Unless you’ve been out of the social game for a while, you have no doubt seen an increase of consumer content making its way into a brand’s marketing initiatives. This has grown from user photos occasionally being highlighted on a brand’s social pages, to consumer content now being featured in brand’s advertisements.

But what is the driver behind this shift from brand produced content being the norm, to user generated content taking on a larger portion of the advertising space? Let’s explore.

Trustworthiness

Consumers today simply don’t trust brand produced content with the ferocity they once had. Whether it is because of the prevalence of airbrushed and photoshopped photos, or consumers being burned one too many times with a product that didn’t meet their expectations. The fact remains the same, people have lost trust in brand produced content.But this lack of trust has created a powerful opportunity for marketers to reinvent their online digital strategies.

The simple fact is, people trust each other much more than they trust brands. And when consumers share their personal photos of a product or experience, others tend to take notice. For this reason, when user generated content is included in a visual advertisement people trust it. And not only that but it has been proven to drive a 5x increase in CTR over normal branded advertisements.

Relevancy

When you think about where users spend most of their time, it is really quite remarkable only a handful of brands have begun incorporating consumers directly into their advertising efforts. People spend upwards of 5 ½ hours a day interacting with social. And a majority of this time on social is spent viewing photos and videos and interacting with their peers. So in that case, the most relevant form of advertisement for this network would be something that already looks native to the platform—user generated content.

Authenticity

Brand produced photos created in professional studios, with professional models, and professional cameras cannot exude authenticity because, put simply, they are not authentic. They are staged. Not only that but a normal day to day consumers will never be able to replicate the conditions or look that a professional model can pull off. This provides a negative experience for the user because they cannot easily envision themselves as the person in the ad. When consumer content is included however, this all goes away.

People love to feel inspired. They enjoy seeing how others like them are living their lives. By leveraging user generated content in advertisements, you can tap into this desire to share in others’ experiences.