Winning Q4 Creative: Strategies for Optimizing Content Spend

Oct 5, 2022 1:30 PM2:30 PM EDT

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

Between supply chain issues, rising ad costs, and a plethora of other issues, it’s a challenging time for brands to thrive. Fortunately, the experts are here to share their strategies for stretching your dollars further in Q4.  

Two of the most cost-effective strategies to drive content across your entire marketing funnel are pushing user-generated content and testing campaigns. User-generated content allows you to establish social proof and utilize one piece of content all the way down your funnel. Testing different elements of your content can also help you figure out what consumers are looking for and what’s moving the needle in the market.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant is joined by Erin McCarthy, Director of Customer Success at Cohley, and Susan Wenograd, VP of Marketing at Marpipe, to talk about optimizing content spend. They walk through the main points of the customer journey, sharing their strategies for developing and testing content on different platforms, using influencers in your marketing strategy, and optimizing product reviews to drive consumer action.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Erin McCarthy describes the first step in the consumer journey: awareness
  • Susan Wenograd’s recommendations for testing different platforms
  • Can premium, high-end brands succeed on TikTok?
  • Tips for collecting customer information before Black Friday (without spending big bucks)
  • Why you should rethink your influencer marketing strategies
  • How to test your ads using templates
  • Driving action on product pages and emails through user-generated content
  • How to optimize your product reviews for conversion
  • Does organic content work on LinkedIn?
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Event Partners


Cohley is a content generation and testing platform that helps brands create content for social ads, email marketing, websites, and more.

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Guest Speakers

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Erin McCarthy

Erin McCarthy LinkedIn

Director of Customer Success at Cohley

Erin McCarthy is the Director of Customer Success at Cohley, a content marketing platform focused on user-generated content, visual asset creation, and text review generation. Erin has several years of experience managing and leading a team in emerging markets. She has worked in managerial roles for Raw Art Works, Let’s Get Ready, Ellevation Education, and Vesta. 

Susan Wenograd LinkedIn

VP, Marketing at Marpipe

Susan Wenograd is the VP of Marketing at Marpipe, the world’s first independent martech platform that automates the creative testing process for brands and agencies. Susan has over 20 years of experience as a digital marketing executive, previously working for companies including Nextiva and Aimclear.

Event Moderator

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Erin McCarthy

Erin McCarthy LinkedIn

Director of Customer Success at Cohley

Erin McCarthy is the Director of Customer Success at Cohley, a content marketing platform focused on user-generated content, visual asset creation, and text review generation. Erin has several years of experience managing and leading a team in emerging markets. She has worked in managerial roles for Raw Art Works, Let’s Get Ready, Ellevation Education, and Vesta. 

Susan Wenograd LinkedIn

VP, Marketing at Marpipe

Susan Wenograd is the VP of Marketing at Marpipe, the world’s first independent martech platform that automates the creative testing process for brands and agencies. Susan has over 20 years of experience as a digital marketing executive, previously working for companies including Nextiva and Aimclear.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

Schedule a free consultation call

Discussion Transcription

Happy Wednesday, everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the co founder and managing director here at BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge sharing group of 1000s of brands that do exactly that we network in knowledge share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it might be that shaping digital as a whole, I spend the majority of my time just strategizing on the digital side with brands. And I start up the fortune 100 up every vertical that's out there, from fashion to CPG, and just trying to get a pulse on digital as a whole. And when the same topics come up over and over again, that's how we get the topics for these calls. I'm also asking everybody, Hey, who's working for you who's doing the coolest, most innovative things out there, that when the same people come up over and over again, we reach out to them and ask them to jump on. And so this particular conversation around content is really ramped up over the past year. I've just had more and more conversations, the total cost to produce it, how much you need to the new ways to use it a be testing is just a massive spike and the amount that we need, and then the types that we need as well. And so we got some great friends, you know, partners supporters, the network for a long time now over a Cohley. And just may as a good thing. I'll just kick it over to you, Erin, if you want to do a brief intro on yourself and call it would be great. And we could get over to Susan as well. And she can do a brief intro and then we'll kind of jump into the conversation. Sound good.


Erin McCarthy  1:45  

Perfect. Yeah, I'm Erin. I'm the director of customer success here at Cohley. I've been here for about two years. And I have the absolute pleasure of being able to help guide and optimize content for hundreds of brands across hundreds of different verticals. So closely as a content generation platform. Our mission is to help brands generate content to help them grow their business. And we've been in the space for a really long time and have really seen all of the different ways that content can help all the ways that it's changed over the years. So really excited to


Susan Wenograd  2:22  

have this conversation. Awesome. And


I'm Susan, I am the VP of Marketing at Marpipe. We are a platform that helps you build multivariate testing for your paid social creatives. So we are testing nerds, it's what we love to do. So I always get excited when we talk about content and testing it especially heading into holiday season. So we tend to power mid to large sized brands that spend at least you know, 50 to 100k a month in paid social that's kind of our sweet spot. So we have a lot of brand names that you would know that use us to test and learn. And we also share those those learnings freely as much as we're able to win our newsletter. So we like to share everything we learn, which is why I'm here.


Aaron Conant  3:04  

Awesome. So a quick couple of notes. If you have questions along the way, drop them in the chat or the q&a section there, we'll get as many answers as possible. You can just shoot those over real time. You can always email me, Aaron That's easier, we can feel questions a variety of ways. The other thing is, is we're going to wrap up early today. You know, we're not going to push it to 230 Eastern time just to give everybody a heads up, it'll probably be closer to I don't know, probably 220 or so. Just so you know, you're gonna have plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. I always like people to have those guardrails. So you feel comfortable about how long it's gonna go. But Aaron, do you want to kind of kick us off? Do you have a screenshare to throw up a presentation? That would be cool. And then we can start walking through this. And again, people dropping questions as we go.


Erin McCarthy  3:49  

Perfect. Yeah. So we're really excited to chat today and really focusing on what can help brands as they go into the all important q4.


And, you know, while at Cohley the things that we hear brands


talk about, I mean, I think everyone on this call can kind of agree that this has been one of the hardest times to be a brand between supply chain issues, you know, consumer sentiment between rising ad costs, I mean, you name it, it's a challenging time. And so what we really love to do at Cohley is really help brands understand like not only like the value of the content, but like how you can optimise it and use it across channels. So what we're gonna do today and I'm going to share my screen is talk a little bit about content where you can use it in the sort of digital marketing fires journey, and also just tips tricks, how to test how to think about it, how to make you know, sort of your dollar stretch further as you're going in to this quarter. So again, our whole conversation is going to be kind of based around this buyers journey. You know, Nothing, nothing new here, awareness, consideration purchase and just really want to focus on how content can help all of that.


Aaron Conant  5:06  

Do you want to like it? Start slideshow too?


Erin McCarthy  5:09  



Aaron Conant  5:10  

Just make it a little bit bigger on everybody's screen. Awesome.


Erin McCarthy  5:14  

Awesome. Cool. So we're just gonna dive in, we're gonna start with awareness. And ultimately, like making sure that like you are where your consumers are, your potential consumers are consideration. You've gotten them to your website. Now what? And yeah, just again, just dig into how we can help. So this conversation is going to be purely based on UGC and I want to level set there because I think a lot of brands have the sort of misconception that user generated content isn't on brand, is it high quality, and the fact of the matter is, is like as iPhones and digital cameras get less expensive, more accessible. UGC is becoming more and more premium, and is just such a better way to tell your brand story. Again, it's usually shot on an iPhone or similar it is relatable, it is authentic, it builds trust and social proof, it is optimized, it is optimized because it is less expensive than traditional photo shoots. But it's also optimised for a wide range of locations of diversity and creators in quality. And all of this is really going to help you fuel your testing while you're connecting with consumers. So just really important to note that as we talk about all this, like UGC is where that's


really focused. Alright, let's dive


into awareness. So and again, conversational. If people have questions, please stop me. But where we want to start again? Is that top of funnel in that awareness piece and the first place that you can really optimise UGC, is your paid social ads using UGC? Receive four times higher CTR rates, then you're sort of like standard product photography, like you see here. I don't think anyone is surprised by this anymore. I think like as, as marketers, and as consumers get more savvy, like this is just becoming more and more than norm, um, some tips that we really want to talk about, like as you're thinking about this ad strategy as it pertains to UGC? You know, Meta is had a tough year and will continue to have a tough year as and I think are just like really scrambling to figure out where they fit in the current ecosystem and the current privacy ecosystem. So now's a really good time to be trying out other add channels, add channels that some of our customers have, you've seen a lot of success on tick tock, obviously, we could talk about tick tock all day. And Pinterest is another one that I think a lot of people forget but actually see a tonne of success on their ad. Spend is just less expensive right now and many brands or brands are seeing stronger performance because again, you want to be where your consumers are. Consumers are on TikTok. Consumers are on Pinterest and these are channels that have high intent purchase intent to very different than Facebook very different than Instagram. And again, Instagram is prioritizing reels right now, they are trying to compete with TikTok. So I would say like if you want the best bang for your buck with content, really focus on video and utilise that push that Instagram is doing to compete with TikTok to make sure your videos are getting seen. Susan do want to talk a little bit about how testing to optimize spend might work here.


Susan Wenograd  8:35  

Yeah, absolutely. So especially with UGC, one of the things that we find with brands is they sometimes feel a little overwhelmed. Because before when something is a scripted photoshoot, they would kind of dictate what was going to be said. And that was the angle they had to go with. What we ran into with UGC is it's the opposite. A lot of the creators actually very creative people. So they come up with all kinds of different videos, all kinds of different ideas. And sometimes brands now have the opposite problem where instead of not having enough assets, they have so many that when it comes time to get more or to figure out what's working, it's a little overwhelming. So that's one of the things that we recommend from a testing perspective is figuring out what are the things that always seem to work reliably, so that when you're working with UGC providers, you can give them some direction on like, narrowing it down to like making sure that you're they're getting shots, or that they're highlighting this or this type of background, or please don't show yourself but doesn't do as well show the product in your hands or whatever that might be. The more that you can test to learn those things, the better direction that you wind up giving your creators and you save so much time so you're not going through all these videos that might completely missed the mark or you know, not touch on the things you were really hoping they would touch on. And you can give that direction confidently knowing that you're going to get back creative that works well because you've run the test to prove it.


Aaron Conant  9:54  

Well, I want to just jump in really quick because just combining testing and learning but also Aaron was one of the things you had mentioned syringe was a lot of, you know, companies think that UGC can be off brand. And there's a tug of war going on where there's a lot of traffic on TikTok all UGC, right? Pretty much all UGC and the brands and marketers, digital marketers want to go there, but they're being held back. What does that discussion look like? And then there, and then I'll open like Susan as well as like that, are you able to test and learn and then create, like, basically all the data that says, hey, look at we did UGC, you know, and we got this, and we did our photoshoot, we got this, you know, the dollars at the end of the day may talk, what does that conversation look like? And then are our brands, are you able to test and learn, you know, comparing UTC versus, you know, standard photoshoot? Yeah,


Erin McCarthy  10:50  

I can hop it on the TikTok front, I think the most compelling piece of evidence that I have talked to brands about because yeah, we do have a lot of people come to us be like, we know we need to be on tick tock. The higher ups are pushing back. There was an article in The New York Times recently that talked about how TikTok is being used for Gen Z, and more and more millennials as a search engine. People aren't going to Google and searching yoga pants, they're going to TikTok and they're searching yoga pants. So much so that Google, and this article talks about this is incorporating TikTok and incorporating video into their search results. That is how serious Google Google is taking this. So what more is there to say like it it's like literally that is to me, like I send my customers those that article and I'm like, send this to your boss, like you are already missing the mark. If like a giant corporation, the most successful one of the world is trying to mimic what tick tock is doing.


Susan Wenograd  11:51  

Yeah, I think I'm on the testing side. That's actually kind of a running joke in our marketing is but like we democratize the creative process. So like, it doesn't matter, what you feel is going to work best or like how long you spend obsessing over drop shadows and gradients. The whole purpose of Marpipe is to be able to like plug in all those things, run a test, multivariate style, and it will tell you like this video, no matter what headline it was paired with, no matter what color and logo or version we used, this always did best. It really takes away all the feeling about that stuff. And it just gives the data so it actually really empowers. It's one of the reasons why marketers love it is it really empowers them to be like, Look, I know, Mr. higher up, you don't like this, but the consumers do. And it sold a whole bunch, right? So it gives you that data. So it's less about like emotion and opinion and more about, you know, taking that consumer data and being able to say they vastly prefer this. So this is what we should be doing if we want to sell.


Aaron Conant  12:44  

Yeah, I love it. Like, I like to just think data Trumps me search


Susan Wenograd  12:49  

Yes. I think sometimes, too, there's, you know, there's always this fear that like, well, if you have that data, does it take away the creativity, right? And we've actually found the opposite, because for us, it's like it gives you something to focus on. If you know that this type of thing works. Well now you can create a whole bunch of iterations on it and really spend your time on something that's actually going to work and move the needle versus coming up with three completely unrelated concepts. And like, none of them really doing particularly well. Right. So it actually helps teams focus a lot better too.


Aaron Conant  13:22  

I guess you're not surprised a bunch of people dropping in there. Can we get a link to the article? Or not? Yeah, my favorite often handed to their boss.


Erin McCarthy  13:30  

I mean, surely I just want to like send it watch out for that. But like, throw it out as a flyer. Like I was like, Oh, this


Susan Wenograd  13:37  

is real. Like, I'll take a New York Times citation please.


Aaron Conant  13:44  

What can I tell? What can I tell me executive team might try it test and learn it. It's, it's gonna be awesome to have that article just oh, I'll probably use it, you know, five to 10 times one of


Erin McCarthy  13:56  

my favorites? Yeah, I voted a lot clearly.


Aaron Conant  14:00  

So a question comes in TikTok ads in general, UDC are more effective for products with a lower pricing structure with a more premium price point is not as effective. Is there a way to get around that or other platforms to explore?


So why would you say


it's different? Like is there a way in a strategy to get higher priced items Smith?


Susan Wenograd  14:20  

Aaron, do want to talk about from the TikTok perspective first, I can Yeah, farms and what we see


Erin McCarthy  14:24  

for sure. Yeah, I mean, so here's the thing at the end of the day is that like, I think that there is likely an audience for that higher premium price point on Tik Tok, it is going to be up to the brand to think through how to get the content in front of those creators and in front of those consumers and you're going to need to do it more, right, you're going to need more touch points you're going to need and you're gonna have to think of like that positioning and that angle. For example, we work with a very high end espresso machine maker the machine is like $1,500, right? You can't just like order it now. And so what they really focused on with their TikTok is a very top of funnel strategy. And instead of doing it organically, they really focused on ads and spark ads, and basically being able to finding creators that can create really premium content. So this would be like a creator who would do like a day in the life of like being a lawyer in LA or day life or being like a fashion editor in New York City, they're selling that lifestyle and the product is just like slipped in. And then they put spend behind it, and they're making sure that that spend is going to zip codes and regions that they know have that spending power. And then from there ran ads took a step back and assessed if whether or not that was a strategy that worked for them. And for this brand it did. And so that is what I would push for people who are kind of like for that premium product is like I do think there is a niche there for you. It's just going to take a little bit more research and a little bit more targeted spend to make sure you're getting in front of the audience you want and not like a 16 year old girl doing a dance. So that's just like what I would think about there.


Susan Wenograd  16:04  

I think the other piece too is I've been media buying now for like longer than I even care to admit it's really embarrassing how long I've been doing this, but it's been interesting to watch like how the platform's have grown and changed. Like I started doing Facebook when it came out. I've been doing Google since like, oh, eight. So the other thing that is interesting to watch is how the offerings have changed to be able to sell things. So you know, one of the things that I focused on a lot, especially when I was agency side was like, How can we not rely on the platforms as quickly as possible was usually the goal for like those higher price things. It's like, can we is there something we can offer them that like, they would want to come view or sign up to our email list? Or do we provide such great content that's not even totally product related, but it's like lifestyle related based on what the product does, because it's just a longer selling cycle. So because it's going to take them longer to buy that $1,500 machine, the sooner we don't have to rely on paid media, to convince them that it's a good idea is key. I think the other thing that I would watch, it's an interesting time to look at this is all these platforms are kind of competing against each other. And they all want, you know, people with big wallets, because they know that that's where the advertisers are gonna come from. So Facebook still actually works well, like we I mean, it's because it tends to be an older population, they tend to have more disposable income. So we're starting to see that happen on Instagram, as well as that population is aging. But the other one that's really tried to get their hat in the ring with this is Google. So they were always so traditionally reliant on search. And it really started to affect them, because everybody was taking their money and putting it social. So they're trying new campaign types now like performance, Max, and all different kinds of stuff. And they still have very good audience segmentation and targeting. They're not as impacted by iOS 14 as a lot of the social platforms were. So they still have pretty rich user data. And it's also one of those things where you can still use search to learn about like, what are the problems these people are trying to solve? What do they call those problems? How do they search for solutions? Where are they hanging out, there's still like a wealth of information on there. It's not as user friendly, as a lot of the other platforms, because it is so massive, and enterprise. But Google definitely wants to make sure they still have, you know, their place at the table when it comes to those, you know, those higher spending audiences. So I would keep an eye on what they're doing, because they've made some really great strides, trying to get back some of that money, they lost to paid social, and I don't think they're gonna stop, I think that's going to be a pretty big focus for them, too. So I would take a look at what they're doing there and watch how that evolves to.


Aaron Conant  18:37  

Awesome. Awesome. Yeah.


Great answers all around how to present makes sense. Thank you guys. I know, I've done a tangent. No, I love this one.


Erin McCarthy  18:51  

This isn't I love what you said about like, like, get them off the platform's as fast as humanly possible. And like, I think we know, as these privacy changes are not going to go away, like Yeah, we're gonna continue and like the data you own is the data you own. And so I love that. And I think like, thinking about that piece, you know, one of the things that we recommend is, and we'll kind of, I'm skipping ahead a little bit, it's like, when you someone goes to your website, you're trying to collect their email, trying different contents, and that different content in that image, like it's a lifestyle image better than a product image, what's your copy, they're like, collecting emails is is just as almost not as, but like, almost as important as like a conversion right now, especially,


Susan Wenograd  19:30  

especially like leading up to Black Friday. I mean, the other thing, too, is it's like, you can collect emails for very specific reasons. It doesn't have to be you're collecting emails for them to just be in your general list. So there's a women's clothing company that I worked with or like what we did is we tested running lead gen ads on Facebook and like the whole sole purpose was sign up to like our VIP List for Black Friday. They didn't get put on the general other list. We literally did it so we could buy the media when it was cheaper. Get a list and then email Hold them on Black Friday Cyber Monday because but that was not their biggest season like summer is their big time with with dresses and stuff. So like they have to be present for Black Friday, but they really don't want to have like the $60 CPMs that accompany that day. So that's kind of the other thing too is if you can use the platforms for other ways to get people into your world, that's also another good way of spending because you're not, you know, doing those purchase CPMs that can get kind


Aaron Conant  20:21  

of crazy. I love it. So I think that's a key like a little tidbit. So yeah, ahead of time you do the campaign just to sign up for the Black Friday email a discount? Yeah, you don't have to spend all the money to


Erin McCarthy  20:37  

email them and you don't spend the money.


Susan Wenograd  20:39  

Yeah, I mean, it's like we've got each email for a couple bucks I think and it's like there's no way we could have reached that many people for that cheap trying to do it that weekend. Yeah, so it's like you kind of cleared it out a little bit and then just relied a lot more on email and retargeting heading into that weekend versus trying to go top of funnel. I love it.


Aaron Conant  20:56  

I love it. optimizing spend. So we do


Erin McCarthy  21:02  

well, um, want to hear we can skip ahead a little bit when like I really want to talk about and I feel really passionate about is influencers and how to I we hear this a lot with companies like our marketing spend is getting caught, we have to make every dollar pound and then but you also kind of hear this pressure and this push that they're getting like influencers influencers, influencer marketing. And I think a lot of this comes from like the heyday of Instagram, and like your brands like glossier, who kind of grew up on Instagram blew up on Instagram, and every brand, every CEO kind of has this idea that like, they can do that. And the truth of the matter is, it just doesn't exist that way anymore. And I think it's really challenging for marketers, because we have to kind of go and convince people that like, it doesn't matter how good your product is just because of the changes on these platforms, that strategy isn't going to work anymore. So what we recommend for brands like as they're going in, to this time, instead of like doing a traditional influencer campaign where you're paying an influencer for their content and a post the fact of the matter is that influencer rates for posts have gone up 44% Since last year in organic reach on Instagram has gone down 43% So what we are telling our customers is that you are essentially throwing money into the wind. If you are asked if you think you're going to generate a lot of awareness and top of funnel with influencers without putting spend behind it. And I know that that feels like a hard pill to swallow because we all grew up in that Instagram Ad Age but like the truth of the matter is is that like face Mehta is gonna lose $10 billion this year because of privacy changes, iOS changes and TikTok competition. So like they're gonna make up that money any way they can, and how they're doing it is boosting paid and decreasing organic and think about the last time you went on Instagram like did you see like how much did you have to scroll to see content from your friends like we've all experienced it and I think it's hard to like, really like take that in but like it has changed. And so while I do think that there is still room what we call McAleese, like creators with influence, right like there is power in someone authentically telling you about a product that they love, but we really recommend having them do that. And then instead of paying them for their organic reach, put some spin behind it with like whitelisting or create or licensing they just changed the name spark posting dark posting, essentially like making sure and you can see an example of what that would look like here. This looks organic, but it is paid for by the brand you can see here a partnership with Cohley creators, it comes from me and so this and you can target audiences with this so like for that premium you know product you can target the consumers that you want with this piece of authentic content that feels like organic but as you can target the spend versus having a creator post influencer posting, I have no idea what happens with the content. So I think this is a really important thing for you to think about. Instead of spending money organically having influencers post pay them less and put spread behind it is what we would recommend. And then Susan had a really interesting point about audiences around the holiday that goes really nicely into this Batman.


Aaron Conant  24:39  

This is super interesting, right? They make their money it's I don't think it's it's interesting to see I don't think anybody is shocked at the end of the day though, but it's just interesting to see it on there right 44% year over year, and there are gigantic reaches dollar 43 I mean Amazon anybody who was selling on the Amazon on the call, I mean it's see In the same thing, if you actually look and you do a search on Amazon, the top like seven of the top 10 spots are sponsored.


Erin McCarthy  25:08  

So what you're saying is target same thing.


Aaron Conant  25:10  

You can't just rely on the influencers reach, because it's being deprecated. Within the platform, if there's not ads behind is literally being pushed down for Act, because they want you to spend more, and they want more as of right now, awesome. Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you, Susan. It's just,


Susan Wenograd  25:31  

oh, you're good. Um, I don't know, if you want to go to that slide. Aaron, that kind of has the like the quote, I pulled the quote, as an example. Yeah. So as we're heading into q4, especially, when you're thinking about, like the influencer, or the testimonials, you're gonna feature, I think, something that people don't really consider until they go to make the ad and are like, Oh, wait, we don't have anybody that has said anything about this, is I plan ahead for the fact you're, you're probably not going to be advertising to normal buyer. So like a lot of your testings, throughout the years, and throughout the months and everything, like they're gonna apply to your usual customer. But at season, you know, in the holiday season, like they're not the one buying for themselves, usually, it's gonna be someone else find for them. So if you can plan ahead of time to be like, you know, husbands are probably going to buy this for their wives, then you need to plan ahead, as far as you know, finding UGC finding influencers that will fit that bill. And then even in your ad copy, you know, making sure that you're calling out their testimony, it's like, I bought this for my wife, and they loved it, or I bought this for my daughter, and she loves it. Anything that will immediately connect with the person that's doing the shopping. A lot of times, they'll just kind of run the same stuff that they've run the whole year. And and they wonder why it didn't work as well. And it's like, well, you're you're so busy, the 30 year old woman, you know, it's the you're trying to get a guy to buy it during this three week time period. And I think, kind of related to that also is an errand I were talking about this, just before we started is that you don't have to like recreate the wheel on every single ad you make. So the what Mark had uses to do testing is what's called modular content. So it's essentially like you have a template and it's like, logo here, you just have placeholders for like logo here, video here, headline here. So there's just like a joke. It's kind of like Swiss cheese and the pieces and assets of your ad to go into those little holes, right. So if you know that you're gonna have these elements. And a really easy way, if you don't have a tonne of assets is just changed the way that you're displaying them. And it doesn't have to necessarily be something completely different. Like if you know that this layout tends to do well, the whole time of year. And now all of a sudden, you have to switch it to appeal to men, probably the same layout still gonna do the same. It's just you need different content to do it. Right. So that's kind of an easily overlooked thing. I think people just kind of look at each ad as like its own thing. And it's like, in reality, if you want to be efficient and tested scale, come up with like two templates that are easy to drag and drop things into. So you can test really, really quickly. And then once you figure out what's working, you can iterate on it fast be like, hey, we need more UGC around this, because this is doing great or whatever that might look like. But then that way, you're not looking at an ad going did this do well, because of the Creator. Did this do? Well, because we call it the price. Like we don't really know, because none of the ads look the same. So


Aaron Conant  28:14  

testing? No, I think it's the next layer of testing, right, which is not just swapping in and out an image, but swapping the location of all this stuff, changing the template over and over and over again to fine tune something that works. And then swapping in and out the imagery. The Yeah. Oh, awesome. I love it. Again, if anybody has questions along the way, don't don't hesitate to drop in the chat or the q&a, we'll get them answered.


Erin McCarthy  28:41  

Yeah, one of the things that we think about is that like the content stops your thumb, right, the content is what makes you say, Oh, what is this as you're scrolling, but the call to action? The copywriting the offer is what makes you click. So like, it has to be a holistic thing. And I think, you know, something that I've really appreciated about working with Marv is just like thinking through all of those pieces as well. Cool. Um, so yeah, I could go on about this whole day, I won't go but like, just like really be thoughtful about where you are spending your money, like just organic reach is dead, it is going to be really difficult to get your product in front of people by just asking people to post. So just keep that in mind as you're going going in and like just take a really good look at this and like think where you can optimize their um, so you get them to your website, you get the all important click now what the good news is that content and UGC can really help once they are gone and gone to a channel where you can make a purchase and all of the UGC that you own that you have the rights to can be used across multiple channels to drive that performance and to sort of optimize your span. So if you have a piece of UGC that costs you $30 because it gets you that awareness, and then we recommend starting to plug it in at different places. So PDP pages, product pages with UGC, see up to a 91% lift in conversion. It is again it is authentic, it is relatable, it is personalized you I think like for fashion brands, even in particular, this is so important. I want to see people who are my size, I want to see people who are out everyday wearing this like this is that social proof and you want it as close to the point of purchase as possible. Um, this also goes for your retailers, Target, Walmart, Amazon, all a Lowe's, we just had a conversation with a customer, more and more retailers are demanding UGC on their product pages. And that's not only in the carousel, it's it's like all throughout the page, because they know that UGC drives action. And we have a customer we have customers who have tested UGC on their Amazon product pages, and I've seen upwards of 30% increase in conversion, which is obviously really, really compelling. So just like again, you have this content that you've gotten like where are you plugging it into Thrive action. And another big thing is retargeting emails. Oh no, the consumer left the page. You know, browse abandonment, cart, abandonment, UGC and lifestyle images in those emails coming retargeting at the right time, see about a 10% What we've seen in our customers about a 10% conversion left versus just like emails that just have products. So really important to be thinking about content not only like ad awareness, this UGC but the social proof all throughout this like consideration phase really, really important. Any questions there? Anything I can kind of clarify?


Aaron Conant  31:44  

No, I didn't have any that that came in? No, I think I would say, Okay, I think there's just a lot of people just in the brands that I talked to. They know, they need UGC. They also know they need a lot of it. And at the same time, it's completely overwhelming. Like, what do they do with it? So I love the template, right is, once you have it, it doesn't matter if you have a million assets, if you're not testing learning, then you might as well have five, that's all you're going to use. You know, and so they're overwhelmed. But how do people get the UGC in the first place?


Erin McCarthy  32:21  

Yeah, I mean, the easiest way is to collate, but really like, think about like your image. Like if you're doing like an influencer programme, that content, like obviously, you need to work out the rights with with that influencer. But like, that's UGC, like anything that, you know, that is like a really good place to start. And I think that like doing a small test and being able to say to your econ team, to your, you know, Director of Marketing, like, Hey, I have this piece of content, I've heard really good things like let me test it out. And then being able to start with a baseline and saying, like, hey, we tried UGC, on these pages versus these ones. Why aren't we doing this more like we are seeing higher conversions, that kind of becomes like a no brainer to like start investing in that piece. And again, the thing that I love about UGC is like, it's seasonal, it's relatable, like around the holidays, you should have holiday images on your site, like, how are you getting those and like just kind of thinking through it that way, I think is really


Aaron Conant  33:18  

impactful. Have you have you seen then I've seen from you know, the the comment around the influencers is there than a drive to have them become more affiliates, where it's, you know, they get a percent based on the traffic they've driven or conversions, rather than paying them the money up front, it is paying them on the back end? Yeah, and


Erin McCarthy  33:44  

definitely a way to do it. But you have to keep in mind, it doesn't matter if you're doing an affiliate program, that organic reach is still down. So that is a better way to like that could be impactful for you. If you know, budget is an issue, like you know, giving them a certain percentage of the sales that they drive. Again, I would say two years ago, that was a really strong strategy, but just with the suppression of organic content, you're still gonna run into that same issue of post posting organically and no one's seeing it. So you know, and maybe you have one Creator who hits out of the park for you, but that's it's just not scalable anymore, unfortunately.


Aaron Conant  34:23  

Yeah. Awesome. Got it. Got it. Cool.


Erin McCarthy  34:28  

One other thing I want to talk about in terms of conversion is product reviews. And I think this gets overlooked a lot and it is literally the single most impactful thing you can do from a conversion perspective. Ensuring that the reviews that you're collecting are optimized for conversion is incredibly important. You have spent all that time all that energy, all that money to get them to your website, you've gotten your PDPs all set there ready to go. No one who shops does not look at reviews Who's. And so there is a tonne of research on this. And we've sort of compiled Cohley has kind of thought about the three main things that we think about when it comes to reviews, quantity, recency, quality, about 100 reviews per product is about 50 to 100 is the sweet spot, you don't really want any and you'll see conversion go up as you get to 50 get to 100. Because you know, that is the social proof piece. That is someone coming to your page and being like people buy this people like this. The other piece is recency. 83% of consumers want reviews that have been left no later than six months. And again, think about your own behavior. If I go to a product page, and a review is six months old, I'm not buying the product, I just like is that review old has the formulation changed, like I'm not buying it. So that's a really important thing to think about there. So usually what we recommend to Brant, we do review sampling here at Cohley. And what we recommend, you know, for a new product launch is like let's get you to 50 as fast as possible, then let's supplement that with 25 once a quarter 25 to 50 once a quarter, so you're getting that recency piece. And then the other piece is quality. How many characters is that? Is there a review like nice product? Or is it like this skin lotion saved my life in the winter, my hands are usually super cracked, I use this lotion, it has been a game changer for me. Um, the other thing is like having images with that, and that is UGC. So if you have that, that is a really good place to start collecting that, you know, a picture of like, someone using the product or even someone just like holding the product, like consumers really like to see that. And that also adds to that review piece. So just something really, really important to think about and I think people think about reviews very like reactively, like, Oh, someone maybe will leave a review when they get the product but like being proactive with how you collect reviews by doing review sampling, especially going into the holidays. If your pages aren't optimised right now, for this, like, do it do it tomorrow, like you're you're gonna see conversion jump off. It's just it is like science. So something I also feel really passionate about, clearly. I


Aaron Conant  37:12  

just getting wind right now that within the next year, the importance of video reviews is going to go through the roof. Yep, that there, you know, and part of it is on the Amazon side, the people gaming the system for reviews. And, you know, a video review, I think those are going to be over indexed. Especially with thanks to TikTok. People don't like to read anymore. They like to scroll, they like to scroll.


Erin McCarthy  37:39  

And then having someone talk about that it's just really important.


Aaron Conant  37:42  

Oh, I agree. Will you be sharing the slides? Number one if we connect you, Erin and Susan, can you share the slides over with them? Okay, awesome. In next one is the suppression suspect suppression of organic, also a trend on LinkedIn.


Susan Wenograd  38:00  

Interesting, I have found it not to be as noticeable as it is on our platforms. To be honest, I kind of wonder if it's because like didn't isn't known for having a great platform. So it could be that it's underutilised. I say that it's the one that's used a lot and had success on a but it's, it's so very expensive, that it really locks out a lot of brands from being able to do anything. And the other thing is to with LinkedIn, and keep in mind is like a lot of its long term b2b sales. And so that can be really hard to attribute Performance and Results to it's like we were talking before about like those really long, you know, sales cycles, it can be hard for people to understand what role if any, is playing. So it tends to not get the budgets that you see other places just because it's like it's going to, it's going to play a part of the touchpoint area. But like, it's usually not going to be someone's main form of advertising. Whereas so many brands, their main form of advertising is on social. So it's super competitive, and it makes that news feed real estate at such a premium. And you just tend to not run into that as much on LinkedIn, because their ad model is not as robust, as you know, like a DTC, DTC is going to be so that's kind of why I think it is like that. It's really more of a supply and demand thing. So I don't notice the suppression there as much. It's but I think it's just largely because of, you know, they they're not as overly reliant on ad platforms. I mean, they're owned by Microsoft, so they kind of wiggle room to do whatever. You know, so I think that that's a big part of it, though.


Aaron Conant  39:35  

I actually did. I just put a everyone I just put a link to a podcast I did with a top LinkedIn marketing firm out there. Anyways, super interesting. And I think all of it agrees with what you're saying. And there's some really interesting stuff on the b2b side. Yeah, a lot of people drive LinkedIn through like their their corporate or their business page. Yeah, people don't connect with them on businesses on LinkedIn. They connect with people, the importance of having ambassadors, which is UGC on LinkedIn, which is a little different. Anyways, that is Garrett, his name is company called influence. That was a super fun podcast and really informational. So if anybody wants to listen to it, it's an


Susan Wenograd  40:19  

interesting platform because it doesn't behave like any of the other ones because of the BMI rabbit. It's a very, it's a very different animal to try and master.


Aaron Conant  40:26  

Yep, yep. I totally agree. Awesome, awesome. Great.


Erin McCarthy  40:32  

I'm definitely, you know, ultimately, like the TLDR here is like, budgets are getting cut. We're at we're all being asked to do more with less. And so I think, again, to like wrap it up in a bow. UGC is a really cost effective way to drive action across your entire marketing funnel. And the more social proof authenticity, that the consumers demand that now like it's just the way of it, and so the more that you can think about ways to take that one piece of content, and make it work for you, like all the way down the funnel is is just going to be really, really valuable for you and being able to like, as you're thinking about going into q4, like, again, check your reviews, check your PDP pages are your emails good, like just being ready to go into that with with that sort of mind frame is gonna put you in a really good position to succeed.


Aaron Conant  41:31  

Awesome. Love it. Susan, key takeaways here, um,


Susan Wenograd  41:35  

test. That's my key takeaway for everything, testing everything. But I think you know, the more that you can kind of test and figure out what works for you at least have a framework heading into q4, the better off you're gonna be. I think the thing that is toughest about q4 is it's such a compressed timeframe, and you have to sell so much in such a small period of time. So it's not like an ideal testing environment, because it's very truncated. It's short, if not your normal person. It's like, all of the challenges you could possibly have a testing creative are crammed into that like one more day weekend. So the more that you can kind of strategize now about what you want to learn ahead of time, like obviously, you can't run holiday ads with Santa in them to see if a tree or Saturday is better yet, but if there's other things you can figure out that work well, to guide you going into that you're gonna do a lot less guessing when you head into that weekend.


Erin McCarthy  42:24  

This year to go into next year, like that's like, if you can have that mind frame, you're gonna just like set yourself up for longer


Aaron Conant  42:30  

term success. Or I was just thinking I just saw the Christmas trees at Costco. Yeah, I already started now.


Susan Wenograd  42:37  

Yeah, no, I was in like, was it Hobby Lobby or Michaels or one of they had Christmas stuff out in August?


Aaron Conant  42:45  

We all know, q4 has been moved up in Amazon's Prime Day in early October here. Exactly. Yeah. But, you know, I'd encourage everybody have a follow up conversation with Erin and Susan. They're great friends, partners, supporters, the network, they come highly recommended from a ton of brands in it. And again, if you ever need any recommendations for any kind of partners in the digital space, from Amazon, to content creation to even QR codes or drop shipping, it just feel free. You don't have to jump on TikTok or go. Anyways, thanks again, Erin. Thanks, Susan. We're gonna wrap up here early, give people time in their day back. This has been absolutely fun. And so Thanks again, everybody. For a follow up email from us. We'll be in touch already.


Susan Wenograd  43:27  

Great chatting. Thanks, everybody.

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