User-generated content, UGC for short, is a powerful content marketing tool for brands looking to resonate with new customers.

That content, created by online users and made available via social media, can consist of photos, tweets, blog posts, reviews, audio, video, and more. UGC a powerful source of creative, trustworthy content for brands to display via their marketing channels.

When a brand scales its content creation with user-generated content, and uses real customer photos alongside branded content in its marketing, it adds a layer of credibility and authenticity both to the brand and its products.

Today's consumers are digital natives. They are exposed to over 5,000 brand messages and advertisements every day and, as a result, are distrustful of brand messages. UGC, however, is effective at influencing purchasing decisions because consumers trust content that is generated by their peers over content generated by the brand itself.

Three Benefits of User Generated Content: The Case of Real-Life Customer Photos

1. Gain social proof

User-generated content builds credibility and social proof for your brand. Since consumers trust other consumers, displaying UGC on your website is an effective way to influence potential customers to buy. In fact, 51% of US consumers trust real customer photos of a brand's product more than any other information available on a brand website.

Marketing with UGC becomes even more important as the popularity of online shopping continues to increase. It gives shoppers a real-life view of how customers are using a brand's products. That authentic lens helps convince online shoppers—who can't touch or feel your products as they would in a store—to make purchases.

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image of Juliet Carnoy

Juliet Carnoy is marketing manager at Pixlee, a visual marketing platform that allows businesses to market and sell using real customer photos and videos.

LinkedIn: Juliet Carnoy