Do you know to create ad creative that converts? Like, really know?
As UGC creators, when working with the big dogs you often play an isolated role in the ad creation process. You provide your footage, and the creative team bring the ad to life.
By understand exactly how they do that, you can replicate the process when creating content for the s
Lucky for you, the co-founder of Adcrate, a multi-million dollar creative agency that specializes in direct response ads, has laid out his blueprint. Alex Cooper, is a 2x agency founder who has worked with 1000s of creators, and delivered even more content.
In his agency A-Z for creating UGC-style content, Alex outlines four components.
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First up, sourcing. For agencies who don’t have a roster of UGC creators they exclusively work with, they’ll need to find creators to work with (ie, you).
Alex and Adcrate find the most success when they find the creators on the platform that they are getting content for. For example, if they’re looking for content for Meta, they’ll look on Instagram. If they’re looking for content on TikTok, find them on TikTok. They’ll utilize hashtags and niche references to find the right people.
Ask yourself this: when was the last you posted your UGC content on a Meta platform? I know I’m guilty of focusing my social presence on Twitter and TikTok, overlooking Instagram completely. Little did I know, I could be missing a huge opportunity to reach agency clients like Alex.
Alex has also found a lot of good creatives through Backstage, a UGC platform for actors to sell their services, which has also opened up to UGC creators over the last few years. He find’s it hit and miss, as there are a lot of actors who aren’t used to filming themselves, so might need a little bit of direction when working with them. If you’re confident in your acting abilities, this may be the perfect place to fill that gap and solve that problem.
Similarly, he’s tried platforms such as B-roll and Collabstr, but I haven’t really found very good results through there. With the prices that they charge, they don’t have the margin to be able to attract and maintain top talent.
✅ Have a presence on TikTok and Instagram. It doesn’t need to be anything wild, but you do need to have profiles optimized for search to allow you to be found.
✅ Join Backstage, but only if you’re confident in your ability to deliver as you’re going up against actors.
✅ Twitter, B-Roll and Collabstr don’t fill agencies with hope. Concentrate your efforts elsewhere.
The second part of the process he covers is script writing.
Adcrate approach script writing as a team huddle: when a brand comes on board, they’ll sit down as a team and cover hooks, concepts, and angles. They’ll think about what they would do if production and budget was unlimited (the dream).
What are some of the craziest ideas they can come up with?
The ideas don’t neccessarily even have to be crazy, but they just need to move away from the mundane formula that is often used for UGC style ads.
And it’s not just a brainstorm for angles, but for hooks and visuals, which is equally as important. When people are scrolling through social media, they are not there to watch ads. They’re there to be entertained.
Every day, the average person scroll’s the height of the Statue of Liberty just in ads. If you’re asking me, that’s an inconvenience.
People don’t care about your products. But they might care about what it could do for them. Lead with that.
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Some of the most effective hooks have been satisfying and/or unique visuals and direct call-outs. And if you could combine the both, you have an incredibly powerful hook.
At the end of the day, it’s not the goal of the hook to sell you on the product. It’s to grab your attention, and then the rest of the video sells you on the product.
✅ Don’t edit like Mr Beast just because everyone else does. Consider you’re target audience and what will fit naturally on their feed.
✅ Educate yourself on attention-hacking methods.
The third step of the process is shooting.
This is where you get to do your think. Alex shares his top tips for success in the Adcrate Creators Guide to filming and the main takeaway here is clean, simple and high quality. You’re not reinventing the wheel when shooting your content, you’re simply getting effective shots.
You should be filming with the rear camera on your iPhone (or Android, but it’s not preferred). If you’re filming a talking head, use a tripod, if it’s a selfie style video, hold the device. Ensure you’ve got your recording settings at ‘1080p at 120fps’ and HDR video is off.
Lighting: Natural light is preferred: film during golden hour and avoid low-light or lights directly above your face. You’re looking for a clear seperation for the background and light directing the viewer where to look. No sun? Use artifcial lights. Bite the bullet and buy a $20 light from Amazon, it’ll pay off in the long run.
Audio: Alex recommends keeping it as easy as possible. Use the built-in voice memo app on your phone. Hold the bottom of your phone close to your mouth, around 4-5 inches and get going! Keep your tone aligned, if you’re highlighting a pain point, add emphasis to the trigger words. When you’re speaking of a solution, emphasise the positive outcome words. Filming under a blanket/in a closet space to eliminate background noise!
Safe Zone: The safe zone is where no icons/texts from the TikTok app show. You need to always keep the safe zone in mind and ensure any important parts of your videos stay within this space, otherwise it can be blocked by the app’s icons/text areas.
Using TikTok Effects: If you’re using TikTok effects, create a ‘burner’ account. This lets you keep a cleaner workflow and publish separate clips. Publish your content after editing, then use a tool to download the clip.
✅ Don’t over complicate filming. Get to grips with the basics of the process and creative high quality footage that you can then manipulate in different ways.
✅ Lighting is everything, get that right and the rest falls into place.
The final step of the process is editing.
If you’re working with agencies or larger brands you might not need to touch this – you’ll only need to provide raw footage. But what about the smaller brands? For independent businesses, sometimes they’ll want a once-and-done service that includes editing.
Learning how to edit UGC content well can set you apart in a really competitive space.
Alex explains what editing style to look out for from big brands on social: the Mr. Beast style. Even if you don’t know what this is, you’ve definitley seen it. It means quick cuts, transitions, SFX, emojis and zooms. Every one to two seconds of the video, you have something different happening to keep the viewers engaged.
<blockquote class="tiktok-embed" cite="https://www.tiktok.com/@mrbeast/video/7242407795398544682" data-video-id="7242407795398544682" style="max-width: 605px;min-width: 325px;" > <section> <a target="_blank" title="@mrbeast" href="https://www.tiktok.com/@mrbeast?refer=embed">@mrbeast</a> <a title="ad" target="_blank" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/ad?refer=embed">#Ad</a> No one will ever know what’s in the chest 😎 Go get your Suspicious Stew Pringles available in stores now! Learn how you can get free Minecoins here: kelloggminecraftpromo.com 🙂 <a title="minecraft" target="_blank" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/minecraft?refer=embed">#minecraft</a> <a title="gamer" target="_blank" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/gamer?refer=embed">#gamer</a> <a title="sus" target="_blank" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/sus?refer=embed">#sus</a> <a target="_blank" title="♬ original sound - MrBeast" href="https://www.tiktok.com/music/original-sound-7242407794899815210?refer=embed">♬ original sound - MrBeast</a> </section> </blockquote> <script async src="https://www.tiktok.com/embed.js"></script>
Now, it’s important to consider who your customer actually is, and what other content are they already seeing on their feed. The feed of a 25-year-old female is going to be very different from the feed of a 60-year-old male. While in the female’s case, you might want to include some more attention-hacking, some quick cuts, some zooms, etc, the 60-year-old male might be used to some slower and more drawn-out, sometimes longer content.
So, if you use a Mr. Beast-style video in his feed, he’s probably just going to get overwhelmed and scroll straight past it. You need to consider: who is my audience, what else are they seeing in their feed, and then how can I create an experience such that they can blend in to stand out?
When it comes to text, you can either try to replicate the native TikTok and Instagram font, or you can choose not to. Either way can work if done correctly.
What Alex does say, is that if you’re going for the native TikTok or Instagram style, you have to lean all the way in. A subtle, subtle differences that you wouldn’t get on the IG or TikTok feed can trigger sales resistance subconsciously. Just a little warning in their head that says, oh, something is a little off here. If you’re going native font styles, get them down to a tee.
✅ Don’t edit like Mr Beast just because everyone else is doing it. What kind of editing style will fit naturally on the feed of your target customer?
✅ Educate yourself on attention-hacking methods.
✅ You’re text can be the native TikTok/Instagram fonts or you can go rogue, both work, but if going native, get them exact!
Execute on all four, then according to Alex, you should have a pretty tight ad. Going by his results, it’s safe to say we can trust he knows what he’s talking about.If you’re ad isn’t performing for a brand, then the data will tell you. Ask for the numbers, then troubleshoot and find out which stage of the process needs to be improved.
If you’re interested in working with Adcrate, Alex and his co founder Ali often post on Twitter with creators call outs. Connect with them and introduce yourself. The agency is doing great work in the eCommerce space so it’s one not to sleep on.