In today’s post, we explain the creative trends and strategies that dominate the online grocery market. Find out why grocery apps are continuing to benefit from the pandemic activity surge and becoming major players in the industry.

UGC, TikTok & Instacart  

Creative Trends for Grocery Apps

  • 1 in 5 consumers do all or most of their grocery shopping online
  • Grocery delivery apps have seen 40% year-over-year growth
  • 57% of consumers prefer to use one service for both online and in-person grocery shopping
  • UGC drives growth on TikTok for Instacart
  • 84% of consumers are more likely to trust a brand that markets with UGC
  • 77% of consumers are more inclined to purchase from a brand that markets with UGC

Grocery Apps and Online Services

Consistently earning $8-$8.5 billion in total monthly sales, online grocery platforms continue to benefit from the pandemic activity surge. Monthly revenue is 4x higher than pre-pandemic figures and shows how online grocery stores and apps have become major players in the industry.

In the past two years, nearly 60% of consumers started buying groceries online and one in five do all or most of their shopping online. Some popular grocery apps and online services include Amazon Fresh, Kroger, Instacart, Walmart, Whole Foods, Misfits Market, Peapod, Thrive Market, Boxed, and FreshDirect.

While pickup, ship-to-home, and delivery have all seen some growth, the delivery segment in particular is enjoying consistent growth year-over-year. The need for third-party retailers is decreasing as on-demand shipping platforms increase. A report from the Food Industry Association says 50% of retailers are increasing labor allocation towards facilitating online purchases and in-store pickups. grocery apps
Source:’s Worldwide State of Food & Drink on Mobile 2022 Report shows 40% year-over-year growth for Grocery Delivery Apps, with shoppers aged 45 and over (GenX/Baby Boomers) making up 51.4% of users in the United States. Though food delivery and carryout apps were not popular among the 45+ group, they represented the majority of users for brick & mortar store delivery apps such as Safeway, Publix, and Total Wine & More. grocery apps


As users access their favorite stores in new ways, the dynamic between consumers and retailers evolves. 73% of retailers are experimenting with the new options provided by mCommerce, such as dynamic pricing and mobile checkout services. Thanks to investment in digital infrastructure, retailers are able to capture customer data and turn it into actionable insights. 57% of customers prefer focusing on a single service for online and in-person grocery shopping, so large-scale platforms may have an advantage for user retention. However, digitally native direct-to-consumer (DTC) grocery startups advertising on Instagram and TikTok have already mastered a mobile-first marketing approach.

UGC and Instacart

Instacart, the grocery pickup and delivery app has seen considerable success investing in UGC advertising on TikTok. Favoring short ads with authentic, personalized content, the ads are designed to look like native, organic posts featuring recipes and cooking tutorials. By strategically placing their value proposition in the middle of the ad, Instacart is also able to maximize view-throughs.

instacart ads
Source: TikTok For Business Creative Center Top Ads


UGC Ads – with mega influencers, micro-influencers, regular people, or actors—leverage shared interests and relatable human experiences so effectively that they consistently outperform other ad styles.  A report from analytics company Comscore showed that combining UGC and paid content increased conversion by 28%. Research from RealEyes found that UGC ads outperformed other ad formats in holding attention, scoring 20-50% higher than conventional ads on the same topic. Grand View Research reported that user-generated video gets 12 times more engagement than any other type of UGC.

ugc ads
Source: TikTok For Business Creative Center Top Ads


Directly addressing the camera and sharing a personal experience with a product is nothing new for commercial advertising. However, testimonial UGC–even with actors–puts authentic experience above brand polish to drive consumer trust. This type of creative looks like a native social post of someone sharing their skills or their day-to-day experience. And a critical part of their daily experience is the app, product, or service they are advertising.


Consumers Prefer UGC to Brand Content

Despite strict brand guidelines demanding highly polished marketing assets, only 19% of consumers find brand-created content to be authentic, according to Social Media Today. In contrast, nearly 80% of consumers say that user-generated content highly impacts their purchasing decisions.

Similarly, a 2022 survey on consumer buying decisions found that for brands incorporating UGC into marketing initiatives:

  • 84% of respondents were more likely to trust the brand
  • 77% of respondents would be more inclined to purchase their products or services


How We Can Help

From cinematic trailers to influencer-style UGC, our Creative Studio provides clients with ad creative driven by Hollywood storytelling and quantitative analysis. Our creative expertise comes from managing $150m in monthly ad spend across Facebook, Google, TikTok, Snap, and Apple Search Ads with clients like Disney,  Zynga, Rovio, Nickelodeon, Yelp, Sun Basket, NBA, MLB, Roblox, Glu Mobile, Jam City, and many others. Our creative team is masters of influencer-style UGC creative, live action, post-production, 3D animation, motion graphics, and illustration.

Creating and testing 100K videos and images each year for clients provides us unparalleled insights into the evolving mobile advertising ecosystem. From our strategic analyses of IDFA loss and media buying automation to tactical guidance for A/B testing, we ensure our clients can adapt and thrive. Contact us at to work with our elite creative team.

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