User Generated Content: Pros and Cons

Alex Fedorenko
Alex Fedorenko
Managing Partner & Co-Founder at Insense

Have you ever wondered why user-generated content (UGC) has become such a popular form of digital marketing?

Enter… authenticity. 

Unlike traditional advertising, UGC helps you promote content that your customers create. 

However, even though UGC is undoubtedly very effective, there are a few downsides you should consider before starting your UGC campaign. 

In this article, we’ll provide you with all the nitty gritty details you need to make an informed decision about UGC. 

You’ll learn about: 

  • User-generated content meaning
  • Benefits of user-generated content.
  • Possible risks for your business.
  • Legal aspects to consider in your upcoming UGC campaigns.

We’ll start right away.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is any content (text, image, videos, audio, etc.) that’s inspired by the experience of real users of a product or service.

Let’s break this down a bit.

When a user creates and shares content about your brand online, and they’re not an employee of your brand or an affiliate influencer, then that content is user-generated. 

UGC comes in many forms, such as:

Simply put, UGC is generally willingly generated by users without the brand’s influence.

Sometimes, users may even tag the brand on their posts or use a branded hashtag to get the brand to notice them.

This is especially helpful for brand owners like you because it allows you to easily discover brand mentions by your audience online, and potentially launch UGC marketing campaigns.

You can do this by simply repurposing UGC or reposting it on your website or social media platforms.

Let’s now take a look at the benefits of this content marketing strategy.

Pros of User-Generated Content

There are various advantages of user-generated content. You can improve engagement, drive sales, and build trust, amongst so many more things.

These benefits aren’t just speculations. So let’s dive deeper into why and how UGC can help you achieve these things.

1. Can improve engagement

First things first, UGC is a great tool for word-of-mouth advertising.

Here’s proof.

A few months ago BabyQuip, a baby equipment rental service, needed a way to increase brand awareness and expand their business in various countries.

To do this, they partnered with Insense to onboard UGC content creators and influencers.

The creators were requested to create fully edited content (relatable 20–90 sec video reviews, testimonials or how-tos about the BabyQuip app) and then post the content to their TikTok feed.

The result?

The campaign generated over 40,000 views and high engagement rates.

This technique doesn’t just apply to BabyQuip.

When different users post positive product reviews of your brand, it is only natural that it creates traction.

As more people talk about your brand, you gain the curiosity of their followers.

These followers eventually become potential customers who go to your social media channels and explore your page, thus liking, following, commenting, and even sharing your branded content.

Additionally, statistics show that:

  • 43% of consumers are more likely to engage with a brand if it shares their photo or video.
  • 61% of consumers would be more loyal and more likely to buy from a brand if they were invited to be content creators for the brand.

2. Minimizes the demand for additional content  

When hundreds of real people consistently post quality content for your brand, it minimizes the amount of branded content you need to create yourself.

All you have to do is simply curate, repost, or remodel the content they post.

Doing this also saves you tons of money on influencer marketing and content campaigns. 

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

The average pricing for an Instagram influencer per post is:

  • Nano-influencers (1K – 5K): $10 – $50.
  • Micro-influencers (5K – 20K): $15 – $110.
  • Mid-tier influencers (20K – 100K): $35 – $350.
  • Macro-influencers (100K – 1M): $185 – $2,500.
  • Mega-influencers (>1M): average min. $1,200.

For TikTok influencers:

  • Nano-influencers (1K – 5K): $4 – $25.
  • Micro-influencers (5K – 20K): $14 – $50.
  • Mid-tier influencers (20K – 100K): $30 – $145.
  • Macro-influencers (100K – 1M): $151 – $793.
  • Mega-influencers (>1M): average min. $1,034.

For Facebook Influencers:

  • Nano-influencers (1K – 5K): $25 – $100.
  • Micro-influencers (5K – 20K): $100 – $800.
  • Mid-tier influencers (20K – 100K): $800 – $2,500.
  • Macro-influencers (100K – 1M): $2,500 – $10,000.
  • Mega-influencers (>1M): $10,000+.

Rather than spending so many incentives and so much time on finding influencers to create content for each of these social networks, UGC helps you redirect that money to different aspects of your business.

3. Helps to improve conversions

When a user responds to a call-to-action or performs a desired action, like making a purchase or booking a demo, that’s a conversion.

But what does this have to do with UGC?

Well statistically, in 2022 site visitors who were served up some form of UGC experienced a 3.8% increase in conversion rates. 

This increase also extended to all forms of social media platforms. Visitors who interacted with UGC in some way converted at a rate that was 102.4% higher than average. 

A practical example of where conversion was significantly improved by UGC was with Maty's Health, a health remedy for babies, children & adults.

The challenge was to increase reach and landing page views by combining 50% UGC and 50% branded content.

To do this, Insense found and connected with more than 50 high-quality UGC creators in the kids & parenting category.

As a result of this UGC campaign, Maty's Health increased their marketing efforts and got over 50 UGC assets and creator ads that drove 70,000 reach and generated views for the brand’s landing page.

4. Builds trust for your brand

Trust and authenticity are fundamental in digital marketing. 

It’s quite natural to be skeptical about buying a product online, but it’s been proven that UGC helps reduce this skepticism.

Here are the facts:

  • 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above all other advertising.
  • 70% of Gen Z and 78% of millennials find UGC helpful with purchasing decisions.
  • 84% of Gen Z tend to trust brands that have real customers in their ads.
  • Plus, 93% of customers find UGC very helpful in their purchasing decisions.
  • User-generated product videos are more successful in producing emotional intensity — 84% for UGC — compared to 77% for branded content.
  • 82% of people have purchased or considered buying a product or service after seeing friends, family, or influencers post about it.
  • 36% of users have reshared posts by other internet users on social media platforms.
  • UGC is trusted 50% more than other types of media by millennials.
  • Consumers are 2.4x more likely to perceive UGC as more authentic than branded content.

Now to the disadvantages of UGC.

Cons of User-Generated Content

UGC content moderation can sometimes be a disadvantage. 

Trying to ensure that the video reviews and UGC content adheres to community guidelines can be quite stressful.

And then there’s the legal regulations on social media which can also be time-consuming, especially when you’re struggling to create accurate and relevant UGC.

Below are more of the risks involved in using this form of content.

1. Poses risk of negative content

There's positive feedback and there's negative feedback. Both are part of the game. The negative content may not necessarily be product reviews; they may be user reviews in poorly written blog posts, inappropriate comments, and so on.

So what do you do when you see negative reviews?

Many brands make the mistake of overzealously trying to remove it from the digital realm to maintain a positive brand image, but this isn’t always the right way to go.

Rather than viewing these negative comments from a place of anger, you might want to look at them as opportunities for learning and improving. 

In other words, don’t focus too much on removing them; instead focus on using it to improve your social proof. 

You can do this by responding, acknowledging them, and apologizing for the bad experiences users have had with your products or services.

2. Requires monitoring 

Because UGC content is user-generated, you have absolutely no control over the type of content that is posted for online reviews. 

Therefore you need to closely monitor and supervise brand mentions and UGC content.

Naturally, getting someone to do these or doing it yourself will cost you time and money. 

3. Offers no control over who creates the content

Another disadvantage of UGC is that the sources may be unreliable or unknown.

Many times, people who leave reviews of brands have no authoritative background, which can make their reviews unreliable. 

4. Comes with a legal aspect you need to take into consideration

Assuming you want to repost an image or a video a user created, you can’t just go on reposting it across your social media platforms. 

First, you need to request permission to avoid issues of copyright.

You don’t own any rights to a user’s content, even if they use your hashtag and talk about your product or service.

Secondly, you can ask for permission by sending them personalized emails or a simple DM.

Although this can be quite tedious, it’s the only solution to avoid legal issues.

Let’s now wrap this up!

Now Over to You

There you have it!

You now know the pros and cons of UGC. 

If you’re ready to start your UGC marketing campaign, then you should leverage the benefits of influencer marketing platforms like Insense.

Insense is an influencer marketing platform that can facilitate and optimize your content seeding efforts. 

Ready now? Book a demo with Insense.

Share this article
Alex Fedorenko

Get started with Insense today

Start getting UGC and collaborating with creators for organic posting and whitelisted ad campaigns.

Diverse images of creators

Your Complete Guide to TikTok for Amazon Sellers

TikTok has an average CPC of just $0.51 - making it an affordable and highly effective way to drive consumers to your Amazon page.

Download for free