The Untapped Potential of UGC: Why Your Strongest Content Creator Is A Happy Customer


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Nearly 90% of U.S. consumers said that real-life customer ratings and reviews impact their purchasing decisions

When was the last time you chose a new restaurant without first checking customer ratings online? What about your latest phone upgrade? Did you read user reviews? Watch a YouTube video to see just how big the screen size was? The reality is that most consumers these days research businesses and the products online before spending any money, and they are turning to user generated content as their most trusted source of information. Having easily accessible social-proof is now a standard part of today’s customer journey that can’t be ignored.

In fact, a recent survey we commissioned with Harris Interactive polling more than 2,000 consumers in the U.S. and UK found that 87% of respondents reported real-life customer ratings and reviews impact their purchasing decisions. An even more significant finding: consumers report customer reviews and ratings are the most influential factor when researching a product or service online – outranking price, return policy and shipping costs.

What’s most surprising about these insights is the lack of attention user generated content (in the form of user reviews, ratings and other feedback) receive from content marketing teams, especially when you consider the amount of time, effort and budget brand’s invest in content creation.

The cost Benefit of UGC

Content producers are in high demand. This year’s annual B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks report from Content Marketing Institute revealed that “content producer” was the most sought after role for B2C content teams, more so than content marketing managers, community managers, social media specialists, and UX designers.

It’s no secret that content creation accounts for a large portion of a brand’s marketing budget. Whether a marketing organization is investing in a full-time content producer or contracting a freelancer, hiring an influencer, or purchasing a generative AI solution to create content, most content creation methods come with a high price tag.

But a brand’s most impactful content may already exist, lurking in their social feeds, hiding out in their product review pages, or even taking up space in DMs from customers wanting to share just how much they loved their last purchase. Why? In the same way that happy people make other people happy – satisfied customers create more satisfied customers.

User reviews, ratings, pictures and videos from satisfied customers has the potential to be your strongest performing content. Consumers want authentic interactions with brands. They are hungry for real-life content that shows the products or services they are searching for being used by real people. The best part? This content comes at a minimal price – there is no need for a professional designer, photographer or content producer. If anything, a polished, professionally created product promo works against the authenticity that consumers crave. The best part is that user generated content is often the exact content consumers are most likely searching to find.

Where to find top performing UGC

Depending on how you are currently promoting your products or services, there is a good chance you already have platforms in place to gather user generated content. An Amazon product page, Google Reviews, Yelp and other sites dedicated to user reviews and ratings can be a goldmine for content marketers. But that’s just the start.

How often is your brand tagged in social posts highlighting how much someone loves one of your products? What about replies to your branded posts on Facebook, Instagram and even TikTiok? You have to be proactive in your efforts, but mining company-owned social properties for content from satisfied customers is a great way to identify top performing content. For data-driven marketers, engagement analytics are already built in based on reactions to the comments from happy customers.

Your customer service team is an often overlooked resource for capturing potential user generated content. There is no better time to ask for a user review or rating after a question has been answered or a resolution has been gained. Of course, it depends on the nature of the interaction and whether or not the customer was satisfied with the resolution – but a positive outcome could very well lead to a high-scoring user review or rating that could be repurposed by your content team.

Savvy brands are taking user reviews a step further and incentivizing positive user reviews by offering discounts on future purchases for customers who post a picture of themselves wearing what they bought or sharing their positive brand experience on social media. This type of customer feedback speaks directly to today’s consumer and their desire for more authentic brand interactions. Entire marketing campaigns can be centered on a customer review that tells the very story potential customers want to hear.

How to make UGC work across your marketing channels

Marketers realize satisfied customers play a crucial role in creating successful outcomes, but too few are maximizing the potential of these very same customers. Garnering positive customer reviews and ratings is a fundamental component of a winning brand reputation strategy, but it can also supply strategic marketing content. Repurposing positive user reviews and ratings as UGC and leveraging it as a centerpiece within your marketing campaigns not only amplifies your strongest messaging, it offers up the exact content consumers are researching.

Online shoppers want “real” experiences from brands and are spending their time looking for comments, photos and videos of actual customers using the very products they are wanting to purchase. It’s why more than half the consumers surveyed by Harris Interactive admitted they regularly seek out pictures or videos of real people using a product before they buy it – and why 57% said they wouldn’t even buy from a brand without first checking user reviews and ratings.

Creating social media campaigns using customer reviews, pictures and videos shared via a customer’s personal social media account is a natural extension of customer created content. Just make sure you have their permission to repurpose. In addition to posting it on your brand’s social media accounts, you can leverage it in email marketing campaigns, on your brand’s website and other online properties. Taking online conversations offline is another way to maximize UGC, using it for print ads and OOH advertising (out-of-home ads such as billboards and other outdoor ad opportunities).

Piecing together a collection of user reviews and ratings for Intagram Reels and TikTok videos can garner a lot of attention for your brand while also minimizing social content creation costs. These short videos can also be repurposed for CTV ads for any campaigns running on streaming services.

Very few content experiences deliver the same impact as UGC and even fewer come with the same cost benefits. The most inspiring aspect of UGC is that it is created by customers who already love your brand. Taking the content they create and repurposing it across your marketing channels and campaigns not only deepens your relationship with existing customers, it opens the door to all new audiences, allowing the power of one positive interaction to create exponential results.


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