What is User Generated Content?

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What is User Generated Content?

What is User Generated Content? From YouTube to customer reviews, there are tons of different ways for your customers to share with the world just how happy they are with your brand’s products. But are you taking advantage of them all? If you’re still not sure what constitutes User Generated Content or how to integrate it into your eCommerce storefront to increase conversions, then you’re in the right place, my friend.

Every type of UGC is a gift from your happy customers to you – but that gift has no value if you don’t use it to improve your online shopping journey! And how can you begin to unlock that value if you aren’t sure what counts as UGC?

In this post, I will detail all of the different kinds of customer content, how to get users to share it, and how to use User Generated Content as social proof to increase eCommerce conversions. By the end, you should be a master at spotting UGC.

What does User Generated Content mean?

First things first, let’s define User Generated Content.

Definition: UGC is content that customers create featuring a brand that can be used in that brand’s marketing strategies. From customer reviews to images post on social media, User Generated Content can be found in many different spaces on the internet and then leveraged to increase sales and engagement.

What can User Generated Content help you achieve? It can help you…

  • Put your customers at the forefront of your marketing strategies
  • Establish a sense of authenticity
  • Build trust in the customer/brand relationship
  • Drive purchasing decisions
  • Give your potential customers vital information from previous customers

Now that you have a general idea of what UGC is, let’s take a look at everywhere that it can be found.

What is User Generated Content? Instagram / Facebook

This is the good old fashioned User Generated Content that you can collect and integrate directly into your website to use as social proof. Seeing as 95 million photos and videos are posted on Instagram alone per day, social media is a non-stop shop for UGC.

Once you get your users to start posting on your hashtag – a process you can learn all about here – you now have a one-way ticket to all of those authentic customer photos and videos featuring your products.

Now, you can collect that content and use it on your eCommerce site. The process looks a little something like this:

At this stage, you’ve made it to the golden hour of UGC. There are a lot of attractive ways to integrate earned content directly into your eCommerce storefront or product pages to increase sales. Take a look at how watch brand Frederique Constant uses their User Generated Content galleries to gain customer trust.

From here, users can click on a piece of customer content and shop directly from the visual recommendation of one of your devoted clients. Visual commerce magic!

If you are looking for more information on collecting, integrating and leveraging customer photos and videos into your shopping journey, read our extensive guide on creating a User Generated Content strategy. We’ve got all of the information you need to execute a winning visual UGC strategy here.

What is User Generated Content? Twitter

Twitter often gets left behind when we start talking about User Generated photos, but it can be a great resource for customer interaction that brands should capitalise on. So what is UGC like on Twitter?

On this social media platform, User Generated Content is all about getting people to talk about your product. Content creators can learn a thing or two from companies such as Denny’s, who consistently flaunt their sense of humor. They’re basically known for their hilarious twitter account that often responds directly to user comments, all the while keeping up their playful tone. 

As a content creator, I’m jealous of the hilarious brand voice they’ve developed! Now other Twitter users can have a little chuckle, as well as be reminded that Denny’s is open 24/7.

Don’t forget: Twitter can also be a resource for collecting customer photos.

By retweeting their mention, Kate Spade is organically spreading User Generated Content as social proof. To further this UGC magic, they could take this photo and integrate it directly into a product page or gallery on their homepage. And the UGC benefits just keep coming!

If you’re looking for some ideas on how to get your customers to engage with your brand on Twitter, think about what would get them talking.

People love to be involved because it makes them feel invested in what your brand does, so ask them questions that get them to participate in branding. For example: what to name a new product, what they’re looking for in newer versions of their favorite products, or even for a fun new slogan.

This will get your users more interested in talking about your brand, meaning more mentions and engagement in the future. Plus, they’ll be more likely to go out and buy the product that they participated in creating, and, with some encouragement, they’ll be happy to share a picture with it.

Considering that User Generated photos are being shared by the millions, there’s certainly plenty of content out there for brands to leverage. So don’t stand idly by while content is whizzing around you – get in there and start engaging!

What is User Generated Content? YouTube

6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV as they are more relatable. 40% of millennials believe that their favorite YouTuber understands them better than their friends. Those numbers almost seem unbelievable, until you take some time to break it down.

Why is it that YouTubers earn a reputation of being more relatable and understanding? Because they are just users of the platform sharing their opinions with other users.

Content created by users on YouTube, even if it is of a marketing nature, has an authentic feel that helps to gain the viewer’s trust. Plus, earned fan videos are viewed 10 X more often than owned videos. And that’s why User Generated Content is so powerful.

But what is User Generated Content on YouTube?  A lot of times, this kind of content isn’t always going to come to you for free and so edges further along the lines of influencer marketing strategy. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it!

Getting a well-viewed user to talk about your product can give your brand a huge boost. Imagine seeing an unboxing video, like the one below, of a YouTuber unwrapping your product. Now, shoppers have an opportunity to see what exactly comes with the product, how to use it, and how well it works – and, more importantly, it wasn’t you that told customers how great it is!

YouTube Unboxing Video

With over 500,000 views, this video, by UrAvgConsumer, really presents a great way to learn about new products and see how well they actually work. Makes you want to get a bunch of boxes to unwrap too, doesn’t it?

And it doesn’t always have to be a major YouTuber that does the unwrapping! By encouraging users to post video content with your products, with the incentive of being featured, you could have the perfect content for your next Facebook ad.

YouTube is a huge market that should not be left untapped. With almost 5 billion videos watched on the platform everyday, consider getting your slice of the pie.

What is User Generated Content? Customer Reviews and Ratings

This next kind of User Generated Content is an important one: using customer reviews and ratings to prove to shoppers that they can trust your product. When 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decision, you really can’t afford to leave them out of your eCommerce store. Check out how 14 brands are ruling Instagram with their UGC strategies.

Reviews and ratings are valuable because they give customers the assurance that your brand is reliable. If you don’t provide this information, people will be left wondering … why?

By giving your customers a space to voice your opinion, you’re giving future customers access to learn more about your products from people who have bought them. You may even learn a few things to improve your online store.

Without reviews, you risk appearing like a slimy sales team, thirsty to trick customers into buying a deceptive product. With them, you not only seem like a brand that listens to their customers but also like you actually have a good product that you believe in.

Maybe you’re thinking, customer reviews and ratings sound great. But how do I get my customers to leave them for me?

Here are a few services that help you generate, collect, and integrate this valuable information in your eCommerce store.

What is User Generated Content? Trustpilot

Trustpilot is an online review community that also helps businesses present their brand to potential reviewers with the goal of accelerating business.

They’re an open review platform – meaning that anyone is allowed to post a review, as opposed to a closed review platform – meaning that reviewers must be verified.

Both systems have their benefits – if you can verify that someone actually bought the product before they review, then you minimise spam posting and only share genuine information. But once you start limiting who is and isn’t allowed to contribute a review – it can be a slippery slope. And remember, 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores.

One thing about Trustpilot that I find helpful is that they have a free version of their product available on their website to help you start collecting and posting reviews. Once you begin experiencing the value that reviews bring to your eCommerce conversions, no doubt you will want to explore more of their advanced features like social media integrations and review tagging.

Let’s take a look at their service in action…

In a case study with Weldricks Pharmacy, the brand earned a Trustscore of 9.7 based on reviews provided by customers. While browsing the site, shoppers are provided with customer comments directly on the homepage, which they can then browse further.

When customers click through, they get a more comprehensive idea of the magnitude of people’s positivity surrounding this pharmacy.

This star rating is important because it is the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business. If you aren’t sure how to get your rating going, get started with a customer review resource ASAP.

What is User Generated Content? Reevoo

Research by Reevoo, our next customer reviews tool, found that 45% of consumers don’t trust what companies say about their own products. With those numbers, you better figure out a way to get them to.

Reevoo is considered an up-scale review tool that runs on-site in your product pages, providing multiple relevant review search filters. They’ve been in the business for 10 years giving them the advantage of a fine-tuned collection method – they have a 20% average response rate. Many competitors are happy to receive a fraction of that.

Their services include useful features like Conversations, which allows customers to ask questions or leave comments directly on reviews in the website. This feature is helpful because it has the potential to reassure shoppers of any doubts before purchase, as they can ask their questions to the brand community before committing.

Plus, the brand has the power to decide what kinds of people can respond – verified purchasers, employees of the brand, or an open policy.

In a case study with Volvo, this car brand committed to showcasing customer reviews with Reevoo – and it paid off!

By making a separate Owner Reviews Page, customers have a space to explore what people are saying about these cars. The page has an attractive look and feel to it, showcasing Volvos at their best.

Reevoo then collects what they call ‘Facet’ scores, as well as the standard rating out of 10. These insights give a comprehensive idea of how the product performs along more specific avenues – like fuel economy or comfort for Volvo.

Reevoo has a proactive collection method – meaning they actively seek reviews rather than including a “write a review” button. Actions like this prevent fake posting and promote brand/consumer interaction.

What is User Generated Content? PowerReviews

Our final platform is PowerReviews. While this tool has a lot of similar features, I find that their website is comprehensive and easy to follow. This is definitely a plus when you’re looking for a tool to help improve your eCommerce website!

With features like content syndication, you can guarantee that your reviews are going the extra mile by gaining impressions further than just on your own website.

In a case study with evo, an outdoor and extreme sports retailer, PowerReviews showcased their review capabilities online and on mobile devices. With 40-50% of evo customer emails being opened on phones, it’s helpful to work with a company who is focusing their efforts on this medium.

Of course, Evo still uses the PowerReview service on their product pages within their website, too.

PowerReviews also has a Q&A tool, aptly called Questions and Answers, which you can employ to not only appease product doubts but also to get your community talking more about your brand.

Whatever platform you decide to move forward with, reviews are a crucial way to get people interested in buying your product. By giving customers a voice, you’re ensuring that more customers will feel comfortable and believe that your product is actually reliable. And that’s the beauty of User Generated Content!

What is User Generated Content? Wish Lists

You know on Amazon how you can add products to your wish list to come back to in the future?

This is also User Generated Content!

Amazon uses that information to create a Master list called ‘Amazon Most Wished For’. Here, Amazon users (these days there are approximately 156 million Amazon Prime Members globally) can browse the products that other people are interested in. And, because Amazon is on point with it’s UGC, you can also see those trusted star ratings directly under the products.

These brands can now use that information on their own site to show their customers just how desirable their product is.

Brand recommendations of this nature can even be used in tandem with other forms of User Generated Content. For example, back to YouTube videos.

Getting your product on a video like this – which has 1.2 million views by the way – will get your brand not only amazing exposure but also earn you a trustable reputation.

The same can be done with playlists on Spotify or book lists at Barnes and Noble. The more you get people sharing, the more other people will want to engage along too!

But why is User Generated Content so successful?

All of these forms of UGC are successful because of their authentic inception. When a person who isn’t affiliated with a brand is willing to step out on a limb and promote that brand, then you have to trust that they see something good in it.

This is why using a User Generated Content strategy can be helpful to your marketing efforts. Because it’s creating the authenticity that you, as a brand, cannot create on your own. And this, my friend, is where the ROI comes in.

Hopefully, now you know exactly what User Generated Content is!

These are all of the different kinds of User Generated Content!

From visual UGC, to videos on YouTube, to customer reviews, there are tons of ways to get users discussing your products. And luckily, UGC breeds UGC – meaning you can use these conversations to get even more people talking. Until you’ve grown an entire community of loyal brand disciples.

And remember: you don’t have to do everything on your own! Platforms like Reevoo and PowerReviews are there to help you with customer reviews and ratings, and we would love to talk to you about integrating visual User Generated Content into your eCommerce site.

We hope you’re no longer asking “What is User Generated Content??” but if you still have some questions about UGC, we’ve got you covered. Check out our thorough resource on the benefits of User Generated Content.

What about you? What do you think is the most useful kind of UGC? Let us know in the comments below!