Which is Better? UGC Agency vs UGC Platform

Updated on: June 7, 2024

Although a growing number of companies understand the power of user-generated content (UGC) in marketing, many find it challenging to collect videos and reviews. Fortunately, solutions have emerged to spare brands from painstakingly researching, contacting, and tracking creators in rudimentary spreadsheets. The two most prominent approaches to scaling efforts are UGC agencies and UGC platforms.

While neither option is necessarily superior to the other, each has its own mix of advantages and drawbacks, making one a more suitable fit for your company’s unique requirements.

What is a UGC Agency or Company?

Essentially, UGC agencies curate, organize, and sometimes create user-generated video content to align with a brand’s objectives, tapping into the creativity and authenticity of everyday users.

It’s important to highlight that user-generated content is noticeably different than influencer-focused strategies, as the latter tend to be less flexible both in the creation and promotion of content and often come with higher costs associated with their services.

Alternatively, UGC agencies operate by connecting brands with creators without established social followings, inherently broadening the pool of candidates and enabling companies to designate more of their budget toward production or promotion rather than the talent, themselves.

CIPIO.ai stands out by providing both the managed services associated with UGC agencies and a platform approach. This dual offering enables CIPIO.ai to serve both businesses seeking tailored solutions with hands-on support, as well as smaller companies wanting to make the most of a limited budget.

Examples of UGC videos commonly leveraged by brands include:

 

  • Reviews of services or products – Your customers know that you think your products are great, so they’re much more likely to trust the opinions of their peers. UGC-generated reviews offer authentic feedback, further building your credibility.
 
  • Unboxing videos – Customers get to experience the thrilling ride of watching someone discover your products for the first time. They not only get to view the goods free from staging and airbrushing, but also witness the individual’s genuine reactions.
 
  • How-to and product demonstrations – Enlisting content creators to educate consumers on maximizing the potential of your products not only underscores their genuine utility but also amplifies satisfaction among future customers.
 
  • Lifestyle videos – As anyone who has ever seen a Coca-Cola ad knows, your brand is more than your products–it’s also your “vibe.” Enlisting the help of a UGC agency to find the right creators reinforces your brand’s personality while layering in authenticity.
 

What does a UGC agency do?

To summarize what UGC agencies do for clients, they strategically connect companies with creators who embody their target audiences, while also managing the creation process and related contracts.

 

Specific services will vary from one UGC agency to the next, but most will offer:

  • Tactical guidance on overarching UGC strategies and creative direction based on performance data and market analysis 
  • Negotiate with and pay content creators
  • Platform-specific video editing 
  • Paid campaign optimization 
  • Data analysis including A/B testing and engagement metrics

What is a UGC Platform?

As UGC gains prominence, accessibility has also increased, thanks to UGC marketplace platforms like CIPIO.ai. These platforms make it easier to find and manage UGC providers without assistance from agency teams, benefiting smaller teams with limited resources. Moreover, CIPIO.ai consolidates many elements of executing a UGC strategy into a single dashboard, from creator organization to video modification to data collection, enhancing efficiency for scalable solutions.

What does a UGC platform do?

In essence, UGC platforms empower users to create, curate, and interact with creators. More specifically, tools like CIPIO.ai offer easy-to-use solutions for filtering and organizing connections, tailoring content, streamlining usage rights and pricing negotiations, and providing analytics to enhance strategy effectiveness.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of each approach?

The benefits of partnering with a UGC Agency

  • UGC creator agencies have preexisting relationships they can tap into for swift turn-around times
  • Dedicated team of professionals sourcing high-quality videos tailored to your marketing requirements
  • Expert guidance on selecting content that resonates most effectively with your product
  • Comprehensive agency services encompassing strategic planning, content creation, and campaign management
  • Reduced work for in-house marketing teams due to outsourcing UGC management

The benefits of using a UGC platform

  • Hands-on selection of content that aligns perfectly with your brand vision and goals
  • Exercise full creative control by negotiating personalized brand partnerships directly with UGC creators
  • Collaborate with creators on your terms, ensuring cost-effective and impactful video content tailored to your needs
  • The lack of expenses associated with hiring an agency frees up more budget to put toward other initiatives

The potential drawbacks of partnering with a UGC Agency

  • The direct engagement of an external UGC company can incur additional costs to your budget
  • Agency standards vary and clients tend to have minimal say in who works on their account, specifically
  • Due to communication being primarily between creators and the agency, you may have limited insight into certain aspects of the collaboration

The potential drawbacks of using a UGC platform

  • While UGC platforms streamline many operational elements, they still require direct involvement from your team
  • Although machine learning and AI can analyze video metrics for insights, they may lack the ability to consider external context, a capability that human analysts possess
  • While UGC platforms have become quite sophisticated in the services they offer, they can’t offer bespoke solutions much like an agency can

How do I choose a UGC platform vs. a UGC agency?

Deciding between a UGC agency and a platform depends on your team’s skills, resources, and current needs. Another important factor is the budget, as UGC platforms tend to cost less than enlisting an agency. Remember, you can always switch UGC providers later if your needs change. It’s all about what works best for you and your brand!

Choose a UGC Agencies or Companies when…

  • Your marketing team is stretched thin an agency can help fill in gaps without consuming too much of your staff’s time. After all, agencies will take on such responsibilities as researching and vetting creators, briefing and ongoing communications, and product order fulfillment. 
  • Your company is inexperienced with creating and executing UGC strategies. An agency can provide general creative direction based on what they’ve seen work for other clients operating in similar industries. Relatedly, they can track specific metrics to report on campaign ROI and suggest optimization.
  • Your company wants to act quickly to achieve lofty goals. Agencies specializing in UGC can play a large role in scaling UGC creation by leveraging existing relationships and foregoing any learning curve. 
 

Choose a UGC Platform when…

  • Your team has some knowledge of social media – An agency offers not just their hands but also their brains. However, if your in-house marketing team possesses both the skills and strategic planning capabilities, a UGC platform is the ideal choice.
  • You have a robust marketing division with available bandwidth – A UGC platform enables your team to directly manage creators. With user-friendly platforms such as CIPIO.ai, the learning curve is minimal, empowering seamless interaction with creators.
  • You have a limited marketing budget – UGC platforms offer cost-effective access to a wide array of user-generated content and engagement opportunities, without the added fees associated with agency services.
  • You are unsure about UGC – Similar to how some swimmers prefer to ease into a pool rather than diving straight into the deep end, your company might want to “test the waters” with UGC before fully committing to an agency and a larger budget. Platforms like CIPIO.ai allow you to get acquainted with this content type without requiring a hefty upfront investment.

     

With CIPIO.ai, you can pick the right choice for you

Our platform caters to brands and teams of every size, making the three primary factors in choosing the right solution ultimately time, investment, and bandwidth.

Where do I find a UGC agency or platform?  

CIPIO.ai distinguishes itself from both UGC agencies and platforms by offering both options. 

 

We provide you with the tools to connect with the right talent and transform video content into impactful ads directly. Moreover, much like a UGC agency, our team can provide extensive expertise and hands-on support. By providing packages spanning from conservative budgets to bespoke managed agency services, CIPIO.ai can continue to serve your strategies as your UGC needs scale. 

Contact us to speak about our managed services

CIPIO.ai is one of the only end-to-end platform solutions for UGC videos available to marketers. With a dedicated focus on talent acquisition and ad optimization, CIPIO.ai helps users heighten efficiency and performance by deploying the latest machine-learning capabilities. Moreover, we pair our AI-powered software with the creative brains and hard-working hands of CIPIO.ai’s optional managed services; together, we become your ultimate collaborator in bringing your vision to life. Whether you need assistance in crafting compelling ad campaigns, analyzing engagement data and crafting reports, or mapping out future strategies, our team provides hands-on assistance to help you achieve your goals. We’re your true UGC partner! 

 

Want to try before you buy? UGC Marketplace accounts are free.

Get to Know CIPIO.ai by using the free version of our UGC Marketplace! In mere minutes, you can find influencers and creators that align with your brand vision, as well as familiarize yourself with our easy-to-use software.

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