How to utilize user-generated content (UGC) to help grow your business

How to utilize user-generated content (UGC) to help grow your business

10 Jul 2024

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This informal CPD article ‘How to utilize user-generated content (UGC) to help grow your business’ was provided by Product Marketing Alliance, a company founded in 2019 with a mission of uniting product marketers across the globe.

In the current tech landscape, modern consumers are more skeptical than ever of traditional marketing tactics (1). You can shout from the rooftops about the values and virtues of your product but ultimately that’s what everyone’s doing. And the hard reality is prospective customers just aren’t convinced by it anymore.

Customers want to hear from those who don’t have a vested interest in your company’s growth, but simply really love your product (2). What does this look like in practice? User-generated content (UGC). Many organizations have reaped the benefits of this strategy, and we’ll take a closer look at these case studies in this article. But first, let’s go over some basic UGC 101.

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content is when customers showcase your product through written testimonials, videos, or social clips. This will often show how the product has enhanced their day-to-day life. Your organization will then incorporate this feedback into content aimed at increasing your customer conversion, retention, etc. 

For example, if you were creating user-generated content for a makeup brand, a user might post a before and after video (before using your product and after using it) to really drive home the impact of your product. And from the company’s perspective, name a better way to demonstrate the value of the product than by showcasing the real benefits on a customer’s daily life.

However, as with most things, it’s about how you use UGC more than anything else. A single piece of UGC can be incredibly valuable, but if no one sees it, all that value is diminished. So, you should make your UGC part of a carefully designed marketing campaign. Equally, you need to ensure you offer some kind of incentive for creating UGC. Some companies offer freebies for consumers who create this kind of content, for example. The ultimate goal is that you have a self-sustaining system, where users feel compelled to create content of their own accord, without you having to chase individuals.

What is the true value of user-generated content?

In terms of how UCG can help you grow your business, the stats speak for themselves:

  • Nielsen found that 92% of consumers are more likely to be influenced by recommendations from friends and family than conventional advertising – this means that if they see someone that they know – a colleague for example – endorsing a product online, it’s more likely to get them to convert (3).
  • A survey from Stackla found that 86% of consumers value authenticity when making purchasing decisions (4). UGC gives your brand an air of authenticity, as the messaging is coming from genuine satisfied customers.
  • A survey from Nosto found that 87% of consumers prefer images of genuine customers to stock photos (5).

It is generally known that customer retention is less costly than customer acquisition, and one of the ways that UGC can really help grow your business from a fledgling startup to an enterprise organization is through user-generated content (6).

Users show loyalty when you not only give them a great product, but make them feel valued, when you make them feel a part of the family. The main benefits of UGC, then, are twofold: it gives your marketing campaign that air of authenticity and trustworthiness that’s going to give you an advantage over your competitors, and it also helps to build the foundation of trust that turns customers into long-term customers.

Encourage UGC by making it fun

How do you implement a user-generated strategy?

So now that we’ve gone through the whats and whys, let’s finally delve into the most important thing, the hows. How exactly do you roll out a UGC strategy? That’s exactly what we’re here to find out.

1. Actively encourage users to share content

Although many companies offer incentives in the form of freebies, for a long-term, broader strategy, it’s not always sustainable. In lieu of that, a great way to encourage UGC is by making it fun, through a creative, well-thought out marketing campaign.

We need look no further than the recent marketing campaign for a popular movie. In this campaign, users were presented with a customizable template to insert themselves into the movie’s branding. This campaign accomplished two things - it generated buzz for the product (the film) as something that potentially anyone could connect with, and in doing so, it gave the product very broad exposure. Potential consumers shared their template with friends, family, and acquaintances, encouraging them to do the same thing. This created a lot of goodwill for the film, as well as getting broad exposure.

2. Reward customers for sharing

A more obvious and straightforward route for creating user-generated content is by offering rewards for customers who create content endorsing your product. A downside to this strategy is that this doesn’t necessarily carry the same authenticity as the prior strategy. How do you counter the view that people are only endorsing you in order to get rewards in return? However, it does come with the advantage of providing a very tangible incentive, as well as gaining exposure for your product at little expense.

3. Encourage your team to get in on the fun

Often all the campaign needs is a little bit of a spark in order to get the fire going. Content generated by your team can be an excellent way to get users started by showing them exactly how to use your product. If you’re working in the tech industry, for example, you’ll know all about the significant impact of recent advancements in AI language models. In the case of popular AI chatbots, we've seen plenty of examples of users sharing content they've created on the platforms, whether it be a Shakespearean sonnet about pizza or a riddle. This might sound frivolous, but the proliferation of UGC has done wonders for these company’s global exposure.

4. There’s more to UCG than just social media sharing

Throughout this article, we’ve mainly looked at how UGC can be utilized through social media campaigns, but you can also make use of it through other channels, such as email and paid ads.

Paid ads: A great example is how a popular music streaming service used its most streamed content in its billboard ad campaigns. It showcases just how many people use the service, generating interest, while also boosting the brand identity by giving the copy a humorous touch.

Email campaigns: A fantastic example of user-generated content through email was in a recent campaign from a hair color company. In this campaign, they encouraged users to show off how they've used the product through a hashtag.

Show off UCG on your website: Your website is often the first impression users get of a brand, so rather than plastering your LP with copy extolling the virtues of your product, you can make a great first impression by simply putting customer content upfront.


With consumers becoming more skeptical of traditional ads, UGC stands out as a genuine and relatable way to promote your brand. When customers share their real experiences and love for your product, it creates a buzz that traditional marketing just can't match.

So, how do you tap into this goldmine? Encourage your customers to share their stories and give them a nudge with some fun incentives. Whether it's through social media posts, email campaigns, or even showcasing their content on your website, the key is to make their voices heard. Let your customers do the talking – it’s one of the best ways to grow your brand in an authentic and impactful way. Have fun!

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Product Marketing Alliance, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively, you can go to the CPD Industry Hubs for more articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.








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Product Marketing Alliance Ltd t/a The Alliance

Product Marketing Alliance Ltd t/a The Alliance

For more information from Product Marketing Alliance Ltd t/a The Alliance, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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