Year after year user-generated content continues to prove itself as one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s arsenal. This year, our 2021 user-generated content stats roundup looks at how UGC is diversifying across the world.

Micro-influencers are bumping mega-influencers out of the way. Social Commerce has gone mainstream. Employees are now all marketers. Social Media supports a variety of goals and is getting bigger than ever. Dig into the top 50 user-generated content stats of 2021. 

Key 2021 User-Generated Content Stats for Marketers

User-generated content is more important than ever as a turbulent global landscape leads consumers to expect brands to show a real, more authentic face. With screentime at an all-time high, people are constantly creating and engaging with content. 

  1. 93% of marketers agree that consumers trust content created by customers more than content created by brands. People trust people. (State of UGC 2021 Report)
  2. 41.2% of marketers rank engagement as their top key performance indicator (KPI) for social and content marketing. (State of UGC 2021 Report)
  3. 75% of marketers know that adding UGC makes brand content more authentic. (State of UGC 2021 Report)
  4. 59.8% of marketers agree that authenticity and quality are equally important elements of successful content. (State of UGC 2021 Report)
  5. 66% of consumers think transparency is one of a brand’s most attractive qualities. 

Marketers are Stretched Thin, in a Content Crunch

It is no surprise that 2020 left marketing departments stretched thin and hurting for resources. Savvy marketers are turning to user-generated content and employee-generated content to fix their content crunch. Not only does UGC and EGC save time, but it also is more authentic and performs better than brand-created narratives.

  1. 72.2% of all marketers report having more responsibilities now than ever before. They are looking for new and creative opportunities to save time. (State of UGC 2021 Report)
  2. 52% of marketers believe that time is a challenge when it comes to social and visual content production.  (State of UGC 2021 Report)
  3. 41% of marketers feel headcount (departmental staffing) is a challenge when it comes to content production. (State of UGC 2021 Report)
  4. 43.1% of marketers reported that it is challenging to manually find engaging user-generated content. (State of UGC 2021 Report)

Think Small! Micro-influencers are here to stay.

As influencer marketing continues to evolve, more and more marketers are finding that uber-influencers with their enormous followings are not driving action like they used to. Micro-influencers activated en-masse are more engaging, higher performing, and cost-effective alternative to digital celebrities.

Need a refresher on Micro- and Nano-Influencers? Read our article.

  1. 75% of marketers are currently working with micro-influencers. (State of UGC 2021 Report)
  2. 300% increase in the number of micro-influencers used by companies since 2016.
  3. Only 14% of influencers are fully compliant with the Federal Trade Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority.
  4. Micro-influencers see 7x the amount of engagement over mega-influencers, and that number is even higher on TikTok.
  5. 80% of social media livestream viewers say they’re likely to buy a product as a result of the endorsement of their favorite influencers.
  6. What’s the use of an Influencer Campaign?
        • 40% of companies run influencer campaigns to spread awareness. 
        • 36% of companies use influencer campaigns to drive sales. 
        • 24% of companies use influencer campaigns to specifically encourage and obtain user-generated content.
  7.  47% of marketers will spend their influencer budget on micro-influencers.

Social Commerce goes Mainstream

Countless consumers adopted new technologies in the face of the global pandemic.  Social Commerce entered 2020 as a powerful tactic and exited the year as the top tool for eCommerce. Retailers now know that shoppers are willing to buy their product whenever the opportunity presents itself, on- and off-network.

  1. U.S. Social Commerce is expected to increase by 34.8%, growing the industry to $31.4 billion. The trend is expected to continue with Social Commerce accounting for almost $40 billion by the year 2022.
  2. 60% of people say they have discovered new products on Instagram.
  3. People are buying on Social Media
        • 40% of consumers have made a purchase via Facebook. 
        • 13% have made a purchase via Instagram. 
        • 12% have made a purchase via Pinterest.
  4. 50% of global eCommerce sales happen on mobile devices.
  5. 55.4% of global internet users have bought something online using a mobile device.
  6. 27.5% of global social media users list “Researching Products to Buy” as their primary reason why they log in.
  7. 44.8% of global social media users have used social networks to research information about brands.
  8. 55.9% of female, and 51% of male, Gen Z’ers (Zoomers) visit social media networks to search for information about brands.

Social Media Transforms Organizations

This year we turn to the Hootsuite Social Transformation Report to better understand how modern organizations are expanding their use of social. Social is no longer perceived as “just” a tool for Marketing and Communications. The world’s top companies are using social media to achieve cross-organizational benefits that increase brand health and directly drive revenue.

  1. 67% of established organizations have used social media to build strong relationships that benefit the business.
  2. 84% of mature organizations have used social media to improve brand health indicators like consumer sentiment, share of voice, and perceived brand value. 
  3. 78% of marketers agree that social media empowered them to reach prospects more efficiently than other media.
  4. 28% of organizations report that they can directly attribute revenue to social media engagement.
  5. 58% of organizations with established social media programs have tracked sales that can be, at least, partially attributed to social media.
  6. 78% of marketers consider Facebook the most effective for reaching business goals. This is followed closely by Instagram (70%) and LinkedIn (42%).  

An Eye on Customer Experience and Consumer Perspective

Customer service is fully social with many brands launching dedicated social media handles and teams to provide service across channels.  Your customers want to connect and expect a response regardless of where it is on the internet.

  1. 50% of consumers wish brands would guide them in creating content.  (State of UGC 2021 Report)
  2. 46% of organizations (B2B and B2C) are confident that their social media followers are more valuable than customers they don’t engage with.
  3. 81% of marketing professionals believe social data analysis tools will be the most important resource for generating customer insights.
  4. 42% of users expect customer support inquiries submitted on social media to be responded to within an hour, if not sooner.
  5. 1.4 billion people use messaging apps (like Facebook Messenger and WeChat) and are willing to talk to chatbots.
  6. 33% of users would rather have a social media customer care service than one by telephone or email.
  7. 71% of customers will recommend your brand if they have a positive customer service experience through social media. 

Employee-Powered Marketing

The power is with the people. Marketing is increasingly powered by the entire organization. Elaborate employee advocacy programs are surfacing that encourage, and sometimes incentivize, staff to support marketing efforts on their own personal channels.  Expect to see an employee-generated content boom during 2021.

  1. 24x – Number of times a brand message was reshared when distributed by employees instead of brand social accounts.  (State of UGC 2021 Report)
  2. 33% of employees will post messages, pictures, or videos about their employer without any encouragement from their company. That number increased to 50% with direct company encouragement.
  3. 58.8% of employees in a formal employee advocacy program spent at least 5 hours promoting their employer each week.
  4.  42% of marketers say employees don’t share branded content because they’re afraid of saying something they shouldn’t on social

Social Is Bigger Than Ever

Nothing can slow the spread of Social. This year’s 2021 Global State of Digital Report is tracking explosive growth around the world. The report is a recommended read. Here are our favorite stats. 

  1. 4.2 Billion active social media users worldwide, that’s over half the world’s population.
  2. 2 hours 25 minutes, the global average amount of time people aged 16 – 64 spend on social media.
  3. 44.8% of the globe uses social media to find information on brands or visit corporate accounts.
  4. 74% of all North Americans are on social media. More specifically (from North to South):
        • 84.4% of Canadians
        • 72.3% of Americans
        • 77.2% of Mexicans.
  5. American social media users grew by 4.3%. That’s over 10 million unique individual users added in 2020.  

Other Trends for 2021

We always have our eyes on the horizon. Digital trends are being adopted at breakneck speeds. These are a few we know will be strong in 2021.

  1. 75.5% of marketers are considering virtual events in 2021. (State of UGC 2021 Report)
  2. 48% of consumers will try or otherwise engage with augmented or virtual reality before the end of 2021.
  3. 40.7% of global internet users have used or scanned a QR code in the past month.
  4.  55% of 13- to 35-year-olds send memes every week. 30%+ send them daily. 

The numbers don’t lie. The 2021 user-generated content stats show that UGC is here to stay.  User-generated content, employee-generated content, and micro-influencers are the most effective tools for marketers. Learn how TINT helps the world’s top brands engage with these powerful tools. Schedule time with one of our experts today. 

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