Consumers’ growing mistrust of traditional means of communication and their developing confidence on the opinions and advices of their peers are two complementary factors that explain the emerging role of UGCs in consumers’ purchasing decisions.
What is a UGC?
First of all, what is a UGC? A UGC, acronym for User Generated Content, is a content generated by an online but also offline user. It can take different forms: photos, videos, notes, reviews, blog articles or word of mouth. The UGC has a strong impact on consumers and brands. It is the first vector of consumer confidence since 79% of consumers say that UGCs have a significant impact when making their purchasing decisions.
Growing consumers mistrust of brand messages
Only 16% of consumers trust a brand’s website rather than other information channels when they make a purchase. At the same time, 87% take into account information from UGCs when making their purchases.
These two figures clearly illustrate the growing mistrust of branded content on the part of consumers, who are turning to more authentic content published by their peers.
For the brands themselves, the UGCs are an effective lever to develop their notoriety since for 82% of them, the UGCs increase the visibility of a product and for 81% it increases confidence in the brands. E-retailers and brands also consider UGCs as an effective marketing tool to improve conversion since 81% of them believe that UGCs increase this rate.
The different benefits of UGCs: from improving SEO to recovering consumer insights
In addition to restore trust between consumers and brands, the generation of UGCs makes it possible to improve the natural referencing of a site or product sheet. Indeed, the more UGCs there are on a brand, product or service, the more they will appear at the top of search engine result page, which represents a significant conversion lever since one in three consumers start their online shopping through a search engine.
Moreover, UGCs enable brands to collect consumer insights in order to improve the different aspects of their products or services, or to optimize their user experience, which ultimately boosts the conversion rate.
UGCs: an online but also offline conversion lever
There is strong trust in online UGCs, whether in photos or videos posted on social networks or in ratings and reviews published on e-commerce websites, from millennials and 35-49 year-olds (about 70% trust reviews posted online). However, this confidence decreases for the less sophisticated generations of the Internet (58% of 50-64 year-olds trust online reviews, a figure that drops to 47% for those over 65). But the UGCs have not yet say their last word! Indeed, for the offline part, we find this trust towards our peers in all generations combined and that is where the strength of word of mouth lies. The circle of relatives is the first group of consumers to trust, and their power of recommendation is thus increased tenfold thanks to this channel.
UGCs thus make it possible to reassure consumers and convert them to the act of purchase: there is a 106% increase in the conversion rate for customers who interact with UGCs. We also know that 50 reviews on a product page increase the conversion rate by 30%. But the conversion is not only done online. Indeed, thanks to the ROPO effect (Research Online Purchase Offline), consumers first learn about a product on the Internet and then go to the store to buy it: 91% of consumers who have made a purchase in a local store have carried out an upstream Internet search.
UGCs are applicable regardless of the product universe: whether it is cosmetics where the conversion rate increases by 97%, consumer products or the electronics sector. UGCs are also developing in the world of Food, particularly on social networks: 27% of Instagram users post photos and videos of their dish and 35% regularly view photos or videos of Food.
But these figures are not only true for France: worldwide, 79% of consumers say that UGCs have a significant impact on their purchasing decisions.
The next issue is therefore how to generate these UGCs. There are different activation levers: by interacting with consumers on social networks through community management, by developing engagement tools on e-commerce sites or by capitalizing on nano-influence to engage consumers to create posts, photos, videos or opinion deposits.