What is User-Generated Content (UGC)? 7 Examples from Brands

Do you want to understand user-generated content (UGC) and its meaning? Before defining UGC strategies and looking into UGC platforms, it is helpful to consider how influence works in marketing and human relationships.

Social proof defines user-generated content (UGC) and drives sales

If you work in marketing, you use social proof to convince leads to become buyers. For example, you might show quotes from satisfied customers on your website or online shop. The most effective way is the simplest, with a casual UGC video:

An example user-generated content at its simplest as a testimonial
A customer testimonial is UGC – user-generated content – in its simplest form. Videos are great for it.

Think of your personal life: immediately after asking a question on your favorite social media channel, you’ll receive comments and product recommendations from friends.

Science proves that influence works the same way with brands. UGC results from your brand's interaction with and impact on others. It does not come magically from thin air.

What is user-generated content? A closer look

User-generated content, or UGC for short (you might also hear it called consumer-created content), is all the content users create and share online, especially on social media about your brand. The meaning of UGC includes everything from snapshots, reels, and videos to long-form reviews on YouTube and even quick shout-outs about your brand. And guess what? It doesn't cost your business a dime.

UGC matters because 79% of consumers say it dramatically influences buying decisions, and 74% use social media before buying anything.

How to make UGC work for you

As a marketer or brand owner, displaying user-generated content on your website is wise because it shows real-life brand love and brings your users together like a community. It's got this authentic vibe that potential customers dig, seeing real people sharing their real experiences. Plus, mixing UGC into your marketing mix can spice up your content game, ramp up engagement, and even nudge those conversion rates up to 29% higher, thanks to genuine user thumbs-ups.

Examples of user-generated content

Companies organize user-generated content campaigns from brick-and-mortar to multinationals to fuel their reach and ignite even more discussions. Engaging their customers in sharing product feedback and experiences allows them to multiply the discussions on our social media feeds.

In this blog post, we’ll let seven brands show you how to use UGC to your brand’s advantage.

How does UGC work?

  1. The meaning of user-generated content (UGC)
  2. Types of user-generated content
  3. Why is user-generated content important?
  4. Best UGC examples and practices from 7 brands
  5. User-generated content tools
  6. How to embed UGC on any website

The meaning of user-generated content (UGC)

An example of UGC social wall for Paris 2024 competition

"UGC meaning" is something people search for quite often on Google. I believe Wikipedia defines what is user-generated content just nicely:

"User-generated content (UGC), alternatively known as user-created content (UCC), is any form of content, such as images, videos, text, testimonials, and audio, that has been posted by users on online platforms such as social media, discussion forums, and wikis. Consumers create products to disseminate information about online products or the firms that market them."

I’d only add that most of the UGC is public, but it’s important to remember that people share a massive volume of UGC in their private discussions. As a marketer, your goal is to maximize the number of brand mentions, private and public, by making your content shareable and the branded hashtag visible everywhere.

Below are 7 UGC examples showing how brands encourage their customers to use hashtags.

Types of user-generated content

UGC comes in many formats, and you can find brand-new apps for people to express themselves daily. The most common user-generated content types are:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Reels
  • Reviews and testimonials
  • Other text content like tweets, blog posts, and comments on social media
  • Audio files on WhatsApp, Messenger, and other social media platforms
  • Discussion forum content, including the likes of Quora and Reddit

The most popular UGC type is undeniably an Instagram image, followed by TikTok videos and Instagram Reels.

Why is user-generated content important?

A user-generated content example by Phillips

There are multiple reasons why you see UGC in digital marketing plans. The key benefits of UGC are:

  • Build brand awareness, engagement, and reach.
  • Drive traffic to your website.
  • Increase sales through social proof.
  • Create a fan community.
  • Get feedback and insights.

Build brand awareness, engagement, and reach

UGC content helps your brand build awareness and reach – after engaging customers and stakeholders in sharing your content, your brand will be seen by their families, friends, and other networks.

For example, Romantik Hotels asks their customers to mention #romantikhotels and #exploreromantik when sharing images and videos. Plus, Flockler interviewed Holiday Club Resorts for an in-depth look at how hospitality brands use user-generated content.


Drive traffic to your website

Especially if you ask customers to mention your Instagram account or tag you in their images and Reels, people who see the post can effortlessly find your profile and website. Most social media channels, excluding Instagram, also support links in the caption text.

For many businesses, Google Reviews are an essential traffic source, and it’s easy to add a Google Reviews widget to your website, too. Positive reviews visible in Google’s search results make it so much more likely for you to get a visit online and offline.

An example of a Google review

Increase sales through social proof

When you see reviews and recommendations from others, you are much more likely to purchase the product and service.

First, you will trust the peer recommendations more than shiny marketing materials.

Secondly, UGC marketing shows real-life scenarios for the product and service, helping other customers see how the product would fit into their homes and how to use it. I recently bought a home office desk and was only convinced of its size after seeing it in someone else’s living room!

See how Worktop Express shows "Our Customers' Creations" on their homepage. The website visitor finds the matching product after clicking any of the images on the website. And oh yeah, people do click those images and videos A LOT!

A shoppable Instagram feed on a webshop

Create a fan community

When people mention your brand or branded hashtag, they will quickly see their friends commenting and asking questions. If others have tried your product and service, they are encouraged to share their experience the next time they use it.

Multiply that all over social media, and you’ve got a community of customers talking about you. If you do things right and keep up the high quality, user-generated content becomes a marketing vehicle that never stops moving.

#GoProAwards is one of the many never-stopping UGC campaign vehicles set in motion. GoPro asks customers and influencers to upload images and videos showing their active lifestyles. The best ones are featured on their website and social media. Learn more on how GoPro takes advantage of user-generated content.

UGC on a website example

Get feedback and insights

Gathering feedback and insights for product development is an underestimated use case for user-generated content. If planned well, you can ask the community for advice and deliver some requests in replies. For inspiration, search for #buildinpublic on X (formerly Twitter) to see how entrepreneurs like Andrew Gazdecki use this technique in their favor.

Example of tweet requesting feedback

Best UGC examples and practices from 7 brands

Next, I’ll show you some of the best UGC examples and what UGC is in education, e-commerce, travel, etc.

UGC in education: Harvard University

User-generated content is a must in higher education marketing, and schools display social media feeds on websites and digital screens on campus.

Havard University is one of the hundreds of schools that have hashtag entries on commencement events and alumni pages. With the Flockler platform, they can run multiple hashtag campaigns simultaneously and at a very affordable cost.

A hashtag campaign feed on a website

UGC in e-commerce: Sohome

Webshops love using social proof marketing and show UGC on their home and product pages. UGC convinces the next visitor to spend more time on the page and directs them to the product page straight after seeing your product in a real-life context.

Sohome, an online furniture retailer, shows one of my favorite UGC examples. You’ll find the 'Shop the Look' element with curated UGC content on the homepage. If you click one of the posts, a popup shows the entire image and the related product. Great job, Sohome!

A shoppable UGC gallery on a webshop
An Instagram image with a tagged product

UGC in travel: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Travel plans often start with the search bar on Instagram. There you’ll find authentic tips from other travelers and influencers. Here’s where I’m planning to travel next 👇

An example of Instagram hashtag search results

Increasing the amount of user-created content is one of the key reasons why Hapag-Lloyd Cruises showcases the best UGC on its homepage. The Instagram grid encourages others to share their photos and videos, making it more likely for website visitors to convert to customers.

An Instagram feed embedded on a website

UGC in music: Festival Republic

If you go to a gig, you will see many phones capturing the moment—people all around you take images and videos to share with friends.

Shooting a UGC video on a concert

Bands, artists, and music festivals also love to show that shared UGC content. Festival Republic, a company organizing many of the UK’s most popular festivals, shows UGC on digital screens. A custom design Slideshow for each event ensures music fans don’t forget to use the branded hashtag.

A UGC slideshow for an event

UGC in fundraising: United Nations Foundation

Nonprofits and charities might still call you or say hello in the street and ask for donations, but more and more, online visibility and reach are the keys to the long-term success of a fundraising campaign. Various UGC hashtag campaigns over the years have ensured that the charity is at the top of current and new supporters' minds.

United Nations Foundation's #EqualEverywhere campaign is a fantastic example of how charities use social media to increase donations. The campaign asks people to join the fight for an equal future and share the branded hashtag.

A social wall with UGC on a website

UGC in city marketing: Sheffield City

Every city should have a branded hashtag—an engaging phrase that locals, businesses, and visitors can mention when using the city's public and private services.

And once you get content, you should make it visible like Sheffield City. You will find social media posts on their website dedicated to local services, from music to exhibitions, restaurants to comedy, and everything in between.

UGC in city marketing example on a landing page

UGC in sports: Rose Bowl

UGC and social media feeds in sports marketing could not be left on the sidelines in my blog post. Sports fans are enthusiastic - and the momentum for the branded hashtag builds up long before the event takes place.

The Rose Bowl Game, an annual American college football match since 1902, is one of the events showing UGC on big screens. Families and friends post selfies showing their support for the team, and the same content reaches an international audience via social media channels.

UGC in sports example with social media featured on a digital screen

User-generated content tools

Social proof platform: Flockler

A user-generated content tool example

Flockler helps you gather user-generated content and embed Instagram feeds and other social media channels on any website and digital service.

Effortlessly, you can collect UGC from multiple social media channels, moderate it, and then display it on any digital platform. For more inspiration, see how to embed UGC on any website further down.

Social listening tool: Hootsuite

A user-generated content app example

With Hootsuite, it’s easy to track brand mentions, reply to comments, and manage your customer community across multiple channels. One tool allows you to schedule your social media posts published on FB, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), etc.

Influencer marketing platform: Grin

A user-generated content app example

Grin is one of the most popular influencer marketing platforms to find UGC creators. Suppose you want to establish a professional relationship with influencers and are ready to pay for the user-generated content. In that case, Grin can help you manage the process from discovery to rewards.

How to embed UGC on any website

Have you ever embedded UGC on your website? If not, here’s a quick guide, and you’ll have your first posts on the website in less than five minutes.

Start by signing up for Flockler’s 14-day free trial. No credit card is needed, and there’s no commitment. You’ll get the whole product and our fantastic support for free.

The first screen will ask you to choose one of the channels. Don’t stress too much here; you can return anytime and add more content sources.

Choosing a content source on the Flockler app

Since Instagram is the most popular UGC type, I’ll pick that as an example.

First, I’ll connect my Instagram Business account (by using my Facebook account).

Next, I’ll pick 'Images and videos', and then hashtag mentions

Choosing Instagram hashtag feed as the content source

Next, I’ll decide to show content from everyone, gather all UGC content types (images, videos, and Reels), and show them all automatically. I can permanently hide content later if needed. If you need ideas on how to get more UGC content for your brand, check out our free resources.

Choosing to show UGC from everyone on the Flockler app
Choosing to show all UGC types on the Flockler app
UGC moderation options on the Flockler app

Now that I’ve collected content, it’s time to pick a layout for my website. With Flockler, you can create unlimited Walls, Grids, Carousels, and Slideshows.

Choosing a display layout to show on a website

After choosing the layout, I’ll customize colors and elements, and in a few minutes, my design will be ready to use.

Customizing the layout styles on the Flockler app

The final step is to add Flockler’s embed code to any website and digital service. Below is the list of the most common website builders and step-by-step instructions.

If you have another website builder in use and need help embedding UGC, don’t hesitate to contact us.

With Flockler, you can gather and display social media feeds from your favourite channels. See the full list of supported content types and sources

Flockler helps marketers like you to create social media feeds and display user-generated content on any digital service. Keep your audience engaged and drive sales.

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