The 3 Creative Mistakes You MUST Avoid to get Good ROAS ⎜ The Loft 325 ⎜ EP 138

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This is a podcast episode titled, The 3 Creative Mistakes You MUST Avoid to get Good ROAS ⎜ The Loft 325 ⎜ EP 138. The summary for this episode is: <p>When looking at your ads, does your customer know what are you selling? Are your ads presenting a good hook? How are you capturing their attention in 15 seconds or less? Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Lauren Schwartz of The Loft 325 about the 3 creative mistakes you MUST avoid to get good ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).</p><p>---</p><p>Crossover Commerce is Presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong transfers more than 150 million dollars a day for eCommerce sellers just like you. Helping over 1 million customers now, PingPong has processed over 90 BILLION dollars in cross-border payments. Save with a PingPong account <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">today</a>! </p><p>---</p><p><strong>Stay connected with Crossover Commerce and PingPong Payments:</strong></p><p>✅ Crossover Commerce @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ YouTube @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ LinkedIn @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>

Ryan Cramer: What's up everyone. Welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer, and this is Crossover Commerce presented by PingPong Payments, the leading global payments provider helping sellers keep more of their hard- earned money. Hey, what's up everyone, I'm your host, Ryan Creamer and welcome to another episode of Crossover Commerce. This is Episode 138 of Crossover Commerce. This is my corner of the internet, where I bring you the best and brightest in the Amazon eCommerce, ad industry, whatever that looks like, if it's going to help level up your experience as an entrepreneur in the digital landscape, I want to be able to bring on these amazing guests to help you out in that capacity. So, without further ado, I just want to quickly talk to you about PingPong Payments, the presenting partner of this podcast Crossover Commerce. PingPong Payments has helped over 150, or excuse me, 1 million customers in transacting more than$ 150 million every single day for cross border payment solutions. So, if you're selling internationally, whether it's the supplier, manufacturer, your VAs, or you're just selling on Amazon or a different marketplace internationally, and you want to repatriate that money, make sure you check out PingPong Payments to help you save more of your money that you're earning from different currencies over to your localized currency. Go ahead and click that link in our show notes below. Or if you're watching on social media today, you can go and check that out in the comment section. Just click on that after the show because we're going to be talking about really cool topic that I'm excited about. And that's about advertising. Advertising is the life and bread, basically the bread and butter of any sort of brand out there. And the things that we focus on may not be the actual negatives, but the nice shiny objects that people can do with marketing. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't avoid certain things. That being said, we're going to be talking about in the title of this episode will be the Three Creative Mistakes You MUST Avoid to Get Good ROAS or Return on Advertising Spend. So, I wanted to make sure that we set the table all nicely so, for our guest to come in. Her name is Lauren Schwartz. She is actually the owner of the Loft 325 and she's been in the space for over 15 years. And over the last eight years, she has been working in digital marketing based in Orange County, California, a thought leader in creating profitable creative strategies for eCommerce brands. So, without further ado, want to have a special welcome to Crossover Commerce, Lauren Schwartz of the Loft 325, Lauren, welcome to Crossover Commerce. How are you?

Lauren Schwartz: Good, how are you?

Ryan Cramer: I'm doing amazing. It's a little bit earlier for you there on the west coast. But for those of us who may not be familiar with you, you're coming to us from California. So, I really appreciate you waking up and spending some time. I love this format because you get to talk to people all over the world no matter what time it is. But just as we're having a conversation here in the studio or in person, this is kind of a cool format that I always love with my podcasts. So, I appreciate you taking some time to hop on and share some wisdom with us here in Crossover Commerce.

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, of course, I'm excited to be here.

Ryan Cramer: So, yeah, for people who may not be familiar with you, your agency, kind of your background, paint me a really quick picture, if you will. We're talking about creatives, right? You can paint me a picture of who's Lauren Schwartz. What would you do on a day- to- day basis for your clients and then also professionally in the eCommerce space?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, so I own, like you said, a small creative company called the Loft 325. And there I focus on really just helping brands in the eCommerce space really help to basically increase sales through advertising. There's so much stuff going on on the internet with advertising. On Instagram, you're just always hit with ads. And so, really, I just focus on trying to basically help people get the clicks that they need in order to really help grow their sales on eCommerce. So, I have a handful of clients that I work with. I work with a bunch of different industries. It's not just particularly one industry, but all direct to consumer- based brands, essentially. So, yeah, we have just work on ad creatives for all platforms, shoot user- generated content, pretty much everything that involves creative.

Ryan Cramer: I love that. Well, you kind of work in a very fascinating field right of unlike maybe just someone who's starting out in selling on Amazon, you're in the other side, where you're trying to get eyeballs to go directly to a website, where instead of searching for a keyword or a specific topic or a product, I should say, servers, you're actually trying to get eyeballs go over to a specific brand for one reason or another. And that in itself, you're trying to grab audience instead of going to where the audience might already be. So, what's kind of that struggle or maybe that blessing, if you will, of going one way versus another? Does that make sense?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, I mean, I think working in this space, it definitely because it's so noisy, you really have to kind of stand out. And so, I think kind of the biggest thing for me is that just basically just coming up with these great hooks, I think that really kind of help brands kind of get the, I don't even know how to say it. I mean, I guess the first three second click that you would need to get, as opposed to someone already knowing your brand, you really have to kind of tell these stories in such quick timeframes, that it's one of those things, it's kind of like a game where you have to really just get people to your website as quickly as possible. And they don't know who you are. And you only have less than three seconds to kind of pull them in to figure out who you are to get them to go to your website. So, it definitely is a challenge. But it's a fun challenge. And I fully enjoy what I do because it's just fun.

Ryan Cramer: No, it is. And you're talking about something that's probably the scariest thing in the entire world is, how do we get someone's attention first and foremost. It's not just a tagline. It's not creative. But in three seconds, you're talking about... I always say 15. Fifteen is kind of like the traditional mindset, depending on what medium you're talking about. But you're talking about three seconds in this society where we're getting pulled in all these different directions, our phones, our tablets, our computers, our children, any anything, television even. Everything is yelling at us constantly. So, walk me through as a strategist or content ambassador, basically, for brands out there. Three seconds isn't a lot of time, so, where do we start first?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, so the first thing I like to do with my clients is I like to try to figure out what is the hook. So, I think that's something that is really important when I kind of started out with brands is I like to go through all the creative assets that they have, look at all the copy that they have, kind of go through their website and just really figure out, okay, what makes you stand out amongst all your competitors. And really, that's kind of the first initial thing that we need to figure out. Because as you scroll through everything on your phone, on your computer, whatever, you only have seconds, less than a second, less than three seconds to really kind of pull them in. And so, it's kind of just figuring out, okay, is it the copy that's pulling someone in? Is it the image? Is it the video? And really just kind of testing those out and trying to figure those out. So, really trying to figure out what the hook is for the brand. So, it's a lot of, I actually do a lot of research before even starting ad creatives because it's just something that I need to be super, super familiar with the brand and I need to know exactly what you're selling because really at the end of the day, if I don't know the overall benefit or feature of your product, then I'm not going to know how to sell your product and I'm not going to know how to grab that attention. So, definitely figuring out your hook is the first and foremost for how I kind of start ad creatives.

Ryan Cramer: Right. So, you're talking about like hook. You're talking about how do I stand out. So, in a massive I have a purple pencil, why is my purple pencil worth your time and money and effort to even look at even further? Does it just change colors of the paper that I'm writing on? Does it do any kind of weird nuance, is that what you were talking about?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, exactly, yeah, yeah.

Ryan Cramer: Cool. So, yeah, for a listener out there is I was talking about on the show, building a brand is the most important and before you even start your journey of either online entrepreneurship, selling a service, selling your products and whatnot, you need to know how you're going to stand out. So, establishing, you heard from early on, when people are coming in, what are the ways to do it? Are you seeing more people try to do that visually through video, imagery or like you said, through context or text and words?

Lauren Schwartz: So-

Ryan Cramer: Or maybe something else I'm nothing thinking-

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah. No, I mean, honestly, right now, Facebook is kind of the Wild, Wild West right now just with everything that's kind of happened with the iOS update. So, it's been a lot of actually a lot of testing. Before it was, it's kind of that whole video. Obviously, video is always going to be huge. But I have been seeing a lot of static images with really bold headlines working as well. And I always like to tell my clients to, don't underestimate your static imagery because it's one of those things like, it's very clear what the product is. It's a lay down, it's a product in use, and it's something that you can play around a lot with. And I would just always say, " Don't ever underestimate that." But basically, what's happening right now within the eCommerce space is obviously mostly video and user- generated content is kind of what's helping drive people to click. And it's really kind of that whole TikTok style video where it's quick transitions. It's very quick copy, simple copy, kind of that kind of thing is just really helping to kind of drive sales. So, I've been really kind of focusing on TikTok videos to kind of see what people are doing and how they're kind of grabbing your attention. Because if you've ever really looked at TikTok, you go into this deep dark hole of TikTok, and you're there for hours. So, I really just tried to pull as many trends as I can from there, and then just translate that into Facebook and Instagram really.

Ryan Cramer: Well, and you made a really good point. And this is for anyone marketing or a nerd in marketing like myself, if you want to classify yourself as one of those things as well, feel free to. But me as an advertising nerd, I went down this really deep dark hole on YouTube, believe it or not, and they were talking about creating original content for TikTok versus something like on Instagram or on Facebook, or even on YouTube. And the reason why it was so fascinating to look at something like TikTok is because of the different portals of which the platform itself is pointing at you. For example, on Instagram, you can go to reels or you can go to their homepage, or you can go to stories, or you can go to all these different things. There's too many offshoots for you to get kind of garner someone's attention. So, it almost like splits instantaneously right when you go to the app. TikTok is a little bit different and I found super fascinating because it's aggregating content for you instantaneously. You have no way to offshoot into funny cat videos or silly singing dogs or something like that. You have to go literally swipe up or that's the next" thing." So, creating original content to be served in masses is only one narrow funnel instead of all these different offshoots. So, it's a little bit easier to get original content in that capacity and see what trends are versus maybe something like Instagram. So, is that why it's so fascinating for you to go on that platform?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, I mean, honestly, TikTok, there's just so many things on there that you can watch that it's kind of for anyone. I mean, really, like you said, with Instagram, yes, you can look at the feed, or you can look at reels, or you can look at stories. And I agree, there's so many things that you can kind of click out of that kind of takes your attention away from what you're trying to kind of focus on. Whereas TikTok, it's just videos the entire time. So, no matter what you're scrolling up and looking at, it's in your feed, it's people who you follow, and it's just very clear the content that's being served to you. And so, it's really things that are things that you would like already, and then obviously, the people that you follow. And so, I think it's just something that there's so many trends out there and there's so many things to kind of focus on where TikTok just really hones in on what it is that they're trying to basically feed you. And it's just really, you just get sucked into it. And then next thing you know, you've been on it for an hour.

Ryan Cramer: Right. The time and your eyeballs, that's the major win in this capacity. So, we're talking about three mistakes to avoid. The first one is to not have a hook. I'm assuming there'll be number one thing.

Lauren Schwartz: Yes, yes.

Ryan Cramer: Okay. So, we'll be number two to avoid in these types of platforms when you're creating brand and you're advertising your brand on these platforms.

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, I would definitely say not having user- generated content. And if you do have user- generated content, not adding captions to your content. So, again, that's another big thing with the different platforms. There's so many platforms out there like we said Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, all of that, TikTok. And most people are on their phone getting this fed to them. So, the biggest thing is, if you don't have user- generated content, that's a big mess I feel like and these just go together. But because so many people do it interact with people talking about your product. And it does seem very genuine when they do talk about your product. And as you're talking about the product, if you don't have captions, most of the time people on Facebook and Instagram, they don't have their sound on. And so, you have to make sure you can understand what they're talking about when they're scrolling through your feed. With TikTok, it's different. Because with TikTok, most people have the sound on. They like to hear what's going on. So, with that, it's kind of one of those things where you can add in kind of small callouts, because you are listening to TikTok with sound on, but most other platforms you don't have your sound on as you're scrolling through them. So, you always want to make sure that you have captions, so people understand what you're actually talking about.

Ryan Cramer: So, captions, I would say, that's a good thing, I think, especially in you have video late at night, like if you're in your bed, I'm trying to think of when your user is actually on their phones or they have time to not waste but spend on social media, a lot of the times it's either there's lots of other things going on. So, to stand out, obviously either have captions, so that they can read into if something stands out. Is there a superior point of which there's too much talking or there's too much information that you're packing into in that?

Lauren Schwartz: So, I think obviously, there are some people when they are talking about the product, they can get a little wordy with it. So, I think in those instances, what I like to try to do is I call it branded captions, where I'm not necessarily pulling out the entire caption, but I'm pulling snippets from it, where I'm just getting the key callouts, so that you can see it on the screen and it's clear as to what they're talking about, but you don't have to read an entire paragraph essentially. So, if I'm looking at it with sound off, I can see, okay, they're talking about, like you said, that purple pencil, and this is what they're talking about. This is the feature that is so important to them. But it's not necessarily a novel of what you're trying to read. It's just kind of two quick callouts so that you can see what it is.

Ryan Cramer: Right, you're piecing together all these different puzzles. It's like, if you're looking at it real quickly, you see what the person or people are doing, plus also the content that is being fed to you, either through audio or through visuals and captions. So, what are the things I should have into my 15 seconds or so of capturing somebody and making sure that I need to have ABC and I'm going to create a bare minimum good ad, if that makes sense?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah. So, I think for that one, so this kind of goes into the third creative mistake is not showing your product within the first three seconds, actually, within the first second. So, if you are having someone shooting user- generated content for you, I do notice a lot of times people are, they're talking with their hands. And they again, they just want to talk more about what the product is. And a lot of times, they don't hold the product up so you can actually see it, and it's kind of off to the side or it's on the table, and they're just sitting and talking about this product. And most of the time, it's like, okay, great. I see your face, but I don't know what... Okay, great, you're talking about this product, but I can't see it. I don't know what it is. And so, just not getting the product within someone's face within the first 30 seconds. So, when shooting the content, again, the best thing I think that most brands can do is just kind of give their creators kind of these bulleted scripts that they can kind of talk to about what are the features, what are the benefits of the product, why should someone use the product, and then really showing that product within the first three seconds. And then again, having that hook that you need. Either it's kind of like a swiping in front of your face, putting the product zoom in, zoom out something like that. It kind of again, it stops you in the feed and you're like, " Oh, what is that coming at me?" So, all these different things are just things that as you're kind of looking through the content when you're creating your ads, it's just trying to think of all these different things of, how am I going to get you to stop, what am I talking about in the product and basically getting someone to, if they are talking about the product using the captions. So, yeah.

Ryan Cramer: No, that's a lot to unpack. So, I love all three of those. So, obviously, make sure your product is visible in the first second or three seconds and then making sure that you have that user- generated content, like you said, someone else is using it or just having the captions, which all I think makes sense, to obviously have a basis of it, of a great product. What are the metrics that maybe if I'm creating this brand I'm working with you, Lauren, what are the things I should be excited about? It used to be impressions, right? We used to buy, back in the day, we used to buy impressions on Google. We had to buy 10,000 or 100, 000. And that was how many times my ad was going to be served. Now, it's not necessarily impressions, but it's almost clicks, or is it something else more than just clicks a and conversions? Is there anything specific we're looking at?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, again, it's hard right now, just because, again, there's so much going on with Facebook and underreporting, a lot of issues just with kind of the iOS update, but what I usually look for is engagement. The first three seconds video views, and I look for click through rate. So, if I'm getting people to click through my ad, then at least I know, okay, I got them to click. If it's under a one, obviously, that's just not a very good click through rate. But if I can get higher than a one, then I know, okay, at least people are interacting with what we're doing. And basically, how do we make it better. So, we got them to click. We got them to your website. So, is it if they don't convert, if they don't purchase, then it's another question of, okay, is it the landing page? Is it the ad? Then it kind of goes into this whole other thing of making sure that your website and your landing pages are clear to get the purchase as well.

Ryan Cramer: Right, their crosstalk.

Lauren Schwartz: Exactly. So, it's kind of one of those things. I definitely look through all of those. I look at all metrics, but I really try to see if people are actually clicking and purchasing from the site, because there's a lot of things that can happen once they get to the site. And if they're dropping off, then we really need to figure out okay, what's the issue here? But those are kind of the things that I'm really focusing on is the video views and the click through rate and website purchases.

Ryan Cramer: I would almost ask you, maybe this is a silly question, how many creatives are you having per campaign? Are you having multiple campaigns that you're trying to almost A, B, or even C test between what's going to resonate with a potential client at the same time? Or are you just doing one- offs here and there, because the traditional model, I'm not sure how recently Facebook has been able to allow you to A/ B test. It's more like just different campaigns all at once. But you're having the same call to action, just presented differently, whether it's more movement focus or more textbook is, like you said, kind of testing what's going to resonate more with clients. Is there an amount that you're typically doing per campaign?

Lauren Schwartz: So, I do like to do creative testing. I think that's a huge thing that most people actually aren't doing. I think they kind of add things in here and there. And one of the biggest things with my company is that we try to create a test as much as possible. I would rather test a handful of creatives. I think, for videos, I usually do about three. And then for static images, I'll throw any in there between 5 to 10, just because it's easy, there's statics, and you can kind of see different headline variations. But I think that creative testing is something that people just don't necessarily do a lot of. And it right now, again, it's hard because of Facebook, but it is something that you still can learn and you can understand, okay, what's working, what's not working. But yeah, I usually do try to get at least three to four video creatives in there that we can kind of create a test where it's either changing the copy in the first three seconds or changing the video image in the first three seconds, keeping the same headline, keeping the same text copy, and really just testing those kind of different iterations to see what's going to get someone to actually click on it.

Ryan Cramer: Okay, so what about, so, if I'm working through this and I'm getting good results in this regards, is your campaign rollout strictly just through paid ads? Or are you also working in conjunction with any sort of like influencers Or anyone else on those platforms to help promote simultaneously or what's kind of the strategy behind that?

Lauren Schwartz: So, again, it depends on who the client is. Some clients don't necessarily want to do influencer marketing.

Ryan Cramer: Okay. What would that mean?

Lauren Schwartz: Some just don't really want to pay for it and they don't really want to interact with that sort of... I don't know honestly, now that I think about it. Some just don't honestly want to pay for it is the biggest thing. They don't want to pay for the influencers. They don't want to pay for the time. But the clients that I do have yet, on some of the other clients that I do have, we do a lot of whitelisting, where we're kind of running the campaign that the influencer is doing on their pages and their feed. And then, we're running it obviously on the other platform, or I'm sorry, on the brand side, running the ads as well. So, again, for influencers, it's definitely different. For them, I usually try to keep their ad creatives very native to the platform because I don't want their feed to look like an ad. I want their feed to look like a story where they're actually talking about the product. So, it is very different on those sides. Because for the brand side, I like to make it obviously look like an ad. But then on the other side, I want to make it look as native to the platform as possible.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, you're not trying to trick them, you're just trying to make it feel more palatable, basically.

Lauren Schwartz: Exactly.

Ryan Cramer: Depending on who you're going to. So, an influencer, and I just want to be specific. So, on the show, we've talked about micro influencers, which could be anyone from 1 to 1000, somebody micro, all the way to someone who has a blue checkmark, which those people either do this for a living or they just have a really great following. You're working with anyone in that range or just specifically hire followership? What's kind of that focus for you and your team?

Lauren Schwartz: It's kind of both, to be honest. Some of the higher clients that I have, who do put a little bit more payment behind their advertising are obviously going for the higher influencers with the blue checkmark. And then a lot of the smaller influencers that I have, we are going kind of for those micro influencers. Because with the micro influencers, they don't necessarily have such a huge following and they are willing to kind of talk about your product for kind of a trade. So, we'll give them the product, they'll rate it and talk about it. But at least it gives us the content that we need in order to kind of get the ad creatives that I need. But then, yes, we do have the ones where they pay the influencers to really kind of help them push the account.

Ryan Cramer: Gotcha. Let me ask you maybe a controversial question. Does a blue checkmark mean anything anymore on any sort of social media platform, whether it be Facebook, Twitter? Well, Facebook introduced to because of Instagram, Twitter, as well? Does that still have clout in your mind as a marketer? Because I'll speak from personal experience, right now when I look at a blue checkmark on, for example, Twitter, I still have no clue some of these people are in their respective fields and it used to be of a followership of I'm not mistaken. But it could be, hey, I'm a public figure in some form of context, which, in theory, all of us are public figures in our own forum. So, I'm really trying to grapple with, does that still have value and clout like it did at the beginning, when they were very selective on whom they gave it to or how you were able to achieve such a" ranking" within social media? Does that resonate still with you?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, I mean, I don't know. I would say I personally would say no, because, again, I don't know if they're paying for followers. I don't know. I mean, you really don't know how they got the blue checkmark. I mean, obviously, celebrities how they got the blue checkmark, they're a celebrity. But these influencers, I don't know if they... Again, you can pay for followers, so you could pay for it and have a blue checkmark, and that's fine. So, I don't really know. I mean, I would say no, but again, it's controversial. Who knows? I'm sure other people are going to disagree. But that's my feeling.

Ryan Cramer: Well, you're feeling it makes sense, because you're also trying to educate your client, what actually is going to be worth your while. And that's what we're trying to avoid is, I almost feel like that would be a mistake to constantly like, hey, I need to get the one I always hear, for example is I need to get my product in celebrity or movie star XYZ's hands, well, maybe that's not worth the thousands, tens of thousands of dollars that you'd have to do for a one- time post. Again, likes are likes, but conversions are different. How do you separate the nuances between for your clients, the difference between social engagement versus actual purchasing or interactions and valuable whether it's collection of data and information to your subscriber list or even just purchasing in general?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, I think especially just talking about the whole blue verified checkmark thing, you can get this really great influencer. But if you don't have really good engagement on anything that they're posting, are they going to get good engagement on your ad creatives? Probably not, just because they already don't have the engagement there. So, it's one of those things. If you're going to kind of vet out these influencers and pay for them, then the biggest thing would be checking their engagement. Do people interact with their posts? Do they comment? Do they like? Those are things that you want to really check for. If they have a blue checkmark and they only get 100 likes or a couple comments, it's like-

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Houston, we have a problem.

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, exactly. So, it's like, do you want pay for that? Probably not. You'll probably get better results with a micro influencer, who doesn't have a huge following because at least if because most of the time their engagement is a lot higher than those people who have tens of thousands of followers. So, that's kind of how I look at it.

Ryan Cramer: One thing that's so engaging, too, because I'm a big social listener. And if you listener are out there and you're thinking about this is I like to observe what social listener be observing what other people in an industry space or category are behaving like. And I like to figure out in what way people are engaging with her audiences, but also how they're presenting information. Instead of going at, you learn instant messaging directly. I can get you to read your content, say, " Hey, this is a great piece of content," and share it. And I think that has more value for a brand if they're working with micro influencers than if I'm blatantly, which again, a lot of the social posts I happen to stumble upon, blatantly call to action if it's a paid post and they tag it as such, you know for a fact that they either may not stand behind it, but they're getting paid for it and it doesn't consume well in the eyes of some people. On the other hand, too, depending on who you're following is and who you're targeting, you can have just people just go crazy. And they're like, yup, buying no matter what your mind is not turned on. You're just literally listening to that. Is that scary to you, as a marketer of we're now moving to an age where people are just saying yes to no matter what they're being served? Or is there something that we're missing in that context?

Lauren Schwartz: I do believe that there are still a lot of people when they do look at social media and they look at advertising specifically, I do know a lot of people that are like, I don't want to purchase this, just because I know they don't use the product. I know they're just doing this just because they got paid for it. That's why, again, the higher ranked influencers, I think they're good to have, they do work. But I really do try to go for the micro influencers, because at least you legitimately know that they've tried the product, and they are talking truthfully from their experience with it. So, I definitely think that there are a lot of people out there that do struggle with it. And I think that's why when I kind of vet out the people I work with for content creators and influencers, I really try to find people that I think really do value the product and really do want to try it and understand it. And so, yes, I do think that it is a struggle, for sure. Because a lot of times people are just like, " Oh, this is just another ad being served to me, and I don't want to hear about it." So, I mean, it's always going to happen. I don't think there's any way to avoid it. But at the same time, you still need that kind of content and you still need it for your advertising. And on the other side, there is still people that will click and purchase it as well. So, it's like, it's kind of 50- 50.

Ryan Cramer: Those are nice people to have. I'll say it, it is nice to have people like that. But like I asked the question to understand where we are as a society. Again, it's generational. It's either male or female. There's so many different contexts of how you can look at data and how it's broken down and who your audience is, I get that. And so, I'm just kind of like working this out in my head constantly as you would almost say it's like a younger generation. Like, for example, my younger brothers and sisters, it's a big like, comment, if I don't get a lot of those things, I don't... There's a lot of negativity surrounded by either not getting that or you are getting that. Does that make sense?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: That's why I try to how does that translate over to brain focus? Is it good to have more likes and comments or brands getting sucked into that, and would rather focus on that versus the actual end of the day while they're in business is conversions, building up an audience base, a repeat business of customers, like an actual loyalty instead of arbitrary pat on the back, if that makes sense.

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah. I mean, honestly, it's kind of both. I don't know, it's hard. I don't necessarily know if anyone anymore has brand loyalty. I just don't. I think there's a lot of people, like you said, because so many people are getting consumed with so many things and so many products that I think maybe there might have brand loyalty, but a lot of people, I don't know, I just don't feel like a lot of people do have that kind of brand loyalty anymore. I think so many people are willing to try other things. And I think within this industry, within eCommerce, if you do have a very engaged social platform, your clients do or your customers really do like it, they do purchase, they subscribe, if you do have subscriptions or anything like that, and they do have it, I think obviously, that's great because their lifetime value is obviously going to stick. But I also think that those customers will still go out and try other products and also get their products as well and I guess have that sort of loyalty to them, too. But it's not necessarily like I only focus on one. I'll focus on brand loyalty for five people as opposed to one, if that makes sense.

Ryan Cramer: Right. So, I guess that's a good transition into what should your money, your investment as a brand is starting out. Your money can only go so far, and what you should focus into, acquisition of new customer, retaining current customer. It sounds to me like you would rather focus on new customer acquisition to keep filtering and that into because loyalty is not as strong as it once was when we were growing up, or even our parents' generation, whatever that might look like. Is that a fair assumption to say it's most often you should focus on new customer acquisition and less on retention?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, I definitely think that that's probably the biggest thing is that you should definitely focus on new customers. Because, again, there's always going to be that you will have those people who do like your product, but you still need to go out and find all those people that haven't heard of you. So, I think it's mostly customer acquisition.

Ryan Cramer: Amazing. What about international audiences? Do you dabble in any sort of multicultural or any sort of international audience? Or do a lot of your clients just focus on one marketplace, for example, like the United States, or Canada, or so on and so forth?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, I have a couple clients who are international and we do focus on international and US. Again, it's very different. It's different, but it's not. I mean, there's some things that I think, for the US, it's actually a little bit harder, because, again, there's so much stuff that's on the internet here. There's just so much that gets fed to you on a daily basis. And there's so many people who are consumers in this space. Whereas internationally, it's not as much of a struggle to kind of get the product in someone's face and have them purchase. From what I found with the clients I've worked with internationally, it is a little bit harder on the US side. A lot of times in international, they'll get a very high ROAS on that side. And then once they transition into US, it definitely drops off. And we have to figure out a new way to kind of reintroduce their product to the US. Because most of the time, that product is already here. And it has five brothers and sisters that are competing with it. And so, now we have to figure out-

Ryan Cramer: They're called me too products. Yeah, exactly.

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, exactly. Like now, you have to figure out, okay, how is this product so different from all these other ones. So, yeah, it definitely is a struggle for sure going from international to US.

Ryan Cramer: Right. And audiences, obviously, I love having to talk about localization and what factors into behavior or what resonates with a localized culture. For example, we talk about male, female, age, gender preference, but then also we can go as deep as religion or what language you're speaking or how you were brought up, almost like a very nuanced way of targeting individuals, which again, the likes of Facebook, Instagram, they allow you to target very specific on that. Is that a good idea to get as localized or as specific in advertisements? Or is it almost better to shoot your shotgun approach and see who's resonating with that brand and then narrow it from there?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, I usually like to go broad first. I do feel like it's not a bad idea to localize. But if you're starting out a new campaign, I definitely wouldn't localize just because really, at the end of the day, okay, if that doesn't work, you could end up actually paying more money because with all of those different things that kind of go into it, I mean, older audiences normally are more expensive. The CPAs are normally a lot higher, depending on the demographic and even the product. So many things depend on that kind of stuff. And so, I definitely think if you go shoot broad, at least then at that point, you're going to start to figure out what's working. And then you can kind of take those winning creatives and move them into kind of the separate smaller categories or interests or whatever you kind of want to narrow it down to.

Ryan Cramer: What's been the most surprising campaign that you've ever run in terms of you thought product XYZ was going to fit these demographics. Same with brand, they're like, yup, this is our audience. You look at data, and I love following data. It is like the number one, as we know, there's science behind it. There's no opinion behind. It's factual.

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, it's data. You can't fudge it really. What was the most surprising results that you found from a campaign, either via was a different customer that you thought it would resonate with or the conversions were happening differently than what you thought?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, I mean, honestly, that's happened so many times. I don't think-

Ryan Cramer: Just throwing out the window. Yeah, we don't know we're doing anymore.

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, I mean, again, I think that's what is so fun about what I do is that it's really most the time I'm like, yup, I think I know it and I got it. And then at the end of the day, I'm like, " Oh, well, maybe I don't know." There's so many variables that go into it. A lot of times I think, too, I have a couple skincare clients where things had happened where we put it into this campaign, and obviously, where we're targeting women, and we're like, " This is going to work great for women." I'm sorry, for men, just the product that it was for.

Ryan Cramer: True.

Lauren Schwartz: And it actually ended up being for women where more women were gravitating towards men. And we were like, well, we have a guy in the video. They're talking about the product, but for some reason, women are purchasing this, which is odd. But then it was kind of like as you kind of dissect it, you're like, " Oh, well, I'm sure more women purchase this for their husband," or it just maybe it speaks to them better. I don't know. There was just something about it, where I was like, " Yeah, this will totally resonate with men." And then it did not at all. It was all women based. I mean, it wasn't even 50-50. It was way more women gravitated towards it than men, which was odd.

Ryan Cramer: So, how fast are you iterating your creative based around that data? Is it after a month or a week or? I asked that because that story sounds so similar to ones where I listen to agencies where I hear them talk about, " Hey, listen, we had product XYZ. It was targeted to demographic this." For example, on Amazon, they had a crème brulée torch, very simple. If you don't know what crème brulée is, you finish off. You put sugar on this egg custard and you actually torch it, which criminalizes the sugar on top of crème brulée. Welcome to Ryan's cooking show, by the way. Yeah, it hardens and it cracks and it's most delicious dessert you can possibly ever have. It's terrible for your health. Anyways, they're selling it online targeted to home kitchen audiences, as we're all focused on that using for that specific use. But they actually found out a lot of people were buying them, men were buying them for cigar lighters, because it's a quick and easy and efficient way to light your cigar. Super fascinating. Then you start to A/ B test your creatives quickly and effectively. Then you start to become the number one ranked product on Amazon because of that. So, is use even for product, like you never thought about even just people using it for that specific use and then your campaign changes based on that, have you found?

Lauren Schwartz: Oh, totally. Yeah. There's definitely been times when we're focusing so hard on, okay, this is what the product is, this is what we need to focus on. And then as the data kind of rolls in, you're like, " Oh, wait a second," there's this whole other audience and demographic that we could definitely move towards. And then we can kind of take some of the learnings that we have there and basically just make iterations off of what is in the other campaign and just add it to that campaign and be like, " Okay, well, great. We can sell it to these people as well." Definitely, we make iterations on my team. We'll put it in the account, usually have about seven days, and then we start making iterations weekly. Just because, again, there's so many things that you can test and there's so many things that you can get into the account. That most the time, it's like, we need to make iterations pretty quickly so that we can always be testing and always learning.

Ryan Cramer: Right. And that's the most fascinating thing about marketing is how quickly your speedboat can switch directions instead of a cruiser, any sort of like, ship basically, capacity, they can't make those changes as quickly as someone like an agency you can to make those nuanced changes based upon where the wind is blowing you or which way the waves are taking you. But in that capacity, what's the best platform in your mind that allows for that functionality, conversion rate, all those things that we talked about the best ways to market an up and coming brand? Is there one platform that's really catering to people right now in that space?

Lauren Schwartz: I mean, honestly, Facebook and Instagram is always going to be, I think, the biggest driver for now. But I will say that TikTok is kind of an up and coming platform that I think a lot more brands are starting to realize that they do need to get on to it, because they've opened up a lot more for advertising. And a lot more people are seeing results from TikTok, as opposed to Facebook, and it's cheaper. So, it's definitely one of those things I think that right now, because Facebook and Instagram is so big, most people put all their money there. But definitely, diversifying the platform a bit and putting some spend into TikTok, I think, is something that people should be doing.

Ryan Cramer: I've definitely heard that and I would agree with that. I think that depending on your market, obviously, and who you're trying to target, that that is very much a consumable pieces of content that it's gravitating and capturing lots of individuals on as well. If you have to, Lauren, kind of in the tail end of this episode, as people are starting to think about strategies going into the rest of this year, going into Q3, we're in Q3 going into Q4, what tips do you have for people to not waste on their advertising dollar, but basically stand out effectively, efficiently, and then also, hopefully get conversions out of? Is there strategies that you can inform or educate our audience on?

Lauren Schwartz: I think, again, the biggest thing is gathering that user- generated content. I think that's something that a lot of brands should kind of start to... They should focus on, because it's not going away. It's only kind of coming to the forefront. It was like that in 2020. It's still like that in 2021. And I think kind of the thing that I would look at though now is more of those TikTok users, the micro influencers, who understand how to grab your attention a lot quicker than the people on kind of Instagram and Facebook. I mean, to be honest, those are my biggest things that I'm kind of telling my clients and it works, it really does work. And we are seeing a lot of results from that.

Ryan Cramer: Is there something that's keeping you up at night in terms of these platforms, if you will, of, I'm super nervous that they'll make a change on advertising XYZ or what's that fear that keeps you up at night in terms of working with these brands? Is there something that looms that you're afraid of? Or everything's kind of smooth sailing right now, in your-

Lauren Schwartz: Well, I mean, I definitely want Facebook to kind of figure out what the heck is going on on there.

Ryan Cramer: Figured out Facebook, geez.

Lauren Schwartz: Not making things so expensive. Because it is hard, especially for smaller brands. If they don't have a huge budget and they're having to spend a lot of money to even acquire customers, it's definitely a struggle, for sure. And a lot of times, people are just like, " Well, I don't have the money to put towards this. So, I have to get off of this platform." And it's like obviously, that's a struggle. So, for me, that's kind of the biggest thing is I just want Facebook to figure it out already, so that we can continue on. But, I mean, that's honestly the biggest thing really.

Ryan Cramer: Right. And also, maybe I would even tell people who asked that question, that's one that has a lot, it's almost like narrow focus, like be really good at Facebook, or really good on Instagram and really stick to one platform instead of, oh, what's the next audio only or video only platform that's going to be up and coming, to put a lot of money into that, don't be broad, but be good at one or two or three different things. However, you can consume your time and really stick with it. And if you're not on Snapchat for one reason or another, that may not be a terrible thing. That's one less thing you have to do. I didn't ask you about Pinterest and other kinds of ways... I'm actually pretty fascinated for clients like ours, who are it's more like content creation and educational, almost like a blog, but visually, sort of blog that can kind of point people to a purchase product XYZ here or with affiliates in that regards or influencers, what's kind of that strategy for Pinterest maybe that if people have lots of content or education to put out there, and they have all this database to do so would be a good strategy on Pinterest, for example, for you.

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, I do have a lot of clients actually on Pinterest. I think it's figuring out, again, like you said, don't go into so many different platforms all at once because you're not going to learn anything. So, the biggest thing for my clients is we always start out on Facebook and Instagram. We put the most of their money onto that platform first. We figure out what works on that platform. And then really, we take the learnings from Facebook and Instagram, and we translate it to each platform. So, every platform is obviously different. So, like you said, for Pinterest, it's the DIYers, it's the people who want to figure out how to upgrade their home or whatever. And so, it's kind of making it more of like a listicle type thing or a blog post. So, I changed my creatives to look like it's native to the feed, but yet, you're still wanting to kind of draw them in with like a big headline. Most of the time statics work better on Pinterest than video, what I've seen so far. And again, it's kind of pulling them into looking at this great outdoor furniture set and they want to live in that space and then they want to click on it, and then they find out more basically. So, I definitely start Facebook, Instagram, and then kind of move into the different platforms after you were to figure out what works and then kind of change it to match that platform.

Ryan Cramer: Excellent. Well, I think those are great tips. And I would agree with you, the more native that I'm clicking on, I think are more static images. Video almost seems like guaranteed it's an ad, no matter what.

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: Almost guaranteed. So, that being said, so, Lauren, I know with the Loft 325, which name came from, is that a ZIP code or what's that based from?

Lauren Schwartz: No, I actually started my business when I literally lived in a small loft and the address was 325.

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say, hopefully, that's not square footage of the loft because that would be-

Lauren Schwartz: I mean, it was crosstalk.

Ryan Cramer: No, I love that. Well, that's fantastic. So, if I have other questions from the listener right now and want to reach out to you besides following you on Instagram, which we have your handle there below your video, what would be the other ways to either engage with you or find out more about the company?

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah, so everything is the Loft 325f. So, email, my handles, the website is theloft325. com. And yeah, I mean, I'm always open to answering anybody's questions. So, yeah,

Ryan Cramer: Send them your way.

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: Okay. Well, yeah. And I think a lot of people are really excited to continuously talk about social media, the voices that people have in terms of the narratives they're able to easily put out there. But then also trying to figure out how to break through so much clutter out there. Like he said, we're in the digit so many different ways. And it's both fascinating, exciting, heartburn inducing industry we're all in. So, God bless every marketer. I'm in the same boat. So, I appreciate that. So, thank you so much for the time you're spending with us here on Crossover Commerce, and then just educating our audience on like, things to avoid, obviously, when working with ads, but then also some sort of your own thoughts and your projections and perceptions of the industry itself. So, I appreciate that.

Lauren Schwartz: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me, Ryan.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, no problem. Thank you so much, Lauren. And then everyone, again, thank you so much for listening to Crossover Commerce. Again, this is my corner of the internet, where I bring experts in the Amazon ecommerce, advertising logistics industry, it no matter what it is, we want to make sure that you as an entrepreneur if you're selling or even growing online, your business, we want to make sure that you get information in your inbox so that you can be able to elevate your business moving forward. That being said, thank you for listening to Episode 138 of Crossover Commerce. Tune in tomorrow, again, we'll be going live talking about more creative aspects to kind of tease it. We're going to be with Katy White, of why you should build your social media inhouse and seven agency, not exactly the topic we were talking about today with an agency, but we're going to be kind of going the opposite direction, what you could do inhouse and then till you're ready to work with likes of an agency that might be up there. So, that being said, thanks for tuning into Crossover Commerce. We'll catch you guys next time. Take care.


When looking at your ads, does your customer know what are you selling? Are your ads presenting a good hook? How are you capturing their attention in 15 seconds or less? Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Lauren Schwartz of The Loft 325 about the 3 creative mistakes you MUST avoid to get good ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).


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Today's Host

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🎙 Ryan Cramer - Host

|Partnership & Influencer Marketing Manager

Today's Guests

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Lauren Schwartz