Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard about Facebook’s announcement that certain detailed targeting options will be sunset in early 2022.

Here’s a quick review of the news straight from Facebook:

“Starting January 19, 2022 we will remove Detailed Targeting options that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.

Examples include:

  • Health causes (e.g., ‘Lung cancer awareness’, ‘World Diabetes Day’, ‘Chemotherapy’)
  • Sexual orientation (e.g., ‘same-sex marriage’ and ‘LGBT culture’)
  • Religious practices and groups (e.g., ‘Catholic Church’ and ‘Jewish holidays’)
  • Political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and figures ”

While some are supportive of this change, other marketers are concerned about the implications for companies that leverage this targeting in light of an already rapidly changing advertising landscape. Cause-based organizations, political parties, healthcare brands, and many others will need to change tack in how they communicate with their audiences.

In the same announcement, Facebook also teased that they’re working on additional Ad Controls to enable users to see fewer ads related to gambling, weight loss, and other unspecified categories. They also reminded marketers that users currently have the ability to see fewer ads related to politics, parenting, alcohol, and pets.

So why’d they do it?

This latest announcement comes on the heels of escalating public scrutiny, FTC antitrust suits, and steadily increasing concerns around consumer privacy. Not to mention a huge rebrand. Facebook, er, Meta has had a busy few years.

In the announcement, Facebook states that they “heard concerns from experts that targeting options like these could be used in ways that lead to negative experiences for people in underrepresented groups.”  While this move might pose a challenge for advertisers who use these detailed targeting options benevolently, Facebook’s move also removes the possibility that they will be misused.

Especially in a time of heightened scrutiny, it makes sense why Facebook would prioritize reducing the possibility of perceived negative experiences on the platform. Continuing to make Facebook an attractive option for social media users works in advertisers’ best interests as well.

What Advertisers Can Do (And How Marin Social Can Help)

Facebook’s announcement comes with several suggestions:

  • Leveraging Engagement Custom Audiences to capture relevant intent on Facebook-owned properties. Targeting users who currently like your page or users who watched one of your videos in the news feed are a few examples. Facebook also suggests using these audiences as a seed list to create a lookalike audience.
  • Remember the 2-Second Video Viewer audience that is no longer available on Facebook? Marin Social still offers this option so you can get even more out of your Engagement Custom Audiences.
  • Website Custom Audiences can still be used to target customers who interact with a company’s website (and can also be used as a seed list for a Lookalike Audience).
  • Want to take your custom audiences to the next level? Marin Social offers Enhanced Website Custom Audiences, which integrates rules to automatically segment your audiences based on parameters you build. Save time and find your most valuable audiences seamlessly!
  • Location targeting is suggested to help brick-and-mortar retailers reach customers around their locations.
  • Marin Social offers “Location Clusters”, which lets you group together your target locations in one fell swoop for easy use in campaigns. All of the marketers who spend hours quality checking location groups can breathe a sigh of relief.
  • Customer lists are a great way to connect with customers (if you have their permission to do so). Try segmenting your customer lists and customizing messaging to get the most out of using customer lists.

For marketers whose campaigns are impacted by Facebooks’ upcoming targeting changes, Marin Software’s social marketing experts are here to help you through the transition. Click here to schedule a demo with us and learn more about what Marin can do for you!

Brands can now optimize Target Product Ads in MarinOne’s cross-channel ad management platform

There’s a reason so many consumers shop on Target.com and the Target app: the guest experience. Target has invested heavily over the last few years in making online shopping easy, convenient, affordable, and enjoyable for its millions of shoppers.

These investments have paid off. Target added 12 million multi-channel customers in 2020, and same-day services grew by 235%. Online sales grew 145% last year, driven in part by the pandemic, but they continued to grow by 12.5% in the first half of 2021, even as many consumers returned to shopping in-store.

Target Product Ads Help Brands Intersect Shoppers’ Line of Sight

With this kind of growth, brands cannot afford to miss out on one of Target’s retail media offerings, Target Product Ads, which provides access to so many high-intent shoppers.

Target’s native, cost-per-click product ads amplify brands’ visibility and discoverability on Target.com and the Target app, which is becoming increasingly important in a now busier-than-ever eCommerce landscape. With available placements on search, browse, and product detail pages, advertisers can connect with customers with tailored ads at every step of the buyer journey.

Target Product Ads may be the solution that advertisers are looking for to address a variety of objectives, from defending market share to increasing purchase frequency. Brands can reach purchase-ready customers while making their products more visible across search and browse placements. And the best part: sales can be attributed down to the SKU-level to provide you with a granular understanding on performance.

MarinOne Optimizes Target Product Ads to Drive Incremental Sales

Marin Software’s collaboration with Roundel™ means customers will now be able to analyze, manage, and optimize their Target Product Ads directly from the MarinOne platform.

MarinOne unifies Retail advertising like Target Product Ads with other Retail Media campaigns as well as paid search, paid display, and paid social, while simplifying reporting and management of advertising campaigns across channels.

MarinOne’s Insights module automatically identifies opportunities such as Product A/B Testing in your account with estimates of potential value and easy implementation.

The automation tools in Marin make it easy and efficient to manage Target Product Ads.  MarinOne’s unified optimization suite helps identify optimal levels of spend while MarinOne bidding delivers the best possible performance.

With the addition of Target Product Ads, MarinOne offers a complete growth solution across search, social, display, and eCommerce advertising, delivering the maximum return on investment.

Click here to get started with Target Product Ads today.

You’ve likely heard that Google is sunsetting the Expanded Text Ad (ETA) format in favor of Responsive Search Ads (RSAs). It’s Google’s next big push for automation in its advertising platforms. While this may seem like a big change, it’s nothing to worry about as long as you prepare. Luckily, the sunset isn’t happening until June of 2022, and Marin’s industry experts are here to answer some commonly asked questions:

What Exactly Are Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)?

Traditional Google text ads consist of static headlines and descriptions, so advertisers provide specific headlines and descriptions which remain constant within an ad. Google then rotates that version with your other static ad versions according to your campaign settings.

When creating an RSA, you’ll input a variety of different headlines and descriptions. Google and Bing will then rotate through different combinations of assets, serving the combination that seems best based on the demographic data of the person who is searching. The purpose of RSAs is to improve the personalization of search ads through automation. This personalization should lead to improved performance, and eliminate the need for you to run lots of ad copy tests as the engines are basically doing the testing for you.

How Many Headlines and Descriptions Can I Include in an Ad?

You can input at least 3 and no more than 15 potential headlines.

You can input at least 2 and no more than 4 potential descriptions.

The publishers recommend using at least 8 Headline Assets and at least 3 Description Assets.

What Will Happen to My Expanded Text Ads?

You will not be able to create new ETAs. Your current Expanded Text Ads will continue to serve, but you won’t be able to edit them. You can still play, pause, or remove them, but the ad content will be unchangeable. Reporting for your current ETAs should not be impacted in MarinOne or the platforms.

Will I Have Any Control Over Which Headlines and Descriptions Serve?

Yes, you have the option to pin assets to certain positions in the ad. For example, if you have a top performing headline that you’d like to display as Headline 1 every time your ad serves, you can pin that headline to position 1. You can also pin descriptions.

For example, if you pinned “Low Prices” to headline 1, the every time that ad serves, “Low Prices” will be the first thing people see.

But that being said…

Should I Pin My Top Performing Assets to Position 1?

My natural instinct was to pin top performing headlines and descriptions from my ETAs to my RSA positions 1 and 2. However, this often hurts the ad’s quality score, sometimes even knocking a ‘good’ ad down to ‘poor’ quality, therefore limiting its ability to serve in the SERP.

In order to avoid a decrease in quality score while still maintaining control over your ads, Google recommends pinning 2 or 3 headlines and descriptions to each position. This allows Google to rotate those assets, and may prevent decreases in quality score.

For example, if you pinned “low prices” and “shop now” to headline 1, Google will rotate through those options, so every time the ad is served people will see one of the two headlines in position 1.

How Will I Analyze Performance in MarinOne?

MarinOne users are already accustomed to the performance benefits the platform provides for all their search programs, and RSAs will be no different. The digital marketers at Marin have already made changes to help you measure, manage, and optimize your RSAs and are always prepared for future changes from the publishers.

Responsive Search Ads should flow seamlessly into any workflow you currently utilize for analyzing ad performance. These ads will be automatically added to any automated reports just like expanded text ads are.

We have also added two new columns to our creative grids, titled Headline Assets and Description Assets. Select these columns in the column selector to see a list of all headlines and description variations for an RSA.

Note that in the Headline column in the grid, you can see a preview of what your RSA might look like in its completed form. This does not necessarily represent all Headline or Description Assets that have been entered. You will simply see the first three Headline Assets in the order they were entered. This is the same behavior as in the publishers.

You will also see the ads’ creative type listed as Responsive Search, and you can filter for Responsive Search in the Creative Type column if you want to see a readout of performance for RSAs only.

If you export your ads grid into a report, you will see separate columns for each Headline and Description asset, with Headline 1 simply called Headline and the remaining Headlines numbered 2 through 15.

How Will I Bulk Create RSAs in MarinOne?

You can create RSAs in bulk in much the same way you do for other ad types in Marin. To specify the creation of an RSA in a bulksheet, you should include the value Responsive Search in the Creative Type column.

You can edit your RSAs in bulk by including the Creative ID column. To find your creative IDs, simply run a report from the main Creatives grid with the relevant columns included.

When building your bulksheet for either creation or editing of RSAs, you can use the following bulk headers:

  • [Headline 1] through [Headline 15]
  • [Description Line 1] through [Description Line 4]  
  • [Headline Pinned to Position 1]
  • [Headline Pinned to Position 2]
  • [Headline Pinned to Position 3]
  • [Description Pinned to Position 1]
  • [Description Pinned to Position 2]

I hope this all eases your mind about the transition from ETAs to RSAs. The idea behind RSAs is basically constant, dynamic AB testing and ad personalization, which sounds great in theory. I expect this shift to lead to improved ad performance and easier management through automation.

The paid search experts at Marin are always eager to help clients, new and old, navigate the ever-changing search landscape. Click here to schedule a demo with us and learn more about what Marin can do for you!

Ensure that the 2021 holiday season will be even more successful with these last minute tips!

Managing Bidding during a Sales Event

Before the sale:

  • Find out Revenue-Per-Click or Conversion-Rate uplift from historic sales as a percentage.

On the day of the sale:

  • Apply your historical percentage uplift calculated as a boost on day of sale.  
  • Remove all bid change limits. Preserving bid change limits only allows your bids to change up to the limited amount, possibly restricting a number of keywords.
  • Ensure campaign budgets are set appropriately and will not be overly restrictive.
  • Once the sale has begun, check hourly spend rates in the publisher accounts. Compare your spend trend in the current sale with previous sales to confirm bidding configuration is not over or under-spending.
  • Assess the number of terms hitting bid caps

After the sale:

  • Add previous and latest sales periods to Excluded Dates.
  • Set bid change limits to pre-sale setting.
  • Revert Boost to historic level.

Effective Tips and Tools

Ad Scheduling/Flighting

Flighting is a technique where you schedule your ads to run for a period of time (called a flight) followed by a period where you pause all ads for the advertised product or service. A smart way to leverage flighting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday is by offering progressive promotions. This means, you can start your campaign offering a promotion with low percentages off, and as the days/weeks go by, increase the percentage off.

Power Words

To increase relevance, CTR and Conversion Rate, consider including in your ad creatives words such as: Discount, Deals, Promotions, Savings, Offers, Free, Black Friday, Cyber Monday.

Sitelinks / Promotion Extensions

Include these special sales and offers with your ads to make your promotion stand out so potential customers can spot great deals and generate new sales for your business.

Countdowns Timers

Let potential customers know about sales or special events by adding a countdown timer to your ad text to create a sense of urgency.

Increase Budget Caps

To cover the increase in traffic, you must consider increasing the budget of your campaigns to capitalise on the increase of impressions and clicks.

Good luck! Marin Software has got you covered. We’ve put everything in place to provide above-and-beyond customer service, particularly during the critical Black Friday and Cyber Monday events, for our retail customers in the midst of their busiest time of the year. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your account manager or our sales team today.

The 2021 holiday rush is  upon us and advertisers are feeling pressure from the perfect storm of uncertain expectations, impacts of reduced tracking capabilities, inventory challenges, and rising costs of advertising.

McKinsey’s 2021 Holiday Report reveals that Facebook (67%) and Instagram (52%) are among the top platforms influencing holiday decision making. A whopping 87% of Gen Z shoppers surveyed derive shopping inspiration from social media, with YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram holding the top spots for platform inspiration. Social marketers will need a strategy that capitalizes on this intent while making the most of holiday marketing dollars.

If you’re still looking for inspiration to create a winning holiday strategy, we’ve prepared a few ideas to get you started. You can integrate these into your strategy with or without Marin Social, but the smart, time-saving features are a holiday gift that keeps on giving!

Boost Engagement with your Organic Content (Marin Social’s Message Booster makes this easy!)

  • Organic content is key in brand awareness, gaining new customers, and nurturing relationships with current customers. Promoting posts makes it more likely that they’ll reach your intended audiences, which is especially important for advertisers who want to spread the word about upcoming holiday promotions, new products, and new initiatives.
  • Though post promotions may not directly attribute revenue, they can be used to segment your audience to then target with direct response ads. Also not to be ignored is the long term business impact of nurturing customer relationships!
  • If you already have organic content, put it to work without lifting a finger using Message Booster for Facebook and Instagram in Marin Social. In Message Booster, you can create rules to automatically promote specific ads according to a variety of parameters.

Test Innovative Creative (Marin Social makes insights a breeze)

  • If your customers are posting content, use it! Facebook recommends testing lo-fi, customer generated content this holiday season. This means less work for your creative team and forging stronger relationships with your customers. We call this a win-win.
  • Marin Social allows you to easily spot creative winners in the “Charts” tool and create custom dimensions for creative analysis in MarinOne, giving you more time to put creative insights to work.

Dedicate Time to your Audience Strategy

  • Customers are expected to be less brand loyal than ever this year per the McKinsey Report. 62% of customers surveyed over the past 3 months were unable to purchase the item they wanted due to availability. Of this number, 39% switched brands, 32% went to another retailer, and only 13% waited for the item to be back in stock. If you expect inventory impacts, it’s especially important to invest time in your audience strategy and customer loyalty programming to retain customers.
  • Audience segmentation can help you better address your core customers and lower costs during the Black Friday - Cyber Monday time period. Marin Social’s Audience Manager provides a streamlined space to create and manage complex audience segments from multiple sources.

Ready to get started with Message Booster and MarinOne? Talk to your account manager or click here and we’ll be in touch soon.

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