As cookies are dying and targeting faces a decade of deleveraging, creativity simply has to speak louder, but at a speed that companies need to keep growing. That’s the ultimate goal of the New York-based martech platform Vidmob, which made its first M&A operation ever last October: the Brazilian adtech Chiligum. Currently coordinating the task of integrating Chiligum ad-automation capabilities into Vidmob’s platform, Bethany Gostanian, vice president of product at Vidmob, told LABS that it’s the first go-to-market news after the acquisition are likely to come out in April.
According to her, Vidmob’s platform has currently three core functions: a curated network of experts (video editors, graphic designers, etc.) capable of meeting marketing needs globally; a creative studio, which is essentially the technology workflow that connects the dots e allows a collaboration environment between clients and creators; and creative analytics, which gives marketing professionals the ability to quantify creative decision-making.
In trying to build the ultimate solution for creative work, Vidmob came to the conclusion that creative automation was what the company was lacking. “The idea is to automate the more mundane steps of creative production, to help folks deliver personalized and scale creative work pretty quickly. That’s when Chiligum came into play. We started talking to them at the beginning of last year, through Miguel Caeiro, [Vidmob’s head for LatAm], because of a partnership. They believed in the same idea: human creativity and the power of automation in the creative process,” said Gostanian.
“They were the winners among a shortlist of competitors worldwide that we were aiming at after our Series C round,” highlighted Caeiro. The $50 million Series C funding, which had the participation of Adobe, Shutterstock, among others, was announced in February last year, and it has been fueling the company’s expansion.
The Brazilian adtech was founded in 2015 by designer Debora Folloni still as an agency. In 2021, with automation already as its core engine, though, Chiligum had won over big clients such as the retail giant Magazine Luiza, Brazil’s leading food delivery app iFood, and the Colombian unicorn Rappi. For large advertisers like those, with huge, diverse, and dynamic inventories, agility in ads production is essential, and Chiligum had found ways to deliver it.
Product and engineering teams of both companies, in Brazil and North America, were the first target of the integration, followed by customer success, sales, and other areas. “The next step is to integrate the actual technology. We are figuring out the first go-to-market action, which I believe will be coming out in early April. The long-term plan is to integrate Chilligum’s capabilities into our creative studio,” said Gostanian. When incorporated by Vidmob, Chiligum’s solutions will also be available to clients such as Itaú Unibanco, Ambev, Localiza, and Dorflex.
In practical terms, with the addition of Chiligum, VidMob customers will be able to create versions of their best-performing ads rapidly, “90% faster” than usual, automatically update ads with real-time data feeds, easily publish to all major digital and social media platforms, localizing content for different regions and contexts.
Also, because of the M&A operation, São Paulo is, little by little, becoming a technology development center for Vidmob. So far, the company has raised nearly $100 million to expand on its groundbreaking platform for intelligent creativity.
Vidmob in Latin America
The company started operating in Brazil in 2019 and, six to eight months later, in Mexico. An office in Mexico City, though, was only opened last year, but Vidmob already serves clients from all LatAm, according to Caeiro. By the end of 2022, Vidmob also plans to open an office and beef up its team in Colombia.
Neither of the executives disclosed to LABS revenue metrics or the number of experts connected to the platform, as Vidmob is already on a roadshow to raise its Series D round. Caeiro, however, pointed out that Vidmob has a diversified creators’ base, with professionals from countries like Chile, Peru, and Ecuador, so that clients can have access not only to the correct language but the right cultural background needed for any good marketing campaign.
The quality of these creators and marketing professionals, combined with the fact that the major social media platforms have some of their biggest markets in the region, may also explain why LatAm accounts for the second-largest share of the company’s business, following the US.
Vidmob wants go (way) beyond ROAS
While the advertising industry has focused on measuring return on media spending, creative performance has gone unmeasured. Vidmob is trying to change that, finding new ways of estimating impacts. In December, for example, it released a study that shows how the direction of a model’s eye gaze in the first few seconds of a video ad can significantly impact performance metrics. The study is the first of its kind as VidMob applied proprietary AI technology to detect the specific direction of eye gaze and its relationship to ad engagement. It is based on an analysis of 1.1 million digital on Facebook, Snapchat and Google. In other words, what Vidmob suggests is that variation in eye gaze can influence click-through rates, view rates, and the so-called ROAS (return on ad spend).
“We’re building an AI database made of any part of ad anatomy you can think of, from people, objects or company’s logo, to eyes gaze; you name it. We’re doing that to figure out, in details, why a specific ad is working. For example, we did that recently for a beer brand, as we found out that images with fresh ingredients worked better than just the drink in a glass. Those nuances are things that designers didn’t have access to before. If you take this data and combine it with our creators’ base, who know their markets nuances, It’s a really powerful tool for marketers,” explained Gostanian.