Consumer’s trust each other more than they trust brands, in fact in one survey conducted, 63% of respondents said they trust photos taken by customers more than those taken by a manufacturer or seller. This makes user generated content—videos, photos or comments from your customers—even more valuable. Millennials produce and respond to user generated content examples and campaigns more than any other group; 84% reporting that user generated content on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy. Curating content from your customers is an important piece of today’s marketing puzzle. Here are 4 user generated content example campaigns that converted leads for these big brands.
UPDATE: Due to popular demand, we’ve updated our original 4 user generated content examples to show how they’ve improved, and we’ve added 8 more campaigns that generated lots of buzz for popular brands in 2018!
1. Square’s Customer Product Videos
Square is a payment software that allows businesses to accept payment from wherever they are. They curated user generated video testimonial content to tell the stories of their wide variety of customers. These user generated content examples paints a relatable picture for potential customers by pulling details about each of their customer’s unique use of square and how it helped them grow. They do a great job of highlighting the benefits of square while also keeping the focus on their customer’s emotional or inspiring story.
Update: The “Square Stories” campaign has now captured 10 customer stories and generated over 30,000 views on YouTube, as well as thousands more on their website. They’ve expanded this campaign to “For Every Kind of Dream,” highlighting the many inspiring stories and good works of Square users. This campaign generated even more attention, with over 325,000 views.
2. Sephora’s Buyable Customer Photos
Sephora is a beauty supply company and sells designer makeup, skin care, nail and hair products. They have a feature on their website called The Beauty Board that curates customer photos and shows what products they are wearing. From the beauty board you can purchase the exact look that the customer has on. Especially with makeup, it can be difficult to shop for the correct shade or look online without a point of reference. This board allows customers to buy beauty looks online with confidence by giving them a customer who looks like them to reference. This type of user generated content helps brands increase product sales by featuring genuine, real customers as their models.
Update: The Beauty Board has become a social network for beauty artists of all types, and one of the most colorful user generated content examples. Thousands submit their beauty tips on this Pinterest-like forum, with some customers spending over 30 hours a week on the site!
3. Lay’s Interactive Customer Contest
Every year Lay’s, a premier potato chip company, runs a user generated content campaign called Do Us A Flavor to curate new, unique chip flavors. The top 3 finalist’s chip flavors are produced and placed on shelves so that consumers can try the new flavors and vote on their favorite. The winning flavor is then added to to the shelves long term and the customer who won the contest is featured in the campaign and wins money. This type of contest is possible for a large company like Lay’s because they are a well-known brand. However this user generated content example isn’t limited to only big brands. You can run an interactive contest with your customers on a smaller scale to create fun buzz around your brand.
Update: Lay’s Do Us A Flavor contest has generated millions of votes, created four new flavors, and even won awards as an exceptional marketing campaign. The latest flavor, Crispy Taco, generated millions of comments, likes, shares, views across the dozens of social media platforms. This user generated content example is a success that has inspired other brands (see Oreo’s contest below).
4. GoPro’s Social Media Customer Photos
The final example of a quality user generated content campaign is GoPro’s Photo of the Day social media campaign. GoPro is a durable extreme sports camera that allows it’s customers to take amazing photos and videos. To show just how awesome some of the shots their customers are getting with their product are, they feature a customer photo on their social media pages every day. All of the content they curate on social media is then added to their GoPro Award page where consumers can go to vote on the best customer photos and videos based on different criteria. GoPro has done a fabulous job and using user generated content to create continuous viral conversation around their product.
Update: With 5.7 million subscribers and 1.7 billion total views on their YouTube page, as well as billions more on their other platforms and website, GoPro has orchestrated the best user generated content example video campaign in the world, and it continues to grow every day.
5. Starbucks’ Cup Art Challenges
In 2014, Starbucks challenged customers to decorate their iconic white cup, and selected a winner from over 4,000 entries. The idea took off, and more customers wanted in. The coffee giant changed the contest slightly in 2016 to the #RedCupArt challenge and timed it perfectly with the release of their feel-good holiday drinks. #RedCupArt lit up Twitter and Instagram over the holidays, and Starbucks pivoted the challenge again with #GiveGood in 2017, encouraging customers to dedicate a cup to someone important to them. This user generated content example combines the best elements of a user generated content campaign; it’s easy to join, creative, and directly related to the product.
6. Calvin Klein’s #MyCalvins
High-end fashion house Calvin Klein appealed to the aspiring models in their fashion-forward audience with their #MyCalvins campaign. Calvin Klein invited customers to model their favorite Calvin Klein attire and possibly win a social feature from the brand. This user generated content example not only gave Calvin Klein free advertising across their social networks, but showed customer dedication, boosted their brand image as a high-end name, and displayed a wide variety of products. When Justin Bieber joined in, adding a underwear-clad #MyCalvins selfie with 2 million likes on Instagram, it was clear this user-generated content campaign wasn’t going anywhere. It’s still going, with the best user generated content examples going to Calvin Klein’s #MyCalvins microsite.
7. Adobe Art Makers Series
Adobe, maker of leading photo editing and illustrating programs, combined video tutorials with user generated content examples in their Art Maker Series. Notable artists across the world show their artistic skills using Photoshop, Illustrator, and other Adobe products, in a series of high-speed videos. These user generated content examples also work as user testimonials, product demonstrations, and expert endorsements. Since the videos are quick, use uncomplicated background music and basic video editing, they’re also a great user generated content example that smaller brands can easily mimic.
8. AirBnB’s Audience-Fueled Instagram
Few brands leverage Instagram as well as AirBnB has. Understanding the popularity of travel photos on social media, as well as their key audience—Millennials—the affordable travel site went all-in on Instagram. A variety of hashtags gives AirBnB and endless supply of beautiful, user generated travel photos to fill their Instagram. With 77% of AirBnB’s Instagram comprised of user generated content, the company hardly needs a photographer for their winning Instagram strategy!
9. Nike’s “Better For It” Women Empowerment Campaign
Nike uses a number of social media platforms and different profiles to keep up with athletic consumers across many different interests. However, the Better For It campaign from their women’s apparel department shines particularly brightly. Working with world-class female athletes as well as female customers around the world, Nike encouraged women to share their workout, fitness, and competitive goals and struggles. With a powerful, positive message, exemplary leadership, and traditional and inbound marketing techniques, they generated interest across the social sphere and created a body-positive community for women. These user generated content examples aren’t product-centric, but they are a big boost to Nike’s brand awareness, value, and overall community.
10. Tito’s Vodka: Vodka for Dog People
Cute animals, the internet and alcohol is an simple, yet effective recipe that Tito’s Vodka tapped into with their Instagram account, @VodkaForDogPeople, and webpage. VodkaForDogPeople focuses on helping abandoned pets, particularly dogs, and features adorable adopted pooches with their new owners’ Tito’s Vodka merchandise. Though the commercial relationship between vodka and dogs might be obscure, these user generated content examples succeed in generating interest, advertising, and good feelings towards Tito’s Vodka. This campaign demonstrates that, as long as the product is somewhere in the content, direct relevance can sometimes take a backseat to online whimsy.
11. Eggo Recipe Contest
Proving that Eggos are anything put plain, the brand conducted two recipe contests asking users to submit their favorite ways to use and enjoy Eggo waffles. Eggo’s recipe contests not only generated user interest and boosted brand recall, but also strengthened customer loyalty. A winner and two runner ups received cash prizes for their inventive Eggo conconctions (a gingerbread Eggo waffle house, spiced pumpkin apple Eggo crumble, and chocolate Eggo waffle pops), and Eggo received plenty of customer interest.
12. Oreo’s #MyOreoCreation
The experts at Oreo have experimented with extra stuffing, thinner cookies, and a few flavor variations, but the #MyOreoCreation challenge this time asked customers to reinvent the cookie jar. Taking a hint from Lay’s Do Us a Flavor challenge, Oreo asked customers to come up with creative new flavors. As of June, 2018, the contest is still going, with Kettle Corn, Cherry Cola and Pina Colada still in the running, and plenty of lucrative debate on social media.
User generated content can be collected and shown in a multitude of different ways. Whatever your company does, you should involve your customers in your marketing strategy to help build credibility and bring in new business. What user generated content campaigns has your business run that have had a positive impact on ROI?