One of the most effective forms of digital advertising today is performance user-generated content (UGC). We’ll break down what is performance UGC, share the essential elements of successful UGC, and give you four UGC video ad templates you can use for your ads right now. 

What Is Performance UGC? 

User-generated content (UGC) is content created by individual users to share information or tell a story. Digital social platforms like TikTok and Instagram helped to popularize UGC with video-focused social feeds that spotlight the first-person point of view. Traditional UGC content features the user or customer of a specific product telling their own, genuine account of their experience.

Performance UGC is when you apply the best practices from traditional UGC to digital advertising, and create UGC-style ads that are designed to convert. 

The Essential Elements of a UGC Ad

The goal of a performance-focused UGC-style ad is to feel native or organic within the social platform where you’re advertising. If it sticks out and feels different, the user is likely to immediately recognize it as an ad and scroll past it. If it grabs attention and feels organic, then it has a higher chance of stopping their thumb and getting engagement. 

Here are the essential elements of a top-performing UGC ad: 

UGC Ads Are Not Overly Polished or Produced 

When creating a UGC ad, avoid the tendency to make the ad feel professional or polished. This applies to all businesses, including B2B advertising. If it feels like it’s been professionally produced, you have immediately lost the feeling of “user-generated content.” 

Rather than smooth, flashy transitions between frames, use quick cuts. Eliminate text transitions — they should appear as they do in organic images and videos in the platform. 

❌ Brand-driven design using brand fonts and polished graphics ✅ User-focused video footage using text in the native style of the platform 
 

UGC Ads Use a First-Person Perspective 

UGC videos have a conversational style and appear as if they are coming from the point of view of one person. Successful UGC video ads feel as if they are relatable — ”this person is like me” or “this person has traits that I admire”. 

When putting together your UGC ad, try to stick to one featuring just one person in the video if possible. If you have multiple shots, try a montage approach featuring many users in quick succession. Then, connect your footage with voiceover from a single person to reinforce the first-person point of view. 

UGC Ads Have Sound On

Gone are the days when sound was considered disruptive in your social feed. Today, users expect sound on, and when done right, it adds to the experience. We recommend including a voiceover with every video and music when you can. Look for trending sounds on the platform where you’re advertising and incorporate them when they fit your brand and goals. 

How to Create a UGC Video That Fits Your Brand 

A common objection to UGC ads is that they can feel “off-brand.” We understand. Here are some tips on how you can create UGC video ads that serve your brand well and deliver a good experience for your audience. 

Study the Ad Platform 

First, consider the environment where your ad will run. Will a polished, branded ad feel natural in that environment? If so, then go for it. If you’re looking to run ads in social feeds, like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook or Snapchat, a high-production ad may feel out of place and stick out as an ad. Look at the trends in the platform and identify the ones that feel like the strongest fit for your brand. Small trends like a sound or text style can help your ad feel more organic while still staying true to your brand. 

Pick the Right Influencer 

To create an on-brand UGC ad, first start with the creator or influencer featured in your ad. Who is your ideal customer? Select an influencer who represents that person. If you’re working with a creative partner, share samples of creators who feel like a strong representation of your audience. It can also be helpful to pull examples of creators who do not represent your brand. If your creator is a strong representation of your brand, the content will likely match too.

Don’t Over Direct 

Avoid over directing your UGC ad. It can be a natural tendency to want to control the direction of the ad to help protect your brand, but overly produced UGC ads can easily feel scripted and forced. Social influencers or creators have a unique point of view, and you’re hiring them to share it. Embrace their creativity and give them the space to tell the story in their own way.

If you’ve identified an influencer who is a strong match for your brand, you should feel comfortable knowing that this is in line with your audience. Include brand don’ts so they are aware of what is off limits, but then give them the space to talk about your brand in their own special way. 

Four UGC Video Ad Templates You Can Use Now 

Now that we have the basics covered, here are four UGC video ad templates you can use for your ads. You may notice that each of these has three common elements: 

  • Engaging hook that grabs users’ attention within the first three seconds 
  • Main message 
  • CTA 

These elements are essential for any conversion-focused video ad. When we’re building video ads, we apply several different themes to this framework to test different creative approaches. The four themes below are some of our top performers. 

At Primer, we like to say “great marketers steal” and so we encourage you to steal these templates and use them for your UGC ads. 

Need help creating your ads? Check out Primer On-Demand

Press + Testimonial UGC Ad Template 

What it does: Uses press quotes and customer testimonials in creative to tell the story of how and why the product works. It provides social proof and validation that the product works and that customers love it.

Example: 

 

How the Example Uses the Template: 

How It Works UGC Ad Template 

What it does: Explains to customers how to solve a key problem and presents your product as the solution. This can be humorous or more didactic. 

Example:

 

How the Examples Uses the Template: 

Buyer Decision Questions UGC Ad Template 

What it does: Answers the most important Buyer Decision Questions (BDQs) that potential customers would ask themselves during the purchasing process. 

Example:

 

How the Examples Uses the Template: 

X Reasons Why UGC Ad Template

What it does: Gives the user several reasons why this product can solve their problems. 

Example:

 

How the example uses this template:

Once you’ve selected your template, turn the table from the examples above into a creative brief by swapping the example text for your copy and send it over to your design team. (Or grab our creative brief template here.) 

Get Help Creating UGC Video Ads 

Looking for help sourcing creators and producing UGC video ads? Primer now offers an on-demand service for UGC video ads that can help concept, plan, source and produce video ads in as little as 18 – 20 days. Schedule a call to learn more. 

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