Do you know the differences between UGC and influencer marketing? Do you know what User Generated Content or UGC is?
UGC has become one of the most important trends in the digital age. But what is UGC exactly? What does it mean? And how is it different from influencer marketing? Or is it the same thing?

This type of content refers to all the material that users create and share online. And this is very valuable, because it is free content generated by consumers themselves. Content shared with their communities, that is, potential new users. In this regard, 92% of consumers trust online content from friends and family. This stands above any other form of brand messaging.

Thus, the most important brands have realized this and that is why more brands are incorporating UGC in their Marketing strategies. This allows them to connect with their customers in a more authentic and personalized way. And this generates not only an increase in sales but also money in the form of data. Information that brands can analyze to recalculate prices, define their product offering, etc.

In short, UGC is User Generated Content (any type of content created by users about a brand, product, or service). But how is it different from Influencer Marketing?

Differences between UGC and Influencer Marketing

In the universe of digital marketing, two strategies have been emerging very strongly in recent years, challenging, and complementing traditional advertising techniques. User Generated Content (UGC) and Influencer Marketing. Both tactics have become very powerful tools for brands. However, what exactly is the difference between them?
Next, in this article we are going to break down these concepts and explore the main similarities and differences between UGC and influencer marketing. This will help us understand a little better what they are.

1. Credibility and reach – Marketing techniques with common roots

UGC and influencer marketing come from the voices of real people that have an impact on consumers perception and decision. This belief is not unfounded. Various studies of ours show that consumers tend to trust the recommendations of their loved ones more. Also, from the people they admire the most. Above all, if we compare with traditional advertising. In fact, as confirmed in several surveys, almost 80% of consumers affirm that UGC positively influences their research prior to purchasing a product. That’s why UGC and influencer marketing has grown so much in recent years. And this growth has occurred especially in Mexico and Latin America.
Besides. It is evident that word of mouth has always been an effective advertising tool. However, with the arrival of social networks and digitalization, this tool has taken on new dimensions. Now, opinions are not only shared at family gatherings or among friends. But they are also disseminated to a global audience through platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook.
Now, the origin is clear. But what is the difference in reach and credibility between UGC and influencer marketing?

Two main differences between UGC and influencer marketing: reach and credibility:

On the one hand, we can understand UGC as the true voice of the consumer.
User Generated Content refers, as its name indicates, to content created by consumers themselves. These can be testimonials, photographs, videos, reviews, blogs, among others. The beauty of UGC lies in its authenticity; They are real experiences from real customers. These content creators generally have a limited reach, that is, they do not have large groups of followers behind them, but they still generate a lot of value. On the one hand, it serves to generate virality and encourage other people to create similar content. On the other hand, this type of content published in e-commerce and marketplaces helps other potential customers make a purchase or not.
Brands have recognized the power of UGC and have begun to integrate it into their campaigns. For example, many companies encourage customers to share photos of their products in use, offering visibility on their platforms or small incentives such as discounts. In fact, many brands today pay creators to have the right to their resources and to be able to use them, for example, in paid media campaigns. However, it has to be clear that the main motivation behind UGC is usually customer satisfaction and the desire to share their experience.

The Credibility Factor in Influencer Marketing

On the other hand, influencer marketing is the tool that allows us to connect with public figures and transmit a series of ideas and values through these people.
That is, Influencer Marketing involves collaborations with personalities and online content creators who have significant audiences. These people, due to their charisma, skills or expertise in a particular area, have managed to amass followers who trust their opinions and recommendations. Influencers can range from 10,000 to 100 million followers. There are many types of influencers, from different niches and some more suitable for some brands and others for others.
Unlike UGC, influencer marketing has a clearly commercial objective. On the one hand, it aims to leverage the large audiences of influencers to generate sales, on the other, influencer marketing generates validation and a very strong branding effect. It offers legitimacy and trust in users. That is why it is so important to select influencers who represent the brand’s values. Obviously, if we want to convey the idea of beauty or exclusivity, it is better to choose influencers with beautiful features and who show an almost unattainable lifestyle. Or if, for example, we are a company that sells foods made with vegetable protein like Notco, it is preferable to choose a vegan influencer who represents the values you want to convey.

2. Comparing and Contrasting – The motivation behind the campaign

While UGC comes from a broad user base and is based on spontaneous experiences, influencer marketing is more structured and based on commercial agreements. However, both have the potential to increase consumer loyalty and engagement with a brand.
The fundamental difference between the two lies in the objective behind the collaboration. While UGC serves as a frame of reference and a comparison to select between various products or services, influencer marketing aims to communicate and impact a specific group of people who follow a particular influencer.
Likewise, the motivation of the content creator (UGC) and the influencer is usually different. On the one hand, the creator’s main motivation is personal satisfaction, sharing experiences or providing an honest opinion about a product or service. A simple example would be a customer from Guadalajara who decides to leave a review on Google Maps about his favorite local restaurant, “La Tequila”, praising his authentic Jalisco food.
On the other hand, the influencer is generally more motivated by the commercial agreement or collaboration, by money. A simple example, Paty Cantú, a Mexican singer, promotes a new tennis model from the “Flexi” brand on her Instagram. She and she does it not for the sneakers, but for the money.

3. Origin of content – Differences between UGC and influencer marketing

As we had mentioned before, UGC and influencer marketing have similar objectives but the origin and purpose of each one is different.
In UGC, content typically comes from everyday consumers sharing their experiences without direct incentive. They want to share something for different motivations, not necessarily to receive anything in return from the brand. An easy example, a boy in Monterrey posts on his personal Instagram profile a photo enjoying an ice cream from “La Michoacana” and indicating why he likes it so much. In this case, the boy possibly wants to convey a lifestyle, a personal taste, and that is why he shares and tags the brand.
In Influencer Marketing, content is created by public figures or people with many followers in exchange for compensation that is very clear and evident. This promotion can range from subtle product mentions to elaborate campaigns.
However, transparency is essential; Most legislation requires influencers to disclose any business relationships. And this is increasingly important, because many times influencers are obliged to communicate that the collaboration is paid. Otherwise, it can be considered misleading advertising, and this is the worst thing that could happen to a brand, because it could generate the opposite effect to what was intended – detriment to consumer confidence.
As an example, we could cite Yuya, a popular Mexican influencer, who decides to publish a video of her on her YouTube channel showing beauty products from the “Bissú” brand.

4. Authenticity vs. Production – The quality of the content is very different.

Often, influencer-generated content can appear more polished or professional, while UGC can have a more raw and authentic nature. In essence, both seek to humanize the brand, establishing a bridge between the company and the consumer. But, in practice UGC content tends to be rawer and more authentic. Not much time has been dedicated to it. And it could be anything from an experience shared on TripAdvisor to a video on YouTube giving an opinion about a new Avengers movie. For its part, content generated by influencers is generally more polished, planned and produced. You can see that there is a team behind it carrying out the production and making sure that everything is in its place. To do this, you just must watch the latest videos of Luisito Comunica. There is a team behind it, and it shows even in the way it communicates its sponsorships.

5. Relationship with the Brand – How creators and influencers relate to brands. Differences.

The relationship with the brand is a critical aspect in both user-generated content and influencer marketing, although it manifests itself in different ways in each approach.
In UGC, the relationship arises from authentic and personal experiences of users, who share their perspective without a direct connection or remuneration from the brand. This organicity can translate into authenticity, but also into varied opinions. That is, the interaction is usually community-based and users can respond, ask or discuss among themselves about the shared content.
To generate this, it is essential that brands plan campaigns, contests and events. Also create spaces where consumers can interact. An example to illustrate this, a household appliance brand that creates a Facebook group dedicated to Mexican recipes. Here a user from Oaxaca can share how they prepare their homemade mole and other group members can ask them questions about the ingredients and can offer variations or tips based on their own experiences.
Influencer marketing:
On the other hand, in influencer marketing, the relationship is often contractual and deliberate. Influencers, in exchange for compensation, promote and represent the brand, working closely with it to create content that resonates with their audiences. This closer, more structured relationship can ensure a coherent message, but it can also be perceived as less organic by the audience. Furthermore, although there is interaction, it is usually between the influencer and his or her followers, and sometimes it is moderated or filtered, especially if it involves sponsored content.
For example, Mexican actress Regina Blandón is hired by Ray-Ban and posts a photo on Instagram wearing a new line of sunglasses from a popular brand. Her followers comment praising the design and asking where they can buy them, and the actress responds to some of the comments (but not all).

6. Duration and Permanence – When and until when the collaborations last

It is evident that the duration and permanence of collaborations vary significantly between user-generated content (UGC) and influencer marketing.
UGC is characterized by its spontaneity and often its brevity. It often arises from momentary impulses in the community and, although it can have a significant impact, its ephemeral nature means it may not last over time. UGC is often based on momentary experiences or instant impressions. For example, an attendee at a craft beer festival in Guanajuato shares on his Instagram stories short clips of the presentations and activities he attends, which will disappear after 24 hours.
On the other hand, collaborations in influencer marketing are usually planned and structured in advance. These collaborations generally have long-term goals and are designed to remain relevant for longer periods of time, taking advantage of the influencer’s constant presence and following. Example: Juanpa Zurita, Mexican influencer, makes a series of videos on YouTube in collaboration with a sportswear brand. These videos remain on his channel as accessible content and are promoted for weeks or months.
That said, when we talk about Ecommerce or Reviews on digital platforms, this is not the case. The UGC becomes permanent and can be used by other users to later make purchasing decisions.

UGC and influencer marketing are not the same. There are clear differences.

UGC and influencer marketing, despite their many similarities, differ profoundly in multiple facets, from their origin and motivation to interaction and relationship with the brand.

In this regard, User Generated Content is characterized by its authenticity, coming from real user experiences. Meanwhile, influencer marketing is shaped by strategic collaborations, often with financial compensation. That said, UGC is also sometimes motivated by financial or in-kind compensation.

And although both have the objective of promoting interaction with other users, in the UGC it is more organic, and community based. Compared to the more directed and sometimes moderate dialogue of influencers (sometimes these collaborations are too commercial). Additionally, brands’ relationships with influencers are typically contractual, unlike spontaneous interactions on UGC.

For brands, the challenge lies in discerning which tool is most appropriate depending on the context. To optimize your impact in the digital world and strengthening your relationship with the audience. What is clear is that both strategies are effective and can complement each other quite well, especially when seeking to achieve virality.
Below, we leave you a video that explains the differences between UGC and influencer marketing. Let’s see what you think!

If after watching the video, you have any questions or want to implement UGC or Influencer Marketing strategies, contact us. At AMPLI we are at your disposal to help you implement content creation strategies. And always, with a focus on conversion and performance.

If you think we have missed some differences between UGC and influencer marketing, please write them in the comments.