Influencer-Generated Content: Why it Outshines User-Generated Content & How Your Brand Should Use It
Facebook and Instagram are human-to-human networks in which influencer-generated content (IGC) has proven to be top performing content within Facebook and Instagram advertising — time and time again.
No, really ... across all the millions of ad spend we manage for brands, IGC outperforms other forms of creative asset types within ad accounts. Not only has it outperformed other forms of creative, it's less expensive to produce.
But the perception is that user-generated content (UGC) is more of a safe bet, and engaging influencers is risky and costly.
While UGC can be a huge driver of sales, especially within Facebook Ads, it usually means getting your friends, family, and coworkers to produce video content for you.
This bucket of people who understand ads or how to sell product will quickly run dry. It's usually at this point where brands begin to tap on their customer base over an influencer, because they assume the influencer will charge too much or you genuinely think your customers will produce the same quality.
Then comes the UGC email campaigns, offering a gift card or % off their next purchase in return for a video testimonial.
In this case, the % off or $ amount you provide potentially offsets the COGS of your product and the first time sale, making what you gain or lose financially, a wash.
While we genuinely recommend that the more content you can have in your arsenal the better, if you ask yourself who would be the best pool of people to source high-quality UGC content from — the answer should be influencers.
So what is IGC? How can you use it to succeed in your marketing strategy? We're about to dig into all of this.
- What is IGC? And how does it differ to UGC?
- Best practices when creating IGC
- What type of influencer-generated content should you create at each of your marketing funnel?
- How to implement ICG Ad Creative
- Measuring IGC Performance
- IGC examples: the influencer content that takes social media by storm
What is IGC? And how does it differ to UGC?
Many of you are probably familiar with the term UGC or user-generated content.
- UGC is content created by users of your product or service
- IGC is content created by influencers that are brand ambassadors for your brand.
These are not the same.
Most advertisers though can agree that UGC is a key component of their ad account library of content for Facebook and Instagram paid media. They've also experienced the lift in performance such content can lend.
So what does this mean for IGC? It's your opportunity to created UGC on steroids and take your ad accounts to an entirely new level of scale. Unlocking scalability happens when you transition from UGC to IGC.
The highest performing influencer marketing campaigns include IGC
So why IGC?
Put plainly, these are professional content creators rather than merely being users of your product or services.
These influencers have proven they can build mass following and engagement on their organic social through their ability in creating thumb-stopping content — which is what it's all about.
Pairing up their content creation ability with brands for the purpose of conversions has proven to be successful time and time again.
Organic posts and paid ads live on the same feeds within all Facebook and Instagram placements. So why would the success of content be any different in its ability to engage viewers and ultimately convert them on behalf of your brand?
But for this to work, you need to find authentic influencers that align with your brand and are genuine users of your product or service.
A misconception of IGC is that the content will lose its authentic, organic, and genuine nature. But this simply not true when identifying the right influencers for your brand that are actually a die-hard fan themselves.
With visibility into over $250M in ad spend, we have seen IGC outperform all other creative asset types within ad accounts. Not only has it outperformed other forms of creative, it's less expensive to produce.
Best practices when creating IGC
Now that we've defined IGC, let's discuss best practices and how to go about creating it with influencers. While it may seem obvious, there needs to be intentionality behind the content you're creating with influencers.
Many within the marketplace seem to believe that influencer marketing can be done in just a few simple steps:
1. Source and contract the influencer
2. Give them a couple of talking points and just make sure they are on brand
3. Rinse and repeat with all the influencers you work with
This is not the level of intentionality needed to be successful in creating quality IGC. When sourcing IGC creative, the starting point needs to be with the customer journey in mind.
Many do influencer marketing incredibly wrong, fail, and become completely shut off to this channel altogether and miss out on massive opportunities to scale the business through influencers. So make you start with a customer journey in mind and don't make the same mistakes others have.
People are so used to working with influencers to post organically with a one-off post. There is no customer journey, it's merely a one-off post, that's one and done. Or, if there's several posts, they are just re-engaging the same audience over and over again.
For the purpose of creating an effective influencer marketing campaign, you need to switch the framework of thought surrounding influencers and the IGC that you'll be creating for your brand.
That's what marketers like to do anyway, right? So let's put together a methodical customer journey with the content we're creating through influencers that'll convert your brand's target audiences.
How to align ICG to your customer journey
So think about the steps of your customer journey and the different audience segments you're targeting through Facebook and Instagram ads.
Your influencer creator brief should contain unique scenes and talking points that are specifically tailored to the audience such content will target.
For example, how do you want to position IGC in front of people that have never heard of your brand or interacted with your product or service before?
Or to people that have shown interest by visting your website? Or to people who are on the absolutely cusp of converting, who recently abandoned their cart?
How do we want to position IGC in front of each of these different segments?
So instead of sending your influencers a template of the same talking points you send everyone, you should put together unique creative briefs for each influencer you partner up with.
Best practices for IGC at each step of the customer journey
Uniquely created IGC for specific segments of the customer journey is key to success.
Let’s break down what type of content you should create with influencers every step of the way to convert your target audiences.
The strategy for IGC creation is exactly the same whether you're whitelisting the influencer or not. Influencer whitelisting meaning your ability to serve ads from an influecner's social handle into their capture audiences.
But if you are not influencerwhitelisting, let's review a couple audience segments to keep in mind when creating IGC for your customer journey.
Customer journey for non-whitelisting influencer funnel
First touch point — lookalike and interest audiences
- These are people who have never interacted with your brand before or heard of your product or service.
Second touch point — social engagers, newsletter subscribers, and 75% video viewers
- This is targeting people who follow you on social media, subscribe to your newsletter, and watched the video from your first touch point at least 75% of the way through.
Third touch point — recent website visitors
- Those who visited your website but didn't convert.
Fourth touch point — recently viewed or added to cart
- These are the people that are so close to converting.
This is the build-out when you are not whitelisting the influencer.
What type of influencer-generated content should you create at each stage of your marketing funnel?
First touch point
The best kind of content to create at this stage needs to be educational yet entertaining. On the educational side, this creative needs to be product-focused and incredibly clear on what the product or service is and how it differentiates itself from the rest of the market. Why should people buy your product offering? Educate people on the value propositions of your brand through this IGC.
On the entertaining side, the content needs to capture attention from the moment it begins. Have the influencer showcase the product clearly and speak to the prdouct from the start of the video.
Second touch point
Have the influencer speak to a promotional deal or discount offering. Retarget this audience with some sort of deal to take their intitial interest to the check-out line.
Third touch point
Based on the objective of your influencer marketing campaign, we'd recommend two approaches when sourcing influencer content.
If your objective is to build brand equity, get a brand lift, create content with influencers speaking to your brand ethos. What are you guys all about? What do you care about? Think of this as a brand building piece.
If the objective is conversions, create 'mashable style ads' for this audience segmenet by piecing together clips from all the different video content provided by several influencers into a single ad.
Influencer 'mashable ads' effectively position your brand or service as if it is everywhere, and everyone is using it. They instil a serious sense of FOMO (fear of missing out).
Fourth touch point
This is where you'll be speaking to people on the cusp of converting. Have you influencer speak directly where they are at in their customer journey.
Start the video by saying something along the lines of "hey, did you forget something in your cart?" or "I think you may have forgotten something in your cart, you should revisit this."
Calling people out on where they are at in the customer journey is incredibly powerful and tends to stop people in their tracks — creating a thumb-stopping moment for the end user.
Once an influencer opens up the video in this way and they've captured that person's attention, have them provide a testimony of why your product or service is so great in their own light to give the viewer the last bit of assurance they need to make that purchase.
So what are the next steps to take when you actually receive this content from the influencers before taking it live as Facebook and Instagram ads?
Let's talk about best practices for implementing IGC into your ad accounts before launching.
How to implement ICG Ad Creative
Should you simply implement IGC the way it’s provided or make edits before launching it as an ad? Here are a couple key action items you must do before taking your ads live.
There are a couple of key things you must do to your ICG before taking it live as an ad:
- Always add captions: Most people scroll with no sound, so be sure to add captions to all of your IGC. Without captions, it makes it harder for your viewers to understand what the influencer is trying to sell. And hot tip — if you are using an automated caption generator, be sure to double-check that auto-generated wording so the trolls don't call you out for typos.
- Reformat the IGC into 1x1 and 9x16 formats: This is for optimisation purposes via Facebook and Instagram ads. Across all placements that these ads have to offer, 1x1 and 9x16 will take care of that. It's also worth noting that on videos that are formatted 9x16 which are intended for all story placements, be sure to raise the captions slightly — so it doesn't interfere with the 'shop now' or 'swipe up' button on the story.
Caption and reformatting is all that is absolutely necessary before launching highly effective IGC within Facebook Ads Manager. The IGC will maintain its organic nature that is native to the feed in which many views may not even realise it's an ad — converting people on behalf of your brand at greater levels than ever before.
While this is all that is needed for launching, we recommend doing one more final step.
- Create iterations off the ICG: Get more value out of what you've got. Add text overlays, graphics, or your logo and test it all against the ads that is much more of a raw asset. Then, compare which version outperforms the other within your ad account. You should also create several versions of the IGC that begins the video at different parts of the original asset, to see which video gets the most traction. The first 3 seconds are absolutely critical, so testing different iterations will lend different performance and ultimately be key to scaling success.
Creative testing is key when engaging what type of influencer content performs best with any given ad account.
Influencer-generated content example: Raw assets vs iterations
Watch the video below to see the different iterations created off a raw asset of IGC created for NATIVE.
You should run all of these assets as ads and scale based on what performs best. So how do we judge the creative performance of this content?
Measuring IGC Performance
So you've just launched a newly acquired IGC — outside of just ROAS, how can you measure the performance of IGC as creative within your ad account?
The classic hierarchy of effect model AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) represents a model for evaluating a series of behaviors that you want a customer to take before they make a purchase.
Using this theory, you can apply this to your own evaluations of the data available within your Facebook Ads manager.
The metrics you can use to identify what ICG ads are more likely to sell
Attention metric: 3-second video views / total impressions
We created a metric of 3-second video views divided by total impressions.
This helps you understand what percentage of users are you getting to stop and consume your IGC by capturing their attention.
If you didn't already know, users are scrolling almost a mile on their phone. That's why creating thumb-stopping ads is so important.
If this number is really low, say 10% of all impressions result in a 3-second video view, that means you are paying for a bunch of impressions that are not resulting in consumption of your content.
Interest metric: Video average watch time
So you've stopped them and have their attention, but how long are they staying to consume your IGC? This helps you measure how well the video captures their interest.
Desire metric: Outbound click-through-rate
You'll have a button with 'shop now' which simply means click to your website to complete a purchase. This metric helps you understand if you are getting people to express a desire to participate in that action.
You'd hope so. But, there are a number of factors that go into whether someone will make a purchase that aren't just relying on the success of your IGC. Things like the speed of your website, the quality of information, even the price of your product — all sorts of pieces that go into the sale.
However, we still want to see the IGC generating a high ROAS. So how are these three metrics reflected in ROAS and correlated to it?
Before implementing your own IGC, you need to create a baseline by figuring out a weighted average of all three of these metrics. You can do this by getting the averages for each of these within your account from the existing content you've got.
Once you have all three of these from your current performance, you'll be able to measure the performance of your IGC in a very simple way.
It's as easy as A-B-C
We grade them!
A-grade ads outperform the average in all three metrics.
B-grade ads outperform the baseline in two categories.
C-grade ads outperform in just one category.
F-grade ads, you guess it, outperform in none. But that's highly unlikely when using IGC.
And guess what we found out? A-grade ads across all of our clients produced a 26% increase in ROAS on average.
IGC examples: the influencer content that takes social media by storm
The level of production quality for ICG doesn't require big budgets to make great performing Ads. IGC isn't supposed to be well produced, but instead, as if the influencers shot it on their iphone to help it look native to the social media feeds.
Here's a few examples of A-Grade IGC ads and some pointers on why they work and how they performed.
She speaks to a very specific use case that's personal to her. She goes through all the different ways she can use the product. She nails the value props of the brand, and makes it relatable to the viewer.
Here's how it performed.
For the first metric, anything close to 50% is incredible — so 42% is an amazing result. Double-digit average watch times are rare, anything above 5% or more is the most common performance we see. So to see 13 second average watch time is legendary. Even an outbound click-through-rate of 5.5% is an amazing result. Usually it's anything above 3% that is in the 90th percentile across all Facebook Ads we manage. All three metrics combined achieved a ROAS that's led to a 15% lift in performance on behalf of this brand.
This content introduces a narrative that speaks directly to the user's potential experience. The man leans in, whispering to the viewer that captures their attention, and the wink at the end brings in some humour too.
And look at these numbers!
Out of all the impressions this ad had, more than half captured by it! Average watch time of 9 seconds is almost the entire video. And 6% CTR is one of the best performances we've seen. As for ROAS — 54%! Unbelievable.
Don't leave influencer-generated content off your 2022 marketing strategy
Now you've got the best practices to creating and working with influencers on IGC content, how to execute it against your marketing funnel, and what model you can use to measure the performance.
We’re confident that influencer-generated content, in tandem with Facebook and Instagram advertising, will enable you to scale your influencer marketing efforts to new heights.
So, how do you choose the right influencer to create content for you? Read our guide to finding the right influencers for your brand.