Important of User-Generated Content on eCommerce

User-Generated Content (UGC) is the content your buyers/fans create for your product/services. It may contain written content like a product review or a video or photo posted on a social medium. Whatever be the form, UGC is one of the powerful marketing materials out there. Here, we discuss why it is important for an eCommerce platform such as yours.

1. UGC Is Cost-effective As The Content Gets Generated By Users

UGC is a treasure trove of free content for any eCommerce business. A user creates content mainly for three reasons:

  • They want to share their experience using your product or service.
  • To find like-minded users and build a connection with them.
  • As part of a game or contest that you launch.

As you are tapping into the skill pool of hundreds of your users, you will receive a rich variety of content.
If you are starting in the eCommerce sector, you may not have struck that UGC mine. But, you can spur its generation by using some techniques, including:
(i) Incentivize UGC creation
Launch contests and hashtag campaigns to pique the interest of your users.
(ii) Allow Maximum Independence
Set a standard for the UGC and let your customers tap into their creativity to develop great content.
As an eCommerce owner, you can use this content online and offline to promote trust. UGC has leveled the playing field for even start-up eCommerce platforms. If you have a good product and a community of users, you can even take on bigwigs in the field.

2. UGC Improves Your Presence On Organic Search Results

Imagine that a content creator wants to sound-proof their room. They may or may not have a bunch of YouTubers on their contact list to get an expert opinion. So, their best option would be to search online.
Eighty-seven percent of product searches start with a user keying in their needs. Search engines scour the web for the most relevant information to your query.
Suppose you want to sell acoustic foam on your eCommerce platform. Before making the actual sale, you need to draw their attention. That is where UGC comes into play.
Search engines love good, relevant user-generated content. So, if your product page has ratings and reviews on acoustic foam, you can coax them to display those. The catch is that you need to code your website so that the crawlers can pull these UGC.
You can even use the Structured Data Testing Tool to see that the product URL has the necessary coding. If the said content creator views your product page as a rich snippet, they are more likely to click on them.

3. User-generated Content Improves Your SEO Score

To drive more traffic to your eCommerce website, you need to appear higher on the result pages. One of the cheapest ways to achieve that is the judicious use of UGC. Here is why it is so.
a) Long-tail keywords
Users searching for a specific product on search engines use long-tail keywords. These are detail-rich phrases entered into a search bar.
The keyword ’cigarette case’ may have too much competition, but ‘cigarette case with red velvet lining’ has fewer. While the former is a ‘head term,’ the latter is a long-tail keyword.
UGC is replete with rich and relevant long-tail keywords that you can use to shore up your SEO ranking.
b) Natural SEO qualities
Users perform the SEO work for you by adding keywords, backlinks, and titles. Be it in any form, UGC contains product-focused keywords appealing to search engines.
c) Social media optimization User-Generated content on social media like Instagram helps your eCommerce store to gain trust. All you need to do is to share the user’s posts with due credit. By sharing user’s posts, you are also creating a community and extending your site’s reach.
Your social media manager can even use UGC to fill the vacuum of professional content on your site.

4. User-Generated Content Builds Trust With Search Engines

Until a few years ago, eCommerce firms relied upon keywords and link building to bring in traffic. Spammers used these very methods to trick search engines into displaying their websites.
Unsurprisingly, Google and other search engines improved their algorithm to bypass this problem. Instead of keywords and links, search engine crawlers now look for trust signals. And what content is going to give more trust signals than those generated by users?
Now, you should remember that UGC, like customer reviews, might not always paint you in the pink of health. Search engines these days are more concerned about the transparency of the content.

  • Keep a product review page, and engage with your users, answer their queries.
  • Open pages on specialist forums and have discussions.
  • Have online conversations with users on social media pages.

All these activities will, in turn, put you in good stead with search engines.
Google has an interesting way to measure the effectiveness of its results. It employs search-quality raters to assess the effectiveness of its results. Using User-Generated content on your product pages can appeal to these raters as well.

5. User-generated Content Shows Your Quality As A Seller

Have you ever been in a queue to buy a product?
When you are in a queue, your mind is pretty much made up to buy the product because you have heard that it is good. You also witness others making the same choice.
When it comes to eCommerce, this trust and social proof are unavailable. Appearing on top of the search result page doesn’t necessarily make you trustworthy. But, User-generated Content will.
70% of customers check out ratings, read, or watch reviews before deciding. If you have seen Amazon’s product page, you will know it. Amazon has done a good job incorporating ratings and customer to customer Q&A.
Having these kinds of UGC makes a connection between the brand and the consumer.
Like we already discussed, search engines also prefer sellers with rich UGC. You can add Seller Ratings and showcase your products in Google to make it more prominent.
This automatic extension will show your star rating if you have:

  • At least 30 unique customer reviews
  • An aggregate rating above 3.5

Having a seller rating on your Google ads will increase your click-thru rate. It results in higher sales. So, if you haven’t already embedded UGC on your product pages, it is time to do so.

6. UGC Alters Buying Decisions/Choices Of Customers

One of the greatest advantages of User-generated Content is that it influences buyer choices. If an influencer you like talks on a YouTube video about a new device, you are most likely to watch.
They might go on gushing about the various uses of the product in real-life scenarios. Since you already like the influencer, you give more attention to how they have used the device.
You might even imagine how the same device can be a great addition to your home. It is the power of User-generated Content. It alters the decision of a potential customer.
Similarly, a customer reading a review on how a product impacted the writer’s life might want to buy it. They see that the product has added value to the life of the other writer. Now, they want the same value for themselves, too, even though they might not need it.
The higher the number of such UGC on your product page and your social media handles, the higher the sales will be.

7. Customers Trust Other Customers

Your staff might have created great marketing stuff, but customers are wary of it. No amount of fine copy will put you in good stead with your customer if you don’t have UGC to back up your claims.
Most online shoppers read, watch, or check out User-generated Content before they decide to buy. Now, within UGC, customers prefer visual content (videos and photos) over written material. 77% of online shoppers like visual UGC more than written UGC.
Here, you can use UGC from Instagram and YouTube to reach out to your potential customers. You can share an Instagram post of a customer in a cool sneaker bought from you. A customer seeing that post might think that the sneaker might look cooler on their feet. And, hey presto! You have a conversion.
A customer might post a YouTube video on a product, which he might say he bought from your site. If one of the viewers liked that product, they might naturally have a bias to buy it from your store. So the trust customers have in other customers will get you the sales you need, at no extra cost!

8. UGC Drives Away Online Shopping Anxiety

With eCommerce, you can buy anything from the comfort of your home. But unlike a purchase from a brick-and-mortar shop, you cannot touch or feel a product.
Take apparel, for example. So much time you have to invest in selecting the right colour and design. At every last moment, the seller asks you to select the size.
Oh, there you have a problem. You can’t try it on, can you?
It is one of the problems online shoppers face. They just don’t have the means to experience the product first hand. Combine that with the worry of having to return it if it doesn’t fit. This online shopping anxiety often leads customers to abandon their sessions.
When you use UGC, your customer can watch or read customer reviews on product pages. They can read about other customers’ experience with selecting the size. Your customer would be trying the dress on through the experience of other customers. As a seller, you can add more product descriptions with large and detailed UGC.
Tell the hesitating customer how many of your previous customers found the dress fit. Thrown in the star rating and guide your customers to make the final decision to buy the product. (To tell you a secret, eCommerce websites replete with UGC has a 90% increase in user time on the site. The conversion rate rises by 74 percent.)

9. UGC Helps You Identify Your Target Customers

As an eCommerce venture owner, you are a secret to the UGC of your users. An analysis of such content will help you decide how to sell your products. Encourage your users to post content, both onsite and offsite. It will give you a deep insight into the purchasing behavior of your users. It can be location-based, gender-based, and community-based.
You can use tools like Facebook’s Insights and Google Analytics to study your UGC. Using these tools, you can find target customers for every product you list.

10. UGC Gives You Plenty Of Relevant Content

Content creation is one of the highest investments all eCommerce establishments make. What if there is a way to cut back on this expense?
User-generated content is the way. Social media feeds the desire of a person to grab the world’s attention. It is this desire that leads to the creation of diverse and rich UGC.
A satisfied customer might show how they use the new product on Instagram. They might even use your store’s name as a hashtag. This act will help inspire your potential customer to buy a similar product. Apart from appreciating the customer, you can also seek their permission to use this UGC.
Most often, the response will be positive. You can use this content on your product page, social media handles, blogs, and videos. Don’t forget to give due credit to the content creator. It not only builds trust with your existing customer but also connects with new ones.

11. UGC Tackles Negative Online Publicity

Yes, negative reviews are bad for business. But you can still use this type of UGC to build a positive image of yourself. Don’t be one of the 87% of stores that don’t address negative reviews. Hiding them or leaving them unaddressed will only harm your credibility as a seller.
Fifty-three percent of online shoppers search for negative reviews of a product before deciding to buy it. Around 37% of the users check out the response of the business to negative reviews. Your response, as such, shapes a user’s overall opinion of your store.
Along with positive reviews, you should also include the negative reviews you addressed. This way, you promote transparency and build trust with your customers.
Sometimes a customer may write a negative review of a product you sold. It is because they may expect a response from you. If addressed, you can turn an unhappy customer into a happy one, who pass on their experience to others.

Rank Your Website

How Can You Repurpose UGC for Your Ecommerce Success?

1. Using Rich Snippets/Results and Other SEO Strategies

One way an eCommerce establishment can use UGC for its success is its employment in eCommerce SEO. While many UGC is SEO friendly, there are several ways you can enhance their efficacy.
Use of Rich Snippets
Rich snippets or results helps you stand out on a search engine result page (SERP). It shows up directly under your site URL in the form of:

  • Star rating
  • Average delivery time
  • Number of reviews
  • Number of votes

Rich snippets do a great job of driving away any lingering doubt a user might have on your credibility as a seller. They are social proof that a user can readily see.
According to relevant studies, rich snippets increases Click Through Rate (CTR) by 20-30%. Moreover, there are no strict conditions to have rich snippets. You should at least have one product review on your product page.
Other ways you can use UGC in eCommerce SEO strategies are:
(i) Through a review page on your product page
For that matter, Google, or any search engine, is a digger for UGC, which it perceives as trustworthy. Have a dedicated product review page and markup to allow crawlers to ensure a better rank.
(ii) Diversity is the key
Diverse UGC -- text, picture, and video -- sends signals to the search engine that your website is rich. It encourages the search engine to mine your website for information.

2. Using UGC As Social Proof In Email Campaigns/Newsletters

For a successful eCommerce venture, one must have an effective email strategy. Merely pushing emails to your existing and potential customers won’t do it. You need to make them read or watch it and even make them wait for your next newsletter. The easiest way to catch customer attention is to mould your emails with rich UGC.
Take the abandoned cart email, for example. Remind your customer that shopping is not complete and show them what they are missing out.
Show them how your other satisfied customers are using the product. Is it a sneaker?
Show the hesitant customer the real-life use of it on the feet of another customer.
Embedding UGC on marketing emails serves as social proof. If your email is a customer’s suggestion, throw in a few of the best customer reviews from your pool. And yes, showcase those star ratings as well.
You can collect such UGC using competitions/incentives and hashtags. The UGC may be pictures, gif files, written reviews, and video reviews. Over a while, you will accumulate a large pool of such UGC to use for your email marketing.

3. Using Of UGC, Along With Marketing Material, On Product Page

Marketing copy on a product page will gain authenticity if you supplement it with UGC. Reviews and feedbacks are one type. What catches more of your user’s attention are pictures and videos from others. As such, eCommerce websites should use detailed user images and videos.
Most online shoppers for apparel, cosmetics, and jewelry want to show them off. As an eCommerce site owner, you can leverage this desire to collect rich pictures and videos. According to a study, rich images on an eCommerce website will increase sales by 40 percent.
Many eCommerce websites invite users to share pictures of them using the product. Essentially, they are turning their users into models. Most users respond positively to this request.
The use of such UGC accrues you two benefits.
I) It improves your relationship with your existing customers. It cultivates loyalty towards you as a brand. Since they are models for your product, they automatically become your ambassadors.
II) It instills confidence in your potential customers. Since other customer vouches for you, a new customer finds it easier to convert.
You can also group these photos and images under different heads. Some can be a public interest campaign for a cause, like Covid-19 precautions.
Say you sell cloth masks of different colors and designs. Invite your users to share their display pictures wearing the masks they bought. You can use these pictures on your masks’ product page, and you become a responsible seller.

4. Adding UGC (Photos And Videos) To Reduce Product Returning

Forget that you are an eCommerce owner. You might have returned a product you had brought online. And any one of the following reasons might have been the cause.

  • Wrong product size
  • Wrong color
  • Bad quality
  • Wrong product
  • Description and product do not match

Now that you are an eCommerce venture owner, you don’t want your customers to return the product, do you? One of the cheapest and most effective ways to tackle product returning is to leverage UGC.
Visual UGC is your savor
Photos given by brands don’t always encapsulate the product’s real-life appearance. And many customers are aware of this. So, customer reviews with pictures attached help one select the right product.
A customer doubtful about the sizes offered on the website can read a review of a previous user. You can also advise your hesitant customer to head on to your Instagram page. Here you can collate pictures your satisfied customers had shared with you.
Since these are UGC, your hesitant customer will trust them. You can also include gifs and videos UGC to help a customer select a product in its right size, quality, and color. Overall, UGC is the closest thing to a trial room on an eCommerce platform.

5. Creating Branded Hashtag To Engage With Customers/Building Community

Instagram has over 1 billion unique users every month. That’s a lot of people and a lot of potential customers for you. If you sell a great product and you have a fan following for that product, it is time for you to create a brand hashtag.
You can invite your users to post their pictures using the product under the hashtag. If it is a unique hashtag, your customers can instantly associate with you, all the better.
And before you know it, you will be staring at hundreds of such posts. Some of these posts might excel even better than the product photos from the manufacturer. Even if they have a few flaws, they do nothing more than adding authenticity to the content. Now, you may want to repurpose them to reach out to those who still haven’t discovered you.
You can schedule reposting these UGC daily. Remember to give due acknowledgments to your users. Remember to reply to them, thanking them for their gracious gesture. Such campaigns help you engage with customers and build a community.

6. UGC can Keep Customers and Build Customer Loyalty

Retaining your customer base can challenging if you have competition. And eCommerce is one field where you will find many. The key to customer retention is to project yourself more as a friend and well-wisher than a seller. Leveraging UGC can work wonders for you in this regard.
Imagine that you bought new sunglasses and you posted a picture on Instagram. You might also post a message on how you found this item on a shopping website. Now, how would you feel when the shopping website itself comes and comments on your post?
Not only that. The online store might ask your permission to share the awesome picture on their page. Such a move goes a long way in building a connection between the customer and the seller.
As a seller, you can also promote your customer based on the UGC they share with you. You can provide them with incentives to continue doing the ‘good job.’ Such measures instill in a customer a sense of belonging, a sense of trust. It translates into higher retention and continuous purchase.

7. Creating Q&A Sections, Forums Where Users Help Each Other

The Q&A section on your eCommerce website works as customer support for the customer by the customer. You might already be familiar with the Q&A section on an Amazon product page.
Most shoppers visiting that product page are wont to read them. Such sections will already have answers to frequently asked questions about the product. It will help your customer decide on buying the product.
Creating forums is another great way to bring in quality traffic to your store. A forum is nothing more than an online discussion platform. There, customers can chat with other customers on a variety of topics centered on the product.
Forums can save resources too.

  • You do not have to spend time or money to recruit staff to answer customer queries.
  • Customers are more comfortable getting an answer from a fellow customer than from you.

Forums also let you group discussions based on a topic. It will help a customer easily find the answer they are looking for in your store.
Forums can provide rich materials that help you improve your product or services. You can also track customer behavior and preference. These will help you plan targeted eCommerce SEO program.

8. Using User-generated Content With Online Advertisements

Advertisements, no matter how well-made, don’t always connect with your customers. The images, descriptions, and other content used in an advert may be a little off the reality. However, a customer wants to know how a product changes their life in the real world.
UGC can be a game-changer in this regard. Apart from using them on your product pages, you can also integrate them into your adverts. A social medium advert of your store with ratings and other UGC can make you more appealing.
How can you use UGC in your advertisement?

  • Adding one or two customer reviews along with their ratings below the main visual of your advert. The targeted copy will spur interest, and the review will solidify trust.
  • Add photos of a customer using a product in real-life applications. Below that, you can add short, crisp oneliners from satisfied customers.
  • The addition of UGC is not only effective but also cost-free. You spend almost nothing on the copy of the picture. That is what makes UGC-injected advertisement appealing to eCommerce firms.

9. Using UGC Photo Gallery On Your Ecommerce Website To Spur Fashion Trends

A gallery of pictures shared by your customers is a great way to leverage UGC. Imagine you are into selling apparel, footwear, and cosmetics. During a festival season, you can invite your customers to share with you their new cool looks.
Apart from giving you rich UGC, they may also become trailblazers in fashion. They might carefully match different pieces of clothing to create a trend. They might tie the lace of their new shoe in a way none had seen before. Such a campaign will spur the creativity of your customers in ways you cannot even imagine.
Now, back to business. Once you have such visual UGC, you can create a linked gallery. It is a collection of the richest pictures your customers have shared with you. This gallery can focus on a particular product or feature pictures of all the products.
A potential customer visiting your eCommerce portal is sure to visit this gallery. Why so sure? Because 85% of consumers regard UGC as more reliable than branded content. As discussed earlier, some of them may like a particular matching of dresses on one of your customers.
The final thing you have to do is to link these pictures with their respective product pages. Sales will follow you.

10. Using Blog Posts With Curated User-generated Contents

Bloggers and vloggers can be a source for high-quality UGC for your business. Mention of your product in a famous blogger can help you drive traffic to your website. You can also use them as influencers, asking them to do ‘how-to’ tutorials of your products.
Another way is to create your blogs around curated UGC. You can use comments, tweets, and YouTube videos from your customers to create blog posts. When you post this blog anywhere, you can tag your customers who provided you with the content. You can mention their name/username on the headline. It will increase the reach of your post as the mentioned customers will share it on social media.
Get in touch with us to know more about UGC and its importance in implementing eCommerce SEO services.


Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.

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