TikTok UGC: Everything You Need to Know

Ioana Cozma
May 21, 2024
February 1, 2024

Both TikTok and UGC are becoming increasingly prevalent in the world of social media marketing. We’ve written about it before. Our competitors have too.

So this time, we want to show you something different.

Our TikTok UGC agency wants to let you in on our home process for user-generated content creation.

We’ll take you through our usual frame, strategies, and opportunities.

Also, we’ll discuss insider secrets, our personal experiences, and the lessons we learned.

As always, you can find plenty of examples in this article, so keep reading below.

TL;DR

  • TikTok UGC is a valuable strategy targeting young audiences, with persuasive power for products/services.
  • Successful TikTok UGC campaigns adapt strategies, set measurable goals, and leverage influencers.
  • Key metrics include CPI, ad spend, CPM, and average watch time.
  • Effective content relies on engaging hooks and testing different approaches.
  • Influencers bring variety, resonating with broad audiences.
  • A/B and hook testing optimize content, leading to scaling in a three-month timeline.
  • Small businesses can start with authentic videos, while expert assistance and cross-channel promotion enhance results.

Why Use TikTok UGC?

TikTok UGC is a fruitful strategy for companies of all sizes. Research shows that:

  • 44.1% of TikTok users are 20 to 39 years old, and 37% of them are in the top third of spenders.
  • TikTok is replacing Google as a search engine, with 40% of young people turning to TikTok when they search for specific products or services
  • TikTok users are twice as likely to recommend products/services discovered on TikTok compared to other social channel users. They’re also 1.5x more likely to successfully persuade their friends to try that product/service.
  • UGC is more persuasive than branded content because 90% of people trust UGC, but only 4% trust branded messages.

Numerous companies are already on TikTok, creating successful campaigns. inBeat’s results with this channel have also been extraordinary.

1) We helped Hopper scale UGC ads on TikTok to avoid ad fatigue and drive down CPAs. Our results include ongoing genuine high-performing creatives:

Bumble in-feed ad

2) We also cut down CPAs by 75% and increased downloads to over 100, 000 per month for Unroll.me:

Bumble in-feed ad

And these are just two of the companies we’ve worked with. Annually, more and more companies set larger portions of their marketing budgets towards TikTok UGC.

That means they have also seen some good results on the platform, or at least convincing evidence that they could reach their goals.

Such advantages include:

  • Increased organic reach
  • Tighter engagement
  • More sales
  • Most chances to reach Gen Z
  • Cheaper ads compared to Meta

Get the most out of your TikTok campaigns with our full-service UGC agency!

TikTok UGC Plan

The TikTok train is on the move, so you can hop onboard or be left behind.

Here’s the problem:

TikTok is not like most channels, and its audience is not like most audiences:

  • TikTok users are extremely creative: Their videos follow a whole narrative arc from exposition to resolution.
  • TikTok users are part of a generation who isn’t afraid of being controlled by Internet algorithms: That’s because they’ve learned to manipulate those algorithms in their favor, to receive tailored content.
  • TikTok’s algorithm is very volatile: You cannot really bend it to your usual marketing weapons, like precise targeting. And very similar types of content can provide extremely different results.

Here’s the solution:

Learn to adapt your strategy to fit this channel and this audience. If you can produce high-quality content, TikTok users will help your brand gain more recognition and conversions than you’ve ever dreamed possible.

We’ll share our secrets below:

1. Initial Research

The first stage of any good campaign must be the research, and that’s what we’re doing too. We start by listening to the customer first, analyzing their current problems and the context.

That’s so we can move on to setting goals.

We focus on the company’s:

  • Audience: Who they are, what they need.
  • Competitors: Products, communication, customer support, top-performing ads.
  • Company: History, products and services, their top-performing content.

We then integrate this knowledge in a SWOT analysis focusing on the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Pro tip: Do an analysis for your agency too, not just the brand you’re working with.

In this first stage of our campaigns, we’re also looking at:

  • Past campaigns we did for the specific company
  • Our experience
  • Ways to measure everything

This last step is specifically important. For example, in the case of a mobile app like Hopper, we considered:

  • The MMP (mobile measurement partner): To ensure their third-party data provider could collect and organize all app-related data so we could have the whole picture
  • The tracking system: This is an important factor for tracking the cost per download, cost per activation, and so forth

2. Goals

Each TikTok UGC campaign will have a different goal. Some want to increase awareness, others focus on engagement, and others on sales.

Side note: TikTok has been traditionally used to bring more traffic to online stores. However, the platform has recently shown to be an excellent tool for getting more customers to offline stores.

So you can always set that goal too.

Insider story:

Some companies who come to inBeat aren’t able to create enough high-quality content that performs well. Most have been working with agencies or platforms that cannot provide enough relevant content regularly.

For example, we built a TikTok UGC campaign to drive installs for the Mogo.ca budgeting app. We chose TikTok for this purpose because research shows:

  • Finance-related TikTok video views grew 2.7 times.
  • 54% of people are more likely to turn to TikTok for finance-related content than other platforms.
  • 50% have bought a financial product they saw on TikTok.
Bumble in-feed ad

3. KPIs

inBeat chooses KPIs according to the client’s marketing goals. Possible KPIs for TikTok UGC include:

  • Cost per install (CPI): This is the main KPI for a mobile app in the context of a conversion-focus campaign. A paid user within the app counts as a conversion on the website. A successful campaign has a low cost per install.
  • Ad spend: A lower ad spend is technically better, but TikTok posts are more expensive than Instagram or Facebook posts. TikTok UGC can help you lower that ad spend, though.
  • Cost per mille (CPM): The average CPM for TikTok ads is $10/1000 views. However, your budget also depends on the type of ad you choose (e.g., in-feed ads, branded takeover, top-view ads). This could get you to $50, 000/day or more.
  • Average watch time: The longer people watch your ad, the more successful you are at keeping their attention.

4. Strategy

inBeat builds the strategy for each campaign based on personalized data. We don’t focus as much on instinct, trends, or opinions.

Instead, we measure everything as we explained in the above stages. After that, we choose the right tactic and instruments.

In this case, let’s say we have already decided the tactic is using TikTok UGC. Our go-to instrument here is creator UGC.

Side note: Organizing UGC campaigns using content from real customers is a lengthy process that can use up many resources.

You have to collect that content, pick the best pieces, edit those, and then repurpose them in other channels. We’re not saying it’s not doable – but it’s definitely not the smoothest road to take.

That’s where we have the advantage:

inBeat has a massive database of content creators, chosen from the top-performing 1% of influencers. We have worked with many of them, so we know what they can do in terms of content, deadlines, and team collaboration.

Just to get an idea, the average TikTok engagement rate is 6.72%, but our creators can reach 20% or more. That means they already have a captive audience that’s more likely to follow these influencers’ advice.

And remember that UGC is already a very persuasive type of content.

Our influencers can produce TikTok UGC like unboxing, tutorials, and more. Then, inBeat curates the content and produces UGC ads.

Pro tip: If you want seamless UGC, our Creator Studio can help you get high-quality content from the best creators too.

5. Content

After selecting the tactic and instruments, we decide on the content. You can use different types of TikTok UGC ads depending on your goals:

  • In-feed ads: Cheapest and easiest to adapt to demographic factors
  • Brand takeover ads: The most actionable; best for landing pages
  • Challenge ads: Best for organic traffic
  • Shoppable ads: Best for increased conversions

Insider tip: The biggest challenge of creating effective content is to truly understand your audience. What works can vary widely depending on the type of person you’re trying to address.

  • Sometimes we do very raw and native-looking UGC: In this case, the objective is for the content to resemble a regular TikTok clip, not an ad. These videos are best for the middle and bottom of the funnel, where we need to drive more conversions without being too pushy.
  • Other times we create professional-looking UGC: These TikTok ads mimic the YouTube style more. Although the homemade feeling is still there, these creators have proper lighting and do highly edited videos. These clips are best for creating awareness and explaining more advanced features, so we typically use them for the top of the funnel.

Pro tip: Regardless of the type of content you choose, focus on the hook. Hooks are so important that they deserve their own section:

Hooks

When we run UGC, we do multiple hooks per video.

The first hook is the most important, and we’ll place that during the first five seconds of the video. Those seconds are decisive for keeping your audience interested.

Remember: Attention spans are very low, and TikTok users can scroll away after just one second.

If people lose interest and don’t watch your TikTok, they won’t click the link we usually embed. Therefore, they won’t purchase or download the app we’re promoting.

Pro tip:

We found that the percentage of people who watch the entire hook is closely related to other metrics, such as cost per sale (or cost per install in an app install campaign).

Here’s an excellent example of a hook one of our influencers created for Hopper. The 3-second liner is:

“Here’s a secret travel hack that I use to book cheaper flights every single time.”

And here’s how we see their files:

Bumble in-feed ad

6. Influencers

At inBeat, we start with the strategy first and then discover influencers that can match it. Of course, the brands we’re working for can approve or decline the content creators we suggest. Side note: You, too, can access our influencer database for free. It’s right here. Alternatively, read more about how to pick the right content creators in this article. After our clients have given us their go-ahead:
  • We share the creative brief with our content creators.
  • We meet with them to ensure we’re on the same page. We want to clarify the campaign goal, underline KPIs, and explain our expectations in terms of content.
Insider tip: TikTok UGC works like a charm for wide-appeal brands. That means your creators must have different personalities and message styles. Let’s explain: TikTok’s targeting algorithm lacks the options marketers are used to from other platforms, like Meta. But when you target broad, without restrictions for your audience, the TikTok ads algorithm is pretty good at finding who resonates best with a particular ad. Storytime: We experienced this first-hand with one of our clients – Unroll.me. This inbox-decluttering app has a broad audience. Almost everyone can relate to having an inbox swamped with subscriptions and newsletters. Our top-performing creators had very different messages, although they are in the same age group and would otherwise have overlapping audiences. TikTok’s algorithm decided who to target for each ad:
  • The slower-paced ads: TikTok automatically targeted them for the 55+ age group. Remember, we didn’t zero in on an audience when we started this campaign.
Bumble in-feed ad
  • The faster-paced ads: TikTok targeted them for the 18-24 age group. The ads were filmed with a high-quality camera, featured fast-paced animated text instead of captions, and had grade-A lighting.
The faster-paced ads

Lesson learned: There are fewer TikTok users in the 55+ age group compared to the younger generations. Besides, influencers have less sway in this segment.

That’s why most companies choose not to follow this segment at all on TikTok. Honestly, we didn’t focus on 55+ people, either.

But TikTok’s algorithm showed us that some ads can genuinely become top-performing in this segment. You just have to create the right content for this audience using the right influencers.

7. Running the Ads and A/B Testing

After creating this content, we build a content library for our clients. Afterward, we run the paid ads.

Like we said before, inBeat relies more on hard cold data than instinct. That’s why we test every post or ad we create.

Insider tip: Something that we’re doing at inBeat – and not most other companies do – is hook testing. Here’s how that works:

We typically ask creators to provide one video UGC ad each, but with three different hooks. That means we have three different options for the first few seconds.

We’re testing all three versions in our campaigns because one usually performs much better than the others. That’s the winner hook we’ll use in the future.

Why?

TikTok is a very unpredictable channel. Even if the ads or posts are very similar, it’s hard to say which will do better.

Remember: TikTok is a volatile channel that makes it hard to predict what style of UGC is best for a certain campaign. So, don’t be disappointed when you (inevitably) make mistakes.

Instead, learn from them. Test different approaches and see what works. You will eventually gain enough experience and start seeing patterns.

Pro tip: You can also use our TikTok mockup ad generators to test different versions of your ads for free.

8. Scaling Your Campaign

The typical timeline for our campaigns is three months. The first month is about finding the winning strategy and devising the best content. We run the paid ads during the second month and see what works.

Month three is focused on massive scaling.

After testing different hooks and ads, we can confidently use what’s been proven to work. So, we rev our engines and push ahead with the most effective content to drive increased results.

Pro tip: During this stage of your campaign, you can also focus on leveraging other channels. Post the winning TikTok UGC in marketing e-mails, on your website, or on other social platforms.

This tactic will increase your brand visibility and drive more conversions.

Best Advice for Companies Looking into TikTok UGC

If you want to create a TikTok UGC campaign yourself, the best advice is to start doing it. Don’t overthink it.

Start with a simple, native video that looks authentic. Filming with your smartphone is better than filming with a proper camera because that’s what TikTok users are filming with too.

That could get you great results.

We’ve seen many small companies whose owners do effective UGC themselves. The reason is that this type of content is very human and relatable. People can listen to the company’s owner directly, and that creates a strong bond.

After the first few videos, you can measure your results and see what’s working for you.

Alternatively, you can schedule a FREE strategy meeting with us. We’ll discuss your goals and see what tactics would suit you best.

Want more examples of successful influencer campaigns? Check out case studies of our influencer agency in France!

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