Merged Marketing Podcast

196 – Harnessing the Power of Paid Ads and User-Generated Content with Ashley Wright

In our episode 196 today, we discuss harnessing user-generated content’s power to grow your brand. Our subject matter expert today is Ashley Wright, coming to us from London, UK.
Ashley’s marketing career background: He has been in marketing for the last 18 years. He gained vast digital marketing experience by dealing with big brands like Adidas, Reebok, and American Airlines. This helped his entrepreneurial spirit and thus, he launched his own marketing agency.

What he did for the big brands: Over six years, Ashley harnessed the power of user-generated content to grow such big brands like Adidas, Reebok and American Airlines. Working at Adidas, Ashley specialized in digital marketing for European markets, especially the UK. He dealt with large budget paid socials and brand awareness, often spending between 8-10 million euros a month for marketing efforts. He also handled product launches and pushed the product to grow their sales.
Trends in paid ad space today: Our subject matter expert reckons that the growth in technology has brought about a big shift in the way of doing things. He argues that the advent of artificial intelligence has grown the capacity of individuals and businesses to harness the power of user-generated content for growth of their brands. Going forward, Ashley says that the digital marketing space will become increasingly competitive. The number of marketers on social paid platforms responsible for many user-generated content that compete for user attention.
Why direct consumer brands are struggling today: Ashley says that direct consumer brands are struggling to perform because of the changing business landscape. This is characterized by the shrinking consumer purchasing power due to inflation and global recession. Also, the increasingly competitive business landscape translates that only a few direct consumer brands with superior capacity of harnessing the power of user-generated content are able to convert more leads into paying customers. Our guest also argues that some DCBs are increasing aggressiveness is counter-productive because it only inflates their customer acquisition costs. In addition, he decries the failure of DCBs to focus on demand generation first instead of chasing return of investment. Due to poorly developed ads, direct consumer brands are also failing to grab the attention of potential consumers.
What makes a brand’s user-generated content stand out: Our subject matter expert explains that brands with dynamic user-generated content are able to stand out and thus get more clicks on social media platforms. This translates to the fact that it is crucial for a brand to adopt multi-faceted messaging by developing content specific for a particular social media platform.(Individual users want to see something different). However, the decries the tendency of many brands to try many strategies instead of focusing on a few strategies approaches that would deliver the desired outcomes. Also, Ashley calls out the lack of patience among some marketers who are often eager for quick positive results with their marketing efforts.
Best practices for testing what is working: Ashley explains that he prefers testing individual variables at a time to figure out what is spectacular with it or how to improve it. He adds that they often utilize dynamics when running ads and discourage the use of many variables, ad sets or campaigns which become challenging in testing. (If you give your platform enough creativity, it will do the heavy lifting for you).
What is user-generated content (UGC): Ashley explains that user-generated content entails utilizing influencers or creators to develop befitting content for a brand or its product. It includes targeted ads using brand ambassadors in commercials. A brand can harness user-generated content organically through a scripted story targeting a specific consumer. He says that user-generated content is effective because it resonates with the user by offering desired solutions to their problem. Ashley further explains that he develops various ad sets and uses the algorithms of social platforms to provide visibility to the targeted audience.
Best practices for user-generated content on social media: Ashley underscores the need for your user-generated content to have a strong attention-grabbing hook. He says that the secret lies in proper testing so that you develop content that captures the audience’s attention quickly. He further explains that Facebook is most suitable for more conversions, while TikTok is superior for organic conversions. (Your user-generated content should aim to educate and entertain). Ashley says it is important to create your user-generated content with a particular social platform in mind. He initially places ads on TikTok to leverage its reach before utilizing Instagram reels and shorts. Furthermore, he deploys the “spider-web strategy,” using various influencers to post the message on their accounts to increase visibility and interest.

Time codes
(0:06) Introduction of today’s topic and guest expert
(0:35) Ashley’s marketing career background
(01:40) What he did for the big brands
(03:22) Trends in paid ad space today
(05:14) Why direct consumer brands are struggling today
(09:54) What makes a brand’s user-generated content stand out.
(11:47) Best practices for testing what is working
(14:13) What is user-generated content (UGC)
(19:16) Best practices for user-generated content on social media
(25:19) Ashley’s choice of his brand representative

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