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How Brands Measure User-Generated Content (UGC)

How Brands Measure User-Generated Content (UGC)

UGC plays an important role in a brand’s marketing strategy today. When a third-party creator makes a video or other piece of content showcasing your product or service, it can deepen engagement and the time people spend with your product while also conveying social proof (e.g. showing how others enjoy your product) and build credibility for your brand.   

In general, when brands feature UGC on their own social channels, websites or email marketing, they want to track how the content delivers against four types of metrics:

  • Reach: How many people have seen the content
  • Engagement: How many people watched or interacted with the content
  • Traffic: How many people clicked through to a destination website
  • Conversion: How many people immediately bought a product from the UGC


Brands generally engage creators to produce content that will be published on the brand's social channels, website or included in email marketing campaigns. It’s possible that some creators may publish brand content on their personal channels, as well, depending on the original agreement with the creator. 

On social channels like Instagram, Facebook and more, reach is either reported as impressions or reach. Impressions are the number of times a piece of content was displayed in a social channel. Reach is how many individuals may have seen that piece of content. 

These metrics give you a sense of the potential audience for your content. What you really want to know is of all the people who were exposed to the content, how many people interacted with it.


A creator may make a 2-minute video demonstrating how your product works. You may publish that video in a social channel like Facebook or a video channel like YouTube or you may even embed the video in your website. Video engagement is generally measured by views. But not all views are created equal. Facebook may report views as short as :03. People will remember more about your brand the longer they watch. That’s why many marketers track 50%+ and complete views. 

On social media, posts that feature UGC include additional actions from likes to comments, shares and click-throughs. Each of these contribute to engagement. When you divide the number of people who actually did something within a piece of content by those exposed, you get an engagement rate (ER). High ERs indicate content that is more compelling and valuable to your audience. 

Often, high engagement is the primary goal of UGC. You want people spending more time with your brand due to the creativity and authenticity of your chosen creators. 


Great content in social media, paid advertising and email marketing includes a call-to-action (CTA) which is often a link to your website. Social media users might watch UGC that demos a product and then click-through to the product page to learn more. 

Divide the number of people who click-through a link in UGC with those exposed to the content and you have the click-through rate (CTR). High CTRs are good, but watch out for either low engagement with the destination page or high bounce rates. Either of these metrics could indicate that people who click through are not satisfied with the destination experience or content. That might mean that there is a mismatch between the UGC and what the website it leads to. 


Some UGC is complete and convincing enough to drive someone to purchase your product immediately. A lot depends on the type of product or service you sell. If a creator demonstrates the application of a modestly priced cosmetic, a prospect may purchase the product straight from the demo. In cases of a more costly household product like a coffee machine or some type of electronic gear, the prospect may need to review additional content before they buy.

You can track direct conversions from most UGC. You can even incentivize people to buy a product from UGC and track that purchase even days later by offering a discount code within the UGC. If you are expecting certain UGC to drive actual sales, you need to track conversions even when they happen a few days later. 

Remember, the buyer journey is hardly ever a direct, straight line. People may see a compelling UGC video and then interact with several more pieces of content on your site or social channels before they actually purchase the product. 

The Role of UGC in the Journey

Consider what you expect user-generated content to do for your prospect or customer. Most often, it will be to educate and inspire them about your product or service. If that’s the case, then a combination of reach and engagement metrics will be most important. 

Sometimes, UGC is that truly convincing piece of content that drives people to your site and even to buy your product. 

Whatever the role, make sure you track, measure and evaluate the performance of that content.

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