User generated content, a way to increase your brand's online visibility and engage customers

Authenticity, credibility and customer engagement are all key ingredients for the success of a modern business. If you're wondering how to effectively promote your brand online, reach a wider audience and generate more sales, user generated content, or user-generated content (UGC), may be the answer. Users are no longer just audiences - they are becoming creators, helping to build a genuine and close relationship with a brand while increasing its visibility online. Find out what user generated content is and the benefits it can bring to your business.


What is user generated content?


User generated content, or UGC for short, is content generated and shared by users themselves that is authentic and unique material related to a specific product or service. This type of content is not created by the brand, but by its customers. They are created spontaneously, on their own initiative and can take the form of reviews, photos and videos, texts, blog posts or social media posts. An important feature of UGC is its non-commercial nature - this type of content is neither sponsored nor paid for by the brand.


UGC on social media


The growth of social media and other digital platforms has enabled consumers to freely share their experiences and opinions with a wide audience. As a result, user generated content (UGC) has become a great source of information and inspiration for potential customers. Research conducted by TurnTo Networks shows that user-generated content is more trusted than traditional forms of advertising[1]:

  • 90% consumers claims that UGC influences their purchasing decisions more than other types of content, such as promotional emails, newsletters, advertising and search results;


  • 92% users more likely to trust another person's recommendation than branded content;


  • 48% customers says user generated content is a great way for them to discover new products;


  • 84% consumers says he trusts online reviews as much as personal recommendations.


Not surprisingly, companies are increasingly bold in using user-generated content to build trust and credibility among their target audience. By publishing user-generated content on their websites, social media profiles and other promotional materials. We use the power of social proof - confirmation by customers of the trust, authenticity and reliability of products. This approach enables us to create long-lasting and deep relationships with our customers, influencing customer engagement and loyalty and therefore increasing sales.

Types of UGC


It is one thing to talk about the importance of user-generated content itself and another to use it in your business. However, in order to skilfully tap into the potential of user-generated content, it is useful to know what types of content are at our disposal. Here are a few types of UGC:

  • Reviews and opinions: There is no better use of UGC than reviews, i.e. a user's personal experience of a product or service. Such brand content can appear, for example, on a fanpage, in an online shop or on a Google business card. In order to exploit the potential of user-generated content to its fullest, the resulting reviews can be published in many different places - from bookmarking your website, on social media or including them in advertising.


  • Video footage: For many people, posts of this type seem relatively complicated. After all, we often feel the need to shoot footage, edit video and even add special effects to make them as appealing to the audience as possible. In the case of user generated content (UGC), however, user-generated content itself is expected to be amateurish and therefore also more authentic. Whether the client is creating a tutorial, positively demonstrating a product or doing something else, videos demonstrating a service or product are extremely valuable and, above all, easy to republish on social media.


  • Photos: They are a great form of brand content, especially when the purchase decision is influenced by the appearance of the product.Photos not only help your audience get a better idea of the features you offer them, but also allow you to easily post them on blogs, websites, your product page or social media, especially Facebook and Instagram. Posts on these platforms are the most common type of UGC and we should focus our efforts on them.


  • Success story: Success stories are the content that most often appears in the context of HR or employer branding. Such content tends to focus on the profile and achievements of the employee in question, outline their career path and include positive words about the company they work for and the atmosphere there. They are extremely valuable in the context of UGC, as they provide an authentic and credible testimony of the employee's experience, which increases trust in the company as well as its attractiveness as an employer.

Benefits of using user generated content


User-generated content offers brands many benefits that can help them grow and build stronger relationships with their audiences. Here are some of the key benefits of UGC:


  • Authenticity: UGC is created by real customers rather than the brand itself, making it more authentic and genuine. The fact that this type of content comes from people who have actually used its products or services lends greater credibility. When customers see real opinions and experiences from other consumers, they feel more confident, which contributes to building trust among this group. This use of user-generated content undoubtedly builds a positive brand image.


  • Credibility: User-generated content (UGC) is more trusted by the audience compared to content published directly by companies. Reviews - both positive and constructively critical - attract the attention of many people. Users, guided by the reviews of others, form their own opinions about new brands or products, so a strategy based on the use of user-generated content can be extremely helpful in building trust and brand transparency.


  • Commitment: UGC enhances customer engagement by encouraging customers to participate in the brand's marketing activities. This, in turn, helps in building a sense of community around it and fostering deeper customer relationships. Users encourage interaction from other users. This reinforces interest in the brand's products and services, resulting in an increase in the number of followers.


  • Brand visibility: Branded, user generated content can be shared across multiple channels, including social media, review sites and other online platforms. UGC is a good way to increase reach and visibility, reaching a wider audience and new audiences.


  • Financial efficiency: UGC can be a cost-effective way to generate high-quality brand content without having to invest significant financial resources. This is because user generated content is often created by customers who are already using the product or service, rather than by professional content creators and influencers whose work we have to pay for.


  • Understanding customers: By analysing generated content, you can gain valuable insights into users' opinions, preferences and behaviours. Such insight will be extremely helpful in further developing your products and services, as well as providing a deeper understanding of your target audience, their needs and preferences.


  • Increase conversions and sales: As many as 74% consumers say that having other customers share their product images makes them more likely to make a purchase. At the same time, companies see an average increase in conversions of 29% when user generated content (UGC) is posted on their websites[2].

Disadvantages of user generated content


While the use of user-generated content itself can bring many benefits, it is also important to be aware of the other side of the coin. There are some challenges and risks associated with integrating UGC into a content marketing strategy that may arise during the UGC creation process. It is worth remembering that it is also possible to outsource this activity to third parties, such as agencies offering public relations or social media services. Below are some risks and drawbacks of user generated content:


  • Time and effort: Although the process of creating UGC itself will not affect you, as it is user-generated content itself, you still need time to properly monitor what people are saying about your products or services online. We should also not forget to develop a plan on how to distribute the acquired content and plan publications to make effective use of the generated content.


  • Quality control: UGC is created by customers and therefore the quality of content can vary. Therefore, there is no guarantee that brand posts and content will meet the brand's standards. We also cannot forget about potentially controversial or offensive publications shared by users. This challenge may require additional resources to monitor and moderate the content published to ensure that it is in line with your brand values and will not negatively affect your brand image.


  • Legal issues: The use of user-generated content may involve some legal challenges, such as copyright infringement or data protection. This is why it is extremely important to obtain the consent and designation of the original content creator. In such a case, it is good to have not only knowledge of these legal aspects, but also experience in working with user-generated content, or UGC.


  • Negative content: There is always a risk that you will encounter unfavourable content about your brand. This could be: unfavourable reviews, posts, comments criticising services or products - you need to be prepared for them. Remember, however, that such situations can be a valuable source of information about your customer's expectations and perspective, and can even become a starting point for making changes and learning more about your audience's needs.


In summary, user generated content (UGC) is an effective tool that can help build brand credibility and customer trust, demonstrate authenticity, increase engagement and visibility, reach new audiences and, in turn, improve sales performance. However, it is worth bearing in mind that UGC requires certain resources - such as time and experience - and also carries certain risks that you need to be aware of.



[1] TurnTo Networks (2017), Hearing the Voice of the Consumer: UGC and the Commerce Experience

[2] Bazaarvoice (2022), Shopper Experience Index vol. 16