A Stamp of Approval: Why UGC is Crucial In The Wake of COVID

Published on May 11, 2020
Author: Alison Hinz

COVID has forced brands to shift their content strategies in a very big way because now more than ever, they have to meet their customers where they are. Today, this means figuring out how to relate to customers as they become more and more accustomed to this “new normal” of social distancing.

Today, in-store shopping is minimal and online shopping is skyrocketing. In fact, online purchasing is up 40% year over year. With more customers spending time on social media and brands’ ecommerce websites but having less time or ability to actually experience products in real life before making a purchase decision, customers want to feel confident that the purchase they are making is worth it. To gain this confidence in their purchase decisions, consumers today are looking more towards user-generated content and influencers for feedback and a stamp of approval on the products they’re interested in.

What this means is that while consumers are spending more and more time online, brands have to look for new ways to intercept customers while they’re scrolling through their feeds. Their content has to be meaningful and it has to provide enough details, so customers are open to buying a product without seeing it up close and personal. That’s a lot that has to be accomplished with a single photo or post. Enter UGC – real photos, videos, testimonials, live coverage, etc. featuring real people with your products. We’re all familiar with UGC in our content, but now its value is skyrocketing, and brands need more of it. In fact, year over year, Bazaarvoice saw a 9% lift in average order value in March when users engaged with UGC.

How do you get more UGC? Here are three options to consider: 

  • Consider a campaign like American Eagle’s latest push to get UGC by incentivizing customers with photo placement in their marketing emails.
  • Look more towards influencers who already have established trust with their networks. As social media continues to experience increased usage, this is a prime time to leverage a combination of influencers (macro, micro, and niche) to promote your products.
  • Last, but certainly not least, evaluate your post-purchase interaction emails and communication strategy to identify opportunities for UGC CTAs. Incentivize customers to submit content by offering gift cards, a percentage off, or a chance to win something. Complement these efforts with paid media using custom audiences to increase your UGC and testimonial collection.

What do you do with it once you have it? Here are four key ways to use UGC to drive sales:

  • Incorporate UGC photos and customer testimonials prominently on your product pages.
  • Include customer reviews in your retargeting ads.
  • Provide product recommendations from customers who have purchased similar items for cross-sell opportunities.
  • Test units like carousel ads with UGC to show a collection of products or different looks of the same product to highlight its versatility.

UGC and influencer programming have always played an important role in our content strategy, and today, that is no different. If you’d like to discuss how your brand can benefit from UGC collection, contact us at info@againinteractive.com.

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