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10 Stats to Know About User-Generated Content

  • 25 July 2017
  • Dean Schmid

User-generated content is the piece de resistance of content marketing.

And I am not just saying that because I am constantly looking for an excuse to use fancy French words.

Convincing customers to create authentic, trusted content about your brand, share it with their friends and family, and basically, do your job for you, is the stuff marketers dream about.

It is hard to meet the content needs of an audience. General blog posts, in the awareness stage, informative, sometimes branded, content in the consideration stage, and then sales orientated text to encourage a conversion in the decision stage, then keep that content mill turning day after day, year after year.

The customer’s voice, their reviews, and testimonials are among the most trusted forms of advertising. So why not add them to your campaign?

for burned out content writers, advocates are more than just a trusted voice, they are a clever delegation that can keep the busy publisher sane.

10 Stats to Know About User Generated Content

1. Professionally produced content performed 28% better with user-generated content.

A ComScore study looked at the synergistic relationship between user-generated content and professionally created content to measure their effectiveness when used together.

They separated consumers and showed them, professionally produced content, then user-generated content, and finally, both user-generated content and professionally produced content together.

The results were conclusive. When used in tandem the two types of content were more effective than either content type alone.


The study found that professionally produced content helped the consumers to understand the key message that was being presented, while the user-generated content was easier to relate to and form and emotional connection with. These two experiences complement one another and contribute to a better response from both content types.

2. User-generated posts drove higher engagement than brand-generated posts: User-generated content featuring a brand drove 6.9x higher engagement than brand-generated content.

A report by Mavrck compared user-generated content on Facebook in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The data was gathered from the first party authentication of 1.2 million Facebook users and based on an analysis of 25 million user-generated Facebook posts over that time.

Recent changes to Facebook’s algorithms haven’t been kind to brand posted content. Social flow found that the average branded post reached 42% fewer people in 2016.

In light of Facebook making it harder for brands to engage with users organically, user-generated content is more important than ever. Ironically the same study found that users are posting less content than they used to.

3. 64% of millennials feel that companies should offer more ways for them to share their opinions.

This study by Bazaar Voice told us a lot about why customers leave feedback and create user-generated content. I think one of the biggest revelations uncovered was that consumers think brands don’t care about their opinions, and the only reason that brands collected feedback was to show it to other customers.

“The majority of Millennials (73%) and Boomers (70%) agree that other consumers care more about their opinions than other companies do” Bazaar Voice.

Are they wrong? Doesn’t matter. Don’t waste energy changing people’s minds. Support their beliefs and show them what they want to see.

Mock philosophies aside, keep this in mind, customers aren’t commenting for you. They are commenting to help future customers. It then stands to reason that if they see more user comments they will think that their comment is going to help more people and are more likely to leave one themselves

4. 90% of consumers surveyed noted that they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online.

Although it was conducted back in 2009 the Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey was an incredibly thorough look into online trust, which is still quoted all over the internet. 70% might seem quite low up against that 90% but let’s dig a little deeper.

Recommendations from people you know still score the highest. But after I took a look at consumer opinions posted online and branded website I decided I needed more recent data to see if this was still the case. Here are some more recent results from Nielson for comparison. It didn’t prove the point I was trying to. I was expecting consumer opinions posted online to go up and branded websites to go down. As you can see, branded websites have remained the same and our trust in all forms of earned advertising has decreased. Compared to banner ads, and pre-rolled advertisement there is no question, earned advertising wins by a mile, but I think this will combat any misconception that people are more trusting on the internet than they used to be – or maybe I was the only person who thought that -.

5. Snapchat has 100M daily users, 65% of whom upload photos.

I choose to include this statistic because I think Snapchat is overlooked by marketers. I’ve heard people comment “that Snapchat is just a fad, or there is no money in it,” which is silly. The first companies to properly leverage a new platform have historically been met with exceptional ROIs

Image result for snapchat

Do you remember 90% email open rates and a few cents per 100 Facebook likes? Exactly.

I think the truth to marketer’s reluctance to use Snapchat is that most marketers don’t understand Snapchat. It isn’t a platform that they use, and they aren’t comfortable with it.

Last year, Wicked Society’s compared Instagram views with Snapchat and found 1 follower on Snapchat was worth 20 on Instagram.

Influencer content, competitions, and promotions are common ways of leveraging the platforms. Brands do need to be a little more creative, but the results are worth it.

6. On average, Olapic found that retailers that use its user-generated content in email see a 43% increase in click-through rates and a 2-3X conversion rate.

User-generated content platform Olapic knows a thing or two about publishing the customer’s voice, but I have never heard anyone talking about user-generated content in an email before. I had a Google and sure enough, I found a startup that can place reviews over graphics and send them to emails and another article saying it is generally a good idea.

That’s the kind of stat that makes you want to send an email to the boss and demand user generated testimonials in the next email campaign. Are you serious Olapic? 43%, 2 -3x increase in conversion rates is incredible. The biggest problem with emails is definitely getting people to open them. The ‘oh it says my name’ gimmick has worn off, and Gmail knows exactly what is and isn’t branded. All of this means that you really need that click-through once the email is open, and according to Olapic user generated content is how you do that.

7. Influencer marketing is the fastest growing channel for customer acquisition.

A poll of marketing professionals conducted by Tomoson found that influencer marketing is the fastest growing, online customer acquisition channel. Some purists don’t consider influencer marketing user generated content especially since the law man started punishing brands that didn’t disclose sponsored posts – and consequently lose a lot of customer trust -.

I think they are similar enough that this stat isn’t going to offend anyone. Some influencer marketing campaigns are more than just sponsored posts. Inviting an influencer to your (insert product here) in the hope that they will create content is just user generated content with steps.


8. Nearly 1-in-4 US consumers (24%) say that UGC Is Extremely Influential When Deciding Whether or Not to Buy.

The number orientated report by TurnTo found that user generated content is extremely influential in the purchasing decision of nearly a quarter of Americans. The TurnTo goes on to say the another 29% of customers found user generated content very influential and only 10% of consumers were completely uninfluenced by user generated content.

I struggle to trust the 10% of people who claim they could purchase a product with 50, 1-star reviews or shrug their shoulders indifferently if all their friends posted about a flavor of ice cream that was so good it brought them to tears, but I am getting off topic.

90% of people are influenced by the user-generated content in some way according to this study, which was conducted this year.

9. 81% of shoppers would pay more for a product that has user-generated content.

This statistic is also from the TurnTo report, but I had to include it. It substantiates a lot of other marketing data coming out of the weird and wonderful world of inbound marketing that brands are competing on the user experience. If you think about it, this isn’t an unexpected statistic. I know that I would pay an extra few dollars for a product with good reviews, and it would appear I am not alone in this sentiment.

The report also found people would wait longer for shipping if the product had user-generated content, and it further breaks down all this data into categories for age and gender.

10. Almost A Quarter of Respondents Say They Have Bought a Product After Seeing it Featured in UGC.

As reported in this lead magnet from Olapic user-generated content is critical for brand discovery, advocacy, and the research driven buyer’s journey. But it also has a direct impact on the bottom line: sales. At the end of the day, marketing is meant to drive sales, and the rest of the company will give us a lot more creative freedom if our efforts result in dollars.

The effectiveness of featured product in UGC is more pronounced in the U.S. than Europe “70% of respondents in the U.S. and 53% in Europe indicate they would be more likely to buy a product after seeing a positive or relatable user generated image of it online.” But this disparity evens out among the younger generations.

About Dean Schmid