UGC vs. Influencers: Making the Case for Consumer-Generated Content material


The traces between public relations, advertising and marketing and promoting proceed to blur, with every {industry} more and more mimicking or using one of the best ways of the others. Leveraging digital media channels to construct relationships along with your target market is now a mainstay in most communication methods.

Creating content material, working with influencers (aka influencer advertising and marketing), and amplifying user-generated content material (UGC) on-line are nice examples of areas that could be managed by communications groups, devoted social media particular person(s), public relations corporations, freelancers or advertising and marketing managers. It simply relies on the group.

We’ll start with some definitions and up to date statistics, then transfer on to evaluating UGC and IGC, ideas, and instance use case eventualities.

Consumer-generated content material (UGC) outlined

Consumer-generated content material is any content material made and shared by people reasonably than a model or group.

Maybe probably the most vital good thing about UGC (created by prospects or purchasers), comparable to an internet assessment, social media put up, podcast content material, or video commentary, is that it’s considered as extra genuine and reliable. UGC is among the greatest methods to domesticate and interact along with your neighborhood — and foster model loyalty. Bonus: UGC tends to be extremely shareable, furthering model or product consciousness.

Don’t get me incorrect, UGC gained’t work for everybody, and it’s not with out challenges. Like the rest on-line, addressing adverse or inappropriate content material is a critical concern. Curating and managing high quality UGC is time-consuming, which nonetheless means labor prices. (Bear in mind again when everybody thought “social media is free”? 😏)

Word: On this article, UGC refers to genuine user-generated content material, not “UGC-style” (paid) content material by creators that simulates the unpolished type of UGC.

Influencer-generated content material (IGC) outlined

Influencer-generated content material (aka influencer advertising and marketing) is a collaboration or partnership between manufacturers and standard on-line (often social media) customers to advertise the model’s services or products. It’s primarily a paid endorsement by somebody on-line who has a big or area of interest viewers, is well-liked and influential.

We’ve written about influencers and the influencer market – lots. Consequently, I gained’t belabor this part. For reference or bookmark for future studying, right here’s a few of what we’ve revealed to date this 12 months:

Influencer-generated content material isn’t going wherever. Based on Influencer Advertising Hub’s 2023 report, the influencer economic system is anticipated to develop to $21 billion (with a B) by the tip of the 12 months. Nevertheless, given the present financial uncertainties, manufacturers are understandably reducing again.

I’ve seen an uptick in {industry} information on discovering and utilizing unpaid influencers (like devotees and followers). To me, this sounds extra like a mixture of UGC and IGC. This technique is undoubtedly simpler on the finances however poses large threat potential for the model.

Look out, influencers, UGC is on the rise!

Individuals are getting uninterested in and even aggravated by the sheer quantity of influencer content material. And plenty of flip away from manufacturers altogether in the event that they really feel the influencer (and, by extension, the model) isn’t relatable.

A pie chart with text[SOURCE]

A current examine by EnTribe, a world UGC and creator relationship administration (CRM) platform, exhibits:

  • 81% of the shoppers surveyed say influencer endorsement has both no affect or a adverse affect on their buy decision-making.
  • 86% usually tend to belief a model that makes use of content material from precise prospects than paid influencers.
  • 83% say that they’re extra doubtless to purchase from a model that publishes UGC (from actual prospects) vs. IGC.

Harris Ballot performed analysis for Emplifi, a unified CX platform, surveying shoppers in each the US and UK earlier this 12 months. They found:

  • 87% of shoppers stated that real-life buyer opinions/rankings have a higher affect on buying selections in comparison with influencer/celeb opinions (50%).
  • 58% place a excessive worth on product photos or movies from real-life prospects when researching merchandise on-line — outranking worth, transport prices, and return insurance policies.

“There’s no higher option to display model authenticity than by placing natural buyer experiences entrance and heart. Manufacturers which might be already leveraging UGC are seeing measurable outcomes,” stated Emplifi’s Chief of Technique Kyle Wong.

Curiously, this actually isn’t new information. In early 2021, market analysis agency, Infosurv, surveyed shoppers within the US, UK and Australia on behalf of Stackla (now Nosto). The outcomes confirmed related findings. The findings assist UGC’s rising affect on post-pandemic buying selections:

  • 88% of shoppers say authenticity is essential when deciding which manufacturers they favor and assist (with 50% saying it’s crucial) — 8.7x extra impactful than influencer content material, the press launch claims.
  • 79% stated UGC extremely impacts their buying selections, whereas solely 12% stated branded content material and 9% stated influencer content material is impactful.
  • 59% of respondents stated UGC, content material created by different shoppers, is perceived as probably the most genuine.

UGC vs. Influencer Advertising

Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at the important thing variations between user-generated content material and influencer-generated content material:
A comparison of a content

Influencer advertising and marketing could be costly. For instance, Taylor Swift earns about $1.6 million per put up; Dwayne Johnson (aka ‘the Rock’) pulls in additional than $2 million per put up. Granted, these are shockingly excessive examples, however even micro-influencers can earn tons of to hundreds per put up.

Not solely do you want a authorized contract and to pay the creator, however you additionally should have the (inside or exterior) sources to establish, construct, coordinate and handle influencer relationships. Along with these sources, you want individuals to speak accepted messaging and timelines, establish model property to be used, and develop and handle an total approval course of.

Consumer-generated content material comes with its personal challenges, not the least of which is creating, constructing, and fostering a strong on-line model neighborhood. After getting that, encouraging and incentivizing your prospects to be model advocates and to put up socially shareable content material must be a bit simpler. Even with a powerful neighborhood, manufacturers typically encourage prospects by means of giveaways, awards and recognition, contests, or unique or early entry incentives. Simply keep in mind, this requires long-term dedication.

Anybody can re-share UGC like another social put up (implicit consent). Nevertheless, if you wish to use that content material on different platforms, in your web site or as a part of a advertising and marketing or PR marketing campaign, this falls beneath privateness legal guidelines that require you to get specific consent. The only manner to do that is by commenting on the put up and asking permission to re-use.

Word: In case your group is giant sufficient to have in-house authorized counsel, you must search it.
To be protected, you would possibly think about using licensing agreements, consent kinds, or a delegated UGC rights administration system.

Latest UGC examples

barbie AIgenThe latest and wildly profitable marketing campaign with UGC integration is, after all, the Barbie Film. I imply, who didn’t check out the Barbie selfie generator?!

As many astute PR professionals have famous, with each selfie shared got here extra publicity and protection for the film, dolls, and equipment.

The Mattel and Warner Bros. Discovery PR and advertising and marketing groups ready by securing over 100 model partnerships within the lead-up to the film. Via these partnerships, experiential advertising and marketing (like Malibu Barbie Café pop-ups and the “World of Barbie”) and social media (like TikTok lens extension and official Twitter emoji), they successfully manufactured “Barbie-mania”!

*The caveat of Barbie’s success is that the majority of us don’t work for multi-billion-dollar corporations and won’t doubtless see this stage of participation.

One other nice instance of leveraging user-generated content material is GoPro, the maker of motion cameras (cellular apps and video-editing software program). They encourage their followers to share images and movies they take utilizing the #GoPro Instagram hashtag.


The outcomes are awe-inspiring — particularly for a corporation that’s solely about 20 years outdated! Regardless that I reside a comparatively uninteresting, rural life, I’ve thought-about (a number of instances) shopping for a GoPro.

I’m an enormous proponent of learning earlier actions to (try to) be taught from different’s failures and successes. There are case research and examples on the market for almost each {industry}, from healthcare to finance to increased training. Earlier than starting your program, I recommend looking for out industry-specific or case-specific concepts to mannequin.


All of this signifies one factor clearly — the affect of influencer-generated content material on buy selections is diminishing. Visible social proof (like user-generated content material) is extra essential now than ever for manufacturers to leverage as a part of their on-line advertising and marketing and PR technique.

Individuals desire real-life suggestions over influencer or model promotions. UGC brings a way of unbiased authenticity, trustworthiness, and credibility — all key to any public relations marketing campaign!

Actual-life experiences and endorsements don’t simply make for good content material. They drive outcomes.


Burrelles monitoring lets you monitor mentions in real-time from all media – print, on-line, broadcast, and social — together with the power to combine Google Analytics for full reporting and analysis. Contact us right here for extra info and to debate your particular wants.


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