Leveraging user-generated content in DOOH | Clear Channel

Leveraging user-generated content in DOOH campaigns

Digital Out of Home (DOOH) advertising has some unique qualities that separate it from other forms of marketing. One of the most powerful of these qualities is that it’s integrated with people’s daily lives in the real world, which opens up special opportunities to create connections and drive engagement.

User-generated content (UGC) is the perfect complement to DOOH advertising for the same reason, but in reverse. It integrates real people’s thoughts, opinions, and viewpoints into an advertising campaign, boosting authenticity and making every ad more human.

Here’s everything you need to know about user-generated content, and how it can be used to great effect in DOOH campaigns.

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content (UGC) is original content that focuses on a specific brand or its products/services, but is created by users or customers rather than the brand itself. It comes in lots of forms, including reviews, testimonials, images, and videos.

UGC can be organic or sponsored. An Instagram post from a customer showing off a product they’ve bought is a good example of organic UGC. The customer created the post and shared it with their audience without any encouragement, in the process advertising the brand that sells the product.

Sponsored UGC, which is more akin to influencer marketing, involves paying people to create content about a brand or its products. One example of this type of UGC is a brand sending a product to a prominent YouTube creator for free on the condition that they create an unboxing video or review.

User-generated content in DOOH campaigns

UGC marketing is a great fit for DOOH advertising campaigns for a few reasons. The most important is that it leverages the concept of ‘social proofing’, which refers to the phenomenon of individuals’ decisions being influenced by the actions of others.

Social proof helps to demonstrate a brand’s authenticity and credibility, which in turn generates brand trust. By adding UGC to your DOOH creative, you can show your audience that you already have customers, and prove that they’ve had a good experience with your brand. 

It’s also effective at making your DOOH ads better at hooking and engaging your audience. The things that your customers talk about or show in UGC will accurately reflect the genuine interests and experiences of your target audience. And your audience will pay more attention to the message because the content is coming from their peers, rather than a brand.

Types of user-generated content for DOOH

There are countless ways to integrate UGC into DOOH campaigns, but these are some of the most effective:

Customer reviews: You can use real customer reviews as the centre-point of a DOOH campaign or as part of an existing campaign to act as social proof and build trust.

Product photos: Real customer photos of your products in action can come across as more genuine than staged product photos, making your campaign appear more authentic.

Social media posts: If your brand or product generates a buzz on social media platforms, you can use organic posts in your DOOH creative to transfer that social proof into the real world.

Competitions/challenges: Running contests or competitions that encourages your audience to create content can fuel authentic DOOH campaigns, creating deep user engagement.

One of the key benefits of UGC is that it’s infinitely adaptable. You can create entire campaigns out of it or integrate it in campaigns with their own messaging angle. By mixing organic and sponsored UGC, there’s no limit to the creative you can generate.

Benefits of user-generated content in DOOH campaigns

UGC offers some unique benefits over other types of content when used in DOOH campaigns, including these key factors:


Authenticity is important to consumers, with a study by Business Wire showing that 90% of consumers consider it when deciding what brands to support. In that same study, consumers said that they were 2.4x more likely to consider UGC authentic, compared to branded content.

The implications of these statistics are clear – UGC can make your DOOH campaigns appear more authentic and therefore make them more appealing to your audience.


Authenticity is natural precursor to trustworthiness, and the stats back up that this concept applies in UGC. An Ipsos study found that UGC marketing is up to 50% more trusted by consumers than other media, and 35% more memorable. 

This means DOOH campaigns that include UGC are more likely to make a meaningful impact on your audience, rather than being ignored or forgotten. 


Content created by your customers or users will have a different perspective on your brand or products than your own branded content. Most importantly, it’s more likely to accurately reflect your audience’s experiences and pain points, since it was created by your audience.

Using UGC in DOOH is a shortcut to targeting your audience’s preferences. To effectively replicate its relatability, you’d have to carry out extensive customer research. 


Finally, UGC advertising is simply more cost-effective than creating content in-house. While it’s not feasible to create a UGC campaign without some input, like deciding on the creative angle or generating the ad designs, it does cut a massive corner in terms of cost by reducing the amount of content you need to produce.

This means you can increase your DOOH campaign’s ROI by using UGC, slashing the cost of producing it while also benefiting from improved engagement.

Examples of user-generated content in DOOH campaigns

There are plenty of examples of brands using UGC ads to take their DOOH campaigns to the next level, but these are two of our favourites.

Inventor – Cadbury

This campaign from Cadbury was their first ever competition giving the British public the chance to create their own flavour of Dairy Milk. 

Three entries were shortlisted, and the flavours displayed to the country through dynamic DOOH ads. Assets included a poll based on a public vote hosted on the Cadbury website, which refreshed hourly to show up-to-date results.

Cycling Challenge – Le Col

During the Tour De France, Le Col partnered with Strava to create a user-data driven campaign. The total distance cycled by Strava users who’d signed up to the Le Col challenge was tallied, and DOOH displays showcased the rankings on a county and city basis. 

This powerful use of user data leveraged a sense of competition to get people invested in the campaign. 

Start using UGC in your DOOH campaigns today

The case for using UGC to supplement your existing DOOH creative angles, or as the basis for entirely new ones, is clear. For more information on how you can use UGC in a DOOH campaign, or to get planning your campaign today, please contact our expert team.

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