2024 Marketing Trends: User-Generated Content

At the end of the day, people want to see things they can relate to online – whether that’s a picture of an Instagram model with the same body type as them or an article about a specific problem they deal with. 

And relatability isn’t just a nice-to-have – it could actually boost your business’ revenue. According to a survey by Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognise, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations. Another 70% said they shop exclusively with brands who they feel personally understand them through content marketing, customer service or community engagement.

But that #relatable moment doesn’t happen as often as you might think – especially where brands are concerned…

Why companies suck at relatable content

Picture the scene: it’s 2021 and the world’s eyes have turned online. Everyone is talking about their favourite brand’s recent social media stunt (think Ryanair, Aldi or Monzo) – and suddenly every entrepreneur and their nan is looking to hire an authentic content marketer to capture that sarcastic, but never-endingly popular, Gen Z tone of voice. Pretty soon, everyone’s copying that winning formula for social media success until… your brand’s content becomes indistinguishable from the next.

Ultimately, the battle to be the most #relatable has left many marketers looking inauthentic, insincere and, even worse, a bit cringe. So it’s not surprising that many are going back to the drawing board to personalise their customers’ content experiences in 2024 and beyond.

What is UGC?

And who better to decide what type of content your followers want to see than your followers themselves? User-generated content (UGC) has been on the rise over the past few years, being particularly spurred on by influencer marketing – and it looks set to be an even bigger thing in 2024.

If you’re a little confused, UGC does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s content generated by individual users – for example, leaving a review, participating in an Instagram competition, or tagging a product in a picture. And these recommendations have the power to push potential customers over the line – 53% of online shoppers seek external opinions before purchasing a product. 

How brands can leverage UGC

It’s one thing to talk about it, and another thing to put it into practice. So here are a couple of examples where user-generated content firmly cemented its status as a key part of a marketer’s arsenal…

  • ICONIC London’s shoppable UGC: New beauty brand ICONIC London was looking to make its mark in an overcrowded industry. They used real consumer images to showcase how products looked on customers and saw a 126% increase in conversion rate.
  • Apple’s #ShotOnIPhone campaign: There’s no way a phone camera could be that good, right? That’s exactly the question Apple wanted to answer when it launched its long-running UGC #ShotOnIPhone campaign, which encouraged users to share pictures they had taken on their devices with the same hashtag.
  • Buffer’s community engagement: It’s not just B2C brands that can hop on the UGC bandwagon. Social media tool Buffer encourages its users to submit photos of their adventures (big or small) to the Buffer community – it then reshares them online for added content.
  • Campus Living Villages’ student content creators: We couldn’t get through this article without mentioning one of our own success stories. Campus Living Villages came to us to revive its social media feed during a busy period, so we leveraged its community of student creators to build relevant posts around university move-ins, budgeting, and more. In doing so, we increased interactions by 156%.

Ready for UGC?

We get it. A new year can be an exciting time – a blank slate to wipe your previous marketing mistakes clean and focus on the latest tactics instead. But it might also mean rebuilding your content strategy from the ground up. And if you’re a business that’s growing fast, you probably don’t have the time to dedicate to UGC.

Our social media and copywriting team has got their finger on the pulse when it comes to content trends. Get in touch today if you’re ready to leverage user-generated content in your everyday marketing efforts – and check out our other 2024 marketing predictions here.

Words by Holly


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