What is Paid UGC and why brands are using it

What are Paid UGC and why brands are already using them

Written by Barbara MUTANI

October 27, 2023

What are Paid UGC and why brands are already using them

Paid User Generated Content (Paid UGC) emerged as an evolution of user-generated content (UGC) in the marketing landscape. Brands have long realized that content perceived as authentic by consumers brings greater engagement and also greater conversion. For some time, therefore, brands have started to share and use content on their channels that consumers have spontaneously created and posted photos, videos and stories featuring their products or services. But how to incentivize the production of this type of content? Paid UGC emerged as a response to this need.

Let’s see what Paid UGC are, how they differ from unpaid UGC, why brands are using Paid UGC more and more, and how to manage such a campaign.

What are Paid UGC

Paid User Generated Content (Paid UGC) refers to content created by users or customers of a product or service that is incentivized or compensated by a brand or company. This compensation can take various forms, such as monetary rewards, free products, discounts, exclusive access, or other valuable incentives.

How Paid UGC differs from Non-Paid UGC

1. Incentives

The key distinction between Paid UGC and regular User Generated Content is the presence of incentives. In Paid UGC, users receive some form of compensation for their contributions, while non-paid UGC is created voluntarily by customers.

2. Control

Brands have more control over the content in Paid UGC campaigns. They can provide guidelines, themes, or specific requests to users, ensuring the content aligns with their marketing objectives.

3. Posting channel

Unpaid UGC are spontaneously published by consumers in their profiles. Paid UGC, on the other hand, are published directly on brand profiles.

How brands contact creators for Paid UGC

Several platforms and social media networks have features or partnerships in place to facilitate Paid UGC campaigns. These platforms act as intermediaries by providing a structured framework for brands to connect with potential content creators, set campaign objectives, and manage the entire process of generating Paid User Generated Content (Paid UGC). Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how the process typically works:

  • Brand sign-up and campaign creation: the brand creates an account on the platform and sets up a campaign. This involves defining the campaign objectives, target audience, content requirements, and any specific guidelines or themes.
  • Content briefing: the brand creates a detailed brief outlining what they’re looking for in terms of content. This could include specifics like content format (e.g., photo, video, blog post), messaging, brand guidelines, and deadlines.
  • Content creator registration: content creators, which may include influencers, micro-influencers, photographers, writers, and other creatives, register on the platform and express interest in participating in campaigns. They often provide information about their audience demographics, reach, and content specialities.
  • Matching and selection: the platform’s algorithms or the brand’s team reviews registered content creators and matches them with the campaign based on criteria like audience fit, content style, and expertise. The brand may also have the option to manually select creators.
  • Campaign execution: the selected content creators receive the campaign brief and create content according to the provided guidelines. They may share drafts or ideas for approval before finalizing the content.
  • Approval and compensation: once the brand is satisfied with the content, it approves it for use in its marketing efforts. The content creator is then compensated based on the agreed-upon terms, which could be monetary payment, free products, discounts, or other incentives.

Why brands should use Paid UGC

Brands are increasingly interested in this form of content creation. In fact, it will definitely be a trend in 2024.

 👉 If you want to discover all the trends of 2024, check out our latest eBook!

Paid UGC guarantees good quality content that is authentic, in line with the target audience and easy to use. Also in terms of cost-effectiveness, Paid UGC are often more cost-effective than traditional advertising channels.  Moreover, brands can collaborate with influencers or micro-influencers who have a dedicated following, further increasing the reach and impact of UGC.

Advice for brands

Platforms that act as mediators are certainly a help, but often do not act as a real partner for the brand. The selection of and communication with influencers is the responsibility of the brand. Therefore, brands should be aware that the clarity and effectiveness of the brief given to the creators is key to the success of the campaign.

UGC created through WOM campaigns

Another way to quickly generate unpaid UGC are Word Of Mouth (WOM) campaigns. In this case, the brand collaborates with a partner that has a large community of consumers and influencers. The campaign is published in the community, consumers in line with the target group sign up and are carefully selected by the partner agency. The selected consumers will receive the product from the brand and try it out for a few days. Afterwards, thanks to clear and direct communication by the agency, consumers will publish their impressions of the product in the form of content on social media, reviews or by organizing product trials with friends and family.

👉 Are you curious about WOM campaigns? These are the results Garnier achieved with a single WOM campaign with Nano influencers!

In conclusion

Paid UGC is a great way for brands to get authentic, quality content. In fact, they will be one of the trends of 2024. Paid UGC can be used by brands in multiple ways and on various channels. The platforms providing this service are flourishing, but brands need to be aware that there is also a lot of work to be done internally. A great brief and careful selection will be the keys to success for such a campaign.