User-generated Content Competitions

Are you a creative individual looking for opportunities to showcase your talent and gain recognition? Look no further than user-generated content competitions! These exciting events offer a platform for users like yourself to unleash your creativity and contribute to a larger community. Whether it’s photography, writing, or even video production, these competitions provide a friendly and stimulating environment where your skills can shine. With the chance to win amazing prizes and have your work seen by a wider audience, user-generated content competitions are the perfect avenue for you to express yourself and take your creativity to new heights.

What are user-generated content competitions?

User-generated content competitions are contests that invite individuals to create and submit their own content, such as photos, videos, writing, or designs, for a chance to win prizes. These competitions allow brands and companies to engage with their audience on a personal level, while also generating fresh and creative content that can be used for marketing purposes.


User-generated content competitions, also known as UGC competitions, are promotional events where participants are encouraged to create and submit their own content. This can include anything from capturing a moment through a photo or video, expressing themselves through writing, or showcasing their design skills. The content is typically based on a specific theme or objective set by the brand or company organizing the competition.


The purpose of user-generated content competitions is to involve consumers in the brand’s marketing efforts and create a sense of community and engagement. By encouraging individuals to actively participate and create content related to the brand, companies can increase brand awareness and reach, generate fresh and diverse content, and build a loyal customer base.


Numerous brands and companies have successfully implemented user-generated content competitions to foster engagement and creativity among their customers. Examples include:

  1. PepsiCo’s “Do Us a Flavor” campaign, where consumers were invited to create and submit their own unique chip flavor ideas for a chance to win a cash prize and have their flavor produced and sold by the company.

  2. Airbnb’s “One Less Stranger” challenge, which encouraged participants to perform acts of kindness for strangers and then share their stories and experiences through social media, using the hashtag #OneLessStranger.

  3. GoPro’s “Photo of the Day” contest, where users submit their best GoPro-captured photos for a chance to have their photo featured on GoPro’s official website and social media channels, gaining exposure and recognition.

These examples demonstrate the versatility and impact of user-generated content competitions in various industries.

Benefits of user-generated content competitions

User-generated content competitions offer numerous benefits for both brands and participants. Let’s explore some of the key advantages.

Increased engagement

User-generated content competitions provide a way for brands to actively involve their audience and encourage them to interact with the brand. By inviting participants to create and submit their own content, companies can create a deeper connection with their customers and foster a sense of community.

Expands brand reach

When participants submit their content to user-generated content competitions, they often share it on social media platforms or with their friends and family. This amplifies the brand’s reach and can attract new audiences who are interested in the competition or the content being created.

Generates fresh content

One of the main benefits of user-generated content competitions is the creation of fresh and diverse content. Brands can leverage this content for their marketing campaigns, social media posts, and other promotional materials. User-generated content not only adds authenticity to the brand’s communication but also provides a continuous stream of new material.

Builds brand loyalty

By inviting participants to actively engage with the brand and rewarding their efforts, user-generated content competitions can help build brand loyalty. When individuals feel a connection to a brand and see their content being recognized and showcased, they are more likely to become loyal customers and advocates for the brand.

Types of user-generated content competitions

User-generated content competitions can take various forms, depending on the type of content being created. Here are some common types of user-generated content competitions:

Photo contests

Photo contests are widely popular in user-generated content competitions. Participants are invited to showcase their photography skills and submit their best photos based on a specific theme or topic. The brand or company organizing the contest can then use these photos for promotional purposes, with due credit to the original creators.

Video contests

Video contests involve participants creating and submitting their own videos. This can range from capturing a memorable moment, creating a short film, or even participating in a video challenge. These contests often tap into the creativity, storytelling, and videography skills of participants.

Writing contests

Writing contests are particularly popular for those who have a flair for words. Participants can submit their original written pieces, such as essays, poetry, or short stories, based on a given theme or prompt. Brands can leverage these written pieces for various purposes, such as blog posts, social media content, or even publishing compilations of the best submissions.

Design contests

Design contests are ideal for those with a passion for graphic design, illustration, or other forms of visual artwork. Participants are usually given a specific design brief or theme, and they create and submit their designs for consideration. Brands can benefit from the diverse range of creative designs received, using them for marketing materials, packaging, or website design.

These are just a few examples of user-generated content competitions, but the possibilities are endless depending on the brand’s objectives and target audience.

How to create a successful user-generated content competition

Creating a successful user-generated content competition requires careful planning and execution. Here are some key steps to consider:

Set clear objectives

Before launching a competition, define your objectives. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, gather user-generated content, or engage with your audience? By clarifying your objectives, you can tailor the competition accordingly and measure its success.

Choose an appealing theme

Selecting an appealing and relevant theme is crucial to attract participants. The theme should resonate with your target audience and align with your brand values. Consider incorporating current trends or a topic that encourages creativity and diversity.

Select a suitable platform

Choose a platform that best aligns with your objectives and target audience. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter are popular choices for user-generated content competitions due to their wide reach and ease of content sharing. Additionally, you may consider using dedicated contest platforms or your brand’s website to host the competition.

Promote the competition

Effective promotion is key to the success of a user-generated content competition. Utilize your brand’s social media channels, email newsletters, and even paid advertising to spread the word. Encourage participants to share the competition with their network, creating a viral effect.

Define rules and guidelines

Clearly define the rules and guidelines of the competition to ensure fairness and transparency. Specify the entry requirements, submission deadlines, intellectual property ownership, and any other relevant information. Consider consulting legal professionals to ensure compliance with local regulations.

Offer attractive prizes

Incentivize participation by offering attractive prizes that align with your brand and target audience. These prizes can range from cash rewards, product vouchers, exclusive experiences, or even the chance to have their content featured and credited by the brand.

Utilize user-generated content effectively

Once the competition is over, make the most of the user-generated content. Share it on your brand’s social media channels, website, or even in ad campaigns. Be sure to credit the original creators and engage with participants by liking, commenting, or reposting their content. This helps to further strengthen customer loyalty and brand engagement.

By following these steps, you can create a successful user-generated content competition that engages your audience, generates fresh and diverse content, and enhances your brand’s reach and loyalty.

Examples of successful user-generated content competitions

Several brands have successfully implemented user-generated content competitions to enhance their marketing efforts and engage with their audience. Let’s explore some notable examples:

Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke Campaign

Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign invited customers to personalize their Coca-Cola bottles with their names or the names of loved ones. Participants were encouraged to share photos of themselves with their personalized bottles on social media using the hashtag #ShareACoke. This campaign generated a massive amount of user-generated content, which Coca-Cola utilized to create a sense of personal connection with its customers.

Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl Contest

Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl contest allowed participants to create and submit their own Doritos-themed commercials for a chance to have their ad aired during the Super Bowl and win cash prizes. This user-generated content competition not only generated creative and entertaining commercials but also engaged Doritos fans in a unique way.

Starbucks’ White Cup Contest

Starbucks challenged their customers to use their iconic white cups as canvases for their creativity. Participants were asked to decorate their cups and submit their designs for a chance to have their artwork featured on a limited edition Starbucks cup. This contest sparked immense creativity and engagement among Starbucks customers and created a strong sense of community.

These examples highlight the power of user-generated content competitions in driving brand engagement, expanding reach, and fostering brand loyalty.

Challenges and considerations for user-generated content competitions

While user-generated content competitions offer numerous benefits, there are also challenges and considerations to keep in mind:

Ensuring legal compliance

It is essential to ensure that your user-generated content competition complies with legal regulations, particularly regarding intellectual property rights, privacy, and content ownership. Consult legal professionals to ensure that you have all necessary disclaimers and permissions in place.

Filtering inappropriate content

As content submissions are user-generated, it is crucial to have a filtering mechanism to prevent inappropriate or offensive content from being shared. Implement a thorough review process or utilize automated content moderation tools to maintain the integrity of submissions.

Maintaining transparency and fairness

To ensure the credibility and fairness of the competition, establish clear rules and guidelines and communicate them transparently to participants. Make sure the judging process is impartial and based on pre-established criteria.

Managing high volume submissions

If your user-generated content competition gains significant attention and generates a high volume of submissions, it can be challenging to manage and review all the content. Consider utilizing technology solutions or collaboration tools to streamline the review process and ensure efficient handling of submissions.

By addressing these challenges and considerations, you can mitigate any potential risks and ensure a successful user-generated content competition.

Tips for encouraging participation in user-generated content competitions

To maximize participation in your user-generated content competition, consider the following tips:

Keep entry requirements simple

Make it easy for participants to enter the competition by keeping the entry requirements simple. Avoid complex registration processes or lengthy submission guidelines that may discourage potential participants.

Leverage social media platforms

Harness the power of social media to promote your competition. Utilize catchy hashtags, create engaging content, and collaborate with influencers or brand ambassadors to reach a wider audience.

Offer incentives

Incentives can significantly boost participation. Consider offering exclusive discounts, early access to new products, or bonus entries for participants who share the competition with their friends or followers.

Engage with participants

Engage with participants throughout the competition by liking, commenting, and sharing their content. Make them feel heard and appreciated, as this encourages ongoing participation and fosters a positive brand relationship.

By implementing these tips, you can create a welcoming and engaging environment for participants, leading to higher participation rates and a more successful user-generated content competition.

Measuring the success of user-generated content competitions

To measure the success of your user-generated content competition, consider analyzing the following metrics:

Number of entries

The number of entries received provides insights into the overall participation and interest in the competition. Tracking this metric allows you to evaluate the reach and engagement of your campaign.

Social media engagement

Monitor the level of engagement on social media platforms, such as likes, comments, shares, and use of the competition-associated hashtags. This indicates the level of buzz generated and helps gauge the impact of your competition.

Reach and impressions

Evaluate the reach and impressions of your user-generated content across various platforms. This includes tracking the number of views, shares, or retweets to determine the extent of brand exposure and amplification.

Quality of submissions

Assess the quality, creativity, and relevance of the user-generated content received. This will help you understand the effectiveness of your communication and the level of engagement elicited from participants.

By analyzing these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into the success of your user-generated content competition and identify areas for improvement in future competitions.

Case studies: Successful user-generated content competition campaigns

Let’s look at some specific case studies that demonstrate the success of user-generated content competition campaigns:

GoPro’s Photo of the Day Contest

GoPro’s Photo of the Day contest invites users to submit their best GoPro-captured photos for a chance to be featured as the photo of the day on GoPro’s official channels. This competition not only generates a continuous flow of stunning user-generated content but also provides aspiring photographers with a platform to showcase their skills and gain recognition.

Lays’ ‘Do Us a Flavor’ Contest

The ‘Do Us a Flavor’ contest by Lays allows fans to submit their unique chip flavor ideas for a chance to win a cash prize and have their flavor produced and sold. This highly engaging competition encourages creativity and taps into the consumers’ desire to have a voice in shaping the brand’s products.

Airbnb’s One Less Stranger Challenge

Airbnb’s One Less Stranger challenge asked participants to perform acts of kindness for strangers and share their stories through social media, using the hashtag #OneLessStranger. This campaign not only generated heartwarming content but also aligned with Airbnb’s mission to foster connections and create a sense of belonging.

These case studies demonstrate the power of user-generated content competitions in driving engagement, brand loyalty, and content creation.


User-generated content competitions are a valuable tool for brands and companies to engage with their audience, generate fresh and diverse content, and foster brand loyalty. By setting clear objectives, selecting appealing themes, utilizing suitable platforms, and offering attractive prizes, businesses can create successful competitions that resonate with their target audience. By understanding the challenges and considerations involved and implementing the tips provided, brands can maximize participation and measure the success of their user-generated content competitions. With the numerous benefits and examples showcased, it is evident that user-generated content competitions are a powerful marketing strategy that can elevate a brand’s presence and build a strong customer base. Embrace the creativity and engagement that user-generated content competitions offer, and unlock the immense potential they hold for your brand.