What is UGC, and why is it important?

In this article, we’ll cut the time it takes for you to use UGC, with insights and case studies from our own experience.

Cezar Grigore

by Cezar Grigore

· 14 min read

What is UGC? – And How Your Brand Can Get More Sales Using It

UGC. It’s the darling of marketers and social media gurus.

But what is UGC?

If you’re looking for a quick answer: UGC is “user-generated content.”

But to truly understand how to use UGC effectively for your brand? That can take years of research and experimentation.

In this article, we’ll cut the time it takes for you to use UGC, with insights and case studies from our own experience (you’re welcome).

We’ll cover how to use UGC for your business, the benefits and downsides of including it in your marketing strategy, where to get it, and– most importantly– how to use it to drive sales.

That’s right! User-generated content can help you sell more. There are plenty of cases where a specific piece of user-generated content has caused products to sell out.

If you want to start using UGC to promote your brand but don’t know where to start, this article is for you. Let’s get to it!

What is UGC?

User-generated content, or UGC, refers to original content consumers create for brands. That’s what UGC content is, at its core– regular people talking about products they love.

This is often videos or photos your customers spontaneously post about your product, but you don’t have to wait for them to do that– more on that later.

What’s a UGC video like? Well, UGC videos typically show regular people using your product or service- this can be in a testimonial format, “how to,” a review, or even modeling.

Side note: If you’ve heard the term and you’re wondering what “UGC creator” means– a UGC creator is one of these regular people making these videos.

But UGC isn’t necessarily limited to a specific video format. Anything that reflects a real user’s experience with your brand is user-generated content.

Videos and photos shared on people’s social media channels are the main sources of UGC. This organic posting often creates greater brand awareness and sales than traditional ads, because people trust people more than they trust brands.

Plus, actual users of your product understand the needs of your audience and can speak directly to them. After all, they have those same needs!

What’s the difference between UGC and content created by influencers or paid content in general?

The main difference between UGC and influencer content (or paid content in general), is who creates it.

When someone loves your product so much that they can’t keep it to themselves– that’s what UGC is. You aren’t paying them to use your product, and they probably don’t have a huge audience. They just genuinely love your product, and other people see that and believe it.

This is very different from hiring an influencer.

When you hire a professional influencer, people know they’re paid to show products to their followers. And, their followers are smart. They know the influencer is going to talk favorably about brands that pay them. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the brand is good.

It’s the same with content from video or photography studios. Professionally-made content is visually pleasing, but it doesn’t always make people buy your product.

Put another way: When you’re thinking about buying a product, who are you going to trust? The company who makes it, or people like you who use it?

For example, one writer describes her experience watching UGC while looking for apartments this way:

"When I've watched tours filmed by tenants, they'll explain what they like about their apartment, note major pros and cons, and give tiny -- but authentic -- details that the average salesperson might not offer. For example, in one video, a tenant honestly revealed one pro and one con about a bathroom by saying, ‘The bathtub has a great jacuzzi, which makes up for the lower water pressure.’" - Hubspot

Raw, unfiltered opinions are going to outperform professional content nearly every time on social media.

A practical UGC example

In this video, a UGC creator shares her experience using a Peter Thomas Roth product as part of her skincare routine, amassing over 40 million views.

@Trinidad1967 on TikTok. All rights reserved.

Because the video went viral, she gained a TikTok following and paid partnership– but don’t let her current metrics fool you.

When she originally posted the video in 2021, she wasn’t an influencer trying to get money from the brand or being paid to share her experience– and that was a huge part of the magic.

She was just sharing her experience with a product she loved, and showing the results. As a result, the product sold out. And this is only one example of UGC!

Hopefully, though, it’s enough for you to get an idea of what makes UGC so special: it’s your biggest fans telling the world why they love your product, no strings attached. That realness is what makes UGC so appealing to audiences.

How can you use UGC?

Okay, now that you know what UGC is, you’re probably wondering:

How do I use this to promote my business?

Good news! You have a few options. We’ll explore them below ⬇️

Use UGC on your organic social media channels

When you find UGC out in the wild, you can repost it (with permission and credit, of course!) on your company’s social media channels.

There are several perks to posting it on your organic social media channels:

  1. You don’t have to put much budget behind it– just find the videos out in the wild, get permission, and repost!
  2. You get highly effective posts without having to put a ton of effort into creating content.
  3. You build trust by showcasing real customers on your social media channels.

Plus, by highlighting the UGC on your social media channels, you make it easier for people to find opinions from real customers when they’re looking at your products.

Of course, you don’t have to stop at just reposting! You can also use it on paid channels, like ads. Let’s talk about that next.

Use UGC on paid channels

Even more than repurposing content for your organic social media channels, using UGC in ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Snapchat brings huge ROI.

At Clip, we’ve experienced this firsthand with countless brands– check out some of their stories on this page. Here’s why it’s so effective:

UGC is super genuine and authentic, which attracts people to it.

So, when your ad featuring UGC hits their screen, they’re more likely to click and buy.

(Check out these success stories to see what we mean.)

Wondering how this works at the companies that do it best? We can tell you:

Brands who excel at using UGC in their ads build a constant pipeline of user-generated content.

They get it every month and keep editing it, mixing it, and testing it until they find the perfect combination that brings a lot of sales.

When they find that magic formula, they put their money behind it and double down.

That’s it. That’s the secret to a highly successful UGC ad campaign.

Challenges with getting UGC online

At this point, you might have a question about getting user-generated content:

What if people aren’t posting about your product online?

Or, what if they are posting about it occasionally, but everything that’s out there isn’t really in a format you want to use to promote your brand?

This is a problem– to run a successful UGC ad campaign, you need many people sharing about your product online so that you can get the quality of content you need to edit, mix, test, and repeat.

You’ll often see big brands (think Netflix or Coca-Cola) addressing this challenge by starting online campaigns where they incentivize customers to share about their products and get a reward. For example, they might ask customers to post a photo using a hashtag and a chance to be featured.

If your brand is big and well-known, this approach works super well. If your business is on the small to medium side, it may not.

We’ll discuss some other strategies you can use to get UGC and drive sales later in this article if people aren’t already spontaneously posting about your brand online. But for now, let’s take a closer look at the benefits and downsides of using UGC.

Benefits and downsides of using UGC

Now that you understand how to use UGC for your brand, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of using it.

What is the best way to use UGC?

With all the hype around it, can it live up to your expectations?

Let’s find out.


There are a TON of benefits to using UGC as part of your marketing strategy. Here are the top ones:

  • User-generated content saves you time and effort because you don’t have to create anything from scratch– instead, you’re letting fans of your brand speak about your product in their own words, using their own stories.
  • It helps you grow brand awareness and sales.
  • It’s 10X more affordable than influencer marketing or working with video production studios, which usually have high price tags.
  • It’s authentic, which means your brand becomes more authentic.


We’re big fans of UGC. However, there are downsides too, which are worth considering:

  • Getting user-generated content can be frustrating. Not all the content from your customers is usable, mostly because many of them don’t have photo/video skills.
  • Going viral doesn’t “just happen” very often. Yes, there are standout examples like the one we mentioned earlier, but usually, it’s going to take hard work on your part to make content go viral.

How can you obtain UGC?

If you’re still here now that we’ve considered the challenges, benefits, and downsides of UGC, it’s time to get super practical. Let’s talk about how to get UGC for your business.

We’ll start with the most obvious place– from your customers!

From your customers

If a large-scale social media campaign just isn’t in the cards for you (yet), it’s time to get creative about how to ask for UGC from your customers. (And yes, you will have to ask)

One example of how you might do this is to do a giveaway: Get a nice prize that will appeal to your customers, and share about your giveaway on social media. Encourage people to share content with your product so they can enter the competition to get the prize.

Giveaways can work well. Just make sure the prize is good enough to encourage a large number of people to go through the effort of posting.

There are so many ways to incentivize your customers to create UGC. As a business owner, you’re best equipped to choose or come up with a solution that will work well for your audience. Experiment with different approaches to find one that works!

But what if getting UGC from your customers just isn't working? Maybe they’re not tech-savvy enough, or it’s hard to get permission to use their clips.

That’s where UGC platforms (like Clip! Hey! 👋) come in.

From platforms like Clip

At Clip, we have a vast network of UGC creators who try your products and create UGC for them. You can check out some examples of our creators’ work here.

Please note: the creators you’ll find on Clip aren’t influencers– they don’t post to their own social media accounts for you.

Instead, they’re home studio creators who only work with brands they love and produce authentic and engaging content, just like customers. You can see examples of the types of content they’ll create for your channels here.

But of course, getting high-quality UGC only matters if you can turn it into sales, right? So let’s talk about that before we wrap up.

How do you get sales with UGC?

In our opinion, the best way to use UGC is to mix it with a healthy advertising strategy. We mentioned it earlier in this article, and we’ll say it again: the best return on investment you can get with UGC comes from using a paid ads strategy.

If you’re wondering what we mean, check out this article, where we break down how Holy Grail Nail used videos from Clip’s creators to create an ad campaign that generated 8.7K impressions with a 4.6X ROAS.

One way to get results (read: sales!) like this is to get different videos that focus on different selling points or features of your product. Each video needs to cover a different selling point.

Then, you can test those videos in ads to see which selling point or ad attracts more customers.

Once you find one that does? That’s your winner.

Get more videos that focus on the same thing, and start scaling.

At the end of the day, how to use UGC to get sales rests on one simple question: what, specifically, drives sales for your product?

Once you find out, double down on that, and don’t look back.

If you’d like to learn more about how Clip can help you jumpstart your sales, you can book a demo.

Share now!

Related articlesView all →

Get high performance UGC videos in less than 7 days

Clip - Connecting brands and video creators
1 Water Lane, London NW1 8NZ
+44 7933 441 043
© 2023 Clip Hub Limited. All rights reserved.