How to integrate insights into the ad creative process

5 May 2021

Katie Fagan
Director of Product Marketing, VidMob

VidMob is a leading operating system for “Intelligent Creative” that combines AI-derived creative insights with the expertise of a global network of creators. VidMob enables marketers to make measurably better ads at speed and scale, all in one solution. We sat down with Katie Fagan, Director of Product Marketing at VidMob, to discuss how she helps inform, deliver, and evangelise “Intelligent Creative” solutions for advertisers – the integration of insight into the ad creative process – and VidMob’s latest API integration with Amazon Attribution.

Tell us about VidMob’s story; how the company was founded, where are you now and what’s ahead.

While our CEO, Alex Collmer, tells our story best, I think the simplest way to sum up VidMob is to borrow from our tagline, Evolving creativity for the better: We are always evolving. From day one, VidMob has been hyper-focused on solving client pain points – from helping advertisers through the transition from static to video, to giving marketers the "why" behind creative performance, to where we’re at today pioneering the "Intelligent Creative" movement. We are watching for and reacting to not only new digital advertising trends, but dramatic shifts in the retail industry. And we’re always asking how we can evolve our offer to help clients ride the waves of change while driving success, whether in retail or advertising. This is why we’re so excited to be working with companies like Amazon to help our clients adapt and evolve in response to these shifts.

What is “Intelligent Creative,” and how can it fit into an Amazon Ads strategy?

Our most successful clients apply strategies that are driven first and foremost by "Intelligent Creative". We arm marketers with 360-degree marketing intelligence that spans insight, creativity and channel expertise. We provide a creative data set that identifies which creative decisions can help drive impact; the wisdom of a global network of creators with expertise on every ad type; and the support from companies like Amazon Ads, who provides reporting and beta opportunities on emerging ad products and integrations with the Amazon Ads API. Altogether, this end-to-end marketing intelligence gives our clients effective tools for making ads that perform.

The early months of the pandemic drove acceleration in digital trends, but many brands have adapted without the right digital tools in place. Digital demands speed, insight and efficiency like never before. However, many brands are still leveraging strategies that haven’t evolved for digital. Combine that with changes happening in the digital space, and it’s easy to see the pressure marketers are under. It has never been more important for brands to understand how ad design – which, in my opinion, is the leading driver of performance – can impact purchase intent. Our integration with Amazon Attribution via Amazon Ads’ API helps us link sales metrics on Amazon to the campaign performance of non-Amazon marketing channels across search, social, video, display and email. We’re looking forward to more API integrations in the future. Ultimately, intelligence is of critical importance for marketers in 2021 and beyond. According to McKinsey1, marketers that integrate into the creative process are driving 2X growth above their peers.

When Amazon Ads launched the Amazon Attribution API in beta, we were thrilled to be invited to bring this opportunity to our clients. Never before had marketers been able to understand how their non-Amazon marketing campaigns can impact shopping activities and sales performance on Amazon. VidMob was the only creative agency selected to participate in this beta programme, which meant that our clients were some of the only brands to get early access to these insights. As you can imagine, this led to some exciting insights for our clients. Looking forward, we are equally excited about the possibility of future API integration opportunities with the full Amazon Ads product portfolio.

More generally, our clients typically experience the following success metrics (on average) with "Intelligent Creative":

2-5X increase in return on ad spend (ROAS)

75% return on investment (ROI) lift

2X increase on click-through rate (CTR) and view-through rate (VTR)

3X increase in multi-touch attribution (MTA)

What’s your recommendation for an advertiser who is getting started with advertising on Amazon, such as using Sponsored Brands video or Amazon Attribution?

We support our clients every step of the way. Depending on the details of a client’s engagement with us, we’ll typically begin a client partnership with a pilot. It helps us get to know the brand’s needs while providing the brand with an opportunity to see if our solution is the right fit. Pilots typically start with a performance assessment to better understand the channels, creative needs and key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most important to the brand. Once we have all “the pipes” set up correctly, our technology begins to scan every creative element within the brand’s advertising account to identify which creative decisions are driving the most impact. Now armed with that insight, we connect them to an expert creator that is “intelligently matched” to the brand based on their goals. Our system helps facilitate the entire creative production process until the ads are ready to launch. While in flight, we analyse the campaign performance to identify mid- or post-flight optimisation opportunities to continually help improve outcomes.

A critical tactic for marketers is to be mindful of designing ads for the channels on which they’ll run. Whether that’s Sponsored Brands video or social media ads that are driving to Amazon, what works in one situation doesn’t always in another. This is especially true for brands who are driving to stores like Amazon from social media channels or search engines. There are a lot of moving pieces to fit together and nuances to consider. With our API integration with Amazon Attribution, we’re well-positioned to help our clients answer questions like “Which audiences should I be reaching on social media to help drive the most conversions on Amazon?” or “What call-to-action is most effective on search engines to help boost sales on Amazon?”

As part of the Sponsored Brands video beta, VidMob was one of the only companies offering services to create videos for this new ad product. We collaborated closely with Amazon Ads to uncover key learnings and scale creative output for Sponsored Brands video with top brands in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) space. We’ve seen positive results when brands build ad creative for a sound-off environment – key built-in features include: benefit-driven text on screen, adapted narrative for a seamless loop and of course, featuring the product.

Similarly, with the launch of our Amazon Attribution API integration, we partnered with top brands in the CPG and retail space who were running marketing campaigns anywhere that drove to Amazon. Using our AI-based insights, we were able to provide creative recommendations to help boost purchases on Amazon.

Are there best practices you follow when you set up Amazon Ads campaigns and what are your tips to advertise across different devices?

While our expertise falls more on the creative side than the media side, the insights that we can offer clients can impact their campaign setup. For example, when a brand learns which creative elements drive success across a particular demographic, objective, ad type or device, they can then make well-informed decisions about how to best utilise that creative within their campaign. Even better, the brand can then produce creative with certain specific goals in mind, instead of the other way around. In our perspective, the general rule should be to let your creative insights drive campaign setup so that you’re getting the absolute best return.

Additionally, device design is an important consideration. Design for mobile-first and adapt to desktop. Some channels are designed to be mobile-first, so it’s a safe bet that using mobile-first strategies in your creative (such as sound-off and text-on-screen) will translate better on desktop than the reverse. Our newly updated iOS app is the perfect tool for marketers to review drafts and experience the ad in the mobile environment. Of course, brands can also run creative designed for each device they want to run on – we’d be happy to help pinpoint creative recommendations for a brand to consider.

What are three tips for producing effective Amazon Ads creative that you want the reader to walk away with?

1. Learn and optimise

Creative is not fixed. Marketers need the right tools and insight to understand the impact of their creative decisions and how to continually get better. So, whether that’s a team of expert creators to produce Sponsored Brands video ads or real-time insights with Amazon Attribution, make sure your stack includes intelligence.

2. Embrace change

Seek partners with unique online retail expertise that can help you navigate the many challenges marketers are facing today and give you a head start relative to your peers.

3. Care about your creative.

Marketers regularly sweat the details of their media spend but rarely consider the impact of creative spend. Balancing the two sides of this equation will help stretch your budget further and reach more ambitious goals.

1McKinsey&Company, “The most perfect union: Unlocking the next wave of growth by unifying creativity and analytics”, June 2018.