user generated content

Digital video cameras are now within the reach of many, and hence an advertising agency is not always needed to make an ad. A very popular example of user-generated content dates back to 2005, when two people in lab coats began dropping Mentos into bottles of Diet Coke and began recording the results.

The films that were recorded went viral and Mentos went on to sponsor the pair’s later efforts. Usually this type of content is sourced via a competition on different social media platforms. The winner is then selected by the business or chosen by public vote. 

According to a study conducted by TurnTo Networks, 90% of customers are of the opinion that user-generated content is more effective in influencing the customers’ purchase decisions compared to promotional mail and search engine results.

However, user-generated content can affect a business either positively or negatively.

Hence, it is crucial to know how to use it in the right manner.During the pandemic, user-generated content marketing is emerging as an effective alternative to traditional marketing.

The advantages and disadvantages of using this type of content are given below. 


Curated Content 

For a successful UGC campaign, strong UGC curation is needed. All user-generated content may not be about praising the brand all the time. It is wise to use some content that speaks negatively about a brand. If the curated content has both positive and negative aspects, it provides a great opportunity to gauge the brand sentiment and connect with unsatisfied customers. 

Cost- Effective

User-generated content is free, hence it is an excellent way to promote brands on a tight budget. This involves going through visual content on social media platforms that aligns with a brand’s values. For instance, leveraging UGC on Instagram is an effective way to strengthen the content strategy of a business. Not only does it result in diverse posts, but it is also the best way to crowdsource unique and scroll-stopping content for a brand’s feed. 

See also  Influencer Marketing Essentials


UGC creates a more authentic buying experience. This type of content is considered to be more trustworthy as it does not come from marketers and advertisers. Product reviews, unboxing videos, and Instagram photos are unfiltered means of evaluating  a product or service that increases shopper confidence. A few years ago, Warby-Parker let customers order five pairs of the company’s glasses to try on at home.

The one they liked most, they could keep and buy online, while the others could be mailed back. Before the purchase, the brand encouraged trial wearers to post photos of themselves on social media with the hashtag #warbyhometryon.The result was twenty-one thousand Instagram posts featuring customers looking for and giving advice on which frames to choose. 


Negative Content

Negative content can be damaging. Poorly written blog posts, inappropriate comments, and poor product reviews can be harmful for a business. So businesses have to be careful while relying on consumer-generated media. 

Moderation is Needed

Challenging campaigns and complex brand repositioning exercises should require a collaboration between advertiser and advertising agency. Since user-generated content is outside the company’s direct control, it has to be carefully managed.

Chevrolet had put a tool on its website that allowed visitors to create their own commercial for its Tahoe sport utility vehicle (SUV). The  feature was hijacked by anti-SUV activists who made videos that criticized the vehicle’s poor fuel efficiency and its negative impact on the environment.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.