User-generated content is taking over “traditional” content


Don’t just take our word for it, look into the (recent) research.

User-generated content is becoming increasingly popular: A recent study found that Americans now spend nearly as much time streaming user-generated videos on YouTube, TikTok, and other online platforms as they do watching traditional television.

To be more specific, Americans 13 years and older spent 16% of their weekly media time watching UGC videos. That figure was 18% for traditional TV content.

Bad news for traditional media: News engagement fell off a cliff in 2021, according to a recent Axios article.

It seems people are less interested in politics and more interested in, well, people. (Amazing!)

What this means for you: As marketers, we are constantly on the lookout for places where people are spending more of their time and placing our ads there.

Is there any emerging UGC content in your niche? If so, can you work out a deal with the creators?

This can pay off handsomely, especially if the UGC is a podcast, which brings us to our second article…


Don’t let software pick where your ads will show up

Not in podcasts, at least.

The reason: The targeting abilities of podcast ads are still limited. Several people have complained to The Verge about this.

Some real-life examples: A children’s podcast advertised a TV show called “The Sex Lives of College Girls.”

An Exxon ad appeared on a science podcast advocating green energy. Ouch, and ouch.

Before software, things were pretty simple: You’d simply get in touch with the podcast host and they would read your ad directly.

Your ad would then stay live “forever,” meaning as long as the podcast was available online.

Dynamic ad insertion changed this. Instead of your ads appearing “forever” on a podcast episode, they would change dynamically for each listener.

The idea is to turn podcast ads into something like Facebook Ads:

  1. You pick your target.
  2. The software picks the podcasts to show your ad to.

And you’re golden.

There is a “small” problem: Podcast ad targeting is far from accurate.

Spotify’s ability to show your ads to the right people is inferior to Facebook’s, for example, which has much more data about its users.

The Crew’s Recommendation: Try negotiating direct contracts with podcast hosts until programmatic podcast targeting improves.


“R u down for a drink?”


That’s probably how you talk with your friends and loved ones. And that’s more or less how you should text your customers.

SMS should be personalized, engaging, and conversational to achieve maximum ROI.

For instance:

  • 60% of consumers are more likely to buy if they get a personalized offer
  • 49% of consumers would opt-out if the texts they receive are too long
  • 52% of consumers prefer when brands include direct links in their texts

This data comes to us thanks to Yotpo.

An SMS marketing platform that empowers fast-growing DTC brands like Princess Polly, Parks Project, iFLY, and more.

And they want to help you craft captivating SMS campaigns that create connections, increase customer LTV, and maximize your sales.

For free! How? Their SMS Analyzer tool will analyze your SMS texts before you hit send and uncover optimization opportunities.

They analyzed thousands of SMS messages. And they know what drives sales. So, before you hit send, you can be confident that you’re squeezing every dollar from your SMS campaigns.

Try it free and maximize your ROI.


Shein is beating Amazon at its own game


It’s rare to hear that someone is beating Amazon, but there’s a name you might have seen mentioned a few times before: Shein.

They are now one of the world’s largest fashion companies. It was founded in 2012, and its history is unclear.

What is clear is just how big they’ve become with a reported $10B in sales in 2020.

Here’s one of the “secrets” for Shein: They are more like Amazon than other fashion retailers like H&M or Zara.

They work with 6k+ Chinese clothing factories, and those factories are Amazon’s loss.

In 2013 Amazon aggressively recruited Chinese manufacturers.

However, issues such as complaints about counterfeit, dangerous products, and fake product reviews put a dent in Amazon’s relationship with these factories.

This opened the door for Shein to partner with those factories (and more).

But instead of copying Amazon, Shein tested concepts already popular in the Chinese market like gamification, live streams, flash sales, and more.

Shein also has insane product churn, with 70% of products being listed on the website in the last three months.

To put things into perspective, that number is 40% for H&M and 53% for Zara.

How can they do such a high volume of styles? Their software.

It does a great job at connecting with manufacturers. So much so that even a student could start designing clothing very quickly.

If you have a fashion brand, this piece is a must-read. You won’t be able to replicate what Shein does, but we’re sure you will learn valuable lessons.

Oh, and something we found funny: Shein sells many of its products on Amazon… Ironic?


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Why your organic Instagram and YouTube traffic could triple in the coming months


They’re taking inspiration from TikTok. Let’s explore how.


August 5, 2020 – For Instagram, it all started with them announcing Reels.

This was the first feature where the social network was showing you content primarily from people you don’t follow.

One year later, things started to speed up…

June 25, 2021 – Instagram is testing putting suggested posts ahead of your friends. Algorithms > people you follow.

June 30, 2021 – The Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, confirmed this. You will see more “recommended” content from people you don’t follow.

What’s likely to follow: More of this. If you post content, you could go viral organically on Instagram like on TikTok.


September 14, 2020 – YouTube releases Shorts, it’s a TikTok clone.

A few minor updates in the meantime. And in the same fashion as Instagram, one year later:

July 8, 2021 – YouTube announces a “New For You” tab. (No way this was inspired by TikTok’s “For You Page.”)


E-COMMERCE: After analysing 181 detailed founder interviews, we created a deep dive containting the most effective customer acquisition channels for e-commerce founders. All part of our Insights membership. Read the free preview here.*

TWITTER: MoPub is no longer owned by Twitter. The social media company sold MoPub for 1 billion dollars.

E-COMMERCE: Social > Traditional. Spending on social e-commerce is expected to reach $1.2 trillion globally by 2025.

FACEBOOK: Here’s one interesting side effect of Facebook’s recent ad targeting limitations.

TIKTOK: Are you ignoring audio in your video clips? TikTok comes to the rescue with some useful audio guidelines for short clips.

*This is a sponsored post.


I pass before the sun, yet make no shadow. What am I?

You can find the solution here.


Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things marketers like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

Emoji drug decoder


In today’s “Not Sure it’s April Fools” issue, we have the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announcing that they’ve released an “emoji drug decoder.”

This insightful document (which many believe is primarily sourced from 4chan) contains a list of emojis and the drugs with which they are associated.

A tree, for example, is associated with marijuana, a rocket with “high potency,” and a mushroom, well, with a mushroom.

Last but not least, the maple leaf code represents a universal symbol for all drugs (which made some Canadians feel either very angry or very proud).

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