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Why User-Generated Content should form an integral part of your digital marketing strategy in 2024

January 29, 2024


There’s perhaps no better example of the power of User-Generated Content (UGC) than the viral Stanley Cup video that survived a disastrous car fire. Not only was the Stanley Cup in great condition after the fire, but a day later it still had ice! The woman involved, Danielle, took to TikTok and inadvertently created a viral UGC video that garnered over 60 million views, and reached the desk of the Stanley CEO.  Thousands of TikTok videos and Instagram posts are dedicated to Stanley flasks, which has driven demand, taking sales from $75 million to an eye-watering $750 million in 2023. Content marketers will tell you that the only thing better than creating content in alignment with brand goals that speaks to your target audience, is content created by your consumers. As an industry projected to grow in market size from $5.69 billion in 2023 to $34.59 billion in 2030, there’s no sign of UGC slowing down. Here’s why you need to incorporate user-generated content in your 2024 digital marketing strategy. 

What is UGC, and how does it differ from influencer marketing?

User-generated content, sometimes referred to consumer-generated content, is the creation of original, brand-specific content created by consumers and typically shared on social media. The content takes the form of brand-specific that includes product reviews, testimonials, videos, podcasts, and static posts. Some of the more popular UGC content forms are “unboxing” videos, or reviews under specific hashtags, like the ubiquitous “TikTokMadeMeBuyIt”. For any brand, customers are naturally the biggest group creating UGC content. These are the best kinds of content pieces; they’re authentic, organic, and spontaneous. Like the Stanley video, these kinds of content pieces garner interest and attention for its honesty and real insight, which can only come from customers. Brand loyalists are another group that create excellent UGC content. They’re the most ardent fans of your brand and usually the most passionate. These are the people who will pre-order a product, buy the product, and recommend it widely. They’re also likely to voice disappointment with grace. This customer segment offers a wealth of insight and make excellent UGC. One of the big differences between influencers and UGC creators, is that UGC is often unpaid, unscripted brand-specific content, whereas influencers are paid, contract-driven collaborations between themselves and a brand. Influences receive a brief from brands, and while they’re able to make it their “own”, they work within the gamut of the brand’s scope. Additionally, UGC lives on the content creator’s personal profile, and can be shared to a brand’s page, while influencer content is created to be shared between both the influencer page and the brand’s. The contract usually determines that the brand is the owner of the content, and can use it across a specified campaign period. 

But wait, what about paid UGC creators?

Not to make matters more confusing, but there’s a third category, and that belongs to paid user-generated content creators. You might be wondering if a paid UGC creator isn’t just really an influencer at the end of the day. Well, yes and no. Their content will only ever be found on the brand’s channels, and their objective is to deliver a product overview that is as close to natural as possible. Where influencers typically deliver high quality videos and pictures, paid UGC creators favor a more candid, natural style. For many social media users, this is a more relatable content style that they can trust. 

Six benefits of UGC

One of the biggest challenges marketers face is insufficient resources, according to research conducted by Curata.

Here are six benefits of user-generated content: 

  • Content Curation

UGC is widely considered to be a subset of the content curation family of marketing. This is the process of sourcing, detailing, and sharing relevant third party content with your brand’s audience. Content curation allows marketers to increase brand recognition and develop authority as a thought leader. With careful content curation, marketers are also able to develop a pipeline of qualified leads, with the idea that the right content finds the right people. Lastly, using UGC for content curation can give social media metrics a leg up, as people engage with relatable, insightful, and helpful content. 

  • Expanded Reach, Increased Growth

In 2024, your digital marketing strategy is incomplete without UGC campaigns. They complement each other well, often enhancing each other’s ability to help your content reach further and grow your audience. Digital marketers suggest creating a unique hashtag or photo campaign on Instagram. This has worked well for apparel brand, ASOS, with their #AsSeenOnMe campaign, which encouraged consumers to share their outfits, unique styling, and reviews. Other ways to inspire consumers to create user-generated content is to create a challenge on social media or launch a video competition. When using these kinds of methods, engagement is crucial, so make sure your social media manager is dedicated to responding, commenting, and actively interacting with users. This is what drives engagement and keeps other consumers interested in creating their own version of a particular challenge. According to Sprout Social, 75% of people are likely to share a good experience on their own profile. When UGC and social media come together, marketers can expect to see an increase in follower base, reach, brand awareness and social metrics. When UGC and social media come together, they can also expect to see a boost in web traffic. 

  • SEO 

Your SEO efforts can benefit from UGC in a number of ways. According to Kissmetric, “links to user-generated content comprise 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands.” Your SEO ranking might also be improved by positive client reviews on your website.  Backlinks pointing to your website from individuals’ personal blogs can help raise its search engine position. Additionally, you may refine your keyword optimization study by looking at the terms and phrases that members of your audience use most frequently.

  • A Peek into Audience Insights 

One of the more underrated benefits of user generated content is the ability to gain insights into your target audience. Reactions and engagement are a direct indication of the type of content that resonates with your audience. A data-driven approach to content marketing works with UGC to boost sales and develop a lead generation pipeline. A great starting point is analyzing the type of content users are creating; are they rave reviews, complaints, are there areas of improvement consistently mentioned? The next step involves scanning for patterns. What hashtags do they associate your brand with? Which platforms are native to your customers? Do they prefer reels, carousels, or TikTok videos? Are these platforms and content pieces in alignment with your brand? These insights can be vital in creating a UGC campaign that yields excellent results. 

  • Brand-led content is good, unique content is better

Brands have to focus on creating high quality content, consistent with their brand bible. Rightfully so, the content is a reflection of the look, feel, attitude, and personality of the brand. What’s interesting about UGC is that it allows the consumer to add their own unique experience of the brand to tell the story. It’s the journey from persistent acne to glowy skin; it’s how handmade, conflict-free jewelry appeals to the conscience of a user and how they look forward to a new piece in their Christmas stocking each year. Brand-led content is good, and it’s needed, but user-generated content is unique and gives an excellent snapshot of how a product or service is perceived by the most important demographic, the customers. UGC brings fresh, new ideas to the fore, reaching and intriguing new audiences, who see an aspect of themselves in the content creator. 

  • Personalize the popular

Going back to the Stanley Cup craze as an example, UGC enables personalization of the popular. Previously the domain of outdoor enthusiasts alone, user-generated content showed how different people were incorporating the Stanley flask in their everyday lives. The audience size grew organically, with each new UGC content piece appealing to a different sector; essentially, personalizing the popular. Now, it’s not uncommon to see the flask as a favorite among mom groups, recommending the flask as a great way to send kids to school and keep drinks hot, and cold beverages cool. It’s the go-to among gym bunnies, and has even featured as part of feminine self-care rituals. While Stanley themselves would’ve marketed their products to campers, mountaineers, and trail runners, they’ve gained access to a world of new consumers, mainly due to user-generated content. Personalizing the popular asks consumers to pinpoint why they’re specifically drawn to the brand, and to capitalize on this by sharing these reasons with their audience.

Exploring the digital marketing landscape

Beyond social media, there’s massive scope to incorporate user-generated content across the full spectrum of digital marketing. Here are three ways you can use UGC to enhance your digital marketing strategy this year: 

  • Websites

Using UGC videos and testimonials on your website is a great way to move potential customers along the sales funnel. The beauty of this is that no matter what your product offering or brand position is, you can always leverage the direct feedback and reviews of your customers to convince, educate, and motivate purchases. When done well, UGC could have a distinct place on your website by adding links to Pinterest Boards dedicated to your brand, Instagram galleries, and even YouTube reviews. This helps establish credibility and can be a powerful persuasion tool in your arsenal. 

  • Blogs

Before we became a video-first society, blogs ruled the roost of content creation, and UGC can still play a vital role in supporting your digital marketing efforts. While we have tons of tools to research keywords, a study of user-generated content reveals exactly what phrases consumers use when talking about your brand, or even specific products. Featuring these blogs on your website is a great way to enhance SEO and further your reach by generating organic interest and traffic. There are a number of ways to incorporate UGC in a blog format, including reviews, customer success stories, transformations, reviews, and embedded social media posts in a narrative. 

  • Email marketing campaigns

Similar to the implementation of UGC in blogs, a similar approach can be used in email marketing campaigns. With a clear idea of your audience segmentation, UGC can be used to target different consumer groups. Some ideas include highlighting customer stories as part of a series, announcing UGC competitions via email, and sharing customer stories and narratives. 


User-generated content is the new kid on the block, fast taking over influencer marketing and growing at a rapid pace. Putting the power n the hands of consumers, they’re sharing their experience of a product, both good and bad, with an honesty and authenticity that’s impossible to replicate. There are several benefits to UGC, which provides brands with deep insights into consumer behavior and engagements, lead generation pipelines, clearer SEO guidelines, and can even drive mass adoption and/or consumption of a particular product. UGC has become the darling of content marketing, and it’s not hard to see why. The content is unique, exciting, insightful, and adaptable to multiple platforms and audiences. If content is king, user-generated content is queen, and currently, it’s positioned to checkmate any other strategy you’ll employ this year.