Why Content Created By Users Is More Valuable Than Brand

Back in 2014, the business world was wowed by something that was one of the biggest successes in content marketing.

When Starbucks launched its #WhiteCupContest, its following just blew up with the most inspiring content ideas. The contest engaged their followers to come up with creative ideas for the limited edition of the Starbucks to-go cup.

The winner, Brita Lynn, came up with the best idea, which helped her jump-start her career as a designer:

Apart from the winning design, Starbucks received over 4000 design ideas in just 3 weeks. This made this content one of the most successful examples of a marketing strategy involving user-generated content (UGC). So much so, that Starbucks decided to repeat this success with the #RedCupArt in 2016:

Starbucks is not the only brand that drew benefits from user-generated content. Companies like Coca Cola, Apple, and Netflix launched multi-million-dollar marketing campaigns, all thanks to the creative minds of their followers.

Looking at the success of these marketing campaigns, you might suggest that content created by users is more valuable than content created by the brand. And you won’t be entirely wrong.

Here’s why.

UGC Has More Influence on Purchase Decisions

Apart from diversifying your content strategy, user-generated content has a considerable impact on customer purchase decisions.

According to Social Toaster:

  • 84% of millennials say that user-generated content on a brand’s website or social media accounts has an influence on what they buy
  • 93% of consumers say that user-generated content is helpful when making a purchase decision
  • 70% of consumers turn to UGC reviews and 64% of consumers seek these reviews out to make a decision to buy from a brand.

On top of that, user-generated content is 20% more influential when it comes to purchase decisions than any other content, while also leading to a 29% increase in web conversions.

Why are these numbers possible?

User-generated content has the same effect as influencer marketing. Honest reviews from other consumers are more trustworthy than any branded content. And, when a brand uses user-generated content on their channels, it indicates a trust-based relationship between a consumer and a brand.

UGC Increases Brand’s Authenticity

Inauthenticity is the fastest way to kill your brand. According to the survey pulled together by Flatfy, an international real estate company, consumers crave authenticity. Reportedly, authentic content matters for 90% of millennials, 85% of Gen X, and 80% of boomers. Besides, almost 60% of respondents claim that less than half of brands use authentic content.

What impact does user-generated content have on your brand’s authenticity?

According to Stackla:

  • 86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. And, since user-generated content impersonates the brand’s support of its followers, it resonates with consumers as well.
  • 60% of consumers claim that user-generated content is the best when it comes to building a brand’s authenticity, as compared to branded content, which has only 20% of supporters.
  • 61% of consumers say that UGC is also the most effective marketing strategy.

To be perceived authentic, your brand should be reliable, respectful, and real. Involving user-generated content in your marketing strategy can help bring more authenticity to your image, while also driving sales since so many consumers strive for authentic brands.

UGC Campaigns Nourish Customer Loyalty

There’s nothing that can drive brand loyalty as much as the reciprocal support between a brand and a customer. In this support, user-generated content is a medium, a brand is a platform and followers are co-creators.

While user-generated content has better performance than branded content, when it comes to building customer loyalty, and is great for engaging a variety of audiences, it has the biggest impact on young generations.

Reportedly, millennials are the biggest age group that is heavily influenced by user-generated content:

  • 59% of millennials claim that they use UGC to choose the brand to purchase from
  • Millennials are also the biggest audience to produce user-generated content, contributing over 70% of the content.
  • 86% of millennials also say that user-generated content is a positive indicator of a brand’s quality.

The support and loyalty that comes from millennials, is an important indicator of UGC being one of the most effective content strategies.

Don’t Write Off Branded Content

Even though the advantages of user-generated content over branded content are obvious, don’t write off branded content from your marketing strategy just yet.

For the success of your content marketing strategy, it is important to find a happy medium. Taking advantage of user-generated content can also have negative consequences, making your content strategy too boring and bleak.

It’s the combination of user-generated and branded content that ensures the originality of your brand. However, it’s your strive for authenticity and customer loyalty that should drive your brand in your marketing efforts.

Ryan is a passionate writer who likes sharing his thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, he works as a digital marketing specialist, you can check his website. He likes everything related to traveling and new countries.

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