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Increasing Customer Return on Investment Using Generative AI on AWS with Marketing Evolution

Learn how Marketing Evolution increased efficiency and cost optimization in the advertising
industry with its generative attribution solution using AWS Glue.


compute cost savings reinvested in new product development


reduction in labor costs

Reduced time

time to create training datasets from 1 day to a few hours

Up to 20%

more conversions at 15% less cost


To know where to spend their marketing budgets, marketers need to evaluate how their advertising campaigns influence customers. Marketers can analyze consumer data, but increasingly strict data privacy regulations complicate this task.

Marketing Evolution is solving this critical issue in marketing attribution using generative artificial intelligence (AI), a type of AI that creates a novel dataset. “We use generative AI to recover consumer journeys that are otherwise unrecoverable,” says Stephen Williams, CEO of Marketing Evolution.

The company built an innovative measurement and attribution solution on Amazon Web Services (AWS). In 2019, to reduce time-consuming manual processes, Marketing Evolution began using AWS Glue, a serverless data integration service that makes it simpler to discover, prepare, migrate, and integrate data from multiple sources for analytics, machine learning (ML), and application development. By using AWS Glue and other serverless solutions, Marketing Evolution cut costs and increased the efficiency of its solution, thereby accelerating results and increasing return on investment for customers. “Using AWS, we stood up a unique, fully automated solution in less than 2 years,” says Williams.

Opportunity | Using AWS Glue to Automate ETL for Marketing Evolution

Founded in 2000, Marketing Evolution offered its enterprise clients a multitouch attribution solution that combined several datasets with custom ML models to re-create customer journeys. “We’re working to predict how much a particular media exposure influenced that customer to choose to visit that website or buy that item,” says Williams. However, the datasets that Marketing Evolution relied on were incomplete, and with increasing data privacy regulations, it became more difficult to match customer identities. That multitouch attribution solution was also quite labor intensive, with more than 20 people running manual processes for developing and training ML models and reworking datasets. Building a training dataset took a whole day, and it took weeks to deliver results to customers.

In 2018, Marketing Evolution began rebuilding its solution as a scalable software-as-a-service solution using AWS. The company was already using Amazon EMR, a cloud big data solution for petabyte-scale data processing, interactive analytics, and ML using open-source frameworks.

The software-as-a-service solution would be automated, and instead of having data engineers create a new model for each customer, it would use generative AI to create the models and fill the gaps in the datasets using ML. Therefore, Marketing Evolution needed an extract, transform, load (ETL) solution to bring its data together from over 300 sources into a data warehouse that was accessible across its stack. “AWS Glue was the perfect intersection of all the products that we needed. It does the ETL work that we had an entire data engineering team doing, and it provides indexing, so we could build a data warehouse using just this one solution,” says Williams. “And AWS Glue is serverless, so it cut down on cost.”


AWS Glue was the perfect intersection of all the products that we needed. It does the ETL work that we had an entire data engineering team doing.”

Stephen Williams
Chief Executive Officer, Marketing Evolution

Solution | Increasing Efficiency While Cutting Compute Costs by 85% and Labor Costs by 40%

Marketing Evolution launched the first version of Mevo, its automated, AWS Glue–powered solution, in May 2020. Mevo takes aggregate datasets, such as TV impressions in a certain zip code, and uses a predictive exposure model to reconstruct a consumer journey. “This generative AI builds representative consumer journeys for the entire American population so that we can provide results that attribute a single person’s or group’s decision-making to the influence of marketing,” says Williams.

By using serverless solutions and implementing good governance, the company decreased its monthly compute costs by 85 percent in 2020–2022. “We got 20 percent cost savings from migrating to AWS Glue and then another 20-plus percent by migrating to AWS Glue 2.0,” says Williams. “We were able to reduce nonlabor costs to become price competitive with offerings much less sophisticated than ours.” This cost reduction helped Marketing Evolution to create a streamlined version of Mevo at a lower price point. This midmarket product, Mevo Link, went live in July 2022 on AWS Marketplace, a place to find, test, buy, and deploy software that runs on AWS.

Marketing Evolution also cut the labor costs of running its solution by 40 percent by migrating to AWS Glue. Instead of running time-consuming manual processes, its employees moved to roles with more stable working hours and efficient use of their expertise. “They can stretch their brains and contribute to research and development work to help solve customer business problems,” says Williams.

The solution is also more efficient. Building a training dataset used to take at least 1 day of compute time; now, it takes a couple of hours using AWS Glue. Marketing Evolution stands up new customers in as little as 30 days, and it can produce new results weekly. Between May 2022 and May 2023, Marketing Evolution had 100 percent customer retention, compared to 44 percent customer turnover the year before. “Our customers trust the numbers that they can see in our solution,” says Williams “They appreciate the consistency in the regular updates that they receive.”

One client, a direct-to-consumer healthcare provider, uses Mevo to compare how ads perform on two social media sites. The client discovered that one of the sites was driving higher conversions at a lower cost per acquisition, so it shifted its budget to that site. The result: a 20-percent increase in conversions alongside a 15-percent decrease in cost per acquisition.

Outcome | Building Out Features on a Serverless Architecture

In 2023, Marketing Evolution started migrating to a fully serverless architecture, including Amazon EMR Serverless, a serverless option in Amazon EMR. “We saw so much benefit by taking ETL serverless using AWS Glue that it only makes sense to take the rest of the stack serverless,” says Williams. The company is also working to develop a rebranded version of its solution to run in new regions.

“Over the last couple of years, by using AWS, we’ve been able to do what we previously thought was unimaginable,” says Williams.

About Marketing Evolution

Marketing Evolution provides attribution insights to marketers using ML technology backed by Nobel Prize–winning research. The company helps its clients rediscover customer journeys and empowers them to confidently take action.

AWS Services Used

AWS Glue

AWS Glue is a serverless data integration service that makes it easier to discover, prepare, move, and integrate data from multiple sources for analytics, machine learning (ML), and application development.

Learn more »

Amazon EMR

Amazon EMR is the industry-leading cloud big data solution for petabyte-scale data processing, interactive analytics, and machine learning using open-source frameworks such as Apache Spark, Apache Hive, and Presto.

Learn more »

Amazon EMR Serverless

Amazon EMR Serverless is a serverless option in Amazon EMR that makes it easy for data analysts and engineers to run open-source big data analytics frameworks without configuring, managing, and scaling clusters or servers.

Learn more »

AWS Marketplace

Find, test, buy, and deploy software that runs on AWS.

Learn more »

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