Vibes announces new AI engine for mobile marketing campaigns


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Vibes, a 25-year-old marketing tech company founded in Chicago that was an early leader in using mobile messaging to reach and engage customers on behalf of major global brands, is now expanding its signature web-based campaign planning tool, the Vibes Platform, with artificial intelligence (AI) models trained on its vast trove of data.

The Vibes Platform has been upgraded with the Nexus engine, a machine learning (ML) model developed by Vibes. It provides marketers with insights and recommendations on the best types of mobile marketing messages to send to different demographics of users, the best times to send, the right frequency to avoid spamming consumers, and the best promotions to convert their attention into actions — and ultimately, dollars — for leading brands.

The Nexus engine is “the next evolutionary version of our platform,” said Vibes vice president of product management Joseph Catrambone III in a video call interview with VentureBeat.

Among Vibes’ customers are such diverse yet recognizable brands as Chipotle, The Container Store and Polo Ralph Lauren.

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Using the Vibes Platform with Nexus, “we can streamline their activities, the things that are really the most critical for them, instead of them having to come in and hunt and peck for things,” Catrambone said.

Achieving better marketing results with lower effort

Catrambone likened the new Vibes with Nexus to the homescreen of your favorite video streaming service — where video titles are presented not in alphabetical order or even necessarily by broad genre as they were in the physical video rental stores of yore. Instead, they are micro-targeted to your viewing preferences and prior viewing habits.

“We’re doing the same thing for our customers,” Catrambone told VentureBeat. “Instead of us expecting them to come in [to our platform] and understand how to execute the most perfect timing and most perfect media with the most perfect content, we want to bring all that to them.”

In the same fashion, Vibes with Nexus provides brand marketers with recommended marketing campaign messages, assets and ideas tailored to fit the demographics of the users who have signed up to receive their marketing messages — and the marketers’ campaign goals. This tailoring is based both on previous end-user engagement data for different audience segments, and on the general trends observed on the platform.

One of the biggest new trends to emerge in mobile marketing in recent years is the use of “mobile wallets” — not only the system defaults such as Apple Wallet or Google Pay, but the brand-specific digital mobile loyalty cards consumers can pay with or collect points on, motivating them to continue engaging and spending time and money with the brand. The Vibes Platform already supported this feature, but now has ML-powered insights to bring to it to help choose messaging language and visual assets that are most effective with end users.

As for end users who are least engaged with a brand’s mobile messaging, Vibes with Nexus will suggest new strategies and tactics for reaching them.

In fact, as a brand marketer goes through the Vibes Platform to create new messages and campaigns, the Nexus engine will suggest improvements based on what the marketer inputs.

This not only saves marketers time, but empowers them to achieve better results, driving up the return on investment — every time they send a mobile message, marketers pay a small amount, which adds up quickly at scale. Brands using Vibes see 25% less attrition in their SMS subscriber base compared to those using rival platforms, according to data provided by the company.

The ML models that Vibes uses are proprietary, but the company has not ruled out integrating with outside models such as consumer generative AI leader OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 or GPT-4.

Early mover advantage

One of Vibes’ biggest assets came about from its founding: The company was created by childhood friends Jack Philbin and Alex Campbell, who foresaw the potential of SMS as it emerged in North America. From a humble beginning in their apartment, they established strong ties with over 65 major mobile carriers, including Verizon and AT&T.

Because of Vibes’ initial and deep longstanding integration with mobile carriers, the company can determine the times of “peak” mobile messaging traffic across them, and determine the best times to send messages to avoid delays and improve engagement.

When it comes to privacy and security, the company says it is compliant with the GDPR and with all rules and regulations in the jurisdictions in which it operates. It sends messages only to those who have opted in to a marketer’s promotions.

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