3 Ways UGC Will Change Advertising

User-generated content (UGC) captures an authentic intimacy no other creative format can match. Today, brands invest heavily in TV creative.  This trend needs to change in order to impact brands' bottom line and consumer trust.  Here are the top insights of UGC’s growing importance and which brands employ it successfully.

UGC captures real-time moods.  An Interactive Advertising Bureau study shows UGC is 35% more memorable compared to other media. Why?  Because UGC capitalizes on being in the moment of the cultural zeitgeist in a way that heavily produced shoots cannot adapt.

A best-in-class example of real time creative is from L’Oreal Paris.  Eva Longoria posted on Instagram how she conceals her roots using L’Oreal Paris’ Magic Root.  It created a frenzy on social.  

As a result, Eva directs a new spot for IGTV on how easy it is to color her hair with L’Oreal’s Excellence Crème.  The content is also used for TV.  It’s the first of its kind shot entirely on an iPhone.  L’Oréal flips the model of repurposing TV spots for digital by going social first and being in the moment.



UGC creates diversity cost-effectively. Consumers use their diversity values to dictate spending habits. According to Adobe’s 2019 study, one third of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand with diverse ads.

Representing multiple voices at scale is not feasible with traditional production, but is with UGC. Because it is already created content, it reduces the risk of creating a spot that lacks appeal.  UGC is the most multi-faceted way to represent all consumer voices and gain brand trust.

YouTube’s #WithMe is a great example of showcasing diversity. It’s successful because YouTube shows real people from different backgrounds sharing their stories.  It proves You Tube’s searchability depth to find the right content for any consumer need.

A changing shopper funnel makes UGC more important. Shopping behaviors are changing.  Consumers are not able to try before they buy as easily as they could pre-pandemic. According to Ernst and Young Futures Consumer index, 42% of respondents believe the way they shop will fundamentally change and they would pay 25% more for trusted brands as a result of COVID-19.  Consumer reviews are becoming more important. In the 2018 PowerReviews study, “The Growing Power Of Reviews,” 97% of consumers consult product reviews when making purchases.

Consumer’s safety needs will provide more emphasis on consumer reviews and research online. Nielsen found 92% of consumers trust UGC more than they trust traditional advertising. An IAB study found ads featuring UGC garnered 73% more positive comments on social networks versus traditional ads. Now more than ever, UGC will move consumers down the purchase funnel.

To win big in the attention economy, brands need to redirect efforts towards UGC.  The cost savings impacts the bottom line. More importantly, it draws insights that inform higher-end productions and represents more voices. When UGC is created with all this in mind, it will transform the advertising industry.

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