Hi everyone! The guest of our today’s interview is one of the cofounders of the Neocreo creative studio – Kristina.
We talked about the origin of the studio, discussed the situation on the creative market, different creative approaches, and much more. Kristina also spoke about the success of the studio and the direction in which they want to move on. Enjoy your reading!
1) Hello, Kristina! You aren’t really present in the media, so very few people know about you. Tell us a little about yourself and your partners. Why don’t you want to show yourself off?
Hi everyone! We actually have a fairly large audience. The Neocreo brand specifically is quite recognizable in the affiliate community. At all types of affiliate conferences, we often meet people that say they have seen our channel or ordered creatives from us. But Ekaterina (the other cofounder of Neocreo) and I do not show our faces to a large audience, we do not participate in streams and, as a rule, only appear in text format. It has more to do with our personalities.
Now, about partners. We cooperate both with major market players and teams (whose names I would not like to name), as well as with beginner solo affiliates. There are even more of the latter among our customers.
2) You started out as the designers of the NPPR.TEAM affiliate team. Why did you separate from that big team and feel like you had to start an independent project?
Ekaterina started as a designer in the NPPR Team. She invited me there as a media buyer. After the creation of our channel, we did not separate from the NPPR Team, we continued to work together while developing our Neocreo in parallel. After covid-19 started, the situation in the team changed and the projects were divided. Just at that moment, Katya (short for Ekaterina) invited me to work on Neocreo together, after which we began to develop the studio further on equal terms.
We maintain warm friendly relations with the NPPR Team, sometimes we work together on some projects.
3) Tell us about the Neocreo studio, about the employees, what positions / divisions are there in the studio? Are you looking for new employees?
The Neocreo studio does not have an offline office, we all work from different parts of our large country, there are also a couple of guys from Ukraine. The set-up of our studio is quite simple. There are Katya and Kristina (we head the studio and work with clients) and 6 designers (Masha, two Mishas, two Sashas, and Dima). As a rule, all the guys are engaged in different types of creatives. Some make only creatives for gambling, some cover nutra orders. There are also designers who specialize in white and white-ish product creatives.
Despite the already established backbone of the team, we are constantly looking for new designers. We rarely do training, so we are only looking for experienced and responsible creatives with up-to-date knowledge in at least one niche.
4) Please, tell us how the current world situation has affected the studio?
We felt the impact immediately after the start of the well-known events. Approximately half of our clients are from Ukraine, many of them refused their orders and weren’t communicating with us. After some time, the situation changed, and orders from Ukraine were restored. And, on the contrary, orders from Russia practically disappeared for a short time due to problems with payments. Then affiliates began to find their ways out. Now the situation with orders is not much different from what it was before the events.
5) It’s obvious that it is more difficult to work with some traffic sources now, and it’s extremely difficult with a couple of others. How did the bans and restrictions affect your business? By how much did the percentage of your orders decrease or increase for popular traffic sources?
I can’t say that the percentage of orders for Facebook (banned in the Russian Federation) has any bit decreased. Facebook has always been the most popular source of traffic and remains so. The only thing that has changed is that people have practically stopped ordering creatives for white products in Russian language. Earlier, we were often approached by furniture designers, beauty salons, and construction companies. Now that Facebook (banned in the Russian Federation) and Instagram (banned in the Russian Federation) ads are gone, we don’t have any orders for that category of creatives.
Speaking of Google, we haven’t noticed much change. Since Facebook was so popular, there has always been much less interest in Google among our clients. Perhaps, this is due to how simple those creatives are (it’s easy to do it yourself if you have at least minimal knowledge) and how this platform gets less attention in the affiliate community.
Things have changed a lot more for TikTok than we might have thought. Until recent events, TikTok was nearly equal to Facebook (banned in the Russian Federation) in terms of the number of orders for nutra and crypto. Now, after TikTok added restrictions to Russian users, interest in creatives for this platform has dropped to almost zero. And we are, once again, focused on Facebook.
6) You said that you want to take more orders for small and medium-sized businesses, why does it spike so much interest?
We just wanted to grow professionally, do more creatives for white products’ targeting, and hire designers who could do complex projects for brands. People did order white creatives for their targeting campaigns but not as much as we would like. Now that Facebook advertising is banned in Russia, all of this is in some kind of vegetative state. So, we are trying to master the rules of advertising on new platforms.
7) Which verticals and formats of creatives currently receive the most orders? And why do you think that is?
The most popular vertical is gambling. We have many gambling-creative orders because this is a very popular vertical with a huge amount of traffic in general, and, secondly, it is quite difficult to create gambling creatives on your own without knowledge of, say, After Effects. Even nutra creatives can be done using simple image editors. It’s easy to figure them out, it’s enough to roughly understand what works for the audience (and this vertical has all the same tricks working for years) and understand the rules of advertising. Gambling is a different story. Videos should look really high quality! They should have a large number of special effects, animations, wheels of fortune, slots drawn from scratch, and other triggers. All this cannot be done without a good knowledge of editing programs. That’s why they turn to us with gambling.
As for the format of creatives, the trend remains almost the same: for an older audience (diabetes, hypertension, eyesight, etc.) they mostly order banners. And for a younger audience (weight loss, muscle gain, beauty), we often make videos, as well as banners. Nutra also favors medical (with images of doctors), teaser, and lifestyle (reviews) approaches.
And in gambling, crypto, and betting people like high-quality videos, as I mentioned earlier. Simple videos with a news or lifestyle approach are also a thing, but people order these more rarely. The financial sector doesn’t really use banners.
Videos are a priority for product offers, and these videos are of a way higher quality, because we consider product offers as a white adjacent niche.
White products (promotion of business and quality products, online courses, software) can work with anything – videos and banners, which are distinguished by high-quality modern design and more complex work assignments for us.
8) Some teams make their media buyers do their creatives, since it is the buyer who works with traffic and receives money for it. Affiliates have practical experience, and, accordingly, they know better what kind of creative will work. What do you think?
On the one hand, many guys want to be able to sign up and farm accounts themselves, find hot offers, make creatives, find converting campaign approaches, and launch all of these things successfully. But, on the other hand, it is unlikely that it will be possible to reach the desired volume of work without dividing tasks and outsourcing.
What if we compare the number of creatives and verticals that one buyer can cover, and then the number of those creatives that one of our designers can do, provided that they work every day with at least 5-7 of such buyers and receive feedback? It’s as clear as day.
But I think the ability to make creatives and understanding which approaches work will only benefit the buyer. It’s great when a person understands the processes, and doesn’t just act like a robot for launching ads.
9) Do you check your creatives with Google vision, Clarifai, and other similar services, or are creatives made solely based on your experience?
We do check them sometimes if we have doubts. But mostly we do it based on our experience.
10) Rules and algorithms change, many items and images get banned. Do you track changes in the rules and algorithms of traffic sources? If so, then please describe the mechanics of this process.
Of course, we can’t not track these changes, it’s our job. Every time we notice that a certain phrase/detail/character/approach stops passing moderation (our customers tell us about it), we draw the appropriate conclusions and stop using them. The whole system is built on our experience, because changes often occur imperceptibly and aren’t ever mentioned anywhere.
11) You have a service for creating white pages. Tell us why you decided to implement such a service. How popular is it?
Yes, that’s right. We decided to add this feature about a year ago, when everyone was in need of white pages in large numbers. Those orders were coming all the time, especially for nutra in TikTok. Now this rush has reduced, perhaps because we rarely mention this service on our channel and aren’t actively expanding these operations. First of all, we are focused on creatives.
12) Do you have any guarantees? For example, that the CTR will not be below a certain percentage, that the creative will pass moderation, taking into account the fact that many different factors influence the moderation process and CTR?
We guarantee our creatives’ approval. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee high CTRs. The audience and the ad copy affect the click-through rate. There are situations when an ad simply may not catch on, the luck factor is also a thing. But, of course, we are always ready to meet our customers halfway. If the CTR is terrible on all creatives from one pack, then we will redo them/change something/add trigger elements so that the person is satisfied with our work.
13) Do you have any “moral limits”? For example, what are your actions if an affiliate contacts you and wants to order a creative for outright scams or something unethical?
Yes, we do have limits. We don’t work with scams such as, say, “GAZPROM IS GIVING OUT MONEY TO RUSSIAN CITIZENS” and other suspicious financial topics, we don’t make advertising promos for any trash Telegrams channels, lately we refuse to create gambling and crypto videos for Ukraine.
14) When making your creatives, have you ever used photography of real products (food, tech devices, etc.) as a background or the main feature of a creative?
We often shoot animated videos on the smartphone that mimic the real game. For example, we are often asked to shoot a video with laptops with slots in the background. We never use other real product pictures.
15) What programs do you use in your work? Are these simple programs like Camtasia Studio or something more complex?
There are different programs for different purposes. We can even use Supa for something simple. For more complex work, we do Adobe After Effects and DaVinci Resolve. Or for mid-level videos, we can use Adobe Premiere Pro, too.
16) Give advice to those who read the whole interview.
We recently attended one big affiliate conference with speakers from different, sometimes even unexpected and new verticals. While being there, I realized that money can be made from literally anything. The main thing is to find the energy to figure something out for yourself. My advice is to look for this energy, try it out, try to make it make sense. After, you will find that satisfaction that will come from living your life.
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