What if I say, “Subscribe to our email newsletter at the end of the article?” Probably, you’ll skip it and forget when reaching the subscription button. Why? Because a compelling call to action is not only about using action words. CTAs should appear at the right place and contain the right words to lead to conversion.
A CTA is a suggestion to people to perform a certain action: subscribe, download an ebook, schedule a call, etc. Website owners place them in various parts of the page, depending on the goals, such as:
above the fold;
in the middle of an article;
next to the lead form;
in the right rail and many other places.
How should you arrange CTAs to encourage the audience to do what’s expected? This post will enumerate some helpful tips for successful call-to-action writing and show real-world examples from various spheres.
CTAs usually appear precisely at the end of the message. It’s the last opportunity to reach out to consumers and point them in the right direction on their purchase journey. Where can you see them? On buttons, ads, banners, pop-ups, slide-ins, or at the end of videos. In any case, you have limited space for them. That’s why the CTA should be short, concise, and punchy.
Use a command verb at the beginning of the CTA copy. Compare the following variants and think of what will be more effective:
Start your 14-day free trial period now.
A 14-day trial period is available.
The first option is the clear winner because it tells the audience what to do. Remember that a strong call to action eliminates as much thought as possible. Choose the needed verb to match your situation and purpose, such as:
sign up, subscribe, register now/get access
download, start free trial;
learn more, click here;
buy/purchase, shop, order.
Use Power Words and Emotional Triggers
Another crucial component of call-to-action writing is power words. These are words that appeal to emotions and trigger the desire to click. While action verbs tell readers what to do and what will happen after clicking a link, power words subtly nudge people to the desired page. They rely on people’s emotions as a motivation to proceed, such as:
curiosity: lost, never seen before, unconventional, invitation only, confidential.
A strong CTA is the one people feel, not just comprehend. For example, “Secure your spot for the concert of a lifetime now,” will elicit a different response from viewers than, “Get your tickets for the concert now!” due to phrases like “lifetime” and “secure”. Another way to evoke enthusiasm is to leverage punctuation like an ellipsis or an exclamation mark.
Create Urgency and Scarcity
As most purchases are emotional rather than rational, another motivator can be a fear of missing out (FOMO). It’s one of the most widely-used tactics in e-commerce, where sellers show the number of remaining goods or the time left until the discount expires. So you can do it in the CTA.
The more people think, the less likely they will buy, remember? A sense of urgency/scarcity encourages people to act without much consideration. You can also find FOMO in social proof. If someone uses this product or service, others will be interested in joining the crowd. You can employ this idea in the CTA. Find a problem that your audience is experiencing. Emphasize it, show people they are not alone, and provide a solution.
Highlight the Benefits and Value Proposition
There is hardly anything more persuasive than a benefit. It works as simply as suggesting some perks for clicking the button. In other words, what are consumers going to gain from it? Will it enable people to perform their jobs more effectively, get in shape, or save money? You can add a tangible benefit like a discount or promotion. To show readers the value of clicking, start the CTA with words like “save” or “redeem” like “Save 15% by calling today!”
Or you can combine a USP and CTA in a single statement to persuade potential customers to take action. By highlighting what makes your product or service unique and motivating the user to take a specific action in line with that USP, you can increase the chances of converting them into leads or customers. Here’s an example of a USP/CTA mash-up:
“Get the best deals on luxury vacations - Book now and save 50%!”
Here you mention the action you expect users to perform (“book now”) and bring up a reason to do it (“save 50%”).
Personalize the CTA for the Target Audience
Personalization is one of the easiest ways to elicit emotions. It shows users that you value them and take a genuine interest in guiding them through the purchase journey smoothly. That’s why personalized CTAs can be so effective. According to Hubspot, tailored CTAs outperform standard CTAs by 202%.
Suppose a new website visitor, John, adds some products to the cart but leaves without buying them. You can show an exit-intent pop-up before he closes the tab with a personalized advertising call to action, such as: “John, get 10% off your first purchase! Plus, free shipping on orders over $50. Shop now and start saving!”
But if it was your existing customer, Rebecca, you could show her another pop-up, such as: “Welcome back, Rebecca! As a valued customer, we’d like to offer you 15% off your next purchase. Take advantage of this exclusive offer by making your purchase right away!”
Consider your audience when crafting your message, and address them specifically. You can segment people by age, gender, profession, level of proficiency in using your software, and other traits to offer the most relevant products and services.
Apart from writing a tailored message in your CTA, personalization can also be achieved by using new tools for sales documents creation. If you go with an interactive sales deck or proposal, you can add an impactful CTA by embedding your own calendar in the message, so that your potential customer can book their next meeting simply by reading your proposal.
Include Numbers If Relevant
Numbers catch the readers’ attention because they stand out on the page with text. So it’s another way to persuade people to click. Numbers also provide information that audiences want, like phone numbers, pricing, or advantages. For example, “Learn a new language in just 30 days with our intensive course.” It’s easy to spot the numbers, so viewers will immediately grasp the possible advantages of responding to your CTA.
You can also include a price in the ad copy and CTA. Why should you do it? On the one hand, you may scare away users from clicking the button and reading more about the product. On the other, if people deliberately respond to the ad knowing about your pricing, it shows their interest in the offer. It reduces the chances of bouncing from the landing page, increasing the return on ad spend.
Test and Optimize the CTA
Calls to action are tricky since you won’t know how effective they are until you put them to the test in real life. An idea that seems terrific on paper may not work well in practice. Thus, you need to understand why the CTA performs poorly and what doesn’t appeal to viewers. But how do you determine the need to change something? Through A/B testing.
A CTA is one of the most accessible and suitable page elements for the A/B test. A small change in word choice can have a significant impact. A/B testing lets you find the best option not only in terms of wording but also in placement, colors, size, etc.
Examples of Incredible CTAs
Now that we know the best practices for organizing CTAs, let’s examine how different companies do it. We’ll analyze call-to-action examples of online stores, SaaS companies, and nonprofit organizations.
In this example from Ulster Weavers, we see the emphasis on FOMO. The bag is at a lower price, but only one item is available, so the retailer leaves us less time to think but to click the “Add to Cart” or “Buy it now” button.
Screenshot taken on the official Kusmi Tea website
Kusmi Tea decided to play with words and use the CTA “Enjoy now” instead of a basic “Click here” or “Shop now”. Don’t be afraid to get creative, as Kusmi Tea does in this screenshot. You can also notice that there is a lot of space around the button. This trick and the contrasting black color on the orange background make the CTA more visible.
Service-Based Call-to-Action Examples
Screenshot taken on the official Salesforce website
Here we can see several CTAs. Salesforce directs the viewer’s attention to them in the following ways:
“Start free trial” is in the hero section of the website and is filled with color. So we understand it’s more important than the “Watch demo” button next to it.
“Try for free” is filled with a contrasting green color for more emphasis. It also denotes no obligation to pay at the moment of clicking.
The “Let’s chat” button is also noticeable. The photo on it aims to create a personal connection with the visitors and increase the likelihood of them engaging in a chat.
When adding creativity to your CTA, be careful with misleading users. For example, the screenshot from Time Doctor illustrates two CTAs on the exit-intent pop-up:
“Yes, help me increase my team’s productivity.”
“No, I don’t need insight on what my team is doing.”
Unfortunately, they lack information about what will happen after choosing each. While you may guess the second button will close the pop-up, the first one may be confusing. Will I schedule a call, download the app, or get to the checkout page? No idea.
It’s an email from Elevation Church. We can see that the organization displayed creativity in its “READY. SET. SHOP” advertising call to action. What may be the reason for that? It can be a powerful way to reach younger generations and differentiate an email from other generic promotions.
Another nonprofit with impactful calls to action is African Wildlife Foundation. They are one of the first things you notice on the page. CTAs are concise and inspire supporters to learn more about the organization or donate immediately.
Over to You
Calls to action are indispensable elements of web forms, ad campaigns, emails, and social media content. What are the tips for designing them? We’ve looked at the top seven strategies, including:
beginning with a powerful verb;
appealing to emotions;
instilling a sense of urgency;
personalizing CTAs according to user preferences, behavior, and types;
testing various aspects of CTAs thoroughly.
These tips will help you amplify your conversion rates and find the key to your audience.
Earlier this year, Google announced its updated partnership based on industry changes and user feedback. They fall into three key areas: education and insights, access and support recognition, and rewards. If you’re not taking advantage of Google Partners, it’s worth taking a look.
Updated Google Partner Program benefits
Premier partner status is now offered to the top 3% of partners in each country. Premier partners can access the following exclusive perks:
advanced google ads support
Premier partner awards a new 2002 premier partner badge
high value incentives
All google partners and premier partners get access to the monthly insights briefing from Think with Google. It contains the latest insights from Google on consumer behaviors and industry trends.
Additionally, all Partners and Premier Partners will gain eligibility for high-value offers ($500 Google Ads credits) for new clients. To qualify, the clients must spend $500 in the first 60 days. This is an upgrade from the program’s previous $100 credits and 30 day threshold. These offers will only be available for Partners and Premier partners.
As of late February, all Partners are also listed in the new Google Partners directory, available to advertisers all over the world. With these new benefits come a new set of requirements that companies seeking partner status can meet at any time. They’re designed to help you maximize your clients' performance, identify new opportunities, and accelerate digital growth with Google Ads.
The requirements fall into three categories: performance, spend, and certifications.
According to Google, Partners requested two major alterations to the requirements as a result of the global economic situation and to make badge criteria more transparent:
Partners have the choice to apply or dismiss recommendations to achieve a 70% optimization score. While the optimization score requirement was due to take effect in June, it previously only allowed for the application of recommendations. However, Google listened to feedback regarding the ability to dismiss recommendations for clients in situations where it may not have made sense to accept. Allowing marketers to refuse suggestions by Google is a significant change.
Spend thresholds will stay at a 90-day spend of $10,000 US across all of a partner’s managed accounts. Pre COVID-19, the Partner badge requirements were set to increase to $20,000 every 90 days. However, Google listened to marketers and kept the requirement at $10,000.
Agency Partners also communicated to Google that not every Ads Manager within their agency teams should be eligible for certification. In response, Google agreed that advertisers will be able to tell Google the number of account strategists within their business, and “at least 50% of the account strategists you’ve identified will need to be certified in Google Ads” to meet the new requirements. Either update your number of account strategists if it’s out of date or encourage more strategists to get certified on Skillshop to comply. Additional details are outlined on the Google Support Page.
With many agencies and search marketers being affected by the pandemic, the delay of these requirements from February 2020 to February 2022 was welcomed by agency partners. Google’s response to marketer feedback was also a refreshing change of pace. Now that the revamped program is here, it’s time to snag your badge status and start utilizing the new benefits.
If your marketing team is understaffed, they may not be up to fulfilling all of your business goals. While a small team could theoretically handle the bulk of your tasks manually, this can lead to mistakes, missed opportunities, and eventually burnout—not good for morale, your reputation, or your customers.
Marketers need to evolve with technology that allows them to keep up with the fast-changing digital marketing landscape—and the customers driving those changes.
It makes sense to benefit from automation tools that handle your campaign management and other marketing activities—this makes your job easier and means you get to provide a better service to your customers.
To help you make the most of the tech out there, here are 9 ways automation can help out a short-staffed team while achieving your marketing objectives:
1. Automate workflows
Automating your marketing teams’ workflow saves time and money, allowing you to focus on the things that really matter. It’s not enough to just post for your company—competitors are vying for attention in any given area. Your accounts need content, promotions, advertising...in short, they need someone behind them constantly replying to queries and providing value across all channels. Automating this means the software can handle everything so you can focus on other business areas.
MarinOne lets you automatically adjust campaign bids using unique factors that impact your campaign performance, such as seasonality, ratings, new product launches, coverage in the media, and social media buzz so your ads are always optimized to perform well without you having to intervene.
MarinOne also automatically reviews search queries and adds keywords and negatives that meet user-specified criteria. We can track conversions associated with raw queries to provide better insight into whether keywords make sense to be added (or removed) based on their post-click success.
Keyword expansion increases your reach and improves your campaign efficiency automatically.
2. Increase the frequency of messages on social media channels
Increasing the frequency of messages on social channels helps to build rapport with your customers. They'll see a larger presence of your business on their social feeds and will assume you're very active—which means more trust.
Scheduling social media posts in advance used to be time-consuming. But now, automation tools can do many of the repetitive tasks for you, so it’s easier than ever to post relevant content on your social pages without needing someone there posting in real time.
Automation allows you to create a posting schedule for your social media accounts and then let the application take care of everything for you! You’ll get the best engagement when the post goes live on the platform (and there won’t be any embarrassing mistakes). The same goes for your ads: you can use automation tools, like MarinOne’s paid social ads management feature, to track, manage, and optimize your ads with the click of a button.
Take it a step further with Message Booster, which analyzes the performance and content of organic posts and automatically transforms the best ones into ads. Automating this content promotion and campaign creation can save you hours of manual work. By targeting specific audiences with Message Booster, you can reach people who are likely to purchase from you based on location, interests, and demographics that you define. And because your organic post has proven to be effective in engaging these types of customers, you can avoid using your ad spend on paid ads that may or may not interest your audience.
3. Work faster with bulk edits
With bulk uploads and inline edits, you'll have greater control over your day-to-day workflow. In MarinOne, you can use CSV or batch uploads to make thousands of changes at once. The campaigns, groups, keywords, or ads will appear on your account as soon as you complete all of the steps and push to the publisher within a few hours.
Unified bulk uploads allow you to work across accounts and publishers with a single action. Meanwhile, inline editing allows you to make adjustments or corrections without returning to Excel. This means less time hopping between documents and a lower chance of discrepancies and mistakes.
4. Build campaigns from your product feed
Building campaigns from your product feed provides an easy way to integrate product information into campaigns for many different ad platforms at once. Everything is kept in one place, and updating product information is easy so you don't have to worry about campaign updates channel by channel.
MarinOne builds keywords and creatives from a product feed and campaign template. Get complete coverage of your product with no manual work. You can also mechanize pausing and resuming based on inventory levels.
5. Stay informed of changes to your account
Marketing teams are busy, and sometimes things slip through the cracks. To avoid negative ramifications caused by human error, set up preprogrammed notifications about changes to your account such as status updates, new campaigns and ad groups, and the addition of shared library items. Staying clued in to what is being done by other team members as well as natural changes happening in your advertising campaigns will help you to stay responsive, resulting in timelier analysis and action.
6. Get automated recommendations on performance opportunities
MarinOne Insights highlights recommendations for improved performance across your accounts. You can think of this as a continuous audit that evaluates the effectiveness of your organization’s digital marketing activity. In fact, Insights is updated every 24 hours and uses historical data to uncover opportunities to reduce wasteful spending and capitalize on volume in high-performing areas.
Insights also provides performance impact estimates for incremental spend, conversion, and revenue and examples to show you exactly what you stand to gain when implementing recommendations. So no need to worry if you don’t have staff to analyze your accounts every day!
7. Integrate your data
Integrating your data into your ad management platform means you always have information at your fingertips without looking for it. Pull in data from your web analytics, mobile tracking, and CRM, and let the software take the strain.
Another benefit of integrating your software: you can more easily extract insights and create reports that incorporate all your data, not just some. This means you get better insight into your business, customers, and competitors and can use those insights to optimize your campaigns for the best performance.
With MarinOne, advertisers can also export data to Excel, Google Sheets, data warehouses and BI tools so you have information when and where you need it. .
8. Automated spend pacing
Keeping track of your spend is a must—don't let it fall to the wayside just because you're short-staffed. Pacing charts track your spending over the month, quarter, or another period you specify and automatically adjust your bidding targets to keep you on track. MarinOne helps you plan your targets with advanced forecasting, and then you can sit back while MarinOne manages your bids to keep you on budget through the period.
9. Consider managed services
If you are extremely tapped for resources and have the budget, you might consider partnering with an AdTech team that can manage and optimize your campaigns for you. This means that when you're busy or away, their team can run campaigns and optimize them for you, taking the strain off the rest of your staff. When they have questions, they can ping you with an email or DM so you can quickly provide the data needed to make informed decisions.
CLV is how much money a customer spends with your business for the duration of your relationship. It’s an important—yet overlooked—metric: rather than looking at a sale as simply a one-off exchange, CLV considers how valuable a customer is over time.
Understanding this can help you spend your marketing budget more wisely and keep your customer acquisition costs low. After all, it costs more to attract a new customer than it does to close an existing prospect or keep an existing customer.
Keeping your CLV high is vital to the long-term success of your business.
What is CLV?
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) refers to the profit you expect to make from a customer over time.
For some businesses, this may mean that your profitable customers make larger purchases or many repeat purchases, thereby increasing their value to your business over the lifetime of their relationship with you.
However, for many industries with long sales cycles, that profit may come months or even years after you’ve established the awareness of your business with the customer at the top of the funnel (think: buying a car, applying to a university, procuring new software, or purchasing a home). These are big decisions and consumers need time to evaluate their purchases.
5 Reasons to Measure CLV for Your Paid Search Advertising Campaigns
Regardless of the nature of your customers’ CLV, optimizing your marketing campaigns to CLV is good for business. Here are five reasons CLV matters:
It helps you keep valuable customers
If you can identify and target high CLV customers, this should translate into higher ROI and could be a good way to improve your campaign performance.
You may find that there are segments of the market who value your product but have a lower than average CLV/CAC ratio, meaning you're spending too much on acquiring individual customers. If so, it may be worth exploring ways in which you can acquire these new customers at a lower cost or perhaps look for marketing activities where you might get more exposure for the same budget (e.g., by increasing reach).
It decreases CPA costs
Customer Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) is the amount of money a company spends on acquiring new customers divided by the number of new customers acquired during a given period.
You'll notice that different customer types have different CLVs, which means they contribute more or less than others towards paying your CPA. You can use CLV to compare campaigns and determine which ones are performing better, resulting in improved return on investment (ROI).
It's important to monitor this metric over time, as you may find you can reduce CPA while maintaining or even improving your bottom line. This is because the lifetime value of certain customer segments will increase with time on your platform, resulting in an overall decrease in acquisition costs.
It allows you to optimize your bids to different stages of the funnel
Full-funnel bidding allows advertisers to use top of the funnel conversion types for bidding while also factoring in final sales as a second bid factor. This bidding solution enables advertisers to grow efficiency and revenue from the sales funnel’s final stage while maintaining reactivity to recent market changes. Bids stay reactive to market changes, while efficiency targets are based on latent conversion metrics.
It helps you calculate campaign effectiveness
CLV will reveal which paid search campaigns are more successful, allowing you to optimize your total marketing spend.
You can compare campaign effectiveness by sub-segmenting customers by their CLVs. For example, instead of just looking at conversion rates for all traffic sources as a whole, you could break down the conversion rates by each campaign. This will make it easier to understand which traffic sources are most effective at converting.
It helps you grow in the long run
CLV isn’t something you need to track all the time, but ignoring it could spell trouble. Keeping an eye on CLV helps you spend your marketing budget more wisely, engage with your customers more effectively, and keep your CPA costs down through better loyalty—all of which helps your bottom line.
How to Calculate CLV
The simplest formula is as follows:
CLV = Customer Value (average order spend x number of orders in a year) x Average Customer Lifespan (in years)
To calculate CLV, you need to track customer metrics over time and calculate your customer churn. This will allow you to determine CLV across any given timeframe.
You may want to deduct CAC (customer acquisition cost) from your total to give you a deeper understanding of the true value of a customer.
Using a comprehensive reporting suite like MarinOne, you’ll be able to Identify which channels are driving revenue to your business. You’ll then need to track offline sales and interactions back to their source with a conversion tracking solution like Marin Tracker. Make sure to continue tracking touchpoints beyond the initial click-through, all the way through conversion.
How to Improve CLV
Here are some tips on improving your CLV.
Optimize onboarding. As soon as possible, the user should be able to get value from your product or service (e.g., signups, downloads).
Don't focus on customer acquisition alone. It's important to make sure users are retained over time.
Optimize CLV by marketing based on customer behavior. If people aren't making repeat purchases or converting to long-term high-value purchases, consider investing in marketing efforts to increase retention.
Look for ways to improve value. If customers are joining, but not staying around or buying after a certain period of time, focus on improving user experience and product features.
Over-deliver. If your product and service are great, people will come back.
Boost user experience. If you can provide an improved user experience, make sure to communicate this benefit in all your marketing efforts. Consider advertising on social media platforms that offer the opportunity for strong engagement.
Increase average value order. If customers are buying, but not purchasing many items per order, then there is room to boost sales.
Gather market research. If you can gather unbiased opinions about your product or service from potential customers, use this data to create marketing campaigns that will appeal directly to your target audience.
Uncover business drivers. You may need to modify your business plan based on what customers are saying.
Improve customer service. If you’re not delivering great customer service, customers will avoid dealing with you in the future. Not only that, but they’ll likely share their experiences on social media—which could turn away potential new customers.
Measuring CLV plays an important role in determining ROI, optimizing your advertising spend, and keeping your CPA low—all of which means less budget spent on search campaigns. Optimizing your CLV can provide valuable insights regarding whether or not there is excessive spending on your search campaigns. CLV allows you to evaluate the financial impact in order to re-strategize regarding how various programs are measured and attributed.
How MarinOne Can Help
MarinOne’s powerful self-serve platform connects your offline conversion data to the ad clicks that ultimately drive the sale, making it easy to see which customers are the most valuable and which campaigns have been effective in closing customers. From analysis and reporting to advanced bidding algorithms—analyze the most valuable shoppers, optimize your bids to revenue, and focus your efforts on your best customers. This leads to extending your marketing spend while attracting high-value customers to your brand.
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!
Organic Instagram posts provide your followers with a stream of free content that can help establish and strengthen your brand identity, build your social community, and hopefully, engage customers interested in buying your products.
Of course, the limitations are that your organic content has a limited viewership of your followers, the followers they may share the post with, and people searching for or following your brand or particular hashtags you may have used in your posts.
But one key advantage of organic content is that it can be very insightful into the type of content that resonates with people interested in buying the products you sell. Inevitably, some posts will perform better than others with more likes, more comments, and more shares. So how can you capitalize on those posts to help drive your business?
Using organic content to reach new audiences
Now that you know the content and creative in a post is popular with people interested in your products, why not convert it to a paid ad to expand your reach to new audiences? Instagram allows you to “boost” a post you create on Instagram and turn it into an ad. You’ll be able to choose your advertising goal (more profile visits, website visits or messages), your audience (who you want to reach), your budget (how much you want to spend daily) and the duration (how long you want your ad to run).
Targeting specific audiences is an efficient way to reach people who are likely to purchase from you based on location, interests, and demographics that you define. And because your organic post has proven to be effective in engaging these types of customers, you can avoid using your ad spend on paid ads that may or may not interest your audience.
Automating message boosting with MarinOne
Promoting organic content is a great way to leverage well-performing posts to reach more prospective customers, but tracking your engagement on Instagram can be very time consuming, especially if you are managing multiple Instagram accounts.
MarinOne’s Message Booster for Instagram analyzes the performance and content of organic posts and automatically transforms the best ones into ads. Automating this content promotion and campaign creation can save you hours of manual work.
Just like Instagram, MarinOne lets you set the criteria for your boosts based on engagement, duration, and budget. But with MarinOne’s Rules engine, you’ll be able to create paid ads at scale across multiple clients and accounts.
For example, you may want to boost all posts within the last 24 hours with an engagement rate higher than 5%. You might choose to boost these posts for a duration of three days, and ask MarinOne to pause any boost if the engagement rate drops lower than 2%. You can set your budget to a daily budget per rule, or a fixed budget per post, and then set your bid strategy and optimization goals. Then sit back while MarinOne takes care of the rest.
MarinOne’s advanced automation features are designed to save advertisers time, while driving performance at scale across accounts. Click here for more on Message Booster for Instagram with MarinOne.
We’ve added nine new bidding and setup Insights to help advertisers get the most out of digital marketing campaigns and provide them with the tools needed to quickly implement those recommendations.
Here are the new recommendations:
Enhanced CPC Identifies Google campaigns using Marin Bidding or Manual Bidding without Enhanced CPC and allows you to easily enable the Enhanced CPC setting
Bid Caps: Identifies keywords, ad groups, product groups, and placements performing above the bid strategy efficiency goal whose bids are limited by the Bid Cap setting. Users can then disable or raise the Bid Cap setting unless there is a specific business case to maintain a maximum bid
Bid Floors Identifies keywords, ad groups, product groups, and placements performing below the bid strategy efficiency goal whose bids are artificially raised using the Bid Floor setting. Users can disable the Bid Floor unless there is a specific business case to maintain a minimum bid
Keyword Bid Overrides Identifies keywords on Bid Override that are in active Bid Strategies. Users can disable these Bid Overrides unless there is a specific business case for manual bid optimization
Bidding Reactivity Identifies Marin Bidding Strategies that are not using the Limit Bid Changes under X% setting. Users can enable the Limit Bid Change setting and set it to 25% for affected folders.
Keyword Count Identifies ad groups with more than 100 active keywords. Advertisers should segment keywords into multiple ad groups to improve keyword/ad relevancy
Ad Count Identifies ad groups with less than 3 active ads. The publishers recommend maintaining at least 3 active ads in each ad group.
Invalid Credentials Identifies publisher accounts that require a password update in Marin.
Sync Errors Identifies campaigns that have fallen out of sync with Marin.
All Insights are available under the top-level Insights tab, next to your Home tab. For more details about Marin’s Automated Insights check out our original launch announcement.
There are a lot of moving parts to a digital marketing campaign. So many that it’s hard for even an experienced marketer to know what they need to do to get the best results from their campaign. Collecting data, recognizing the trends for optimization and other paid search strategy efforts often do not come as quickly as advertisers would like. That’s where we come in.
Marin has been providing account insight to our customers for over 10 years and now we are delivering these powerful, actionable recommendations directly in the MarinOne platform.
Insights are automatic, tailored recommendations that help advertisers get more out of digital marketing campaigns and provide them with the tools needed to quickly implement those recommendations.
Automated Insights in MarinOne are designed to
uncover opportunities to reduce wasteful spending
capitalize on additional volume in high-performing areas
Implement learnings from one channel to another
How Insights Work
Each Marin Insight is a customized, cross-channel recommendation designed to increase your campaign’ performance. Unlike recommendations from the publishers, Marin Insights look across channels to identify the most efficient areas of improvement or to highlight where a learning in one publisher can be implemented in another. We also focus on recommendations that align with your business goals, not just increasing spend.
To help you prioritize your work, Marin Insights are always presented with a corresponding performance change. With this information you can easily tell how your account may change as a result of implementing and insight. These performance forecasts are built by analysing recent performance of campaigns, ads, keywords, and products and benchmarking that against the overall account performance.
If your account is tracking revenue data the forecasts will be reflected in terms of predicted change in Revenue and Spend. If your account does not currently track revenue, the prediction is in terms of Conversions and Spend.
Insights are updated daily based on performance data over the most recent four weeks so you never have to worry about wading through old materials.
What Insights Help You Do
Each Marin Insight is presented along with a downloadable report that enables you to go from insight to action. Each report can be uploaded back into MarinOne to apply the recommendation. This workflow gives you flexibility and the ability to accept or reject each recommendation at the most granular level.
Examples of our Insights Include:
Ad Copy Optimization - Identifies the individual word with the most clicks across an ad group's keyword set and determines if that word is included in the highest-traffic creative.
Ad Optimization - Identifies underperforming ads using the KPI and statistical confidence in your A/B test settings.
Budget Capped Campaigns - Identifies high performing campaigns limited by their daily budget.
Keyword Expansion - Identifies non-exact match search terms performing at a lower cost-per-conversion than their parent campaign based on Google conversion tracking.
Keyword Match Type Expansion- Identifies high performing keywords that do not exist on more specific match types.
Keyword Publisher Expansion - Identifies top-performing keywords that are not being leveraged in Bing.
Negative Keyword Expansion - Identifies non-converting search terms based on Google conversion tracking with a statistically significant amount of clicks.
Single Keyword Ad Groups - Showcases which keywords have significant mobile performance to move each into their own ad group so it can get its own mobile bid.
Top Performing Products - Identifies shopping products performing above average within their product group and should be moved to a dedicated product group for additional control.
Highly Qualified Recommendations - Volume and performance criteria result in recommendations that are expected to provide meaningful impact to your bottom-line performance.
Performance Predictions - Incremental spend, conversion, and revenue estimates allow you to prioritize your time on recommendations that will have the most impact.
Platform-Ready Exports - Downloadable reports allow you to review Insights at the most granular level. We've also made it easy to implement the recommended changes using a bulk upload.
Click on the Insights tab in MarinOne to see your personalized recommendations today!
If you aren’t yet a Marin customer, reach out today to learn about everything Marin has to offer.
The digital marketing landscape has become more and more consolidated into “The Big Four” publishers — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.
These entities have a vested interest in keeping each other at arm’s length and they will continue to silo their data from each other. This means if you are relying on publisher-owned tools (Like Facebook Ad Manager, or SA 360) for your digital marketing management and bidding optimization, you will not be able to connect the dots for activities that jump from one silo to another and will be missing conversion data as a result.
Marin is able to work with, and across, all technologies in the space. This allows us to create cutting-edge features — like our Marin + Amazon Attribution feature, in order to provide advertisers a consolidated view of their Search, Social, and eCommerce activities alongside conversion data — regardless of where that conversion occurs.
If you have any tracking challenges or want to discuss how Marin can ensure you are effectively reporting and optimizing to a complete ROI for all your digital marketing initiatives — don’t hesitate to reach out today to speak with a Marin Expert.
We recently wrote a blog on The Power of Web Queries, a type of scheduled report in MarinOne that is hosted on a URL and automatically updated with the most recent data. These are fully customizable reports, right down to the date range, activity type and even how often the data is refreshed.
The flexible nature of Web Queries means that marketers can automatically import their data directly into Microsoft Excel instead of having to manually download their data and then import into Excel, saving you endless hours of time spent generating reports manually. You can even create dashboards and templates in Excel, which get updated with the most recent data at the click of a button.
The New and Improved Web Query Reports
Since our earlier blog post, we’ve made further enhancements to our Web Query reporting capabilities to not only allow data to be automatically imported into Excel, but now into Google Sheets too.
You’re probably asking why use Google Sheets? What’s the benefit? Well, here’s a few…
Due to the cloud-based nature of Google Sheets, collaboration between multiple users makes a marketers workflow easier and faster
Built-in revision history
No need to constantly press “Save” due to Google Sheets’ auto-save functionality
Real-time chat window with colleagues
Access to your Google Sheet and data from any computer/device
Refreshing of data is automatic on an hourly cadence - no manual intervention needed
Ability to control access levels to the data, i.e. Read-Only, Edit or Comment access
Share the data easily with management and stakeholders
The data can also be synced into big data tools from Google Sheets for enhanced customization and reporting i.e. Google Data Studio
Pricing – Google Sheets is completely free to use
Setting Up Web Query Reports for Google Sheets
Once you’ve generated your Web Query report from MarinOne, copy the URL and open up a Google Sheet then follow the steps below.
Click into a cell and type =IMPORTHTML(
This function / formula imports data into a Google Sheet from a table within a HTML page such as Marin’s Web Query reports that are hosted on a URL
The syntax format is =IMPORTHTML("url", "query", index)
url – The URL of the page to be examined, including protocol (e.g. https://). This is where you paste the Web Query report URL that you generated in MarinOne
The URL must be enclosed in quotation marks
query – Either "table" or "list" can be used, depending on what type of structure contains the data For Marin’s Web Query reports, it will be the query "table", and make sure to also enclose it in quotation marks
index – The index, starting at 1, which identifies which table or list (as defined in the HTML source) should be returned For Marin’s Web Query reports, there are three tables to choose from (as shown in the image below)
Your formula should look like the example below. Make sure that each syntax is separated with a comma.
Once you hit enter, the data will be imported into the Google Sheet from the Web Query report
Once you have the data into the spreadsheet, you’ll need to set the criteria for the data to be refreshed;Click File >> Spreadsheet settings >> in the pop up, click Calculation >> change the recalculation to ‘On change and every hour’ >> click Save Settings
Google will now automatically refresh the data on an hourly cadence, so you can be sure that the most recent data is up-to-date - There’s no need to manually refresh like you have to in Excel
Why not give it a try and enhance your workflow with our latest update? And if you haven’t already, check our earlier blog on Web Query reports: The Power of Web Queries.
Reporting is often a mundane and repetitive task. How much time do you spend on reporting? If that answer is too much, then keep on reading.
Every marketer's dream is to spend as little time on reporting as possible. The fact is that the less time you spend on reporting, the more time you have to spend on your marketing strategy, campaign optimization or perhaps testing something completely new.
One of the key benefits of using MarinOne is its web query functionality.
In a nutshell, web queries enable you to pull data from a website's URL straight into Microsoft Excel. The web query format creates an automated report that is posted to a static URL every time the report is processed.
Web query reports in MarinOne are designed to let users take advantage of their existing reports and have the application update the data on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, saving you literally hours a week by not having to pull reports manually.
As you can imagine, the possibilities with web queries are endless. Below we have outlined a few examples of the web query alerts and reports that we tend to recommend.
Performance-based alerts and reports:
Poor performing campaigns, groups, creatives or keywords
Strong performing campaigns, groups, creatives or keywords
High potential keywords and search queries
Campaign, group, keyword coverage change
Low CTR/conversion rate creatives, keywords
Performance by match type
KPIs that have been achieved by certain objects in a given timeframe
Mobile vs. desktop performance
QA-based alerts and reports:
Missing Google Analytics parameters
Active groups with less than two creatives
Example: Cross channel Dashboard build by using Web Queries
Setting Up Web Query Reports
Now that you know when to use web queries, how can you create one?
If you are using Windows, you can follow the below steps:
Create a recurring report in MarinOne and select Excel Web Query as the format
You can then run your report and click save.
Right-click on the URL for the Excel link and select Copy Shortcut.
In Excel, open the workbook where you wish to import the data. From the Data menu, select From Web under Get External Data.
Paste the link you copied into the address bar and your report will be loaded into the window.
You can choose which section of your report to import by checking boxes placed next to each table in the report.
Click Import and you will be asked to specify the location for the report and you will have to enter your Marin credentials when prompted. If you wish to have the data in the report, refresh automatically when the file is opened, click Properties and select the Refresh Data When Opening File option.
Click OK and your data will be imported into the workbook at the location you specified. This data range will be refreshed whenever you select Refresh All from the Data menu (or automatically, if you choose that option). Simply link your existing output report to this data section and your report will be updated.
As mentioned, web queries will help you save time and hopefully enhance your day-to-day workflow. If there are any questions or you would like to know more, don't hesitate to contact us.
Increasing the reach of your Facebook campaigns can be challenging due to a variety of factors outside of your control as a digital marketer, such as spending more money, changing your end goal, or altering the Facebook algorithm. Since updating campaigns based on those components is usually unrealistic, you can consider these five recommendations--all of which can be used immediately, and in any combination, but do not replace testing each element of your campaigns on a regular basis.
It’s easy to get tunnel vision around your top performing audiences and run those until the wheels fall off. But when your remarketing audience and your favorite prospecting audience are fully taxed, you will eventually be unable to pull any more value out of them. When the reach of your campaigns grows stale and the cost for reaching that next potential customer is not sustainable, it’s time to find new relevant audiences.
There are three easy avenues for uncovering new audiences that have endless possibilities. First: lookalike audiences. Even if you are already running one lookalike audience, you can still adjust the percentage of similarity to find new prospects. If you are concerned about moving too far from that initial high-value seed audience, you can use banded lookalike audiences and combine multiple levels; for example, a 3-5% banded lookalike audience.
Second: brainstorming additional interests to include in prospecting. Don’t limit yourself to just one way of thinking. Set up audiences around competitor targeting, complimentary companies, or demographic specific interests.
Finally, Marin Software offers a program called Automatic Search Intent. By breaking down that barrier between Search and Social, we are able to automatically build campaigns based on similar keywords to expand your retargeting and lookalike options.
It is possible to be too hands-on with your campaign mix. Checking daily on performance-by-placement and making decisions to eliminate the lowest performing ads by clicks, spend, or impressions will take a negative toll on your reach. Facebook wants your campaigns to be successful because, after all, the better you perform, the more you’re likely to spend on new ads. Because of this, placements that are under-performing already receive a fraction of the stronger placements. Additionally, there’s a limited amount of ad space inventory available. The option for your ad to run isn’t necessarily a Right Column ad vs. a Newsfeed ad; it’s typically that Right Column ad vs. not serving at all.
Reducing Text in Images
Gone are the days of your ads being denied if text filled more than 20% of the image. However, that doesn’t mean you are free to fill the image of your ad with an overabundance of text. If your ad is more than 20% text, Facebook will reduce the reach of your ad, driving the cost of doing business up. Avoid this problem by using text sparingly throughout the image of the ad and fully utilizing the text fields available. If you really have a lot to say about your product or service, provide that on a landing page. Those who are interested in your offering will click to learn more.
Creating Relevant Ads
Last year, Facebook phased out its metric of Relevance Score and replaced it with: Quality Ranking, Engagement Rate Ranking, and Conversion Rate Ranking. These three rankings specifically factor in the audience used, comparing your performance to those targeting similar audiences. Ad relevance goes beyond these scores, since Facebook is often the first time a potential customer has heard of your business. Being vague or misleading to drive traffic to your website, or misrepresenting your offering on Facebook, will begin to limit the number of people you are able to reach. When building your ads, think about what solution you are looking to provide and whether every piece of your creative aids in that goal.
Include High Funnel Activity in Your Ad Mix
We recently posted a blog about how to build a social media marketing funnel. In that blog, we discuss the importance of including top-of-funnel objectives, so that not every ad is pushing for those more expensive conversion goals regardless of where the prospective customer came from. Including a top-of-funnel objective, like video views or engagement, can dramatically increase your reach. The average number of times a prospect needs to see an ad before becoming a customer, but regardless of what that number is, it’s rarely the first time your ad is served. By making the first couple touches a $0.01 video view instead of a $1.00 link click, you can build that reach without breaking the bank.
Using these five ways to improve the reach of your campaigns opens up the ability to thoroughly test your ads, reduce the cost of getting in front of your audiences, and maximize down-funnel events. Facebook campaigns reward innovation, and running the same ad to the same audience for any extended period of time begins to provide diminishing returns. Instead of waiting for your ads to dip in performance, start implementing these tips to add growth and longevity to your Facebook ads.
Finally, Marin Software has a managed service offering. Included in that, our team will review existing campaigns and set up new efficiencies to increase your reach. Learn more about our Managed Services offering and schedule a demo today!
Setting up a funnel for your social media channels is a vital step for sustainable, long-term growth. For marketers, it's valuable to understand the path that your customers move through at each point of the user journey, from the moment they become aware of your brand, to their first purchase, to their evolution into a repeat and loyal customer. In this article, we will cover why you should build a funnel, what to consider while setting it up, and how to monitor the funnel’s success. The objectives referred to will be Facebook-specific, but this model can and should be implemented on any social channel that can incorporate retargeting.
Why You Need a Funnel
It’s convenient to build a set of campaigns to help achieve your ultimate goal of conversions or purchases. The strategy makes reporting easy to navigate and gives you a clear view of which campaigns are performing well, and which ones need to be fixed. But when performance begins to lag behind, there isn’t enough data available to make an informed decision, or your prized retargeting audience starts to outpace your organic traffic, a funnel can help change your trajectory.
The primary goal of a funnel is to feed your favorite retargeting audiences, while weeding out those unlikely to convert. Wasting money on clicks from those that don’t know who you are, who don’t trust your website, or have no intent to use your product or service, does not lend itself to growth. And while increasing social media spend exclusively for lower-funnel conversion campaigns is the obvious thing to do, you also need to think more strategically and guide prospects through a series of steps to get them to take the actions you want. A good marketing funnel will nurture its prospects with relevant messaging at every stage, resulting in incremental performance, more brand loyalty, and less wasted ad spend.
The Four Stages of a Funnel
In its early days, social media was primarily known as a brand awareness tool. However, more recently, and especially in light of COVID-19, its power to influence individuals and build their relationships with brands has become more apparent. After all, someone may become a brand advocate of your company through various touchpoints and interactions.
With today’s customer journey being more multi-dimensional, the marketing funnel is as applicable today as it has ever been. Social media’s ability to influence every single part of the funnel makes it a powerful tool for today’s businesses, particularly those in the consumer market.
Creating a Funnel for Your Facebook Campaigns
Facebook advertising presents a perfect example of how social media can be used throughout the customer journey. Facebook’s ad objectives are already categorized by the different stages we’ve highlighted above, and its ad types are specifically used for engaging users at the various stages.
Your social media funnel will likely start off as a simple structure with only 2-3 steps in the user journey. Things to consider when structuring your funnel are the difficulty and likelihood for the potential customer to complete an action. For example, watching a video on Facebook is easy and frequent, but taking out your credit card to buy a product on a website off of Facebook is difficult and rare (comparatively).
For this example, we will also include a step in the middle: Landing Page Views, which are less common than video views, but more common than website purchases.
So, we have our customer journey:
However, we don’t quite have that funnel shape. If we target the same audience for all three of our campaigns, the cost will be similar to if we never set up a funnel, and we may actually drive up costs by bidding against ourselves. To prevent this issue, we need to use Custom Audiences. The top of the funnel should be as broad as it can be, while still being relevant to your goal. The middle should be targeted to audiences that have shown some interest, like watching 25% of the video, while the bottom of the funnel should be reserved for those that have made it to your website and taken action.
Building these audiences take time and, in many cases, requires advertisers to start from scratch. You will also want to ensure that the potential reach of your audiences is sizable (Ads Manager provides audience summary information about the Audience Reach) and that you’ve set the right ad budget by evaluating product margins and monthly revenue goals.
Ongoing Success with a Social Media Marketing Funnel
Having diversified campaigns and audiences will now provide stability to performance and open a greater opportunity for testing. In addition to having a social media funnel setup, your reporting will likely change too. If your initial goal before was to increase revenue, that still remains the same, but remember to factor each step of the customer’s journey into your success metrics. The key to ongoing success is making sure your retargeting audience is always being updated and that you are always reevaluating your tactics to make sure they align with the objective of each stage.
Marin Software has an in-house Managed Services team that can help you create your social media marketing funnel, optimize your audiences, build a set of recurring reports to ensure your goals are met, and much more. Learn more about our Managed Services offering and schedule a demo today!
Digital technology is available in its many forms to help you work faster. For marketing in particular, technology can improve the quality of your marketing output and ultimately help you generate more revenue and leads.
With that said, today’s unprecedented shift is creating the urgent need for brands and their partners to think outside the box and pivot quickly. Furthermore, it also surfaces a time to evaluate different tech stacks and see which tools can help increase their performance and efficiency.
Evaluating the right advertising technology for the job will come down to many factors, and reaching the best decision for your organization will take considerable time and effort that will likely involve you engaging in substantial research in order to get it right.
It’s important to ask yourself the right questions so you can narrow down your search. Think about questions such as:
What level of visibility or reporting does the product provide for forecasting versus actual results? Is it able to integrate with any of the advanced data visualization tools that I use on a day-to-day?
Does the vendor support multiple channels? Does the platform integrate with all major search engines and ad exchanges?
What support does the vendor provide for audience activation, and for which channels?
What level of integration does the solution have with our organization’s current technologies? How does it integrate with different data feeds or analytics solutions?
Does the platform enable dynamic delivery of personalized ads for the end-customer?
What level of support would they provide for any account escalations or questions?
Once you’ve answered these questions, and the answers are suitable to your company’s needs, it’s time to trial your options. Going back to the dawn of humankind, when it comes to problem solving, trial and error has always been one of the fundamental methods. Cavemen would test which weapon would kill Benny the mammoth most efficiently, while our old friend Julius Caesar would stage many different kinds of gladiator fights in order to see what the Roman people enjoyed most.
Full-service tools can get expensive quickly (even if you’re just trial-and-erroring), and most digital marketers are limited on budgets. Luckily, there are many instances in which you can get a free taste of what a product can offer (also known as the freemium model). There may be limited usage of the product, but you’ll likely get a solid understanding of its core value and if it addresses the needs of your business.
At Marin Software, we offer Marin Go, which helps you experience the power of MarinOne (our flagship product), without committing to a platform fee. You can then upgrade to MarinOne at any time.
With Marin Go you can:
Aggregate data from multiple channels into a single comprehensive dashboard. Marin Go can link up to accounts from 10+ publishers, including Google, Bing, Facebook, Apple Search Ads, LinkedIn, & Amazon. You can schedule reports to be collected, curated, and sent straight to your inbox in CSV format (or linking back to the platform).
Track budget pacing for the month and preview capabilities from our premium tool, MarinOne, including automated budget allocation and machine-learning bid optimization.
Ask questions of your performance using powerful, interactive reporting with change columns, flexible date ranges, saved views, and more.
Automate the preparation of polished executive-level and client-ready PDF reports.
Improve campaign performance with actionable suggestions and insights from our Account Performance Audits.
Automatically A/B test creatives.
If you are interested in trialing an enterprise-class reporting tool for free, and evaluating a tech stack that can incorporate data from all your different marketing channels, sign up now with Marin Go! We believe every advertiser should have the tools to break down publisher silos. Simply link in your accounts to start enjoying the benefits today.
Consumer behavior has been forced to immediately change as a result of COVID-19, and change on a massive scale. The transformation in consumer consumption is fluid, and we can expect it to continuously evolve over the coming weeks and months. For us marketing professionals, it poses the opportunity to shift and re-align to meet the needs of our ever-changing customers.
A seasoned advertiser is familiar with how to roll out a new digital strategy in “normal” times. That said, very few do so at the scale and the speed suddenly required by the new world we live in today.
As restrictions are lifted, and we begin to settle back to the hustle and bustle of our familiar routines, we will continue to see consumer behavior evolve. The fluidity in the unchartered waters we’re all sailing in will require flexibility, control, reactivity and transparency across all aspects of our digital programs, optimization and budget allocation in particular.
And while many advertisers will look to Smart Bidding to execute on their campaign optimization and budget allocation, it’s important to consider the restrictions that Google’s automated bidding solution presents--including the prerequisites that we’ve laid out above--flexibility and control, reactivity and transparency. Not to mention, budget pacing and scenario forecasting is unavailable with Smart Bidding, so advertisers are unable to evaluate new optimization opportunities before testing them out in the real world. See below on what we mean.
Flexibility & Control
One of the most widely-known and influential thinkers on management, Peter Drucker, once said, “Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.” This statement, now more than ever, is very true. Consumer behavior is changing by the day, and the search auction is a highly dynamic environment. Advertisers can benefit from flexibility.
Marin Software’s technology solves for this challenge through Device Adjustments, Exclusion of Date Ranges in Bidding Calculations, and Malleable & Bespoke Optimization Bidding Targets. And rather than only catering to Google, Marin Bidding can also be applied to an advertiser’s Bing, Amazon, Apple Search Ads, and LinkedIn campaigns. Our solution optimizes for you, the advertiser, and not the publisher, and works across many different channels.
As markets and industries shift, advertisers will need to react to sudden adjustments in the marketplace. For an e-commerce advertiser, this could be a sudden increase in a product category that you had not anticipated. For marketers in insurance, it could be reacting to the sudden change in profitability across a vertical. Such shifts require prompt and agile adjustments, and Smart Bidding is not equipped to handle this.
The MarinOne platform was designed with just this in mind. Within MarinOne, advertisers have the ability to layer custom modifiers in bulk, at scale to tailor any adjustment grand or slight. Couple this with the fact that Marin is open-stack and easily able to ingest any first-party or third-party business intelligence data to automate and streamline such adjustments to ensure you never miss a trick!
Transparency & Publisher Independence
For many years to come, we will be reflecting on the spring of 2020 as the time of perplexing changes in our lifestyle. The effects for many businesses will be great, and the financial leaders of these organizations will be mindful of every investment made as they return to growth. With this in mind, we expect a wider call for transparency and publisher-agnostic partnerships. A true evaluation of marketing investments will carry an even greater weight in understanding publisher performance.
The Marin Software ethos is to deliver the best performance for our advertisers, regardless of publisher. In doing this, our technology offers absolute transparency into all areas of optimization and budget allocation - an area we increase to invest in with exciting things to come this year. Without access to the complete bid history of any keyword or any individual auction, like that of Smart Bidding, there’s no way for an advertiser to unpack the selection criteria, optimization signals or decisioning systems for their campaigns.
What to do...
According to a recent McKinsey publication on how to navigate Digital Transformation in a Crisis, now is the time to act. Playing it safe now, understandable as it might feel to do so, is often the worst option.
As we emerge, and consumer behavior continues to evolve, agility will be forced upon us. As marketers, we’ll need to use everything in our power to control shifts, react and be flexible to our surroundings. Marin is here as a partner to equip advertisers with technology, insights and support to guide them through the journey ahead.
If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between Marin Bidding and Smart Bidding, check out our dedicated page.
From spend monitoring to ad ranking, keeping tabs on your campaign performance across your different marketing channels can be a lot of work. And because optimization is the key to a successful campaign, it’s good to stay in the know. However, most of us are not on our computers all the time, so we need an easy and efficient way to stay on top of it all, and be notified of any major changes immediately.
With Marin’s Automated Alerts, you can stay in the know with automatic monitoring and notifications for all your marketing campaigns. These alerts bring changes directly to your inbox, so that you can be notified as soon as they happen. This means timelier analysis and action, so that your campaigns can continue running smoothly even while you're away.
Check out these 5 alerts that you can set up in Marin to stay productive, optimize strategy, and make the most out of each advertising dollar.
This may feel pretty standard. But as a reminder, the cost of an acquisition or conversion is important to ensure not only that our ads are converting, but that they are doing so at a profitable rate. It is important to modify an alert like this one with an impressions count to be sure that an ad or campaign has reached enough users to properly determine an ideal CPA.
Example: Alert me if impressions are greater than 1000 and CPA is greater than X.
Getting Close to Spend Cap
This can help you monitor your budget pacing, and view the rate at which your campaigns spend. Take action before your cap is hit so that you make adjustments to achieve your performance goals.
Example: Alert me if total spend > $950 (where spend cap = $1000).
Impression Share is Dropping
If your strategy includes top or absolute top impression share, this alert is for you. By receiving a notification when an ad’s impression share drops below your target, you can take the appropriate action (improve ad ranking, evaluate keywords, expand budget) before falling too far behind.
Example: Alert me if the impression share drops by more than 10%
If you’re testing out some new keywords for your campaigns, use this alert to monitor their performance and iterate when necessary. This alert is great for keyword strategy
Example: Alert me if CTR is less than 3% for selected keywords.
Ads Not Converting
Your ads may not be converting because of audience targeting, ad copy, or user-experience on your landing page, you want to be notified about ads that don’t lead consumers to the end goal of a purchase or sign-up. This helps you save money and optimize your campaign for success.
Example: Alert me if I’ve spent more than $1000 and conversion rate is less than 10%.
Once you’ve created these alerts, you can breathe a bit easier knowing that if something dramatically shifts in a campaign, you’ll be notified and can take action immediately. Automated alerts in Marin are customizable and can be set up in just a few minutes. Schedule time with an account representative today to learn more!
These are unprecedented times. Whether you have cut your advertising costs and are making tough budgeting decisions, or are gearing yourself for an unexpected increase in traffic and conversions, the marketing programs you need today are different from what you were running last month.
According to eMarketer, 38% of US Agency and Marketing Professional’s advertising efforts have been paused until later in the year.
The answer to the question “What should I be doing now?” is going to be different for every company. We want to help you make the right decisions by asking the right questions about your business, your marketing programs, and your customers.
We’ll be joined for this conversation by Jake Renter, Chief Operating Officer for Intertwine Interactive. Jake has seen a broad range of impact across the companies he helps manage and he’ll be sharing what he’s hearing from his customers.
Together we will help you answer the ten questions that will make sure you’re continuing to get the most out of your marketing investment, including topics like:
Is my messaging correct?
It’s a sensitive time for creatives, you might need to review and refresh your existing copy and revise anything that may be misconstrued as insensitive given the current climate.
Should I change my bidding strategy?
Paid search is very measurable, the first thing you need to look at is if your conversion rate has changed? We’ll elaborate on that during the webinar but as a start, one way to save yourself a lot of time and worry as long as circumstances continue to change day by day is leveraging tech for alerts. Demand and volume shifts for products can be dramatic, swinging up or down.
Should I be reducing my budgets and how should I be spending?
First, you may want to shift budgets into those products or services that have more relevance during this national emergency. Now might be a good time to do some incrementality testing and see the impact, especially at the top of the funnel.
Are there strategic projects I can be working on that will set me up for success?
If your mandate is to essentially “keep the lights on” now may present a good time to do the deep cleaning.
Sign up today to join us on Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 at 9am PST | 5pm BST
We are in uncharted waters. The changes from Covid-19 are already widespread and they will be long-lasting. Like many other companies, we at Marin have been dealing with working from home, canceled travel plans and figuring out distance learning. I just got off a conference call with 30 kindergarteners and I have to admit it was pretty amusing.
Most countries are significantly restricting social contact to avoid medical system overload. After the initial shock of these restrictions, things will adjust to the new normal, a dramatically accelerated version of the “Stay at Home Economy” trend.
The first priority needs to be the health and safety of our families, the elderly, and our communities at large. As people adjust to the new routines they've been forced into, they will look to fulfill even more of their needs online. And digital marketing will be on the front lines.
I think there are two questions that, as marketers, we should all be asking of our companies:
What can I do to help? Are there things that we can be doing that will make staying at home easier or better? Can I reduce friction for my customers in these challenging times?
How should I adjust my marketing programs? The impact of this is widespread but not even. Some industries will be hit hard, while others will benefit (see Zoom). As a digital marketer, what adjustments should I be making to my marketing programs?
What can I do to help?
Be Generous. Many companies with tools to help people work remotely are offering their services free during this time. Newspapers are lowering paywalls to make sure that people can stay informed. Zoom is offering its service free to public schools. Yogaworks is offering its online workout classes free until further notice (promo: ONLINE) to enable people to workout remotely.
Be Flexible. We are all going to be changing plans, canceling trips, adjusting schedules. Let’s make it easy for our customers to do the right thing and help to reduce the severity of this by reducing the friction of making these adjustments. Airlines are waiving most change and cancellation fees. Airbnb has followed suit, and so have Disneyland and Disney World Resorts. Vail Resorts is offering full refunds to international reservation-holders, and free rebooking to domestic reservation-holders. How can your company help?
Be Patient. Hourly workers are going to be especially hard hit as schools start to get canceled. Parents will need to stay home, meaning they can’t work (in many cases they can’t work anyway because their workplaces will be closed). Companies (and the US government) are starting to relax deadlines and late payment penalties to help people. Is this something that your company could do?
How will my industry be impacted?
You’re probably already seeing the impact in your volumes and conversion rates. You know your business better than we do but obviously travel/hospitality is already heavily impacted. Anything related to events will be similar. Companies offering products that make it easier to stay at home could benefit, including eCommerce, meal delivery, and streaming media. People are less likely to be making purchases that require longer consideration cycles at the moment, so we expect lower volumes and conversion rates in automotive and education. Sectors like financial services are less clear. With interest rates coming down and a recently-volatile stock market, expect a lot of activity in this sector.
How should I adjust my marketing programs?
Bidding: It’s key to remember that you should think about changes in volume and changes in conversion rate separately. If volumes are going down but your conversion rates aren’t changing, you might not need to adjust your bids. But if conversion rates are changing you’ll want to change your bids. If you are using an automated bidding system (Marin or Smart Bidding), your bids will automatically adjust; however, you might want to temporarily add a boost to account for a step-change in performance. On Marin, you can use excluded dates to focus the sampling period.
Budgets: For those advertisers seeing an increase in demand, make sure you aren’t hitting your budget caps and limiting the potential of your campaigns.
Messaging: Review your messaging and make sure it’s relevant in the current environment, especially if you have changed your services or policies. This impacts your website first and foremost, but your ads should match. Sitelinks can be a great way to communicate such changes.
Channel Impact: If you are a multichannel retailer, you may expect to see a shift from offline to online for conversions as consumers try to buy more online. If you sell through Amazon, your Prime support will be critical to “own the buy box” as more households will sign up for Prime. You can now send consumers directly to third-party retailers from ad sitelinks or headlines, which is important to test for effectiveness (Marin is working on an attribution tool with Amazon to connect Amazon purchases to ads on other publishers-- contact us for more info).
Focus on how you can help and protect your community of co-employees and customers, not just shareholders. Review your plans and messaging within and outside your team to ensure that you are being responsible to the business, but not look like you are “taking advantage” of the situation. How would you feel reading about your marketing tactics on the front page?
Need more help?
At Marin, we want to help as much as we can. Our team of experts can support you during this time of uncertainty. As with many companies, we are encouraging employees to work from home to reduce the spread of the virus. We won’t be traveling or meeting in person, but our teams are fully equipped to support you remotely. If you need anything, please reach out to your account manager or click here and let us know what we can do.
Let’s all remember to stay safe and healthy, and to be kinder than necessary as we all try and figure how to adjust to and help in this new world.
To wrap things up, this article looks at the importance of having access to all of your data—not just the numbers a publisher wants you to see. Let freedom—and transparency—ring.
The Trouble with Too Little Data
When it comes to data visibility needs and desires, advertisers and agencies run the gamut—some are happy to pay on a CPC basis without knowing what CPM the vendor paid. Others are okay tracking to just a few KPIs. Still others want it all. What’s the best way to go?
The key to transparency is precision—whether you’re running a direct response or a brand campaign, having the right data measures the impact of either type of campaign, and allows you access to what you need to measure ROI.
So what do advertisers most often expect from their ad tech vendors and publishers? Our take is that list is long, but we’ll focus on the essential data you need to transform “unaware” to “X-ray vision.”
To gain greater intelligence about the effectiveness of your display campaigns and to better understand the customer journey and attribution, at minimum, you need access to:
Effective cost per thousand impressions (eCPM): the effectiveness of a CPM campaign that takes earnings into account and gives you a comparable metric across buys
Assisted conversions and view-through metrics: measures the extent to which display ads influence subsequent site visits and sales—without a click—and avoids allocating value to ads that didn’t influence a visit or sale
Site-level reporting and performance by domain: whitelisting and blacklisting promotes better targeting and provides a way to measure site-level effectiveness
Bids: know what your partner’s bidding for each impression (win vs. bid rate), and the logic, math, and algorithms behind a bidding process
The lookback window used to calculate conversion credit: lets you understand the relationship of a consumer’s engagement during upper-funnel tactics to drive awareness and consideration (e.g., 30-day+ window) or lower-funnel tactics (e.g., a two-day window) to give proper attribution to the campaign that lead to the conversion
This level of transparency allows you to understand true ROI. It also lets you keep an eye on how your bids are managed, unlike black box vendors who don’t reveal a history of bid calculations or otherwise provide any idea of what—and how—you’re actually doing. With the black box model, it’s much harder/impossible for you to look into the data and understand what’s driving conversions or an algorithm. Conversely, being able to do this provides you with a high level of visibility into the effectiveness of your campaign.
Why All the Secrecy?
Despite industry calls for greater data transparencyon many levels, mum’s still the word from most vendors and publishers. Some players have their reasons—the main one being to maintain a competitive edge. Understandable. However, as more and more brands pound at the locked doors of black box vendors, it’ll become less to those vendors’ advantage to keep the secret sauce secret.
If a vendor is transparent about not being transparent, is that “transparent”? We say “no.” As vendors realize this, perhaps there’ll be some level of agreement that to survive in an increasingly tug-of-war environment, neutrality and openness are key.
That is, companies must heed the call to “show me the data.”
Transparency for Optimal Performance
In sum—the best way you can improve campaign performance is to know exactly how bidding, reporting, and attribution are all working independently and in concert. Once you have this level of data and insight, you’ll know exactly how your budgets are working for you (or not), and you can take active steps to enhance effectiveness. At that point, you’ll have a crystal-clear view of your marketing efforts—and your ROI—to give you the confidence, control, and independence you need to execute measurable marketing initiatives.
Does your Facebook advertising strategy include video? Should you include video as part of your overall Facebook advertising strategy?
If you find yourself asking these questions, this article is for you. In this post you’ll discover essential tips for killer Facebook video campaigns and how you can improve on your existing strategy.
Facebook has seen phenomenal growth in video usage over the past year—it’s now serving a staggering 8 billion video views a day. Video usage has exploded astronomically, with no signs of slowing down. On average US adults spend 1 hour and 16 minutes each day watching videos on digital devices. In a split second, they’ll make a decision as to whether or not your post is worth engaging with.
If you have no idea where to start, you’re in luck. We’re here to help you create a powerful campaign that gets you noticed and achieve positive results.
1. Define your goal.
Before you start your campaign, it’s essential to understand what you want to achieve. Are you looking for brand awareness or to drive action? First and foremost, getting eyeballs on your videos should be your initial goal, but don’t stop there. You have a wealth of customer data itching to be used. Take these video viewers and turn them into actual customers (which we’ll chat about in a moment).
Drive brand awareness: Tracking video views and unique reach is important to you. Remember that Facebook considers a “view” someone who’s watched three or more seconds of your video.
Drive action: Clicks to your website or conversions are important to you. Be sure to add a clear call to action to your ad.
2. Decide on your target audience.
In general, Facebook recommends defining an audience of over 10,000 people for the best ad performance. You need to make people stop to view your video ad instead of scrolling past, so choose carefully. The more relevant your audience is the more video views you’re likely to get. We recommend creating buyer personas to identify who your ideal customers are, and then using these to define your campaign’s target audiences.
Be sure to tailor your creative for each respective persona. This also goes for separate target audiences and brand awareness versus re-engagement campaigns. Be creative and experiment with different targeting options to find the one that suits you best.
3. Go mobile.
Video ads are available across desktop/mobile news feeds and Instagram. Mobile drives the most effective video views, with 65% of Facebook users watching videos on their mobile device. With mobile effectively becoming the core of Facebook’s business—having grown 82% year-over-year and accounting for 80% of its total ad revenue—it continues to attract more and more people on mobile devices. This is only set to increase with its Instagram offering.
4. Don’t over-rely on autoplay.
Create engaging videos that make people want to hit that “play” button. If your ad receives high negative feedback, your video is less likely to autoplay. Have visually engaging content in the first few seconds of your video to catch a user’s attention. Sell without sound—85% of videos on Facebook are watched on silent mode, so use text overlays and a clear CTA to get your message across. Get creative with your content and cater for silent autoplay.
5. Optimize for video views for maximum reach.
Allow Facebook to identify users who are more likely to watch your video, which in turn will help increase the reach of your campaign. By choosing video views as your objective, Facebook will look for people who are more likely to watch your video in full. This will then let you generate much more effective custom audiences for your retargeting campaigns.
6. Re-engage users and drive conversions.
Video is the perfect mode for prospecting, but don’t let your strategy stop there. Take your viewers on a journey through your funnel and convert them into actual, paying customers. How, you ask? Create a list of people who’ve engaged with your video on Facebook and choose from several options:
People who viewed at least 3 seconds of your video
People who viewed at least 10 seconds of your video
People who viewed at least 25% of your video
People who viewed at least 50% of your video
People who viewed at least 75% of your video
People who viewed at least 95% of your video
Use these audiences to retarget highly engaged users of your brand. People who’ve completed your video will represent a more engaged audience and will be more likely to take your desired action. Get your messaging right, and as we mentioned above, take your viewers on a journey through the funnel.
If you’ve shown them generic messaging in your first touch point, be sure to follow up with specific product messaging followed by an incentive to purchase if they haven’t already done so. The goal of retargeting is to place your brand at top of mind while customers are still deep in their decision-making process.
Marin launched exactly this strategy with a leading technology brand and achieved a 30% lower CPA and 11% higher CTR, plus generated the highest number of sales for the campaign overall.
7. Monitor, adjust, and optimize.
You’ve followed all of the above steps and now you want to actually figure out what’s working for you. Test, test, and test some more! Ensure to test all the creative elements of your ads, including different video variations and text overlays. The number of ad variations will add up quite quickly, so it’s best to create these in bulk to save you time.
Narrow your targets based on your key objectives and buyer personas. You can break down your audiences by location, demographics, interests, and behavior specifics.
For example, if your audience size is large enough and you want to target multiple locations, run them in separate campaigns—making it easier to optimize—and see what’s working best for you. Are you targeting fans versus non-fans? Consider using different creative for each. You should always have different messaging for people who are already familiar with your brand, versus people who may have never come across you prior to your campaign.
Along with the above be sure to:
Include a clear CTA.
Use high-quality video content.
Include your branding and main messaging in the first few seconds of your video to take advantage of the autoplay feature (remember to use text overlay to cater for silent autoplay).
Combat ad fatigue by refreshing your creative every one to two weeks for best performance. When people have seen your ad multiple times, it can become more expensive to achieve your desired results.
Navigate to the reporting section and monitor key metrics such as clicks, impressions, reach, CTR, and conversions. Be sure to track follow-on activity in your Google Analytics account, and measure the lift of your campaigns based on key website stats such as bounce rate, average session duration, pages per session, and goal completion. Use the results of your testing to create a powerful, results-driven campaign.
With the continued growth of video across the platform, Facebook video ads are more likely to generate increased engagement for brands. By implementing the above, you’re sure to generate conversions from your efforts.
Between the distant frenzy of the Q4 shopping season and the rising calm of midyear, Q2 tends to be the quietest quarter. However, this doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening. Among other things we found in our research, mobile display played a larger role this Q2—but overall, the ubiquitous move to mobile is actually slowing down. And, tablet usage continues to drop.
To create our quarterly benchmark reports, we sample the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform. We analyze data from around the world to create our report. For Q2 2016, key findings include:
The move to mobile is slowing down. Across search and social, the shift away from desktop has been slowing for the last two quarters. Device share is decelerating and seems to be approaching a stability point. Display is the only channel that’s still seeing strong shifts toward mobile over the past quarter for both advertisers and users.
Smartphone and desktop are the devices of choice. The tablet revolution never took off and continues to shrink. Instead, it was co-opted by its sibling device, the smartphone. For the foreseeable future, smartphone and desktop are the two largest winners.
Advertisers should continue to prioritize cross-channel, cross-device targeting. In order for advertisers to employ a robust cross-channel, cross-device marketing approach, they should continue to learn the strengths and weaknesses of these channels and devices.
When we looked at performance marketing data from the first quarter of 2016, one thing became clear: cross-channel, cross-device targeting remains the most powerful differentiator for profitable marketing strategies.
To create our quarterly benchmark reports, we sample the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform. We analyze data from around the world to create our report. For Q1 2016, key findings include:
All mobile, all the time. Advertisers and consumers are continuing to shift towards a more mobile ecosystem.
Cross-channel and cross device remain important. It’s important for marketers to adopt and maintain a more holistic and complete approach to digital marketing that targets across all channels and devices.
Every channel has its strengths and weaknesses. Not only should marketers become adept at recognizing each channel’s weaknesses, but even more importantly, they should start using all three channels and devices to their best strengths.
Continuing its ascent into the status of omnipresent being, global smartphone adoption reached an all-time high last year and shows no signs of slowing down. Thanks to this rapid expansion of smartphone usage around the world, advertisers now have an opportunity to reach consumers even more easily.
We sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform, to analyze data from around the world to create our latest annual benchmark report.
We uncovered three key findings:
Clicks and spend have gone mobile. In 2015, mobile devices represented the majority of consumer online usage for the first time. Consumers are now spending more time and attention on mobile devices than desktop – as a result, advertisers have been shifting spend away from desktop towards smartphones and tablets to catch consumer attention and generate clicks. We predict this trend will continue.
Desktop is becoming more like mobile. As the mobile format gains traction with consumers and advertisers, publishers are innovating. While mobile ad formats formerly took cues from desktop, publishers are now swapping the formula, making desktop ad formats and pages more similar to mobile.
Mobile conversion is gaining traction. Desktops are still the primary conversion-driving device; however, within the past year, conversion rates have been growing on mobile devices. While mobile devices have historically been used for product research or upper-funnel activities, this is changing, as better mobile attribution and ad formats are released. Expect this trend to continue.