Social Media Marketing

What Is User-Generated Content?

What Is User Generated Content

You know your brand inside out. You’re fully in touch with the benefits and advantages of your products. You have a target customer in mind, someone you know will fall in love with what your company has to offer once they discover it. But believe it or not, that target audience doesn’t want to hear it from you.

They want to hear it from your customers.

User-generated content has transformative results. In fact, 86 percent of businesses have integrated user-generated content into their marketing platforms. Why is user-generated content effective? What is user-generated content? Keep reading to learn more. 

Explore: User-Generated Content Definition

What is user-generated content? Essentially, user-generated content (UGC) is content that is produced by the consumer and describes their experience with a brand. This content could take the form of a Facebook post, a tweet, a picture, or a video.

The central reason why this type of marketing is so influential is due to the psychological response it invokes: social proof.

Social proof is a phenomenon that influences the consumer’s everyday decisions, whether conscious or not. It’s the assumption that the actions of others in a society reflect the appropriate behavior for any given situation. Humans, no matter how independent, are conditioned by those around them and rely on the opinions and feedback of other consumers before making decisions. UGC fulfills this need and sparks an interest in potential customers.

If you want to know more, just look at the statistics.

  • 70 percent of consumers trust personal reviews over traditional advertising messages.
  • Consumers spend 90 percent more time viewing user-generated content websites than the webpage of a company without.
  • Consumers are 97 percent more likely to buy from a retailer after they’ve interacted with user-generated content advertising.

If you’re serious about furthering your brand’s marketing objectives, you can’t afford to ignore your user-generated content.

What Led to the Rise of User Generated Content?

Why is this method of advertisement gaining such traction among brands? Three factors have led to the growth of consumer-generated content over the past few decades:
1. Technology

Simply put, more people use the Internet today than ever before. According to a 2015 Pew Research study, 84 percent of American adults use the Internet versus 14 percent in 1995. The widespread integration of technology into daily life has made it increasingly more likely that the average adult will have access to user-generated content.
2. Tools

Today, it’s easier than ever for consumers to share their brand experiences online due to the high-tech tools at their disposal. In spring of 2011, 35 percent of American adults owned a smartphone. 64 percent owned a smartphone in spring of 2015, nearly doubling smartphone ownership in the space of four years. Smartphone cameras continue to improve, making the media content captured higher quality with every year that passes.
3. Social Media

In 2005, 7 percent of American adults used social media. Over the course of 10 years, that percentage increased drastically. 65 percent of adults used social media in 2015. This has given consumers the platform needed to share their brand interactions.

Increased Internet access and usage, advanced tools and growing membership on media platforms – these three factors have influenced the growth of consumer generated content. But what kind of results does it produce?

UGC Expands Reach

User generated content advertising is so effective because it subtly generates leads. The average consumer spends 5.4 hours a day with this type of content and 50 percent find these messages more memorable than traditional advertising blurbs. Here’s the ultimate statistic: 48 percent of customers report that UGC is a great way to find out about new products. Consumers trust each other for tips, and that creates leads.

UGC Establishes Trust

Authenticity is one of the central characteristics that consumers look for in a brand, and one positive customer review will do more to establish consumer trust than anything you write in an ad or on a landing page. 51 percent of Americans trust UGC more than the words on a company’s website.

It doesn’t matter if the user posting the content is a stranger. 88 percent of consumers trust online recommendations as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. You can establish trust through the words and pictures of your customers – you don’t have to write one sentence. 

UGC Increases eCommerce Conversion

This type of advertising is especially vital to reaching the millennial generation. Not only do 87 percent of millennials report that UGC has an impact on their purchasing decisions, many won’t make a purchase without it. 44 percent of millennials won’t buy electronics, 40 percent won’t buy a car and 39 percent won’t book a hotel without learning about other consumers’ experiences. UGC does more than help increase conversion rates – it might be necessary.

What’s the Next Step?

Wondering how to get user generated content that’s on-brand and on-message? First, decide on the type of content you’re looking for – visuals work well for physical products while videos may work better to describe services you offer.

Next, determine which platform is ideal based on your target market. If you’re marketing to a younger audience, Instagram may be the right space. Older audiences may spend more time on Facebook.

You should always offer an incentive because providing benefit to the consumer will make your solicitation for consumer feedback that much more productive.

Once you’ve successfully planned and executed a campaign, make sure you take full advantage of the results by displaying your real customer photos and videos on your company’s web and social media pages. You’ll watch you brand engagement and sales skyrocket.

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