User-Generated Content 2016: Best Practices

August 26, 2016

Collective Measures
User-generated content has become a major industry buzzword, and for good reason. Read why marketers should consider this in their content strategy at the agency blog.

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In the digital world, breaking through online clutter is tough. Brands constantly fight to get their content seen and heard. Big players spend entire marketing budgets to create new content, aiming for authenticity and transparency, while simultaneously presenting information with entertainment value. If that sounds difficult, that’s because it is difficult. Some brands have it mastered, but many struggle to find the perfect balance.

It seems that every other week a new algorithm update is announced, or there is a hot new digital trend announced. One trend that has resonated with audiences and kept brands on the top of timelines is user-generated content (UGC) – any form of content that was created by users on an online system or service featuring a brand hand.

User-generated content has become a major industry buzzword, and for good reason. It has been growing in popularity for the last 10 years and has seen a recent surge. Brands have realized that consumers trust what real users and their friends have to say about a product or service more than a random celebrity; so marketers started utilizing content shared across digital platforms in their social content strategies. User-generated content draws in fans and conveys an authentic tone that is relatable and inviting to the target audience.

Not only does UGC present a brand as more trustworthy, it is much cheaper to create and generally delivers a strong return on investment.

User-generated Content Fast Facts:

  • According to Ogilvy Research, 80% of a marketing campaign’s impressions come from social reach
  • User-generated videos are viewed 10x more than videos uploaded by a brand
  • Consumers spend an average of 4 hours per day with UGC
  • 71% of consumers say that user reviews make them more comfortable when buying a product
  • Brand engagement increases by 28% when consumers are exposed to both professional and UGC product videos


There are several ways to utilize UGC across various channels, including social media, websites, and blogs. Check out a few examples below:

Great user-generated content on Facebook:

User-generated content 2016

Source: Kindred People via Facebook Brand: Kindred People

Great user-generated content on YouTube:

Source: GoPro via YouTube  Brand: GoPro

Great user-generated content on Instagram:

user generated content 2016 ugc

Source: Hootsuite via Instagram Brand: Hootsuite


Great user-generated content in a website:

user-generated content 2016

Source: Room & Board Brand: Room and Board


UGC isn’t a difficult tactic to execute, but there are a few best practices to keep in mind when integrating it into a brand strategy.

Choose quality content to share. Although marketers might want to include all of the loyal fans who post photos and content about a brand, it is important to be selective when choosing UGC as some consumers are turned off by “amateur”, or low-quality content. Though it may take some digging, quality UGC is out there, and capitalizing on it will make a world of difference for a brand.

Next, make sure to get permission from the user before sharing content across brand channels. Although there is a perceived notion that anything posted on the internet is up for grabs, some fans might not be too pleased to see their photo or face on a brand profile without their knowledge. It could lead to damaging relationships instead of building stronger ones.

Be open to opportunities as they arise. Sometimes the best UGC is stumbled upon, not actively sought out. When this happens, marketers need to be ready to adjust on the fly and incorporate it into the strategy. Especially if it’s a timely piece of content.


When done right, user-generated content is a great way to connect with fans, start conversations and build an authentic brand story. Not to mention, it is a low investment with a high return on investment. It is time to embrace the content customers are sharing on social media. Give fans a reason to connect and be interested in an honest, transparent narrative, while building strong relationships and connections with fans. Ignite more conversations and conversions.

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