If you don't know the answer, don't worry, you're not alone. We get questions from clients all the time about UGC vs. Influencer (or Creator) content. This article will help you understand the differences as well as the pros and cons of each.

What's The Difference Between UGC and Influencer Content?

UGC = User-Generated Content. Traditionally, this term referred to anything that was created by the users of a platform, such as YouTube videos. Recently, UGC video ads have become a popular format for digital marketers, specifically with the rise in popularity of short-form video apps like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts. UGC ads are often a successful strategy due to their authenticity.

Influencers are users who have any level of influence over an audience. The size of the influencer's following doesn't really matter - if your audience is small, you can just refer to yourself a micro-influencer and still snag pretty solid brand deals. Influencer content is advertising content created by an influencer typically for that influencer's own channel(s). Sometimes the influencer will whitelist the content for the brand to boost or repurpose on other ad networks.

Both types of content are pretty similar, as they're both created by users. The real difference comes down to marketing goals and budget. UGC ads are significantly cheaper and therefore easier to scale. They're a strong strategy for any user acquisition or performance marketing team. Influencer campaigns are usually a brand marketing play due to costs and lack of metrics (compared to performance campaigns). I'll dive into these differences further in the next two sections.


A UGC video ad that Airtraffic produced for Niantic's Monster Hunter Now

UGC Ad Strategy

If you partner with the best UGC ad agency, you'll find that UGC video ads are budget friendly, easy to scale and test, allow you more creative control, and come with no licensing restrictions. We can't speak for other agencies, but here at Airtraffic we provide concepts and scripts, a variety of talent options, and no usage restrictions. UGC is great for digital marketers or social media managers looking to scale live action, short-form video content without blowing their budget.

On the other hand, if you partner with a less qualified UGC agency or service, you run the risk of receiving poor quality videos and wasting your money. Although UGC ads are significantly cheaper than influencer content, you still get what you pay for. Be sure to thoroughly review sample work when evaluating UGC agencies.


  • Cheaper
  • Easier to scale
  • Easier to test
  • More control
  • No usage limitations


  • No audience recognition
  • Quality depends on the agency's capabilities

A UGC video ad that Airtraffic produced for Crunchyroll's Street Fighter: Duel

Influencer Campaign Strategy

Influencer campaigns can be a fantastic brand marketing strategy. If you're able to identify and work with the right influencers, you can potentially reach highly targeted audiences and compete with performance marketing metrics. If your budget is high enough, you can tap into massive audiences and hopefully leverage the influencer's recognition in whitelisted ad campaigns.

However, influencer content is significantly more expensive than UGC, and costs will vary inconsistently from influencer to influencer, regardless of follower count or engagement metrics. You'll also likely face usage restrictions on whitelisting or repurposing content for ad campaigns.


  • Potential audience recognition
  • Easier to target highly specific audiences
  • Potential for whitelisting or ad usage


  • More expensive and inconsistent costs
  • Usage limitations
  • Less creative control
  • Harder to measure performance

Which is Better?

The answer depends entirely on what your goals and budget are. Running performance campaigns? You'll probably want to go with UGC - it's cheaper, easier to scale, has less limitations, and gives you more creative control. Running brand campaigns? Depending on your budget, a well-aligned influencer campaign could be an incredibly successful strategy.


A UGC video ad that Airtraffic produced for Crunchyroll's Eminence in Shadow

Airtraffic is a global leader in UGC mobile ads. We produce thousands of UGC video ads and work directly with talent to save you budget and avoid licensing issues. And although we are not a traditional influencer agency, we can support you there as well. Just reach out to [email protected] or use the form below.