29 user-generated content stats that prove it’s here to stay

date Sep 20 2022

author Jon Strutt

There's no better time to start using user-generated content than right now.

From unboxing videos, to selfies with your product, to taking a picture with your product on a car, user-generated content (UGC) is some primo content. It’s authentic, it’s in the moment, and it’s real. And it’s going to be vital for any brand in the future.

But just how important is it, exactly? Well, I’m biased when I say ‘extremely’. But I wanted to discover the real impact it can have for your brand. So, I gathered a bunch of stats to prove it!

You can read all the stats, or skip to the sections that suit you best.


By the way, sourcing and using visual UGC from your fans and real creators is easier than ever. We’d love to show you how our platform helps brands like yours every day get authentic, real content - register here and get ready to start your first campaign!

Consumers love creating UGC

1. 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram every day. (WordStream, 2022)

95 million photos every day, on Instagram alone. We absolutely love to post about our life online.

2. 500 million users use Instagram’s Stories feature daily. (WordStream, 2022)

There’s something about ephemeral videos and images that we can’t get enough of, both consuming and sharing ourselves. It instills that bit of FOMO that keeps us scrolling through.

3. Over 1 billion videos are viewed daily on TikTok. (Techjury, 2022)

Not only do we love to share our own content, but we also love to watch other people’s content too. And you can find just about anything to scratch your 15-second video itch on TikTok. From #fyp to #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, there are enough trending hashtags and crazy dances to make your head spin.

And this is just TikTok and Instagram. YouTube, Reddit, Twitter -  when you include those, we’re talking planet-fuls of content. Best of all, these people want to create content for you!

4. Only 16% of brands provide specific directions on how consumers should create and share UGC, but 53% of consumers want directions. (Business Wire, 2016)

It’s natural to think that you shouldn’t stifle your fans’ creativity and let them create whatever they want. But limitations actually stretch our creativity, so when you outline clear guidelines for the content you want, it’s much easier for your fans to create it for you. The trick is providing clear enough guidelines without being too restrictive.

After all, which prompt would you follow?

  1. Pictures of moving situations.
  2. Relaxed pictures of moving situations, preparing to move and setting up a new home. Pictures can show pets in addition to people. People should be dressed appropriately for the move. Although moving is hard, a positive and comfortable atmosphere is important.

PS: This is an abridged version of a brief that Fortum used in their content campaign - the pictures speak for themselves.

5. 42% of consumers want brands to share examples of photos and videos to help them create UGC. (Business Wire, 2016)

When you share examples of content that gets shared or the types of content that you are looking for, you really help your fans get into the right creative mindset. There’s less guesswork and more “I can do that!”

Instead of waiting for your customers to create content, take the initiative and tell them what you want. It can be as simple as a moodboard you share on your website that your fans can take inspiration from.

Creating instructions that are clear without being constricting is a challenge. So we created a helpful blog post on the matter that details how to create a content brief (with a free template).

Polar - Josefiina Lahtinen

UGC helps your brand stand out

6. Nielsen Norman Group found that website visitors tend to ignore stock photos of generic people while paying attention to photos with relevant information. (Nielsen Norman Group, 2010)

Yeah, you read that right - we straight up ignore blatant stock photos on websites. They’ve been overused, and we crave content that has real substance to it.

7. Stock photos were rated 5.76 for communicating what a brand stands for, compared to 9.33 for original images. (ReferralRock, 2022)

Original. Authentic. Real.

Would you use any of those words to describe stock photos?

They’re perfect for blending into the crowd and being unmemorable - and that probably doesn’t describe your brand. 

Stock photos have their uses. But when you consider that Shutterstock has 1.4 million customers, and Getty Images has 1.5 million customers (Erica Wollmering, 2020), there is a lot of competition for stock photos.

8. 87% of consumers want to see more video content from brands. (HubSpot, 2022)

From YouTube to TikTok, video has taken over as the preferred content format for many people. It’s certainly effective, but it can be costly and time-consuming to produce.

waterdrop® faced this problem - they needed high-quality video that they could also use in their social ads. And how did they solve it? Well, they went straight to the creators of course! Read more about their video production solution here.

Image by Siiri Helena Nolvi.

UGC can help swamped social media teams

9. The number one challenge for social media teams is creating engaging content. (HubSpot, 2022)

Engagement is everything on social media. It’s harder than ever to break through the noise, especially when platforms like Instagram seem poised to move towards serving content algorithmically instead of according to who you follow. So you need to grab viewers’ attention right away, and then encourage them to engage with your content or brand. 

And now, when everyone and their dog have been on social media for years, you really need to pump out high-quality content as often as you can. (By the way, HubSpot found that the next two top challenges were ‘Reaching the target audience’ and ‘Finding ideas for new content’.)

10. 84% of brands report producing more content compared to last year. (Influencer Marketing Hub, 2022)

Producing more content is easy. Producing engaging and fresh content is far from that. Like, far from that. So when you’re producing more content, you also need to consider the quality… and who is going to produce it all.

11. Despite being more labor intensive, original images are considered more worth the investment compared to stock photos (8.42 vs 7.28). (ReferralRock, 2022)

This right here. Consider how easy it is to get stock photos, and how difficult original photos can be to create. And it’s still worth the investment!

PS: getting original photos can be a cakewalk - Luhta Sportswear Company can attest to that.

However, original images don’t have to be a challenge. You can source content straight from creators, purchase the content (and the copyrights), and use those in your social media channels. It’s ridiculously simple - get started with it here.

Image by @tickettothewoods

UGC is authentic and builds rapport

12. Consumers are 2.4 more likely to say that UGC is most authentic compared to branded content. (Business Wire, 2019)

It's obvious that user-generated content is more authentic. It’s content created by people who use the product or service. Whether they’re using it in their daily lives, or raving about a service online, it’s genuine, and is difficult to reproduce in a studio.

13. 51% of consumers believe that less than half of brands create authentic content. (Business Wire, 2019)

Authenticity is hard, because when you try to stage it, you’re missing the entire point. Think of it this way: when you want to release a piece of content, how many people need to sign off on it?

Now think of your fans. Who signs off on their content? More likely than not, they just post whichever picture they love the most.

No editing process, no debates, no meetings or back and forth Slack DMs. Just posting what feels right. That’s true authenticity.

14. 75% of marketers believe UGC is more authentic than content created in-house. (Social Media Today, 2018)

No surprise here - just take a look at some of your biggest fans’ Instagram pages and check their engagement rates. Compare those to your own, and you might feel a bit depressed.

15. Just 17.3% of internet users feel represented in the advertising that they see. (Hootsuite, 2022)

UGC provides a huge boost to your advertising game. It can help your audience feel seen and heard, and they’re more likely to listen to your message as a result. This is because with UGC, you have a diverse mix of creators creating your content, rather than being limited to your in-house team. So you’re naturally bringing more perspectives, situations, and ideas forward by outsourcing the content production.

16. 50% of consumers find UGC more memorable than brand-produced content. (Salesforce, 2016)

An older stat that proves UGC isn’t a new fad. Content created by real people will always feel more authentic than content created by companies, no matter how altruistic it is.

17. 92% of consumers trust online content from friends and family above all other forms of brand messages. (Salesforce, 2016)

When someone we know and love tells us to buy (or not to buy) something, we take their opinion into account. A brand telling you that their product is the best? Well, duh - what else are we going to say?

“70% of the time, you’ll be satisfied with your purchase - every time.” Yeah, nah.

18. 88% of global respondents trust recommendations from people they know more than any other channel. (Nielsen, 2021)

When someone we know and respect tells us about a new product or service that they love, we remember that. Not so much when we see an ad.

19. 66% of consumers trust other consumer opinions posted online - ranked number 3 total. (Nielsen, 2015)

So not only do we trust our friends more than ads, but we also trust the opinions of people we’ve never met. The proof is in the pudding, as they say - your brand reputation is built on the opinion of your customers.

20. 44% of consumers say ads with real-life situations resonate with them the most. (Nielsen, 2015)

We can sniff out a studio shot a mile away now. Why not use ads with creative from actual real life situations? Your fans aren’t thinking exactly how they can make their photo more ‘real’. They’re thinking only how they can make their photo better.

Image by @vilmaihana

UGC increases conversions

21. 53% of Millennials say UGC influenced their purchasing decisions. (Salesforce, 2016)

When nearly half of Millennials say that UGC impacted their purchasing decisions, that’s pretty powerful. They’ve got more disposable income than ever, and they’re willing to use it on the right brands.

22. Visitors to websites with UGC galleries spend 90% more time on the site. (Salesforce, 2016)

It’s fascinating to see what other people do with your products. And highlighting that on your website really captures the attention of your website visitors. It can be creative - like Red Bull’s #PutACanOnIt campaign - or more simple, like Calvin Klein’s #mycalvins campaign.

23. Social campaigns incorporating UGC see a 50% lift in engagement. (Salesforce, 2016)

If you want your campaign to be more engaging, then start by engaging with your audience! Sharing photos they’ve taken, tagging them, commenting on their content is a giant boost to your engagement. Your fans will love that you’ve noticed them, and then they’ll share that with their network, and it compounds from there.

24. Ads with UGC generate 5x more click-through rates. (Salesforce, 2016)

Remember that earlier statistic where only 17% of people feel represented in the ads they see? Using UGC as your ad creative makes ads more relevant as your customers can see similar situations they’ve been in before, without being overproduced or cheesy.

25. 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions. (Business Wire, 2019)

UGC shows your product in action and how it really looks and feels. For example, it can be easier to imagine ourselves wearing certain shoes when we see someone who looks like us wearing them, rather than pictures of just the shoes.

26. Conversion rates are lifted 91.4% when site visitors interact with user-generated photos and videos on a product page. (PowerReviews)

Again, it’s the mere fact that we can see what other people have done with your product, how it operates in reality, is so powerful and worthwhile.

27. Original photos were seen as very effective (8.98/10) when convincing someone to make a purchase. Stock photos received a score of 5.47. (ReferralRock, 2022)

Just say no to stock photos. That’s all I have to say.

28. 12% of global consumers and 24% of Gen Z shoppers say that they won’t purchase a product if they can’t find photos submitted by fellow consumers. (PowerReviews)

The younger generation wants to see how your product actually works, as proven by real people. If you can’t prove that other people have actually used your product, that’s a huge red flag.

29. 48% of Gen Z’ers and 35% of Millennials always seek out UGC content in reviews. (PowerReviews)

The younger generation, well, we’re tired of hearing brands tell us what’s what. We want to hear what’s what from our peers instead.


Hopefully by now you see how powerful visual UGC can be for your brand!

And I’ll let you in on a secret: it can be simple to get too. From contests on Instagram, to giveaways, to even sourcing it direct from creators, there are tons of options. Your fans are waiting for you, so why don’t you get right to it?

Our content platform helps you create photography or video creation projects easily and promote them to a diverse network of creators - register for it here and we'll help you get started with your first branded photo project.

Jon Strutt

About author

Jon Strutt

Jon is Boksi's Content Marketing Manager. When he's not writing blog posts or guides, he's thinking of the next way to punnify 'Boksi'.