Last year, Vantage found its product-market fit by taking the rich analytics it gathered from its customers — small and medium-sized ecommerce businesses using platforms like Magento, Shopify, and Facebook — and turning that into actionable insights.
“You’re giving people insight about what’s going on in their store, but if they don’t know how to change it, or the time to change it, it won’t get changed,” founder and CEO Aran Hamilton said at the time, as the company found that it could, on average, drive a 10x return on ad spend for its customers.
Vantage has now found another customer base hungry for growth that has pushed it into the enterprise: consumer packaged goods brands, which need help in two areas: optimizing brand advertising with traditional big retailers, and entering direct-to-consumer platforms like Shopify to make better connections with their customers.
“The reason we’ve been lucky enough to keep going is because we recognized early on that it wasn’t just about insight or analytics.”
– Aran Hamilton
“This direct-to-consumer work that we’re doing with these large CPGs is only half of the equation that we’re bringing to them. The other half is helping them to improve the collaboration they have with traditional retailers,” said Hamilton. “When you get a flyer in the mail, that’s not paid for by Walmart — that’s paid for by the brands within it. That concept is co-op advertising. We invented digital co-op advertising by working closely with large retailers to help them leverage their data and build audiences that the large CPGs could target.”
That’s why the company is launching several new features and initiatives to hit this retailer-CPG brand market. Vantage’s platform integrates into ecommerce sites, allowing retailers to track issues like cart abandonment and carts on site. At the same time, it integrates retailer and vendor data to prioritize marketing opportunities without revealing the data to each party. Based on the data, Vantage can launch retargeting campaigns and create reports to increase the speed of decision-making.
For companies looking for more hands-on help, Vantage has also launched its Inspired D2C accelerator in partnership with Shopify Plus and Facebook. The accelerator is targeted to CPGs that want to launch an ecommerce store to better reach customers, and Vantage works with the brands on a joint strategy including ensuring executive alignment, store planning and build-out, launch marketing, and detailed reporting. Facebook, Shopify, and Vantage provide key credits to help accepted companies get started.
However, the company is not doing the store building itself; it partners with creative agencies to focus on what it’s good at: providing specific insights that grow parts of the business falling behind.
“It’s exciting to be on the cusp of a fantastic new model of running digital ads.”
Hamilton hopes it will encourage brands to start their own skunkworks projects. “We think the crux or the focus of the accelerators is to help inspire them with the art of the possible, and guide them through steps they would need to successfully launch and operate a D2C offering,” said Hamilton. “And really direct them through the process, knowing it may not go exactly where they wanted to go, but supporting them through the process and ensuring they’re successful in the end.”
Vantage currently operates in 127 countries around the world with $30 billion transactions analyzed. Asked how they’ve managed to break through a crowded market, Hamilton indicates that they thought early on about thinking beyond just making graphs — the difference is being able to pinpoint actionable items like boosting ads that get more return than others, and understand their customer’s profiles.
“Calling out insights is useful, but it’s only powerful if you can turn it into action,” Hamilton said. “It’s getting crowded, and a number of players couldn’t make a go of it. And the reason we’ve been lucky enough to keep going is because we recognized early on that it wasn’t just about insight or analytics, it was about the ability to take action. It’s exciting to be on the cusp of a fantastic new model of running digital ads.”