Digital Marketing

Altering Retail Advertising: How Core Four is Transforming Performance Advertising

Altering Retail Advertising

“Advertising has long been an art form, but in today’s data-driven world, it’s also a science,” remarks Abdul Muqtadir Mohammed Zubair, a leader in the digital marketing industry. As the Senior Manager of Intelligence and Data Architecture at Snapchat, one of the largest social media platforms, Zubair has been at the vanguard of developing solutions that redefine how advertising budgets are managed and optimised. 

His innovation, the Core Four framework, has transformed the retail media advertising industry by offering a transparent and data-driven perspective.

The Genesis of Core Four

In 2017, Amazon Advertising faced a significant challenge: how to justify incremental ad spend to large brands. Amazon Advertising tasked Zubair, a key analytics leader at the time, with creating a scientific methodology to estimate the true growth potential for advertising brands on the platform.

Zubair developed Core Four, as a result. This framework uses four key variables—budgets, bids, products, and keywords—to model incremental budgets and tie them back to improved performance on retail media networks. 

“Advertisers for instance often run out of budget early in the day, leaving a significant amount of incremental sales on the table,” Zubair explains. “Core Four was designed to objectively demonstrate what advertisers might achieve in terms of performance if they were to adjust key levers within their control like budgets.”

The Mechanics of Core Four

The Core Four framework operates on a simple yet powerful premise: by understanding and manipulating critical variables in the advertising auction, brands can optimize their ad spend and maximize their return on investment. The framework meticulously analyzes budget utilization, share of impressions, product penetration, and keyword coverage to provide actionable insights.

For example, the budget utilization metric highlights situations in which an account depletes its budget at a specific point during the day, preventing it from participating in the auction for a certain period. Using this metric, advertisers can establish continuous participation and capture more impressions, leading to higher sales through budget adjustment.

Building such a framework was no small feat. It requires complex data engineering applications capable of processing billions of impressions daily. Zubair’ s team designed and implemented a data infrastructure that pulls signals from the auction data system, processes trillions of records annually, and synthesizes them into a data warehouse. His team also developed the ML models that run on top of this warehouse and are key to explaining the relationship between core levers and incremental advertising spend. 

Core Four’s design culminates in a user interface that publishes data to advertising reps, driving crucial budget planning with their brands. 

Industry Impact and Future Prospects

The impact of Core Four has been nothing short of transformative. Within its first two years, the framework drove a 60% increase in ad spend from large advertisers across all performance advertising at Amazon Ads. Its success led to its integration into Amazon Ads’ product suite, allowing all advertisers on the platform to utilize this powerful tool. 

The broader digital advertising industry is also experiencing significant growth. Industry reports predict that digital ad spending in the United States will surpass $200 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 10%. Key analytics trends driving this growth include:

  • The increasing importance of predictive analytics.
  • A growing need for incrementality measurement frameworks.
  • The expanded adoption of automation and self service analytics.

Zubair’s contributions align perfectly with these trends. His work exemplifies the shift towards data-centric processes in advertising. The ability to harness and analyze vast amounts of data is crucial for optimizing ad spend and maximizing ROI. 

Zubair provided a scientific perspective to estimating growth potential that has addressed a critical need in the industry. Core Four provides advertisers with an objective framework to make informed decisions and achieve better performance outcomes.

Diverse Viewpoints

While Core Four has garnered widespread acclaim, it has not been without its critics. Some industry experts argue that the framework’s reliance on data and algorithms may overlook the nuances of human behavior and creativity in advertising. 

“Data-driven models like Core Four are undoubtedly powerful, but they should complement, not replace, the human element in advertising,” says a marketing strategist at a leading advertising agency.

Zubair acknowledges this perspective, emphasizing that Core Four is designed to enhance, not replace, traditional advertising strategies. “In today’s incrementality driven advertising world, building objective analytical frameworks is key to providing transparency and earning trust with advertisers. Our goal is to equip advertisers with the tools they need to make data-informed decisions. Creativity and human insight remain integral to successful advertising campaigns,” he asserts.

As Zubair reflects on his journey, he remains optimistic about the future of digital advertising. “The landscape is constantly evolving, and the opportunities for innovation are endless. Core Four is just one example of how data can be harnessed to drive growth and performance. I’m excited to see what the future holds,” he concludes.

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