User Generated Content Brand Purpose Brand Strategy

Five reasons why user-generated content will dominate marketing in 2023

By Margo Waldrop, Content Writer

March 8, 2023 | 8 min read

Content creation and consumption are rapidly evolving in an attempt to generate more authentic information for consumers. User-generated content (UGC) has made an indelible mark upon people who seek out brands worthy of their trust and money. Learn more about the rise of UGC and how it will impact marketing in 2023.

Coca-Cola ‘Share a Coke’ campaign

Coca-Cola ‘Share a Coke’ campaign / Jeremy Bishop/Unsplash

Celebrities, athletes, and influencers are all paid promotional ‘tools’ hawking brands’ products or services. However, one of the quickest rising tools is poised for a stellar year in 2023. UGC, or user-generated content, is rapidly spreading and brands are beginning to jump on board. Though some companies are still waiting in the wings, many are smartly including UGC as a major component of their marketing.

Part of the value of this medium is user-generated content can take any contextual form: reviews, videos, testimonials, images, social posts, live streams, blogs, and YouTube content, as well as employee generated content. It creates a multi-dimensional, omni-channel prospect to supplement traditional marketing.

One of the more famous examples of a brand employing UGC is the Coca-Cola ‘Share a Coke’ campaign launched in 2011. Their clever initiative printed popular first names onto Coca-Cola bottles and cans along with advertising that encouraged customers to post photos of themselves drinking their self-labeled can of Coke.

This successful project led to more companies following suit, with UGC becoming part of many successful brand campaigns. While UGC is technically past its infancy, it’s still an underutilized faction of advertising that brands should consider. Read on to discover the five major reasons why user-generated content will dominate marketing in 2023.

1. UGC is proven to work

As far as the proof that UGC works, here are a few stats to consider:

  • User generated photos are 5x more likely to convert customers
  • 74% of consumers make buying decisions based off social media
  • Visitors to websites that have UGC galleries spend 90% more time on the site
  • A 50% engagement lift is seen in social campaigns that utilize UGC
  • 85% of consumers see UGC as more influencer than brand videos or photos

Take Netflix for example, when promoting season two of Stranger Things, they promoted user-generated content through the use of hashtags related to the show. In doing so, they generated one million viewers within just two weeks.

2. Consumers trust brands who use UGC

When consumers see that brands are including customers as part of their journey, they trust the brand more with the understanding that if other consumers are having a positive experience, then they have a higher chance that they also will have a good experience. They trust word of mouth advertising more than brand advertising because this type of marketing gives brands more credibility and authenticity, in fact a consumer survey revealed 84% of respondents trust brands more if they use UGC. It puts faces to a normally faceless brand, and consumer opinions are regarded as genuine and unbiased versus normal advertising.

3. UGC positively affects brand awareness

When customers do your marketing for you through UGC, your demographic sphere widens exponentially, bringing in customers you might not have normally reached. The act of sharers tagging your brand also gives you opportunities to engage more, as well as have a window into your new sphere to collect better product and marketing data. This new set of marketing eyes also allows brands to tap into customer needs, bringing them clarity regarding how their products are serving consumers. In a 2021 survey of marketers, 93% agreed that UGC is trusted more by consumers than brand content.

4. Serves as definitive social proof

UGC is essentially a badge of confidence given by customers to their favorite brands. Considering that 79% of consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by user-generated content, social proof is essential for brand revenue. It proves that your product is worth the promise it gives, and that you have a brand worth talking about. When consumers see definitive social proof, they are more open to dialogue with brands as well as taking chances on other products produced by the same company. It also helps customers feel seen and heard, which is important in today’s product market saturation.

5. Community elevates your brand

People love being part of a community and when they see that your brand has embraced customers enough to encourage interactions, your brand awareness is elevated to a much higher degree. Consumers bond more with brands who build a community around themselves, they also engage more and share more social posts concerning the brand. In fact, consumer engagement is increased by 21% when a brand has nurtured a community around itself. It’s much easier for customers to share their values and beliefs with a brand who encourages engagement amongst each other.

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As marketing capabilities continue to evolve and grow, one thing will remain constant, user-generated content. More consumers are taking to social media and other mediums to express their thoughts, and if brands can create strategies that capitalize on this new social consciousness, then growing revenue is a definite part of their future.

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