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UGC campaigns 5 years later: real advantages and conditions for success
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UGC campaigns 5 years later: real advantages and conditions for success

Social Media Business Strategy Content

We hear a lot less about it than before, and yet UGC (or  User Generated Content ) campaigns are more important than ever. The benefits are enormous, for both advertisers and consumers. Could such an initiative change everything for your business, becoming the unexpected force that makes you shine? So here are some numbers, benefits and conditions for the success of user-generated content  (UGC).



  • According to a  comScore study , brand engagement increases by 28% when consumers are exposed to both professional and user-generated video content.
  • UGC drives 29% more web conversions than campaigns or sites without it. –Offerpop _ 
Source: Bazaarvoice



1. Improving brand image

Obviously, if the initiative turns out to be a success, it can be very favorable for the brand image. Several advantages could then result from it: an increase in commitment, greater confidence, a reinforcement of the loyalty of its customers or the acquisition of new customers.  

2. Increasing digital performance

Getting people talking positively not only benefits brand image, but also overall digital performance:

  1. Increased visibility through popularity signals and increased site traffic
  2. Increase in site performance on search engines thanks to the various referrer links and the  generation of unique content


3. Creation of sustainable digital assets

This type of initiative offers, in the long term, many advantages that just have to be grasped. Moreover, these different benefits could improve the profitability of the campaign. For example, it's a great opportunity to collect  new qualified  opt-ins  for your database . It is also an opportunity to build (or strengthen)  a committed community and natural ambassadors, loyal  brand advocates, with whom to interact in the long term. The unique and authentic content submitted by users can be reused for future initiatives  (this option must obviously be clearly announced at the start in the clauses),  or distributed on its various channels and social presences .. The campaign should not be isolated, but rather integrated into an overall ecosystem.

4. Low cost R&D

A UGC campaign should be seen as a small gold mine of new knowledge . Depending on the concept, the advertiser could decide to take the pulse of the audience on a new message, concept, idea or offer. It would also be possible to directly request help from users on the design of a new product, the idealization of  renewed packaging  or even the testing of a new application or functionality. All this, often at low cost.  


5. Savings in time and money

UGC campaigns are normally much less costly in time and money. Obviously, there is a certain budget for  the preliminary analysis, the strategy and the monitoring , but then it is the user who takes care of the content ideas and the production. The ROI may then turn out to be very positive!



In my opinion, there is not much magic in a UGC campaign. Undoubtedly, there are unexpected or unexpected successes, but I don't believe that a company should bet on that alone. Why? Because users don't wake up one morning with an uncontrollable urge to devote their time and ideas to the benefit of a company. Users must first feel engaged, inspired, and most importantly, they must not feel used . They must also believe in the offer of said company and like it enough to want to associate with it. Several elements must be taken into consideration, because this type of campaign remains risky; it could have the opposite effect of what was intended.


1. Systematically carry out a preliminary analysis and ask yourself the right questions

First of all, it will be important to  carry out an audit  of the natural UGC on its brand. Are there already online conversations or  reviews , are they positive or negative, and is there a way to leverage this organic content. Then, if the idea of ​​carrying out a UGC campaign is gaining ground, several other questions should be asked:

  • What are our  objectives and KPIs ?
  • What is our mission, values ​​and brand image? And how to remain consistent with this  identity ?
  • Do we want to invest with a  partner  or not?
  • Who is our  target , do we really know it? What are its values ​​and interests?
  • What are the  risks  of such an initiative on our image?
  • Who are our competitors and have they done this type of initiative before? Can we draw inspiration from it or analyze what went well and less well during these campaigns?
  • What are our  limitations  (economic, legal, political)?
  • How can we benefit from the initiative in the long term and therefore make it a  sustainable digital asset ?
  • Etc.

It is essential to take the time to do this analysis in order to find THE appropriate strategy. We obviously want it to be a positive and profitable experience that resonates with our target, and not a controversial or negative campaign. Unfortunately, each company does not benefit from the same capital of sympathy and does not have the freedom to express itself on everything.


2. Inspire creativity and freedom of expression while guiding the user  

Following the preliminary analysis, it is important to take the time to think about the angle, the tone and the concept of the initiative in order to ensure that the user has a unique experience. Why not appeal to his creativity, his freedom of expression, his own color and personality? How to make him live his moment of glory, how to value it?  Or again, how to make him feel useful, make him laugh or move him? That being said, according to statistics, the user still wants to be oriented on what is expected of him, hence the importance of clear directives.

Source: Adweek


3. Decide on campaign delivery parameters and understand the advantages/disadvantages

Two ways of managing this type of initiative should be considered. On the one hand, it is possible that the advertiser wishes to retain some control over the campaign, all the more so if there is the slightest risk of slippage. For example,  one can require that user content be hosted on a fully controlled platform , for example with  Woobox  or  Kontest . It is then suggested that a moderator takes care of receiving the content, filtering it, and only then decides to distribute some of it on the desired platforms.

On the other hand, it would also be possible for the advertiser to be confident enough to simply  give free rein to users to first post on their own social platforms using a  hashtag  – And then resume the desired posts on its own network. This way of doing things is much less controlled, offers more freedom, and feels a little more natural than the first. However, in the event that the campaign goes sour for whatever reason, it would be nearly impossible to quell it. In both cases, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons and to think about your distribution strategy.


4. Have sincere intentions and bet on a win-win relationship

The user is not fooled and will not consent to free advertising without finding his own account. Worse still, he might feel cheated, even going so far as to speak negatively about the brand – and the writings stick (even more so on the web!). In short,  it is essential that the user clearly understands the intentions of the advertiser, as well as his involvement and the advantages he has of taking part in the initiative . The relationship should be win-win.

The contest was a chance for consumers to show off their videos, rather than a chance for the brand to promote their products and push sales. Designing a user generated content campaign that is purely and unashamedly promotional in nature will, more often than not, backfire. The public won't be agreeable to something they feel is just trying to part them with their money, and a user generated platform gives them the perfect opportunity to strike back and express that frustration. –  Inbound Marketing Agents


5. Reward participants and ambassadors

Finally, in order to put the odds on your side for a successful campaign, it is recommended to think of an incentive (a price) proportional to the effort required. The higher the price, the greater the effort required or personal information collected, and vice versa. It would also be to the advertiser's advantage to offer a reward that is related to its products or services in order to ensure that it generates  qualified leads  , i.e. that the participants are real ambassadors of Mark.

When well thought out and executed, UGC campaigns can be an incredible opportunity to shine, inspire and stand out, at low cost. Do you know of successes or failures of UGC campaigns? Share them in the comments!


Thanks to Marie-Pierre Paradis Claes and Matthieu Casanova for their collaboration during the writing of this article.