In 2017 it is almost impossible for marketers to get by without using User Generated Content (UGC). Just a few years ago, it was unthinkable that UGC could ever be more important than owned content. Third-party content means both stock photos and UGC, you learn why you should rather not use stock photography for your marketing in our blogpost about the topic. Today UGC builds the core of most social media strategies and has had a massive impact on digital marketing. Brands and retailers are well aware that this form of word-to-mouth marketing is on the rise; especially the Millennials trust UGC over BGC. 64% said that they consult peer recommendations before making purchase decisions.

In times where most purchase decisions are made online and the motto “content is king” there is a need to adjust strategies. However, even though traditional marketing forms are not as effective anymore, the overall goal remains the same, and this is, increase sales.

But how do you measure the success of UGC in a social media campaign?

Whilst the list of benefits is long; e.g. it helps to sell more products, serves as social proof and cuts marketing costs. It can be quite challenging to measure Return on Investment (ROI) for UGC. Therefore brands and retailers will have to formulate goals they want to monitor and achieve. Like in any other field in marketing, social media (including UGC) requires quite a bit of time and manpower to measure the monetary value of a campaign.

As mentioned above, defining corporate objectives will help to select the relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will function as a measurement parameter. Obviously, these KPIs may vary depending on the brands overall alignment. Nevertheless, it is important to determine specific parameters otherwise you will end up losing focus.

Marketers should ask themselves what they expect from UGC?

 Are you trying to increase brand awareness & customer loyalty?Do you want to use UGC as social proof or are you simply trying to create more engagement?

How do you measure the monetary value of UGC?

UGC can provide some very clear and measurable KPIs. For instance you will be saving marketing costs because you are able to reduce content production costs.

The best way to measure the monetary value of visual Content is by calculating your ROI. It measures the amount of return on an investment relative to the investment’s cost. But be aware that you won’t have an overall ROI for all your UGC activities. Instead, you’ll have to measure single aspects and put them together as a whole.

KPIs to track when working with UGC

Conversion Rate

Conversion rates are always a KPI marketers should watch. It is the percentage of users who take desired action; e.g. the percentage of visitors of a website who buy something. Brands and retailers that use UGC have a higher conversion rate of approximately 200% on average. This is because UGC helps potential customers to make purchase decisions.

Average Order Value

Is an e-commerce KPI that measures the average total of every order placed with a merchant over a defined period of time. Social galleries can help to increase product discovery of potential customers. By browsing through a social wall on your homepage your customers will not only be inspired they will also discover new products. Companies that use UGC see an uplift of approximately 13.7% on their Average Order Value.

Click-Through Rate

The Click-Through Rate is a KPI that represents the average number of click-throughs per hundred ad impressions, expressed as a percentage. We see that social ads and campaigns that use UGC have a higher CTR of 59.25% on average than social ads that show BGC.


The Reach is one of the most important KPis for social media marketers. But bear in mind that social media depends on interaction and is a two-way road. For best results ask consumers for permission to re-use and share UGC. You will see most people will be happy to function as your brand advocate. Brands that use a UGC management tool receive an 84.3 % acceptance rate for media requests. To calculate your brand’s reach you need the sum of the followers of the users who create and/or engage with your UGC.

Engagement Rate

The Engagement Rate of a post is the percentage of people who saw and engaged with it e.g. commented or liked it. To calculate the engagement rate simply multiply total measured engagements x 100 /ad impressions or users.

Obviously there are many more parameters to track when dealing with UGC. Whether your company operates in B2B or B2C, you should definitely observe how many fans and followers could be converted into potential leads – and therefore increase sales!

About Anthea Bruger

Anthea was part of the squarelovin team from 2018 to 2019. In addition to her marketing management studies at the Northern Business School, she supported the marketing team, in content creation as an expert for all things Instagram.

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