I’m sure you’ve heard it before: there is no money in UGC photos.
Every coach, myself included, has told you to stop offering UGC photos in your portfolio. And with good reason. 99.9% of UGC creators are doing UGC photos wrong.
When you do that, you devalue your portfolio and lose traction as a reputable creator. But get it right, and you can open up another revenue stream and upsell avenue.
Let’s talk about it.
What Are UGC Statics?
In the most basic sense, UGC photos are still images that replicate those that would be taken by customers. These images provide an authentic and relatable perspective on a brand or product, as they look as though they are created by real users rather than the brand itself.
In the world of UGC, you’ll see hundreds of creators adding UGC photos to their portfolio. There’s a lot of aesthetic content: mirror shots in the garden, backdrops and flatlays. While this may be of interest for some brands, it’s not what the brands with big budgets are looking for. If you’re looking to be compensated for your UGC imagery, you need to provide UGC photos that brands can actually utilize to make money.
The easiest place for them to do that? Carousel ads.
What UGC Photos Do Brands Want?
Carousel ads are a type of ad format that allows you to share multiple images or videos in one swipeable ad. They are called “carousels” because these ads have a rotating effect, similar to a carousel device like a conveyor belt or a merry-go-round.
Carousel ads tend to have a lower cost per click (CPC) than video ads — this means brands can get more traffic to their landing page for less money with carousel ads: Lacoste found that carousel ads on stories had a 32% lower CPC than other ad types.
If brands want to test calls to action and captions, carousels can be a great way to do this. However, they need the imagery to fill them up. Enter, UGC photos.
How To Get Started With UGC Photos
Before we get started with UGC photos, familiarize yourself with the eCommerce matrix. All imagery will sit somewhere within this matrix: native, people, branded, and product. For UGC creators, you can create content that leans more towards any one of them, but your superpower is native and people.
It’s important for brands to have a variety of formats and understand what works well with their audience: for example, a milkshake product might do extremely well with content just focusing solely on the product, versus a girl drinking a milkshake. Carousel imagery allows brands to test each of these, without paying for full video concepts for each. If a brand doesn’t yet have creative learnings, or they aren’t sure where to start, this can be an easy sell.
To get started, you can:
〰️ Portfolio: Add carousel ads to your portfolio as an example.
〰️ Upsell: During negotiations, present carousel ads as an add on. Position these as either a great A/B test to run with the video concept, or as complimentary imagery that can be leveraged across future touch points: email campaigns, website, landing pages.
〰️ Pitch: One of the easiest ways to pitch UGC photos is by finding a brand using carousel ads and approaching competitors, offering to recreate the ads in a UGC style with your own spin on it.
How To Charge For UGC Photos
I like to consider carousel statics as a single concept. If you would be providing 6-8 images to choose from as a carousel group. If you charge $200 for a single UGC video concept, charge the same for a carousel concept. If you charge $250 for the concept, charge those for a carousel concept.
Remember, to the brand, the value of a carousel ad is the same as a UGC video concept — in fact, the CTR is typically higher. Why not utilize it is an upsell to then A/B test against the video concept?
What I would say is go over and above. If you’ve said you’ll deliver 6-8 images, deliver 14 to give the brand options.
Don’t let the UGC coaches on TikTok lead you astray. UGC photos aren’t dead.
UGC photos, when approached strategically and professionally, can serve as a potent revenue source for creators. By tapping into the potential of carousel ads and delivering high-quality UGC photos that resonate with brands, you have the opportunity to carve out a successful niche in the realm of content creation and marketing.