Originally published at VideoInk.

Jukin Media released results from a research study exploring the effectiveness of the use of organic UGC (user-generated content) in advertising. The study, which was conducted in partnership with The University of Southern California Master’s Program in Applied Psychology, revealed that ads which utilize UGC were perceived as more memorable, unique, engaging, authentic and relatable than traditional video ads.

UGC, as the study defines it, are “videos [recorded] by real people—not celebrities or influencers—and captured on personal devices such as camera-phones.” The findings from the study, which included more than 500 US adults ages 18-54, suggests that UGC provides an authentic way for brands to connect with consumers. Here are a few key findings from the report:

  • User-generated ads were perceived to be more memorable (31 percent), unique (+28 percent), authentic (11 percent), engaging (+5 percent), and relatable (+8 percent) than traditional ads
  • Six-second user-generated ads were 55 percent more likely to be described as unique, and 42 percent more likely to be described as memorable when compared with traditional (or non-UGC) six-second ads
  • Ads featuring UGC garner 73 percent more positive comments on social networks than traditional ads
  • Ads that feature videos that are relevant to the advertised product scored significantly higher for positive affectivity in focus group participants

The researchers noted that in the focus group portion of the study, many of the research subjects who were exposed to ads with UGC congregated around the idea that the ads seemed “relatable” and “authentic.”

”Capturing and harnessing real, authentic moments is incredibly powerful,” said Jukin Media Founder and CEO Jonathan Skogmo. “In recent years the advertising community has begun to embrace UGC for the authenticity that it lends to brand campaigns, but there was little hard data around its effectiveness.”

Skogmo believes that the study confirms what Jukin has been saying for years—that consumers respond favorably to seeing ads that incorporate stories of real people in real-life situations.

“You cannot re-manufacture these organic moments captured by everyday people,” adds Skogmo.

Even before the study, businesses have slowly started to incorporate user-generated content into their video advertisements. Companies that have been quick to utilize this type of content include SubwayGoogle/NCAADignity HealthKay JewelersAdvilCredit Karma, and Samsung.

For those looking to incorporate UGC into their advertising strategy, the report notes a few things to look out for:

  • Because UGC is captured “out in the wild,” rather than on a sound stage or set, many potentially damaging items can appear in UGC videos. Trademarks, personal likenesses, and sometimes unexpected things like buildings and landmarks need to be cleared depending on your project. Consult a clearance professional or a firm who will indemnify you of any potential liability.
  • Don’t assume that just because a person posted a particular video on social media that they are the rightful owner of the video. Videos are often copied and re-uploaded to the web by third parties that have no claim to the copyright. The rightful copyright holder is the only person who can legally grant a brand permission to use a UGC video in a campaign.
  • Don’t expect viral success. Like any ad, the goal should be to make an impression on your target market. If your ad gets shared organically, that’s a bonus.