The modern shopper is prone to advertising pitches. In fact, most of us see just too many “too good to be true” offers on a daily basis in our social media feeds. But we are quick to follow up on something our friends and family will vouch for. Per Nielsen, 90% of consumers fully trust peer recommendations and rely on those when they shop for all sorts of goods and services. For comparison, only 33% still trust ads.
What’s even more important is that such word-of-mouth marketing recommendations generate more than twice the sales of paid advertising.
If you have not still incorporated user-generated content (UGC) to your marketing mix, now may be the high time to do so. Below are several more attractive marketing benefits of using UGC.
1. UGC Can Give You a Running Start on New Social Media Platforms
Do you have a newly minted presence on Instagram or Pinterest? The thought of building up a decent selection of content, and earning followers can be overwhelming. If you spend time searching for brand mentions, your hashtags, or paying attention to your most loyal audience members, you can share their posts as a way to get a lot of content out within a short period of time. That way it doesn’t feel as if you are spending weeks or months building a worthwhile presence.
2. UGC Steers Up Engagement
Millennials and Gen Z — the two generations holding the most purchasing power in Israel and on a global scale as well — want brands to deliver personalized, authentic and relatable experiences.
They are not as impressed with celebrity endorsements as to the past generations. Instead, they want "people just like them" to be heroes in the marketing stories. 56% of consumers that they want to see more UGC photos and videos from brands.
And brands should act on that demand. SemRush estimated that engagement increased by 28% on average when users are presented with a mix of UGC product videos and branded content. What’s more, UGC videos published on YouTube tend to get 10X more views that branded content.
3. UGC Boosts Conversion Rates
User-generated content such as customer reviews, product videos, even blog posts can make a big difference to customers on the cusp of making a purchasing decision. After all, consumers are skeptical of branded content, but they are eager to hear the opinions of people who "have been there, done that".
Adweek estimated that websites featuring UGC content tend to have 29% higher conversions compared to websites without it. Otwin Buchener of All The Stuff seconds this, "We always strategically incorporate real consumer experiences into our review content. In fact, several split tests have shown that pages without UGC had lower click-through rates and generated 12% to 20% fewer conversions."
4. UGC Adds Social Proof
Building on the previous point is the matter of trust. Believability goes a long way towards engagement, conversions, and building customer relationships. When you say your products are wonderful, the impact is limited. On the other hand, when customers and influencers provide that endorsement, that’s significantly more convincing.
Tomer Tegrin, CEO of Yotpo, a highly successful Israeli startup, also mentioned that “Consumers want to make conscious and smart decisions, and in order to do that, they need to be informed. Social proof gives them the information they’re looking for. In a world where eCommerce and product information are continually expanding, aggregating and displaying social proof to consumers is the best way to stand out and differentiate”.
5. UGC Enriches Your Content Offerings
Providing your audience with a steady stream of content that they find to be interesting and engaging can seem like a Sisyphean task. After all, creating content isn't your primary reason for being in business, and you likely aren't an expert at all of this. When you utilize user-generated content, it allows you to pass the mic to someone else. That's helpful when other duties make it difficult for you to create and distribute your own content.
The bottom line is this. 84% of Millennials state that user-generated content has at least some influence over their purchasing decisions. If you're seeking a new source of content that boosts engagement and conversion, it's time to take a closer look at UGC.