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UGC: The Paid Marketeer's Best Kept Secret

With few overheads and high return on investment, user generated content (UGC) is marketing gold for those willing to tap into its potential. In our latest blog, our Paid Media Performance Manager, Luke Finlayson looks into UGC’s benefits, brand hesitations, and reasons you should be incorporating UGC into your creative strategy.

Paid Media

Luke Finlayson

11 Nov 2022

What is UGC?

User Generated Content or UGC as we call it, is quickly becoming one of the most powerful forms of digital marketing across the world. UGC is content created by people other than the actual brand itself. This can vary from employees, customers, and anyone who is engaged with your brand.

There is a common misconception that when running paid media marketing campaigns, the ad creative has to be polished, high quality or shot in a studio in order to be successful. Here’s a secret; this doesn’t have to be the case. Content created by customers on iPhones is generating equally, if not better results than those created with high-end studio equipment.

In this article, we look at the benefits of UGC, why some brands are hesitant to use it and reasons you should incorporate UGC into your creative strategy.

Benefits of UGC To Your Brand:

1. Build Trust

Trust is one of the strongest drivers of engagement and conversions for a brand. More often than not, we are served high-production ads with little insight into how much we can trust these brands. If we were to see an ad that incorporated the excellent reviews from your business, we would be further inclined to trust this brand and purchase from them. Bali Body is a perfect example of utilising UGC to gain the trust of its customers, as they show off their 10,000+ 5* reviews.

2. Relatability

Relatability is nearly 2x as important as popularity and 63% of users trust Influencers more than what brands say about themselves. UGC is more organic, imperfect and therefore more relatable. Someone may not be able to relate to a t-shirt worn by a supermodel model, but they can picture themselves wearing the same garment if they see a regular user wearing it. Boohoo did this perfectly during COVID with their #boohoointhehouse campaign, with staff and influencers wearing their clothes throughout the pandemic.

3. ROI

Right now, the UK is experiencing a cost of living crisis, which is creating a knock-on effect on brands' willingness to invest in both media and creative. This is something we've been exploring in our digital booklet, Chaos Theory.​​ If your brand has a limited budget, UGC is the perfect solution to capitalise on, with relatively few overheads involved in the process, put into practice with one of our clients below:

We included UGC for one of our clients due to VTR being under target (9% vs 14% target). UGC drove a 24% VTR and helped us hit our overall target for the quarter, all whilst yielding a much higher ROI than our BAU creative. Simple yet effective.

Common brand misconceptions of UGC:

1. Reluctant To Experiment

Some brands feel they do not need to experiment with UGC if their current creative is performing well. This lack of testing leads to brands missing out on potentially even greater results. Mixing UGC with your Hi-Fi content is also great for avoiding creative fatigue, improving engagement and increasing clickthrough rates. The biggest fear brands should be worried about is being left behind by their competition.

2. Brand Misalignment

Some brands are worried about how it will affect their brand image, especially those that value themselves as a premium business. Over the past 3 years, the line between Hi-Fi and Lo-Fi content has become much more amalgamated, especially since COVID. This new era saw brands having to curate content without the use of high-end studio equipment. Fashion giant Zara sent its newest products directly to models’ homes to be styled and shot. Despite the content not being as polished, it was still well-received and engaging.

Brands Killing The UGC Game

Burberry is a perfect example of using a mixture of Hi-Fi and UGC across their socials.

Nandos used UGC from their employees who capitalised on current TikTok trends.

Seedlip fanatics are also shooting eye-catching content on Instagram, which was later reposted by the brand on their socials.

3 key reasons UGC should be in your social strategy:

  1. UGC shows the human side of your business, which taps into the emotions of customers and helps drive engagement & conversions.

  2. UGC is cost-effective meaning a large budget is not required to deliver strong results.

  3. UGC blurs the line between the paid and organic world and boosts conversions.


We can confidently see from our own results the positive impact and crucial role that UGC plays for our clients at Born. We encourage you to test UGC within your creative mix and don’t be afraid to try new methods of gaining your customers' trust and attention.

You will need to plan a thought-out strategy that perfectly aligns with your overall business goals and here at Born, we can help you achieve these ambitions and bring ideation into creation.