Types of user-generated content you should use
User-generated content (UGC) is about to become the go-to tactic for brands in various niches. Why? It’s because UGC is cost-effective and delivers 29% more web conversions than campaigns or websites that lack it.
However, since several types of user-generated content are available, some businesses struggle with choosing the best UGC for their marketing goals. If your company is experiencing similar issues, you are in the right place. Keep reading to understand the different types of UGC and discover the best platforms for fully taking advantage of UGC to boost brand visibility and customer conversion.
Why Is UGC Important for Brands
Before delving into the types of user-generated content, you need to understand what UGC is and why more brands rely on it. UGC is the opposite of the content consumers typically see, which is content created by the brand. Brand-created content typically highlights (and sometimes exaggerates) the selling points of a product with the hope of converting prospects into paying customers.
User-generated content, on the other hand, is content created by consumers. The content will vary between consumers, with each person typically creating such content to share their experience or opinion of a brand or product. Here’s why user-generated content is important for brands:
According to the State of UGC 2021 Report, 75% of marketers agree that using UGC makes brand content more authentic. Also, consumers are 2.4 times more likely to consider user-generated content more authentic than content created by brands.
Customers view UGC as more authentic because other users post the content to share their real-life experiences using a product or brand. Since UGC creators have nothing to gain from posting about using a product, customers see the content as more trustworthy and convincing. It’s basically word-of-mouth marketing, and word-of-mouth marketing generates over twice the sales of paid advertising.
Get the Millennials
Millennials are now the economic driving force in America. They make up the biggest percentage of the workforce and have the most purchasing power. The purchasing power of millennials will only continue to rise as they age and their incomes grow.
Many businesses have noticed this fact and modified their marketing to target millennials. Several studies show that millennials respond better to marketing that uses UGC. For instance, a Bazaarvoice report revealed that 84% of millennials claim that user-generated content influences what they buy.
Convert Customers into Brand Ambassadors
UGC allows you to turn your customers into brand ambassadors. It is far more cost-effective and rewarding than paying influencers to promote your brand or product. In fact, according to Stackla, UGC is 9.8 times more potent than influencer marketing for influencing consumer purchase decisions.
Build Brand Loyalty
When you publish UGC provided by a customer, that customer will feel heard and engaged. The customer will also feel like they are part of something bigger.
Customers who feel heard are more loyal and likely to defend your brand and increase their spending. Other benefits of increased brand loyalty are reduced customer churn, better brand image, and more revenue. However, before using any UGC, you need the permission of the user who created the content.
Supercharge Your Online Visibility
The more content you publish, the more likely you are to pop up in search engine results and social media feeds, which is excellent for brand visibility. Switching to a UGC campaign can give you access to a never-ending well of quality content your customers created without you asking or paying for them.
The content can be customer reviews, unboxing videos, mentions on social media, and more. If most of your UGC is positive, it can boost your online reputation ranking. UGC that contains links to your website can also improve your SEO and drive traffic to your site.
More conversions equal more sales. User-generated content can give your target audience the final push they need to convert and make a purchase. For instance, customer reviews that praise your product quality can drive traffic to your site and convert prospects into paying customers.
According to data gathered by CrowdRiff, inserting UGC on product pages can increase conversions by over 60%, and 48% of customers believe UGC is excellent for finding new products. Also, viewing one to four reviews is enough to tempt 41% of consumers to buy a product.
Use in Different Marketing Campaigns
You can use user-generated content in various forms of online and offline marketing, including social media marketing, content marketing, and email marketing. You can reach prospects even faster with an omnichannel approach that involves posting UGC on all the online platforms your target customers typically use.
Does UGC Work?
Yes, it does. User-generated content is 42% more effective and 6.9x more engaging than content created by brands. However, how well UGC will work for you will depend on how you use it. For instance, if you use the wrong user-generated content or post the content on platforms your target audience rarely uses, your marketing results will likely be less than desirable.
Types of User-Generated Content
Several user-generated content options are available, and the right content type to use for your marketing strategy will depend on your target audience and other factors. Below are the most common types of user-generated content:
Content from Social Media
According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 82% of consumers use information from social media to make purchasing decisions. Also, 41% of Twitter users make purchases based on a tweet, while 52% of Facebook users make purchasing decisions based on what they see on the platform. These stats prove that social media content can be a powerful tool for driving sales.
Businesses in all niches can use UGC from social media to their advantage and get content from any platform their target audience frequents. Any social media post is usable as UGC if it mentions or discusses your brand or product. Consumers will view the post as helpful content that tells them more about your brand or product. If they like what they hear about your brand, it can move a prospect to buy your product.
Highly visual platforms like Instagram and TikTok are currently the go-to sources for social media UGC because of the high viewer engagement of their content. If people are not already talking about your brand on social media, you can trigger a conversation by launching a contest, viral challenge, or hashtag campaign. Alternatively, motivate your existing customers to share product reviews on social media.
Reviews and Testimonials
Reviews and testimonials are some of the best UGC out there. The reviews and testimonials can be videos, images, or text-based posts shared by existing customers who enjoyed using your product. You can get such reviews from social media, review websites, forums, and other sources.
Reviews are more likely to convince potential customers to try your product than promotional content posted by your brand. That’s because consumers consider reviews to be 12x more trustworthy than marketing content created by a brand.
In fact, 71% of customers say user reviews make them feel more confident about buying the discussed product, while 83% of shoppers claim they trust user reviews. Why do customers trust user reviews? It’s because user reviews are the experiences of fellow customers. If several customers have a positive experience with a particular product, a prospective customer will expect to have a similar experience.
However, only use authentic user reviews as UGC. Prospects may sense something shady if you create and post fake reviews, and it can damage your brand’s reputation.
Video content is one of the best forms of UGC because most people prefer watching videos to reading texts or viewing images. It’s why TikTok is suddenly the most used social platform. You can get video user-generated content from social media or other sources, such as asking customers to upload videos of them using your product to your website.
Since videos get 1200% more shares than text and images, using such content for UGC increases your chances of going viral and reaching more people. However, don’t post just any video as UGC. Share only engaging and relevant videos that showcase or mention your product or brand.
According to Hubspot, users prefer videos that feature comedy, music, reviews, tutorials (how-to guides), or viral content. If you use user-generated content that features these elements, you can attract more viewers and potential customers.
A case study is similar to a user review but more detailed because it focuses on the functionality of a product and how each function can benefit users. Using user-generated case studies can help you showcase the versatility and value of your product in a more in-depth manner that convinces potential customers your product is right for them.
You can get case studies from a client’s website or other platforms where customers post detailed results they gained after using a product. Posting such content on your website can help boost audience engagement, and users linking to case study pages on your website can boost SEO.
If you need specific information about how customers use your product and user satisfaction, you can get relevant details by getting customers to answer surveys. The details and insights shared in a survey can help you improve your product and service delivery. You can also share customer responses to your survey as UGC.
For instance, the survey could ask customers to rate one of your features from one to ten. If over 90% of your customers give a ten rating, you can post the finding as a UGC to motivate prospects to try the feature. You can display the data from surveys as graphs, infographics, and statistics to engage your business website and social media visitors.
Blog posts created by brand enthusiasts or professional bloggers that like your product can boost your online visibility and reputation. Such posts also improve SEO if they contain links to your website.
The blog post may discuss your product’s features, benefits, or uniqueness, and it can go on a website or a social platform like Facebook that allows long, written posts. Sharing user-generated blog post is excellent for boosting brand visibility to drive sales.
User-generated YouTube videos get ten times more views than brand-created content uploaded to the platform. The most engaging user-generated YouTube videos contain how-to guides, tips, and product roundups. Unboxing videos are also popular. You can use user-generated content to make your YouTube channel more engaging and attractive to draw in traffic. YouTube viewers who like what they see can follow you on the platform or go to your website, convert, and become paying customers.
UGC vs. Brand and Influencer-Generated Content: Which Is Best for Your Brand?
UGC is customers being brand influencers on your behalf, but that does not mean user-generated content is the same as brand or influencer-generated content. Brand-generated content (BGC) is content created by your company or content you paid a professional (photographer or videographer) to make for your company.
On the other hand, influencer-generated content (IGC) is content created by someone with a large social media following. The content will focus on the influencer’s experience with your product and go on their social media pages, exposing your brand and product to the thousands or millions of people who engage with the influencer.
IGC is an excellent tactic for boosting brand visibility and driving sales, but it is expensive. The more popular an influencer is, the more IGC will cost. User-generated content costs far less than IGC and BGC because you rarely have to pay customers to create content that discusses their experience using your product.
Besides being more cost-effective, UGC delivers better value and results. You can gather UGC from hundreds or even thousands of customers for free, and you get better results because customers view UGC as more authentic, trustworthy, and convincing.
According to a Nielsen report, over 60% of consumers trust the content of other customers (UGC) over IGC and BGC. Also, 85% of consumers say visual UGC influences their buying decisions more than brand videos or photos. Lastly, consumers find UGC 9.8x more impactful than influencer content.
User-Generated Content Tools
Finding and selecting user-generated content from various sources is tedious and time-consuming if you do it manually. Fortunately, you can simplify your UGC search and collection with a user-generated content platform or tool. Several options are available, and below are some of the top UGC platforms on the market:
Cohley is the go-to platform for businesses looking for a convenient, fast, and affordable way to get high-quality user-generated content. With the UGC generation and testing platform, you can find the best content creators for your brand voice and marketing goals. You can order as much UGC as you want and test content to find the best one for reaching and converting your target audience.
Cohley also has an analytics tool for tracking and measuring your organic ROI. The insights provided by the analytics tools will simplify measuring the success of your campaign and identifying the aspects to tweak for better results.
Instagram is among the top social media platforms used by people from various demographics. The Instagram Shop is a new addition to the platform that allows brands to share products and reach millions of potential customers that use Instagram daily.
Besides promoting and selling products, you can use Instagram Shop to gather UGC, such as reviews and testimonials, and use the content to promote your brand. You can also find Instagram users who are talking about your brand and gather UGC from them with the help of:
- Brand tags
- Branded hashtags
- Branded AR filters in IG stories and live events
- Brand mentions in post comments
- Website or social media links in posts and comments
Typeform is an online tool for creating, sending, and collecting surveys. You can create surveys for collecting customer feedback about your brand and product with the tool. You can then use customer responses as UGC to promote your brand.
TikTok is the first non-Facebook social media app to reach three billion downloads. The vast number of TikTok users makes the platform a treasure trove for user-generated content. Even better, the high engagement of TikTok content means you can count on TikTok UGC to attract and convert more prospects.
Besides testimonial and unboxing videos, you can get TikTok users to create UGC that promotes your brand by launching viral trends, challenges, branded hashtags, and branded effects.
Yotpo is an easy-to-use tool for turning shoppers into your personal influencers with visual UGC (customer photos and videos). The platform also helps brands turn customers into advocates that promote them through reviews.
If you sign up for the free plan, you can add UGC galleries to your website and gather UGC from multiple sources. The tool will then post curated UGC on your pages. However, if you want analytics, AI tagging, and other tools, you will need a paid Yotpo plan.
Cohley Helps You Build All Kinds of UGC
Getting UGC that matches your brand and gets desired results should not be a chore. Cohley makes life easier by being a one-stop shop for all types of user-generated content. The platform provides access to a pool of talented creators who provide high-quality videos, photos, and reviews for brand marketing.
Cohley also integrates with Bazaarvoice and Yotpo to simplify gathering and posting user reviews on various channels. Even better, Cohley provides built-in usage rights that ensure every UGC created for your brand is 100% yours to use as you please after collection.
Book a consultation today to learn more about how Cohley can help you get the best user-generated content for supercharging your online visibility, reputation, and sales.
Written by Parker Dietz
Parker is a staple in our marketing team - Our Marketing Manager brings with him an intimate knowledge of the platform, and is our go-to on technical topics, and user behavior. 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.