User generated content (UGC) has been a growing trend for business marketing and social media campaigns alike, and the ROI has been astounding. While UGC certainly has its fair share of limitations, it’s popularity certainly shows no signs of slowing down.
Valuable first-party content has, of course, expanded beyond just influencer marketing. More importantly, UGC sells. Several apps have found a way to use UGC to create a powerful platform that forms communities and brings people together in a more genuine way.
Here are five awesome apps that take the concept of user generated content to the next level.
1. Journo Travel Journal
Travel bloggers aren’t the only ones who take great trips these days, and you don’t need fancy cameras or equipment to take spectacular shots – thanks to sophisticated phone cameras. Journo provides a platform for both travel professionals and amateurs to create high-quality travel blogs while recording every step of their amazing journeys.
Users can collaborate with other travelers to record videos, take photos, and jot down notes of their adventures all in one place. Looking for some travel inspiration? Browse through other Journo traveler’s trips and see exactly where they stopped so you can recreate the journey on your own.
Journo is currently available for download on iTunes.
2. Street Complete
While Apple Maps and Google Maps can be great tools for getting from point A to point B, there isn’t always a guarantee that your destination is exactly what you’re looking for. After all, how many times have you searched for a “bar with pool table” and ended up at an actual pool? (Ok, just me?)
StreetComplete is an app that is designed to take the guesswork out of your searches by gathering information from the locals who know what’s up. It asks users to describe locations by their features that searchers may want to know. For instance, does the local park have a basketball court? What time do the hiking trails close? What’s the speed limit on the local back roads?
All of the information gathered gets sent over to OpenStreetMap. The result is a helpful user-generated mapping system with all the important little details included.
StreetComplete is available on Google Play.
3. SWISH Video
Watching viral videos is not just a fun way to pass the hours online. There’s actually some scientific and psychological reasons why videos go viral, one of them being the sense of community and connection it creates with other people.
While it’s always great to be the first to share the latest hilarious cat video or the most interesting scientific discovery, it’s a huge time-waster to dig through thousands of videos that are being uploaded every day. SWISH Video scours through the latest user-generated videos from all over the web to compile personalized playlists for every viewer. Users can browse through various categories to find the latest ones on everything from action and adventure to wisdom and humor for hours of endless entertainment.
Whether you’re an avid runner, or you would just like to know a good spot to hit the trails, it can be difficult to find good outdoor activities when you are unfamiliar with your surroundings. The RunGo app has created a platform that lets outdoor enthusiasts record their personal favorite trails and tracks to share with others. It also includes turn by turn directions during your travels, so you’ll never get lost while exploring.
RunGo takes this UGC and transforms it into a full-blown running community app that lets users join running clubs no matter where they are. The app lets you know when and where to meet, and even records the distance, speed, and elevation stats once your workout is complete.
Customer reviews play a role in over 90% of purchase decisions, and it’s fairly unlikely that you buy anything online without checking the reviews or star rating first. Wattpad is a customer review hub for readers and writers that allows users to leave honest evaluations by openly discussing their opinions on their latest reads. You can definitely get some great suggestions for the next novel to add to your library.
It’s a virtual book club of sorts that lets readers share their thoughts and reactions by commenting right in the app. Wattpad also publishes work from their users, so aspiring authors can get honest feedback from their fellow bookworms. You can even start reading before your hardback edition arrives with the thousands of ebooks available right within the app.
These apps have found a way to take user opinions, recommendations, and experiences and turn them into well-designed interfaces that add all kinds of value. Not only are these apps useful and insightful, but they also use this genuine type of content to create communities of users that can connect online and in the real world.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.