What is UGC: features, types and ways of applying custom content

UGC (User-generated content or user-generated content) - This is the original content that is created by the audience of the brand. This content can be anything you want - from comments and comments in a blog to photos and videos. A company can use it for its own purposes - on a website or on social networks to promote a brand, and often UGC is much more effective than regular content.

Using UGC is beneficial to two parties - both the company and the users. It is beneficial for the company to get a fantastic amount of fresh ideas and unique content, which it could take many sleepless nights to generate. In addition, most often the user content does not require serious cash investments.

And for users, the creation of UGC allows you to cooperate with your favorite brand, express yourself creatively, receive various rewards and discounts for it, and even make some of your own, albeit small, changes in the company.

Unlike regular advertising campaigns that are sales oriented, campaigns using custom content are based on honesty and sincerity. In any case, this is the impression they make on people (with very few exceptions).

Pros UGC

Let us consider in more detail, what advantages can be obtained using custom content?

  • Trust in the company

One of the most important bonuses that can be obtained when applying custom content is the trust of users. When you show interest in some of their thoughts, ideas, feelings, show your openness, attention and respect for them, you will cause great trust in yourself in people.

  • Reach new users

And when some people start to trust you, others will see it, and there is a great chance that they will be interested in your company. This is where the phenomenon of social proof comes into effect, about which you have probably heard more than once.

According to a study conducted by Nielsen, 92% of users trust content shared by their friends and relatives more than any other messages from the brand itself. The second most important people consider the opinions of strangers about a particular product.

Social proof has a strong influence on people, and with it you can significantly expand your audience. Thus, UGC allows not only to strengthen relations with existing customers, but also to reach new users.

  • Viral potential

Most likely, the virality of user-generated content will be greater than that of regular content, as people tend to share their creativity with friends, relatives and acquaintances.

  • Positive effect on SEO

Custom content also has a positive effect on SEO. KissMetrics revealed that, if we consider the top 20 brands in the world, their results when ranking by 25% are due to successful user content. This means that a large amount of organic traffic and content is associated with links on the site (mainly back links).

  • Encouraging users to make a purchase

The most difficult task for brands is to get people to buy their products. According to the L2 Inc report, when a user is faced with user-generated content in the process of thinking about a purchase, this increases the conversion rate by 4.6%.

Types of custom content

So that you can understand what UGC is, what it is and what it looks like, I will give the types of user-generated content with the most interesting examples.

Here are the main types of UGC, which can be found on the Internet:


Yes, the comments that your audience leaves on the site are user-generated content. And it is very important for the image of the company - if people leave feedback, it means that they are passionate about your activity, and they have something to say in response. In addition, users in reviews often share their valuable experiences, which can be useful not only for you, but also for other site visitors.

Here are examples of similar comments from our blog.

2. Reviews

Testimonials are the most popular type of custom content when it comes to sales.

According to statistics from a survey from Econsultancy, "61% of customers read reviews online before making a purchase decision" and "63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase if there are reviews on the site."

If you want to get feedback, you need to ask about them. Of course, many users themselves leave feedback, but if you ask them about it, the number of reviews may increase significantly. This can be done both on the website and, for example, in social networks or in an email newsletter.

For customer reviews left you can strongly encourage - for example, a discount on the next purchase and other bonuses.

At very popular online stores, customers are happy to share their buying experience, without any contests.

But how not the most popular sites encourage people to leave feedback.

3. Reviews

Reviews are similar to reviews, but they are more detailed and contain a large evidence base. Most often, in the quality of this type of content, detailed reviews of products are used - in text or video format (most often they are found in online stores of electronic equipment).

Here, for example, a video camera review, published on Yandex.Market.

But a detailed review on the same camera on Hi-Tech Mail.Ru.

You can use the standard text format of reviews, or you can come up with something more original - ask customers to take a video review, take photos, write a poem or write a song about your product, etc.

Do not forget about the gift as a token of gratitude.

Reviews on the Kinopoisk site can also be attributed to this type of UGC - the film reviews published there formed the image of the site as one of the most “expert” in terms of cinema.

4. Design and drawings

A great way to attract new customers to your brand is to hold a competition to create the best design or pattern on a given topic. On the one hand, it attracts many creative people to the brand who are looking for any opportunity to express themselves creatively, on the other hand, it motivates fans of the brand to new activities. And, of course, it is very profitable for the company, since it does not need to spend money on expensive designers.

To create a $ 1 reusable mug, Starbucks asked customers to draw their own design on a white glass and send a photo with the #whitecupcontest hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. The design of the winner was used in a limited series of reusable mugs.

This competition contributed to the active sale of limited editions, as well as the purchase of coffee in ordinary white cups in order to draw on them. The brand in this case not only strengthened customer loyalty to the brand, but also increased its sales.

5. Photos

Photos are one of the most widely distributed types of content: people share more than 2 billion photos every day. Therefore, it is very beneficial to use them as user content.

An excellent example of the use of photos taken by users, was an advertising campaign from Coca Cola - Share a coke.

Coca Cola used it not to express itself, but to strengthen and “refresh” its relations with customers. A very interesting idea was invented - to personalize each bottle of drink, pointing out on the labels various names, nicknames and words from which one can build sentences.

Buyers were photographed with "their" bottle and posted photos on the social network with the hashtag #shareacoke, and even could make a bottle of "Coca-Cola" with their text (many used it to congratulate on their birthday or to make an offer).

The campaign has blown up Instagram, and also caused a lot of positive emotions from its customers and strengthened their love for the company.

This is a great example of how an interesting idea can get viral and bring a good income to a company.

6. Video

Video is also a very popular type of custom content. The choice of topics for video is huge: you can ask your customers to make a creative video with your brand’s products, perform a trick, take a moment out of your life, a movie about the company itself, or come up with another unusual task for your audience. If you decide to arrange a competition, do not forget to tell you about the rules for selecting the best videos and the prize for the winner.

GoPro publishes insanely interesting, beautiful, exciting action-video, shot by users on the same camera in their Instagram.

But such a competition was launched in an amusement park in Yekaterinburg.

Also an interesting UGC campaign was conducted by Chobani. She asked fans to share their love for yogurt, which they release. Fans warmly accepted this idea and made videos, made creative photos and posted posts on social networks in which they praised their favorite yogurt.

Here, for example, a video with the performance of a song of his own composition about Chobani yoghurt.

Tweets of the participants were posted on billboards, the best videos were posted on the site, and the rest were posted on social networks.

7. Podcasts

Despite the fact that podcasts are inferior in popularity to many types of content, they can also be used as UGC. You can ask users to share their opinions on any actual question or come up with their own program.

Drawing up a strategy for a UGC campaign

Of course, just choosing the most appropriate type of content for UGC does not guarantee an increase in sales. We need to take care of other aspects, such as: determining the site for calling for content creation and publication, the format of the campaign (a contest or a simple addition to the site / social network), etc.

But first of all you need to decide on the goal - why do you need custom content, how will you use it? Here are some possible motives:

  • Search for new ideas and solutions (for example, invent a company slogan, create a logo, design).
  • Search for fresh content (if you are actively engaged in content marketing, but you do not have enough ready-made content).
  • Attracting new customers (hence the increase in sales).
  • The increase in the number of subscribers in social networks.
  • Increase brand loyalty (due to reviews and reviews, for example).
  • Improving the image of the company.

After determining the goal, you should start thinking through the strategy. You have to decide for yourself what steps you should take, but you can take an approximate action plancompiled by me.

1. Come up with an interesting idea that suits your target audience and select the type of content.

Think about what you would like to ask your customers (for example, create a design for the site, come up with a slogan, take a morning run in sneakers from your company on video, write a review about your product, take a thematic photo with your products, etc.) .

You can hold a contest in which you will choose the best material and award winners, or simply publish content on the website or in social networks. When conducting contests, remember that the more challenging you put the audience, the more likely it is that you will get much less content than you expected.

2. Think about the reward

Think about the reward that will be received by users who have created the best content (this can be an exclusive gift, a discount, posting content on a website or in advertising, etc.). Prepare gifts.

3. Compose a message to call for participation in the action.

Come up with a text to call for participation, add a photo or video, specify the deadline and the rules of the action. Choose how to place a call (this can be done on the company's website, on social networks, via email-newsletter or advertising).

4. Choose a platform for users to host content.

Social media is the most popular place to publish UGC. In this case, content is created for the sake of content — for the sake of customers expressing their sympathy for the brand and sharing it with others. This is a very clever marketing move, considering how much coverage you can get in social networks. With it, you can increase brand loyalty and attract new customers.

To run UGC-on social networks, ask your customers to create a particular type of content and share it on social networks, marking the selected hashtag (the name of your company or the action being held, for example).

When choosing a social network, you need to remember what content is the most popular and what restrictions apply to publications in them. So, a photo and a short video would be logical to post on Instagram, and if you ask to write a lengthy text (more than 140 characters), then Twitter as a platform for UGC distribution will disappear for you immediately.

You can also ask users to send completed tasks to your email, this option is suitable for serious contests.

5. Be careful when selecting content and choosing winners.

When choosing winners (if you are holding a competition) or selecting content for publications, you need to remember that the material you choose will characterize your company, “build” its image. It should be of high quality and the most relevant brand.

6. Thank your audience!

Reward your winners (if you are holding a contest) or just thank your users for great ideas and great content!

7. Analyze your UGC campaign.

Collect statistics on new subscribers, leads, sales during the UGC campaign. Find out what exactly you have achieved with UGC. This will give you a real understanding of how your company is developing and how user content has an effect on its development.

As you can see, everything is quite simple. The effort required on your part is minimal, and the amount of content you receive can be very impressive.

What type of content to choose: Crowdtap survey results

And now let's look at the research results from the Crowdtap team - The Marketer's Guide to User-Generated Content, which decided to find out which content is most interesting to users. Knowing these results can help you when choosing the type of custom content.

Here are the conclusions that were made during the study:

  1. People are serious about the content of the content they create. More than half of respondents said that they create content only once a day, and 23% create it more often - from two to five times a day. 18% very rarely create content - less than once a day.

The main motives for creating content are the desire to interact with other people, as well as the opportunity to demonstrate their creative abilities.

Conclusion: You need to understand what motivates your audience to spur it on to create a UGC.

  1. People more often share content that inspires and makes them fun. Moreover, they are more likely to share content if they know that it will be able to interest their friends and acquaintances.

When the respondents were asked what type of content they would rather share, the majority chose photos and text in statuses. Fresh articles were also a popular response (45% of respondents would like to share them), as well as reviews of new products and brand reviews (44%).

Conclusion: Think about what makes people share branded content if you want your audience to share your content on social networks.

  1. People who share branded content, first of all want to tell their friends about the experience of using this or that product. And, again, they are considering the opportunity to show their creative abilities.

Conclusion: Inspire subscribers to share their opinions about your products or services.

Custom content to be!

Creating high-quality content takes a considerable amount of time, money and effort. Therefore, the user content is so profitable - with the help of it you can save a lot of money and, without making great efforts, get a large number of fresh unique ideas.

Watch the video: DSE 2019: Retail Tech X Demos Magic Miror Featuring User Generated Content UGC (April 2020).


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