ResourcesPerformanceIncreasing Conversion Impact of UGC: 2024 Edition

Increasing Conversion Impact of UGC: 2024 Edition

User-generated content is crucial for sculpting brand image and cultivating a strong community presence. Integrating authentic consumer-driven content not only boosts brand loyalty but also fortifies trust. To stay ahead in the market and grow your business, leveraging user-generated content is non-negotiable.

Jan 03 2024

Before the internet, word-of-mouth was a significant marketing tool for many brands.

A family friend recommends the new restaurant in your neighborhood, so you eat there next. Your neighbor tells you their new lawnmower is a game-changer, so you buy one even though your lawn is half the size (your weed eater worked just fine!).

And like so many other aspects of our world, the internet and social media came along and supercharged how testimonials drive retail, especially eCommerce. We call this 21st Century version word-of-mouth user-generated content (UGC).

Commonly leveraged in marketing strategies today, UGC has three key characteristics. First, it is created by product users and not the brand. Second, the content is driven by creativity. Third, UGC is posted online and widely accessible.

Does a UGC strategy work? What do the stats say? 

User-generated content works by leveraging the content created by customers instead of the brand through social media channels and customer reviews. 

UGC includes text, images, videos, reviews, testimonials, blog posts, and social media posts. Successful UGC campaigns are driven by companies incentivizing customers to create their own content, often boosted by hashtags.

For example, Apple’s #ShotOniPhone UGC campaign challenged iPhone users to post their best pictures on Twitter (now X) or Instagram. Winning pictures were showcased online, in Apple stores, and on billboards. The marketing strategy was to flaunt the latest iPhone camera at the time.  

The campaign gathered 26 million posts on Instagram, making it one of the most effective UGC initiatives.

User-generated content statistics show it works

Apple’s #ShotOniPhone is just one of the successful UGC campaigns—the following stats provide a general overview of the effectiveness of UGC in marketing campaigns.

When website visitors interact with user-generated imagery on an eCommerce product page, brands see a 106.3% lift in conversions, while interactions with product ratings and reviews convert visitors at 108.3% higher than average.

And stats from customers also indicate that they trust UGC content when making decisions for online purchases. A significant 93% of consumers believe that UGC reviews are helpful sources of information for making a decision to purchase, with 70% checking reviews and 74% relying on social media before making a purchase decision.

We can even break those demographics down further.  Millennials are the biggest drivers of UGC, contributing over 70% of content, and 35% of Gen Z believe that in the next five years, UGC (read as social media influencers) will have more credibility than marketing content developed by a product’s brand. 

The impact of user-generated content on your brand & SEO

The above statistics highlight how user-generated content impacts brand authenticity and consumer trust in your product.

UGC is pivotal in shaping brand perception and fostering a sense of community around a brand. By integrating this type of content that actual consumers create, marketers can showcase diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. These perceptions enhance brand loyalty and build trust. 

UGC resonates with consumers because the content is made by real people, making it a powerful tool for content marketing. For example, positive reviews boost brand engagement because consumers are empowered to contribute to the brand narrative. In turn, customer loyalty and trust increase, driving conversion rates. 

The perceived authenticity of UGC, coupled with the sense of community it fosters, makes it a potent tool in the arsenal of a content marketer to reach a brand’s target audience—which brings us to search engine optimization.

UGC’s impact on search engine optimization

TikTok and Youtube have become the internet’s new search engines, and along with generative AI-powered search engines, are taking search engine optimization (SEO) beyond the typical Google search.

As a result, user-generated content impacts SEO rankings in the following ways:

  • Higher click-through rates: The possibility of potential customers clicking through your site can increase with social media posts or customer reviews.
  • Higher search engine rankings: 72% of SEO professionals believe that unique content is among the top three factors influencing rankings. 
  • Increased time on site: When engaging with UGC, customers spend more time on an eCommerce website, for example, watching videos or reading product reviews.
  • Increased backlink index: UGC, such as blog posts or unwrapping videos, may include a link to an online shopping site, improving its SEO ranking.
  • Higher social media engagement: By encouraging UGC on social media platforms, such as user-generated hashtags, brands can boost their social media engagement and increase brand relevancy.

Cost-effectiveness of UGC

As part of your content marketing strategy, user-generated content can significantly impact your marketing budget. 

The main reason why UGC is cost-effective is because it’s free and based on the user promoting content on their social media channels, making it an effective strategy to build stronger connections with your customers. 

With UGC, users are doing the lion’s share of the advertising legwork for free, meaning that your content marketing team can focus on other tasks. 

For example, the same amount of budget and time that you invest in one in-house advertisement can be reallocated to a UGC campaign that, in turn, produces a significantly larger volume of video content, which includes the social proof and trust that comes with user-generated content.

How does UGC impact your conversions?

As an emerging eCommerce brand, leveraging UGC can help you establish credibility and build trust, impacting your conversion rates.

By creating social proof through customer reviews or testimonials, customers will have access to testaments on the reliability and quality of your brand's products, ultimately influencing their purchasing decisions. 

The proof is in the pudding:

UGC vs Professional Photography vs Generative AI Images

With a deeper understanding of the impact of UGC on SEO and conversion rates, we should compare UGC, professional photography, and generative AI images.

UGC images 

As we’ve already discussed, user-generated content tends to be seen as more authentic because it comes from real people engaging with a brand’s products. UGC is also primarily free and generates higher engagement than branded content. 

Because UGC encourages users to be creative, the images offer a more distinctive viewpoint on the brand while generating innovative ideas that benefit content marketing strategies.

Use UGC images when you’re looking to create authentic, unique, and creative content that generates and showcases personal experiences, such as the buyer’s journey, while highlighting brand loyalty and social proof. 

Professional photography

Professional photography produces high-quality images that help keep your brand consistent while making a solid first impression on consumers. Professional photographers have a keen eye for the detail needed to convey your brand’s message. 

Photos produced by professional photographers demonstrate that your brand values quality over quantity, and these authentic images will also increase your brand's credibility and consumer trust. 

Use professional photography when you need high-quality images, have concerns about copyright, plagiarism, and privacy, and require reliable content that matches your marketing strategy.

Generative AI images

Leveraging AI image generators can streamline your workflow by generating images in seconds, freeing up time for other tasks.

Additionally, AI image generators are a cost-effective solution for creating content without hiring additional staff or investing in expensive resources. 

Use generative AI when you’re looking to create content at pace and looking for a scalable solution as your content marketing strategy and business needs grow.

How OCUS enables you to leverage UGC

If you want to scale your user-generated content, we recommend looking no further than OCUS. 

We offer a comprehensive photography solution that empowers brands to edit thousands of user-generated photos with a single click. Our professional photography services are optimized for revenue generation, ensuring that the UGC your business uses is of high quality and effectively drives conversions and growth. 

Our solution includes functionality to provide a data-driven imagery experience to build trust and real-time image performance metrics to understand how UGC is performing. At the same time, our API integration streamlines the process of collecting, curating, and deploying UGC. 

January 03 2024
Written by Steven Thomas

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