How to Use UGC Across Earned, Owned and Paid Media

Saumya Verma
Oct 19, 2016 · 4 min read

Today, consumers are creating and consuming user-generated content in their daily social media routine. This shift in consumer behavior is evident from the fact that we upload around 1.8 Billion images every day on social media and 80% of the web content is UGC. To leverage this consumer shift, businesses today are focusing on content driven conversations with consumers and want real people to be part of their brand’s story. This new way of using user-generated content does not only help marketers in rapid content creation but also in spreading the authentic brand truths.

If you are not convinced about the importance of using UGC, you should read our previous blog here, where we talk about 10 important facts related to user-generated content that you should know.

Knowing the importance of UGC is good but what’s more important is knowing how and where to use it effectively. In a good marketing strategy, we channelize our efforts and money across various channels and mediums to improve marketing effectiveness and extend the consumer reach. In the same way, UGC should also be used across various channels. Like they say “Never put all your eggs in one basket”.

In this post, we have collected the ideas on how you can utilize UGC to fill your content stack across earned, owned and paid media for a comprehensive marketing strategy.

In case, you are not aware of the terms earned, owned and paid media here is a quick read for you:

1. Earned Media:

Earned Media Examples: Social media mentions, social media shares, reviews, ratings, user recommendations, word of mouth.

You should always inspire and encourage people to create and share your brand related content in your earned media. This UGC from earned media helps businesses maintain general conversations or conversations around a specific topic with their customers. UGC from earned media can be re-purposed with other media also.

How to utilize UGC with earned media:

  • Dedicate time to read and respond to user’s comments and brand’s mentions. This is the easiest way to start the conversation with customers and encourage them to share their stories in future.
  • Re-share and appreciate the customers for their shared content.
  • Launch social media contests or campaigns around a new product launch or any other topic asking users to share their photos and videos. You can also announce great reward or prize prior for the winning content.
  • Shape conversations around a specific topic or product by using a branded hashtag or Twitter chat session.
  • Stay engaged with the content created by influencers and actively provide feedback to guide them in creating your desired quality of content.
  • Celebrate passionate people from your industry and promote their content. For example, if you are a makeup cosmetics brand, you should recognize the bloggers who constantly posts DIY videos about makeup.
  • Utilize the reviews and ratings about your brand on other third party places like community forums.

2. Owned Media:

Owned media examples: Websites, mobile apps, newsletters, blogs, social media pages, email campaigns, brochures, brand community forums, FAQ sections.

You should use UGC in your various owned media to add authenticity and a genuine brand personality to your brand’s story. The right use of UGC will strengthen the tone and core messaging of your brands. A variety of UGC can be used to target different audience segments and geographic markets.

How to utilize UGC with owned media:

  • Put UGC on your website (in form photos, videos, reviews, and ratings) at multiple places like product pages, homepage, check out page etc.
  • Create and curate microsites to show the creativity of your customers and promote UGC. A case in example; a food and grocery brand creates its microsite featuring recipes and images of customer created meals using its products.
  • Publish regular blog posts featuring best UGC of the month/week. You can also publish guest posts from users/influencers.
  • Include UGC on your social media, marketing material, newsletter or email content in addition to your in-house content.
  • You can also create a dedicated page on your website for showcasing your brand-related UGC.
  • Establish discussion forums in your product pages where interested shoppers and past buyers can have conversations and find relatable information.
  • Create communities and forums for post-purchase support where customers can post questions and answers. This UGC will help both existing and prospective customers. If you are using traditional FAQ and knowledge base article, try using UGC in them.
  • Another innovative way is to create digital and interactive product catalogs using real user-generated images and reviews.

3. Paid Media:

Paid media examples: Print, TV, radio, digital media, PPC ads, retargeting, paid influencers, paid content promotions, social ads, paid search, affiliate marketing.

Adding UGC in paid media not only build trust element in advertisements but also differentiates a brand from competition. This way you can extend the reach of your brand UGC to people who do not use much social media and are quite receptive of the paid media.

How to utilize UGC with paid media:

  • TV and radio ads showing brand endorsement from user or influencer.
  • Display images created by users rather than professional shoots in print media.
  • Use UGC in your paid social media ads.
  • Add reviews in social ads. This will increase relevancy as you show immediate social proof with reviews.
  • Use UGC in your paid and organic search engine marketing through product listing ads and rich snippets.
  • Partner with influencers to create UGC for your niche target audience in their blogs and social channels.
  • Partner with professional bloggers for your product reviews. You can also leverage affiliate marketing here.

Hope you liked this post. Let us know in comments how you are planning to use UGC in your marketing strategy.

This post first appeared on Artifacia Blog, where we write about Artifacia product and industry insights.


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Saumya Verma

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