User-Generated Content (UGC) is defined as any content related to a brand that has been created by unpaid contributors. It can be pictures, videos, testimonials, and everything in between. User-generated content is typically published online, where it can easily go viral. It’s a type of interactive marketing.

The main benefit of UGC is that fans take care of promoting your business. By relying on customers and followers, you can make your marketing efforts more effective.

UGC shows the power of word-of-mouth

Who are you more likely to trust: a brand or a fellow consumer?

If you chose the latter, you are part of the 92% of consumers who turn to their friends and family members for referrals above any other source.

92% of consumers turn to their friends and family members for referrals above any other source

People don’t really trust traditional marketing messages anymore. Instead, they want to hear real stories from real people. Luckily, that’s pretty much how it works in today’s digital world: a customer who is crazy about your products or experiences a great customer service will be motivated to spread the word, on social media for instance. On the other hand, their peers want to hear from fellow customers before making a purchasing decision… The circle is complete!

UGC embraces authenticity

Furthermore, the average person craves real human interaction and likes to feel a part of something. User-generated content is so compelling because it provides audiences with a chance to build relationships with new people.

UGC builds a community around your brand and makes it more authentic (and thus credible). And authenticity pays off:


User-generated photos are
5x more likely to convert
customers vs. non-UGC.

UGC is cost-effective

UGC is all about the users creating content for free. They do it either because they want to share their experience, to win something, or simply to gain exposure. In any case, this is way cheaper than renting advertising space, be it TV commercials or billboards ?

Best examples of brands using UGC

Content marketers are increasingly incorporating UGC campaigns as part of their interactive marketing strategy. As explained above, user-generated content effectively provides many benefits, including building customer trust and strengthening their relationship with the brand.

Let’s have a look at some brilliant UGC campaigns!

SNCF’s Movember campaign

SNCF's Movember UGC campaign

The SNCF, France’s national state-owned railway company, asked its fans to upload pictures of themselves wearing Movember’s iconic mustache.

The railway company used the photo editor format, so users could add custom frames and stickers to their pictures.

Submissions could then easily be shared on social media, in order to show support for the Movember Foundation and raise awareness of men’s health issues.

All the SNCF had to do was create a photo gallery, which they showcased on their website. A nice way to build a strong brand image!

RTL’s UGC campaigns

RTL's UGC campaign with Bellewaerde

RTL Belgium is a strong supporter of UGC content, using it on many occasions, including their 30th birthday. They use it to activate partnerships with brands such as the Bellewaerde theme park or fashion retailer Espace Mode.

In the photo contest below, users had to submit photos of themselves in their best birthday outfit. The prize to win was a €1,000 shopping session with Belgian radio host and model Jill Vandermeulen.

RTL's UGC campaign with Espace Mode

The Voice

The Voice's online auditions are a good example of UGC

Among many other countries, Belgium has adopted the reality television singing competition format of The Voice. In the French-speaking part of Belgium, the show is broadcasted by the RTBF (public radio and television services).

For the show’s first stage of auditions, The Voice leverages user-generated content by using a video contest format. The idea is that the competition’s contestants upload a video of their best performance and only those deemed “the best singers” get to perform in televised auditions.

During several weeks, visitors can scroll through the dedicated gallery and support their favourite candidates by voting once a day.

The Voice uses the Qualifio platform to build, moderate and display the videos. “It is very easy for us to create the dedicated interfaces and registration forms that allow participants to upload the videos,” says Marie-Paule Lemmens, The Voice Project Manager at the RTBF. “Working with the Qualifio online platform was simple, fast and economical.” Learn more about Qualifio →

This type of UGC is very popular. French radio station NRJ used the same campaign format for its own singing competition, NRJ Talent:

NRJ Talent UGC video gallery

Stepstone’s career wishes

Stepstone is a German online recruitment company that was founded in 1996. They are now present in 20+ countries. In 2018, they decided to launch a local user-generated content campaign, where soon-to-be graduates from Ghent could try and win their dream prize to kickstart their career.

Stepstone's UCG campaign

All users had to do was to submit their resume and write down what would help them start a successful career.

In the example below, a participant entered the contest and wished for a new smartphone that would allow them to be reachable at all times:

Stepstone's UGC example

At the end of this writing contest period, the 3 wishes with the most votes were fulfilled!

As demonstrated by the examples above, UGC campaigns offer many possible formats to engage your audience, develop a community and strengthen your relationship with your followers and customers. What are you waiting for?