When Dr. Squatch added UGC videos from TikTok and Instagram to their product pages, their average conversion rate jumped to 9.9%.
The all-natural skincare brand leveraged user-generated videos to educate, engage, and convert website visitors, gaining over 13,500 orders directly from these videos.
That’s the impact eCommerce brands can create with user-generated content.
So, instead of creating the perfect jingle for yet another ad this holiday season, you can win over your shoppers and maximize conversions with a strong UGC video strategy. Let’s help you build one!
The power of a UGC video strategy: Why you need UGC for holiday marketing
User-generated content (UGC) is any unsponsored and unpaid content—like images, videos, blogs, emails, etc—produced by your customers. This content often promotes the products/services of a specific brand, nudging others to learn more about this company.
Here’s a UGC example where this user tweeted about starting their day with a cup of SleepyOwl coffee. This is an organic tweet where the brand didn't pay the user to talk about their products but still gained visibility.
Now, if you’re on the fence about whether UGC marketing will set you up for success this holiday season, then I’ve got these five convincing benefits for you:
1. Build a personal connection: The holiday shopping frenzy is real. When shoppers are overwhelmed with ads and promotional content, you can take center stage and stand out by letting your customers do the talking. UGC videos narrating real-life experiences seem more authentic to shoppers and establish a stronger affinity with your brand.
2. Inspire shoppers for holiday gifting: One of the best ways to leverage user-generated content for holiday marketing is by sharing stories about holiday gifting. Encourage your customers to talk about their favorite items from your store and what gifts they plan to give their loved ones. This will serve as an inspiration for other buyers and eventually bring more orders for you.
3. Garner personal endorsements: At a time when thousands of brands are vying for shoppers’ attention, getting endorsed by real customers always helps. More than influencers and A-list celebrities, shoppers trust recommendations coming from those they can relate to. With every UGC video, you can collect a personal endorsement from your customers.
4. Increase engagement and conversions: Perhaps the most important reason to create a UGC video strategy for the holidays is to ramp up your engagement and conversion rates. Research shows that UGC ads get a 4x higher click-through rate and bring an average of 28% increase in customer engagement. The result? More buyers in the funnel and higher conversions.
Another study highlights how nearly 80% of shoppers find user-generated content to be the most authentic. It heavily impacts their purchasing decisions and influences buying behavior.
An actionable playbook for preparing your UGC video strategy for the holidays
UGC can build social proof for your brand and establish a strong community of shoppers. These benefits become even more lucrative for brands during the holiday season when people are spoilt for choices.
Let's walk you through eight crucial steps to outline your UGC video strategy and help you hit the ground running as soon as possible.
1. Create a holiday-focused content calendar
Holiday shopping doesn’t really start on a certain date, week, or month. Your buyers are likely planning their shopping wishlist months in advance. To come on their radar at the right time, you must post compelling content before the festivities kick in.
Creating your content plan for the entire holiday season—including a few months before and after—is a great place to kickstart your UGC video marketing efforts. This calendar will work as a blueprint to strategically launch multiple campaigns to build anticipation and follow a cohesive holiday narrative throughout!
Research shows that more than half of eCommerce marketers (53%) start publishing holiday content between September and October.
And with UGC, you’re not just blindly creating and publishing content. You have to invite and encourage your customers to do the talking on your behalf. So, plan accordingly.
While creating a holiday-focused content plan, you can include these types of UGC videos:
- Vlogs: Partner with UGC creators to make detailed videos showing how they use your products. These longer videos won’t put your product in the spotlight, but they’ll organically tell viewers about your brand.
- Tutorials: One of the best ways to integrate UGC into your video marketing strategy is by creating lots of tutorial videos. Most buyers relate more to actual customers explaining the best use cases for your products.
That’s what worked well for Eczema Honey and increased their website conversions by 25%. The brand added 200+ UGC videos across their website to educate shoppers about all use cases and benefits. These videos had an average completion rate of 72%.
- Unboxing: Unboxing videos work like a charm if you're launching limited edition or holiday special collections. They create anticipation among shoppers and keep them excited about what's coming. This anticipation translates to FOMO (fear of missing out) and drives sales.
Here’s an example of an unboxing video a customer made for True Classic.
- Reviews: You can also invite users to create video reviews for your product(s). These unbiased reviews are more trustworthy than influencer content since viewers get a balanced take on your brand. Here's an example of a UGC review video for the Oura ring:
- Success story: 64% of Gen Z and 60% of millennial shoppers don't prefer buying from brands without any customer reviews/photos. What better way to appeal to these buyers than with UGC videos showing how customers have found success with your products? This fosters more trust for your brand and builds affinity in the long run.
For example, here’s an unsponsored UGC video talking about different skincare products that this creator likes:
2. Find where your best customers hang out
Once you’ve created a content calendar, it’s time to decide where you want to launch UGC holiday campaigns to maximize participation. You also want to figure out the best themes your customers care about to create truly compelling UGC videos.
This is where you can leverage social listening to get a more realistic understanding of audience expectations and your competition.
Social listening tools like Mention and Hootsuite will help you track user sentiment and reveal specific keywords to go for. You can also see all brand mentions for your business and competitors. Overall, this practice will make your holiday planning process more data-driven and customer-centric.
Besides learning more about your customers, this is a great time to test and finalize which channels you want to prioritize. You can also design workflows to repurpose videos and publish them in platform-native formats to boost your reach.
3. Define what success looks like for your brand
As a continuation of step #2, you can define what you’d like to achieve from your UGC holiday campaign. This is about realistically outlining your expected outcomes at the end of the holiday season.
Do you want to see a lift in brand consideration? Or do you want to increase your social media followers? Or do you want to focus solely on boosting sales and revenue?
Take time to assess your current market standing and document the impact you hope to make with your UGC campaign.
Based on your assessment, you can write down concrete goals with specific targets—like "increase website conversion rate by 20%". Then, select a few relevant KPIs to measure the impact. Or you can set big-picture goals broadly highlighting what you want to achieve—like "gain positive word-of-mouth from existing customers."
4. Set precise audience targeting and plan your campaign
Studies indicate that 90% of marketers believe in the power of data, but only 55% of them actually use social data to understand their buyers. That’s where most brands drop the ball.
Having laid the groundwork for your UGC video strategy, you have to dig deep into customer data to holistically understand your target audience and establish precise targeting for your campaigns.
When you know exactly what type of customer(s) you’re targeting, it’s easier to reach them through ads, emails, or other channels for creating UGC.
For example, let's consider you own a skincare brand, and your audience includes two main personas: women aged 21-35 years and women aged 36-60 years. You want to launch a campaign for the first persona and focus on specific products, like face masks.
Equipped with these details, you can study the customer data to map the shoppers' expectations in this persona. Then, create UGC campaigns that resonate with these customers and nudge them to share personal experiences with your brand.
Here’s an example of how a Korean makeup brand earned a UGC review video from a Spanish customer through precise targeting:
5. Plan distribution channels for UGC videos
Social media has become one of the most trusted channels for shoppers to research any brand and make purchasing decisions. In fact, 52% of buyers rely on social media more than other platforms to discover new brands.
You can multiply the impact of your UGC videos by distributing this content across multiple channels. Here’s everything you can consider to create your content distribution plan well ahead of the holiday season:
- Adds: Ditch the promotional narrative in your ad campaigns and embrace authentic UGC videos. You’re helping people discover your brand with strong social proof by showing an actual customer in your ad content.
- Website: You can add UGC videos on your homepage, product pages, blogs, or microsites. Instead of using them as a one-and-done marketing asset, you can get long-term benefits by curating multiple videos across your online store.
- Emails: UGC videos would also do well in your holiday emails. If you're creating emails around specific products or personas, drop a few videos to make them instantly more appealing to subscribers.
- Shoppable videos: Converting UGC into shoppable videos is the perfect way to boost sales. Viewers can see your product(s) in action, hear first-hand reviews, and instantly place an order from the video itself—neat! Here’s an example of a UGC video for Cosmix:
6. Collaborate with influencers to amp up your campaign
One of the popular retail trends to follow in your UGC video strategy is partnering with influencers. You can amplify your campaigns by working with influencers in your industry and reach a bigger audience for higher participation.
This has twofold benefits:
- You can enhance brand discovery among these influencers’ audience
- You can invite more customers to create content for your brand
Influencer collaborations can also inspire UGC creators to produce videos for your brand. For example, Fable & Mane worked with this influencer to create seasonal content. Fable & Mane’s customers can take inspiration from this video to talk about their own stories and share how they’ve benefitted from the brand’s products.
7. Measure and optimize for success
Like with any strategy, the final step is to measure your performance and shift gears for success. You can effectively track video performance through a select few KPIs you set in step #3. Here are a few key metrics to keep an eye on:
- Engagement rate
- Click-through rate
- User participation
- Sentiment analysis
- Brand mention volume
- Reach and impressions
- Referral traffic sources
On top of these metrics, it’s also a good idea to rely on an experimentation approach for holiday marketing.
You can conduct macro experiments before the season kicks in, where you'll try out different content themes and formats to see what's working best for your audience. It's also great to try micro experiments to optimize the finer details of your UGC campaigns, like hashtags, timing, hooks, and more.
The idea is to get a better pulse of your audience for aligning your UGC content planning and distribution with shoppers’ expectations.
Leverage UGC videos to win at holiday marketing
If you’re getting ready for the peak shopping season during the holidays, this article is your gateway to success with user-generated content.
UGC videos can be a game-changer when used strategically for holiday marketing. From gaining shoppers’ attention to winning their trust, this is your opportunity to stand out in a saturated market and make your brand voice heard.
Find more inspiration to set yourself up for long-term success using video marketing with these brand stories.