Brand marketers who don’t know that user-generated content (UGC) is quickly becoming table stakes for paid and owned social media content probably have their head in the sand. More and more studies and data analysis show that UGC simply out-performs brand content.
It’s more authentic. It’s more appealing. It’s more effective.
New data released last week pushed brand’s needs for UGC to new heights as it showed 90% of consumers say they trust UGC more than even influencer content.
The survey, conducted by EnTribe, surveyed 1,000 Americans from ages 18-60.
The conclusion is clear: brand marketers need to invest in user-generated content to populate their paid, owned, earned and shared campaigns.
The Decline of Influencer Trust
In the digital era, influencers enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence as they became the go-to source for brand endorsements. Yet, as the industry matured, so did consumer skepticism. Today, consumers are more discerning, recognizing that influencers often prioritize financial gain over genuine recommendations. To a degree, this new data seems to validate the existence of the concept of influencer fatigue.
Enter User-Generated Content (UGC)
Assuming that consumers have perhaps lost trust in influencers, they are increasingly finding UGC to be more appealing. UGC refers to content created by everyday people who are passionate about a brand, product, or service. It includes customer reviews, social media posts, images, videos, and more. Most experts will tell you what sets UGC apart is its authenticity and relatability. Consumers perceive UGC as unbiased and trustworthy because it reflects the experiences and opinions of their peers.
The Power of UGC for Brands
Brands are beginning to recognize the immense value that UGC holds in building trust and credibility. UGC provides social proof, enabling consumers to see real people engaging with products or services. It instills confidence, especially when potential customers can relate to others who have already had positive experiences. Moreover, UGC humanizes brands, making them more approachable and relatable.
But is There More to the Story?
So far, all this makes sense. UGC is perceived to be more authentic because it is perceived to be content from real consumers. They naturally carry more authenticity and trust because they most likely aren’t being compensated for their content, even though some may be.
However, the reporting around the new data is set up to pit user-generated content against influencer content as if you should use one or the other. At CIPIO.ai, we think you should use both in different contexts and for different reasons. Within those, consumers will respond positively to either type.
The Real Difference in UGC vs. Influencer Content
Look at the simple explanation of UGC versus Influencer Content. UGC is content created by users the brand incorporates into its marketing. That content is published on brand channels and fuels organic social, paid social and media campaigns, website testimonials and reviews and the like.
Influencer Content is actually the same thing, only it’s ALSO published on the creator’s channel.
Internally, we’ve taken to calling the two UGC and UGC Plus, with the latter being influencer content because it’s also being published on the creator’s channels.
Why Our Approach is Different
The primary reason CIPIO.ai looks at UGC and Influencer Content is because we look at influencers differently. We start with the influential people your brand already knows: Your customers, social media followers, employees, partners and beyond. Instead of looking for social media celebrities with big followings, CIPIO.ai helps you map your own community, look at its members as if they could be influencers, and surfaces those with followings, engagement rates, ideal audience matches and beyond.
When your definition of an influencer begins with your own customers, you’re definition begins with user-generated content as the output.
CIPIO.ai allows brands to build a UGC library filled with authentic, user-created content that better aligns with their brand values and resonates with their target audience. We do so because we don’t pit UGC against influencers. We know that the truly influential people for your brand are those best suited to create that UGC in the first place.
We would love to show you how our philosophy comes to life with our end-to-end solutions for gathering UGC and engaging your community influencers. Schedule a call with us now to see!