Consumers tend to prefer user-generated content (UGC) on Instagram over other social media platforms, according to a new survey from creative hiring guide Visual Objects.
When asked to compare screenshots of a brand’s UGC vs. branded content (content created and posted by the company itself), survey respondents chose the UGC option on Instagram for both Starbucks and clothing brand Aerie.
Starbucks’ UGC post is more likely to influence 61 percent of consumers to make a purchase, while 39 percent of people think its branded content is more influential. Consumers also prefer Aerie’s UGC post (60 percent) over its branded post (40 percent).
Instagram makes it easy for businesses to find customers who post about its products by using the platform’s hashtags and locations tags, which, in turn, makes it easy to repost content from users.
UGC isn’t always more successful than branded content on Instagram, however. When asked which Instagram post is most likely to cause them to book a trip through vacation company Getaway House, 70 percent of respondents preferred the company’s branded content, compared to 30 percent who preferred the UGC.
Instagram is known for influencer content, so consumers may be skeptical that user-generated content might actually be paid content—especially for brands that aren’t household names, such as Getaway House. Businesses should therefore post UGC on Instagram, but make sure the posts are as authentic as possible.
User-generated content on YouTube may not influence consumers as much as branded content
“Unboxing” videos and other videos showing products from a brand have become popular on YouTube, but may come across as advertisements, rather than user-generated content. For example, when asked if subscription box FabFitFun’s branded unboxing video or user-created unboxing video is more likely to influence them to purchase from the company, 71 percent of respondents preferred the branded video.
Consumers may see user-generated unboxing videos as too promotional and biased. Instead, they may prefer videos that include multiple brands.
“Users don’t like one-sided content,” said Taylor McCarthy Hansen, co-founder of e-commerce coaching agency The Ecomm Manager, in a news release. “If a piece of user-generated content is comparing two products, for example, it may lean toward one product but shouldn’t overtly show bias. Clearly favoring one product turns the content into a sales pitch rather than a legitimate review.”
Consumers prefer branded content on Twitter
UGC on Twitter is as simple as hitting “retweet” on a post but does not influence consumers as much as original, branded content.
Around two-thirds of consumers (68 percent) say Netflix’s branded tweet about the show “Selling Sunset” is more likely to influence them to watch the show, compared to 32 percent who find a user-generated tweet more influential.
“While people generally trust UGC, sometimes they would rather hear straight from the horse’s mouth,” said Vinay Amin, CEO of Eu Natural nutrition supplement company.