What is User-Generated Content (UGC)?

User-generated content, or UGC for short, is any form of content created and published by a brand’s audience. It can refer to photos, videos, reviews, testimonials, blogs, or any combination of those contents.

Types of user-generated content

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Users post UGC anywhere online, most commonly on social media channels. They can also post on review platforms, personal blogs, online marketplaces, or even a brand’s Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) website.

Popular types of UGC include:

  • Ratings and comments: Some users can leave star ratings, one being the lowest and five being the highest, based on their satisfaction with the product or service. They can also leave a short comment to explain what they liked or disliked about their purchase and the shopping experience. Ratings and comments can be found on Facebook business pages, online marketplaces, review sites, or brands’ DTC stores.
  • Photo reviews: Customers can upload photos of their purchases to show the condition of their items upon receipt or showcase the product in use. Photos are widely used for apparel and accessories reviews because it is easy to show true fit or demonstrate styling options. The most popular platform for photo reviews is Instagram.
  • Video reviews: Like photo reviews, video UGC is an excellent way for customers to share comprehensive details about their purchase and shopping experience. These reviews can be unboxings, hauls, demos, or tutorials, along with the customer’s thoughts on the product or service. Most users upload their video reviews on YouTube and TikTok.
  • Blogs and testimonials: While some users leave short reviews, others choose to go in-depth with sharing their shopping experience. These write-ups can talk about their whole shopping journey, from purchase intent to product use, which can influence like-minded shoppers. These UGCs are usually found on personal blogs or review sites.

Why brands need to pay attention to UGC

UGC helps online visitors learn about a brand, product, or service and how it can help them in their everyday lives. This form of word-of-mouth information can help convert visitors into buyers because user content is sometimes considered more authentic and trustworthy than paid marketing.

Key findings from a Stackla study show that:

  • 90% of shoppers support brands that show authenticity.
  • Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to see UGC as authentic than brand-created content.
  • 79% says UGC impacts their buying decisions, versus 13% that says the same for brand content.

UGC is five times more likely to lead to a conversion versus branded content. People are most likely to genuinely identify with content from their fellow consumers because they are not inherently selling products. UGC is about sharing personal thoughts and experiences that may help others make a well-informed buying decision.

With 96% of consumers being less open to regular ads, UGC is a great way for brands to start a discussion on their products from a user-to-user perspective. Brands can repurpose UGC for their marketing strategies. Data shows that using UGC can increase clickthrough rates for Facebook ads by 300%.

The benefits of user-generated content

Brands will often share UGC on their social media accounts, websites, and other marketing channels. It’s a way of showing the quality of their products and services to visitors, potential buyers, and loyal customers. Showcasing feedback from real people with experience with the product or service shows that the brand delivers on its advertised promises.

Boosting trust and authenticity are not the only advantages UGC brings to a brand. Additional benefits include:

  • Brand discovery and awareness: A Facebook study showed that 80% of Instagram users go on the platform to research products, services, and brands before making a buying decision. With many people skipping paid posts and blocking ads, UGC puts brands in front of consumers even if they have yet to follow the company’s page.
  • More product information: Discerning consumers look at product descriptions and UGC before making a purchase. A December 2020 survey explains this behavior, with 24% of consumers saying customer reviews shed light on the small details and 21% saying they want to see the product in action before buying it. Product descriptions provide the brand perspective of what they offer shoppers, while UGC gives potential buyers a consumer perspective on the experience.
  • Brand advocacy: Customers can post UGC virtually anywhere, becoming brand advocates for the products they buy. This characteristic of UGC helps increase a brand’s reach and presence on more channels and spaces that they’ve yet to explore.
  • Brand-customer relationships: UGC is not just about positive reviews, unboxings, or lookbooks. Customers share positive and negative experiences in hopes of educating fellow consumers. Brands can take any feedback and use them as opportunities to improve their products and services, showing the audience that they’re committed to providing an excellent shopping experience. By doing so, brands also show how much they value their customers, fostering a more intimate brand-customer relationship.

Cafe24 provides various tools to harness UGC’s power

The ability to generate consumer trust is one of the many skills brands need to stay ahead of the competition. Consumers trust their fellow customers more than they do marketers or brands, making UGC a powerful tool for any company.

Merchants who want to leverage UGC can find what they need at Cafe24. The e-commerce platform makes it easier for brands to feature UGC using various services and tools such as Edibot Review.

The artificial intelligence-based service enables merchants to feature genuine customer reviews on product detail pages. By adding UGC for specific products, store visitors can gain a better sense of authenticity and increase brand trust that may help them make a purchasing decision.

Merchants can also utilize Review Talk Talk and V Review apps available on the Cafe24 Store, which help customers create photo and video reviews easily.

With a combination of UGC tools and customer engagement tactics, brands can encourage more of their customers to post their reviews. This strategy shows consumers that the brand values their thoughts and will feel more inclined to post UGC every time they purchase.

As brands continue to use UGC, they can reap the benefits of increased consumer trust and loyalty while showing potential customers their commitment to providing an excellent shopping experience.

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