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The 2021 User-Generated Content Report: 43 UGC Stats You Need to Know

February 17, 2021 | UGC

While 2021 is shaping up to be the year that the world opens back up, users who connected with brands virtually during the height of the pandemic will continue to rely on the convenience and safety of discovering and investing in brands online.

Now more than ever, it’s critical to go the extra mile in offering content that is dynamic and authentic in return for users’ time and their brand loyalty. And user-generated content (UGC) remains one of the most effective tools for promoting a brand’s products or services online.

We looked at a compilation of data on the UGC created and shared by end-users in the form of social media content, blog posts, SMS, reviews, testimonials, and more to uncover what you need to know to be at the top of your content game in 2021.

In this new report you’ll learn:

  • The type of user-generated content that establishes brand trust
  • How content created by end-users impacts purchasing decisions
  • How customers are influenced by positive reviews
  • Key components to boosting user engagement
  • The new UGC trends that marketers are embracing in 2021
  • Much more!

Let’s take a closer look at the findings…

  1. There are 4.2 billion active social media users globally (more than half of the world’s population).
  2. Approximately 72% of brands believe that UGC helps them to connect with their customers and foster customers’ trust in the brand.
  3. Authentic user-generated content boosts credibility, which may be why 87% of brands are using UGC to share authentic content with their audience.
  4. According to one study, only 1% of millennials find brand advertisements engaging and trustworthy enough to merit a click.

UGC can be more effective at driving engagement than flashy ads

  1. 90% of consumers find user-generated content helpful. They are also more apt to believe what existing customers post about a brand and less likely to trust flashy promotions.
  2. According to a Comscore study, customer engagement is around 28% higher with user-generated content than with content that is professionally created.
  3. On average, brands and businesses spend $72,000 annually on the creation of professional content. By nature, UGC is not only more trusted but more cost-effective than branded content, as it can be created for much less.
  4. Compared to other internet consumers, millennials make the most purchases. They also contribute to 70% of the UGC found online.
  5. 84% of millennials claim that UGC influences some or most of their purchases.
  6. In general, at least 8 in 10 people admit that UGC from users that they don’t know signifies brand quality and influences what they buy.

Content created by end-users exposes brands to new audiences and positively impacts purchasing decisions

  1. 77% of weekly Pinners have discovered a new brand or product on Pinterest.
  2. 72% of Pinners use Pinterest content to decide what to buy offline, driving 94% of social media marketers to use Pinterest.
  3. 48% of people note discovering new products through UGC on social media feeds.
  4. 79% of customers say user-generated content has a strong influence on their purchasing decisions.
  5. Over 90% of consumers are impacted by positive reviews when seriously shopping for a product or service.

Over 90% of consumers are influenced by positive reviews when seriously shopping for a product or service.

  1. On the other hand, 92% of consumers experience analysis paralysis when there are no customer testimonials or reviews to justify their purchase.
  2. 64% of consumers search for reviews about products or services before making a purchase, which explains why reviews are such a powerful tool for gaining users’ trust in your platform.
  3. 92% of customers trust the reviews and recommendations shared by other consumers more than advertisements, but fake reviews are on the rise. This is a problem that could corrode the trust needed to convert shoppers to buyers. Proactive brands, however, can prevent fake reviews by setting up a reliable content moderation process and partnering with a third party to collect reviews on their behalf. Additionally, you can take a cue from brands like Amazon, which uses Verified Purchase reviews to confirm that a review has in no way been manipulated, but has actually come from an authentic purchase.
  4. 93% of brands report acquiring a new customer because of video on social media. In fact, video content helps persuade 73% of consumers to invest in a product or service.
  5. On average, user-generated videos about a brand are viewed 10 times more than official brand videos on YouTube.

User-generated videos are viewed 10 times more than branded videos

  1. Based on an analysis of 4000 user-generated videos, 6.6% of content was found to be problematic for various reasons. User-generated videos typically result in higher rates of viewing, but as with any UGC, there is risk involved. Clear community guidelines that include immediate removal of offensive content can help to mitigate these risks.
  2. 84% of customers state that being treated like a human being rather than a number is of the utmost importance when it comes to earning their business. To accomplish this, consider resharing content that your users create. Doing so makes your audience feel recognized and valued as part of a community.
  3. A study by Gartner reveals that providing a personalized experience to shoppers resulted in a 49% increase of lifetime value of that customer for associated brands.
  4. A study by Deloitte indicates that 1 in 5 shoppers will pay 20% more for a product that has been customized exclusively for them.

Consumers will pay more for products that they can customize.

  1. Over 80% of consumers surveyed by Epsilon indicate that they are more likely to do business with a company that offers a personalized shopping experience. Companies offering product customization and engraving should consider utilizing profanity filters, however, to keep profanity and brand-damaging text off all forms of apparel and device customization.
  2. Brands that share user-generated content on Twitter report that this results in a 20% increase in new visitors from within the social network itself, as opposed to organic searches on other channels.
  3. 25% of results from searches for the world’s top 20 brands are links to UGC, indicating that original user-generated content has the power to connect with consumers while also improving search engine rankings.
  4. Brands that use UGC on their website find a 20% increase in the number of returning visitors.

Using UGC on social media channels and websites can drive more visitors to a platform, and keep them there longer.

  1. 1 in 4 individuals made a purchase after seeing a product in a user’s Instagram story.
  2. Marketers have noted a 90% increase in the total time that visitors spend on websites with featured UGC.
  3. Website product pages containing UGC have been linked to a 29% increase in the conversion rate on online purchases.

UGC has been linked to an increase in click-through rates and conversion rates.

  1. When emails contain user-generated content, click-through rates increase by about 73% and produce more conversions.
  2. There are 6.1 billion smartphone users, and over 95 % of these users read their texts within five minutes, thanks to mobile Short Message Service (SMS).
  3. To boost user engagement, 71% of publishers point to well-formed mobile content as the secret sauce.

71% of publishers point to well-formed mobile content as the secret sauce for boosting user engagement.

  1. 56% of consumers prefer to share product feedback with brands directly through SMS, so if you’re looking for reviews, targeting your SMS subscribers may be the way to go.
  2. Over the last 10 years, more than 2.2 billion people used their mobile devices to play games. Although it’s free to play a majority of games, users can personalize their avatars using virtual currency and pay to have their comments at the top on noticeboards. Ensure that your users are providing appropriate comments and avatar names through content moderation, especially if your gaming app or site caters to minors.

2.2 billion users play games on their smartphones, many of which will pay to display their content on noticeboards.

  1. While revenue in the dating app market increased to $3.08 billion in 2020, 41% of participants in one study report being concerned with scams such as fake profiles.
  2. A survey by the Once Dating App found that 82% of online dating users would feel safer utilizing a dating app with public ratings. Content moderation should also be used to provide a more secure online experience, catching fraudulent profiles of predators and scam artists.

The new UGC trends that marketers are embracing in 2021:

  1. 48% of consumers will experiment or engage with augmented or virtual reality before the end of 2021, so the heat is on to provide the technology that will create seamless virtual experiences.
  2. When it comes to the music industry, experts suggest that UGC could be the key to $6 billion in revenues by 2022. If this were the outcome, UGC could contribute to about 10% of revenues at a time when the industry needs it most.
  3. It’s not likely that live physical performances will be a reality anytime soon. As such, 75.5% of marketers are considering virtual events in 2021.
  4. 89% of industries are already using video contests to promote their products and services.
  5. Another 89% of digital businesses are investing in personalization, including Coca-Cola, Fabletics, Netflix, Sephora, and Wells Fargo.

User-generated content continues to hold its own as one of the most effective marketing tools to date. You can and should capitalize on UGC, but in order to attract and retain users by ensuring a safe experience for all, UGC must be accompanied by content moderation. This year, it’s critical that marketers go above and beyond to prevent inappropriate content from surfacing on their platforms, and deliver content that is authentic and helpful.