User-Generated Content: The Ultimate Marketing Tool for eCommerce Businesses

In this Article

On a trust scale, consumers overwhelmingly trust authentic and unpaid user-generated content (UGC), such as reviews on product detail pages (PDPs), more than any other form of marketing content, according to TINT’s latest research. User-generated content in the form of reviews, comments, and testimonials has emerged as a cornerstone of consumer trust in the digital age.

In other words, consumers are increasingly skeptical of brand content, influencers, and creators, particularly when they perceive these sources as being driven by advertising motives. The rise of ad-blockers and the “banner blindness” phenomenon further underscore the challenge that traditional advertising faces in gaining consumer trust. Naturally, this compelling statistic raises an array of questions, delving into the psychology behind user trust, the factors that contribute to the effectiveness of user-generated content, and how brands can leverage this phenomenon to foster genuine engagement. This article will delve into these inquiries and strive to provide comprehensive insights into the dynamics of user-generated content and its profound effects on modern marketing strategies.

User-Generated Content

User-Generated Content in eCommerce 101

UGC is any form of content that users (usually consumers of a particular product or service) create and share while interacting with the product or service. The common form of UGC content includes product reviews, social media posts, videos, images, and testimonials

This content appears in different places, commonly PDPs, social media sites, and product review platforms like Trustpilot.

In an age where consumers have become more discerning and skeptical of traditional advertising, UGC has become a powerful and authentic marketing tool for eCommerce businesses. But precisely why does UGC hold such tremendous value?

  • Authenticity and trustworthiness: UGC is seen as more authentic and trustworthy because it comes from real users rather than brands. According to the TINT analysis cited earlier, an image of real customers interacting with a brand raises trust levels because it communicates authenticity. Another survey by BrightLocal found that most consumers trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as personal recommendations. When potential customers see real people sharing their positive experiences with a product, they are likelier to believe in its quality and benefits.
  • Social proof: The concept of social proof asserts that people tend to make decisions based on the actions and recommendations of others. UGC is a powerful form of social proof, showcasing that others have purchased and enjoyed a product. Moreover, this can sway potential buyers who are on the fence as they see that their peers have made positive choices.
  • Increased engagement: When customers share their own content, they become emotionally invested in the brand’s success. UGC encourages two-way communication and engagement, fostering a sense of community around the brand. This engagement extends beyond mere transactions, creating a more meaningful connection.
  • Diverse content: UGC comes in various forms, from photos of products being used in real-life situations to creative videos demonstrating their features. This diverse content showcases products from different angles and contexts, offering potential customers a more comprehensive understanding of what they can expect.
  • Cost-effective marketing: While producing high-quality marketing content can be expensive, UGC is generated by customers without direct costs to the brand. This makes it a cost-effective way to create fresh content that resonates with your target audience continuously.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): UGC can positively impact SEO efforts. For example, user-generated reviews and comments often contain keywords and phrases that potential customers might search for. This can improve the brand’s visibility in search engine results and attract more organic traffic.
  • Conversion and sales: UGC has been shown to impact conversion rates and sales directly. For example, a PowerReviews study found an 8.5% increase in conversion among visitors who were served up some form of UGC on product pages. The conversion lift is significantly larger – 100.6% – among visitors who interact with the UGC in some manner. When customers see UGC alongside products, they gain a clearer picture of their real-world value and are more likely to make a purchase.
Types of User-Generated Content

Types of User-Generated Content

eCommerce businesses can leverage various UGC types to enhance their marketing efforts and connect with their audience. Examples of such content that they may put to use include:

1. Customer reviews and ratings

Customer reviews describe a customer’s experience with a product or service. They can be detailed or brief and often include insights into the product’s quality, functionality, and how it met the customer’s expectations. On the other hand, star ratings, which appear alongside reviews, are a quick visual indicator of customer satisfaction. Moreover, they typically range from one to five stars, with higher ratings indicating greater satisfaction.

2. Social media posts

The most common UGC content of this type is Instagram posts. Customers often post pictures of themselves using products, showcasing the product in real-life scenarios. Additionally, consumers post Instagram Stories, ephemeral posts allowing them to share real-time content, including product unboxings, first impressions, and behind-the-scenes glimpses. Brands can encourage customers to mention them in their stories. But since 2018, TikTok has become a global favorite among young social media users. Besides, the site is known for its short-form video content – users create engaging videos, including product reviews, tutorials, or humorous skits featuring eCommerce products. Lastly, brands can collaborate with TikTok influencers to create viral UGC.

3. Social media hashtags

eCommerce businesses often create their own branded hashtags and encourage customers to use them when posting about their products. This helps in aggregating UGC and building a sense of community. Alternatively, for specific marketing campaigns or product launches, brands can create unique hashtags to generate buzz and encourage UGC related to that campaign.

4. User-generated videos and tutorials

Some good examples include product demonstrations, video content demonstrating how to use a product effectively, and unboxings, which showcase the excitement of receiving and opening a product.

5. Blogs and written content

Some customers write detailed blog posts about their experiences with eCommerce products, which can include in-depth reviews, comparisons, and tutorials. Others may produce Q&A and FAQ content, which answers common questions about products. This can be particularly valuable in addressing the potential concerns of other shoppers.

6. Podcast reviews and mentions

In the world of podcasts, hosts and guests often mention products they like or use. Brands can encourage podcasters to talk about their products, creating audio-based UGC.

7. Forums and community discussions

eCommerce businesses can participate in or monitor online forums and communities where customers discuss products. The businesses can encourage positive discussions and address any concerns.

8. Email and customer feedback

When customers send feedback or testimonials via email, brands can request permission to use these comments as UGC in marketing materials.

How To Find And Collect User-Generated Content

Of course, you cannot use something you haven’t identified and build a procedure to guide its exploitation. In this regard, the most valuable strategy eCommerce businesses can implement involves identifying and sourcing UGC from customers. Read on for a detailed guide to an example of such a procedure.

Step 1: Create a UGC-friendly Environment

Actively engage with your audience on social media, email, and your website. Most importantly, respond to comments, questions, and feedback to build a solid online community.

However, you may need to encourage the customers to share their experiences with your products or services. This is necessary because not all customers feel the need to share unsolicited feedback. Lastly, use clear calls to action (CTAs) at various touchpoints, including your business’s website, emails, and social media.

Step 2. Set Up Monitoring and Listening Tools

Social media listening is the ideal approach for putting your ear on the ground for critical signals from the market. Additionally, this method uses various technologies, including Brandwatch, Mention, and Hootsuite, to track brand mentions, hashtags, and discussions relevant to your products or industry. 

Aside from social media, it would be best to leverage Google Alerts for your brand name and related keywords to keep track of online mentions in search engines and online forums.

Step 3: Have a Social Media Strategy

Social media is massive in marketing today. In fact, the latest installment of the annual State of Social & User-Generated Content report asserts that social media platforms are past their original objective. Instead, they have transformed into a search engine of sorts, where consumers use the platforms to search for news, ideas, how-tos, and recommendations. 

In this regard, you should incentivize sharing your brand’s message across social media. For example, you could host contests or giveaways that require participants to share UGC related to your brand, products, or services. Provide rewards or recognition for the best submissions.

Step 4: Monitor Review Platforms

Regularly check review platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Trustpilot for customer reviews and respond to all comments, whether positive or negative—request permission to feature feedback on your website or marketing materials if possible. Then, if you’re using platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce, explore plugins or integrations that allow you to display customer reviews and ratings on your product pages.

Step 5: Email Marketing

After purchase, send follow-up emails requesting feedback or reviews from customers. Make it easy for them to share their experiences by including direct links. Also, encourage customers to share their success stories or product experiences via email and highlight selected stories in your email marketing campaigns.

Step 6: Provide Tools and Templates for Content Creation

Offer tools or templates that make creating and sharing UGC easier for customers. For instance, suppose you run a fashion brand and wish to encourage your customers to share their experiences with your apparel collection. In that case, you may want to provide templates for outfit photos. Additionally, offer structured templates to guide customers in writing reviews, making it more straightforward for them to share their thoughts.

How To Encourage And Incentive UGC Creation

According to a recent study, contemporary shoppers are not only more willing to share their shopping experiences, but they themselves actively participate in creating valuable user-generated content (UGC). The traditionalists are also open to providing feedback but may need some encouragement to engage further in the development of sustainable marketing strategies. If you have no idea how to approach encouraging and incentivizing UGC, the following tips, rooted in consumer-driven content creation, should be invaluable:

  • Host contests and challenges: Invite customers to share photos of themselves using your products creatively or uniquely and offer prizes, discounts, or exclusive merchandise for the best entries. Moreover, these initiatives not only foster UGC development but also cultivate sustainable brand-consumer interactions.
  • Feature and reward UGC creators: Highlight the best UGC on your website, social media, or email newsletter. Recognize and reward creators by featuring their content and offering incentives like gift cards or free products. This practice not only acknowledges consumer efforts but also creates a sustainable cycle of content creation and recognition.
  • Use gamification: Implement a point-based system where customers earn points for each UGC contribution, and the accumulated points can be redeemed for discounts or exclusive merchandise. This interactive approach not only encourages UGC development but also ensures a sustainable cycle of engagement.
  • Create UGC campaigns: Align UGC campaigns with holidays, seasons, or specific themes. Encourage customers to share content related to these themes and offer incentives or prizes that support both UGC creation and sustainable brand visibility.
  • Leverage social media: Partner with influencers or micro-influencers who align with your brand. Besides, they can create UGC and promote your products to their followers, contributing to the sustainable expansion of your brand’s reach.
  • Request feedback and reviews: Send post-purchase emails asking for feedback or reviews. Make the process as easy as possible by including direct links to review forms. You could offer discounts or exclusive access to future sales for customers who leave reviews, effectively nurturing a sustainable feedback loop. However, ensure that incentives do not compromise the authenticity of the reviews, maintaining a genuine and sustainable rapport with consumers.

User-Generated Content in Marketing

The link between UGC and marketing is a symbiotic and powerful one. UGC has become a fundamental component of modern marketing strategies. As seen earlier, it is invaluable to online businesses for several reasons, including authenticity and trust, social proof, engagement and interactivity, and cost-effectiveness.

Granted, many marketers are aware of how powerful UGC is, but perhaps they may be at a loss on how to integrate it into their marketing strategies. In that case, the following guide should be valuable.

Identify your goals: A marketing strategy built around UGC performs best if your objectives are clear. For example, are you looking to increase brand awareness, boost conversions, improve customer trust, or drive user engagement? Otherwise stated, different UGC integration strategies may align with different goals.

Collect user-generated content: Encourage customers to create and share UGC through the methods mentioned earlier, such as contests, challenges, reviews, or social media engagement.

Curate and select high-quality UGC: Not all UGC is created equal. Choose content that aligns with your brand’s image and values. High-quality UGC should be visually appealing, well-written, and authentic.

Display UGC on every consumer touchpoint: Integrate UGC directly into every touchpoint, especially your website, to provide social proof and enhance the user experience. You could:

  • Feature customer reviews, ratings, and photos on product pages to help potential buyers make informed decisions.
  • Create dedicated UGC galleries or sections on your site, showcasing the best content from customers.
  • Highlight customer testimonials or success stories on relevant pages, such as the homepage or landing pages.

Measure and analyze impact: Use analytics tools to track the performance of UGC in your marketing efforts. Some critical metrics include:

  • Conversion rates: Measure if UGC leads to increased conversions or sales.
  • Engagement metrics: Analyze the engagement levels, such as likes, shares, and comments, on UGC posts.
  • Traffic sources: Identify which UGC sources drive the most traffic to your website.

Test and optimize: Continuously test different UGC integration methods and campaign strategies to see what resonates most with your audience, and use the performance data to optimize your approach.

speed to market for brands

How PIM and DAM Systems Can Help eCommerce Businesses Enhance Marketing and Sales Performance with UGC

Organizations can integrate user-generated content into their product content to make it richer. The enriched product content helps to create a highly effective marketing campaign. However, this also introduces the aspect of product information management (PIM) and digital asset management (DAM). 

Furthermore, PIM Software and DAM solutions are powerful tools that can significantly enhance eCommerce businesses’ marketing and sales performance when it comes to leveraging UGC. Let’s explore how the systems contribute to achieving specific goals:

Faster Time-to-Market 

The PIM and DAM market offers a wide range of solutions catering to unique needs. Some platforms, such as Catsy, go a step further – they provide an integrated solution where users can perform product information and digital asset management functions within the same environment. It means users have a robust system to centralize and manage all product-related information, including UGC, in one location. This streamlines the process of gathering and organizing UGC, reducing the time spent searching for relevant content. The DAM aspect of Catsy enables efficient storage, organization, and retrieval of UGC assets like images and videos. This way, marketers can quickly access and repurpose UGC for various marketing campaigns, speeding up content creation processes.

Better Customer Experience 

PIM systems ensure that UGC aligns with your brand’s voice, tone, and guidelines. This consistency enhances the customer experience by providing a coherent brand image across all touchpoints. If you choose an integrated system like Catsy, the eCommerce DAM capabilities empower you to deliver high-quality UGC assets, like customer photos and videos, that enhance product descriptions and provide a richer visual experience for shoppers.

Higher Conversion Rates

We saw earlier that UGC serves as social proof, which can lead to higher trust levels among potential customers. When integrated into product pages via PIM systems, it can boost conversion rates by showcasing real-life experiences and endorsements. On the other hand, the DAM solution allows you to incorporate interactive UGC elements, such as user-generated tutorials, which can engage and educate customers, leading to more informed purchasing decisions.

Personalization and Segmentation 

PIM systems enable you to segment your UGC based on customer personas or demographics. This allows you to deliver targeted UGC to different audience segments, increasing its relevance and impact.

Cross-channel Consistency 

The product content management systems facilitate the distribution of UGC across various marketing channels, ensuring a consistent message and brand experience across platforms.

Compliance and Rights Management 

The best DAM systems have features that help manage copyrights and permissions associated with UGC. Additionally, This ensures you’re using UGC in compliance with legal requirements and respecting users’ rights.

Collaboration and Workflow

PIM and DAM systems create a single source of truth for all product content. They also have features that enable all authorized stakeholders to access product details from anywhere, streamlining collaboration among teams working on UGC-related tasks.


User-Generated Content on Product Detail Pages (PDPs)

Product detail pages (PDPs) are the heart of any b2b eCommerce website. They serve as the digital storefront for individual products and are crucial for several reasons:

  • They provide detailed information about products, helping customers make informed purchasing decisions.
  • Well-structured PDPs with accurate and comprehensive information build trust with customers.
  • SEO-optimized PDPs can improve search engine rankings, attracting more organic traffic to the website.

Enhancing PDPs with User-Generated Content

Authenticity is an elusive concept in the world of online shopping, and any business that prioritizes it is bound to attract crowds of shoppers. We discussed how UGC communicates authenticity and social proof, which often boost engagement. So, adding this content to PDPs will most certainly make the storefront more appealing to potential buyers. But what type of UGC is fit for PDPs? You can incorporate customer reviews and ratings, customer-uploaded images and videos, testimonials, and social media posts.

Best Practices for Displaying and Optimizing UGC on PDPs

  • Place UGC elements like reviews, ratings, and images near the top of the PDP, where they are immediately visible to visitors.
  • Incorporate customer images and videos in a way that complements the overall design of the PDP. Pro tip: Ensure the images and videos are high quality and clearly showcase the product.
  • Use UGC to emphasize important product features or benefits, reinforcing the value proposition.
  • Include calls to action (CTAs) like “See What Customers Say” or “View Customer Reviews” to encourage visitors to explore UGC.
  • Strive for a balanced representation of UGC. Don’t overwhelm the PDP with too much content; select the most relevant and impactful pieces.


User-generated content has become a cornerstone of modern eCommerce marketing strategies. As consumers grow increasingly wary of traditional advertising, the authenticity and credibility of UGC help build trust and social proof. For online businesses, integrating impactful UGC into platforms like product pages and email campaigns can boost engagement, conversions, and sales.

However, to leverage UGC successfully, brands must actively cultivate user contributions through contests, incentives, and robust community engagement. They must also implement smart workflows involving PIM and DAM systems like Catsy to efficiently manage UGC assets. Catsy provides an integrated solution for streamlined UGC management, enabling faster time-to-market and cross-channel content consistency.


The most effective UGC for eCommerce includes customer reviews, ratings, photos, videos, testimonials, social media posts, tutorials, and podcast/blog mentions. Different types resonate with different audiences.

Offer incentives like contests, gamification, rewards, and exclusive access. Make it easy by providing templates and tools. Feature their content. Send follow-up emails requesting UGC. Engage on social media.

Place it prominently near the top. Use high-quality images/videos showcasing products. Balance UGC with other content. Include CTAs to encourage engagement. Select only the most relevant pieces.

They provide centralized UGC storage, ensure brand consistency, enable collaboration, speed up content distribution, and help track UGC performance. Catsy integrates both for a streamlined workflow.

Content moderation is crucial for user-generated campaigns to ensure brand safety, compliance, and a positive customer experience. Proper moderation filters out inappropriate content, aligns UGC to brand values, complies with regulations, prevents misinformation, and maintains an authentic, respectful community. With effective moderation, brands can benefit from user-generated content while mitigating risks.

User-Generated Content: The Ultimate Marketing Tool for eCommerce Businesses
Article Name
User-Generated Content: The Ultimate Marketing Tool for eCommerce Businesses