a third of in-house said they work with UGC, but despite the demand, more than 50% are having trouble keeping up with the pace. UGC is unpredictable but effective in leading campaigns for a brand. There are helpful tools beyond a company blog, like:

  • Written product reviews -  User-generated reviews describing product features that lead buyers’ decisions on what to purchase. Feedback and reviews come from other organic consumers, exhibiting authenticity and trust. People turn to written reviews as much as they turn to relatives or friends for recommendations. 
  • Product videos and photos - Often paired with an original brand hashtag, user generated product photos and videos display personable aspects of a product. Consumers like casual content. Companies don't have to produce professional content at a studio for a post to gain popularity amongst the target market.
  • Unboxing videos - These are videos of product unpackings from consumers, including influencers. This allows a consumer to see and hear a description of a product appearance, its perks, and other feedback from fellow shoppers
  • Lifestyle videos and photos - This captures a photo or video of people living their lives alongside an advertiser’s product. Candid and personable posts on social media create connections with users. Users interact more with relatable content, especially when the photo or video comes from an influencer they follow. 

Written product reviews

Consumers want to know why they should buy what a company is selling, especially in the form of written product reviews. The power of online platforms has made it easy for consumers to share their experiences with products. Plus, they increase conversion rates and visibility for the brand.

What are product reviews?

Product reviews are written posts sharing experiences with a product in terms of quality, usability, and other features that determine practicality. Consumers post reviews on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and e-commerce sites. Reviews don’t advertise the product, but they explain why someone should or shouldn’t purchase a product. This comes across as authentic and transparent.

The power of product reviews

Using reviews as a strategy and UGC asset is essential. When a company showcases their reviews through their site or social media platforms, it increases trust between the brand and consumer. Conversion rates have the ability to increase and customers are more likely to buy a company’s product.

  • In a study by BrightLocal, research found that consumers want to see that there’s at least 40 reviews before they believe the rating of a product.
  • As of 2018, a G2 study shows that 92% of b2b consumers feel inclined to purchase something after reading a review. Increased consumer trust is essential for developing loyalty for a company.
  • A study from Learning Hub states that 69.9% of the companies that utilize customer reviews say that their importance for encouraging those reviews has increased. This means companies see how those organic reviews benefit what they are selling.

Examples of UGC product reviews

1. Shoot My Travel

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Shoot My Travel sets up themed photo shoots around the world. They gather insights and reviews from customers that talk about their experience with the brand. To make it personal, they include an image from the shoot.

2. The Honest Company

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The honest company provides a customer review with their name and a photo with the product. Consumers read the review and even have the option to shop for the product in the product review.

UGC Product videos and photos

Sharing visual content on social media highlights the personality and style of a company’s target market. Usually tagged with an easy-to-find hashtag, UGC product photos and videos gain plenty of attention on social platforms like instagram and Facebook. In addition, influencers are on the rise when it comes to creating product content for brands. Data from ExpertVoice shows that micro-influencers have 22 times more conversion each week regarding their visual recommendations.

What are user generated product videos and photos?

Products are best showcased visual ways through photo and video. UGC can grow interest and loyalty with consumers. People prefer to see products in a unique and visual way, and when that content comes from a fellow b2b consumer, there’s more inclination to make a purchase from that brand.

The power of user generated product assets

Brands are in search of constant new and original content. Nearly half of brands are saying they are only sometimes able to keep up with the volume of content for their campaigns. UGC photos and videos save time for marketers while encouraging consumers to post how they feel about products. 

  • Stackla reports that consumers are 2.4 times more probable to view a brand’s UGC as authentic in comparison to professional content by the brand.
  • According to Comscore, engagement increases by 28% when consumers can view a mix of user generated videos and professional brand content.
  • In a ExpertVoice funded study, 82% of consumers said they were highly likely to value recommendations by micro-influencers. This is important to note because a brand does not need a macro-influencer to succeed in this kind of UGC asset.

Examples of user generated product photos and videos

1. Tarte

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Tarte cosmetics encourages b2b consumers to post photos and videos of their products, utilizing a call to action and promoting their own hashtag, #RethinkNatural. As consumers shopped on the Tarte site, they saw UGC right below that, giving other shoppers ideas and inspiration to make a purchase. 

2. Whole Foods Market

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Using their own hashtag, #MakesMeWhole, Whole foods generated over 200,000 Instagram posts of consumers’ homemade meals, new favorites, and food-related ideas. 

Unboxing Videos

Since the mid-2000s, consumers saw the benefit of unboxing and using products for the first time on camera. Unboxing videos can be helpful when finding the best offers and products while gaining insight on the product’s pros and cons. Consumers seek authentic reviews, and with unboxing videos, it brings them one step closer to actually holding the product in their hands.

What are unboxing videos?

Unboxing videos are videos where an on-camera personality or a fellow organic consumer records themselves and reviews a product from a brand. This UGC gives consumers an honest way to find out if the product meets their expectations in detail. These videos are often used by consumers for research and entertainment which is why they are effective in campaigns.

The power of unboxing videos

Millennials and Gen-z enjoy viewing unboxing videos. If they want to learn more about a product that interests them, it is very likely that they’ll turn to YouTube for reviews. An influencer or consumer in these unboxing videos take a product out of its packaging and review it, typically increasing shopper confidence. 

  • A study by Google claims that 1 in 5 consumers have seen an unboxing video as of 2017. In that year, the term “unboxing” had over 60 million searches on YouTube. This means users continue to actively look for videos of users opening and reviewing products.
  • In one study, 80% of consumers who considered purchasing a product said they had seen a video in the beginning of the buying process. This is important because video content works, and unboxing videos emphasize the benefit of filming a show-and-tell about a product.
  • According to Impact Plus, more than 70% of people watch product videos to learn how a product works. The best way for a consumer to see and feel a connection to what a company is selling is to watch unboxing videos. Consumers who film these videos have power to influence decisions when unpackaging and describing a product.

Examples of unboxing videos

Nintendo Switch Unboxing (IJustine)

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Influencer and YouTuber IJustine creates unboxing videos for tech products, such as this one where she unboxes a new Nintendo Switch. With over 2,000,000 views on the video, it’s certain that she made an impact on consumer buying decisions. 

Lifestyle videos and photos

B2b consumers pay more attention to content that is authentic and personable, which is why lifestyle photo and video UGC is favorable for companies to incorporate into a campaign. There are different ways for companies to showcase lifestyle UGC, including creating a unique hashtag or featuring posts from customers on the brand’s own social media pages.

What are user generated lifestyle videos and photos?

This is advertising content that appears as candid to consumers while featuring the brand’s product in the shot or film. It’s a great way to create emotion around what a company sells. Lifestyle photo and video UGC create a sense of community around a product, especially when the content comes from organic consumers. Overall, we found that lifestyle photography counts for 55% of marketing UGC assets, and video counts for 44%.

The power of user generated lifestyle videos and photos

UGC inspires consumers to show off their style or interests by posting photos and videos. Consumers feel authentic connections when they can make relations. Because of other lifestyle UGC, more social media users want to be a part of the buzz. 

  • When making purchasing decisions, BazaarVoice reports that 30-59% of consumers won’t make the purchase without seeing some form of UGC. Lifestyle photos and videos can make a difference for shoppers when deciding. An influencer or on-camera consumer provides a sense of community to the product.
  • In that same report, it’s discovered that 71% of millennials share opinions online because they think it’s valuable to share their opinions. This is why marketers are able to get so much interaction with their unique hashtag campaigns or contests. Consumers not only want to feel that their opinion is valued, they know it is, which is beneficial for lifetsyle UGC.
  • ComScore found that the most relatable, comprehensible, and communicative marketing messages were a combination of professional content and UGC. This is crucial because with lifestyle UGC, influencers are very prominent. They take high-quality photos but make it look effortless. It’s a blend of professional and casual, which many consumers like.

Examples of user generated lifestyle videos and photos

1. Vivadogs

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The hashtag from Vivadogs was a hit in generating UGC on Instagram and Facebook. The company encouraged consumers to post a picture of their pet loving their new subscription box. With over half a million posts, it created positive marketing and visibility for their brand.

2. Calvin Klein

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The #MyCalvins campaign became viral on instagram. In just a few months, there were more than 500,000 posts of followers and influencers taking pictures in their Calvin Klein products. A simple, yet intriguing contest like this lets users know they can and should express their thoughts about the brand.

Read more about generating UGC campaigns here.

We’ve learned that taking a personable approach with UGC assets is important. Marketing content has evolved into more than infographics or blogs. Campaigns need to involve trust between the consumer and brand. For an impactful campaign, companies utilize consumers and accept the obstacle of unpredictability. From influencers to everyday consumers, UGC is easy to produce and publish, which is the reason there is so much content to make use of.

Parker Dietz
Head of Content
With a wealth of knowledge about competitors and pricing, Parker is all about exploring the best way to communicate Cohley's benefits. Outside of work, Parker enjoys poorly playing guitar at parties, watching every Adam Sandler movie ever made, and eating Arabic food.