A dive into UGC (and UGC-like) video ads, the latest app marketing trend

User Acquisition Campaigns

October 13, 2022

The rise of social media platforms and their increased power over culture bred the latest app marketing trend: UGC (User Generated Content). Social media platforms’ entire business is built on users’ creating and sharing their own content. When marketing took to these platforms to promote all kinds of digital and non-digital products, they had to adapt their content. Now more than ever, UGC is at the forefront of marketing trends for mobile apps and games. 

TikTok and the age of UGC ads

TikTok’s rise to fame is a significant component of the UGC trend. Unlike other social media platforms where visibility banked on the community you build around your profile, TikTok’s algorithm can feed any user’s content to an audience automatically.

This means people have grown more used to seeing strangers on their social feeds and listening to their experiences and their recommendations by watching their unboxings and hauls. The pandemic has pushed people to look for even more authenticity in their content, we talked about it in our recap of 2021’s video ads tendencies

Mobile users are still relying on reviews and ratings, and they have been for years, and that is UGC. So this is not entirely new. It’s just shifting to video content as well. That search for a more genuine approach from brands, even in video ads, and what’s more authentic than a user sharing their experience? 93% of marketers say consumers trust content from other users more than brand-generated content.

UGC (and UGC-adjacent) drives brand loyalty because it creates a sense of trust. Users will trust the experience of the person, which means they adopt their trust in your brand. There’s also a feeling of community, driven by the sentiment of authenticity. Viewers feel like they can trust another user more than a brand, because the user will have an experience similar to theirs. 

Just like with influencer ads, seeing a human face addressing them helps them decide to install an app or game.

This trend is bigger than just UGC

To harness the power of this UGC trend, you don’t need to rely solely on actual user-generated content. The goal here is to have a user of your app, or someone that appears to be a user of your app, address potential users as an equal and share their experience and the benefits they’re gained from using your app or game.

source: Mobile App Daily

If you advertise on social media, you need to start including UGC ads in your marketing strategy. 76% of social media users believe UGC is more reliable than branded content, because it feels more genuine and less planned, and UGC-based ads get 4x higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in cost-per-click than average. 

If you’re targeting a younger audience, their strong social media presence will drive them to trust more easily ad content that was tailored after social media and uses the same conventions.

source: Mobile App Daily

More than that, UGC is a real boost for your brand. 86% of millennials say that UGC is a good indicator of the quality of a brand, a quality video ad will improve your brand recall and engagement rate (brand engagement increases an average of 28% when users are exposed to a combination of user-created product videos and professional content). 

Leveraging UGC for a video ad campaign

The main goal here is to look as authentic as possible. This UGC trend is a great way to boost your UA campaigns and you don’t have to rely on actual UGC to participate in the trend. It will work as long as your creatives look like UGC and feel authentic to your audience. 

Dating apps are pretty good at creating UGC-like ads. Look at that Tinder ad on TikTok:

source: TikTok

It clearly looks like a regular TikTok where a user is filming themselves while testifying about their search for the love of their life (a search that, obviously, ended on the famous swiping dating app). 

UGC ads allow your brand to talk to your users as equals and share experiences with your app they may connect with. It’s a new type of testimonials, you want your ads to look more like genuine user content and less like an ad (don’t worry about that, we’ll give you some tips at the end of the article). After all, 70% of consumers trust online peer reviews and recommendations more than professional content and copy.

Try to be a little less polished, it will make your ad feel more natural and organic to the viewers and help catch (and keep) their attention. 

source: Facebook Ad Library – source: Facebook Ad Library

It will also help your brand appear more relatable because viewers will see people who look like them and share an experience that feels personal and genuine. So make sure to center personal experiences in your UGC-like ads, this is about showing the real impact your app or mobile game can have on your users. 

Creating UGC-like ad content will help you diversify your ad content. Each ad can target a specific user persona, embodied by the actor, widening your reach and boosting your results. 

Tips to capture the UGC spirit in your video ad

Want to leverage the UGC trend in your video ads? We’ve got you covered with this checklist of things to remember when planning your ad:

  • UGC content works best with live-action video ads, you can choose to rely on sharing textual testimonials in video form but live-action with actors (or users) the audience can easily identify with works best
  • Ensure that the actors match with your targeted audience, if your consumers are women over 50, don’t hire a 20 years old male actor – the point is to show your audience that someone likes them is enjoying your app or game
  • The actor should address the camera directly as if they were talking to the user directly
  • Be careful about your copy, both the text that will appear on screen and the one delivered by the actor. It needs to sound as genuine as possible, don’t be scared to add some emojis in your on-screen text for authenticity, and try to have a more relaxed phrasing
  • Use a handheld camera or POV-like shots to ensure full immersion and authenticity
  • Pay attention to your surroundings, testimonial video may work in a studio setting, but for all other videos, try and place your actors on a set that doesn’t look staged 

Need a hand in figuring out what’s the best option for your app? We’re here to help!

Marine Nozerand

Hi there, I'm Marine (she/her), I'm a Content Manager at Apptamin. Apptamin is a creative agency specialized in app videos (video ads, app store videos, etc.).
Marine Nozerand

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