User-Generated Content: What is it and how to utilise it as a brand?

User-Generated Content: What is it and how to utilise it as a brand?

In today's digital age, consumers are more aware than they have ever been before. With just a few clicks, they can research products, compare prices, and read reviews from other customers. We have seen a rise of user-generated content across social media platforms in the past years, with brands understanding the power of trust-building with genuine content and have found ways to leverage it in their marketing efforts to increase engagement. 

According to a study by Stackla, 72% of people say that seeing photos and videos of real customers impacts their purchasing decisions. In fact, they find it is  8.7x more impactful than regular influencer content.

Consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding which brands to support and user-generated content is found to be more memorable than other types of media. With these statistics in mind, all brands should explore the opportunity that UGC can offer. 

What is user-generated (UGC) content? 

UGC refers to any content that is created and shared by users, rather than by a brand or company. This can include social media posts, photos, videos and reviews. 

UGC creators can be brand loyalists or customers who share content organically. Brands can also pay UGC creators to create content that mimics the style of user-generated content. 

Types of User-Generated Content

  • Social media posts: Customers can share photos of the products and their thoughts on different social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. 
  • Reviews and testimonials: Real customers can do reviews of the products on blogs in written format or videos on platforms like Youtube, TikTok or Instagram.  
  • Video content: Creators can create unboxing videos or how-to tutorials on products from brands. 

Why is it UGC important for a brand?

The rise of UGC content and its popularity can be explained by people’s need for relatable and authentic creators that consumers can trust. Peoples trust in brands and celebrities have diminished significantly from the past. This is why we have seen in recent years the rise of  micro influencers - people with a much smaller social media following than typical influencers. Brands are happy to work with these type of influencers, as they tend to have a very loyal fanbase.

Regular and everyday relatable people is the new hype now. That is why we see the more effortless type of videos trending on platforms like TikTok. By leveraging UGC, brands can showcase the real experiences and opinions of their customer and this organic way of marketing can help to build a trusted community. 

Let’s explore the benefits of UGC in more detail.

The Benefits of User-Generated Content

1. It increases engagement (and conversions!) 

One of the main benefits of user-generated content (UGC) is that it helps to increase engagement with customers. By leveraging UGC, brands can showcase the real experiences and opinions of their customers, which can help to build trust and authenticity. This is particularly important in today's digital age, where customers are becoming increasingly skeptical of traditional marketing tactics.

When customers see UGC from other customers, it helps to validate the brand and its products or services. According to Yotpo, across all industries the people who are viewing UGC on websites convert 161% more than those who do not. This is because customers are more likely to trust the opinions of their peers than they are to trust traditional advertising.

Moreover, UGC can encourage customers to interact with a brand. When customers see their own UGC featured on a brand's social media page or website, it can make them feel valued and appreciated. This, in turn, can lead to increased brand loyalty and repeat business.


2. Its Cost-Effective

Another key benefit of UGC is that it is cost-effective. Unlike traditional advertising, which can be expensive to produce and distribute, UGC is created and shared by customers for free. This can help brands to save money on content creation while still producing engaging and authentic content.

As we have established that having UGC is more likely to drive a purchase than other types of media. This means that brands are spending less money on content creation and distribution with better results.


3. Helps to expand reach

UGC can help a brand to expand its reach and connect with new customers. When customers create and share UGC, they are essentially acting as brand ambassadors. They are sharing their experiences with their own network of friends and followers, which can help to introduce the brand to new audiences.

UGC can help to create a sense of community around a brand. When customers see other people sharing UGC, it can make them feel like they are part of something larger. 

How to use UGC in your marketing strategy

1. Social Media Contests and Campaigns 

Encourage your audience to create and share content related to your products or services through social media contests or campaigns. For example, asking users to share photos or videos using a specific hashtag or participate in a challenge.  These can be featured on your social media channels, website or ad campaigns. 

The White Cup Contest by Starbucks is a great example of this. Already back on 2014, Starbucks asked all their beloved coffee lovers to decorate their white reusable cups and share on social media. The winner getting a cash prize. 

white cup contest by starbucks UGC


2. Displaying customer testimonials and reviews

Showcase customer testimonials and reviews on your website, product pages, or social media platforms. For example, as a customer is browsing through products on your website, they can see the reviews that customers have left or pictures they have taken with the product. 


Fabletics user-generated content on websiteExample from


3. Crowdsourcing Ideas and Innovation

Brands can tap into the creativity of their audience by seeking input and ideas for new products, services, or marketing campaigns. This approach not only engages customers but also allows them to feel involved and valued. Crowdsourcing can be done through social media polls, surveys, or dedicated platforms for idea generation.

4. Encourage customers to create and share videos related to your brand.

This could include unboxing videos, tutorials, or user experiences. User-generated videos can be leveraged on social media platforms, websites, or even in ads to showcase authentic and relatable content.

Remember, when using user-generated content, it's crucial to respect copyright laws and always obtain proper permissions from users before featuring their content. Additionally, brands should actively engage with their audience, acknowledge their contributions, and create a positive community around UGC.

Start using UGC now

It's evidently clear how effective user-generated content is for the modern brands looking to win trust among consumers. By leveraging UGC, brands can increase engagement, save money on content creation, and expand their reach to new audiences. It is a low-hanging fruit to start using it in your marketing efforts and as a huge bonus, it helps to bring you closer to your customers and loyal fans. 

There are many tools out there on Shopify such as Yotpo, that can help you showcase UGC on your website extremely effectively. 

Want to learn more? Contact us for a free consultation.