Providing high quality content is one of the keys to successful business, no matter what industry or market you’re in. Great content is able to showcase your brand, educate and inform readers and convert leads into customers. Sourcing good content can be tough but one treasure trove of content that you might be looking over is user generated content.
In this article, we tackle the topic of user generated content. We’ll learn what is user generated content advantages and disadvantages and whether or not it’s a viable option for your content marketing strategy. So let’s not waste any more time, let’s get right to it!
What is user generated content?
User generated content (or UGC) is any content that is not created by the business and is instead created by consumers and customers. The content created can range from anything to photos and videos, all the way to customer reviews and guest blog posts.
UGC is one of the most prevalent content types, especially on the Internet. On Instagram alone, there are over 1000 photos posted every single second. That’s a lot of user generated content coming from one social media platform.
But even though there’s a lot of UGC being pumped out everyday, that makes your job as a business owner or content marketer harder! Why? Well, it means that there’s a lot of content you’ll have to wade through before finding something that is well made and relevant to your business.
However, is finding and using UGC even worth your time? Do their pros outweigh the cons? Let’s check out the user generated content advantages and disadvantages and see whether or not you should be using it!
The advantages of user generated content
User generated content would not be so popular if it were not for some of its great advantages and benefits. Let’s take a look at them below.
Reduces the burden of content creation
One of the best things about user generated content is that it reduces your content needs. By using UGC, you won’t have to create as much content yourself. This effectively saves you time and money; time and money that can be redirected to other parts of your business like SEO or email marketing.
Because UGC comes from the creative minds of all your customers or consumers, UGC will also provide you with a wide variety of different content. So if you’re ever running low on content ideas, you can always turn to the content created by your customers.
In some cases, UGC can even extend the overall lifespan of your product or service and keep it relevant years after its release. You can see this in full effect within the gaming and entertainment industries, where users will consistently revisit old games, TV shows and movies thanks to the never-ending amount of community-generated mods, memes and content.
Fan-made mods keep old games like Skyrim popular years after it’s launch. Source: NexusMods
Increases engagement, conversions and loyalty
User generated content can be considered a triple threat, increasing user engagement, encouraging more conversions and building trust and loyalty. It’s a well known fact that consumers trust user generated content such as online reviews more than branded content – up to 46% in fact! Consumers are always more likely to engage and interact with brands who they trust.
Not only does UGC encourage consumers to engage with brands, it also increases the amount of conversions brands will experience. Don’t believe us? Research has shown that UGC results in 29% higher web conversions than websites without it. It’s also shown that ads that use UGC experience 4x higher click-through rates.
Customer reviews say a lot about your business. Source: Google
UGC also encourages and builds customer loyalty. Customers love seeing their own content on websites and social media profiles. It shows that businesses are proud to show off their customers which builds a positive relationship between the two.
UGC benefits your SEO
Yes, it’s true! User generated content greatly benefits your website’s SEO and helps it rank higher on search engines like Google. The main way it does this is by increasing your website’s dwell time.
Dwell time is the length of time a person spends looking at a webpage after they’ve clicked a link on search results but before clicking back to the search results page. You always want users to stay as long as possible on your site. It helps them remember your business and encourages them to eventually take actions that you want such as contacting you or making an order.
UGC makes people want to stay on your website. Source: Atsuko
UGC is able to persuade users to stick around, thus increasing the dwell time on your site and improving your SEO. UGC in the form of customer reviews are also likely to feature many relevant keywords or phrases that your business is actively trying to rank for.
The disadvantages of user generated content
It’s also important to note some of the disadvantages of user generated content. Let’s check them out below.
Because you have no control over the content your users create, there is no guarantee that every single piece of content will be positive. You may get a few negative pieces of content every once in a while. These can include inappropriate comments, negative product reviews or poorly taken photos. These can all hurt your business’ reputation and image.
UGC isn’t always positive. Source: Google
While you may be tempted to purge all of your channels of negative content, this can actually backfire on you. Your brand may see backlash and might be portrayed as disingenuous or cowardly, which only encourages more negative content. Negative content also provides very valuable feedback which you can use to better your business.
A great piece of share-worthy content can do wonders for your business. But before you start sharing it on social media, you have to work out any licensing and legal issues.
Legally speaking, you are unable to share any content without explicit permission from the people you’re taking it from. And while most users won’t mind if you use it or not, you should always ask for permission just in case. A simple outreach email or message to cover your back will prevent any potential legal risks.
UGC requires close supervision
While we did mention that using UGC allows you to focus on other elements of your business, it still requires close supervision and monitoring. Finding a person (or multiple people) to do that requires time and money. Moderating user generated content will help you prevent black hat SEO attacks or blatantly offensive content, such as racism or pornography.
Weighing up user generated content advantages and disadvantages
After looking at both the advantages and disadvantages of UGC, the only question left is: is using UGC worth it? We’re not going to be wishy-washy with our answer: it definitely is. The benefits of user generated content greatly outweighs its downsides. From giving you more content to use, to encouraging conversions and building trust and loyalty, user generated content should be a part of your content strategy.
That’s the user generated content advantages and disadvantages looked at. But what about the pros and cons of other digital marketing strategies? Find everything you need to know at the ZipZipe blog – check it out today!