43 UGC Statistics + Strategic Implications for Your Brand

Ioana Cozma
May 21, 2024
February 2, 2024

User-generated content, defined as any form of content created by users, has been understood as a solid promotion weapon for brand awareness and engagement in recent years.

However, the current user-generated content statistics paint a different picture.

Content generated by users has a high impact on conversion rates, too, not just engagement. However, people can sniff out when UGC looks salesy.

It’s all about harnessing UGC based on customer experiences according to your marketing goals.

This article will help you get started with 43 recent UGC statistics, analyzing how to leverage them strategically.

We’ll share plenty of insider tips and case studies from our clients’ UGC campaigns, so read along!

TL;DR:

  • User-Generated Content Impact: UGC significantly influences brand awareness, engagement, and conversion rates, but its effectiveness can diminish if perceived as inauthentic.
  • Purchase Decisions: UGC, especially from peers, greatly sways purchasing decisions, with a notable preference for authenticity over influencer content.
  • Brand Trust: Incorporating real customer experiences in ads boosts brand trust, with a majority of consumers valuing authenticity and trustworthiness in brand content.
  • Marketing Strategy: Despite its effectiveness, a small percentage of brands have a dedicated UGC strategy, even though it’s crucial for humanizing marketing and enhancing content engagement.
  • Engagement: UGC outperforms brand-generated content in engagement, with content from employees and customers receiving significantly more interactions.
  • Social Media: Authentic UGC resonates more on social platforms, with consumers disfavoring overt self-promotion and preferring genuine brand interactions.
  • Millennials and Gen Z: These demographics highly value UGC, finding it more memorable and trustworthy, and are active in content creation.
  • Advertising: UGC-based ads are more effective, yielding higher click-through rates and lower costs, with a push for authenticity in ad content.
  • Online Presence and Reviews: UGC enhances SEO and online visibility, with customer reviews playing a critical role in purchase decisions and brand perception.
  • UGC Campaign Tips: The article concludes with strategic advice for launching a successful UGC campaign, emphasizing clear goals, audience understanding, compelling CTAs, influencer collaboration, and cross-platform promotion.

1. UGC Influence on Purchase Decisions

The biggest brands now heavily incorporate user-generated product videos and images alongside traditional promotional videos in their marketing mix, shifting from traditional advertising to more customer-generated content. Successful content is understood as authentic marketing content, positioning these brands as leaders in their respective industries.

That’s because user-generated content can influence people’s purchase decisions, though that ability is starting to wane.

The first two statistics here are the most telling:

  1. A 2012 Nielsen study showed that 2 out of 10 consumers (92%) prioritize recommendations from people they know over other forms of advertising. However, word-of-mouth marketing seems to be losing ground during the last decade in front of brand-created content; the latest Nielsen statistic is that 88% of people trust peer recommendations.
  2. UGC is seen as 8 times more effective than influencer content in decision-making.
  3. UGC plays a significant role in their buying choices for Gen Z and millennials, with 70% of Gen Z and 78% of millennials claiming it plays an important part.
  4. Content created by real people greatly sways purchasing choices across age groups, with 79% of individuals influenced by it and 93% finding it extremely helpful.
  5. Notably, 82% of individuals have bought or contemplated buying something after seeing it posted by their connections.
  6. A substantial 70% of consumers consider UGC reviews or ratings before buying, with many reading 4-7 reviews.

Insider Tip: People are starting to lose trust in UGC when it looks spammy or salesy.

Getting personal recommendations for products from friends or family is still an important purchase factor.

However, phony-looking influencer marketing is perceived as less trustworthy than UGC. So, here’s our insider advice to solve that issue:

  • Develop a robust UGC curation strategy to feature on your digital platforms, especially for Gen Z and millennial audiences. Consider a broader range of content, from blog posts to user-generated videos or product photos.
  • Leverage AI-based tools to identify and integrate the most persuasive UGC in real time, ensuring the content aligns with current consumer sentiments and trends.
  • Create segmented UGC campaigns on critical channels to target specific demographics based on their unique purchasing patterns.

The content creators we partner with at inBeat know how to create solid UGC ads to influence purchase decisions. Here’s one example:

This type of video content helped the Greenpark app scale its budget to 3X while maintaining the target CPI within just 3 weeks.

2. UGC and Brand Trust

UGC is not just some esoteric happenstance. You can actually promote and leverage user-generated content, integrating and repurposing it in your professional marketing content strategy.

Here’s why:

  1. A significant 84% of Gen Z trust brands more when they see actual customers in ads.
  2. 90% of customers emphasize the importance of authenticity in choosing brands.
  3. Consumers consider UGC 50% more trustworthy and 20% more influential than other media types.
  4. 84% of people trust brands more when they incorporate content from real customers in their digital marketing campaigns.

Insider Tip: Initiate UGC campaigns that inspire customers to share their authentic experiences. Here’s how:

  • Develop a UGC toolkit, including guidelines and incentives for customers to create content that feels genuine and unscripted.
  • Use sentiment analysis to gauge the trust factor of UGC and fine-tune the brand’s message to resonate with a sincerity-first approach.
  • Repurpose your content assets across all marketing channels, from social media platforms to your company’s website. This omnichannel approach will help you retarget potential customers with persuasive messages, staying on top of their minds.

Remember: The emphasis is on content personalization and maintaining content quality. This often requires a dedicated content producer to ensure you get helpful and high-quality content.

3. UGC and Marketing Professionals’ Strategy

But even if user-generated content is such an important tactic, few marketing professionals use it. And even fewer have specific guidelines for their UGC campaigns even though their target audience wants those guidelines.

Another problem is that, although UGC can specifically influence purchase decisions, brands mostly leverage UGC for engagement instead of a conversion rate increase.

Here’s what the numbers say:

  1. About half (48%) of experienced marketers believe UGC humanizes their marketing.
  2. 42% of marketing professionals view UGC as essential to their content marketing strategy.
  3. Half of the modern marketers have utilized UGC in email campaigns.
  4. Content engagement is the leading KPI for UGC, according to 41% of marketers.
  5. 75% of professional marketers find UGC a more authentic content type.
  6. Only 16% of brands have a dedicated UGC strategy.
  7. 50% of people want guidelines for UGC content creation.

Insider Tip: Develop a solid UGC strategy to win consumer trust and sway buying decisions. Integrating UGC into your marketing efforts will help you stand apart from the competition, seeing as few companies leverage this tactic.

Social media users value authentic experiences over professional content. By sharing customer photos in your social media posts or promotional email content, you can leverage social proof to boost advertising engagement and customer trust.

Besides, sharing advice from industry experts brings you enormous benefits in terms of credibility.

Using our agency’s experience, we propose you try a UGC incubator program.

This program should focus on training internal teams to identify, encourage, and leverage UGC effectively. Incorporate advanced analytics to track the UGC’s performance and continuously optimize the strategy based on engagement metrics and customer feedback.

That’s what our content creators are doing for haircare brand Prose, generating 50 unique content assets each month:

Source

4. UGC and Engagement

UGC is more engaging than brand-generated content, but you must adopt the right strategy. When people post effective content about their favorite brands on their social media channels, these social posts’ engagement increases. This engagement rate gets 8 times bigger when your employees post this content than regular users.

Look at the numbers:

  1. Content on brands from real people on social networks engages 28% more than branded content.
  2. UGC featuring brands can drive engagement 9 times higher than brand-made content.
  3. Actual content from employees has twice the engagement of branded messages.
  4. When these employees share that UGC themselves, the messages receive 8 times more engagement than when using brand channels.
  5. Brand messages from employees are re-shared up to 24 times more frequently.
  6. Social campaigns with UGC witness a 50% increase in engagement.
  7. Engagement improves by 28% when customers see both UGC and official brand content.

Insider Tip: Implement a cross-channel user-generated content marketing strategy. Here’s a page out of our agency’s playbook:

  • First, encourage your loyal customers and employees to post helpful content about your brand on their social channels. Remember, this is about building trust, so don’t encourage fake reviews.
  • Ask permission to reuse this content in email marketing, your website, or other channels.
  • Use advanced analytics to determine which platforms yield the highest engagement for UGC and tailor content accordingly.
  • Integrate interactive UGC, like polls or quizzes, especially in stories on social platforms, to boost real-time engagement.
  • Consider an employee advocacy program to amplify reach and authenticity.

Get the most out of your paid media with inBeat TikTok Ads Agency

5. UGC and Social Media

People despise salesy, self-promotional content. However, UGC can perform well on social media. And it’s not just user-generated content – most potential clients embrace authentic brand content.

One of our clients, Linktree, is leveraging this precise strategy while capitalizing on important social media trends. This type of UGC allows it to keep its brand top-of-mind without spammy-looking self-promoting tactics.

That said, these are the numbers.

  1. 45% of users would unfollow a brand for excessive self-promotion on social media.
  2. 90% of millennials claim authenticity is an important purchase factor; that’s why 30% of millennials have unfollowed a brand due to inauthentic content.
  3. About 58% of consumers notice more sponsored content from creators.
  4. 35% of users reshare other internet users’ posts on social platforms.
  5. 56% expect more UGC from brands.
  6. UGC ads on social media attract 73% more positive comments.

Insider Tip: Remember that your brand is just another user on social media. Your social media content and interactions should feel natural.

We advise our clients to establish a UGC-centric social media campaign to solve this issue.

This plan includes regular UGC features, resharing consumer content, and creating UGC-driven campaigns. Remember to use social listening tools to monitor and engage with user-generated discussions around the brand, turning passive viewers into active brand advocates.

6. UGC, Millennials, and Gen Z

The young generation is particularly head-over-heels with user-generated content. They appreciate this type of content when they see it from brands, claiming it’s memorable. And they’re actively participating in its creation.

Look at the stats:

  1. Millennials find UGC 35% more memorable than other media and trust it 50% more.
  2. People over 25 create over 70% of all UGC.
  3. 35% of Gen Z believes UGC will be more credible in the next 3-5 years.

Insider Tip: Understanding the type of content your audiences love offers a massive opportunity. Here’s how to leverage it:

  • You can create exclusive communities or platforms where millennials and Gen Z can share their content.
  • Facilitate and highlight user-generated challenges, competitions, or collaborations on platforms like TikTok or Instagram to tap into the creative energy of these demographics.
  • Use demographic-specific data analytics to understand the nuances in content preferences between Gen Z and millennials. This will help you create even more targeted content.

7. UGC in Advertising

A solid UGC strategy includes powering your ads with user-generated content assets. Our own agency’s UGC ads have decreased CPAs by 75% for clients like NielsenIQ.

We’ve constantly noticed that organic users more easily pick up UGC ads. These ad creatives have lower ad fatigue, generate more buzz, and increase conversion rates while keeping CPAs low.

Here are the numbers:

  1. UGC-based ads achieve 4 times higher click-through rates and a 50% reduction in cost-per-click.
  2. Ads with UGC are considered 31% more memorable.
  3. 28% of customers find UGC ads more unique.

Insider Tip: Develop a hybrid advertising model that integrates UGC with traditional ad elements for a more authentic appeal.

Here’s what we advise our clients:

  • Employ A/B testing extensively to find the optimal blend of UGC and professional content that maximizes click-through and engagement rates.
  • Explore dynamic UGC ads that can adapt in real time based on user interaction and feedback.

Beauty brand Native is a neat example here, powering its social media calendar with stylish UGC ads to create desire before new product releases:

Source

8. UGC, Reviews, and Online Presence

Customer content is not just a good tactic in your social media marketing plan. One of the more neglected benefits of user-generated content is that it can help you achieve your search engine optimization goals, making your website more visible on search engines.

That’s the power of user reviews on search results:

  1. A massive 98% read online reviews for local businesses.
  2. 25% of organic search results for major brands come from UGC.
  3. Consumers spend an average of 5.4 hours daily with online content, specifically UGC.
  4. UGC results in 29% higher web conversions.
  5. Nearly 90% of consumers have shared a brand or product experience on social media.
  6. 86% of people consider customer reviews crucial for making purchase decisions.
  7. 98% of employees use social media, with 50% already posting about their company.

Insider Tip: Integrate UGC reviews and testimonials into your online retail spaces and Google My Business listings, leading customers on an online purchase path. Visual reviews may work best because your customers understand how to use your products. 

Besides, UGC reviews on product pages look like personalized recommendations, streamlining your website visitors’ online experiences with your brand.

Here’s what our agency advises clients who want to take this step:

  • Develop a system to incentivize and streamline the process for customers to leave reviews and ratings.
  • Leverage UGC analytics to identify key insights from user reviews.
  • Align your marketing strategies with customer preferences and feedback.

Our Agency’s Tips to Kickstart Your UGC Campaign

If you see the value in UGC, here’s a plan to streamline your first UGC campaign:

  • Define Clear Goals and Metrics: Set specific objectives for your UGC campaign. Are you aiming to increase brand awareness, boost engagement, or drive sales? Establish measurable KPIs like engagement rate, conversion rate, or the number of UGC submissions.
  • Understand Your Audience: Analyze your target demographic. What motivates them? Which platforms do they frequent? Tailor your campaign to resonate with their interests, habits, and online behaviors.
  • Create a Compelling Call-to-Action: Develop a clear and enticing CTA. Whether it’s a contest, a hashtag challenge, or a request for testimonials, your CTA should inspire action and be easy to participate in.
  • Leverage Influencers Strategically: Collaborate with influencers who align with your brand values. They can act as catalysts for your UGC campaign, encouraging their followers to create and share content.
  • Offer Incentives: Motivate your audience with rewards. This could be contests with prizes, features on your brand’s channels, or exclusive participant discounts.
  • Provide Clear Guidelines: To ensure quality and brand alignment, provide participants with clear guidelines on the type of content you are looking for, including any technical specifications or thematic requirements.
  • Utilize Cross-Platform Promotion: Promote your UGC campaign across multiple channels. This includes social media, promotional email newsletters, your website, and even offline platforms.
  • Engage with Participants: Actively engage with users who submit content. Like, comment, and share their submissions to show appreciation and encourage further participation.
  • Monitor and Moderate: Monitor submissions to ensure they align with your brand and campaign guidelines. Be prepared to moderate content to maintain quality and relevance.
  • Analyze and Optimize: Regularly analyze the performance of your campaign. Use insights to make real-time adjustments and optimize for better engagement and results.
  • Celebrate and Showcase Successes: Highlight the best UGC and share your campaign’s successes internally and with your audience. This not only celebrates participant contributions but also showcases the impact of your campaign.
  • Learn and Iterate: Post-campaign, conduct a thorough analysis to understand what worked and what didn’t. Use these learnings to refine future UGC campaigns.

Each tip is designed to ensure a successful launch and execution of a UGC campaign, driving engagement and fostering a deeper connection between your brand and its audience.

But if you need more help kickstarting this campaign, let’s set up a free strategy call.

We’ll show you our case studies and find the best UGC solutions for your company.

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