User generated content (UGC) is any content about your brand that’s been created by your customers.
It could be photos, videos, reviews, social media posts where they tag you, or online discussions created by them. And nowadays, it’s just about everywhere.
Leaning on UGC throughout your customer journey can be really effective, but sometimes the specific benefits can be a little unclear. Let’s take a look into the biggest ways UGC can help your brand succeed.
Benefits to user-generated content
1. UGC is SEO gold
Using UGC on your site increases the amount of text on each of your pages. This increases your credibility in search because it gives Google more context for what the page contains and helps it decide which search queries make the most sense to lead to your site. This text is also being constantly refreshed, so Google can see that your pages are still up to date and relevant.
Ratings associated with your reviews also gives Google a better idea of the quality of your products or services, so as long as your ratings aren’t overwhelmingly negative, this can really help your business rank in search as well.
2. Sites with UGC have better engagement and retention
Engagement and retention are both areas where you can never have too much. Fortunately, user-generated content is effective in improving both of them. Websites with UGC can see a 20% increase in return visitors and up to a 90% increase in time spent on site. And if you’re looking for engagement on social, UGC posts see a 28% higher engagement rate than your brand posts.
More engagement with your brand means more opportunities for sessions to convert into purchases.
3. UGC and higher conversion rates go hand-in-hand
And speaking of converting, conversion rates are one of the most important factors that go into your bottom line. Even a small increase can translate into a huge amount in revenue. This is one of the best reasons to incorporate UGC throughout your site and customer journey – they boost conversions and help you see more sales.
The more you can show off your customers talking about your brand, the better. Ann Summers incorporated product reviews onto their site – to show UGC that was specific to each product – and saw an increase in conversions of up to 230%. They even found that adding product reviews on a product that only had one-star – where there had previously been none – increased conversions on that product by 76%.
That’s because even user-generated content with bad feedback can be better than none at all. When shoppers see what the problem was – maybe the shipping wasn’t quick enough for the reviewers, but some buyers don’t mind waiting for the product to arrive – they can decide for themselves if it’s an issue, instead of buying without any previous customer feedback at all.
4. The voice of the customer is more trustworthy than other advertising methods
Shoppers trust UGC a lot more than traditional advertising and they’re 2.4 times more likely to view it as authentic, as opposed to content created by brands. Today’s shoppers are very savvy and have grown very weary of advertising. They know you’re going to talk about the great parts of your business and conveniently leave out any shortcomings.
This survey commissioned by London Research found that when respondents were interested in buying something ratings, reviews, and other forms of user-generated content were more important – by far – in influencing their purchasing decision than any marketing channels.
If you’re looking to make your customer journey and communications more trustworthy and effective, just start including more UGC from your customers and less of your own words about how great your business is.
5. UGC saves you time, money, and marketing resources
In addition to being more trustworthy, it’s also a lot more cost effective. If your happy customers are talking about your brand and engaging with it, wouldn’t you rather use that in your marketing efforts than spend your resources on creating new content that’s going to be less effective anyway?
Include your best reviews on your site and post them on your social channels. This gives you excellent content and frees up your team to focus on other tasks.
The term UGC also covers a wide range of formats that include not only written reviews, but also images, video reviews, unboxing videos and much more.
Many eCommerce brands are turning to the influential power of visual user-generated content, such as images and videos from social media, to help build trust and boost sales. When people trust UGC more than any other form of content, you can most certainly never have enough!
Did you know it is now possible to combine written reviews with visual reviews on your eCommerce pages? We've developed a technical integration with user-generated content platform, Miappi, that enables marketers to curate and license UGC from social media whilst requesting a Trustpilot review in the process. The result is that marketers can pair a written review with an image from the same customer, and then publish the paired content on their website for maximum impact.
6. UGC even offers insights into how your customers feel about your products and services
Anytime your customers are talking about your brand online, they’re sharing valuable consumer insights. Especially when they’re saying something negative.
Brands often shy away from this feedback or immediately jump into defense mode, but negative feedback often points you right to the areas where you can improve your business and create a better experience for your customers going forward.
Reviews can show you ways that your products or services are helping your customers that you might not have even been aware of
All customer feedback is worth taking into consideration, but the more often you’re seeing something mentioned by your customers the more likely it is that you need to fix or address it as soon as possible.
If you have a lot of reviews, you don’t need to do all of this work manually, either. If this sounds like a lot of work to do manually, fear not – there are tools out there that can do the work for you.
Putting user-generated content to work
The first step to apply these learnings to your own business is generating enough user-generated content that you can use it across your customer journey. Automating review collection after every purchase is the easiest way to do this. Once you have enough reviews at your disposal, it’s just a matter of adding them throughout your customer journey to start seeing the benefits we went through today.
Trustpilot can take care of both of these steps for you. This means minimal work on your end and maximum benefits for your business. Create a free Trustpilot account today to get started.