User generated content (UGC) is very present in online marketing.
Online stores have everything to gain from highlighting content created by customers. It brings a true and sincere side that consumers are looking for.
If you're not familiar with UGC content, it's a gap for your online store, but don't worry, in this article I'll tell you everything about it. And if you know this type of content, you will find new aspects.
UGC content: What is this thing?
User generated content (UGC) is content created by external users, your customers. It can be a video, a photo, a blog article, etc. In short, this is any content created by someone who is not part of your organization.
This is what defines UGC: it must be generated by someone outside your company. It becomes a form of content for you that can be used for advertising purposes or simply to make money... and share good comments.
Also, one of the characteristics of UGC is that it is imperfect. That's the goal, it has to be filmed by someone who is not a professional and who simply wants to share their honest opinion or experience.
It's often filmed with a smartphone: maybe the lighting won't be perfect and the image won't be well framed, but the important thing is the content. What the person shares about your product.
If you're looking for perfection, UGC content won't be for you, BUT (yes, in capital letters) you're missing a huge opportunity, because:
01. consumers are looking for authentic and imperfect content.
02. basically, UGC content is improved reviews. And you probably know that consumers are really influenced by reviews.
So you want to involve your consumers to spread sincere content that presents your products.
The concept: UGC content is relatively new and trendy, but it has been around for a very long time. Today, we present it differently.
What is included in UGC content?
Unboxing → When the customer receives their package and shows how it arrives. This helps illustrate the customer experience, and how they will receive their purchase.
In action → To show the product in action in people's daily lives. This allows the prospect to imagine themselves using the product. It can also be used to show how it works.
If the product seems complex to use, showing a customer using it will reassure the future customer knowing that someone else has successfully installed/used it.
IKEA should do this with some of their furniture. (Add a customer who assembles a sofa on their social networks, but also the customer file so that the customer sees the simplicity.)
A review→ In which someone talks about the product. Let it be a video in which the customer tests the product and shares their impressions. It can also be a written testimony.
Many online stores, when asking to leave a review, also ask to take a photo of the product. This allows you to create content with the photo AND the customer’s testimonial
Present a product → Take content created by customers and reuse it by presenting the product.
Why does UGC work so well?
I mentioned it above: Authenticity. This is the key element of good UGC content. It’s true, these are real consumers who share a real opinion of the product.
The goal here is not to hire an actor (like we used to see in TV commercials) who has a script.
Oh no, here, it’s true and imperfect, but it’s sincere. Consumers no longer want lies and fake customers.
People love sharing their opinions on the web, they write reviews, take photos, videos, and even livestreams. In short, all forms of content are possible.
And if you remember correctly, for a while it was very popular for people to film themselves unpacking a grocery store or eating live... People love watching other people live. (It's funny, but true!) Anyway, I just want you to understand that UGC content is created by your customers and that the goal is for it to be authentic.
Consumers are reluctant and no longer trust companies and their messages. This is why they are turning to UGC content.
Excited to see some UGC ad creative created for brands ? Here are some :
Authenticity > unpleasant seller
If I say to you: car salesman, what do you see in your head? Probably a very pushy seller, who is trying to manipulate you and encourage you to buy.
Unfortunately, this is the image of salespeople that we all have in our heads. That was the norm: trying to scare prospects so much that they would buy.
No, but it's ridiculous to make someone buy something who maybe doesn't even need it, and then excite them so much that they get bored and buy it. Result: the customer is angry at having been fooled.
In our opinion, this is the worst strategy to adopt because, clearly, your customer will never come back and say bad things about your company. It’s the same thing for all the lies we were told to buy a product.
Lying, manipulation, pressure, all that was the norm.
It’s changing, and new generations no longer want that, so businesses must adapt. Now, we have some great, authentic businesses that aren't perfect, but want to build a relationship with their customers.
This is also where the beauty and strength of brand identity comes into play (and wins hands down).
So, for UGC content, the important thing is authenticity; it’s about letting your customer be creative and put forward their purchases as they wish. And that you, as a company, appreciate this from your customers and accept that everything is not perfect, both in terms of review and in the way of communicating it.
The 2 hidden opportunities of UGC content
For businesses, there are a lot of opportunities with UGC content.
First, it is to give consumers a voice.
If you advocate that your product is great, then you should not be afraid of a customer sharing their experience and their sincere opinion.
Second, a mega opportunity is to look at the content that is generated and take notes.
You have before you sincere opinions and demonstrations in real daily life.
If you see a customer unboxing, look at what your package looks like and ask yourself: how could you improve the customer experience here when they receive their package?
Furthermore, if a customer shares a negative aspect, whether about the purchasing experience of your online store or about the product in question, note it and improve.
In short, listen and open your eyes to seize opportunities that will allow you to differentiate yourself and improve. Because you and your team are trying to find gaps, but your customers are in the best position to tell you what's working well and not so well.
And I promise, your customers will notice this and will be really happy to be heard.
Because, yes, your goal is to make sales, but it’s also to build a community of loyal customers, right? So, these are the ones you need to listen to the most.
The performance of UGC content
Are you doing this thing?
Authentic marketing is increasingly present and demanded by consumers. People want the real thing, they want to buy from a company that sticks to their values. They want to know who they are buying from and have a good product.
Also, with people having broken trust with companies (because of old scammer marketing), consumers prefer to get the opinion of a friend or the review section under a product before making a decision. A company that says its product is the best is not enough, it takes more.
We are seeing more and more people putting forward content created by their clients. Companies encourage them to share their purchases and opinions, so it shows that companies want them.
And on the consumer side, I see more and more “normal” people sharing their purchases on the Web, and even I personally really like watching reviews of a product on YouTube before buying it.
So, based on what I just explained to you, yes, UGC content performs well.
Now here are some stats to back up what I just said:
- Following a survey, 54% of respondents say they trust online reviews and recommendations from those around them more than information that comes from the company. Only 20% of respondents trust the information from the company in question. – Source: Shopify
- UGC ads have a 4x higher CTR (click-through-rate) and a 50% lower CPC (cost-per-click) than standard. – Source: everyonesocial
- UGC content generates 29% more online conversions than campaigns or websites that don't use it. – Source: everyonesocial
In short, UGC content is an opportunity not to be missed for your business.
For our part, today, almost all of our clients integrate UGC into their advertising campaigns.
How to make UGC content?
As a business, how can you obtain UGC content?
There are several approaches:
Ask for it
One of the easiest ways is to encourage your customers to share a photo and a review of your product.
For example, you can add automation to your emails so that a few days after receiving their package, they receive an email asking to take a photo and write a review.
You can also mention it in the purchase confirmation that as soon as they receive their package, they can film themselves and share their experience.
Asking is the simplest way, like the famous phrase: “Ask and you shall receive.”
And don't forget that people love to share their daily lives, so encourage them to share their daily lives with your product. UGC content doesn't have to be 100% your product, it's simply about seeing it in people's daily lives.
Suggest a hashtag
You can also create a hashtag for your customers, to encourage them to share on social networks using this specific hashtag.
You can add it to your Instagram bio, on your website, in your newsletter, in your package, and everywhere. This way all the content created by your customers will be grouped together.the eCommerce expert for example encourages her community to use a hashtag to get a 20% discount, Real Business:
You save time
By using content created by your customers, you don't have to create as much. So, you save time while engaging with your audience, it’s a win-win!
So win-win that some companies just use UGC content everywhere. They create zero content, they leave that burden to their customers.
UGC content in advertising? Yes, but…
Using UGC content in advertising is really good, but be careful, make sure you have the OK from your client before putting it in advertising.
So you can write to the person to get their approval before putting it online. Simply out of respect and to protect you. And very often, people will say yes!
Putting your clients' content in advertising once again brings a more authentic side that consumers are looking for.
Here, you create a mix between your client's creation and your ad writing, it's a great way to make sales.
To conclude, it’s time to get started!
UGC content is becoming more and more popular, there are even people offering UGC services. So, you could send products to someone (who isn't necessarily an influencer) and ask them to create content for you.
But before going to content creators, turn to your customers by asking them to create photos and videos of them using their product in their daily lives. Already there, you will have several to test.