User-Generated Content: Your Ultimate Guide

Picture this: an ever-expanding army of passionate brand advocates, armed with their creativity and unwavering loyalty, producing content that spreads like wildfire.

May 29, 2023

UGC is the digital manifestation of word-of-mouth marketing, where your customers become the driving force behind your brand's visibility.

It's a world where authenticity reigns supreme, and peer recommendations hold more weight than any clever ad campaign.

In this article, we'll delve into the captivating realm of UGC, exploring its definition, unraveling its myriad benefits, and revealing the secrets to encouraging its creation. We'll also uncover how to seamlessly integrate UGC into your marketing strategy, drawing inspiration from real-life success stories along the way.

So, get ready to harness the unstoppable force of UGC and unlock the true potential of your marketing endeavors. 

What is User-Generated Content ?

User-generated content refers to any form of content created and shared by consumers, rather than the brand itself. 

It's like the rebellious rebel of the marketing world, breaking free from the shackles of traditional advertising and demanding to be heard. 

In a world where trust in traditional advertising is dwindling faster than the battery life of a smartphone, UGC emerges as the beacon of authenticity, guiding lost souls in the vast sea of consumer choices. 

It's the voice of the people, by the people, and for the people. 

It's a refreshing breath of air in a crowded room filled with polished marketing campaigns. 

It's the genuine, unfiltered, and often unpredictable expression of your customers' love for your brand.

Example of an user-generated content

What are different formats of User Generated Content?

Now that we have our definition firmly established, let's explore the diverse forms user-generated content can take. 

Glowing Testimonials and reviews

Imagine scrolling through a Google search for the best local coffee shops and stumbling upon a glowing review that reads, "The cozy ambiance and rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee made my mornings at XYZ Café truly delightful!

Such testimonials provide a glimpse into the customer experience, helping others make informed decisions and fueling their curiosity about your brand.

Customer reviews shine like beacons of authenticity. 

Whether on Google, Facebook, or other specialized platforms, reviews are like precious jewels, providing invaluable social proof, guiding potential customers on their path to informed decision-making.

example of a 5 stars review

Captivating photos

Visualize a mesmerizing Instagram feed, where users proudly share their adventures with your brand. A snapshot of a serene beach vacation, tagged with #WanderWithBrandX, instantly transports viewers to a world of tranquility and wanderlust.

Across social media platforms, customers showcase their experiences through captivating photographs. 

These user-captured photos not only showcase the beauty of your products or services but also inspire others to embark on their own remarkable journeys.

Example of user generated photo

Dynamic videos

Imagine stumbling upon a captivating YouTube video review titled "Unboxing the Magical Gizmo: My First Impressions!"

As the video unfolds, the user showcases their excitement while unveiling your latest gadget, narrating their experience, and providing valuable insights. 

These user-created videos not only serve as genuine testimonials but also ignite the curiosity of potential customers, who eagerly seek authentic voices before making purchasing decisions.

From unboxing videos to tutorials and brand testimonials, these audiovisual masterpieces ignite the imagination and engage viewers on a deeper level.

Speaking of videos, check out these 10 examples of inspiring UGC videos.

Spirited interactions

Picture a lively Instagram post announcing a new product launch, accompanied by a flood of comments from enthusiastic customers expressing their anticipation. 

Users tag their friends, share their excitement, and engage in conversations about your brand's offerings. 

Customers express their thoughts, opinions, and emotions through comments, likes, shares, and reactions. 

This lively interaction fosters a sense of community, as customers become brand advocates and effortlessly spread the word to their networks.

These lively exchanges and interactions can take place on social media posts, but also on YouTube videos, blog articles, and beyond. 

Lots of comments and engagements on GoPro's user-generated content

But why should you care about UGC, you ask? 

Ah, my friend, that's what we'll explore next. 

Unlocking the benefits of User-Generated Content:

Here are the six benefits of using UGC for your brand : 

  • Build authenticity and trust
  • Amplify reach,
  • Empower the community
  • Reduce content creation costs
  • Catapult conversion rates

Build authenticity and trust

In a world bombarded by polished advertisements and branded messages, authenticity stands tall as a beacon of trust. 

A study tells us that 80% of consumers prefer seeing photos of real customers over stock photos (The State of Social & User-Generated Content 2023, TINT).

UGC offers brands an opportunity to showcase genuine voices and real experiences. When potential customers witness fellow consumers sharing their authentic stories and recommendations, a sense of trust blossoms. 

The unfiltered nature of UGC cultivates a genuine connection, forging a path towards long-lasting customer relationships.

Amplify reach

When customers become active participants in creating and sharing UGC, they unknowingly become brand ambassadors. 

Their enthusiasm ripples across social media platforms, extending the reach of your brand organically. 

Picture a captivating user-generated photo shared on Instagram, accompanied by a branded hashtag.

As it spreads like wildfire, it not only reaches the original poster's followers but also attracts the attention of their extended networks, exponentially amplifying brand awareness.

And being present on the networks is becoming more and more important, as the TINT study proves.

More than 3/4 of the respondents agree that they have used social media to search or find out about brands or products.

Graph illustrating the proportion of Internet users who have already searched for a brand or product on social networks

Empower the community

UGC serves as a conduit for community building, uniting customers in a shared experience. 

By actively encouraging and showcasing UGC, brands empower their customers, making them feel valued and heard. 

Engagement flourishes as users eagerly contribute their stories, visuals, and opinions, fostering a sense of belonging and co-creation. 

Through UGC, brands can nurture a loyal community that becomes an integral part of the brand's narrative.

Check this article to know how the 9 steps to build a strong brand community.

Reduce content creation costs

Creating captivating content can be both time-consuming and expensive. However, UGC alleviates these challenges by tapping into the innate creativity of customers. 

Instead of solely relying on in-house content creation, brands can leverage the UGC pool to source a wealth of authentic, engaging, and diverse content. 

This not only reduces costs but also infuses marketing campaigns with fresh perspectives and a vibrant tapestry of customer experiences.

Catapult conversion rates

Imagine a customer scrolling through an online store, contemplating a purchase. 

Suddenly, they stumble upon a UGC-rich product page, adorned with positive reviews, customer photos, and videos showcasing real people enjoying the product. 

This social proof acts as a powerful influencer, assuaging doubts and validating their decision. 

UGC emerges as a secret weapon, capable of skyrocketing conversion rates.

When prospective buyers encounter authentic UGC on your website, such as positive reviews, captivating visuals, and compelling user-generated videos, they are more likely to be swayed towards making a purchase. 

A study tells us that 79% of Internet users agree that they look at rating and reviews before making an online purchase (The State of Social & User-Generated Content 2023, TINT)

Graph illustrating the proportion of Internet users who check reviews and testimonials before making a purchase

UGC serves as a powerful persuasion tool, instilling confidence, addressing doubts, and inspiring action. 

By incorporating UGC strategically throughout the customer journey, brands can witness a significant uplift in conversion rates, transforming curious onlookers into satisfied customers.

By embracing the benefits of UGC—authenticity, social proof, expanded reach, community engagement, cost-effective content creation, and increase conversion rates—brands can forge stronger connections, foster trust, and propel their marketing strategy to new heights.

Tips to encourage User-Generated Content creation

Now that we understand the immense value of user-generated content, let's explore effective strategies for inspiring your customers to become active creators. 

By employing these tried-and-true techniques, you can unleash a wave of UGC that will breathe life into your brand and foster meaningful engagement.

Here are 5 tips to get your customers to create UGC : 

  • Create Brand Experience Worth Sharing
  • Reward UGC Champions
  • Spark Conversations and Contests
  • Seamless Sharing and Branded Hashtags
  • Show love by showcasing UGC

Create Brand Experience Worth Sharing

The first step in eliciting UGC from your customers is to craft a brand experience that leaves an indelible impression. 

Infuse every touchpoint, from interactions in-store or online to post-purchase follow-ups, with a sense of enchantment and delight. 

By going above and beyond, you'll inspire customers to share their extraordinary experiences with your brand, transforming them into natural ambassadors who eagerly contribute to UGC.

Reward UGC Champions

To ignite the flames of UGC creation, consider incentivizing your customers' efforts. 

Offer rewards, exclusive discounts, or even recognition to those who share their experiences through UGC. 

By acknowledging and rewarding their contributions, you foster a sense of appreciation, motivating others to follow suit. 

This approach not only encourages UGC creation but also strengthens customer loyalty, creating a win-win scenario for both your brand and your UGC champions.

Spark Conversations and Contests

Stimulate user participation by initiating conversations and hosting UGC contests. 

Pose thought-provoking questions, launch engaging social media campaigns, or challenge customers to showcase their creativity through UGC. 

By providing a platform for customers to actively engage and express themselves, you create a sense of belonging and foster a community centered around your brand. 

This interactive approach encourages customers to share their experiences and perspectives, fueling a steady flow of UGC.

Example of Uber sparking conversation on Twitter

Seamless Sharing and Branded Hashtags

Make it effortless for customers to share their UGC by implementing user-friendly sharing mechanisms.

 Incorporate social sharing buttons, encourage the use of branded hashtags, and provide clear instructions on how to submit UGC. 

By removing barriers and simplifying the process, you empower customers to effortlessly contribute their content. 

This frictionless experience ensures a steady stream of UGC, as customers readily share their moments with your brand.

Show love by showcasing UGC

Demonstrate your appreciation for UGC by actively showcasing it across your marketing channels. 

Feature customer reviews, highlight user-generated photos and videos, and share UGC on your website, social media platforms, and email newsletters. 

By giving customers a spotlight, you not only reinforce their connection to your brand but also inspire others to contribute their own UGC. 

This amplification of customer voices creates a virtuous cycle, nurturing a UGC-rich environment.

A jewelry brand showcasing ugc creators in their Instagram story

From crafting irresistible brand experiences to leveraging incentives, sparking conversations, simplifying sharing, and amplifying customer voices, these strategies will ignite the flames of UGC creation and breathe life into your marketing efforts. 

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Tips for Leveraging UGC in the Right Places

To maximize the impact of user-generated content and harness its potential, it is crucial for brands to strategically place and leverage UGC across various channels. 

Showcase UGC on on Social Media

Social media platforms are the breeding grounds for UGC, making them the perfect stage to showcase and amplify customer-generated content. 

Identify the platforms where your target audience is most active and engage with them. 

Feature UGC prominently on your brand's social media profiles, leveraging hashtags, mentions, and sharing features to spread the reach of UGC organically. 

By harnessing the power of social media, you can exponentially amplify the impact of UGC and foster a sense of community around your brand.

Integrate on Websites and Landing Pages

Integrate UGC seamlessly into your brand's website and landing pages to enhance trust, captivate visitors, and more. 

A study teach us that customer photos on product pages increase conversions by 24% (according to Shopify).

So create dedicated sections or widgets to display customer reviews, testimonials, and user-generated visuals. 

Embed user-generated videos or showcase compelling UGC within product pages to provide a multi-dimensional view of your offerings. 

By leveraging UGC as visual and textual endorsements, you can instill confidence and inspire action in potential customers as they explore your digital domain.

Display in Email Marketing

Enhance the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns by incorporating UGC as persuasive elements. 

Include snippets of positive customer reviews or testimonials within your email content. 

Feature user-generated photos or videos to provide visual impact and evoke emotions. 

By integrating UGC within your email marketing strategy, you create personalized and relatable content that resonates with recipients, building trust and encouraging them to take desired actions.

Boost your ad campaigns

Infuse your advertising campaigns with the power of UGC to reinforce authenticity and social proof. 

Create video ads that showcase real customers sharing their experiences with your brand. 

By integrating UGC into your ad campaigns, you tap into the credibility and relatability of genuine customer voices, ultimately driving engagement and conversions.

Amplifying UGC offline

Extend the reach of UGC beyond the digital landscape by integrating it into your events and offline experiences. 

Encourage attendees to share their event experiences through UGC, whether it's live tweeting, photo sharing, or video testimonials. 

Display UGC on screens or interactive displays during live events to immerse participants in the collective experience. 

By bridging the gap between online and offline, you create a cohesive and immersive brand narrative that fosters engagement and creates lasting memories.

A brand showcasing ugc during offline event

Understanding the Potential Challenges of UGC

While user-generated content can be a powerful asset in your marketing arsenal, it's important to acknowledge and navigate the potential drawbacks associated with its usage. 

By being aware of these challenges, you can proactively address them and ensure that UGC contributes positively to your brand's marketing efforts. 

Quality Control

One challenge of UGC is maintaining quality control while honoring the authentic nature of user-generated content. 

As these content are created by individuals with varying levels of expertise, it's crucial to strike a balance between preserving authenticity and aligning with your brand's quality standards. 

Some UGC may not meet your desired aesthetic or messaging guidelines, requiring careful curation or moderation to ensure consistency and brand integrity. 

By implementing clear guidelines and providing feedback to creators, you can maintain a high level of quality control without stifling the genuine essence of user-generated content.

Negative or Inappropriate Content

When leveraging UGC, there is always a possibility of encountering negative or inappropriate content. 

While UGC offers authenticity, it also opens the door for negative reviews, offensive remarks, or irrelevant content. 

It's crucial to have a robust moderation system in place to identify and manage such content swiftly and effectively.

 Implement filters, review processes, or community guidelines to minimize the risks associated with negative or inappropriate UGC. 

By proactively monitoring and managing user-generated content, you can mitigate potential reputational risks and maintain a positive brand image.

GIF saying your language is offensive

Learn in this article 12 tips to answer to negative reviews.

Intellectual Property and Rights Management

The usage of UGC raises important considerations around intellectual property and rights management. 

It is essential to obtain permission from UGC creators and respect their intellectual property rights before using their content. 

Surprisingly, a mere 23% of marketers always request rights to other people's content, leaving room for improvement in this regard.

Failing to do so can result in legal issues and damage to your brand's reputation. 

Implement clear policies and procedures for obtaining rights and permissions from UGC creators, ensuring compliance with copyright laws and guidelines.

By actively seeking permission and acknowledging the contributions of UGC creators, you foster a culture of respect and fairness. 

This not only safeguards your brand from potential legal issues but also strengthens relationships with your valued customers. 

Lack of Control Over Messaging

As UGC is created by your customers or users, there is a loss of control over the messaging and narrative surrounding your brand. 

While this authenticity can be a strength, it also means that the messaging may not always align perfectly with your marketing objectives. 

It's important to strike a balance between influencing the conversation around your brand and allowing the genuine voices of your customers to shine through. 

By establishing guidelines and providing clear brand messaging frameworks, you can guide the UGC narrative without stifling the organic and authentic contributions of your community.

By being aware of these potential drawbacks and proactively addressing them, you can navigate the challenges associated with user-generated content effectively. 

Differences between UGC and Content Marketing

While both user-generated content and content marketing play vital roles in a brand's digital strategy, it's important to understand the distinctions between the two. 

Content marketing refers to the intentional creation and distribution of valuable, relevant, and informative content by brands to attract and engage their target audience. 

It involves strategizing, planning, and producing content in various formats, such as blog articles, videos, infographics, and more, with the primary goal of building brand awareness, establishing thought leadership, and driving customer engagement.

On the other hand, UGC is content that is voluntarily created and shared by users or customers. It can take the form of reviews, testimonials, social media posts, images, videos, and more.

The key differentiating factor is that UGC is generated by individuals outside of the brand, offering authentic and unbiased perspectives, experiences, and opinions. It is often shared on social media platforms, review sites, or directly with the brand.

While content marketing is a deliberate and controlled effort initiated by the brand, UGC is a result of customer experiences and interactions. 

Content marketing is typically planned and executed by the brand's marketing team, whereas UGC is created spontaneously by users without any direct involvement from the brand. 

UGC provides a valuable opportunity for brands to harness the power of customer advocacy, word-of-mouth marketing, and social proof.

Both content marketing and UGC can coexist and complement each other within a brand's marketing strategy. 

Content marketing serves as a foundation for creating valuable and informative content, while UGC adds a layer of authenticity, social proof, and customer engagement. 

By integrating both approaches effectively, brands can create a holistic and compelling digital presence that resonates with their audience, builds trust, and fosters meaningful connections.

Measuring UGC's Return on Investment

Determining the return on investment (ROI) of user-generated content is crucial to understanding its impact on your brand's marketing efforts. 

While measuring the ROI of UGC can be challenging due to its organic and user-driven nature, there are several key metrics and approaches that can provide valuable insights. 

Engagement Metrics

One way to measure the ROI of UGC is by analyzing engagement metrics. 

Track metrics such as likes, shares, comments, and user interactions on UGC posts or content featuring UGC. 

This data reflects the level of audience engagement and participation generated by UGC. 

Additionally, monitor metrics like time spent on UGC-related pages, bounce rates, and click-through rates to gauge the level of interest and attention UGC attracts. 

Conversion Metrics

Another crucial aspect of measuring UGC's ROI is evaluating its impact on conversions and sales. 

Track metrics such as conversion rates, purchase attribution, and revenue generated from UGC-driven interactions. 

By analyzing the path to conversion and identifying UGC-driven touchpoints along the customer journey, you can quantify the contribution of UGC in driving conversions and revenue. 

Implementing unique tracking links, promo codes, or referral programs specifically for UGC can help attribute conversions directly to UGC efforts.

UGC ROI calculator

Virality and Organic Reach

Measuring the reach and amplification of UGC is crucial in assessing its ROI. 

Track metrics such as reach, impressions, and social media shares to understand the extent to which UGC spreads organically. 

It allows to evaluate its impact in extending the brand's reach and gaining exposure to new audiences.

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of UGC's reach and value, calculate the UGC’s Earned Media Value (EMV) too.

EMV provides a tangible metric to assess its impact on brand visibility and media value. 

This metric is especially valuable when comparing the cost-effectiveness of UGC against other marketing channels or campaigns.

Check this article to learn more about Earned Media Value and how it is calculated.

Customer Loyalty and Advocacy

Beyond immediate metrics, measuring the long-term impact of UGC on customer loyalty and advocacy is essential.

Monitor metrics such as customer retention rates, repeat purchases, and customer lifetime value to assess the impact on fostering brand loyalty. 

While measuring the ROI of UGC may require a combination of different metrics and approaches, analyzing engagement, conversions, sentiment, reach, and customer loyalty can provide a comprehensive view of UGC's impact on your brand's marketing efforts. 

5 examples of User generated Content


Tripadvisor effectively leverages the potential of user-generated content to enhance its platform. On the website, you will discover a plethora of reviews encompassing restaurants, attractions, and accommodations. 

It is made possible by the active participation of millions of users who willingly share their experiences. These users evaluate, comment, and even have the option to share photos if they desire.

User Generated Content on Tripadvisor


Lego's Kronkiwongi project has emerged as a remarkable initiative that showcases the brand's commitment to fostering creativity and engaging its audience. 

By encouraging participants to unleash their imagination and construct unique creations using Lego bricks, the Kronkiwongi project has ignited a wave of enthusiasm and interactive involvement. 

As a testament to its impact, all of these UGCs have helped Lego reach an audience of over 27,000,000 people. The brand also saw a staggering 61% increase in engagement, reinforcing its position as a leader in inspiring play and innovation.

Example of Lego's UGC on Instagram


GoPro cameras have become an essential companion, documenting our adventures in sports, nature, and everyday experiences. 

In order to celebrate the remarkable moments captured with GoPro, the brand has established an Instagram page where users can proudly share their finest content. 

This initiative has proven to be a tremendous asset for the brand, granting it exceptional visibility, fostering brand loyalty and amplifying its reach.

@gopro Mobbin' with Noah + his #GoProMAX 🚲 Richard Van Wyk rigged up his son's bike + the rest is history 😂 #gopro #gopromtb #hypersmooth #bike #cute #dad #dadlife #fathersday ♬ original sound - GoPro


In March 2018, Transavia, the airline company, unveiled a captivating campaign called #VeryBadPic

This unique initiative invited customers to share their "failed" vacation photos, with an enticing prize at stake: a round trip for two to their preferred city. The campaign has gained significant traction and amassed an impressive collection of over 1600 photos shared on Instagram. 

The success of #VeryBadPic highlights the brand's ability to engage customers, spark creativity, and generate buzz through an unconventional approach, solidifying Transavia's position as an innovative player in the airline industry.

Example of Transavia's UGC on Instagram


Blissim is a beauty brand, dedicated to all beauties. 

Blissim offers a selection of confidential or must-have brands, always adapted to the desires and needs of each individual.

Their website receives 2 million visits per month and the brand has a strong community of 230,000 monthly subscribers and 305,000 followers on its Instagram account.

Read our case study to understand how Blissim manages to generate over 1,500 UGC per month?

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