UGC-Style Ads Will Grow Your Business

Updated on: June 20, 2024

User-generated content (UGC) has taken the marketing world by storm. By spotlighting authentic voices to which audiences can relate, marketers are able to turbocharge their video ad campaigns’ engagement while simultaneously reducing related costs. It’s the ultimate win-win! 



So what are UGC ads, anyhow? This marketing strategy leverages content created by real customers (or hired content creators) within ad creatives. While product reviews and testimonials can take many forms—written word, images, and videos—videos are by far the most effective type of UGC to use within online ads.

The proven benefits of UGC-style ads

Now that you understand what UGC ads are, let’s dive deeper into the benefits they offer compared to traditional ads.

Increased relatability and social proof leads to greater engagement – Because UGC-style ads spotlight the perspectives of “real people,” they feel less scripted and more authentic. In turn, UGC ads tend to receive higher engagement rates because they resonate more with audiences and encourage interaction; in a recent study completed by Shopify, UGC-style ads produced 4X the average click-through-rate.

UGC-style ads align with the kind of content users crave – Few sites have experienced the meteoric rise of social platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, especially during a time when Americans are cutting back on streaming and shying away from movie theater attendance. The takeaway? People are increasingly drawn to storytelling from their peers rather than major studios. Find the right UGC creator and narrative, and you may just go viral!

 UGC-like content is significantly more affordable than professionally-shot material – As we’ll explore in greater detail below, there are various ways to acquire UGC-style content. Even if you hire content creators to document their experiences, the cost is generally lower than hiring a professional team to produce highly polished, traditional advertisements.


As a bonus, UGC content can be repurposed in more ways outside of merely ads – Incorporating testimonials and footage of real people using your services can significantly enhance your product pages and other sales platforms. Partnering with creators can amplify this effect, as you can negotiate for them to promote the content to their followers to further build word of mouth. The takeaway? UGC-style content crafted for your ads can extend its reach beyond your campaign’s budget, further boosting your ROI.


Where to feature UGC-style ads

Simply put, you can share UGC campaigns anywhere you would place video ads, including:

  • Social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn)
  • Google Ads (including Display Network and YouTube)
  • Amazon and other third-party vendors’ product pages
  • Your company’s product pages
  • Digital advertising networks (such as AdRoll or Outbrain)
  • Affiliate marketing campaigns
  • Mobile apps or games advertising

How to acquire UGC content for ads

Earning UGC footage organically

If today’s marketers could write a letter to Santa, free, high-quality UGC would undoubtedly top many wish lists. There are a number of strategies you can employ to organically earn feedback from users, including:

  • Send well-times emails requesting reviews, optimized through A/B
  • Host social media contests or challenges
  • Incentivize participation through discounts, freebies, or loyalty points
  • Showcase user-generated content on your website, social media channels, or marketing materials to highlight contributors and encourage others to participate

However, as many marketers know firsthand, acquiring authentic UGC can prove challenging since most customers are simply uninterested. Furthermore, only a fraction of the UGC received may be usable for ads due to issues such as shaky camera footage, inarticulate reviewers, or an overall lackluster reflection of the products or services. You may need to seek additional permission from reviewers to use their testimonial in advertisements. For these reasons, most brands launching UGC-style ads partner with creators to represent the brand in the best light while also providing a humanizing feel.



Paying creators to generate UGC-style ad content


There are a number of advantages to proactively partnering with individuals to create UGC videos, including:

  • You are guaranteed content rather than being solely reliant upon audiences to generate materials
  • You have nearly full control over the outcome, from which creator crafts the UGC-style ad content to minor details like how they hold the product and the talking points they highlight 
  • You can arrange for the UGC creators to share the ad content with their own followers (with FTC-approved disclosures) to further magnify your reach amongst targeted audiences. 

Finding the Right UGC Creators For your Ads

Manually scouting and managing creators for UGC video ad campaigns can be both time-consuming and ineffective. This tactic not only requires extensive cold-contacting (and potentially high rates of rejection), but it’s on the brands to fully facilitate related legal documents and content briefs.


To streamline the process and achieve better results, consider leveraging self-managed UGC software solutions or full-service offerings.


Thankfully, provides a comprehensive solution with both agency and software-based services. Our all-in-one platform offers immediate access to a robust creator marketplace and enables you to pinpoint the ideal collaborators using our text and image-based search functions. Review prospects’ particulars to ensure they align perfectly with your products and services. Once you’ve found the perfect creator and both parties are eager to begin, leverage our pre-existing templates to solidify the details of the arrangement.


Turning UGC-style content into effective ads

Strategically structuring the narrative

In essence, your video ad is a compelling story designed to inspire action. As any great novelist will confirm, a well-crafted narrative has key elements that must be hit. However, unlike War and Peace, you need to convey crucial information succinctly while also making an emotional connection within a very short time frame. There are formulas that increase your likelihood of success found through extensive testing. found that the best UGC ads that received the most engagement could be segmented into:


The hook – Grab the audience’s attention immediately with the goal of stopping them from scrolling or skipping your content. For more guidance, read Everything You Need to Know About Creating Great Instagram Hooks

The pitch – Clearly present the product’s value to end users in an authentic and concise manner

Social proof – Showcase testimonials or user experiences to build trust and credibility

CTA – Prompt the audience to take a specific action, such as visiting a website or making a purchase


Following this formula not only provides viewers with a compelling story, but also enables you to test and optimize individual components of your ads.

Using AI to scale UGC-style ad optimization combines our creator marketplace with advanced editing software, leveraging targeted machine learning and ad testing. The result? Our platform identifies the most effective strategies for engaging potential customers and automates the formula application across hundreds of UGC video ads, providing the ultimate scalable solution.

We save you time while optimizing video effectiveness by using AI to:

  • Automatically identify which parts of UGC footage would best be segmented as hooks, pitches, product info, features, social proof, CTA, and more
  • Generate winning videos based on instructions you enter into our platform, such as “make me an ad emphasizing our shoes’ comfort”
  • Collect results from A/B testing to further refine automated ad creation

If you want to further modify the created UGC ads, you can manually make modifications to get the final product just right.

Bonus tips for UGC ads which best connect with audiences

  • Keep market research and customer insights up to date – Consumer preferences and trends evolve rapidly, so continuously monitoring and analyzing audience data helps you stay relevant and allocate your budget strategically. 
  • Remember, authenticity trumps perfection – The upside of UGC-style ads is that they share relatable perspectives, so don’t undermine the authenticity with too much gloss. Keep airbrushing and general footage manipulation to a minimum. 
  • Allow UGC creators to express themselves freely in their content – When creators are true to themselves, their content feels more relatable and genuine to their followers. 
  • Convey expectations to creators with specificity and clarity – Detailed briefs ensure that the final output meets your standards and effectively communicates your message. For example, do you want the feature products being used in one specific way? Are there words creators should avoid? If you’re not sure what to mention, has brief templates you can use for this very purpose. 
  • Try new tactics outside of the tried-and-true – Trying different approaches prevents your content from becoming repetitive and stale. Additionally, it provides valuable data for machine learning algorithms, enabling them to optimize future campaigns more effectively. 
  • Tailor UGC ads to specific platforms and their respective audiences – Each social media platform has its own unique user base and content requirements. Customizing your user-generated ads to fit the preferences and behaviors of each platform’s audience ensures better engagement and performance, ultimately leading to higher ROI. crafted our platform with advanced AI optimizations and a user-friendly interface, making ad generation and optimization accessible to marketers of all budgets and experience levels. Additionally, we offer a managed service that complements our top-tier software, perfect for teams with ambitious goals or those new to creating UGC.


Learn about our UGC ad services or get 3 free ads


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