The State of Social & User-Generated Content 2023

TINT’s State of Social & User-Generated Content 2023 helps you uncover key findings from leading marketers around the globe while cross-referencing UGC and influencer marketing stats & themes with consumer trends and expectations.

Discover how your company’s social content stacks up against top trends — and learn from brands that lead. 

Download the State of Social & UGC 2023

What’s new with the State of Social & UGC?

Each year we produce the State of Social & User-Generated Content based on critical feedback from marketers and consumers around the world. And this year feels uniquely special.

While many challenges lie ahead – from changes in social media to limited budgets and a refocusing on ROI – there are also many exciting developments in AI, social and video commerce, and new ways for us as marketers to be more creative and effective. Indeed, there has never been a better time to be a marketer.

As marketers respond to continued changes in technology, market trends, company objectives, and consumer habits, this year’s report highlights eight trends and ways that brands can maintain and grow revenue into 2023.

We are pleased to share these findings. We hope you find the 2023 State of Social & User-Generated Content report informative and helpful in identifying trends and creating effective strategies.

Theme 1 – Doubling down on video (and audio) content

Social media platforms that prioritize video and audio are becoming an increasingly important part of people’s daily lives. As consumers flock to dynamic platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, video and audio will continue to play a vital role in the future of marketing.

In 2022, the top 3 social platforms brands were more active on were Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn – followed by YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok.

In 2023, MARKETERS plan to increase activity on video-friendly platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube.

CONSUMERS plan to spend more time on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

Video and audio (A/V) drive more interest and engagement than static visuals. Additionally, A/V content often includes dynamic elements such as music, sound effects, and motion graphics – which can help convey information faster and more effectively than written text. We will naturally see an increase in video content as social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok continue to compete for market share.

However, tight budgets and small teams will require marketers to seek cost-effective, trustworthy, and scalable solutions to fill this content production gap – such as leveraging User-Generated Content (UGC), creators, and influencers.

"In the near term for audio marketing, we’re going to see some really cool things coming out with interactive audio ads on platforms like Alexa, but also other platforms where you’ll actually engage with an ad by talking back to it."
Eric Singer
Executive Producer
Coupe Studios Music and Sound Design
Theme 2 – Social media as a search engine

Consumers are turning to social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube to search for news, ideas, how-tos, and recommendations.

As a result, social media platforms have developed their own search functions and algorithms (like hashtags and smart recommendations) to surface content relevant to each user’s interests – which means the right hashtag strategy is more important than ever.

Overall, consumers mostly use Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube to search for new products, brands, and experiences. However, Gen Z and younger millennials (18-34) tend to use Instagram more than Facebook.

Are social media searches the next Google?

As social media platforms continue to evolve, marketers and creators will focus on optimizing their content for social media searches by using keywords and hashtags strategically.

There will be an even stronger emphasis on SEO, particularly platform- specific SEO techniques to help each piece of content perform its best wherever it lives.

This will help content rank higher in search results and make it more easily discoverable by their target audience – which will enable both, marketers and creators, to more accurately monitor the performance of their content and iterate accordingly.

As the market share for search is redistributed to social platforms, this will lead to a shift in budgets and focus on collaborations with customers (UGC), Creators, and influencers to gain traction through discount incentives, shoppable social, and video commerce and livestream shopping on platforms like TikTok.

"Social platforms are evolving into search engines for consumers to discover brands and products. Monitoring what content is performing well in your industry can guide you on what content and influencers to work with on each of these platforms."
Theme 3 – ROI is expected (but it’s complicated)

Marketing teams could do a better job at measuring their content’s performance, so… what’s holding them back? Here’s a hint: it’s the lack of resources.

Marketing is an essential part of any business, but it can also be a complex function to measure – especially with limited resources.

On one hand, consumers expect to be marketed to in a variety of ways, whether it’s through social media ads, email campaigns, in-store, billboards, or other formats.

On the other hand, marketing is not always straightforward; organic word- of-mouth, for example, cannot always be accurately tracked.

Prediction: More brand investments in A.I. and Machine Learning tools (like TINT) that allow teams to outsource tasks and measure every step of the customer journey – across every marketing channel.

Measuring the ROI of social content

Across the board, leaders have become more aware of the power of social media and the impact it has on business success but to justify budget spend they want data to back up ideas. As the saying goes, the data doesn’t lie. Leaders and social media marketers need to be aligned on the strategy behind their social presence, and work together to gather the right metrics to track and measure progress against that strategy. Leaders then need to create an environment of agility.

Social is a fast evolving space and teams need to be given the license to be nimble, to test and iterate tactics, but never lose sight of the objectives.

If the reason for using social is unclear, proving ROI can be extremely difficult. Social is an ever-evolving space and a myriad of factors contribute to a successful social post or social campaign. But knowing if that campaign is having the intended impact depends on the reason for creating that campaign.

Marketers who track metrics that align with business objectives, create processes and ROI reports that show the true impact of social and keep the big picture in mind will ultimately increase their chances of generating buy-in and support from leadership teams.

Don’t forget that the big picture of social media ROI includes returns far beyond the marketing department. You can use social media to improve customer service and strengthen employee relationships—both worthwhile and valuable achievements that you should measure and include when you consider ROI.

Melanie Gaboriault
Global Head of Corporate Communications
Hootsuite