UGC vs Influencer: Which option is suitable for your business?

In the ever-evolving realm of content creation, the choice between User-Generated Content (UGC) and Influencer Marketing plays a pivotal role. 

51% of marketers attest that influencer marketing significantly aids in acquiring high-quality customers. Meanwhile, 79% of consumers state that user-generated content has influenced their purchasing decisions. 

Let’s unravel the intricacies of UGC vs Influencer content strategies in this comprehensive guide to determine the best strategy for your business!

What is User-Generated Content (UGC)?

User-generated content (UGC) refers to any content, such as text, images, videos, or reviews, created by individuals rather than the brand itself. It harnesses the power of a brand’s community or audience, allowing users to contribute and share their experiences, opinions, or creations. 

The benefits of UGC are multifaceted. Firstly, it adds authenticity and credibility to a brand, as potential customers often trust peer-generated content more than traditional marketing messages. 

UGC also fosters a sense of community and engagement, deepening the connection between a brand and its audience. Moreover, it provides a constant stream of diverse content, reducing the burden on brands to create all their material, while also serving as a valuable source of insights and market feedback.

What is Influencer Generated Content?

Influencer-generated content (IGC) refers to content created by social media influencers on behalf of a brand as part of a collaboration or partnership. 

These influencers, known for their niche expertise or large following, craft content that promotes the brand’s products or services within their authentic style. 

The benefits of Influencer-Generated Content are notable. Firstly, it leverages the trust and credibility established by the influencer with its audience, lending authenticity to the brand’s message. 

It also extends the brand’s reach to a wider and often targeted audience through the influencer’s platform. Additionally, IGC is a time-efficient way for brands to produce high-quality content without the need for extensive in-house resources.

UGC vs Influencer Content: What is the difference?

Feature User-Generated Content (UGC) Influencer-Generated Content
Cost Effective UGC offers a budget-friendly option for smaller brands, facilitating brand awareness. Influencer collaborations can be costly, making it less budget-friendly for many brands.
Brand Loyalty UGC builds brand loyalty through consumer contribution, trust, and audience focus. Influencers can create excitement, aligning audiences with a brand’s style for brand loyalty.
Social Proof UGC provides social proof by showcasing customer content, enhancing credibility. Influencers amplify social proof, leveraging their credibility to influence decisions.
Negative Content Displaying negative reviews in UGC is crucial for transparency and brand improvement. Influencers, in agreements, rarely create negative content, ensuring positive publicity.
Unreliable Sources UGC may involve content from unknown sources, raising concerns about credibility.  Influencers, chosen through criteria, are reliable sources in brand collaborations.
Unreliable Content User-generated content is genuine and reliable, reflecting real customer experiences. Influencer-generated content may be less genuine compared to UGC, often focusing on positivity.

UGC vs Influencer Content: Which is the better option?

The choice depends on your goals! Both strategies provide similar benefits: authentic content, social proof, and the chance to turn customer content into ads. However, UGC creators focus on producing authentic content for your existing audience. 

In contrast, influencers create authentic content to promote to your audience and introduce your brand to new potential customers. Below are the key factors to consider when you’re deciding between UGC vs Influencer content.

Opting for Influencer Marketing may be suitable for a brand that:

  • Aims to expand its audience reach: Influencers typically have large and engaged followings, providing your brand with access to a broader audience. This exposure helps to enhance visibility among potential customers who might not be aware of the brand.
  • Requires swift trust-building: Influencers have already built trust with their followers. Leveraging their endorsement for a product or service increases the likelihood that their followers will trust the recommendation.
  • Possesses a significant marketing budget: Influencer collaborations often come with a higher price tag. Depending on the influencer’s reach and popularity, the collaboration costs can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars per post.
  • Desires high-quality, professional content: Influencers are skilled content creators and can produce top-tier content aligned with a brand’s image. You can further repurpose this content across various marketing channels.

On the other hand, User-Generated Content (UGC) might be a better choice when you wish to:

  • Build a community: UGC promotes interaction among users, creating a sense of community around your brand.
  • Aims for authenticity: User-generated content is seen as very authentic because it comes from real users with genuine experiences using a product or service.
  • Operates on a tight budget: UGC generally costs less than influencer marketing. While there are some expenses in curating UGC and creating briefs/scripts, they’re usually lower than the cost of an influencer campaign.
  • Offers a shareable product or service: If your product or service is something users naturally like to share (like travel experiences, food, digital content, or fashion), encouraging UGC can be a powerful strategy.

UGC vs Influencer Content: Statistics Prove UGC Is On The Rise!

User-generated content is an authentic form of content that connects with people on a personal level. Let’s explore some statistics to see why UGC is preferable to Influencer-Generated Content (IGC).

  • 81% of surveyed consumers indicate that influencer endorsements either have no impact or a negative impact on their purchase decisions.
  • 86% are more likely to trust brands using content from real customers than paid influencers.
  • 83% are more inclined to buy from brands that feature User-Generated Content (UGC) rather than Influencer-Generated Content (IGC).
  • 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people more than any other source.
  • Only 8% of consumers find influencer-created content highly influential in their purchasing decisions, a 23% decrease from 2017.

  • On video platforms, UGC videos receive 10 times more views than brand content.
  • 87% of consumers value real-life customer reviews/ratings more than influencer/celebrity reviews (50%).
  • 58% highly prioritize product pictures or videos from real customers when researching products online, surpassing considerations like price, shipping costs, and return policies.
  • 88% of consumers deem authenticity important when choosing brands to support, with 50% stating it’s very important — 8.7 times more impactful than influencer content.
  • 79% claim UGC highly influences their purchasing decisions, while only 12% find branded content impactful, and 9% find influencer content impactful.

Successful UGC campaigns

1) National Geographic

National Geographic started the Wanderlust contest in 2015 to make more people know about the brand and grow through user-created photos. 

To join, people just needed to share their top nature photo using the hashtag #WanderlustContest. The lucky winner got an amazing seven-day trip for two to Yosemite National Park courtesy of National Geographic. 

This contest motivated more folks to go outdoors and made more people interact with National Geographic.

2) Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign, kicked off in 2011, had the most common first names on their cans and bottles. People were asked to find a Coke with their name and share a picture on social media using #ShareaCoke.

This led to lots of user-made content, from cool Instagram pics to simple selfies. It gave Coca-Cola more real content for their social media and let customers engage with the brand while showing off their creativity.

3) Barbie Movie

The latest super successful campaign with User-Generated Content (UGC) is the Barbie Movie. Remember trying the Barbie selfie generator?Every selfie shared added more attention to the movie, dolls, and accessories.

Before the movie, Mattel and Warner Bros. Discovery PR and marketing teams got ready by making over 100 brand partnerships. They did cool stuff like Malibu Barbie Café pop-ups and the “World of Barbie.” Plus, on social media, they used TikTok lenses and an official Twitter emoji to create “Barbie-mania”!

4) GO Pro

Another cool way to use user-generated content is by GoPro, the company that makes those action cameras and cool apps. They tell their followers to share photos and videos using #GoPro on Instagram.

The content people share is amazing, and it’s impressive for a company that’s only been around for about 20 years! 

Successful Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Explore a couple of successful influencer marketing instances that effectively created a buzz around their brand.

1) Absolut’s Planet Earth’s Favorite Vodka

Absolut teamed up with eco-conscious influencers on various social platforms. The campaign, named the Gold Winner for the Best Food and Drink Campaign at the 2020 Influencer Marketing Awards, ran for over eight months. 

Using the hashtag #AbsolutePlanet, it aimed to promote environmental friendliness. The results? Ninety-five influencers shared 612 posts, generating over 8.6 million social media engagements.

2) Dunkin’ Donuts and Charlie D’Amelio

In 2020, teenager Charli D’Amelio, known for her popular dance videos on TikTok, partnered with Dunkin’ Donuts. Regularly features her signature drink, “The Charli,” and enjoys donuts in her videos. 

This collaboration led to a remarkable 57% increase in Dunkin’ app downloads. The partnership contributed to the sale of hundreds of thousands of drinks for the beloved donut franchise.

Now that you know how UGC vs Influencer content marketing strategy works, it’s time to start searching for the right users for your campaigns. This is where Happine comes in!

Happine: Collaborate with UGC creators and Influencers effortlessly!

If you want to harness the influence of influencer marketing, provides a unique approach by transforming your loyal customers into brand influencers. This platform helps you identify and motivate your dedicated customer base to generate high-quality user-generated content (UGC) for your business.

Key Features

  • Transform Your Loyal Customers into Influencers: empowers you to convert your loyal customers into influencers, unlocking the potential of user-generated content.
  • Automated Reward System: Utilize the AI-powered system to automatically assess influencer performance and grant rewards when they reach the milestones you’ve defined.
  • Effortlessly Identify Your Influencers: Simplify the identification process by gathering social media information from your customers and inviting them to join your ambassador program.
  • Efficiently Manage UGC Content: Easily handle and curate user-generated content through the user-friendly dashboard, approving or disapproving as needed.
  • Boost Customer Engagement: Enhance customer engagement by encouraging active contributions to your brand story through authentic and captivating content.

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UGC vs Influencer Content: Choose the best strategy for your business

In conclusion, the debate between User-Generated Content (UGC) and Influencer Marketing reflects the dynamic landscape of contemporary brand communication. 

Both strategies offer unique advantages, with UGC fostering authenticity, community building, and cost-effectiveness. Meanwhile, Influencer Marketing provides access to wider audiences, established trust, and high-quality, professionally curated content. 

The key lies in understanding your brand’s specific goals and audience, as well as recognizing the nuances and strengths of each approach. No matter which strategy you choose, we suggest you explore Happine to find the right people for your marketing campaigns. 

Click here to explore the pricing plans and set up your first campaign!