We trust other users’ content, but brands must use it more

Through our regular #VoxPopuli survey, we checked how our followers on social networks see the use of user-generated content in communication, emphasizing the social channels of brands. At the same time, our goal was to find out how users perceive “unpolished” content.

User-generated content (UGC) is content on social networks or websites created by users of products and services. This includes, among other things, product reviews, blog articles about the advantages and disadvantages of certain products, “first-hand” recommendations that users give from their own experience, and photos or videos that they post on social networks.

“Unpolished” content is closely related to UGC; it is the content of brands that does not undergo embellishments and filters but is presented authentically and realistically.


UGC is suitable for audience engagement, but it’s underused


In a survey we conducted on Instagram, over half of the participants (60 %) believed that UGC is more valuable than branded content. A high 92 % think it is an excellent way to encourage audience engagement. Despite this, two-thirds of respondents said UGC is separate from their long-term strategy. Nevertheless, 43 % of them use UGC in communication.

Regarding using UGC on social networks, most respondents (80 %) agreed it is appropriate for such communication. A slightly higher percentage, 82 % of respondents, believe that user content can encourage more customers to buy a new product than brand content (18 %). Respondents fully agree that UGC can contribute to spreading awareness of a new product or service.

In addition to Instagram, we checked the perception and trust in UGC on LinkedIn. Like on Instagram, more respondents (60 %) do not use UGC as a communication strategy. Moreover, 67 % of respondents, significantly different from Instagram, believe that UGC is unsuitable for all social media channels.


Users have more confidence in “unpolished” content


A respectable number of respondents (88 %) on Instagram believe social network users trust “unpolished” content more than polished content.

Also, 75 % believe that “unpolished” content leaves a better impression on users. Although slightly smaller, LinkedIn respondents also believe that social network users have more trust in “unpolished” content (69 %).

Finally, opinions are divided regarding the character of this trend. An equal number of respondents believe that “unpolished content” is a passing trend, while the same number believe it is permanent.