eCommerce Podcast

Our podcast is raw, honest and damn right insightful, as we chat to some of the best minds in eCommerce

Hosted by Richard Hill

Ep 65:
Lauren Schwartz:
How to Make Creative That Stops The Scroll

If you take away one thing from this episode it’s DON’T underestimate the power of creativity!

Too many eCommerce stores don’t value the importance of their creative when it comes to advertising and Lauren’s here to explain exactly how you can use it to stand out from the competition and ultimately scale your business. 

She shares a whole host of tips that you can start implementing straight away, from what type of visual content works best, how to design for the platform you’re advertising on, where to get your inspiration and much, much more. 

eCom@One Presents:

Lauren Schwartz

Lauren is the Founder and Creative Director of The Loft 325 in California and works with brands to nail their creative advertising campaigns. Lauren started out in the eCommerce space 15 years ago focussing on web design and email marketing before finding her passion for paid advertising a few years later. 

She’s obsessed with developing creative strategies and experimenting with different creative techniques to work out what works best for all of the brands she works with in order to help them achieve winning results. 

In this episode, Lauren discusses exactly why getting your brand creative right is such an important part of your advertising strategy and how to design specifically for the platform you’re advertising on. She shares her tips specifically for advertising on Facebook and Pinterest as well as general strategies that work for any platform. Lauren also discusses where she gets her inspiration from so that she’s producing up-to-date and relevant content that draws people in, as well as the methodology she uses to produce captivating content. 

Listen in to find out how your brand can spark fresh new ideas for your creative, as well as making sure you’re designing visuals that your target audience can’t refuse. 

Topics Covered:

01:32 – How Lauren got into creative advertising

02:36 – Why eCommerce stores should put time and effort into their creative

05:07 – Quick wins for Facebook creative

08:10 – How Lauren’s scaled businesses with creative advertising

11:04 – Lauren’s creative formula for video ads

14:27 – The biggest mistakes eCommerce stores make with their creative

17:19 – Using the AIDA method for persuasive advertising

19:15 – How to leverage Pinterest for advertising success

21:15 – The future of TikTok for business

23:51 – Lauren’s top creative tools

25:24 – Book recommendation 

 

Richard Hill:
Hi there. I'm Richard Hill, the host of eCom@One, welcome to our 65th episode. In this episode, I speak with Lauren Schwartz, founder and creative director at The Loft325. Lauren works with top brands, utilizing Facebook, Snapchat, and many, many other social platforms, specifically, specializing in the creative side of the platforms, the creative. We talk about why it's so important for stores to focus time and resources, the creative elements of ads, some quick hit ideas to stimulate those creative juices and get those ideas flowing. We taught Pinterest and TikTok, and also so much more. If you enjoy this episode, please make sure to subscribe, so you're always the first to know when an episode is released. Now let's head over to this fantastic episode.

Richard Hill:
How are you doing Lauren?

Lauren Schwartz:
Good. Thank you for having me.

Richard Hill:
No problem at all. Thanks for joining us on eCom@One podcast.

Lauren Schwartz:
Excited to be here.

Richard Hill:
We were just having our weather chat, weren't we? We always have to start with a little bit of weather chat, and see how we're doing around the globe. And yeah, you've got, definitely doing better than we are in the UK here.

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. It'll be nice today.

Richard Hill:
So, how did you get into creative advertising? How did you find your passion for creative and advertising?

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah, I started in the eCommerce space about 15 years ago and literally did website design, landing pages, excuse me, and email marketing. And I started working in an agency and that's kind of where I really kind of figured out that advertising and paid advertising was something that I was super-passionate about just because there's so many things that you have to think about when you're actually making ad creative for businesses that really that's kind of where it all started. It was just kind of more, like it was kind of like a fun game to me, figuring out what works for people and what doesn't work, and it's just, it really tests your creative abilities. So that's really how I got started was working at an agency and just figuring out that this was fun.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, you enjoyed it, which is important.

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah.

Richard Hill:
So, obviously working in an agency to having your own agency, obviously that made that transition. And I think quite a lot of our listeners will relate to that where they've maybe worked for an e-com store and then they'll work doing something to do with eCommerce and then the next thing they know, they've set up, they've installed or I paid for the subscription for Shopify or whatever it may be. And then next thing you know, they're doing a million pounds a month or whatever it might be, maybe not overnight, usually in time. So I think obviously our listeners are very much focused on eCommerce. Why would you say it's so important for eCommerce companies to focus the time and effort on that creative side when it comes to ads? I think, going into interfaces and creating ads relatively straightforward to get an ad up and running, obviously making profitable is a whole nother game. So why would you say, why do you need to spend the time and effort on the creative side?

Lauren Schwartz:
I think the biggest thing is especially for eCommerce stores, or eCommerce in general, the first thing you notice when you're looking at ad creatives or ads is the creative and that's really like the thing that stops you in your feed, stops the scroll. It's super-important to get people to be interested in your product and your brand. And the first way to do that is obviously creative. So, it is super-important to invest in your creative, because that is really what's going to stop people.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. Yeah. I think that's a lot of people miss that bit. I think they sort of using stock photographs or stock video and just saying, "Oh yeah, we found this new targeting and then we're going to run an ad and we use the same creative," or there's no investment there in the creative. We just get very tired very quickly don't they, I think?

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah. And people are a lot more tech savvy and just, I feel ad savvy where they can spot an ad quickly in their feed. And if it looks too much like an ad, they're just going to scroll right past it. And so, I think, making sure that you're always designing for the platform you're on as well is always really important too, which again, some eCommerce stores, they just think, like you said, you can take stock footage, you can take kind of just a random image and kind of throw it in there and think that it's going to work, but there really is a strategy to designing for the platforms and investing in that creative and really understanding the platform and how it works, I think is why you should invest in that for sure.

Richard Hill:
So I think, I know a lot of our listeners will be running Facebook ads as an example, which is sort of quick hit, sort of go to things that they should be looking at specifically for creating creative for Facebook ads.

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah. So I think for Facebook again, it's definitely, you don't want to be served an ad. And so again, I think making things look really native to the platform is always really beneficial. The biggest thing that I've noticed, especially for Facebook and Instagram is user-generated content. It's definitely something that people, they see, and it looks like someone's talking about just a product that they found and it again, it just looks like someone's sharing information or sharing something that they found. So I think that that's something that again, a lot of businesses I work with, it takes a while to kind of get them to do content creation and user-generated content. But hands down it is the best formula for ad creatives.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. It sounds so obvious when you say it, but I think [inaudible 00:05:53] yeah, doesn't it? There just doesn't, I think there's too much of too many, almost like too polished of a creative. Whereas if you've got a real life testimonial or feedback or the product being used, a video of something happening in a, someone that's bought the product, are unboxing it and using it, using it, the children are using it, the family are using it, whatever. Obviously, you have different products, different things. It's just believable, isn't it?

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah.

Richard Hill:
Because it's real, that they can touch, they can sort of see that's the sort of thing. I have to have admit, I'm a bit of a, this is really geeky, but I'm really into, I don't know. In fact, shall I go there? Yeah, let's go there. So I'm really into my grass, as in my garden grass that is. And the adverts I'm seeing about all the different sort of toys you can get to improve your grass, some of the ads I've seen are just really boring are box shots of the products. But then, when you've got some enthusiastic guy, who's clearly just brought the product, talking about, "Wow, look at this, it did this, it did that." Maybe they might be a bit staged some of them, but some of them clearly are sort of user-generated and that user-generated content, yeah. You buy in, you buy in don't you? "This guy's a bit like me, he's a bit of a geek when it comes to his grass. Do you know what? I'll give it a go."

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah, exactly. And I think that's why they do so well, because again, obviously, probably someone's either they either paid them or they're just talking about the product, but really though, if you give a genuine, give genuine testimonial and genuine feedback, people are going to understand and be like, "Oh yeah, I can relate to that or I can understand how that person felt or this, it benefits them that way. This is going to benefit me this way." So yeah, it's definitely the, like I said, it's the best form of content that I use on a daily basis.

Richard Hill:
Okay. So you've worked on a lot of campaigns. You said you've been, you've been at this 15 years, mostly running your own place for quite a while now, what would you say some of the best campaigns you've worked on and what were the reasons they generated the best results?

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah. So actually, when I worked at The Agency, we had a brand that was just starting out and they had a lot of backing behind them, a lot of money backing behind them. So it was something that they, again, they thought like, "Oh, well we have all this money. We can just kind of throw whatever out there and it's going to work." But really they, it was a women's healthcare brand. And I feel like for something like that, you need to really talk to your audience. And so, for us, when I started working on the account, I took a look at all the creatives. And honestly, the biggest thing that I saw was that I'm a woman and I know the needs that I have. And for me it was just kind of dumbing it down a little bit and just really kind of thinking like, "Okay, well, why would I want this product? Why would I want to use it?" And for them, it was really just taking their imagery and putting very, kind of in your face headlines that kind of grabbed people's attention. It wasn't even videos.

Lauren Schwartz:
It wasn't anything that was super-crazy. It was just a still image with really in your face copy, that was kind of like, "Oh, whoa," shocking a bit, but it worked. We started out with them, they were spending, I don't know, maybe 10K a month. And we boosted them over a million dollars within the first year, which and again, I think one of the ads that we did is still running, because it's just super-effective. And so, that was probably one of the first campaigns that I worked on, that I was I took it from nothing to a huge growth and it was really exciting. So again, sometimes it doesn't necessarily have to be this crazy production. Sometimes it could just be a really nice static image with a really in your face headline that could essentially make it so that people kind of stop and then want to check you out.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. Yeah. Brilliant. There's nothing more exciting, isn't it? When they're taking a brand, they're spending say 10K or 100 and whatever grand a year, and then turning that into a million dollars, million pounds. It's so [crosstalk 00:10:27].

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah. Yeah. It was awesome. It was definitely my first time where I was like, "Oh my gosh, I really helped a brand." It was so exciting for me.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I love it. Absolutely love it. So I think I'm sort of coming up with a formula for creating creative is always a struggle I think. I know when we look at accounts and speak to brands, I do think that stores really struggle to come up with creative ideas. Would you say there's a formula for creating sort of, especially on video I think, is always a thing that, if people haven't got that facility or ability in-house, do you have a proven formula or a formula that you'll go to sort of strategy structure, formula, framework or whatever you want to call it to build out Facebook ads using video?

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah, I think, again, the great thing about Facebook, well, I mean, before the iOS 14 update, it was great. Now there's lots of issues. But I think the best thing is really just kind of capturing people's attention, especially for videos. So the thing that I actually look for now is TikTok. So a lot of people are really against TikTok, but if you go onto that platform, you get sucked into the video content that these people produce, the creators that are on there and they just know how to stop the scroll. And so for me, a lot of the inspiration that I pull for some of my Facebook ads for video is actually looking on TikTok, looking at some of the hashtags of what people are actually doing, what some of the trends are, and then taking those trends and translating them for Facebook.

Lauren Schwartz:
And again, they know how to stop the scroll. I mean, if you talk to anyone who goes on TikTok, they're like, "Oh, I was sucked in and I went down this rabbit hole, been on there for hours." And it's true. I mean, I'll be honest. I look on there all the time and I'm like, "Oh, shoot," it's been an hour and I've been not doing anything. So, they're just really good with that sort of thing. So for me, I always, I look at the trends I look at what their competitors are doing. It's really actually a lot of research. So before I start a brand, I look at all their assets. I look at their competitors. I look and see what exactly they're trying to showcase. And I really look at all their videos and try to see if I can pull out, what are the benefits? What are their value props? There's definitely things that you need to tell your audience. And if you're not sharing that information, then people are just going to scroll right past you.

Richard Hill:
Looking at this Facebook ads library specifically. So look at what your competitors are doing and then analyzing sort of headlines and copy, calls to action. Obviously, the imagery.

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah. It usually takes me about a week to kind of go through and even start a client, because I do take a lot of time to research everything and make sure that I know who their client is, I know who their customer is, and figure out who their audience is and really just kind of get all of that information from the beginning, so that the first thing we can do is just really start to create a test, what we think would work for their brand.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. Fantastic. Fantastic. So a lot of eCommerce stores, a lot of ad creatives, a lot of ads live over them over the years. What are some of the biggest mistakes you see e-com stores particularly making when it comes to creating their ads? What are the sort of go-to, "Ah, they're doing that, they're doing that,"? I think, when you get access to a new ad account, if you've got these things that go, "Oh, they're making this mistake, this mistake," that our listeners can avoid hopefully. What would you reckon? What would you say?

Lauren Schwartz:
Yes, definitely. There's a lot of them. I think the biggest mistake for most brands that I notice is actually taking their features and their benefits and putting them into one. So they definitely are very different. And I think, a lot of brands, because they're so involved in their own company, it's hard for them sometimes to take a step back and really figure out what it is they're trying to say and how they're trying to convey it. And if you do have a product, I mean most products have a feature and most of them have benefits and really dissecting what is what I think is really important. A feature is, how does it work? How does it function? What are the things that you need to do as far as is there, I don't know for a vacuum cleaner or something, what are the parts, oh, whatever.

Lauren Schwartz:
And then the benefits is, obviously, how does it benefit me? What is it going to do for my life? How is it going to make my life easier? And a lot of times, brands that I first start out with, they put both of those together and they try to get it all in one ad. And it's just so much information for someone to digest in less than 15 seconds that it's people are going to just miss what you're trying to say. So that's definitely one of the biggest things I noticed and not showing your product within the first three seconds. I mean, I always tell my clients, you have less than a second to get someone's attention. And the first thing you need to do is put that product right in their face in the first three seconds, because if not, they're not going to take, five, 10, 15 seconds to watch your ad. If it doesn't interest them, they're just going to go right past you. So those are I think, the two biggest mistakes that I see when I'm looking at ad accounts, for start.

Richard Hill:
So I would say pause right now, guys, if you're listening in, those video ads you've got running, are the products that are there, we've got to wait 10 minutes or five seconds or more, I think that's just a real quick one, isn't it? A real quick one to check. So obvious really in that, if you don't see that product quickly and those feature benefits, we talk about features and benefits a lot on the podcast. And I think, they do get mixed up or they don't get split. So, yeah. Great. So, I don't know how to even pronounce it, AIDA, AIDA.

Lauren Schwartz:
AIDA.

Richard Hill:
AIDA, AIDA. AIDA, AIDA. What is AIDA and how does it work in practical sense?

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah. So AIDA is actually a very old marketing term and I mean, I think, Ogilvy actually was the one who came up with it. I can't remember, but it's definitely a very old term. So it's action, interest, desire, I'm sorry. Attention, interest, desire and then action. So attention is obviously what grabs your attention. Interest is obviously, am I interested in this product? Am I not interested in this product? Desire is kind of more like the benefits. How does it benefit me? Is it an actionable type of item? And then obviously, the action is the call to action. Shop now, learn more. So it definitely is translated into digital advertising now. We definitely try to focus on, when we're creating these creatives. Are we kind of following the ADA model? It is such an old term and it is very relevant. And I think it's just more now of how fast you get people to actually take all of those, that framework and do it as quickly as possible. I, a lot of times say we have to get them in less than a second.

Lauren Schwartz:
And if you don't grab their attention in less than a second, then interest, desire and action is kind of out the window. Nothing's really going to happen if you can't get their attention first. So yeah, it definitely is. It's an old model, but it definitely does apply still.

Richard Hill:
Brilliant. Yeah, it makes sense. Makes sense. So Pinterest. Pinterest is not really something personally I spend any time on. I'm better off saying out loud, but it's true. But I know it really is from listening to some of my team, it really seems to be a bit of a hidden gem when it comes to eCommerce. How can eCommerce stores leverage the platform? What sort of tips would you give for Pinterest?

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah. Again, it's always making sure that you're designing for the platform. So Pinterest is very much the platform of DIY-ers, kind of those home tutorials, any sort of inspiration. So for when I designed for that platform, I actually mostly use static imagery, because that is what as you're scrolling through that feed, that's kind of what you're looking for. You're looking for that really great, lay down or you're looking for that really nice house tour or whatever. You're just really kind of looking at those images and really wanting to see like, "Oh, okay, this looks really nice." And like, "How do I put that into my home or my life?" Or whatever. And so for Pinterest, it's definitely a lot of static imagery that I use.

Lauren Schwartz:
And I also use really big headlines again. Things that are, one is, I work for, I have a client who does outdoor furniture and a lot of the ads that we run on there is inspirational tips for your outdoors or the best outdoor furniture for any weather. Definitely that is things that people will kind of, as they're scrolling through they're like, "Oh, I live in, a really cold climate." This furniture is going to be the best one. Like, "Oh, what is it?" And then you click on it and then, it takes you to that product. So it definitely is again, designing for the feed and designing for that platform is very, very important.

Richard Hill:
Brilliant, brilliant. So you touched on TikTok already, but what would you say a year from now, a couple of years from now, where do you see TikTok going? Where do you see the, the benefit and the focus for eCommerce stores?

Lauren Schwartz:
I don't see TikTok going anywhere. Again, I think some people are still kind of, hesitant about TikTok, but honestly, with the iOS 14 update, there's been so many issues with reporting on Facebook. And I know they're trying to fix that. I know things are trying to get solved, but a lot of my clients right now are actually going on to TikTok and going to that platform, because they see the value in all the people that are on TikTok. And I think just the buying power. I mean, there are a lot, I think, when you think of TikTok, you think of, "Oh, it should have dancing. It's just dancing." And these teenagers, hopping on there doing whatever, but really there's actually a lot of people on TikTok, a lot of older people are on TikTok and they have that buying power and a lot of times too, even the teenagers who are on there, they have buying power as well.

Lauren Schwartz:
And so, I think it's just one of those platforms that especially for ads, it's still a little bit of the wild, wild west, but I am seeing more and more people going into TikTok, because they know that that's a platform that is going to do really well. And it's something that they should definitely be on for sure.

Richard Hill:
I think a lot of people here in the UK sort of agency-wise jumped on the sort of TikTok center, a lot of emails around sort of saying, "Oh, do you want to sign up as an ad provider?" A lot of people sort of massage that to say, "Oh, we're an ad, we're a TikTok partner." "So hang on a minute. You're not a TikTok partner. You got the same email that the other 10,000 or 50,000 agencies got." And then they were shouting about the fact that they're big TikTok partners and then they've gone very quiet, I've noticed these last few months, because the reality of [inaudible 00:22:56] and the reality of, somebody has got to foot the bill at the end of the day. So it's been a few interesting things going on here, but I profess not to be anything I don't use TikTok myself. Do you have an account personally? Do you use it? Do you upload?

Lauren Schwartz:
Honestly, I just use it to scroll it and see [crosstalk 00:23:15].

Richard Hill:
Just to look. Yeah, no, I probably should have to be fair in all honesty. I probably should have to look of course, to look at, to see what's going on, but I haven't at the moment. Right, so going back to the creative piece, I think so a lot of great ideas of how to come up with ideas, but then when it comes down to actually creating the actual creative, the actual video, the actual imagery, have you got any tools that you would recommend to our listeners to use, tools that can help the process speed the process up, simplify the process?

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah, so obviously I'm a designer and so by trade I use Adobe suite. That's my main go-to I use Premiere and After Effects, but there are a lot of times, if you are trying to make something look native to the feed, I truthfully use TikTok. I do use TikTok to create ads where I just edit everything. I shoot it on my iPhone, I edit everything in the app and then I just save it. And then again, same with Instagram Reels, but there's also another really great tool called CapCut, which again, it's an app that you can download and you can shoot everything on your iPhone. And it has so many of the same things from TikTok. I actually think someone from TikTok created it so that everything looks really native to the platform. So again, I use that a lot as well, where I just edit on my phone, because it just makes it so easy. And I mean, iPhones have such great cameras already that you don't necessarily need to pay a high production studio. So yeah, those are really kind of the tools that I use.

Richard Hill:
Fantastic. Well, thanks Lauren. I like to end every episode on a book recommendation. Do you have a book that you'd recommend to our listeners?

Lauren Schwartz:
Ooh, I'm reading one actually right now it's called, Think Like a Monk, which is totally random, but it's actually a really, really good book. And it just it's about a man who he was a monk for, I think three or four years and decided to live that lifestyle and then really take all the learnings that he had from it and kind of apply it to his life. And it's honestly, it's a great, it was a great read and I definitely think everyone should take the time to read it, because it definitely is, especially in this world of marketing, it's a good way to kind of reassess the way that you think about things in your life.

Richard Hill:
I like the sound of that already. I can see it happening. Simplifying your life and getting a lot of, I would imagine, I don't obviously, not read the book, but I could imagine. Yeah, that sounds, yeah, that's going, that's the next thing I'll be doing after we stopped the episode? Well, thanks Lauren. For the guys that are listening, want to find out more about yourself, more about what you do, what's the best way to reach out to you?

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah. So my website is The Loft325. That's my website. And then Twitter actually is also a really great way to reach out. It's just Loft325. So those are probably the best ways.

Richard Hill:
Lovely. Well thank you for being a guest on eCom@One. And I look forward to possibly catching up with you again, maybe in a year or so, and we'll see how TikTok are doing.

Lauren Schwartz:
Yeah, thank you.

Richard Hill:
See you. Bye.

Richard Hill:
Thank you for listening to the eCom@One eCommerce podcast. If you enjoyed today's show, please hit subscribe and don't forget to sign up to our eCommerce newsletter, and leave us a review on iTunes. This podcast has been brought to you by our team here at eComOne, the eCommerce marketing agency.

Book Your Free Consultation

Let us find out more about what you're trying to achieve with your store and let's go from there.

Let's Get Started