UGC vs. Branded Content: E-commerce's Winning Strategy

UGC vs. Branded Content: E-commerce's Winning Strategy

Julie Cauville

Julie Cauville

December 22, 2022

When capturing consumers' attention, you're probably wondering which is better: user-generated or branded content. The truth is that while you can use both, there are pros and cons to each option, so it's important to know what will work best for your e-commerce shop.

The Pros & Cons of User-Generated Content

User-generated content has quickly taken the world by storm. As a result, many brands are using it to gain attention and strengthen their online presence. So, what are the advantages of user-generated content?

  • User-generated content will cost your brand 50% less than other advertisements, enabling you to cut costs and save money on advertising.
  • User-generated content typically boosts web conversion rates by up to 29%. If you want to convert more of your web visitors into customers, this is an excellent way to make that happen.
  • Consumers are more willing to trust the opinions of users providing authentic reviews than brands posting content about the products they sell. With that in mind, having user-generated content can make your brand appear more authentic and genuine to consumers, increasing sales.

💙 Bigblue Tip

Like Unbottled your order tracking emails to ask your clients to create UGC

Using branded delivery tracking e-mails has many advantages:

  • They have an open rate of 75% vs 20 to 30% of marketing e-mails.
  • They are open up to 4 times during the delivery.
  • Buyers that receive an email have a better repeat rate (+4%) than buyers that didn’t receive an email
  • And reduce bad ratings by -60%: they reassure clients, and overall increase their delivery experience. They are also a great opportunity to help you get more UGC!

While there are many advantages of having user-generated content for your brand, there are a few cons that you need to know about, such as:

  • The possibility of having negative content created about your brand. If a consumer doesn't like something, they may mention that in their content.
  • You will have to review user-generated content regularly. You need to know what people are saying and whether it's good or not. Of course, this can require more time and effort on your behalf.

Despite the cons, user-generated content is incredibly advantageous. It can save you money, help you increase visibility online, and ultimately make it possible for you to increase sales while strengthening your brand.

The Pros & Cons of Branded Content

Branded content is content you can make yourself as the owner of your brand. The benefits of using this type of content include:

  • Telling your brand's story! You will have complete control over how to share your brand's story with the rest of the world.
  • You can customize the content to resonate with your audience. Because you know them best, it may be easier for you to create the kind of content they want to view.
  • You will have more than enough content available to post and share on different social media platforms, which will help you boost your visibility online.

So, what about the cons of branded content? While you can create as much branded content as you'd like, the primary con is that consumers see it as being more salesy and less authentic. As a result, they will prefer user-generated content over branded content every time!

So, which is best for your brand? It depends on a few factors, such as the size of your e-commerce.

If you're just starting, you need to rely on branded content to build a name for your business and ultimately get people to buy from you. Once they buy from you, they may begin creating content and posting it on social media for everyone to see. But, if you're a mid size or larger e-commerce shop, your best bet is to take a user-generated content approach to advertising. It will make your larger brand appear more authentic and relatable, boosting sales. Companies of ALL sizes are using user-generated content to make waves online.

What makes a good UGC?

Good user-generated content is relatable, consumer-friendly, and engaging. People want to watch videos from people who remind them of themselves. It keeps them interested and willing to watch for extended periods, but it can also impact their buying decisions and get them interested enough to want to purchase what your brand can offer.

How to create relatable UGC?

Before you can benefit from user-generated content, it helps to know how to create relatable content. While you don't necessarily want to provide consumers with a step-by-step tutorial on creating the kind of content you'd like to share with consumers and make it easily accessible, these are the things to look for in any user-generated content curated about your brand and its products.

  • Does it provide valuable information? Consumers want to learn things about a product before they buy it. User-generated content that offers these details, including what the product does or how it works, can make a difference. Consumers also look forward to how-to and tutorial content that provides in-depth information on using different products.
  • Is it relatable? User-generated content needs to be authentic and relatable. Being demanding and/or salesy will turn consumers away and keep them from wanting to buy from your brand. But if they see content from people who create videos that sound more like they're chatting with their friends, they will enjoy the relatable content and stay engaged. It will make them want to buy from your brand!
  • Does it create positive emotions? You want the content to evoke the right kind of emotions from the consumers. The great thing about user-generated content is that it captures honest emotions. These are the emotions that people want to see when watching content on social media, whether they're watching videos on Instagram, TikTok, or even Facebook.

There are a few additional steps you can take to create the most relatable user-generated content, such as:

  • Create a special hashtag for your brand: Use the power of hashtags to get more relatable user-generated content. You can create a hashtag for every campaign you decide to have. The goal is to get people to post videos and photos of themselves with the hashtag while discussing your products and showing themselves using it.
  • Set up a giveaway: Hone in on the opportunity to get more user-generated content by planning a giveaway. You can set the rules and specifications, selecting winners based on meeting specific criteria.

It can take time to create and collect user-generated content. However, once you manage to do so, you can benefit tremendously from it by gaining thousands of new followers, receiving plenty of views, and gaining many additional sales.

What makes a good brand generated content?

As previously mentioned, there are pros and cons to brand-generated content. The good thing about this type of content is having the opportunity to make it yourself and have total control over the message you will display to your audience. However, some consumers don’t view this content as authentic as they would user-generated content, so keep that in mind. The good news in all of this? You can still create relatable brand-generated content.

How to create relatable branded generated content

You may wonder how to create relatable branded content that keeps the audience watching. These are a few of the simple things you can do to make branded content that your targeted audience can relate to and enjoy:

  • Speak like you're talking with a friend. Don't create a sales ad for your branded content. Discuss the exciting details of your products, go over how those products work, and even offer tutorials. The goal is to make the content seem like you're chatting with friends rather than talking to customers and trying to make sales.
  • Answer any questions that consumers might have. Use frequently asked questions to create some relatable content that people will feel more inclined to watch. You can take some of your most commonly asked questions and turn them into video responses where you're offering valuable information that people want to hear.
  • Provide real reasons for consumers to buy. If you want people to buy, give them real reasons to do so. Let the consumers know that your products can solve xyz for them, which will likely entice them to try your brand and see if the products do what you've said they will.

You can make branded content that gets views and helps you gain more exposure for your e-commerce shop. It simply requires a bit of creativity.

UGC vs BGC, which one won?

When it comes to user-generated content vs. branded content, check out these results for various brands of different sizes.

1. Chanel, the luxury fashion, fragrance, and beauty brand, crafted a branded post for the Les Beiges foundation on Instagram, generating 147K views and 33K likes. BUT Les Beiges’ user-generated content was the clear winner. Danielle's honest review on social media led to 4M views and a massive 1.1M likes from consumers, garnering way more attention.

2. Despite regularly posting branded content to social media, Dunkin' saw a 57% increase in downloads of its mobile app and a 20% boost in sales for cold brews when partnering with social media influencer Charli D'Amelio, showing that user-generated content once again takes the lead.

3. Well-known backpack brand Cabaïa generates 30K likes within 30 days while having its user-generated content shared thousands of times, proving that this brand benefits from UGC more than its branded posts.

Because brands of all sizes truly benefit from user-generated content, you have the perfect opportunity to do the same. While you can still create branded content, try to emphasize user-generated content more to resonate with your audience and gain their trust.

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