Peggy Anne Salz

Mobile Groove's Peggy Anne Salz is reporting live, again, from MGS20, talking to Peggy Lee Spungin, VP Strategic Partnership - U.S. at yellowHEAD. Together they take a deep dive into the art (and science) of maximizing creatives to maximize your performance marketing.


Peggy: Hey, I'm Peggy Anne Salz here at Mobile Growth Summit in San Francisco live doing podcasts all day long. Lots of great guests, lots of great learnings. I mean, it's been an amazing day. Now we're winding it down but we're gonna actually I would say pick up the pace with a great topic that I've been hearing about throughout the whole day, the whole series, the whole sessions today and yesterday. It's all about how to get more mileage out of your creatives, how to get them to perform better, how to understand that, how to crack that code. Who better than my guest right now, Lee Spungin who is a VP of Partnerships I believe at yellowHEAD or at least very close to that title. Lee, in any case, welcome. 


Peggy: It's great to have you, Lee. So Lee, the yellowHEAD, I was looking at it when we were talking offline in prep for this, you know. And it's really all about that area of, among other things, you know, making certain that creatives are performing and it's really an art and a science but just for background, maybe you wanna tell our audience a little bit more about yellowHEAD in a high-level view. Okay? 


Lee: So yellowHEAD is a performance marketing company. It's specialized in both organic and paid acquisition. We have our creative studio, which we are going to talk a lot about. 


Peggy: Oh, yeah. 


Lee: We have also our technology. And we help brands to support their growth and marketing efforts by focusing on performance. 


Peggy: Okay. And, you know, I said it's a cool topic. A little bit background about yourself. You're also a little bit of a cool hunter. Maybe in a great position at yellowHEAD because you like to find amazing things or go where no one has gone before. And that's what you have sort of combined with your love of food as I understand. What's that hobby all about? 


Lee: I love food. 


Peggy: I love food. We all do. We all do. 


Lee: But I love good food. 


Peggy: Okay. 


Lee: Not just food. 


Peggy: Yes. 


Lee: And every time that someone comes to New York they ask me for recommendations. And if I need to go back and find the right recommendation for them, it's time-consuming for me. So I created a map with all the best restaurants and bars in New York City and I added some comment about it that everyone can find what they're looking for. So all the target audience of my friends, they can find everything about that. 


Peggy: So where would we get this map? I'm just curious because some people are gonna say, "That really is very awesome. I want that." Where would they find it? I mean, you've got it out there in like a blog or something or... 


Lee: They should be a friend of mine and ask me for the map. 


Peggy: Lovely. Okay. Well, I'm lucky. I'm LinkedIn with you so hey, I'm gonna be...I'm on...I'm at the source here. And speaking of sources, you know, you're looking at performance but you're also looking at a lot of creative, bringing those two together. Very hot topic. I must've...I mean, I don't know how many sessions you heard but I think a good number of them were really about if we all had the same data, we all had the same attributes, and we were sort of all on the same page, competitively speaking, you know, how do you then really make a mark? It has to be through creative. Is that what you're hearing from marketers out there? Is that what they're coming to yellowHEAD increasingly for? Because, of course, you have a whole suite of services but is this like the one? 


Lee: Yes. Creative plays a big role in performance marketing today. You need to know to create a right creative for the right platform with the right messaging and strategy. And in yellowHEAD, we have seven years of experience in creating creative with actual roles. 


Peggy: Yeah. 


Lee: And our creative team specializes in the specific marketing to each one of the platforms. We work very close with Facebook and Google and we've been chosen lately to be a creative partner for Snapchat.


Peggy: Congratulations. That's awesome. Okay. So you get these various platforms. I mean, how is it that you...are there sort of like approaches? Maybe just at the level of formats. I mean, obvious it's video but are there certain ways that work better on different platforms? Do you go down to that granular level? 


Lee: Yes, we do. 


Peggy: So what are some learnings there? 


Lee: There is a lot of learnings and we found that for different vertical...let's say for the gaming industry, there is different learning from the brands and e-com industry and each one of them should adjust the learnings for the right vertical. 


Peggy: Okay. Yeah. 


Lee: We have a lot of...since you just mentioned, there is a lot of videos that are part of our creative. So we have a lot of them on our website. As an example, I wanted to bring something but then I realized that it would be very hard to present a video.


Peggy: Well, maybe when we're doing introduction, you know, we can cut away to this because I love it, you know. Literally, you have to see the picture. You have to see images to understand it. What are you seeing...anything you can talk about like know, we did it before at many different conferences. It was like this ad. What do you think it did? Was it good or was it bad? And we'd raise our hand and say yes or no and just choose it on face value. Are there some data or some findings or some key takeaways around, you know, that inevitable question, what works, what doesn't? But maybe there are now rules because we're looking at this as a science, not just like an add-on. This is like the core of the performance campaign. At least that's what it's becoming. 


Lee: So exactly for that and everything that you mentioned, we launched the Alison app. It's our latest technology, creative technology. 


Peggy: All right. 


Lee: And it's brought to life by our tech team and our creative studio together just to make sure that we know exactly which element works in each one of the creatives. When you mentioned the the past we used to say, "Okay, one...creative A works better than B." We want to know exactly what works in creative A and what also are the good elements in creative B. And then the Alison technology also give you that recommendations to create the next following seat of creatives with all the good elements and the right elements from each one of the verticals. So we can find it for different markets and for different type of creative things. It's also made of the shape of the creative, the length of the creative. If it's with music, without music, with a call to action or without call to action. So every element matters. 


Peggy: Yeah. 


Lee: So we drill down to each one of the elements in order to know exactly what performs. 


Peggy: Have you found anything that's like an outlier that doesn't perform? I mean, for example, I remember talking to one FinTech marketer not long ago and he said, you know, "One of our key learnings was we read all this stuff about how animals sell everything, right. Get a cute pet. Get a cute dog." So then we're like, "Yeah. Why not have a cute dog in a FinTech, you know, ad?" And it obviously doesn't work, right? But you had to learn that the right way. That was before your technology and this is way back, right? So are there some learnings that you have about like what works with images or approaches, CTAs? Something that we can understand a little bit more about how granular you're actually going. 


Lee: So we found in...for specific vertical, the six-second video... 


Peggy: Okay. 


Lee: ...with image of dance with music works better in the U.S. ... that we will need to create another...a human element or another length of video that will work better for the same brand. 


Peggy: Interesting. 


Lee: So those learnings are really...go deep dive into each one of the elements and by implementing them we can improve CVR and ROI by even 200%. 


Peggy: I was gonna ask you for the number, you know. Why do this? And the Alison technology...and I love the idea that it's like a name, you know. What's the story behind that? It's like the CEO's daughter or wife or is it just like it makes it sound really engaging? 


Lee: We like at yellowHEAD to bring everything with a human feel. 


Peggy: Okay. 


Lee: Besides the fact that we have our dedicated team that work with our clients, we want also that our technology will be more of human aspect in terms of the name and all of our technology name, Alison. 


Peggy: Okay. 


Lee: So we have the Alison analytics. It's a dashboard that shows the paid and the organic metrics in one place. Instead of go to different dashboards, we have everything in our dashboards. 


Peggy: I was gonna say this is an addition to that dashboard, this latest technology. So like it's all like backwards compatible, I was gonna say, right? 


Lee: So we launched first the Alison analytics. 


Peggy: Okay. 


Lee: And now we launched the Alison app and all of our future even technology will be named Alison. It's a specific topic that it will be related. 


Peggy: Well, it certainly is, you know, human and it is about understanding human beings. So I could see that completely. How are you actually doing this? I mean, is this AI? Is this a team of really amazing anthropologists that sort of work in the back room at yellowHEAD? I mean, how do you bring that knowledge to the dashboard really? 


Lee: So it's a combination of, first of all, our technology team. We have in house technology team, BI team, amazing people that they developed Alison. And they're in charge of all the new features that will come in the future. And they work very close together with our strategists, meaning it's a combination of technology and also human element because as I mentioned before, we really believe in the human aspect and the human touch. So our strategists also always review the insights from the technology. 


Peggy: Okay. 


Lee: And it brings a perfect fit about the AI and the human mind. 


Peggy: So some of those insights...I mean, that's feeding into your system but what are some of those insights you might be able to share? Are they like statistically significant numbers and data or is it more about human behavior and trends? 


Lee: It's a combination of both. So we've seen a lot of things, first of all, because we're very performance-oriented, so each one of our clients has different type of goals and KPIs. So we need to make sure that the data that we provide them are related to their goals. So there is no generic data that we provide. Everything is customized. 


Peggy: So what about how you interact with the app market? I mean, are you talking to the head of UA, the growth marketer, retention teams, creative teams, designer teams because they need to work together to use you properly. So I'm wondering if they have been...have they evolved to interact with you or are you trying to like also train them in a way to get the best out of yellowHEAD basically because it's not just about performance. It's also about the design teams. They both need to come together to come to you. Would I be correct? 


Lee: So we work with many type of people. It depends on the service. If we work on holistic views meaning that it's paid, organic, and creative services, we can work with many different people and many different PLCs in the company or if we work on specific service, we will provide person that leads the service from the other side. 


Peggy: And what are you working with, more non-gaming apps, gaming apps, a good mix of both? 


Lee: A mix of both. We work with leading gaming company, the largest one and we work with e-commerce company, with a PPG company, with brands. 


Peggy: Can you name any? Are you naming any? Dropping names? Do you want to? A couple if you want to. You don't have to but it would be interesting to understand maybe also global or specific regions. 


Lee: We work globally. We work with the U.S. a lot and with EMEA. We work very globally. We work only with global brands. 


Peggy: So if you look at how marketers are understanding combining performance and getting the most out of their creatives, what kind of scorecard would you give them now? I mean, if you could tell them, "Hey, this is what you need to do or do better than you are," what would you tell them as a message? Because we are in early days so it's all a learning process. And, you know, there's a right and wrong way to approach things. How would you tell them? How well are they doing? What do they need to do better? 


Lee: First of all, they need to understand what they can do internally, what they know. And if it's not part of their knowledge or their specialty, I will tell them that the best thing is to take the best company that they can find that we help them to grow and to bring more users and to get to the ROI and goals and make sure that they found the right company to do so. 


Peggy: Exactly, that's the point. They don't have to do it on their own because some people are...I mean, I'm talking to some marketers. I'm saying, you know, "How many creatives are we looking at here, you know?" It's almost beyond their ability to produce them, let alone test them. How does that work with you? Do I come to you and say, "I've got this concept." And you help me get that concept into a creative or do I have to come with like creative assets and just do a lot of testing? How does that work best? 


Lee: We recommend to use our creative services because our creative team has seven years of experience and we can come from initial concept and then product to do the production, etc. So our team can come with the ID based on the brand guidelines, based on the best practices know, for each one of the platform. We come with the messaging and we create the creative for each one of the platforms. 


Peggy: And what about videos? I mean, you mentioned like a six-second video. You know, is that something where they should be experimenting more with video than other formats or is it still formats that have a lot of interest? What are you seeing in your dashboard that has a lot of mileage, you know? I believe, for example, there's a lot of mileage left in displaying interstitial. You know. It can't all just be video. What are you seeing, personally? 


Lee: It should be a combination and there is a lot of [inaudible 00:15:03] videos today but we still see the static banners that are still perform and we still create those. And with the Alison app, we're also able to take the elements from the static banner. So it's not only the videos. 


Peggy: Right. 


Lee: And then we create all kinds of elements, playable ads, video, banners, and then we test all of them. And we see which ones work and which one doesn't and then we create more of the one that works. So I won't say focus only on one thing. I will say focus on what works for you. 


Peggy: So if I'm getting into this for the first time, what should I be doing? What would be like a good middle of saying, you know, don't focus on one thing is what you said but, you know, what range should I be looking at to really get started because you can do this infinitely, right? And major brands do that because they can test, you know, a hundred out that way and a hundred out that way and they do multivariate testing. It's not just three by three. It can be a lot but what are you recommending to your clients where they should start, where they should focus their efforts? 


Lee: So it depends about the project and the time that they have to test it. 


Peggy: Yeah. 


Lee: But what I recommend to do, what you can afford to do. 


Peggy: Okay. 


Lee: Because each small element can inform the creatives. 


Peggy: Okay. 


Lee: And I think this is a good starting point because for small startups or small companies if you don't have the the click test. And it's a matter of time because you would get the amount of testing and the learnings but still get the learnings from each one of the tests. 


Peggy: Absolutely. I'd like to close with one of those learnings. What's a surprising learning maybe from what you've been seeing? I mean, you have Alison now. So it's just been launched, correct? Is it out there like now ready that people can be using it or is it sufficiently launched? Maybe a little early for key learnings but, you know, there might be a key finding or something you can share. 


Lee: There is a lot of key findings. We use it internally for our partners. 


Peggy: Okay, so you've used it already. 


Lee: In the past few months. 


Peggy: Okay. 


Lee: Almost a ... but we use it internally and lately we onboard the first partner that wanted to use it as a SaaS. So there is a lot of learning from the Alison and a lot of things that we will be able to share very soon and we're very excited about that. 


Peggy: So it's like some sort of whitepaper thing coming or when you're sharing, they'll be on a blog? How are you gonna share that? 


Lee: Yeah, we're going to share it on our blog post and there is also a YouTube video with some of the Alison findings on our YouTube channel. 


Peggy: We have to look for that and look for you obviously. I mean, now you've got me going. I'll look for it because I'm a little bit of a data nerd. I love numbers. I know the uplift in [inaudible 00:17:55] is significant but this will go a little bit deeper. What will you actually be sharing? 


Lee: We have a demo that we will be sharing soon. 


Peggy: Okay. 


Lee: With a combination of the findings that we find because we are not going to share the finding for each one of them. 


Peggy: No, but you're gonna like... 


Lee: ... but it's something...a combination of the findings from the Alison and the amazing thing about it is it's really doubled and tripled the ROIs ... for most of our partners. 


Peggy: That's a great reason to do it. Absolutely. So if anyone was on the fence, I mean, that's reason enough to try it out. I'm sure people want to find out about those findings, check out your YouTube channel. How's the best way, Lee? What would you suggest? How can they find out about that? Maybe even stay in touch with you. 


Lee: First of all, stay in touch with me on LinkedIn and then they will get both the Alison finding and the... 


Peggy: Get it all at once. 


Lee: And the recommendation of that. 


Peggy: See, I'm lucky. We're LinkedIn already so I'm gonna be first in line. 


Lee: And our website, it's a great place to look for all of our findings, a lot of success stories, and all the Alison findings over there. So I really suggest to look at the website, join our mailing list, and find everything that we share and we will share in the future. 


Peggy: Absolutely. And being such a cool trend hunter, I can assume that you're gonna keep us on top of those trends, keep us well informed. It's been a pleasure, Lee. Thank you so much... 


Lee: Thank you very much. 


Peggy: ...for the interview and thank you from Mobile Growth Summit. I'm Peggy Anne Salz.