To Tell The Truth: Consumers Trust User-Generated Content The Most

There’s no need for email creatives to feel threatened by this, but a new study from Stackla shows that consumers trust user-generated content (UGC) above all other types of marketing communication.  

Maybe it’s the way the question was asked. But 59% say UGC is the most authentic form of content. The kind offered by brands pulls less than 20% and influencer content scores only 10%. 

That’s no small thing because shoppers demand authenticity and personalization above all else.  

For instance, 88% of consumers say authenticity is important when choosing brands. How they define that term is unclear, but 83% say companies must do better in terms of providing it. 

UGC presents an interesting challenge to email marketers. An email can link to that type of content, or perhaps publish comments from customers. 

Meanwhile, 70% say brands should provide them with more personalized experiences, and 72% state they will buy more from a firm that does. 



And note this: 31% have left an ecommerce site without making a purchase because “the experience wasn’t personalized enough,” the study says. 

What type of content highly influences purchasing decisions? The respondents answered as follows:

User-generated content — 79%

Brand-created content — 12%

Influencer-created content — 9%

This feeling is especially pronounced among millennials (81%) and Gen Z (86%). In contrast, 73% of Gen X are more likely to buy from a site that features UGC photos and videos.  

But marketing and advertising can’t suddenly disappear. UGC only works when there is context (and offers and promotions). And in the interest of full disclosure, Stackla offers UGC services. 

Here’s a capability you will soon need if this study is correct: 71% of consumers are more likely to buy from an online store when there is an easy way to click-to-buy an item from an inspirational image. 

It’s possible you can now do this in emails — at least those that feature Google’s AMP (Associated Mobile Pages) for email: Customers can interact with live content without clicking through to a web page, meaning they can take a survey, respond to an invite or order merchandise — all within the email. 

In general, 67% of consumers say their online purchasing has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 91% are likely to continue.

In addition, 59% have purchased from new brands, and 75% plan to continue trying them. 

Social media use has also grown apace, with 72% spending more time on it.

The winning platforms in terms of time spent are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, Twitter and Pinterest.

But there are generational splits: For instance, 23% of Gen Z uses YouTube the most, while 21% favor Tik Tok and 20% Instagram.  

Stackla, a content engine, surveyed 2,042 consumers in the U.S., the UK and Australia. 

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