User Generated Content (UGC) is a popular form of social media marketing right now. The concept originated in the US, and is starting to explode in Europe too. But, UGC for beginners can be a little difficult to understand.

After all, until recent years, User Generated Content previously referred to something else entirely.

Not sure what UGC is and why it’s important for marketers in today’s busy digital world? That’s okay — I’ve got you covered with this simple guide.

How Does UGC Work

What Is UGC and What Does UGC Stand For?

Let’s go back to basics with the definition of User Generated Content. In short, UGC is content created by consumers, not brands.

It used to be the case that UGC consisted of unpaid or unsponsored testimonials, photos, videos, audio and social posts that customers would publish on their platforms to review a product or service. It would be a natural way to increase brand exposure and create a positive impression in the minds of potential customers so that they might be persuaded to make a purchase.

What Is a UGC Creator?

Nowadays, brands pay creators to produce UGC as if they are a paid customer. They let UGC creators sample their products and/or services to then be able to make content that the brand can advertise on their social media channels. 

UGC creators often get a fixed rate per project and work on a freelance basis. They may do one-off projects with a brand or have a monthly retainer for regular UGC work. Either way, they are self-employed and do their own taxes.

What Is a UGC Creator

Types of User Generated Content

You know the video ads that pop up on your feed as you’re scrolling Facebook, Instagram or TikTok? Often, they’re UGC ads, especially if they feature an apparent customer talking about their experience with a brand. They tend to be up to 60 seconds long and are purposefully kept short and snappy to sustain attention.

The more modern version of UGC produced by creators doesn’t just include video ads. It also includes photos and audio.

The most common type of UGC is a video ad. Video marketing is huge at the moment and it makes sense for brands to tap into it to get a slice of the proverbial pie.

Case in point: according to Wyzowl, 91% of businesses use video as a marketing tool and 88%of marketers see video as an important part of their overall strategy.

  • Live action is the most commonly created type of video with 48% of marketers opting for this.
  • 24% of marketers create animated video.
  • The remaining 22% focus on screen-recorded videos.

Why User Generated Content Works

User Generated Content is a more real and authentic way of marketing products and/or services, which 88% of consumers say is important when it comes to the brands they choose to support.

People trust people so relatable content is more likely to influence purchasing decisions. In fact, 80% of consumers claim that UGC massively impacts their buying behaviour. It essentially acts as social proof that a product or service is worth purchasing, boosting consumer confidence and conversions.

Benefits of User Generated Content

Let’s delve deeper into the benefits of UGC.

  • Ads based on User Generated Content have four times higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in cost-per-click compared to average ads. 
  • Brands can experience a 28% lift in social media engagement thanks to UGC.
  • Brands that post UGC ads have a 29% increase in website conversions with a 90% increase in time spent on-site.
  • User Generated Content drives a 73% increase in email click-through rates.

With more than 86% of companies incorporating UGC as part of their marketing strategy (and getting results), brands that aren’t UGC are slowly getting left behind.

How Does UGC Work?

So, now I’ve convinced you of the many advantages of User Generated Content and how it’s an exciting time to be a part of the UGC scene, let’s talk about how it works.

There are five key steps.

1. The Start of a Great Partnership

UGC creators will market their services through freelance marketplaces, social media, UGC platforms and their own websites. They will either apply for opportunities posted by brands or brands will find their profiles and contact them directly.

2. Discussion

The brand and creator will then discuss all the details in terms of content quantity, length/size, platform of publication and usage duration.

Sometimes, the brand provides a storyboard and/or script for the UGC creator. Other times, the UGC creator will be in creative control and may submit a storyboard and/or script to the brand for approval prior to filming.

UGC for Beginners

3. Agreement

UGC creators will send over a rate card or the brand will state their budget for the deliverables discussed. Once this is agreed, they will talk about the timeline for the campaign and whether products need to be sent to be featured in the content.

If so, the brand will arrange this and contracts will be signed ahead of product delivery.

4. Delivery

The UCC creator will receive the product (if applicable) and film the content before submitting it to the brand before the agreed-upon delivery date. 

Usually, UGC creators will offer one revision within their rates to cover any edits that may need to be made once the brand has reviewed the content. If this is the case, the brand will give feedback and the UGC creator will go ahead and action the changes before re-submitting the content.

5. Payment and Success

Once the brand has approved the content (and everybody’s happy), the UGC creator will send an invoice and be paid for their services in the agreed timeline and by the agreed payment method. Some UGC creators choose to watermark their content until they have received payment from the brand, and then they will send through the final version.

Hopefully both parties are victory-dancing at this point after a successful collaboration!

Examples of User Generated Content

I couldn’t finish this UGC for beginners guide without showing you some UGC examples. If you’re new to this blog you may not know that I am a UK UGC creator based in North Yorkshire and have significant experience in the industry.

Here are a couple of UGC ad examples I’ve created in the beauty niche:

For more examples, see my UGC portfolio.

Final Thoughts on UGC for Beginners

Hopefully you’ve found this UGC for beginners guide helpful and you’re ready to embark upon your UGC journey, whether it’s as a brand hiring UGC creators or a UGC creator yourself. Either way, just remember that UGC is a relatively new concept but one that’s taking off all around the world.

It’s a good idea to get on board now so you can begin reaping the rewards. As with anything, it’ll be a learning curve to start with, but I’m behind you every step of the way!

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments. <3