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  • Writer's pictureEmma

UGC vs Influencer Marketing: What's the Difference and Do You Need Both?

Updated: 6 days ago

In the world of digital marketing, two popular buzzwords that are often used are UGC and influencer marketing. There has been some confusion in the industry as to what each of these does, as many brands assume UGC creators are the same as Influencers. And while both these marketing techniques involve the use of user-generated content, they differ in their approach and execution.

What You'll Learn:

A white female influencer or content creator holding a camera standing on a rooftop

What is UGC?

UGC, or user-generated content, refers to any content that is created by users or customers of a brand. This could be in the form of reviews, social media posts, videos, images, or any other type of content that is created and shared by users.

UGC is a great way for brands to showcase their products or services in a way that is authentic and relatable. It allows customers to share their experiences and opinions, which can help to build trust and credibility for the brand.

What is Influencer Marketing?

On the other hand, influencer marketing involves collaborating with social media influencers to promote a brand's products or services. Influencer marketing has gained popularity in recent years, with brands recognizing the power of social media influencers in reaching their target audience. Influencers are individuals who have a large following on social media and can sway their followers' opinions and purchase decisions.

Brands partner with influencers to create content that showcases their products or services and promotes them to their followers.

A white man with a beard and plaid shirt holding up cosmetics

UGC vs. Influencer Marketing

While both UGC and influencer marketing involve user-generated content, there are some key differences between the two.

Control Over Content

The first difference is the level of control that brands have over the content. With UGC, brands have little to no control over the content that users create. Typically, users are free to share their opinions and experiences in any way they see fit, and brands must accept that they may not always be portrayed in the way they prefer.

With influencer marketing, brands have more control over the content that is created. They can work with the influencer to create content that aligns with their brand values and messaging.

Authenticity of Content

The second difference is the level of trust and authenticity. UGC is often seen as more authentic and trustworthy than influencer marketing. This is because UGC is created by real users who have had real experiences with the brand, whereas influencer marketing can sometimes feel like a paid promotion. However, this is not always the case, and many influencers are able to create content that feels authentic and genuine.

A white woman speaking to her camera smartphone on a tripod holding up a skincare product

Reach of Content

The third difference is the level of reach. Influencer marketing has the potential to reach a much larger audience than UGC. This is because influencers have a large following on social media, and their posts can reach thousands or even millions of people.

On the other hand, UGC is typically shared among a user's immediate network of friends and family.

Cost of Content

The fourth difference is their pricing. UGC is much more affordable because you aren't leveraging their audience. Usually, you'll request the content, and they'll send the finished content to you to distribute across your own channels.

Influencer marketing can be very expensive and is typically priced based on audience size and how involved the influencer will be with marketing your product. Because they're essentially promoting your product, this is understandably more expensive but can garner better results if the influencer has an engaged audience.

A brown man in a plaid shirt speaking into his camera phone

Use UGC and Influencer Marketing in Your Strategy

Both UGC and influencer marketing have their own strengths and weaknesses. UGC is great for building trust and credibility and is an affordable way to get relatable content created, while influencer marketing is great for reaching a large audience, although it can cost a lot more.

Brands should consider their goals and target audience when deciding which approach to take. But ultimately, it isn't a case of UGC vs Influencer Marketing. The best approach is one that includes both and is tailored to the brand's unique needs and goals.

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