By Nadine Hild

In today’s world, it’s no longer just businesses and content marketers creating and sharing content. Fuelled by the popularity of social media networks, consumers around the world have become creators, consumers and distributors of content – making today’s media ecosystem collaborative and collective.

User-generated content (UGC) – content related to your brand but created by someone not officially representing your business – can take on a variety of formats. It could be a review left on Amazon, a brand review on YouTube or an image posted on Instagram of your product.

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User-generated content can be a real asset to brands

UGC is one of the fastest growing forms of content on the Internet and it really lends itself well to social platforms. For all the struggling content marketers who say finding sources to create great content as well creating enough content on a regular basis is a problem, UGC is a true asset.

So, why not use those assets in your paid social advertising campaigns and take a more customer-centric approach with your creatives? In this blog, we’ll go through why we think incorporating UGC in your paid social strategy works, as well as how you can get started with some easy-to-realise ideas.

Why does it work?

According to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92% of consumers trust user-generated content more than traditional advertising  and 81% say their purchasing decisions have been influenced by social media posts. Credibility and authenticity play a big part here as UGC is viewed as genuine and engaging.

UGC in Facebook ads has led to a 300% higher click-through-rate (CTR), 50% lower cost-per-click (CPC) and 50% lower cost-per-acquisition (CPA) for some brands. Some brands have reported 4.5% higher conversion rates and seen 6.9 times higher engagement than from brand-generated content.

To avoid ad fatigue, we encourage clients to switch out their creatives at least every four weeks. But for businesses with limited resources, creating engaging and platform-specific creatives on such a regular basis can be a struggle. Incorporating more UGC in your paid social strategy is far cheaper than shooting videos and images yourself or hiring a creative agency to do so.

You probably already have customers who are sharing their real brand experiences online – featuring your products or service in everyday life. There is a huge opportunity here for you to build a library of unique visual content and boost your paid social campaigns. 

Ways to incorporate UGC in your social media advertising

You can source content for your paid social ads in a variety of ways. If you have a branded hashtag on Instagram (e.g. #HereToCreate by Adidas), you can search for brand-related content, or keep an eye on who tagged you in their posts and ask permission from users to use your favourite visuals in your paid advertising campaigns. Some users will be happy for you to use their content for free, but do consider offering discounts or a gift/prize in most instances.

We often see ads from Pura Vida Bracelets who are continuously creating new Facebook carousel ads with user content sourced from Instagram. This is a great way for them to avoid ad fatigue and showcase their products uniquely styled on real customers.

For our client Kate Somerville, we’ve seen much higher engagement from this type of content across their Facebook campaigns. They posted a video featuring a blogger using one of their products on their Instagram account, which we then re-purposed for a paid Facebook and Instagram campaign. This UGC video had a 127% higher CTR than our average.

Another way you can use UGC in your next paid social campaign is by incorporating real customer reviews to help boost campaign performance. These work well if used in your ad copy or overlaid on image or video assets. Blenders Eyewear is incorporating customer reviews and ratings in their Dynamic Product Ads on Facebook. As a result, the brand benefited from a 38% lower CPA, 40% lower CPC and increased their return on ad spend by 62%.

With the results we have seen reported across the web and from our own clients, we think brands should give using UGC in their paid social ads a go. Reach out to us if you’d like to discuss ideas on how we can revamp your paid social creatives.

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