Influencer-generated content: What is it and how can it save your brand money?

Influencer-generated content, or IGC, is high-performing, highly-engaging content produced by social media influencers and content creators. Read on to learn about its uses, benefits, measurement, and, importantly, how it can save your business money.

What is influencer-generated content?

Influencer-generated content (IGC) refers to the images, videos, and other creative that is produced by social media influencers – usually in partnership with a brand. As a by-product of influencer marketing, IGC is authentic, high-performing and can be a game-changer for brands looking to raise brand awareness, sales and engagement.

What are the benefits of influencer-generated content?

Influencer-generated content is a powerful resource for a number of reasons. Let’s run through them.

IGC is highly engaging

Made by digital creators who are completely in tune with platform-specific trends and editing styles – not to mention their audience’s preferences – IGC is incredibly engaging. This means that IGC simultaneously stands out in users’ feeds, while also encouraging prospective customers to interact just as they would with organic posts.

IGC is authentic

Let’s be honest – none of us enjoy feeling like we’re being sold to. In an age of banner blindness, IGC can cut through the noise with its authenticity. Not only have influencers built trusting relationships with their followers over many years, but they’re also real people like you and me. This encourages users to view their content as genuine and trust their reviews like recommendations from a friend.

IGC is scalable

Because influencers are single person production teams well-versed in creating eye-catching content for social media, they can move quickly. In comparison to professional photoshoots, turnaround times can be measured in days and weeks, not months. Plus, you can partner with hundreds of influencers for the same cost as a single branded shoot – generating endless amounts of fresh content in a fraction of the time.

IGC is diverse

By partnering with influencers from different walks of life, brands can source large amounts of content that is diverse in every way – from the people featured, to the locations they’re filmed in and range of products promoted. This allows brands to get super personalized with their messaging, reaching a wide variety of customers with super targeted content.

IGC is high-performing

Numerous studies have shown influencer content to achieve much better results than its branded counterpart. Because of its high authenticity and platform-first production style, influencer content earns more than 8 times the engagement rate of brand-directed content. And that’s before we consider how well it performs in branded content ads.

IGC can be repurposed

One of the biggest benefits of IGC is that It can be repurposed across all of a brand’s own channels – from email marketing and social media campaigns to website landing pages and paid ads. Not only does this add an element of consistency to brand activity, but increases the authenticity, diversity and performance of brand content at every stage of the marketing funnel.

How influencer-generated content can save your brand money

So, we’ve established that influencer-generated content is the holy grail for brands looking to reach wider audiences with engaging, authentic and personalized messaging. But the clincher? It can often be achieved for a lower cost when compared to working with brand agencies. Let’s break this down.

  1. Commissioning influencer-generated content is much more cost-effective than a full-blown professional studio shoot. For the same price as one brand-directed shoot – which involves many people and will produce a host of similar content with a short lifespan – brands can partner with numerous influencers and generate a much higher volume of fresh and diverse content.

MakeupEraser co-founder Elexsis McCarthy used to spend $3,500 for one video to be created professionally. Now, for the same price, she can get 10 videos and 30 pictures by partnering with influencers.

  1. Not only does influencer-generated content cost less to produce, but the ability to repurpose content across branded channels enables brands to get even more for their money. With IGC, brands can support every single stage of the marketing funnel without spending an extra cent — a great way to lower customer acquisition costs (CAC).

By partnering with influencers, digital picture company Aura Frames has generated over 650 pieces of high-quality content to power its branded channels, halving its digital content creation budget in the process.

  1. While saving money by generating a higher amount of repurposable content for less, the high-performing nature of IGC means brands are also making back that budget in half the time. Studies show that IGC achieves 2x the engagement of brand-directed content, while IGC-based ads gain 4x higher click-through rates. Turning top-performing influencer-generated content into branded content ads allows brands to stretch this impact even further, significantly boosting return on ad spend (ROAS).

When repurposing influencer-generated content for ads, rug manufacturer Ruggable saw a 32% higher ROAS and 25% lower cost-per-engagement (CPA) on its paid campaigns. See how they did it.

Influencer-Generated Content (IGC) vs. User-Generated Content (UGC)

There can be a lot of overlap between influencer-generated content (IGC) and user-generated content (UGC) in the industry, so let’s differentiate them.

User-generated content (UGC) is highly organic content that is created by “regular” people online. They might be employees, customers or brand fans. The primary value of this content for brands is that it is often free, organic and allows marketing teams to interact with their customers online and gather authentic opinions on their products and services. However in some cases, UGC can be rewarded in exchange for products or discounts.

Because UGC is created organically, and not a result of a brand partnership or deal, businesses have limited control over brand messaging. Reach and content quality can also be unpredictable. While UGC can be a great way to generate online buzz and engage with consumers, its ability to drive actual conversions is often limited to a brand’s existing popularity.

Influencer-generated content (IGC), on the other hand, is created by experienced creators who hold an influential voice in their space. Brands can carefully select creators based on their follower size, audience demographics and content style, allowing them to get super targeted with their messaging and align content with wider marketing campaigns. As IGC is produced as part of a brand partnership or deal, brands gain more control over the final product – although it’s always advised to give creators as much freedom as possible.

User-generated content (UGC) vs influencer-generated content (IGC)

How to measure the impact of influencer-generated content

For a long time, brands have been measuring the effectiveness of IGC based on Total Media Value (TMV), which compares influencer content ROI to more traditional campaign ROI — like television advertising. In this case, TMV offers an idea of what an equivalent advertising campaign would cost for the same amount the brand spends on their campaign.

In the past, we’ve calculated media value based on the following metrics:

Cost per metric

This is roughly based on how much it would cost to generate the impressions, likes, and comments with paid advertising.

To calculate on your own, use this formula:

Total Media Value (TMV) = Number of (clicks, comments, etc) * Value

For example, the TMV of 100 Instagram clicks would be $300

100 * $3.00 = $300

While Total Media Value is a good estimation of how much return influencer-generated content is bringing your brand, there are other metrics you need to pay attention to in order to evaluate influencer content ROI, such as:

  • Content performance across channels
  • Costs saved by generating content through influencers vs branded shoots
  • Time saved by generating content through influencers vs branded shoots
  • Number of pieces of content collected

Your main objective is to figure out how much money you saved on content creation overall – from time saved in production to the sales earned through better results. See more on measuring influencer marketing ROI the smart way.

How to partner with influencers and content creators for winning influencer-generated content

Now that you know the value of influencer-generated content, it’s time to get started with creating. There are some key steps to take to ensure you can fully make the most of all the benefits IGC has to offer.

  1. Ensure you include image usage rights in your terms

Without image rights, you won’t be able to repurpose the content onto any of your marketing channels. So, make it a priority to include it in your terms (see how Aspire can help).

  1. Provide clear guidelines for creators before they work on a campaign

We advise giving influencers enough creative freedom to produce content that aligns with their personal brand  – after all, they know better than anyone what content will chime with their followers. However, you should still set clear expectations upfront to ensure content fits your brand values, image and aesthetic. In your guidelines, include things like:

  • A visual storyboard or mood board
  • Simple instructions such as “Product should be clearly shown in the photo”
  • Other specific elements they should include or not include
  • Content examples

Check out our 16 influencer brief templates to help you nail it first time →

  1. Create a clear campaign workflow

From the moment an influencer signs up to work with you, there are many stages to go through before you reap the benefits of influencer-generated content. Streamline them in a campaign workflow before you get started to ensure no stage of the process is missed.

  1. Establish a clear content approvals process

Brand safety is a huge priority. Make sure you include a content approval stage in your workflow to ensure that no content goes live without your authorization. See how Aspire’s influencer content tools can help.

  1. Centralize approved content and share across your teams

As we’ve stated above, being able to repurpose influencer-generated content is one of the biggest benefits of influencer marketing. So, make sure you’re collecting all of the content your influencers are creating, and storing it somewhere that all your teams can access. Check out Aspire’s content library.

Influencer content is queen

Brands that aren’t integrating influencer content into their overall business strategy are leaving money on the table. Influencer content is not only more engaging, but it’s also more cost-effective to source than studio-shot content. Additionally, repurposing IGC across all of your channels can drastically reduce your overall costs, boost your return on ad spend, and even increase sales down the line.

Learn more about maximizing the performance of your influencer-generated content with our Ultimate Guide to Influencer Content.

Aspire guide to influencer-generated content

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