Understanding Millennials and Gen Zers’ Passion for User-Generated Content

Julie Pearl Published on April 8, 2015 Last updated on July 13, 2023

User-generated content (UGC) has emerged as a powerful force shaping consumer behavior and influencing brand perceptions. Younger generations have shown a strong affinity for user-generated content, gravitating towards its authenticity, relatability, empowerment, and sense of community.

user generated content being moderated by content moderator content moderation expert

Millennials and Gen Zers, the generations born between the early 1980s and the mid-2010s, are particularly discerning when it comes to promotional content. Yes, everybody likes to buy, but nobody likes to be sold to. Traditional marketing methods are losing their impact as consumers become more skeptical of paid advertising.

As a result, user-generated content has gained significant popularity among these generations. Let’s explore why UGC is receiving so much love from Millennials and Gen Zers and discuss why it matters in content development, moderation, and brand marketing.

Understanding User-Generated Content

User-generated content refers to any form of content, such as text, images, videos, or reviews created by consumers rather than the brand itself. It’s voluntarily shared by users who have a genuine interest or experience with a product or service.

UGC thrives on social media platforms and online communities, where people can contribute their perspectives and insights. And collaboration and sociability are two of the traits that these generations want in brands the most. By being able to give these expectations, sites that allow UGC from members get immense love from the not-so-young consumer group.

If your brand caters mainly to Millennial and Gen Zer customers, it would definitely pay to know how they see and use UGC. Not only will it fortify your content moderation practices, it can also give you valuable insights about the type of content that would work best when marketing to them.

Why User-Generated Content is Getting So Much Love from the Younger Generations

In recent years, UGC has become increasingly popular, especially among Millennials and Gen Z. There are a number of reasons for this, including:

  • It’s More Authentic and Trustworthy Than Traditional Advertising
    Millennials and Gen Zers are more likely to trust UGC than traditional advertising because they know that it’s created by real people who are actually using the products or services.
  • It’s More Engaging and Interactive Than Traditional Advertising
    Millennials and Gen Zers are more likely to engage with UGC because they can interact with it in a way that they cannot with traditional advertising. For example, they can comment on UGC, share it with their friends, or even create their own UGC.
  • It Can Help Brands Build Relationships with Customers
    When brands share user-generated content on their own channels, it shows that they value the opinions and experiences of their customers. This can help to build trust and loyalty.

The Power of Authenticity and Relatability

Millennials value authenticity and seek genuine connections with brands. They are skeptical of traditional advertising methods and crave real experiences. User-generated content provides an avenue for brands to showcase their authenticity by allowing real customers to share their experiences through product reviews, testimonials, and social media posts.

This kind of content offers a trustworthy perspective that millennials find relatable. When they see other people like them endorsing a brand or product, it builds trust and encourages them to engage further. Brands that embrace user-generated content can tap into this desire for authenticity and create meaningful connections with millennial consumers.

The Benefits of User-Generated Content in Brand Engagements and Customer Experience

Here are the benefits that user-generated content brings to brand engagements and customer experience, highlighting its impact on trust-building, authenticity, and brand loyalty.

  • Building Trust Through Authenticity

    user generated content being read by young man consumer

    User-generated content is inherently authentic. It represents genuine opinions, experiences, and stories from real customers, making it highly influential and trustworthy. Consumers are more likely to trust UGC because It’s unbiased and unfiltered, reflecting the authentic voice of their peers rather than polished marketing messages. By incorporating UGC into their brand engagements, companies can build trust with their audience, as customers perceive UGC as more reliable and transparent.

  • Enhancing Customer Experience

    user generated content enabling excellent customer experience depiction hands holding smiley papers

    User-generated content has the power to transform the customer experience in meaningful ways. By actively involving customers in content creation, brands create a sense of belonging and co-creation, fostering a stronger connection between the company and its audience. Through UGC, customers become active participants, contributing to the brand narrative and feeling valued. This participatory approach strengthens the bond between brands and their customers, leading to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  • UGC as Social Proof

    user generated content being consumed from social media on tablet

    User-generated content serves as social proof, validating the quality and desirability of a brand or product. When potential customers see positive UGC, they are more likely to trust the brand and feel confident in their purchasing decisions. Reviews, ratings, and testimonials shared by fellow consumers through UGC act as persuasive endorsements, influencing others to follow suit. This social proof created by UGC significantly impacts brand engagements and drives conversions, as it reflects the experiences and satisfaction of real customers.

  • Expanding Reach and Engagement

    user generated content helping brands expand reach engagement

    Through user-generated content, brands can extend their reach and engagement beyond their immediate audience. When customers create and share content related to a brand, they effectively become brand advocates, spreading the word to their own networks. This organic sharing amplifies the brand’s exposure, reaching new potential customers who may have otherwise been inaccessible through traditional marketing channels. The interactive and engaging nature of UGC also encourages further participation and interactions, fostering a community around the brand.

  • UGC for Authentic Influencer Marketing

    user generated content influencer marketing developed by content creator

    User-generated content provides an opportunity for brands to tap into the authenticity and influence of their own customers. By identifying passionate users who create high-quality UGC, brands can leverage these individuals as micro-influencers. Customers are more likely to trust recommendations from fellow customers, as they perceive them to be unbiased and relatable.

  • Cost-Effective Advertising

    user generated content close up hand tapping mobile phone cellphone

    UGC is a cost-effective alternative to traditional advertising methods. Instead of investing significant resources in creating polished content, brands can encourage their customers to create and share UGC. This not only saves money but also helps generate authentic and relatable content that resonates with Millennials and Gen Zers. The collective efforts of their audience contribute to a diverse and engaging content pool.

  • Fostering Continuous Improvement

    user generated content creator making development plans on post it notes

    User-generated content acts as a valuable feedback mechanism for brands, enabling them to gather insights and identify areas for improvement. By monitoring and analyzing UGC, companies can gain real-time feedback on their products, services, and customer experiences. This feedback loop allows brands to adapt and respond to customer needs and preferences promptly. By leveraging UGC for continuous improvement, brands can enhance their offerings, strengthen customer relationships, and stay ahead in a competitive market.

Enabling Your Market to Create UGC

To encourage Millennials and Gen Zers to create and contribute user-generated content around your brand, you can employ several strategies that tap into their interests, values, and desire for authenticity. Here are some effective methods:

user generated content hand holding story written on post it note
  • Create a Compelling Brand Story

    Develop a compelling brand narrative that resonates with millennials and Gen Zers. Craft a story that reflects their aspirations, values, and experiences. By aligning your brand with their lifestyle and beliefs, you can inspire them to become active contributors and advocates.

  • Offer Incentives and Rewards

    Provide incentives or rewards for users who create and share UGC related to your brand. This can be in the form of discounts, exclusive access, contests, or giveaways. Millennials and Gen Zers are often motivated by the opportunity to win or receive exclusive benefits, making it an effective way to encourage UGC creation.

  • Engage with User-Generated Content

    Actively engage with the user-generated content created by Millennials and Gen Zers. Like, comment, and share their content, showing genuine appreciation and interest. By acknowledging and amplifying their contributions, you create a sense of community and validation, encouraging others to join in and contribute.

  • Embrace Social Media Platforms

    Millennials and Gen Zers are highly active on social media platforms, so it’s crucial to establish a strong presence on relevant channels. Leverage platforms like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or Snapchat to showcase UGC, run challenges or campaigns, and engage directly with your audience. Create hashtags specific to your brand or campaign to make it easy for users to discover and contribute their content.

  • user generated content platform depiction woman holding balloon of social media icons
  • Collaborate with Influencers and Micro-Influencers

    Partner with influencers or micro-influencers who have a strong following among Millennials and Gen Zers. Collaborate with them to create UGC around your brand, whether it’s through sponsored posts, collaborations, or takeovers. Influencers can help amplify your message and inspire their followers to create their own content related to your brand.

  • Provide Creative Tools and Resources

    Make it easy for Millennials and Gen Zers to create UGC by providing them with creative tools, resources, and templates. For example, offer branded filters, stickers, or templates that users can use to customize their content. This simplifies the process and encourages more users to contribute.

  • Showcase User-Generated Content

    Regularly showcase user-generated content on your brand’s website, social media platforms, or other marketing channels. Create dedicated spaces or features to highlight the best UGC, giving credit to the creators. By showcasing their content, you not only recognize their efforts but also inspire others to contribute and be recognized.

  • Facilitate User-Centric Campaigns and Challenges

    Launch user-centric campaigns or challenges that encourage Millennials and Gen Zers to create UGC. For instance, invite them to share their stories, experiences, or creative interpretations of your brand. Encourage them to participate by providing clear instructions, guidelines, and examples.

  • user generated content readers millennials gen z huddled reading smartphone
  • Provide Feedback and Recognition

    Regularly provide feedback, recognition, and appreciation to individuals who create and contribute UGC. Respond to their content, share positive comments, and highlight their contributions publicly. Recognizing their efforts and giving them a platform to be heard enhances their motivation to continue creating content around your brand.

  • Foster a Sense of Community

    Cultivate a sense of community among Millennials and Gen Zers who engage with your brand. Encourage interaction and dialogue between users, creating a space where they can connect, share experiences, and collaborate. By fostering a vibrant community, you create an environment that inspires and encourages UGC creation.

Challenges and Concerns Associated with User-Generated Content

user generate content surprised looking at laptop

UGC brings numerous benefits, but it also poses challenges and concerns that need to be addressed to ensure a safe and positive user experience. Let’s explore some of these challenges and discuss how platforms and users can mitigate them:

  • Privacy Issues

    User-generated content often involves sharing personal information, which can raise privacy concerns. Platforms should have robust privacy policies and guidelines in place to protect user data. Users should be educated on privacy settings, allowing them to control the visibility of their content and personal information. It’s essential for platforms and users to prioritize data security and transparency in handling personal data.

  • user generated content bothering young man looking at phone
  • Misinformation

    UGC can contribute to the spread of misinformation, which can have detrimental effects on individuals and society. Platforms need to implement fact-checking mechanisms, algorithmic adjustments, and moderation systems to minimize the circulation of false information. Users should be encouraged to verify the accuracy of content before sharing it and report any misleading or false information they come across.

  • Online Harassment and Bullying

    UGC platforms can become breeding grounds for online harassment and bullying. Platforms should have robust community guidelines and reporting systems in place to swiftly address instances of harassment. Implementing content moderation and proactive monitoring can help identify and take action against abusive behavior. Users should be educated on respectful online behavior and encouraged to report any instances of harassment they encounter.

  • Content Quality and Legality

    Ensuring the quality and legality of UGC is crucial. Platforms should establish clear guidelines regarding content standards, copyright infringement, and prohibited content. Implementing content filtering tools, user reporting mechanisms, and human moderation can help identify and address content that violates these guidelines. Users should be educated about content standards and encouraged to create and share content that is legal, respectful, and of high quality.

  • user generated content worrying man in glasses
  • Digital Well-Being and Addiction

    Excessive engagement with UGC can negatively impact digital well-being and contribute to addiction. Platforms should promote responsible usage, offering features like time management tools and reminders to take breaks. Users should be mindful of their online habits, setting boundaries, and maintaining a healthy balance between digital interactions and real-life experiences.

  • Platform Bias and Censorship

    There can be concerns regarding platform bias and censorship, where certain viewpoints or voices are unfairly suppressed. Platforms should strive for transparency and consistency in content moderation, ensuring that decisions are based on clear guidelines rather than biased preferences. Implementing appeals processes and soliciting user feedback can help address concerns related to platform bias and censorship.

How Outsourcing to an Expert Content Moderation Team Helps Prevent These Concerns

user generated content evaluated by content moderation team

  • Expertise and Experience

    Content moderation companies have dedicated teams with expertise in handling UGC challenges. They possess in-depth knowledge of privacy regulations, misinformation detection, online harassment mitigation, content quality enforcement, digital well-being promotion, and platform bias minimization. Their experience allows them to effectively navigate these concerns.

  • Comprehensive Moderation Strategies

    Outsourcing companies develop comprehensive moderation strategies tailored to each brand’s needs. They establish clear guidelines and policies to address privacy issues, combat misinformation, tackle online harassment, enforce content quality standards, promote digital well-being, and mitigate platform bias. These strategies provide a solid framework for UGC moderation.

  • Scalability and Resources

    Content moderation companies have the ability to scale their resources based on fluctuating UGC volumes. They can quickly adjust the size of their moderation teams to handle high content volumes during peak periods. This scalability ensures efficient and timely moderation, reducing the risk of backlogs or delayed responses.

  • user generated content content moderation team business plan meeting
  • Advanced Technology and Tools

    Outsourcing companies leverage advanced technologies and tools to enhance their moderation capabilities. This includes AI-powered content filtering systems, natural language processing algorithms, image recognition software, and automation tools. These technologies help detect privacy breaches, identify misinformation, recognize online harassment, and enforce content quality standards.

  • Proactive Monitoring and Response

    Content moderation companies provide proactive monitoring of UGC. They swiftly identify and address potential issues, such as privacy breaches, misinformation, or online harassment, through real-time content review and proactive content removal. This proactive approach ensures a safer and more positive user experience.

  • Compliance with Regulations

    Outsourcing companies prioritize compliance with privacy regulations, copyright laws, and other legal requirements. They stay up-to-date with evolving regulations to ensure UGC moderation aligns with current standards. Compliance with regulations reduces legal risks for brands and fosters user trust.

  • Quality Assurance and Training

    Outsourcing companies implement quality assurance programs and continuous training for their moderation teams. This ensures consistent adherence to moderation guidelines and improves accuracy in addressing UGC concerns. Regular training keeps moderators updated on emerging challenges and industry best practices.

  • user generated content evaluation team at content moderation office
  • Transparency and Accountability

    Content moderation companies emphasize transparency and accountability. They provide clear communication channels, regular reporting, and insights into moderation activities. Brands can monitor and review moderation processes, ensuring transparency in decision-making and actions taken.

  • Continuous Improvement

    Outsourcing companies foster a culture of continuous improvement. They actively seek feedback from brands and users to enhance their moderation practices. By staying proactive and adaptable, they can address emerging UGC challenges and implement effective solutions.

User-generated content has revolutionized the way brands engage with millennials. Its authenticity, relatability, empowerment, and ability to foster community connections have made it a powerful tool in shaping the customer experience. By recognizing the value of user-generated content and incorporating it into their marketing strategies, brands can tap into the love millennials have for UGC and build strong, lasting relationships.

Authenticity, participation, community, creativity, and brand engagement are the key factors that make user-generated content so appealing to millennials. As brands continue to navigate the evolving digital landscape, harnessing the power of UGC will be essential for effectively connecting with the millennial generation.

Of course, outsourcing plays a role in making things better for businesses. This is why Open Access BPO continues to provide its industry-leading content moderation services for brands who cater to customers all over the world.

What makes Open Access BPO unlike any other outsourcing firm is our brand identity which embraces diversity, enabling our teams of content moderators to truly understand a brand’s consumer base. With Open Access BPO, businesses have a stronger link with customers.

Contact us today so we can develop a business strategy that addresses your needs.


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OABPO-Julie Author
As one of Open Access BPO's content writers, Julie Pearl shares her BPO knowledge through her blog posts, research papers, and other resources. She writes about outsourcing news and call center management tips and insights.
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