You Down With UGC?

Remember the one-percent rule of the Internet? It goes like this: Only 1% of users of a website actively create new content, while the other 99% only view it.

Well, not anymore.

In today’s social, mobile Web world, everyone is a creator. It’s called user-generated content (UGC). And it’s kind of a big deal.

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As a concept, UGC is by no means new. In fact, wildly successful sites such as YouTube, TripAdvisor, Wikipedia, and Reddit were founded on the principle of collecting and distributing UGC. It’s just that brands are no longer flying solo when it comes to delivering quality content.

Move over, Scorsese. 

Lights, camera, action! With mobile technologies becoming more sophisticated and user-friendly, everyday users do more than consume video content—they create it.

As Fast Company reports, “This is the new media reality: Regular customers have become advertisers on a smaller scale, shooting high-quality video, loading it onto YouTube and social networks, and advertising the capabilities of the cameras to friends, family, and complete strangers.”

Consider Instagram’s Hyperlapse; it’s a perfect example of this burgeoning trend. The app makes it easy for anyone with a smartphone to create fast, time-lapse videos that look like they were filmed by Scorsese or Spielberg. Wired magazine recently gushed, “What was once only possible with a Steadicam or a $15,000 tracking rig is now possible on an iPhone, for free.”

Oreo thinks Hyperlapse is pretty sweet.

Oreo – the delicious cookie brand with a solid reputation for being incredibly savvy when it comes to social media – shared the below Hyperlapse video of someone opening a package that contains one Oreo Mini. What’s more interesting is that the video was produced by a consumer, not the brand, which makes it even better. With nearly 9,000 likes, the video proves that brand-focused, user-generated content is the ultimate sweet spot.


GoPro’s customers are crazy for content.

GoPro, maker of the high-quality, easy-to-use handheld video camera, is one the best brands when it comes to UGC. The company has legions of loyal customers that continue to capture and share immersive footage of their adventures.

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In fact, GoPro’s customers are so engaged that:

  • At least 6,000 GoPro-tagged videos are uploaded to YouTube every day
  • “GoProing” is now a noun (and a hashtag on Twitter) used to describe the phenomenon
  • With more than 3.2 million subscribers, GoPro is one of the leading brands on YouTube
  • 388 videos from the athletes sponsored by GoPro have garnered more than 50 million views each on YouTube

GoPro’s marketing strategy proves that tools in the hands of a brand advocate can produce marketing gold.

Billy Joel was right: It’s A Matter of Trust.

Today’s consumers also want to know that the people they’re seeing in ads are real. According to Bazaarvoice, 64% of millennials and 53% of baby boomers want more options to share their opinions about brands, while other studies show consumers trust user generated content more than all other forms of media. It’s no wonder that ratings and reviews have fast become a primary source of information for shoppers.

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Small screens can make a big impact.

Our world seems to transform with each new advancement in technology. Social media changed the way we interacted, mobile changed the way we connected, and now both are intersecting to change the way we create.

Highly accessible and easy-to-use tools like GoPro, Hyperlapse, and even the iPhone have turned the content marketing world on its head. Everyday users are producing and sharing truly amazing content, allowing us to experience brands – and the world around us – from different perspectives. Customers are constantly finding new, creative ways to show their love for brands. And as marketers, we need to stay alert; we need to listen closely. Because our very own consumers just might deliver the next very big idea.

What will you do in 2016 to inspire and collect user-generated content?



4 thoughts on “You Down With UGC?

  1. sarimraziuddin December 1, 2015 / 3:07 am

    Hi Jennifer,

    As a consumer, I’m a big proponent of brands that use UGC as a main part of their advertising. It gives me a reason to want to be a part of the brand because I see others being rewarded for their participation. It also shows me that the brand cares about what their consumer does and wants to engage with them outside of just the point of purchase.

    As a marketer, I love UGC! What’s better than your consumers crafting the message for you and spreading their influence to other, like-minded people? The Oreo video you shared is an excellent example. A consumer went through the minute process of putting that hyperlapse together and showcasing the brand in a unique way and at the same time making your job as a marketer easier by leveraging this form of earned media.

    Im totally down with UGC!

    – Sam


  2. Keith Quesenberry December 1, 2015 / 3:58 pm

    Thanks Jenny for the update in this trend and strategy. It is very important in social and digital marketing.


  3. kdberg8 December 1, 2015 / 8:39 pm


    UGC! UGC! I could chant that phrase all day long as it is total and complete social golf if coming from the right sources with the perfect content. Pinterest is a champion at this. Only 10% of their pins are original content while the rest are repinned or reshared from other users. That is one impressive number.

    GoPro was a great brand to share on this so are travel companies. Their users love tagging them during their travels and unique experiences to stand out on social media. If they didn’t think to use that content then well… shame on them. But really, people all around the world are generating unique imagery and content to be used on behalf of brands to help their social power in the industry.

    This was a great read and something that is so hot in our market right now. I am glad you talked about this!

    – Kels

    Check out some of the articles about brands using UGC to their advantage:

    Liked by 1 person

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