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User-Generated Content

How to build trust and increase revenue

We live in a world of selfie sticks and photo filters, which explains why every second 22,000 images are uploaded across Facebook®, Instagram®, Pinterest®, WhatsApp® and Snapchat®. 1 With an abundance of this free content available, businesses are choosing to forgo paying for stock photos and opting for user-generated content (UGC).

Impact of UGC

The largest impact of using UGC is increasing consumer trust.  Consumers trust online customer reviews more than official brand communications, making UGC a valuable marketing tool. Studies show that ‘trust has a high correlation with brand resonance- a higher form of brand loyalty where consumers feel a sense of connection with a brand.’2 Overall, this increase in consumer trust can help create life-long customer loyalty that will be valuable to your brand in the long run.

Successful UGC campaigns

Many brands have started to see the benefits of using UGC in their campaigns. An example of this would be the Starbucks® White Cup Contest launched in April 2014. The campaign asked customers around the country to draw on their Starbucks cups and post their artwork for a chance to have their creation become a limited edition cup design. Within three weeks Starbucks received nearly 4,000 submissions!3

Another great example of a successful UGC campaign is Burberry®. To combat its aging brand image, Burberry launched a The Art of the Trench website in 2009. Here customers could upload and comment upon pictures of people wearing Burberry products and apparel. As a result Burberry saw a 50 percent increase in ecommerce sales.3

Use of UGC in email marketing

UGC can be a successful way of freshening up stale email marketing campaigns.  Email campaigns utilizing UGC have seen increases in conversion rates, website traffic, sales, average order value and content generation.4 So not only does using UGC have an impact on the bottom line, it actually perpetuates the generation of more quality UGC.

More than half of millennials reported that UGC influences purchases, which is good news for businesses attempting to reach this sizeable market. Not only does UGC connect with the younger generation, it appears to have an impact on consumers of all ages. Brands have experienced two to three times higher conversion rates when consumers interact with UGC at the point of purchase. Additionally, 63 percent of consumers report that they trust UGC more than branded images.5

Gathering quality UGC

So how do you actually get your customers to share their content? Ask them! Inviting your customers to share their photos is easy:

  • Use hashtags: Repeatedly using your brand’s hashtags in your marketing will encourage your customers to do the same.
  • Sending post-purchase emails: Not only will this approach go a long way in bettering your customer service, it can also supply your business with great UGC.
  • Start a social media contest: Ask your social media followers to submit their photos for a chance to be featured in your next ad campaign. Sometimes the recognition alone can be enough to attract submissions.
  • Eliminate red tape: Make it easy for your customers to submit their content by simplifying the submission process as well as instructions for submitting content.


[1] How User-Generated Content Takes Email Marketing Personalization to the Next Level

[2] How user-generated content impacts the consumer journey before, during and after purchase

[3] 10 User Generated Content Campaigns That Actually Worked

[4] How User-Generated Content Takes Email Marketing Personalization to the Next Level

[5] How user-generated content impacts the consumer journey before, during and after purchase

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