Don’t Be Afraid of User-Generated Content

Ad Creatives
Oct 10, 2023
Oct 10, 2023
12 mins
On this page
User-generated content

Discover the power of user-generated content in digital marketing. Learn how to amplify brand authenticity, foster genuine engagement, and increase conversions.

When a customer raves about your product, it's not just music to your ears—it's marketing gold. This blog will be diving head first into the world of user-generated content, where every review, photo, or video could spark the birth of a brand new customer base.

Digital marketers and Shopify store owners, it's time to keep it real with the unscripted, the raw, and the authentic. And hey, if your product ends up in a meme or viral video, isn’t that just the juicy 🍒 on top?!

What is user-generated content?

Before we get into the thick of UGCs, let's break down the user-generated content definition.

User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content, be it an X (Twitter) post, video, review, image, or even a meme, that is created by individuals rather than brands or corporations. 

The beauty of UGC lies in its authenticity. There's no high-budget ad campaign, no intricate scripts, just real people sharing their experiences. And guess what? Consumers trust this form of content much more than they do traditional advertising. 

User-generated content: it's kind of a big deal meme.

UGC isn’t just a buzzword—it's the real deal. It provides an organic, trusted, and, oftentimes, fun way for your customers to sing your praises. And who wouldn’t want that? Especially when it might just lead to your next big sale!

Where can you get UGC from?

The origins of UGC content are quite varied. Let's "scroll" through some of the most popular sources, shall we

  • Social media platforms: The big players like Meta (Facebook and Instagram), TikTok, and X (Twitter) are practically manufacturing farms for UGC. From selfies showcasing a new pair of sunglasses to a video of an unboxing of the latest gadget, social media is where UGC thrives in all its glory.
  • Customer testimonials: Those stellar reviews on your Shopify store, Facebook Page, or website? A goldmine for converting potential customers! 💰They're direct feedback from satisfied customers who took a moment to express their positive experiences.
Madgicx website reviews.
Image Source:
  • Review sites: Similarly, platforms like TrustPilot, TripAdvisor, or Google Reviews can be a goldmine for UGC. They offer customers the platform to voice their opinions, whether it's to sing praises about products or vent their frustrations.
Madgicx Trustpilot reviews.
Image Source: Trustpilot
  • Blogs and vlogs: Personal blog posts, vlogging channels on YouTube, or even podcasts are platforms where creators share their perspectives, reviews, and stories. These personal touchpoints, though a bit more structured, are still a form of UGC.
  • Content contests: Many brands run contests where they ask users to submit photos, videos, or stories related to their products or services. It's a fun and easy way to soar in awareness and engagement. Plus, you churn out heaps of UGC in the process!
Nike Sportswear UGC.
Image Source: Digital Marketing Institute
  • Forums and communities: Sites like Reddit or niche-specific forums are where enthusiasts and fans gather to discuss and share topics they care about. These interactions often lead to a wealth of UGC as well.
  • Paying content creators: One of the most direct ways to source user-generated content is by collaborating with content creators. By tapping into the skills of experienced and talented creators, you’re investing in high-quality content tailored to your brand. Should you use a niche creator, the collaboration can also leverage the creator’s existing audience for more exposure.
  • Collaborating with influencers: They bring a ready audience, credibility, and expertise to showcase your brand in the best light. Whether it’s a product demo or an honest review, teaming up with the right influencer can drive engagement and conversions. Just ensure the collaboration feels authentic to both the influencer and your brand.

Understanding and tapping into these sources can lead to marketing magic that turns digital interactions into profit. 

Why is user-generated content important?

Have you noticed how consumer-generated content is suddenly everywhere, even in ads? If your advertising hasn’t set sail in the UG-seas (I just had to 😉), your marketing strategy may need a major revamp. To help with this, we specifically hosted a webinar on crafting impactful UGCs

Now, let's drop anchor and explore the 'whys' of UGC:

User-generated content examples.
Image Source: Taggbox
  • Trust and authenticity: In an era where consumers are more skeptical than ever and are being flooded with ads, UGC serves as a genuine voice amidst the loud seas of polished ads. When potential buyers see real people endorsing a product or sharing their experiences, it instills trust. It’s like the online equivalent of your neighbor recommending their favorite cafe!
  • Enhanced SEO: Surprised? You shouldn't be. Search engines love fresh, relevant content. When users create content about your brand, especially on review sites or forums, it generates new content that can boost your site's search visibility.
  • Cost-effective marketing: Let's face it: creating brand-new content from scratch can be expensive. UGC, on the other hand, offers content at a fraction of the cost—sometimes even for free. The world of user-generated content creation can be intimidating, but that is why solutions like Madgicx’s Creative Workflow have become increasingly popular. 

With this all-in-one creative production solution, you can browse and save Meta ad inspiration in Madgicx's Ad Library. Afterward, simply send a design brief accompanied by your UGC video and ad references through Sparkle. They will edit the video and ensure it’s optimal for social media. Designs are ready in only 48 hours. Once done, they're automatically uploaded to Meta Ads Manager, allowing you to launch your ads either from there or directly via Madgicx. The best part is that the Madgicx Ad Library is completely free! You can start a Madgicx trial, and the Ad Library stays FREE FOREVER!

Madgicx Ad Library dashboard.
  • Greater conversion rates: UGC has become a money machine. When they see real-world applications of a product or read genuine reviews, it demystifies the buying process, leading to higher conversion rates. UGC-based ads enjoy a 4x higher click-through rate and a 50% drop in cost-per-click than average!
  • Boosts engagement: Remember Coca-Cola’s groundbreaking ‘Share a Coke’ campaign? It first launched in 2011 and earned more than 18,300,000 media impressions. Traffic to the Coke Facebook Page surged by 870%, and page likes climbed by an impressive 39%. People were geeking out about spotting their names on a Coke bottle and then rushing to share a snap of their bottles online. Twelve years on, and it’s still the blueprint for today’s marketing campaigns. 
'Share a Coke' campaign.
Image Source: The Business Journals
  • Social proof: In the digital world, social proof is currency. A study showed that 64% of consumers look for reviews before making a purchase, reflecting a clear demand for opinions and recommendations on social media. That means UGC content acts as a decision reinforcement for potential customers. If others are buying, using, and loving your product or service, it's a strong signal that it's worth the investment.
  • A rich source for market insights: UGC can be a goldmine for understanding your customers. Their feedback, reviews, and content can offer invaluable insights into their preferences, pain points, and expectations

So, how do you encourage UGC creation?

Ever seen a post about a brand and thought, 'I need that!'? That's the enthusiasm you want from potential customers when seeing your content. But how do you get existing customers to take out their camera and shoot a clip, snap a pic, or pen a review? Here are some proven tactics to fuel that UGC fire 🔥: 

  • Engage, engage, engage!: Don't just be a passive observer on social media. Comment on posts, like photos, and share stories. The more you interact, the more likely your audience will feel a personal connection and want to create content related to your brand.
  • Host contests or giveaway campaigns: Everyone loves free stuff! By hosting a contest where user-generated content is a requirement for entry, you'll be amazed at how many of your followers will jump at the chance.
  • Feature UGC on your platforms: Showcase user content on your website, social media, or even in email campaigns. When users see that there's a possibility of being featured, they're more likely to create and share. 
  • Provide clear guidelines: Sometimes, people just don't know what you're looking for. Give them a clear idea – maybe a theme or a hashtag. Guide their creativity in the direction you want.
  • Collaborate with influencers: Influencers have a knack for, well, influencing. Partner with a few who align with your brand values for your next campaign. Their followers will often jump on the UGC bandwagon, too.
  • Ask!: Yep, it's that simple. Sometimes, all you need to do is ask. Encourage reviews after a purchase. An open invitation can act as a catalyst, driving passionate users to share useful insights.
  • Make it worth their while: Offer incentives. This doesn’t always mean monetary discounts. It could be exclusive access to upcoming sales, points in a loyalty program, or a shoutout.
  • Source from UGC creators: There are talented UGC creators and platforms where you can directly buy user-generated content tailored to your brand. This can give you a mix of organic and high-quality UGC that resonates with your audience.

Remember, the goal is to make it fun, engaging, and rewarding for your audience. When they feel valued and excited, they're more likely to put in the effort and creativity to contribute to your brand's story. You have the power to turn those passive scrollers into active brand ambassadors.

User-generated content tips and best practices

So you're sold on the UGC idea. (And if you aren't by now, give the previous sections another whirl.) But diving into the UGC pool without a strategy is like trying to eat spaghetti with a spoon—much slips through without anything sticking. Let's make sure you're equipped with the best cutlery, I mean, tactics, for the job!

  • Authenticity is key: UGC thrives on realness. While it's tempting to showcase only the glossiest, most picture-perfect content, remember that genuine, raw moments often resonate more.
  • Optimize for platforms: What works on TikTok might flop on Facebook. Invest time into testing your creatives to understand the nuances of each platform so you can adapt your UGC ads accordingly. 
  • Always ask for permission: Just because someone tags your brand or uses your hashtag doesn’t mean they're giving you a free pass to reuse their content. Always ask for explicit permission before sharing. It’s as easy as shooting them a quick DM.
  • Engage with UGC creators: When someone takes the time to create content around your brand, show some love! A simple "thank you" comment can go a long way.
  • Stay updated with platform policies: Social media platforms often update their terms of service. Stay in the loop to ensure you're not unintentionally stepping over any boundaries.
  • Quality over quantity: While it's great to have a lot of UGC, focus on sharing content that aligns with your brand's message and values. It's better to share a few excellent pieces than to flood your feed with everything.
  • Monitor and moderate: Set up alerts for brand mentions or dedicated hashtags. This way, you can swiftly sift through UGC, spotlighting the gems and addressing any potential issues.
  • Feedback loop: Use UGC as a source of feedback. Consumers sharing their experiences can provide insights into product improvements or new features
  • Celebrate and credit creators: Always give credit where it's due. Not only is this the ethical thing to do, but it also encourages more users to create and share.

Remember, it's all about cultivating community, valuing authenticity, and weaving those shared stories into your brand's narrative.

Stunning UGC examples you should learn from

Besides the iconic Coca-Cola and Starbucks user-generated content examples we’ve already covered, here are a few other heavy-hitters.

  1. Calvin Klein
#MyCalvins campaign.

The #MyCalvins UGC campaign brilliantly leveraged the power of influencers and everyday users, inviting them to share snaps in their favorite CK attire on social media. By turning consumers into brand awareness ambassadors, the campaign created a sense of community and practiced inclusive marketing, all while generating a massive amount of buzz and engagement across social platforms.

  1. Glossier

Glossier upped their user-generated content game by getting personal. They showcased actual product users on Instagram, even including their names, fun bios, and locations. This not only humanized the brand but also put real users in the spotlight, highlighting the vast reach of their popularity!

Glossier user-generated content.
  1. Apple

Apple's 'Shot on iPhone' campaign invited iPhone users to flaunt their best snaps on Twitter or Instagram. A curated panel then handpicked standout images for display online, in Apple stores, and on billboards. In a twist of marketing genius, customers effectively marketed the iPhone's capabilities for Apple, paving the way for other brands to integrate consumers into their marketing campaigns.

"Shot on iPhone" UGC campaign billboard.
Image Source: Linkedin
  1. GoPro
GoPro Instagram UGC post.
Image Source: Linkedin

GoPro brilliantly showcases its customers' adventures on social media, making them feel acknowledged, valued, and engaged. This authentic interaction not only strengthens brand loyalty but also acts as a powerful endorsement, creating FOMO and encouraging potential customers to hop on board the GoPro train.

Legal considerations for user-generated content

Even though user-generated content is excellent for brand awareness, it's not without its pitfalls—especially when it comes to the law. Navigating the legal waters of UGC can feel like an uphill battle if you're not equipped with the right knowledge. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  • Copyright issues: Just because the content is out there doesn't mean it's free to use. Repurposing someone else's content without permission can lead to copyright infringement. Always get explicit consent before using someone's content.
  • Privacy concerns: People have the right to control the commercial use of their name, image, and likeness. So, even if a customer posts a photo flaunting your product, you can't necessarily use that photo for commercial purposes without their permission. 

Resharing a user's content might also expose personal information, which could violate privacy laws or platform guidelines. It’s best to keep up to date with each social media channel’s best practices, such as Meta’s new Responsible Business Practices Report, which outlines its approach to operating responsibly. 

  • Endorsement and advertising: In certain regions, using UGC as an endorsement without disclosing that it's an ad is considered misleading. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US requires clear disclosures for endorsements from advertisers who work with influencers.
Instagram branded content ads.
Image Source: Antevenio
  • Terms of service: Many social media platforms have terms of service that dictate how UGC can be used. Familiarize yourself with these rules to avoid unintentional violations.
  • Contest and promotion laws: If you're encouraging UGC through contests or promotions, there are specific laws and regulations you'll need to follow to ensure everything's above board.
  • Seek legal counsel: When in doubt, consult with a legal professional. It's always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to potential legal ramifications.

While UGC is a great way to have more authentic content, it's crucial to navigate this space ethically and legally. Respecting creators' rights not only safeguards your brand legally but also creates trust in your community.


As you can see, user-generated content isn't just a fleeting trend; it stands out as a beacon of authenticity. For brands seeking genuine connections with their audience, UGC offers a path paved with trust and relatability. As we look to the future, we must recognize the invaluable power of simplicity and let our customers take the spotlight for a change! Authenticity, it seems, is the currency of tomorrow.

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Ad Creatives
Oct 10, 2023
Oct 10, 2023
Annette Nyembe

Digital copywriter with a passion for sculpting words that resonate in a digital age.

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