Special Report – Is 2018 the year of UGC?


What is it?

Brand content created by users for other users. There are about 5 billion items of content shared on Facebook alone every day. The vast majority is UGC.

Why are we talking about it?

  1. Facebook has changed it’s newsfeed algorithm to prioritise content created by people-for-people.
  2. UGC is more trusted, more memorable, drives more engagement and is more influential than brand content.


Businesses make $6.50 for every dollar invested in UGC marketing. (Tomoson)

82% of consumers said they were highly likely to follow a UGC recommendation made by a micro-influencer. (Keller Fay)

92% of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source. (TapInfluence)

84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising. (Nielsen)


User-generated content is 20% more influential to Millennials in their choice of purchases than any other media. (Stackla)

  • 59% of Millennials rely on UGC to inform their purchase decisions about electronics.
  • 54% cars
  • 53% major appliances
  • 46% mobile phones
  • 45% hotels
  • 40% travel plans
  • 25% of search results for the world’s 20 largest brands are links to UGC
  • 84% of Millennials report that UGC on company websites influences what they buy
  • 50% trust UGC more than original content generated by brands
  • 35% find UGC more memorable than brand content
  • 76% trust images shared by real people (friends and family members) more than branded content.



Adidas NEO understood that Snapchat is for creative collaboration, so when they launched a new line aimed at the younger demographic, they invited users on Snapchat to take screen grabs of a video showcasing the designs as blank canvases and, using the doodle tool, designing their own versions.

Adidas NEO flew out the creators of the best designs to Germany and made their designs a reality. Over 800 different UGC designs were then used as content to launch the brands fashion video.


ASOS has a dedicated page on their website for UGC images sourced from Instagram and uploaded by customers. All these UGC images are shop-able and linked with either the exact ASOS product or similar products available on the ASOS website.

Additionally, UGC imagery on product pages and a dedicated UGC photo gallery provide are used to open alternative user journeys to new product lines.



Online beauty start-up Glossier is experiencing some enviable growth. It has a vocal, enthusiastic fan base, largely comprised of the much-sought-after Millennial crowd, and a strong, recognizable brand built on its cool-girl aesthetic. They use UGC to involve their audience throughout their whole product process.

When Glossier was developing their cleanser, they asked consumers for their thoughts. They received hundreds of comments, and Glossier then took that feedback into actual production. When they launched their Milky Jelly Cleanser, Glossier accompanied the release with a post explaining how they had taken readers’ feedback and used it to create their cleanser.

Milky Jelly quickly sold out.


Virgin Holidays

Virgin Holidays launched their brand refresh campaign with Seize The Holiday, showcasing UGC from their customers vacationing around the world. The company engaged with customers via various channels including a television spot encouraging them to upload their holiday photos to Instagram with the hashtag #SeizeTheHoliday.

These pictures were then broadcast on digital billboards throughout the UK.


User-generated videos on YouTube get 10x more views than content created and uploaded by brands.

GoPro’s success is down to the way that it makes it simple for anyone to get involved. You just tag a video on social media with #GoPro or upload your own freakish stunt directly to its platform. 4.7 million people subscribe to GoPro’s YouTube channel and thousands of videos have been tagged and help share the value and quality of their product.



American doughnut giant Krispy Kreme were looking for a way to engage their audience, particularly Millennials, who had grown tired of non-authentic advertising. So they asked consumers to share their images and thoughts about their Crispy Kreme doughnuts and displayed their posts in the shape of a doughnut.

This interactive and extremely visual layout was a huge hit with their younger clientele, especially in-store, where the walls of Krispy Kreme outlets were plastered with digital screens that showcased the latest social mentions about the brand.



Nissan’s #VersaVid campaign invited creative users on Instagram to print out a downloadable version of a Nissan Versa. Users then created short stop-motion videos of the cut-out compact car going on adventures like road trips, climbing over pet cats, and even avoiding the dangers of the toilet bowl.

This campaign was not initially for the broader mass, but to inspire the creative contributors already active and creating videos on these platforms. These videos were then shared throughout the Nissan channels crediting the original creators.



St. Jude Medical and Mended Hearts launched a campaign to provide education and encouragement to the millions of Americans living with heart failure – as well as their friends and families – through the personal stories of advanced heart-failure survivors. It encouraged participants to share 30-60 sec videos of how the left ventricular assist device (LVADs) had helped them in their lives.

A panel of judges, which included a cardiologist and two heart-failure survivors, evaluated the contest entries based on their ability to educate and inspire, and selected five winning videos, that were then shared on their own social media platforms.



Santander, used UGC for their Star Wars “Force For Good” collaboration, asking families to share their Star Wars Scene re-creations to win prizes and for each upload Santander donated money to children’s charities.

Santander realised that people already enjoy recreating Star Wars scenes so the content was already out there.



Lowe’s, the home improvement retailer, unveiled a series of clever six-second videos that tackled common home improvement issues. It’s offered home improvement tips like how to remove a stripped screw, get rust off of knives and use pillowcases to organize sheets.

To tap into what their customers really cared about they then asked them to get involved via Twitter. Lowe’s asked consumers to weigh in with their own tips. The retailer collected tips via Twitter and then assigned the best of them to Influential users like Meagan Cignoli.

Meagen created Vines that were then shared across all the brand social media channels and also let the consumer who submitted the tip know that “their” video was out.