If you are in marketing or sales, it should be no surprise to you that user-generated content or “UGC” is a powerful form of content your organization must utilize.
However, there are still many organizations and teams who are not harnessing this content correctly or even at all.
There could be many reasons why UGC is ignored, but hopefully when you read through the below information and user-generated content statistics you’ll see just how effective and powerful it can be.
And you’ll also have some of the best data to back up any initiatives you might want to explore. Let’s dive in!
- The Value of User-Generated Content
- Top User-Generated Content Statistics
- Building Your User-Generated Content Strategy
User-Generated Content Definition (UGC)
If you are familiar with the term or not, I’ll put a short definition to the word.
User-generated content is any form of content – images, videos, text, audio – that has been posted by users generally to social media but can also include online review websites, forums, etc. Instead of just the brand promoting itself, you now have consumers or employees creating on the organization’s behalf, talking about the product, services, or company culture.
Typically, user-generated content was solely a focus in B2C companies and would be content directly created from their consumers — people who are just fans and love the product or services.
However, over the last few years, B2B companies have gotten into the UGC game and it has expanded more into employee-generated content as well. Content that is created and distributed by employees is highly effective for expanding a company’s reach and impact.
User-generated content benefits
The idea of harnessing customer and employee content has numerous benefits to your brand. I won’t spend much time here, as the UGC stats in the next section will really open your eyes up to the bright future of employees making and sharing of their own volition.
But some benefits of user-generated content include:
- Maximizing brand reach on social media from networks of people unfamiliar with your brand
- Puts your customers and employees at the front of your brand, which humanizes your marketing and sales further
- People trust real people, regardless of their position within the company
- Content generated by customers, brand fans, or employees is seen as more authentic
- Content created by customers or employees can be extremely cost effective, while maximizing ROI
And I’m only scratching the surface there, but let’s look at the data and statistics around user-generated content.
User-Generated Content Statistics
As you can probably imagine, there is quite a bit of data and statistics around the impact of user-generated content.
Instead of diving through every piece of content, I pulled some of the best and most interesting data points.
Below you’ll find UGC stats around the impact on consumption, authenticity, and impact on other areas of the business like marketing and sales.
- 92% of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source.
- 90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support (up from 86% in 2017). (Stackla)
- 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising.
- 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions. (Stackla)
- Consumers find UGC 9.8x more impactful than influencer content when making a purchasing decision. (Stackla)
- Millennials (ages 25 and above) are the biggest content drivers — contributing over 70% of all UGC. (DMNews)
- Millennials trust UGC 50% more than original content generated by the brands.
- Word-of-mouth marketing generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.
- 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions.
- As few as 16% of brands have a strategy regarding user-generated content.
- According to ComScore, brand engagements rise by 28% when consumers are exposed to a mixture of professional marketing content and user-generated content.
- More than half of consumers (50%) wish that brands would tell them what type of content to create and share.
- Millennials find UGC to be 35% more memorable than content that came from mainstream sources.
- UGC-based ads get 4x higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in cost-per-click than average.
- UGC results in 29% higher web conversions than campaigns or websites without it.
- Consumers on average spend 5.4 hours per day with user-generated content.
- UGC increases conversions by 10% when included in an online purchase path. (Salesforce)
- Social campaigns that incorporate UGC see a 50% lift in engagement. (Salesforce)
- One-quarter of search results (25%) for the world’s biggest brands are links to user-generated content.
- Almost half of customers (48%) claim that user-generated content is a great method for them to discover new products.
- On average, UGC can save brands the expense of a dedicated content producer ($72,000).
- 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company. (Weber Shandwick)
- Content has 2x higher engagement when shared by employees. (LinkedIn)
- On average, your employees have a network that is 10X larger than your company’s follower base. (LinkedIn)
- During our paid advertising and advocacy research for our guide, we’ve found employees have an average of 1,000 social connections. If your organization for example has 1,000 employees creating and sharing content, they have a combined potential average reach of 1,000,000!
- Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels. (Social Media Today)
- A significant 70% of consumers will consider UGC reviews or ratings before making a purchasing decision. At least 41% of them will read four to seven UGC reviews to gain important insights on a product.
- A staggering 93% of customers believe user-generated content is very helpful when making a purchasing decision.
- Brand messages are re-shared up to 24 times more when distributed by your employees instead of a brand.
- 35% of Gen Z believes that in the next 3-5 years, user-generated content will have more credibility than content created by a company or independent source.
- 87% of brands use UGC for authentic (and free) content.
- Engagement increases by 28% when consumers can view a mixture of user-generated product videos and official brand authored content. (SEMRush)
- Ads featuring UGC garnered 73% more positive comments on social networks than traditional ads. (Jukin Media)
- 31% of consumers say advertisements that feature UGC content are more memorable than traditional ads without it. (Jukin Media)
- Consumers are 2.4x more likely to say user-generated content is authentic compared to brand-created content. (Stackla)
- 56% of internet users say they find out about products from friends or acquaintances while 32% rely on customer reviews. (Statista)
Building Your User-Generated Strategy
Hopefully after reading the data above and doing your own research, you are realizing how impactful UGC can be.
From being cost-effective, driving long-term ROI, and helping your brand reach more people authentically beyond your official brand marketing.
While many organizations enjoy the content created by their audiences, they often do not have a formal strategy in place. As you look into developing a more formal strategy, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Research other brands to be inspired:
Whether you have a foundation built or you are starting completely fresh with user-generated content, research some of your favorite brands!
More than likely, they make use of employee and customer content quite often. And if not, just dive into more brands in your industry and you’ll find some of the content that can inspire you.
Authenticity is the name of the game:
Whether you’re focused on customer-generated content, employee-generated content, or both — authenticity should drive your content strategy. The more real and the less marketing jargon, the better audiences will connect with the information.
You can provide guidelines for employees when it comes to content creation, you can gamify the customer experience, etc. But nothing should feel forced or like your organization’s copywriters wrote the content.
Understand what tools you need to make it easier:
While UGC can be pretty organic, you can make it easier for employees and customers to get involved by utilizing the right tools or platforms.
For example, employee advocacy software like EveryoneSocial is a great way to capture and encourage employee-generated content. This is where employees have access to content to share or create their own with social commentary.
If you want to focus more on customers too, there are a few user-generated platforms to consider too.
Set goals for your user-generated content:
Like any strategy your business explores, setting goals will help you build the strategy and keep everyone focused on what needs to be accomplished.
Aiming to accomplish as much as possible is an ambitious strategy, but start with some specific benchmarks in order to maximize your net returns.
Your company goals for UGC could include: more brand engagement, improved brand reputation, increasing conversion rates, being more educational and interesting to audiences, improving ROI of content (costs and time), developing more brand trust, etc.