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Search Leeds: The content wars (the real power of UGC) by Danny Denhard

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

Danny Denhard is the head of digital for JustGiving and his talk at Search Leeds was based around the power of user generated content (UGC) whilst aiming to remove the bad reputation that it gets.

Evidence of UGC doing great things

  • Wikipedia is the go to example of how powerful user generated can be, it has over 7k articles writen per day and plays a big part in Google rankings.
  • 90% of Airbnb is UGC and they are currently worth 25 billion pounds – proof that platforms can be built on UGC.
  • JustGiving raised 4 billion on just UGC, and they rarely create content themselves.

Fun example

JustGiving set up a campaign to bring Raheem Sterling home from the Euros. How did this work? Over 550k visitors54k Facebook shares and this press…

Go Pro – A brand smashing it with UGC

GoPro and Red Bull have joined forces, this shows the impact of UGC and videos like this can inspire their customers to purchase their products.

Other Examples

  • Trip Advisor relies heavily on their UGC and this has lead to a book engine.
  • Reddit is completely user generated and it’s all around the community and karma.
  • JustGiving often raise huge amounts purely down to the powerful videos/content that the users contribute.
  • Amazon reviews and customer feedback is one of the biggest parts of the websites and drives a lot of traffic.

A few businesses who rely on UGC

  • Glassdoor
  • Expedia
  • LookFantastic

Tips to incorporate UGC

  • Product reviews
  • Competitions – Make them semantically relevant
  • Answering a very specific question
  • AMA’s

UGC: Make it simple for the users to contribute content

Social is a great way for this, including  Facebook (messenger), Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin. Consider post/telegram for the older audience.

UGC makes people…

  • Discuss
  • Argue
  • Promote
  • Amuse
  • Make others come back!

…and it’s very close to what makes people share on Facebook! Hint Facebook comments is your friend.

UGC Takeaway Tips

UGC takes real thought, hard work (at the start) and a lot of hands on with community management. Think about how you can integrate peoples thoughts and get their opinions and how you can reward their expertise but the brands who are winning with it right now certainly show how beneficial GOOD UGC can be.


You can follow Danny on Twitter here.