User-Generated Content — Promotional Content by Users for Brands

Consumers are more likely to make a purchasing decision based upon recommendations from family, friends, acquaintances, or someone on the internet who is an existing customer than from brands. This is the main reason brands actively look out for user-generated content on social media.

What Is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content (UGC) comprises any content developed by the users and consumers about a brand or its products. As user-generated content is unpaid, the recommendation authenticity increases and converts users into brand advertisers. It is also defined as anything on the internet that users have created. Although brands leverage user-generated content for ranking, it is not created by a brand.

Types of User-Generated Content

The most common types of UGC are as follows.

    • Reviews
    • Videos
    • Forums
    • Social Media Comments and Posts
    • Blog Posts
    • Blog Comments
    • Podcasts
  • Testimonials

Why Use User-Generated Content?

There are tons of different marketing techniques that marketers can make use of. So, why depend on users to promote your brand? Let’s find out.

  • UGC Comes across as Authentic

Consumers usually view UGC as authentic as compared to content created by the brand itself. It provides brands with a significant boost in credibility as most people say that less than half of all brands create authentic content.

According to a recent survey by the 4As called bye ‘Sex, Lies bye & News,’ that highlights the attitude of Americans towards advertising, respondents said that advertising and marketing professionals practiced the least integrity. So, it is better to trump such responses and prove authenticity by providing prospects with recommendations from existing customers and users.

  • Instills Trust

The modern consumer wants to know the outcome before they place an order. It goes for all, a product, service, or experience. Think about it, millennials prefer going to restaurants with a strong social media presence as they do not trust that the experience would be what they search for.

Such diners are looking at the restaurant’s social media handle and content regarding the restaurant from other customers to be sure of the experience they would receive. People have been searching for UGC even before social media platforms came into existence. The advent of social media has only made it more accessible for people to look for UGC across the globe.

  • Drives Purchases

The main benefit of user-generated content is that it significantly impacts purchasing decisions. It is easier for people to make purchasing decisions based on recommendations from known people or existing customers. Brands incorporate UGC into their social media posts to drive sales by appealing to prospective customers and increasing their target audiences.

  • Cost-Effectiveness

UGC is created by users to share their experience, they are unpaid by the brand to build connections with an existing community, or have a chance at customer acquisition. UGC is cheaper than running Prime Time TV commercials and advertisements on Time Square billboards or other advertisement platforms. UGC is entirely run by users, which means that marketers do not have to spend their marketing budgets on campaigns that may or may not perform well.

UGC Stats and Facts

Now that we know user-generated content and use, let’s find out about its effectiveness. The points below mention the effectiveness of user-generated content.

  • Social media posts comprising UGC drive substantially more engagement as compared to standard posts
  • Two-thirds of consumers actively look for online reviews before they make a purchase
  • 88% of consumers say that they trust online reviews equally as much as people they know
  • 84% of millennials say that their buying decisions are impacted by on-site user-generated content
  • E-commerce advertisements featuring UGC drive four times as many clicks as e-commerce advertisements that do not
  • Three out of every four consumers make purchasing decisions through influences from the social media content
  • 74% of millennial travelers say that they are more impacted by UGC than professional photos posted by a brand

How to Use User-Generated Content on Social Media?

  • Brand Loyalty

While creating demand is about getting people to experience a brand for the first time, building brand loyalty is about nurturing long-term relationships that lead to multiple sales over time. People who create and share UGC are a brand’s biggest endorsers and have bought from it more than once. For those who have made only one purchase and still created user-generated content, demonstrates that purchase was a meaningful one. User-generated content allows brands to harness the excitement around them and instill brand loyalty that may be less familiar with a brand.

  • Demand Generation

Brands can share exceptional UGC to spark the brand’s demand. This is specifically true for brands that deal in tourism and lifestyle, where they can showcase their destination through UGC. User-generated examples shared by such brands on social media attract thousands of likes, comments, and shares, and inspire people to experience the service provided by a brand for themselves.

  • Content Creation

It is a constant challenge for brands to create new and original content that attracts and engages customers on their social media channels. User-generated content campaigns help brands build a content library, which provides them with relevant material to share when in need. User-generated serves as a great attraction for people that follow a brand’s social media handles. It is a constant content source that visually appeals and aligns with any brand’s social media look.

User-Generated Content Examples

  • Belkin and Unique iPhone Cases

In 2013, Belkin conducted a user-generated content marketing campaign that included the iPhone. Belkin partnered up with Lego and asked customers to create iPhone cases using customizable Lego blocks.

Belkin conducted a user-generated content marketing campaign that included the iPhone

Image as seen on tintup

The images of these cases were posted on Instagram along with the hashtag #LEGOxBelkin. This serves as a great example of customers promoting a brand and selling its products as it showed prospective customers how trendy and cool Belkin phone cases could be.

  • Buffer

Buffer’s tools are focused around making it easier for people to share and strategize on social media. These UGC photos drive the message that the Buffer community can work from anywhere, thanks to its ease of use.

Buffer's tools are focused around making it easier for people to share and strategize on social media

Image as seen on BufferBuffer's tools are focused around making it easier for people to share and strategize on social media

Image as seen on Buffer

It has shown that cultivating a strong brand personality makes users want to share their life with the brand on social media.

  • Netflix

The popular video streaming service, Netflix, utilizes user-generated content to promote posts from fans and hashtags titles to spread the word about new premiers. Netflix focuses on creating original programming, which requires them to create awareness of new releases as part of their social media strategy.

Netflix focuses on creating original programming

Posting user-generated content helps Netflix show that other people are excited about upcoming shows and intrigues Instagrammers








Image as seen on Instragram

Posting user-generated content helps Netflix show that other people are excited about upcoming shows and intrigues Instagrammers. Netflix efficiently leverages UGC while making an announcement or posting about an upcoming series.


Image as seen on Instragram


In today’s fast-paced, constantly dynamic online landscape, the content has to be quick and trendy. Marketers need to come up with up-to-date advertising campaigns, whilst also keeping marketing budgets in check, for which user-generated content acts as a golden opportunity. UGC marketing enables brands to stay current with their audiences and promotes authenticity by creating a transparent communication method.