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In their 2002 book, The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, marketing experts Al and Laura Rise foresaw traditional advertising’s impending doom. It was evident for a few decades that people were sick of being spammed with unwanted advertising.
Consumers live in a world that throws buckets of information over their heads daily, and a lot of that info is fake or exaggerated.
The paradox of choice is ever-so-present at every purchase.
It’s no wonder that everyone feels submerged in uncertainty, and it’s only apparent that consumers want something sure to cling themselves to.
That bit of certainty is other people’s recommendations.
User-generated content has become that third-party PR that Al and Laura Rise saw as the brands’ salvation. But does it really work? And how can you use it to your advantage?
Let’s analyze 40 UGC stats that help you see the bigger picture.
User-generated content brings you more revenues and at a lower cost, according to Shopify:
1. Ads based on UGC have a click-through rate that’s 400% higher than traditional ads.
2. UGC ads cost 50% less than average ads.
And things get even better because you can use your employees to generate more helpful content, according to a study at Kredible:
3. The average amount that an employee advocacy program can generate is $1.9 million in advertising value with 1,000 active participants.
So what motivates people to share your online content?
The New York Times Customer Insight Group has, well, insight on that. They reveal their findings in a study called The Psychology of Sharing: Why Do People Share Online?
This study focuses on the importance of word of mouth for marketers.
However, the point is to understand how and why your tool works before using it. And in this case, the tool is user-generated content.
Here’s the deal:
4. People share because they believe they’re distributing valuable content that entertains others. 49% of responders want to inform their friends about the products they like. Ultimately, their goal is to change opinions and to determine a specific behaviour.
5. Most responders share UGC to define themselves. 68% of people perceive themselves in relation to the brands they purchase because they represent their values.
6. People share information that helps them connect to their peers. 78% of responders will convey your brand’s content if it helps them nourish important relationships in their lives.
7. Self-fulfillment is vital for sharing UGC. 69% of people share content related to your brand because they believe doing so counts for something in the world.
8. People believe in their values and want more people to get involved. 84% of people will share a cause they’re passionate about.
How much user-generated content can you expect?
The latest numbers from Statista 2021 show that:
9. 39% of US internet users have shared posts made by other people on social media since 2020.
10. 45% of US internet users have posted pictures and videos on their social media since 2020.
11. There are 347,222 new stories posted each minute on Instagram.
12. The cumulative total of Tumblr posts is 171.5 billion.
13. 4.79 million Goodreads members take part in the annual reading challenge on Goodreads.
14. There have been 90 million user-generated book reviews on Goodreads.com.
Turn to Networks published an interesting study that shows how user-generated content triggers purchase decisions. From “Hearing the Voice of the Consumer: UGC and the Commerce Experience,” we find out that:
15. 90% of people will make a purchase decision based on UGC. The other two critical channels are:
16. 81% of customers are willing to pay more and wait for extended periods for brands advertised through user-generated content.
17. 24% of female shoppers believe that user-generated content has the most influence on people’s purchase decisions.
18. People younger than 30 years old believe that UGC has more influence compared to older respondents.
19. 97% of people in the 18-29 category state that user-generated content enormously influences purchase decisions.
20. 73% of people have more confidence in their purchases if a particular brand employs user-generated content.
21. 61% of shoppers find themselves encouraged to engage more with certain brands thanks to the user-generated content surrounding them.
Statista published a study titled:
This relatively new study analyses purchase tendencies among global digital shoppers. Regardless of how people differ in terms of preferences and behaviour, one thing stands apart.
22. 93.4% of people will read customer reviews before buying products from an online shop they don’t know.
As a result, UGC is vital if:
But here’s something exciting about how people find out about these retailers in the first place.
23. In a study called Sources of inspiration for new products in the US 2021 published by Alexander Kunst, 50% of people say they find out about new products from friends and acquaintances.
The more UGC you’ll encourage people to produce and disseminate, the more new customers you’ll attract.
However, your product’s price range is significant, too.
24. 77.5% of people will compare different prices for similar products before making a buying decision.
Where do people find these customer reviews and information?
The answer is obvious: search engines.
25. Statista shows that 62% of people search for specific information regarding the products they want to buy using search engines like Google.
Venture Beat’s study, Personalization Drives Email Marketing To New Heights, aimed to research the role of personalization in email marketing open rates. Their findings highlight user-generated content’s success in getting more people to read your messages:
26. 95% of marketers said that personalized content improved their open rates and that their unsubscribe rates decreased:
Research conducted by Dynamic Yield, “The State of Personalization in Email,” shows other data about the personalization of email marketing:
27. 75% of respondents in North America believe that brands didn’t customize the promotional email content enough for them. By comparison, 60% of people in Europe and 77% of people in Asia are satisfied with content personalization.
28. 60% of people in North America, 80% of people in Europe, and 88% of people in Asia want to receive email marketing tailored to suit their interests.
29. 55% of the interviewed customers want to receive emails with targeted promotions and discounts. These objective incentives can influence people’s purchase decisions only if they’re personalized.
30. 37% of people say they want to read personalized recommendations in their promotional emails. Thus, it’s essential for customers that brands genuinely understand their needs and interests.
An essential thing about connecting with your customers—and, in fact, anyone in your life—is being explicit about what you desire. Brands don’t want to appear pushy, so:
31. Just 16% of brands offer clear guidelines for their customers who want to create user-generated content. By comparison, 53% of people wish to be told what to do, and 42% of them also like to receive explicit examples of photos and videos.
But what motivates people to post user-generated content about your brand?
Is it prizes, money, or discounts?
Here’s what studies say:
32. 32% of customers agree that prizes and other objective incentives will motivate them to post brand-related content, but...
33. 60% of people are motivated to post if many people feature or like their content. Customers are more interested in receiving recognition and achieving a certain status than tangible rewards.
It’s also essential to publish the right content to connect and engage more customers.
34. 85% of consumers believe that visual user-generated content is more influential than photos and videos published by the brand.
And you also have to choose the correct channels:
35. 30-61% of people base their purchase decisions on user-generated images on Instagram compared to brand images. This broad interval shows you that Instagram, albeit a reliable medium for user-generated content, has limitations. If the content’s not good, it doesn’t matter whether it’s UG or posted on Instagram.
36. 71% of responders preferred branded YouTube videos from subscription box FabFitFun than a user-generated video about unboxing. So, sometimes, branded content wins.
People will respond better to UGC on YouTube if those videos compare various brands offering similar products.
37. On average, businesses see a 26% traffic increase from Twitter after sharing their reviews and 6% from Facebook.
If you read all these stats, you now understand that user-generated content can work to your brand’s advantage. It can propel you to new markets, more people will find out about your message, and you can create an active brand community.
But more importantly, you can reap all those advantages at a much more reduced cost compared to traditional advertising.
Here are some other stats that can inspire you to make a move towards user-generated content.
38. User-generated content determines:
39. 93% of consumers find UGC helpful when making purchase decisions.
40. Millennials are a significant audience for UGC because they spend 30% of their media time interacting with UGC content (a whopping 5.4 hours/day).
But here’s the thing:
You have to employ user-generated content carefully if you want more people to post good things about your brand.
For instance, carefully choosing your ambassadors is vital. Employees and loyal customers are credible sources because they know a lot of things about your brand. Moreover, they’re passionate about your products because they share the same values, so they’ll invest more effort into promoting your brand.
And here’s another advantage.
Loyal customers and employees know—or better yet, sense—your brand’s values and language. These two factors are essential in creating any community because they help define how people act.
Remember that people are more inclined to share user-generated content if that content:
Sure, tangible rewards like prizes and discounts are essential too, but not as critical as helping your customers define their social status through your brand.
Also, employ UGC in all channels, but start from your customers’ needs. If you don’t organize your UGC marketing strategy through the lens of those needs, your efforts can fail.
- Comparisons between different brands
- Objective pros/cons for each product
- Actual trials and testing
Also, don’t forget that you need to:
Here’s what you can infer from all of these things.
Although you have little control over UGC compared to a campaign using influencers or brand ambassadors, you still have to enforce a well-thought strategy.
That sounds like a paradox, doesn’t it?
But there’s an art to planning for the unplanned. A user-generated content platform can help you create efficient, hassle-free UGC campaigns.