Digital marketers are becoming increasingly dependent on user-generated content (UGC). UGC consists of reviews, social media posts or testimonial videos created by real users of products and services (instead of influencers or actors). Companies, especially e-commerce brands are constantly in a race to sell their products and build a following on the internet. However, they forget that buyers today are highly skeptical because they get bombarded by ads from similar companies on a daily basis.
That doesn’t mean people don’t want to buy new things online. Online retailers have to constantly prove their legitimacy and they can’t do that without having a real physical store. UGC, on the other hand, adds a layer of soothing confidence that helps buyers make a decision. Let’s talk about how you can monetize UGC and use it to your advantage.
What is UGC?
User-generated content or UGC is any type of content that is created by real customers of a product or service. UGC is known to portray brands in a genuine and authentic light, providing companies with an opportunity to establish rapport with their audiences. This type of content can help boost conversions and engagement, allowing companies to approach traditional marketing strategies in new and interesting ways.
Consumers are more likely to trust a brand that is promoted by “real people'' instead of influencers or celebrities. It comes in many types such as testimonial videos, reviews, photo shoutouts, hashtag posts and so on.
What Does UGC Monetization Mean?
Don’t be confused by the term “UGC monetization”. The word “monetization” in this case doesn’t mean posting UGC online and turning it into income. Instead, UGC monetization is used by brands and marketers to leverage community-generated photos and videos to achieve their marketing goals.
For example, an e-commerce brand is likely to get better conversions on its product pages if it uses pictures or videos of real people purchasing their products. According to research, a third of all Gen Z consumers refrain from making a purchase from a new store unless they see photos of real people who have purchased the same product before.
By leveraging UGC, you can not only boost conversions on your website but also establish yourself as a trustworthy brand. Brands typically launch UGC strategies on their social media as well, where customers are encouraged to post videos and photo reviews with branded hashtags, for example. This is an essential tool in building brand reputation as each piece of content serves as a long-term asset that convinces more buyers to head your way through word-of-mouth.
Content from “real people” is authentic and therefore, it is more believable than traditional marketing videos with actors and influencers. In addition, people are more likely to stop scrolling to watch UGC – because it looks just like any other piece of content on the internet. Corporate ads or sponsored posts are intrusive and a lot of users tend to scroll away immediately.
How to Create and Monetize UGC
There are two ways you can create UGC for your brand. You can either source it from creators using UGC platforms or get it from your users. Let’s take a look at both methods:
Sourcing Content from UGC Creators
If your brand is still new or if you’re not able to get quality UGC from your users, you can easily source it from UGC creators instead. This is different from influencer marketing - UGC creators usually produce content for you to post on your own social media channels. The key to a successful UGC campaign is consistency, that’s why you’ll need a lot of creators to produce content for you round-the-clock.
Of course, this can be impractical, as you’ll need to expend a lot of resources finding creators and then dealing with all of them one by one. This is where UGC platforms come into play. Let’s take a look at some popular ones.
Paysenger is a social marketplace where you can easily purchase any type of content from creators in any niche. The platform is full of creators and experts offering various types of content in exchange for EGO tokens (the platform’s native currency).
You can simply find a creator using search filters and check their portfolio on their Paysenger’s profile. Creators advertise their pricing and content offering directly on their profiles and you can place an order in just a few seconds.
Paysenger makes it really easy to source fresh content without extensive back-and-forth communication that you would usually have on Instagram or other social platforms.
Trend uses its “creator network” to produce quality content in big numbers. However, this option could get pricey since you’re also paying a lot of platform fees on top of creator fees. It’s generally cheaper to work with creators directly.
The platform offers many content types including product shots, testimonial videos, unboxing videos, action shots and so on. Content quality on Trend is generally quite high, as most UGC creators use high-end equipment. However, for some campaigns it’s better to stick to content made by “real people” and not professional artists.
Pixlee specializes in helping community-oriented brands collect UGC from real users. The platform also offers the ability to distribute content on social channels and manage community relationships. It works especially well for e-commerce brands who collect regular reviews and photos from purchasers.
Collecting Content from Real Users on Social Media
Even if you plan on using UGC platforms or creators to source content, have a social media strategy in place so your real users are encouraged to provide you with UGC. Through contests, giveaways, and other incentives, encourage users to create content. Provide clear guidelines and rules for content creation – you can do that by creating hashtag challenges.
Ask for reviews and give bonus points for picture or video reviews. Create full discounts or even spend some money to have your customers say good things about you on social media. Word-of-mouth is the most powerful form of marketing!
Remember: community-generated content is free or at least cheaper than paid content. It has a much bigger impact because it comes from real customers. You can recycle this content for decades and use it in all of your marketing campaigns. Make sure you don’t miss out on this.
Examples of Successful UGC Monetization Strategies
Airbnb’s entire marketing strategy thrives on user-generated content. 77% of all content posted by AirBnb in Q4 2016 was UGC. That makes perfect sense because 30% of all millennials spend 5 hours per day scrolling through content created by other users.
Paid ad click-throughs have reduced a lot and that’s why brands like AirBnb are focusing primarily on UGC to focus on the greater market share. One of the strategies it uses is that it encourages people to take photos of their AirBnb booking and post it on Instagram. Then, AirBnb reaches out to these users to ask if they can repost their photo.
Some of the most engaged posts on the company’s Instagram handle are all reposts from real users. You can get an edge by using a platform like Paysenger to pay creators to produce UGC for you or to give you a shoutout on Instagram. It’s much faster than asking everyone for permission or waiting for them to respond to your CTAs.
Why UGC Might Not Be for Everybody
The biggest drawback of UGC is that as a brand you have very little control over the style and quality of the content users create for you. There are also compliance issues and you might end up spending a lot of time ensuring that every piece of content is compliant with terms and conditions of your social platform.
Moderating UGC can easily become challenging unless you have the time and resources to manage it. This is generally not possible for small-to-medium size companies. However, you can overcome this by using a UGC platform like Paysenger. By using Paysenger, you won’t need to moderate UGC content as you can ask creators to produce it for you in accordance with platform policies and your brand identity.
Monetizing UGC is a fantastic way for companies to boost community involvement and conversion rates. Although UGC isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for every company, it’s one of the best ways for community-oriented brands (especially B2C e-commerce companies) to get an edge in the market.
It takes time to craft and launch a full UGC strategy, so it’s better to use a platform like Paysenger to order UGC directly from real users. This saves a lot of time and resources because you’ll have full control over the quality of the final product. Download Paysenger – a social marketplace to purchase on-demand content from creators in all industries and niches. Ask creators for favors and jumpstart your influencer / word-of-mouth marketing strategy.