Analytics

On December 6th, 2022, we'll be offering a comprehensive webinar on budgeting strategies for the new year featuring Forrester. Anu Adegbola, an account director of paid media with Marin, and guest speaker Brett Kahnke, a principal analyst with Forrester, will cover how to approach your marketing budget for 2023 while also giving tips on how to adapt your budgets as needed ongoing. 

To get you started before the webinar, we've put together a "too long didn't read" guide on Forrester’s approach to budget allocation and what steps you should take when planning a long-term fiscal strategy. To get all of Forrester’s insights and tips, you'll need to download Forrester's report directly (available to Forrester subscribers or for purchase) and attend our webinar event, but this quick overview should help you start moving forward.

Summary of Forrester’s Strategic Budget Allocation Process

In the Forrester report, Kahnke explains how marketing teams are tasked with executing marketing and maximizing results while also dealing with a murky set of objectives. As a part of this process, execution teams must work with business priorities to find the best course of action. The Strategic Budget Allocation Process can be used by the central, regional or country-based field marketing teams or as a second business within an organization. The complete guide by Forrester outlines the benefits of creating a marketing program plan that aligns spending with business, marketing, and campaign objectives. Kahnke also highlights common mistakes that can lead to disconnected or habitual marketing.

The Five Steps of Forrester’s Execution Strategy Phase

Step 1: Review Budget Allocations And Prepare Guidance

Check if team goals align with campaign budget allocations; include campaigns, sub-campaigns, and targeted segments in your analysis.

• Review the top-down and bottom-up budget distribution.

• Define execution guidelines for marketing teams.

• Provide regular feedback on successes and failures, especially in communication with leadership.

Step 2: Layer on Specific Program Allocations and Ensure Totals Stack Up Against Strategic Targets

Step 3: Define Programs You Absolutely Need Within Your Marketing Strategy

Step 4: Identify the Right Tactics for Your Team at this Time, Build the Calendar, and Finalize Allocations

The program manager's primary deliverable in this step is a program calendar. This summarizes the duration of each program and its related tactics in a production schedule and includes the correlating spend for each tactic. 

Step 5: Check your Bottom to Top Overview, Get Endorsement, and Share the Plan

It’s important to communicate the priorities of marketing campaigns to other departments within the business. Confirm that your final plan is still aligned to the organizations needs in terms of objective, campaigns, and program allocations. 

We look forward to sharing more with you in December and hearing directly from Brett how the execution of this strategy will give you the best marketing plan for 2023 possible.

In 2023, Google will stop supporting Universal Analytics and switch all customers to Google Analytics 4. Prepare ahead of time to make your transition as seamless as possible by making GA4 an integral part of your tech stack now. We will discuss how Google Analytics 4 differs from earlier versions and there will also be pointers for maximizing the platform's functionality. 

Google Analytics 4: What’s new?

So now comes the question of what new features there are in GA4, and the answer is, in short… a lot. The data collection algorithm and data structure in GA4 are quite different. Now, rather than sessions as in the past, everything is built around users and events. Every user interaction is treated as a separate event in an event-based approach.

This shift is important since, in the past, we relied on a session-based model that categorized user activities over a certain time. Marketing grows significantly from shifting the focus from sessions to events, including improved pathing analytic capabilities and cross-platform analysis.

By switching to an event-based approach, GA4 becomes more adaptable and has improved user behavior prediction.

Google Analytics 4 property events

Normally, the data in your reports comes from activities that occur as people engage with your website or blog. A page view event is triggered whenever a user accesses a page on your site.

The following events may be gathered without the use of any code:

  • Automatically collected events: Events that are automatically captured when data collection is set up include first visit, ad clicks, and file downloads.
  • Enhanced measurement events: This option automatically gathers enhanced measurement events such as page view, scroll, and video engagement.
  • Recommended events: This represents events that you design but that have fixed names and parameters. Common events in this category could be ad impressions, coupon use for purchases, or a search performed by the user on your website directly. 
  • Custom events: Custom events are ones you designate and give a specific name. If none of the events in the other categories meet your requirements, you can build events that are completely bespoke to your business.
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How to make the transition from Universal Analytics to GA4

To update the GA version, you can follow the steps that are listed below:

Step 1: 

Easily install GA4 by navigating to the admin part of your reporting view in your GA3 property. Open the admin section and start the process.

Step 2:

You will see that the "Setup Assistant" link for GA4 located under the Property column. Click on it. 

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Step 3:

You will find the heading "I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property," click the "Get Started" button.

Step 4:

In this step, you need to click on the Create Property button. New GA4 properties will now be created automatically by Google Analytics. Your current GA property will continue to exist. So you will have access to at least two GA properties. With gtag.js, the GA4 setup assistance operates automatically. You must add the Analytics tag manually if you use a website builder like WordPress, Wix, etc. However, this new GA4 property won't start gathering data automatically. For the data to begin flowing into your new GA4 property, you must configure your GTM (Google Tag Manager).

Step 5:

Now click on the "see your GA4 button. A new tab will open. Click on the Data stream link.

Step 6:

In this step, click on your web data stream. Note: Both "web stream" and "data stream" are used in Google Analytics 4. These two terms refer to the flow of analytics information your website sends to Google Analytics.

Step 7:

Select "Use existing on-page tag" from the Tagging instructions section. Select Google Tag Manager from the drop-down option. Now you will see the instructions for setting up a tag to track your website data in the new GA4 property. Note down the measurement ID.

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Step 8:

Go to your GTM account and click the link for New Tags. Give your new tag a name like "GA4 tracking - All pages" and choose Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration as the tag type.

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Step 9:

In the Measurement ID text box, type the measurement ID you recorded earlier. Make sure that your trigger fires on all pages. To save your tag, click the Save button.

Step 10:

Click on the Preview button, which is situated in the upper right corner. The Tag Manager Preview mode window will appear in a new browser tab. If it doesn't, it indicates that your browser is blocking the window.

Step 11:

Now enter your website address and click on the Connect button. Your website will appear in a new tab in your browser window as soon as you click the Connect button.

Step 12:

Return to the tab of your browser that displays the Tag Manager Preview mode window, and click the Continue button. Your tag is firing properly if you see the tag "GA4 tracking-All pages" in the Tags Fired column.

Step 13:

Now again, open your GTM account and click the submit tab. Click the Publish button after naming your version. Go back to your website, click on a few pages, and open them. After scrolling up, open your GA4 property again and click the cross button next to the Web stream details.

Finally, check your reports

From the menu on the left, just select the Reports icon.

Your home page report's quick response will be:

  • What are the locations of your new users?
  • Which of your campaigns performed the best?
  • Which screens and pages receive the greatest traffic?
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Select Real-time report by clicking over it. Your real-time report should show new data. Remember that Google Analytics 4 reports differ significantly from the Universal Analytics reports. In addition to using the new catalog, several well-known metrics and reports have been totally removed. Basically, you would have to start again with Google Analytics 4 if you were using standard reports like the Top Landing Pages report.

Keep in mind that GA4 property is the default option while establishing a new property from within an existing GA3 property. However, you can still use the GA4 Setup Assistant option in your GA3 property even after you have created your new GA4 property.

The option to "See your GA4 property" should appear when you click the GA4 Setup Assistant link once more, indicating that you have successfully set up the GA4 property and connected it to your previous GA3 property.

What is an App + Web Property?

App + Web was basically Google Analytics 4's beta version. All App + Web properties are now accessible as GA4 properties. This means that you don't need to do anything.

Open the property in your Google Analytics account. The previous Universal Analytics interface will have been replaced with the new GA4 interface.

Next Steps

Google Analytics 4 uses artificial intelligence (AI) to effectively gather user data, provide statistics based on customer life cycles, and help you customize your advertising to your target audience. Combining these elements can increase your chances of conversion and ROI while also building your business.

Using GA4 in combination with MarinOne reporting and conversion tracking tools will give your marketing team complete visibility on all your website impressions, engagement, and actions…with a holistic view of users and events across channels and devices. By automatically connecting and combining siloed marketing data from thousands of sources, you can understand the impact of your marketing at both high and granular levels. 

Ready to know your best-performing tactics across the consumer’s journey and optimize every marketing dollar? Speak with one of our expert consultants today to learn how to get started.

As most performance marketers will tell you, knowing your audience and how they interact with your brand is crucial to help you measure and optimize your campaigns. While advertisers used to rely on guesswork in devising strategies to reach more prospects, they can now confidently make informed decisions based on real-time data, thanks to tracking pixels.

Tracking pixels are crucial when you’re thinking about campaign planning, targeting, and optimization. Although pixels are simply small snippets of code on the backend of your website, they have the power to transform your entire marketing strategy. In this article, we’ll break down the basics of pixel tracking, how it works, the different types, and how you can start using pixels properly for any kind of marketing campaign. 

What is a tracking pixel?

Simply put, a tracking pixel is an HTML code snippet embedded in a site or email. Although it’s a nearly invisible component of the site, it contains a tag that tracks user behavior—things like the pages they’ve visited, the actions they’ve taken, and their purchasing history. This is powerful because it can capture important information that reveals consumer interactions with advertising and other marketing efforts. 

How does a tracking pixel work?

  • A pixel code is added to your site’s HTML code or email.
  • A user’s browser processes the HTML code when they visit your website.
  • The browser then follows the link stored in the code and opens the graphic. 
  • The server registers this activity within its log files.
  • The data is then available to analyze.
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What are the different types of tracking pixels?

There are a few different types of tracking pixels: 

  • Conversion pixels focus on what happens once your targeted audience interacts with your ads. They inform you of the products customers added to their cart, which contact forms they completed and submitted, and what they bought, among other things.
  • Impression pixels measure the number of times an ad unit displays on a customer’s screen. The goal of these pixels is to provide you with a precise number of impressions that have been served so you can determine whether an ad is successful.
  • Retargeting pixels track the behavior of your site’s previous visitors so you can tailor ads to suit their particular interests.
  • Click tracking pixels allow you to see the exact number of clicks on your URL, email links, ads, or text links, which helps you understand which sites are generating the most clicks

What’s the difference between a pixel, a cookie, and a tag?

We could spend a great deal of time on the distinction between various types of tracking codes. For those just trying to get a basic understanding, however, here’s a brief overview.

  • Pixels allow you to follow users on all their devices, linking marketing efforts across your mobile ads and website. Because they don’t rely on an individual’s browser, users can’t disable them. Pixels are useful for tracking conversions on your landing pages, partner sites, and even affiliate networks.
  • Cookies, on the other hand, are saved in a user’s browser. Unlike pixels, users can disable, block, or clear cookies as they choose. Cookies are most commonly used to create an easier login experience and also for adding multiple items to a visitor’s cart for a single checkout.
  • Tags are often used interchangeably with pixels. Defined loosely, tags are the keywords that describe elements on a page and all their attributes.

While all three are different, they are all used to capture user information so you can deliver a more customized web experience for your site’s visitors. 

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When I am planning a new campaign, which things should I pixel?

  • Key landing pages: Adding a pixel to key landing pages such as a “contact us” page can make a difference to your conversion lifecycle. 
  • Home page: A pixel here will help you figure out which visitors are coming to your site. 
  • View product: This pixel will help give you insight into who is looking at your products but not actually purchasing them. 
  • Add to cart: Adding a pixel further down the funnel at the “add to cart” phase of the lifecycle is intended to track your high buying potential audience. 
  • Lead forms: Placing a pixel on the start button of your lead form will help you determine the percentage of users who complete the form. You can also add one to the confirmation page. This pixel placement will also help you understand any upper funnel interaction from your campaign or different tactics. 

Helpful tips 

Before getting started, here are some helpful tips to consider.

  • Be intentional. Be selective with your pixel usage. You don’t need to attach a pixel to every single web page. Rather than casting a wide net with your tracking data, work on refining your focus, which will result in more accurate user data. Quality over quantity is key here. 
  • Track pixel frequencies cautiously. They can make your site slower—and slow load times will make users more likely to leave. Keep in mind that users can’t see a tracking pixel, so if it’s the last item to load on a page, that’s quite okay.
  • Don’t lose sight of your targeted campaigns. Stay focused on your target audience. Don’t waste tracking pixels on demographics you’re not aiming for.
  • Respect users’ privacy. While you may not like the idea of users opting out of tracking, respect their choice. Even though you have good intentions, some users prefer that their movements go unwatched. 
  • Monitor ad performance. Identify which ads are resonating best with your audience. Tracking pixels can help determine which ads perform well so you can create content that your audience responds to and optimize your online ad spend. 
  • Use a platform that provides detailed reports. To track your marketing performance and analyze information such as digital ad impressions, email responses, social media conversion rates, and other types of activity related to your campaign, choose a platform that can do it all for you. Eliminating the guesswork from your tracking pixel strategy will enable you to see real-time results and also allows you to make adjustments quickly. 
  • Set up tracking parameters. Implementing tracking parameters can help you discover which channels are producing high conversion rates, which campaigns are successful, which creatives are performing well, and much more. 

Ready to get started with pixel tracking?

MarinOne can help. Our Marin Tracker is a conversion tracking solution with optimization tools built into its platform to give you a better understanding of your buying cycle.

We help you make data-driven marketing decisions by unifying your campaign data with sales outcomes and machine learning. Our tracker makes it easy for you to measure your revenue impact from all of your digital marketing efforts. 

Save time managing tracking codes so you can spend more time on what matters most—driving your campaigns with rich insights.

Tracking pixels can give you the edge you need if you’re ready to take your online advertising or latest campaign to the next level. Get in touch with one of our experts about how we can help you set up, plan, execute, and optimize your campaigns.

E-commerce has had a long hot summer, but some experts say that winter has finally arrived. We’ve seen stock valuations for major retailers plummet and layoffs increasing in frequency, leaving businesses wondering if pandemic-era predictions for permanently changed consumer behavior might just fall flat.

The e-commerce expansion initially came as a necessity in 2020 during the onset of the pandemic: retail locations closed or reduced hours, bread-winners spent more time at home, and everyone spent more time on their devices. E-commerce businesses saw unprecedented growth, and those that cashed in without dedicating time to a long-term game plan saw subsequent declines the following year.

A recent study by store equipment supplier Raydiant showed that 48% of customers prefer to shop in-store when given the choice between in-store and online. And 51% said that they spent most of their money in physical store locations. Now as we navigate surging inflation and economic uncertainty, businesses must adapt yet again to a changing landscape.

TL;DR: In-store shopping isn’t dead, and e-commerce businesses need to adapt to survive.

If you’re looking for adaptation inspiration, here are a few ideas:

Retain your Current Customers

One of the first things I look for in an advertising audit is some kind of retention strategy. While often overlooked in advertising, customer retention can be incredibly valuable. 

If you’re on the fence, consider these stats from Outbound Engine:

  • Acquiring a new customer can cost up to five times more than it does to retain a current customer.
  • Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%
  • The success rate for selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a net new customer is 5-20%

Implementing a customer retention strategy can be simple and impactful. Some examples include:

  • Reminding customers about upcoming product releases
  • Implementing some cornerstones of Social Commerce such as engaging with customer content and creating high quality content
  • Exclusive offers for current customers

Don’t Leave Money on the Table

Did you know that 73% of shopping carts are abandoned on desktop and 86% on mobile? Your business could be missing out on a lot of cash in those carts.

Some options to address cart abandonment include:

  • Retarget these users in digital advertising, email automation, or even SMS. Your customers added these items to their carts for a reason, sometimes they just need an extra nudge.
  • Consider your shipping options. Multiple studies show that offering free shipping is a win for retailers, even if that shipping cost needs to be baked into your product pricing. If you have a brick and mortar location, consider offering free in-store pickup for online orders (Also referred to as BOPIS). 

Add Value (Outside of your Product Offering)

This may sound counterintuitive, but in today’s highly competitive e-commerce environment brands are expected to deliver more than just goods. Consider alternative on-brand ways to drive value for your customers (and be sure to capture their emails along the way).

For example, a cookware brand might email recipes that can be made using their products. An apparel brand might offer a quiz for new customers to find their perfect fit. An outdoors company might host an adventure giveaway. All of these examples serve the dual purpose of customer engagement and the opportunity to capture a contact.

The work isn’t done once you receive that email address though. Consider leveraging customer emails for digital retargeting strategies, email lifecycle marketing, and additional ways to add value to continue tending to your customer relationships.

Optimize your Ads 

Lastly, make sure the ads that you are running are driving conversions. There are many ways to do this, so we’ll list a few here:

  • A/B testing - try out some different creative and messaging options to see what resonates with your customers.
  •  Audience targeting - keep good records on your customers in your CRM system and use your first party data to retarget current customers while finding new customers with lookalike audiences.
  • Cross-channel bid optimization - where are your customers finding you? Google? Amazon? Social channels? Analyze your performance data to see which channels are working best for you and you may want to allocate more of your budget to those platforms. 

An ad tech platform like MarinOne can help you to integrate your data, analyze your performance, and optimize your ad spend for the best possible results. Reach out for a free consultation and we’ll show you how!

There's nothing worse than feeling like you're wasting perfectly good product in storage facilities because certain items in your inventory just don't seem to be selling. This is frustrating both for operations and marketing teams. Operations teams are facing supply chain issues, shipping headaches, storage fees, and more while they watch waning product take precious warehouse space that best selling items could occupy. 

Meanwhile the marketing team is pouring money into ads, thinking that more exposure will lead to more sales, while certain items cannot seem to get out the door quickly enough. Sometimes, no matter how many times you tweak a campaign, the results just aren't there. Too many companies suffer from the "left hand not speaking to the right" in regard to marketing and operational teams. If this sounds familiar, it might be time to take a closer look at your inventory management strategy and realign the effectiveness between operations and marketing. 

As Julie Durante, the Director of Inbound at Impulse Creative, said, “Operations must serve the customers that marketing helps attract. If marketing and ops aren’t in alignment, no one will be successful.”

What are the benefits of aligning operations and marketing roadmaps?

If your operations and marketing teams work side-by-side, you'll see great results. Making sure operations are aligned with what marketing is doing ensures a smooth workflow and you'll end up with more leads and revenue because of this close collaboration. Entering into a mutual agreement means you can share ideas, improve efficiency, and create the right environment for company growth. Here's a quick overview of the advantages of this approach.

  1. Avoid over-ordering products that aren’t selling well 

By reducing your exposure to products that aren’t moving, you can save money on advertising and inventory costs. By ordering just enough to meet consumer demand— no more and no less—you can avoid major losses. 

  1. Improve your company cash flow with inventory management

When an effective management strategy isn’t in place, you can tie up your money by purchasing large quantities of inventory all at once. With careful management, this can be avoided, resulting in improved cash flow that can be spent elsewhere when needed, like special marketing initiatives. 

  1. Improve your organization’s bottom line 

When you streamline processes, it impacts the rest of your business by increasing revenue growth and leading to more consistent profitability

  1. Benefit from a well-organized operations and marketing system 

Since you now have insight into exactly how much product you have, it makes it easier to determine the right products for upselling, cross-promotion, and bundling. An inventory that is well organized and well documented will also help save staff time and prevent errors, leading to tight shipping schedules and a greater overall customer experience, which is an important part of reputation management for the marketing team as well. If your inventory is properly organized, the rest of your supply chain will fall right into place.  

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3 Challenges of operations-marketing alignment

Obviously creating the kind of multi-team synergy we're describing takes time and effort. That’s why it's important to find the right balance between having autonomy amongst each team and finding the most opportune moments for both teams to work together. 

  1. Changing processes can be difficult to implement for larger businesses

Poor operational oversight and control can slow down fulfillment, and make errors more frequent. Some of the tactics we've mentioned, like engaging an inventory management tool, or reorganizing documentation processes, will make things much easier.

  1. It requires accurate and up-to-date communication

As with most things in business, communication is key. Constant, transparent communication between the marketing team and operations team is a vital part of achieving success. The idea is to encourage the free flow of information. Promote collaboration by giving everyone a chance to share their ideas and knowledge. Make sure that people can easily talk to one another in person or through conference tools, and help break barriers between departments.

  1. Assigning ownership and responsibility can get messy

Great teams work to understand the full range of what work is taking place and who owns what pieces of the puzzle. Who will take charge and make sure your teams function as well as they should? The answer lies in the question of ownership, not control. Establish early on the areas where one team will have to dictate the actions of another and vice versa, based on the greater good and big picture objectives of the company. 

If a shipping promotion marketing wants to run will ultimately cost the company too much, operations may have a veto in that area. But if a product bundle idea could potentially bring in a significant amount of additional revenue and it doesn’t add too much time in terms of labor or packaging, marketing may have the final vote in that scenario. 

At the end of the day, everyone is on the same team of reducing costs and increasing revenue for the company at large. Keep that singular focus in mind, have a spirit of teamwork from the top-down, and every situation will play out as smoothly as possible.

What role does inventory-based spend management play?

Inventory-based spend management is a way of making marketing and advertising budgeting decisions based on the product inventory you have available. 

By tracking and forecasting inventory levels and targeting your campaigns more specifically to the products you have in stock, you can increase your chances of making a sale. Surprisingly, 43% of small businesses don’t track their inventory—and 21% of companies overall say that they don’t have proper inventory management in place. Starting with a basic understanding of where things are now is paramount in order for all parties to move forward. To make a strategic sales approach based on inventory management successful you must get on top of existing inventory, the current marketing plan, and identify where those two componencts do not align in the big picture.

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How do we get started?

In this case, unlike other marketing tactics, the operations team takes the first step. Inventory-based spend management starts with a forecast and analysis of your product inventory. You'll need to take a close look at what products you have in stock, the expected rate of turnover, and any supply problems on the horizon. Without this kind of information, the "tail will be wagging the dog" as marketing continues to guess on which products to promote and feature.

Once that data is all in one place, you can start to make decisions about where to allocate your marketing budget both in the short-term and the long-term. If there’s a problem with supply for one item or category, you can shift your marketing strategy to other products. 

Thankfully, all of this can be done by implementing inventory software. With a good system in place, you can automate your strategy, optimize cash flow, successfully manage and control orders, oversee warehouses, reduce handling costs, and much more.

Inventory-based spend management techniques

There are predefined techniques to help you optimize inventory-based spend management. By choosing the techniques that work best for your business, you can maximize your budget and optimize your spend strategy. Here’s a look at just a few of them.

  1. Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory management

The goal of JIT is to have the minimum amount of inventory on hand to meet demand. That means you bring in inventory on an as-needed basis, rather than buying in large quantities. 

  1. ABC analysis

With this technique, goods are split into three categories, A, B, and C. Category A products represent your most valued goods—those that make a huge impact on your overall profit; Category B reflects products that fall somewhere in the middle of your most valued products and your least valued ones; Category C includes small transaction items that are critical to overall profit but don’t individually matter too much. 

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  1. Demand forecasting

Demand forecasting focuses on historical sales data to forecast customer demand. Companies use this type of forecasting as a rough estimate of the amount of goods they expect consumers to purchase in the future. 

Inventory-based spend management is crucial if you want to ensure your customers get the goods they want when they want them, but can also be a key tool to help you properly manage your marketing budget. 

Realizing the potential of inventory-based spend management

Inventory-based spend management is a great way to save money and get the most out of your marketing budget. By targeting your campaigns specifically to products you have in stock at a surplus and those that generate the best profits, you can avoid over-ordering products that aren't selling well and bounce back as a business when inventory levels are off. This approach can also help you make more sales by increasing your marketing focus on products that are in stock.

How MarinOne Can Help

Whether you’ve got a solid marketing and operations strategy in place already, or you’re looking to develop one, MarinOne can get you headed in the right direction.

MarinOne helps your marketing team see all of your ad spend data in one place, so you can make more informed decisions about where to allocate your marketing budget instead of watching your dollars go to waste. 

Paired with a great inventory management tool, you'll have effective multi-team visibility for both operations and marketing needs. Consult with one of our advertising experts to learn how you can successfully manage and optimize spend.

If you’ve been considering implementing Meta’s Conversions API, there’s no time like the present. Meta is pushing advertisers to integrate Conversions API as a more robust tracking product than the existing Meta Pixel. While we won’t rehash the logistics associated with iOS 14, Conversions API is now the gold standard of tracking on Facebook (and beyond).

For those newer to Conversions API (CAPI), in essence it’s a server to server tracking system that works in conjunction (for now) with the Meta Pixel to improve data quality and campaign performance. Per Meta, CAPI was built to “honor people’s privacy and tracking preferences” while giving marketers a solution to share their internal data to improve advertising efficacy. It’s a win-win for both advertisers and platform users. But as with any new publisher solution, advertisers can be slow to adopt until they absolutely need to. 

Part of this hesitation likely comes from confusion around the options for CAPI implementation, of which there are several that vary in accessibility and cost. Meta has recently introduced some easier options for implementing such as CAPI Gateway and Commerce Platform Integration. You can find the best solution for your advertiser here.

Even considering the potential challenges in setup, CAPI is still undeniably part of the future of advertiser tracking and Meta’s top solution for performance optimization and measurement. There are many reasons we recommend that our social advertisers use Conversions API, but these are at the top of our list:

Want to Test on Facebook? You’ll Need CAPI  

  • Meta is developing measurement and privacy enhancing tools that will be increasingly dependent on Conversions API. In case you missed it, Conversion Lift testing on Facebook now requires CAPI. It won’t be the last tool to transition to this requirement either. Per Meta, “we expect all advancement in our measurement solutions and signal improvement in the next several years to require CAPI.” Proactive implementation will lead to a seamless transition into the future of testing on Meta platforms.

You Can Use Lower Funnel Data to Optimize Ad Targeting

  • Those who have worked with ads on Facebook pre-CAPI know the limitations of data that can be captured by the Pixel well. One of the major perks of Conversions API is the ability to send a wider array of data than the pixel, such as subscriptions, converted leads, and a variety of other custom events that happen post-purchase. This is especially impactful for ecommerce and lead generation advertisers, as this data can be used to better optimize your ads. 

Better Data, Better Measurement, Better Results

  • Advertisers have been asking for a solution to reduced Pixel effectiveness, and CAPI is that answer. Conversions API improves measurement and attribution across the full funnel, giving more visibility into the impact of digital advertising on cross channel results. Currently, users can see Pixel and Conversions API data in Meta Events Manager with aggregation in the Aggregated Events Measurement tab. 

Lead Quality Level Up

  • Lead generation advertisers know the struggle to obtain leads both in quality and quantity. By using a post conversion event with Conversions API, advertisers can factor in leads that have actually converted into a sale/subscription/etc to campaign optimization. CAPI gives advertisers the ability to use this additional converted lead data to improve the overall lead quality from their campaigns. Read a success story here!

Supercharge Retargeting and Custom Audience Effectiveness with CAPI

  •  + Marin Tracker Conversions API enables better retargeting with two key components: Cross channel custom audiences and improved identity matching. Cross channel custom audiences are custom audiences that correspond with an action taken on the advertiser’s website or other sources. Improved identity matching is the ability to send hashed customer information along with Conversions API events to help attribute more conversions.

Integrating Marin Tracker with Conversions API means even better visibility into cross channel conversions and the impact of your Meta advertising dollars. Marin Tracker comes with an “always on” dashboard with near real time data, simple tracking link creation, attributes user behavior across the customer journey on mobile and web, and more. Reach out to your Marin rep or schedule a demo with us to learn more!

Digital display ad spending is on the rise, steadily increasing each year, with some estimates for programmatic digital display spend in the US over $115 billion by the end of 2022. 

So why is display advertising growing so quickly? The answer is, in part, due to increased device usage (mobile, tablet, and laptop) in the last two years as consumers stayed home during the pandemic.

But, display advertising via Demand Side Platforms also provides some distinct advantages for marketers. A look at Yahoo! DSP, one of the premier providers of programmatic display advertising, gives some clear insights into the benefits of display advertising for brands (and consumers too).

First party data

Yahoo has a user base of over 800 million globally through their owned and operated properties, so brands can leverage these relationships to understand and reach their audiences. In addition, they draw on 200 billion daily data signals providing insights for data-driven decisions. That being said, Yahoo puts privacy and consumer choice first, creating a trusted environment for their users. 

Unique formats

Yahoo! DSP offers advertisers many engaging ad formats to connect with customers.

Mobile Ads: With the increase in mobile usage, Yahoo mobile ads are a must, and they are designed for vertical executions and to accommodate swiping, scrolling and screen rotation.

Video Ads: Yahoo delivers 2.7B monthly video views, making it easy for marketers to bring their brand story to life with interactive and shoppable formats.

Advanced TV: Yahoo’s unified DSP means brands have access to cross-screen TV placement providing incremental reach across linear and digital TV. 

Audio Ads: Yahoo partners with the top music streaming platforms, and brands can also integrate into Yahoo owned and operated podcasts from TechCrunch, Yahoo Sports and more.

Other formats: Rounding out Yahoo’s omni-channel portfolio, Yahoo! DSP also provides access to solutions including digital out-of-home, brand integrations, and even immersive formats, like interactive video and AR-enabled ads, to make your ads innovate and your message resonate.  

Exclusive and comprehensive inventory

Yahoo! DSP gives advertisers the advantage of exclusive omnichannel inventory from Yahoo Media properties like: Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Sports, engadget, and TechCrunch. 

Yahoo also has an extensive network of premium 3rd party connections delivering a wide range of touch points and consumer interests.

By reaching customers in the right environments, brands can unleash their advertising potential and build quality connections at scale. 

MarinOne + Yahoo! DSP

Now that you know all the reasons Yahoo! DSP is such an effective marketing channel, let’s look at how MarinOne’s Yahoo! DSP integration can supercharge your Yahoo campaigns. 

Reporting

  • Advanced analytical grids provide flexible reporting within and across Yahoo! DSP campaigns with unlimited data retention. 
  • Cross-channel reporting puts paid media metrics from search, social, display, and e-commerce all in one place. Combined with powerful dashboards for easy data visualization, you’ll have everything you need for effective account management in one place.
  • MarinOne for Yahoo also seamlessly integrates with your first party data like CRM and analytics tools as well as BI Tools such as Tableau and Google Data Studio so you have information when and where you need it.
  • Automated alerts can be set to notify marketers of performance changes saving you loads of time by not having to manually monitor your accounts. 

Campaign Management

  • MarinOne for Yahoo! DSP streamlines your workflows letting you adjust campaign status across multiple accounts and campaigns in just a few clicks.
  • The same goes for budgets: adjust your daily budgets across accounts and campaigns to easily manage your spend across your digital programs. 

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.

MarinOne's automated alerts bring changes directly to your inbox, saving the need for manual monitoring.

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.

Interested in learning more?

Click here to learn more about MarinOne’s automation tools today. Or schedule a demo with the team to see firsthand how MarinOne can keep you operating at peak performance even if you’re short-staffed.

Deciding between Instagram Ads and Facebook Ads can be tricky when dealing with a tight budget. You could always split your ad spend between the two platforms, but you’ll get a better return on investment from allocating your full budget to the most effective platform for your business’s target audience. Not sure which platform that is? In this post, we’re covering how to choose a social media advertising platform, every step of the way.

Where is your audience

The audience is likely the biggest factor to consider when choosing a social media advertising platform. After all, advertising on a platform your target audience doesn’t frequent is like throwing dollars to the wind. 

Analyze your target demographic to find out which social media platforms they use most. Most brands have the best chance of finding their target audience on Facebook, as it's more than twice Instagram's size. Instagram users also tend to be younger, but that is changing. 

Another factor to consider— Facebook’s audience targeting is a bit more detailed than Instagram’s native targeting features. Since Facebook offers more audience refining tools, brands with hyper-specific target audiences might find more success with Facebook Ads. 

Which suits your content better

The platforms share the same available content formats for the most part. Options include:

  • Carousel: two or more images or videos 
  • Single media: one image or video
  • Boosting existing content

What’s noteworthy here is that Facebook captions can include clickable links, while Instagram captions cannot. On Instagram, you have to use the included call-to-action buttons. These get the job done, but you can only direct viewers to one link. 

Your content needs to align with your advertising goal, so it’s important to consider the purpose of your content on each platform. Facebook is suited for sharing information and interacting with loved ones, while Instagram is extremely visual (and leaning more into video with every passing algorithm update).

With that said, compelling visuals should go on Instagram, while copy-heavy ads should be reserved for Facebook. 

Your target goals

Your advertising goal should also impact your choice of platform. Facebook is best for getting website clicks or views/engagement for written content. Instagram is great for boosting brand awareness with visuals. 

Some advertisers claim that Instagram is best for brand awareness and that Facebook is best for lead generation and sales. Really, it depends on the industry and the audience. 

Instagram is capitalizing more on e-commerce these days through features like Instagram Shopping (where users can complete their purchase from start to finish without ever leaving the app). 

The best way to figure out which platform best suits your goals is to test and review the analytics. 

Your industry

If your industry doesn’t have a strong presence on a certain platform, advertising there might be less expensive. This is only a good option if your audience uses that platform. 

You might find that certain industries are better suited to one platform because their audience uses it more. Plus, some industries can easily create visual content, while others rely heavily on longer-form content. 

Facebook offers community building, like groups, that help advertisers create communities within their target audiences. This makes Facebook the better choice for brands that rely on building a community to make sales. Analytics and automation help drive performance 



Analytics and automation help drive performance

When it comes down to it, both advertising platforms yield high ROI and most businesses can find success with either. When identifying which is more effective for your business, MarinOne has the tools to help you analyze Facebook and Instagram performance side-by-side and even makes daily recommendations to grow revenue and decrease costs. Your data will reveal which platform, placements, and content types are most effective for your target audience. 

Message booster can automatically convert high performing organic content to paid ads on either Facebook or Instagram to help you leverage content that resonates well with your audience. And MarinOne’s flexible rules engine optimizes bids based on your criteria.

Click here for more on what MarinOne can do for your Facebook and Instagram campaigns.

The Rise of TikTok

If you’re not advertising on TikTok, you’re missing out on an audience of 1 billion monthly active users around the world who are highly engaged and passionate about the brands they interact with on the platform. In fact, according to a recent TikTok survey, 56% of users and 67% of creators feel closer to brands they see on TikTok, and 43% of users and 53% of creators try something or go somewhere new after seeing it at least once on the platform. TikTok is clearly influential with consumers.

While TikTok certainly appeals to a younger, “video-first” audience, 40% of adults in the US over age 30 report using TikTok, and TikTok has a variety of targeting options to help you reach the right customers. 

And with 4.7/5 stars in the App Store  and 4.5/5 stars in the Google Play Store, the platform is wildly popular with users. Not bad for an app that’s barely four years old.

“It Starts on TikTok”

Part of this early success is due in part to the cultural influence of the platform, catapulting little-known musicians to stardom, launching trend phenomenons, and giving users a sense of community and shared experience. 

TikTok has also transformed the way brands interact with audiences with engaging and interactive content. With TikTok, advertisers gain a full-funnel marketing experience from driving brand awareness at the top of the feed, to native in-feed engagement, and even the opportunity to jump in on branded hashtag challenges.

With the launch of Spark Ads last year, brands can even leverage user-generated content to promote their products by choosing from an extensive library of content uploaded by influential TikTok creators.

MarinOne + TikTok

Brands using MarinOne are now able to add the unique value of advertising on TikTok to their digital campaigns. The MarinOne integration with TikTok means advertisers have better insights and improved performance of their TikTok campaigns.

With our powerful analytics capabilities, you’ll be able to: 

  • Run flexible reports within and across TikTok campaigns
  • View TikTok campaigns side-by-side with other paid social channels as well as search, display, apps, and e-commerce
  • Customize the KPIs, data roll-up, and dimension tagging in your reports
  • Export the data to spreadsheets, cloud platforms, and BI tools
  • Sync your campaigns with offline and downstream conversions events 
  • Get automated alerts on changes in account performance

MarinOne’s advanced optimization suite uses machine learning to deliver:

All this adds up to improved performance of your TikTok campaigns together with your other digital programs. Ready to learn more about how MarinOne can expand your reach and drive growth on TikTok?

Click here for more info. 


Looking for growth? Interested in a channel where you can generate leads, drive website traffic, and build brand awareness?

How about LinkedIn?

You can now manage LinkedIn Marketing Solutions campaigns from Marin Software’s flagship MarinOne platform. The MarinOne integration with LinkedIn’s Campaign Management and Reporting & ROI APIs gives advertisers better insights and improves the performance of their LinkedIn campaigns.

With nearly 800 million professionals and 4 out of 5 members driving business decisions based on information they find on the platform, LinkedIn is an important lead generation destination for B2B marketers and others with longer consideration cycles.

Our self-serve MarinOne platform unifies industry leading optimization tools with flexible reporting and bidding to help advertisers maximize the impact and reach of their LinkedIn marketing investment.

Blast Analytics, an innovative agency helping advertisers with LinkedIn ads has been using MarinOne to optimize their campaigns.

“Marin Software continues to innovate and improve its technology to drive better performance for our clients,” said Brian Lange, Senior Marketing Manager at Blast Analytics. “The MarinOne solution has saved us time reporting on our LinkedIn campaigns and also provided a significant performance uplift leveraging its bidding technology." (Click here for the full case study.)

MarinOne serves a hub that links marketing activity with true business impact from an advertiser’s CRM, allowing optimization to revenue, not just form fills.

“By connecting downstream customer data to our advanced automated bidding, MarinOne can significantly improve the performance of your campaigns,” said Chris Lien, Marin’s Chairman and CEO. “LinkedIn is an untapped opportunity for many advertisers and we are excited to help advertisers drive growth on this fast-growing channel.”

Advertisers can manage their LinkedIn campaigns alongside paid search, paid social and display campaigns to help generate additional demand. Marketers can align their efforts across channels to ensure they are working seamlessly across the customer journey.

Click here to learn more about support for the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions integration with MarinOne.

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:  

  1. 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).

  1. 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.

  1. 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. 

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Conclusion

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.

Learn more about the benefits of MarinOne’s full-funnel optimization.  

Everyone in search advertising is aware it’s coming, and trying to figure out where the pieces will fall. How will it impact the industry and more importantly, you and your business ?

As tracking is a complex, granular topic, I’ve asked Aleks Nikitina, Senior Solutions Architect here at Marin Software, to go through this topic in more detail and provide suggestions on what to do next.

Can you tell us what the latest Google announcement is all about?


Aleks Nikitina (AN): Google is no longer going to use individual browser history on Chrome to target ads to users. Instead it will use what it calls and I quote “privacy preserving APIs, like the "Federated Learning of Cohorts API" (FloC), to deliver relevant ads.”. In a nutshell, Google will group users by interests instead of identifying them individually.

How does this link to cookies?


AN: Historically, Google used third-party cookies to target ads across websites. Now, they are moving from this cookie-based approach of targeting to instead target wider audiences and provide more privacy to individual users. Google moving away from third-party cookies is the next step in the trend the industry has been following over the last few years. Similar to Apple’s Safari ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention), Google is moving to what they call, the Sandbox approach.

Browsers are shifting the industry tracking to a new path that is all about user privacy. However first party tracking will be allowed. In itself, the cookie remains very much alive.

First party data is the data that is tracked directly on brands’ domains. Some of our clients have their own internal tracking solution or use tracking vendors as a first party tracking solution, which will continue to work, however there are restrictions on the conversion window available to cookies in Safari.

What should the search marketer add to their to do list or goals beyond 2021 as a result?


AN: The first step is to make sure that your measurement system is using a first-party approach. The latest version of the publisher tracking pixels and Google Analytics are all first party. Even better is to consider a server-to-server approach that avoids some of the conversion window restrictions.

For advertisers relying on third party cookies for ad targeting, you should look to diversify your ad buys to account for potential lost opportunities as these options go away.

Do we know when this change will happen?


AN: It looks like Chrome will turn off third party cookies in some time in 2022, but the Privacy Sandbox will make its way into Chrome in April 2021. And of course Safari already blocks third party cookies, so I would recommend looking into alternative solutions as soon as you can.

What about our users at Marin, how can we help them in this transition?


AN: Marin Software users should reach out to their platform representative to start the conversation, who will bring in the help of the Professional Services Team where I work.

To give you an idea of how the different integrations will be affected, I cover below the main 3 tracking setups:

  • Marin Tracker: The main Marin Tracker solution is used by clients’ placing Marin conversion and click tags directly on their websites or via tag managers. This serves as a first party solution, which will continue working in today’s world. Marin also offers a server-to-server integration for our clients, where the clients’ server is making a call to Marin’s server to pass on details about the conversion event that took place on the client's website. Server-to-server solution is the way forward with the industry’s path change. Here, clients fully control what their partners (third parties) have visibility on.
  • Google Analytics: Similar to Marin Tracker option, clients are setting up GA tags on their website as a first party solution, which will continue working across browsers after this update, as it does today.
  • Revenue Upload: This will depend on where the data is coming from. If the client is sending Marin data from a third party, then they need to connect with their selected data vendor to identify next steps. However if the client is already sending Marin data from their own cookies, then there is nothing for them to do here.


These industry breaking changes are right around the corner, are you ready? Get a deeper understanding of these changes and learn about Marin’s privacy focused solutions here.

We’ve talked about reporting in previous blog posts and how MarinOne has powerful reporting tools, allowing your marketing team to build personalized dashboards that are shareable and mobile-friendly, customize recurring reports, performance alerts, and automate their Excel or Google Sheet analysis.

However, many marketers are leveraging Business Intelligence (BI) tools to visualize their data.

We built BI Connect to give our customers a powerful and flexible option to integrate all their Marin data directly to their BI tools, such as Google Data Studios, Tableau, or Power BI.



BI Connect provides advertisers an easy and scalable solution to pull data from Marin into your BI tool with unparalleled flexibility, data accessibility, and simplicity:

Flexibility


BI Connect can be used as a data source, allowing you to create custom dashboards and reports in the BI tool of your choice, or accessed directly for integration with your own-in-house data warehouse. Data hosting can be done on your cloud or Marin’s and is backed with enterprise-level data security.

Data Accessibility


  • MarinOne integrates data from any analytics or attribution source, and can see deep into your purchase funnels by connecting offline sales to online advertising. BI Connect extends the benefits of Marin’s open platform by giving you third-party revenue data, such as customer LTV and Amazon Attribution data, already stitched together across publishers and channels.
  • MarinOne consolidates Search, Social, and eCommerce publishers, giving you a single source to connect your BI tool with all paid media channels, including smaller publishers like LinkedIn, Snap, and Reddit.
  • BI Connect enables access to all levels of data, including placements, sitelinks, audiences, product groups, SKUs, Amazon ASINs, and exposure of key metrics in additive form, such as quality score, bid, available impressions, etc.
  • Marin-exclusive data, such as Dimensions, Custom Columns, Bid Strategies, and Marin Tracker attribution.


Simplicity


Last but not least, onboarding BI Connect is simple. We do the heavy-lifting, so you can minimize dependency on your internal teams. There’s no need to aggregate or map data because your publishers, revenue, and saved views are already organized and loaded by Marin. Simply connect a query to the BI tool of your choice and hit the ground running!

Learn More


If you’d like to learn more about BI Connect, please reach out to your account rep. Or, if you’re new to Marin and would like to start getting the most out of your BI tool, schedule a demo today.

What are Automated Insights?


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.

Key Benefits:


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.

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.

=importhtml("https://one.marinsoftware.com","table",3)

  • 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:


  • Disapproved creatives
  • 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:

  1. Create a recurring report in MarinOne and select Excel Web Query as the format
  2. You can then run your report and click save.
  3. Right-click on the URL for the Excel link and select Copy Shortcut.
  4. In Excel, open the workbook where you wish to import the data. From the Data menu, select From Web under Get External Data.
  5. Paste the link you copied into the address bar and your report will be loaded into the window.
  6. You can choose which section of your report to import by checking boxes placed next to each table in the report.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

For many of us, our shopping habits have been forced online. The stay-at-home orders, radical shifts in demand, undersupplied distribution channels, and difficulties with supply chains have disrupted our usual behaviors and required us to shop in new ways, and away from brick-and-mortar locations. .

Even before the dramatic changes from COVID-19, online shopping was overtaking a major part of retail. With the introduction of a global pandemic, home delivery has become a serious competitive advantage, and brands all over the world are searching for ways to enhance this game-changing strategy that will most likely continue – perhaps even flourish ­– long after this crisis is resolved.

While many marketers may see home delivery as purely operational, primarily for a company’s logistics and supply-chain teams, there are ways that advertising technology can help and contribute to a more ideal user experience for the end-customer.

Inventory Data & Integrating Business Intelligence


The most powerful weapon performance marketers have is their own data. For eCommerce advertisers, specifically tied to delivery and operation logistics, inventory is a pivotal data point that should be ingested into all aspects of digital programs. The inclusion of inventory data allows for the changes of creatives and bid adjustments to align with the availability of certain products.

This can support the quest for seamless home delivery through the ability to sunset campaigns for certain products that are running low in inventory and will sell organically. As consumers, we all know there is nothing more frustrating than clicking an ad only to realize the product is out of stock, or that delivery will take an additional few weeks to complete.

Marin Software is an open stack platform so we can take full advantage of all your available data sources —including your inventory, CRM, data warehouse, publisher data, and additional third-party signals. Marin’s SmartFeed product automatically activates or pauses your campaigns based on inventory levels. Furthermore, it also automatically compares your optimized feed with actual converted search terms, so that you can see missing words from the title and split test to improve performance.

Ad Creatives


Estimated delivery time is set to become a unique selling point and competitive advantage, particularly as smaller, independent retailers try to compete with Amazon Prime. A simple way to convey your delivery times is within your ad creatives. By structuring your programs with geography in mind, you can control the information within the ad creatives to indicate an estimated delivery time to the user.

Additionally, creatives should include delivery cost and/or any import duties a consumer may need to pay, in order to keep it entirely transparent with potential customers (this also helps with brand loyalty in the long run). If you can, include inventory too!

With Marin’s Dynamic Campaigns, you can automatically build keywords and creatives from a product feed and campaign template, so that all the pertinent information we just covered is seamlessly populated.

Optimization


As many advertisers shift their attention from acquisition to retention, securing any revenues they have, the user experience is becoming an increasingly important element for purchase consideration. For many businesses, it’s possible that certain products or geographies can’t render as competitive a delivery service. It’s important to use this logic in your optimization and budget allocation strategies across your digital activity.

In the areas you are more competitive, be aggressive with your bids and budget allocation--you’re a champion in this sphere. This can be done easily through applying modifier logic within your AdTech tool, or leveraging a partner like Marin Software, whose platform has built-in forecasting and budget allocation tools to do the work for you.

Communication


Once an order has been made, the fulfillment experience begins. As customers, we all like to know when our purchase will arrive, thus communicating fulfillment progress is pivotal. The integration of order fulfillment and email marketing technology is an important component in this process.

Offering services such as free tracking and text updates is a great way to keep customers up-to-date. As we focus on retention and customer experience, these regular updates demonstrate that your operation is a business that cares about more than a simple transaction.

One, perhaps extreme, example comes from the mainstream pizza delivery brands like Dominos, which have an order tracking app to keep customers informed of each stage of their pizza’s journey to delivery. Updating regularly through order-received, including the preparation, cooking quality control and out for delivery, the platform makes sure customers stay up-to-date on exactly when their meal will arrive. This, of course, is a level of detail that not all brands will need, or have the resources for, however it shows what can be achieved.

Conclusion


To summarize, ad tech can support your quest to champion online delivery by automating the ad creatives to dynamically update per the user’s specific criteria. Within your creatives, your customer should clearly be able to understand the delivery time, cost and terms straight off the bat. Furthermore, you should leverage first-party inventory and shipping data, combined with audience data, to give you the biggest advantage over your competitors.

Should you want to have a conversation on how Marin Software can help you champion your online delivery strategy, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our account management team by scheduling 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.

We’ve recently decided to do an experiment to see whether an On-Demand webinar would attract more viewers than the typical approach of picking a date and broadcasting the webinar live.

Marin regularly hosts “live webinars” and we typically get thousands of participants, but only about half the viewers attend the live session, the rest view the webinar when we send out the recording. In a Netflix world, our hypothesis was that people would prefer to have the content right away and by offering immediate access to the webinar, we would get better results. So we decided to do a test.

During this tough time for everyone, we wanted to share our results as they might be helpful for you to engage with your audience by hosting webinars while most of us are working remotely and self-isolating. Now is probably the best time to create more digital content to reach out to your customers.

Evaluating Engagement Metrics

First and foremost with a test, you want to define how you measure success. We have two goals for webinars: 1) Generate new leads who might be interested in our digital marketing platform 2) Build our position as thought leaders in the market by presenting amazing content that delivers actionable suggestions for digital marketings.

With these two goals, the key metrics are registrants and attendees. Moving forwards, two more important metrics are “Audience Retention” and “Audience Engagement”. In order to really measure the success of our webinar, we firstly view how many people started watching our content and how many dropped off during the session. Finally, did the audience engage with us during the Q&A session?

The Test

The test methodology was straight forward, we split our audience randomly into two groups, half received a series of emails inviting the users to a live webinar approximately three weeks from the first email. The second group received the same emails, but the call to action was to view the webinar on demand at their convenience.







Which One Wins?

We pulled out the results and here is what we’ve got:







So more registrations, more attendees and deeper engagement with the content for the live approach. We were shocked, clearly our hypothesis was wrong and people are more attracted to a live event. While the test was done in a pre COVID-19 world, we would expect the results to hold up as people are looking for opportunities for social interaction to break up their solitary days at home.

Ready to learn more?

Whilst we are all at home in isolation, now is the perfect time to get free training on Digital Advertising content. Marin has a list of webinars with the best practices in Digital Advertising, starting from Outsmart Smart Bidding to Amazon Advertising to Developing a Successful Marketing Strategy with Instagram Stories. Get Started Now!

While we may live in a digital world, offline sales still drive the bulk of the consumer economy. To be successful in today’s hyper-saturated world of search, marketers must optimize not only for what happens online, but also for those highly valuable online to offline conversions.

Here are some tips on how to drive more high-quality calls and in-store visits that result in sales

  1. Create an ideal online-to-offline customer experience


You can use your customers’ behaviors and preferences to personalize their purchase journeys. Many retailers are starting to combine online and offline experiences, in that you can order a product and check if it’s available at a store near you for pickup. Similarly, online retailers are also toying with the idea of opening up physical stores at select locations for their customers who prefer to pick up the products themselves.

2. Incorporate social media

Social media is a great way to generate awareness about your company’s products or services. expand your marketing efforts across other channels, and attract new buyers. Sharing images, posts, promotions, and other giveaways are great ways to garner more interest. By responding to your customers’ concerns and asking for their opinions, you can enhance satisfaction while getting more traffic for your site, which further promotes in-store traffic for your brick-and-mortar business.

3. Localize your branded content

Location data gives advertisers the ability to tailor ads to respond to people’s unique experiences and behaviors—where they are and what’s happening in their world. Highly targeted audiences result in better ROI and more personalized ad experiences that make people feel like a business is speaking directly to them.

Location data isn’t just about delivering highly targeted ad experiences. It can also help retailers figure out how to better attribute revenue to the right marketing channel. After pushing an ad to a mobile device, advertisers can track whether a person actually visits a store by using location data that their mobile app provides.

Some tips on how to localize your branded content include:

  • Mention specific locations in metadata, headlines, and body content.
  • Write unique, targeted content that provides information relevant to each location.
  • Use images specific to locations.


4. Remember that mobile’s influence on offline sales continues to grow

In many cases, we find that while most consumers make purchases on desktop, most of the in-store visits come from people who first engaged from a mobile device. Search engines are making it easier for mobile users to quickly access the kind of information they’re typically looking for, from store locations and coupons to comparing prices and looking up product information. Because of this, it’s important to make both your website and content mobile-friendly.

Learn More

Marketers have many opportunities to drive more, higher quality offline leads from their search marketing campaigns. For more extensive guidance on Online-to-Offline conversions, along with real-world examples, download our guide, The Online-to-Offline Search Marketing Playbook.

Our aim is to help companies with both large and brick-and-mortar footprints understand:

  • How Search Marketing Influences Offline Sales
  • Tactics for Growing Online-to-Offline Conversions
  • Store Visit Tracking
  • The Benefits of Tracking Calls for Marketing Campaigns
  • Leveraging Phone Conversations to Gain Insight for Smarter Marketing
  • Effective Inbound Call Strategies


As a reminder, you can always subscribe to our blog to get tips on how to stay ahead of the game with your advertising efforts.

Conversion Tracking Is Getting Harder

It's clear that conversion tracking is vital to your digital advertising. It ensures that advertisers know where an install or purchase (or really any other data point) originated from, which helps determine the quality of the source. It also offers a better understanding of campaign performance for future optimization. But, challenges abound, as the advertising landscape is undergoing a sweeping transformation. For instance:

  • Both Safari and Chrome are limiting its cookie use, restricting companies’ abilities to track people around the web.
  • More and more people are using ad blockers, which can be problematic for businesses trying to reach their audiences, and tech platforms looking to demonstrate the value of their ad tools.
  • Data privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA are becoming the norm, which stops companies from mining a consumer’s personal data.


People now have more control over their data—which is great—but the marketer’s task has also gotten harder.



While there are many approaches to this problem—including publisher tools, such as Google Analytics, or third-party analytics providers--they’re either costly to implement, require a complex setup, or don’t have a multi-channel view. To succeed in this challenging regulatory environment and understand the true behavior leading up to a purchase, you need a configurable solution that can track multiple events throughout the funnel.

Introducing: Marin Tracker--A Comprehensive Conversion Tracking Solution for a Post-GDPR and ITP World

Marin Tracker is a conversion tracking solution with built-in optimization tools that allow you to understand stages that matter in your buying cycle. By unifying your campaign data with sales outcomes and machine learning, you can make data-driven marketing decisions and have a holistic view of all revenue impacts from digital marketing efforts—including in-store purchases and call conversions. You can save time managing tracking codes and spend more time driving your campaigns with rich insights.

  • Benefits of Marin Tracker Include:
  • Unified reporting: Our configurable dashboards make it easy to track users across multiple channels and devices, and gain a unified view of the ROI impact from all your paid digital advertising efforts.
  • Real-time insights: The MarinOne dashboard is responsive and “always on,” providing near real-time insights, conversions, and revenue data.
  • Automated Tagging: Save time with our simple tracking link creation wizard, and track consistently across all channels.
  • Offline Connect: Tie digital ad spending to in-store foot traffic and purchases, with the added ability to remove cancelled or refunded orders from the analysis.
  • Call Tracking: Segment phone calls and track the number of call conversions that are a result of your digital marketing efforts.
  • ITP Analysis Impact Tool: Marin Tracker will estimate missing data in Safari as a result of Apple’s ITP update, and offer support for deploying solutions to account for lost conversions.
  • Attribution: Marin Tracker creates a unique model of value allocation for each interaction in any given conversion, on mobile and web, to understand the true impact of your acquisition and engagement efforts.
  • TruePath: Apply unique values to each interaction across search and native to better understand the path to conversion and intelligently allocate budget to top-performing tactics.
  • Mobile App Tracking and Attribution: Attribute every app install to the marketing campaign and media source that drove it.


Marin Tracker helps you make smarter decisions to get more out of your marketing with performance and ROI insights that are tailored to your business. By automatically connecting and combining siloed marketing data from thousands of sources, you can understand the impact of your marketing at both high and granular levels.

Ready to know your best-performing tactics across the consumer’s journey and optimize every marketing dollar? Schedule a demo and learn more about setting up Marin Tracker!

Earlier this year, we released The State of Digital Advertising Report 2019—the result of our annual survey of over 450 digital marketing professionals in the U.S. and U.K. across several key industries. While these marketers face many common challenges regardless of industry, we noticed that responses often varied slightly from vertical to vertical.

Retail is one vertical experiencing unique setbacks and opportunities in an evolving digital ad landscape. According to eMarketer, the U.S. retail industry will increase its digital ad spending by 19.1% to $28.33 billion in 2019. As the holiday shopping season approaches, what are some of the top priorities for retail marketers this year and beyond?

Let’s take a look at retail by the numbers, according to The State of Digital Advertising Report 2019.

Search Leads for Retail


Search is by far the most popular channel for retail marketers. eMarketer recently named search as retail’s fastest-growing ad format, so it’s not surprising that 90% of retail marketer survey respondents said they allocate digital ad budget to paid search. And, 86% said they expect budget to increase in this category this year.

So what are retail marketers paying most attention to when it comes to search? 77% said they expect to increase their use of audience targeting this year, and 91% said they’re using or plan to use responsive search ads—the AI-driven format first introduced by Google last year and now being tested by Microsoft.

31% of retail marketers also perceive voice search or smart hubs (i.e., Amazon Echo, Google Home) as a trend or challenge they’re keeping their eye on.

eCommerce Ad Spend on the Rise


44% of retail marketer respondents allocate digital ad budget to eCommerce, driven mostly by Amazon spend. Of those respondents that spend on eCommerce, 82% said they started using Amazon in the last year and 71% except budget to increase this year. However, all the talk about Amazon taking budget from Facebook and Google may not be true, at least for retail marketers—100% of respondents in this vertical expect that increase to come from incremental budget.

31% of respondents who started using Amazon in the last year said the main reason was to capture people starting their purchase journey. After all, several studies have shown that more and more product searches now start on Amazon. The most popular format on the channel for retailers is Sponsored Brands, which can help drive more clicks and better post-click customer interactions.

Social Advertising – Untapped Opportunity?


Just 41% of retail marketer respondents allocate budget to paid social, but 81% plan to increase budget in the category this year. While 44% of respondents say video is the most effective social ad format, the rise of eCommerce-related formats across Instagram, Facebook, and others are adding to this increase in spend.

In fact, 81% of respondents also anticipate an increase in use of Shoppable images or Shopping ads/images on social. 63% say paid social spend on Instagram will increase this year, with 80% expecting that money to come from incremental budget.

Despite Facebook’s privacy challenges in the past year, just 13% of respondents said they reduced spend on the platform as a result.

Performance Matters


Whether they’re allocating budget to search, eCommerce, social, or all of the above, one priority remains consistent for retail marketers: the ability to prove performance. 36% of respondents said the top priority for their business marketing function this year will be establishing effective metrics, the starting point for measuring results and ROI.

This is the first blog post of a series that will explore key priorities, challenges, and opportunities faced by marketers this year across verticals like retail, travel, healthcare, and more. To see the complete report and compare against your organization’s goals, view The State of Digital Advertising Report 2019.

Starting in October, Google will no longer be offering average position as a metric. Read on to learn more about transitioning to the new impression share and impression rate metrics and what Marin can do to help.

So...What Are Impression Share and Impression Rate?


By definition, impression share is the percentage of impressions that your ads receive compared to the total number that your ads are eligible to get in the top five ad positions on the search engine results page (SERP). Impression share is a great way to find out how much more you can be doing—it shows you any missed opportunities by indicating how often a particular ad showed up in the top search results.

Average position didn’t accurately measure if ads were showing up above the organic results or not, only the order versus other ads. This left advertisers guessing.

Impression % (or rate) shows you how often your ads are showing at the top of the SERP. In other words, for each of the top five ad positions, you can see the percentage of appearances that your ad is making. This addresses another shortcoming of average position, as even an ad in position 2 might be at the bottom of the page.

Impression share metrics

The three versions of impression share all measure your impressions divided by the total eligible impressions for your ads, based on different locations on the SERP:

  • Search absolute top IS: The impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location. This is a new metric.
  • Search top IS: The impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location (also a new metric).
  • Search impression share: This is an existing metric that measures impressions anywhere on the page.


Impression rate metrics

These two metrics are only based on your impressions, not the total number of eligible impressions.

  • Impr. (absolute top) %: The percent of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
  • Impr. (top) %: The percent of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.


A quick way to remember the difference between impression share and impression rate: impression share is the percentage of total possible impressions in the top five SERP slots; impression rate is the percentage of impressions for each of these five slots.

How Do I Optimize for Awareness?


Advertisers who are more focused on driving awareness than ROI can focus on impression share or impression % (rate).

We recommend advertisers be careful with Google’s new impression share options in Smart Bidding. The impression share data isn’t available the same day, so it’s hard to monitor performance—setting a high target may significantly increase your spend by making you eligible for additional, unwanted auctions.

What Metric Should I Target?


The easiest way to set your targets is to use your recent performance for campaigns across the impression % (rate) metrics and use this as a starting point. This will ensure the smoothest transition from targeting a position to targeting impression share.

The table below shows our default mapping from a position target to impression %. This should only be used for advertisers with limited historical data.

impression share



How do you make the switch from average position to impression share?

Marin’s Awareness Targeting


Marin now offers a bid strategy known as Awareness Targeting, which targets impression rate instead of target position for Google campaigns. Think of this as automatically setting bids to achieve your awareness goals.

For existing Marin advertisers, impression rate targets for Google are automatically set based on recent performance. All current customers can login to MarinOne to view their new awareness targets.

The benefits of Awareness Targeting include:

  • Goals-by-device: Marin optimizes devices independently because user behavior varies a lot between desktop and mobile.
  • A responsive intraday bidding engine: By running every four hours using the latest prominence signals, Awareness Targeting ensures that advertisers are hitting their targets and maximizing reach, especially on high volume, highly competitive terms. This is a great way to stay ahead of competitors.
  • A holistic account strategy: You can apply bid strategies across multiple Google accounts within the same workflow, instead of individually.
  • A single bid strategy: One that’s compatible with position-based bidding for non-Google publishers and impression share metrics for Google.
  • Immediate setup and launch: Advertisers can dive right in and begin targeting to impression share. No historical data needed!


impression share


Maximize Your Search Reach


Google has been making changes to depreciate the value of ad position metrics for quite some time, and has been encouraging advertisers to focus on targeting impression share. Now that Awareness Targeting is readily available in Marin, it’s easy for our advertisers to drive campaign goals that maximize the reach on the search results page.

Want to learn more? Schedule a demo, or if you’re a current customer, reach out to your dedicated account representative today!

Advertisers continue to look for the best ways to measure the impact of their advertising campaigns on sales. Without an accurate picture of the full customer journey and every touchpoint to conversion, they fall short of achieving the most streamlined campaigns, the most appropriately allocated budgets, and the highest possible revenue.

Marin’s Offline Connect gives advertisers the opportunity to upload transaction data into their Marin application, and then tie those users back to an online event that took place on the advertiser’s website. By connecting offline behavior such as in-store purchases, to online behavior like booking an appointment, advertisers can better understand the resulting uplift from ad exposure.

Why Is Connecting the Data Dots a Big Deal?


Brand marketers need effective tools that tie digital ad spending to in-store foot traffic and purchases. The reality is that a big percentage of purchases are still made offline, and both the digital and non-digital are important for today’s consumer.

By having a holistic view into high-ROI marketing activities, advertisers have the opportunity to more effectively allocate marketing budget to the appropriate channels—a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to effective cross-channel marketing and engaging with consumers in a targeted, more personalized way.

Also, with the use of third-party data becoming increasingly regulated and unreliable, it’s more important than ever to tap into your goldmine of first-party data. Offline Connect ensures that the data you’re mining—your own—becomes a powerful tool in crafting a solid, “always-on” ad strategy.

online advertising


How It Works


All businesses have unique event IDs that they assign to individuals once they perform an action on their website, such as booking an appointment or scheduling a demo. As those people complete a transaction in-store, businesses are able to upload their transaction data into Offline Connect.

This triggers a match between that person and the unique event ID that houses his or her information, tying the offline conversion data to the ad clicks that drove the “connecting” online event. The result: a merging of offline behavior to online actions, giving you a more holistic view of attribution.

Key Features


Offline Connect includes:

  • An extended lookback window of two years—great for businesses with longer sales cycles.
  • Tracker attribution support (for a variety of attribution models such as first-click, even click, etc.) to more accurately credit all marketing channels in a conversion path.
  • “Intraday support,” meaning that transaction data can be uploaded at any time and reflected in a user’s dashboard within the hour. This includes orders that have been cancelled or refunded.


online advertising



As an open and independent platform, Marin’s goal is to seamlessly connect an advertiser’s business to their marketing efforts. This means closing the loop by tracking what happens after the ad impression or click, including in-store purchases.

Let’s Chat


Want to learn more? Contact your account representative today, or sign up for a demo if you’re not currently a Marin customer.

Google announced that they’ll eliminate the “average position” metric in the third quarter of this year. New metrics to give advertisers more control over their “race to the top” of the SERP will take its place. In this article, we review what these metrics are, how they work, and how marketers can prepare.

1. What's Changing?


Google will be sunsetting its “average position” metric in September. Instead, advertisers looking for information about search ad positions now have four “prominence metrics” that were launched in November:

  • Impr. (Absolute Top) %: The percent of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
  • Impr. (Top) %: The percent of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.
  • Search (Absolute Top) IS: The impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
  • Search (Top) IS: The impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.


The first two metrics show the percent of your impressions that are above the organic results. The IS metrics show what percentage of the total available metrics your impressions represent.

2. Why Is Google Making This Change?


Average position let advertisers know where their ads stood in ad auctions compared to other ads—not necessarily on the SERP. In this old system, a position of 1 didn’t necessarily mean you were maximizing opportunity. Since this doesn’t really give you the best read on how your ads are truly performing—and, with an increasing share of searches coming from mobile and new ad formats—position isn’t as easy to define as it once was.

The new metrics aim to provide a better measurement of the reach of your ads across eligible impressions, and a more accurate view of your position in the ad auction.

3. What’s Next for Advertisers?


Advertisers will no doubt need to give themselves time to get used to the new metrics. We see it as a natural evolution that’ll give you more control over your true performance on the SERP.

If you’re a Marin customer, we’re here to help you with the transition. The new metrics will be available in Marin in Q2, pending final API changes from Google.

The existing average position metric will continue to be reported as it is today—the additional metrics provide further detail. We’ll continue to maintain the average position metric in Marin Bidding until we fully migrate to the new system by Q3—at that time, we’ll shift to Impression Share. As we get closer to the transition date, we’ll provide instructions for migrating to the new solutions.

Digital marketing—especially social media marketing—is a fast-paced industry, with change often happening faster than you can say “professional development.” As social marketing gets more popular with the passing of each year, publisher ad offerings keep expanding accordingly.

Obviously, there are essential skills every social marketer should have: an analytical mind (or even better, a background in analytics), strategic thinking, excellent customer service, and being organized and efficient. However, if you really want to call yourself a paid social expert in 2019, here are a few things to work on.

Adaptability


Because social media is constantly changing and Facebook seems to release new features every week, some of the best practices you’ve been gathering for years may be outdated and no longer effective. Or, a client may have a new team with an entirely different communication style.

Keep an open mind and practice adapting to new and different solutions and situations. Consider working with your team to document a change management process. Then, continuously do the work of finding and understanding new best practices, new ways of working, and how to work with new teams and people.

A Passion to Learn New Things


The end of the year was most likely hectic, and you’re already thinking of how busy January is going to be—not to mention the rest of 2019. Don’t push back on what may turn out to be interesting new projects. Try to look at all challenges as opportunities that have the potential to bring insights and verve to your day-to day efforts.

Make a habit of learning or practicing one to two new things every day. It might be a new feature, a new way of optimizing, or a soft skill like public speaking.

Understanding Cultural Differences


Perhaps you already have outstanding communication skills and know your market very well. In 2019, as Facebook continues to grow its international strategies and advertising market, you may start working more with global customers.

Our culture influences our views and values—consequently, understanding cultural differences will help you tailor your ways of working and achieving the best results (and broaden your world in general!).

Cross-Channel Knowledge


It’s no secret that cross-channel advertising will be an even bigger opportunity in 2019. More and more advertisers want to make smarter decisions by allocating their time and investment to their best-performing channels.

Understanding what lies ahead in cross-channel advertising will help you create a more robust social strategy and contribute to your team’s success. Be sure to learn more about other channels and how they can interact with social, especially differences in tracking and attribution.

Knowing the Value of Organic Content


Social advertising is easily accessible—you’d be hard-pressed to find an advertiser that’s not on Facebook.

As a social marketer, you’re focused on performance and leveraging optimization features to get the best results. It’s important to remember that content is not only king, but also crucial to your social advertising success as competition increases. Leverage your successful organic content in your paid programs to get the most out of your overall social presence.

One mantra of the social marketer, like so many other professions, can be summed up as “always be learning.” Stay hungry for new knowledge and experiences. Explore, discover, and stay open to change, and you’ll have a great 2019 and beyond.

When it comes to PPC campaign management and optimization, A/B testing is key.

In my past life working for agencies and directly with brands, we tested new creatives every two weeks. By constantly running these tests, we were able to better understand which exact wording drove people to click ads (given all the competition on the SERP) and identify the best combination of ad elements when it comes to CTR and CVR.

To put our plan into action, we went through these phases of every A/B test:

  • Preparation
  • Execution
  • Analysis
  • Preparation for the next test (based on learnings)


Preparation


Measuring Success

It’s crucial to outline measurement KPIs to understand what a successful test looks like. For example, is the end goal to drive incremental conversions and/or revenue, a specific ROI that the test objects have to hit, or traffic growth (impression share, clicks, etc.)?

Having a clear picture of success will make analysis a lot easier, and help you quickly identify your test winner.

Test Elements

When you create a new test, review what you used in the past. What worked and what didn’t (for creatives)? How does performance look right now (for bidding)?

Always test one element at a time. Including several unique elements into your test may compromise the results. The goal is to identify the exact element that drives your performance to the next level.

Execution


Once you’ve solidified your methodology and elements, it’s time to set up the test.

While you have various implementation options at your disposal, one way to run a PPC test is with Google’s drafts and experiments. According to Google, using drafts and experiments “lets you propose and test changes to your Search and Display Network campaigns.”

Drafts and experiments campaigns mirror selected campaigns and create a complete duplicate (draft), where you can change test variables.

Once you’re happy with the changes and testing object within the campaign, convert the draft into an experiment and make it live.

There are a few thing to keep in mind when you’re launching an experiment campaign for A/B tests.

Gather Historical Data

Since experiment campaigns are created from scratch, you won’t have any historical data (i.e., quality score). So, to make sure you run an accurate test against the existing setup, allow at least two weeks for the experiment campaign to gather historical data.

Use the Right Parameters

Depending on the tracking solution you’re using, review the elements you track and attribute on. Experiment campaigns are created by mirroring existing (i.e., control) campaigns, and objects like keywords and creatives will have duplicate publisher IDs.

Some advertisers use the {creative}Google ValueTrack parameter for the creative ID to attribute conversion data at the creative level. In this case make, sure you ‘recreate’ your ads for the experiment campaign before launch, to generate unique publisher IDs.

Select the Right Budget Split

Google Ads allow advertisers to select a budget split between their control and experiment campaigns. While many advertisers select a 50/50 split, keep in mind that various factors may affect the actual split during your test.

For instance, impressions / clicks / cost data will never 100% match the selected budget split, since the settings allow you to only split spend and not the SERP auction. Also, campaign settings won’t cap your campaign budgets, and in some cases the traffic split may shift toward one of the tested campaigns.

By way of example: one of our clients decided to test two different bidding strategies in their accounts. While we initially selected the campaign’s budget split as 50/50, over time, traffic (impressions, clicks, and cost) shifted to the experiment campaign, since the LTV assigned to conversions in the campaign was much higher. This resulted in higher bid calculations and higher traffic volumes.

Analysis


Well done—you’re now on the finish line of your first test!

If you prepared well, this step will be nice and easy. You already know which metrics you’re aiming to improve, so simply download data for your control and experiment campaigns and review the results based on your KPIs.

The next step: prepare for your next test, analyze the results, and keep improving your accounts. ;) Ready, set, go!

Testing with Marin


Here at Marin, we’ve have built a feature that allows you to seamlessly track and accurately attribute conversions at all levels, without the need to recreate publisher IDs for any of the tested elements. Contact your Marin Customer Success team to learn more. Or, if you’re new to Marin, just get in touch.

You’ve finally figured out what attribution model is best for your organization. From here, you’ll most likely have to overcome some additional hurdles. Here are the most common things to consider in executing an attribution strategy.

1. Meet your users where they are


Despite recent entrants like Amazon and Pinterest shaking up the ad tech market, Facebook and Google have gobbled up almost 75% of online traffic. Be sure your model works across channels and devices and takes an independent view of attribution credit.

2. Break down team silos


Marketing teams continue to operate independently, missing out on the insights that a combined search and social strategy provides. Avoid the pitfall of channel blindness, and instead, harmonize your teams’ budgets and objectives across channels.

3. Know that Facebook and Google are full-funnel


It’s no longer the case that Facebook owns top of funnel and Google dominates the lower funnel—the reality is they both offer excellent coverage across the entire customer journey.

4. Think horizontally


Align around the customer and think about what you’re trying to accomplish rather than chasing single-channel success. For example, what products are you using to build awareness versus conversion?

Learn more


To learn more—including detailed explanations of the attribution models available on the market today—download our white paper, The Myths and Realities of Cross-Channel Attribution. Or, if you’d like to find out how Marin can help you with advanced cross-channel ad campaign measurement, request a demo today.

attribution

Our Q1 2018 benchmark report shows that search ad spend increased 11% around the globe, fueled by significant eurozone growth of 30%. Also, mobile advertising accounted for 40% of total search spend, representing a growing market share. Advertisers should be aware that mobile ads still offer a 33% discount versus desktop CPCs globally, a bargain that won’t always be available.

digital advertising trends



We hope you enjoy these insights and more in our Q1 2018 Digital Advertising Benchmark Report. Now available as an interactive web page, we reveal the latest cross-channel advertising trends and allow you to slice the data by region, industry, and publisher.

In addition to global industry trends, we explore the most compelling areas of digital marketing, including the evolution of mobile, the best use of creative to gain more clicks and market share, and using the right search and social tools to attract the right customers.

The Latest on Mobile, Targeting, and Ad Formats


Other key findings for Q1 2018 include:

  • EMEA Clients Enjoy Lower CPCs. CPCs for EMEA clients offer a significant discount at $0.40, when compared with CPCs in the US ($0.88) and UK ($0.85).
  • More Search Clicks, Better Targeting. Click-through rates (CTRs) for search are up 25% year over year, showing how improved targeting allows publishers to deliver more relevant ads to people.
  • Dynamic Ads Showing Strong Growth. Facebook Dynamic Ads, the highly personalized ad format based on user browsing behavior, were up 37% year over year.


Download the report for other actionable insights for your digital ad campaigns.

In the previous article in our Marketing on Facebook series, we looked at how to build a robust A/B scope of test framework to help uncover optimal relevance and ROAS. In our third and final post, we analyze the results of our test and formulate an action plan. (Be sure to refer back to the previous article for a refresher.)

Summary of Insights



Remember, we’re working with a retail advertiser’s scope of test. The retail advertiser is using Conversion and Product Catalog sales objectives. They’ve set a goal to optimize their campaigns, with the broader challenge to drive ROAS improvements.

Let’s don the hat of a Marin Customer Engagement Manager. Reviewing performance insights, we can formulate our summary:

  • Men and women display consistently different trends in purchase behaviors—men have higher conversion rates, but cost more per conversion and produce lower revenue; women produce higher revenue, but have lower conversion rates.
  • Instagram posted consistently higher ROAS versus other placements.



Summary of Opportunities for Optimization



In response, we note several opportunities for optimization:

  • Testing men and women targeted together versus. segmented
  • Testing placement optimized ad sets including Instagram versus segmenting Instagram
  • Testing optimizing to standard pixel events versus. Custom Conversion
  • Testing more refined lookback windows for seed audiences
  • Testing more refined lookback windows for dynamic ads



Summary of Scope of Test



Because age, gender, and in many cases the location often have a significant impact on results, the gender A/B test weighted higher in importance for Phase 1, versus testing placement optimization. Additionally, this was a priority for the advertiser at the time because they were also thinking about a more gender-tailored approach to creative design.

We’ve noted that in setting up ad studies, a clear definition of success is very important for successful learnings, so be sure to define KPIs. We elected ‘overall campaign performance’ as the measured goal for our scope of test, and also noted improvements for our KPIs of Relevance Score and ROAS.

Let’s look at some of the highlights that the example scope of test produced.

Phase 1: Testing Gender Optimized Ad Set Versus Unique Ad Sets for Men and Women



Background: A/B test campaign targeting men and women together in an ad set, versus a campaign targeting men and women in unique ad sets. Winner is plugged into Phase 2.

Theory: Optimized ad sets—whether combining placement or genders—allow the Facebook auction algorithm to find the most opportunities from the defined audience pool. When we target women uniquely, do we see higher ROAS?

Test Results

Including men and women in the same ad set can work better in some cases. This is because the auction algorithm has more options in effectively placing impression opportunities for results (placing an ad impression in front of the person most likely to take action X), for the most efficient price.

In other cases, we need segmentation to better refine the audience versus the goal—to make it more relevant.

Learnings: The campaign segmenting men and women improved Relevance Scores by two points, and improved ROAS by 18%. Creating segmentation in the audience—limiting and refining its overall scope—helped generate a more relevant targeting pool. Because more relevant ads are more cost efficient, we saw improved ROAS in correlation with higher Relevance Scores.

Highlights: Looking at the ad set targeting men only, we saw that the Relevance Score and ROAS were about equal to that of the campaign ad set that combined gender targeting. However, the ad set targeting women only posted significantly higher Relevance Scores and ROAS. While men remained an overall difficult and more expensive conversion, the more focused and relevant ad set targeting women was able to efficiently serve impressions, and generate conversions and revenue.

Conclusion: Overall, the campaign segmenting gender targeting produced better results.

Targeting in this way achieved not only a more relevant—but also a more positive—user experience. The auction produced more value for our advertising outcomes, reaching people who mattered most to specific goals. As a result, we gained improved ROI.

Additional Insights

It’s possible for a budget to be spent faster yet win less auction impressions. Why? Because of low relevance. For comparison, the two campaigns with equal overall audiences produced the following insights in Round 1:

CPM (Campaign A, Segmented Genders): $26.16

CPM (Campaign B, Combined Genders): $29.66

For the same budget of $1,500, Campaign B produced 6,776 fewer impressions, and despite a higher conversion rate (52.94% vs. 49.89%), produced 18% less revenue.

In all, the ‘less relevant campaign’ produced less impressions, less clicks, higher overall CPAs, and lower revenue.

With similar results in Round 2, we were able to prove that fostering more relevance in our targeting, ads in the auction produced more results at higher overall campaign ROAS in response.

Marin Tip: Relevance Score can be a powerful tool in your campaign management. Look for it in the Marin Social dashboard at the campaign, ad set, and ad level:

facebook



With the above results, you can also test unique creatives to men and women in the future, to see if you can further optimize with a more tailored message or image/video.

Phase 2: Test Placement Optimization Versus Segmenting Instagram



A/B test campaign utilizing Placement Optimization (including Phase 1 winner: men and women segmented), versus a campaign utilizing Placement Optimization except for Instagram, which is a unique ad set. With noted insights that Instagram produces higher ROAS, can a controlled budget via a dedicated ad set improve overall campaign ROAS?

Winner is plugged into Phase 3.

Test Results

Learnings: Segmenting Instagram into a unique placement and providing for controlled budget produced a 4% improvement in ROAS overall. We noted a slight uptick in Relevance Score, (under 1 point).

Highlights: While Instagram continued to post performance gains in a dedicated at set, we saw smaller overall gains than we hoped for. We noticed that the ad set utilizing all other placement options without Instagram performed markedly worse than when we included Instagram.

In the ‘overall’ performance gains overview, Instagram carried the campaign’s success. We planned further testing to produce a placement-optimized ad set.

While not as impactful as we’d hoped, Phase 2 created an opportunity to build a follow-up scope of test to understand the best combination of placements. Just because our results don’t post a clear winner doesn’t necessarily mean a failed ad study. We should view such results as additional opportunities to test and refine our strategy.

Phase 3 and Beyond



Additional testing found that building Lookalike Audiences from Custom Audiences that used more narrow lookback windows (10days was best) helped improve Relevance Scores. In addition, on average, it produced 11% gains in ROAS, versus campaigns that used Lookalikes based on a 180-day lookback window seed Custom Audience.

We uncovered similar patterns for dynamic retargeting ads—using more tiers, plus more narrow windows in those tiers, proved most optimal from a ROAS perspective. There was no significant impact to Relevance Scores.

Dynamic retargeting tiers we found most successful were:

  • Added to Cart but not Purchased in 3 days
  • Added to Cart but not Purchased in 10 days, not Added to Cart in 3 days
  • Viewed Content but not Added to Cart in 7 days
  • Viewed Content but not Added to Cart in 14 days, not Viewed Content in 7 days
  • Viewed Content but not Added to Cart in 30 days, not Viewed Content in 14 days


We also determined that using a Custom Conversion produced worse overall results, versus using a pixel event to track conversions. When using the pixel event, for example, our Relevance Scores were on average 1.2 points higher than when we used a Custom Conversion. Also, we also improved our ROAS when we used the pixel event.

Final Thoughts


Relevancy and quality can help advertisers achieve efficiency gains in assigned budgets on Facebook. However, they’re often overlooked in favor of bid and budget adjustments.

While bid changes and budget adjustments hold value in optimizing campaigns, Relevance Score—and overall the relevance concept in the auction as described within the total bid—is one of the key drivers of performance efficiency.

Time after time we’ve noticed that campaigns with low Relevance Scores perform worse when compared with campaigns posting a higher Relevance Score. In these cases, increasing the bid value or switching to Auto Bid doesn’t typically improve acquisition costs or revenue.

In a lot of cases, campaigns with low Relevance Scores also under-deliver to allocated budgets.

Finally, to achieve efficiency gains, you need a carefully outlined approach that incorporates an understanding of the baseline, plus measured steps to test improvements to this baseline.

Refining Your Campaign Strategy



If you’d like to partner on projects similar to the one we’ve described here, contact your Customer Engagement Manager and they’ll gladly schedule a time to review your campaign strategy. They can also help model and support your progress through a scope of test. Or, if you’re new to Marin, feel free to get in touch.

The marketing landscape is awash with competing attribution models—from first-touch to time-decayed to last click—none of which truly capture the full path to conversion. So what’s an advertiser to do?

We believe you should focus on true cross-channel, multi-touch attribution. Without a clear picture of your conversion efforts across channels and devices, it’s simply impossible to follow your customer’s journey, calculate ROAS, and double down on your most successful campaigns.

Sign Up for Our Attribution Webinar


Join us for a live, 60-minute webinar on Wednesday, March 28th, 2018 at 10 am PST / 1pm EST. We’ll explore the myths and realities of cross-channel attribution. You'll learn:

  • How to map the full customer journey
  • The pros and cons of modern attribution models
  • The real value of views, clicks, and conversions


Our Senior Product Manager for Attribution, William Hartley-Booth, will present with Emilio Tamez from Facebook. Be sure to sign up today to reserve your spot.

Speaker Bios

Emilio



Emilio Tamez is a Quantitative Researcher on the Advertising Research team at Facebook, whose primary focus areas include cross-channel measurement (especially search and TV) and brand equity quantification. He joined Facebook in 2016 after holding jobs in media analytics for a political campaign and neuroscience research. He is native to the American Southwest and holds a degree in Statistics from Rice University.

Will



William Hartley-Booth is a Marin Senior Product Manager who oversees Marin’s conversion tracking products, among other responsibilities. He joined Marin in 2010 after holding positions at other advertising technology companies specializing in optimizing digital advertising across search, social, and display.

Am I the only one who missed the Budweiser Clydesdales? It’s clear that they weren’t the only thing absent from yesterday’s TV spots—many ads were also missing meaning. Why was that?

Super Bowl spots are usually quite entertaining (hat tip to Tide)—and notoriously expensive. So, they naturally invite industry commentary and speculation. But, this year’s event struck me as uniquely peculiar compared to previous years, and perhaps a harbinger of things to come. In today’s blog post we unpack what we observed and what it means for online advertising.

TV Embraces Clickbait



Our investigation begins with a qualitative analysis of the content in the ads themselves. Overall, there was a stark pivot towards ads that were equal parts engrossing and bizarre, with the product reveal typically a holdout until the very last shot.

This speaks to a larger reordering of the media landscape, with digital channels usurping TV in the competition for high-quality attention from both viewers and advertisers.

























Context



Attention Level



Strategy



Search and In-stream Ads



High



Persuasion + Information



Mobile Multi-tasking



Medium



Compete for attention—entertain on one screen, inform on another



TV



Low



Pure entertainment to capture attention








Are Internet Ads the New TV Ad?



Website builder Wix (NASDAQ: WIX) made waves in January by opting out of its Super Bowl spot altogether. This was noteworthy because they moved that budget online.

Granted, NBC executives weren’t about to take this affront lying down, and reportedly came to Wix at the last minute with a "great offer" to buy a spot in the Super Bowl (that’s code for “massive discount”).

You might wonder how Wix was able to produce a commercial that fast. The answer: they recycled a previously recorded ad featuring two YouTube stars, Rhett and Link.

This turn of events inadvertently showcased how divergent today’s internet ads and TV ads have become. If you missed it, go ahead and watch Wix’s Internet ad that aired on TV and contrast that to one of the made-for-TV Super Bowl ads—such as one of Tide’s commercials.

See the difference? The made-for-internet ad is heavy on information and persuasion, while the TV ad is just ... funny(?).



Source: HBR, “When People Pay Attention to TV Ads, and Why”

What About CPMs?



Despite this role reversal, TV CPMs still dominate. If my math is right, Super Bowl eCPMs were about $220 this year.

Let that sink in for a minute. $200+ for 1000 impressions.

In this context, Wix’s decision to yank its Super Bowl spot and invest it on the web makes more sense.

A quick look at Marin Software’s Global Advertising index reveals that video CPMs on channels like Facebook average $5-10, depending on industry and targeting.

That means Super Bowl ads cost up to 44 times more than video ads on Facebook--video ads that are being delivered in a high-attention context to a low-friction audience.

By low-friction, I mean: If my video ad suits your fancy, you can just click and buy. On the other hand, with Super Bowl ads, there isn’t a click to buy option. In fact, in today’s environment, one might argue Super Bowl ads are a lot like Tom Brady’s game-ending Hail Mary.

For TV’s sake, and the Clydesdales, we hope there’s a happier ending.

Since the inception of AdWords and paid media tracking, Google has quickly sent users to an interim landing page, then quickly redirected to the intended page. All this occurs very quickly and is transparent to many users. We’ll call this a linear redirect tracking pattern. With recent browser support and updates, there is now the ability to go directly to the intended landing page, but still track clicks on paid ads. This is called parallel tracking, since there are two events happening simultaneously.

Here are things you should know about this update.

1. Why change?


Google recently announced that parallel tracking is rolling out. Google cites delays of “hundreds of milliseconds” that result in the current linear tracking method. This delay is literally the same as the blink of an eye but Google is adamant that it can negatively impact campaign performance, especially on mobile devices.

2. What’s the impact?


Mobile pages, especially on slower networks, will see the greatest benefit from parallel tracking. This assumes that the mobile user has an updated browser version that’s compatible with parallel tracking (more technical info below, for those interested). Some desktop users (again those on very slow networks) will see a slight improvement. However, the majority of desktop users will see almost no difference.

From a third party tracking perspective, Google has warned us that “Providers will need to make changes to their platform that could take several months to complete, so it's important to get started early. We're also working closely with key providers to help make the transition as easy as possible for all advertisers.” However, keep in mind that it’s in Google’s best interest to work with third party providers, since it will encourage greater measurement and apparently improved campaign performance.

3. Ok, so how does it work?


This is one of those situations most easily demonstrated with a diagram.

Current (linear redirect) model


Google SERP > redirected page > landing page

Parallel model


adwords


4. Should I be concerned?


Not really. Parallel tracking is already rolling out as an opt-in tracking method. Additionally, not all browsers support parallel tracking, and Google has already said that it’ll default to traditional linear redirect tracking for browsers that aren’t compatible. The only concern that marketers should have is for any third party systems that may be using their own redirect methods.

Bonus: Technical info


AdWords is taking advantage of a relatively new feature in browsers called navigator.sendBeacon. Navigator is simply a metadata object that contains data like your browser version, operating system, device type, language, and more. This is how services like Google Analytics gets device, language, viewport info, etc. sendBeacon is something that allows for background sending of network responses.

The visible effect is to land directly on the intended URL, but in the background, the redirect URLs and network calls are occurring. Instead of waiting for step 1 to complete before step 2 starting, Google skips to the last step, while executing steps 2-4 in another thread. This is directly analogous to synchronous vs. asynchronous tag loading.

Since the vast majority of devices are capable of multiple threads (you can think of these as having multiple active tabs on a browser), this is a more efficient way of handling the transmission of multiple network responses. The only thing to note is that sendBeacon doesn’t allow nonsecure protocol, as per w3 standards. Only HTTPS URLs will transmit in parallel.

Black Friday is the day that reminds us how much people like to rub elbows in physical stores in search of a great deal. While there has always been an impact on online campaigns on Black Friday, our initial analysis shows that consumer behavior continues to shift online, and perhaps to spending a little more time with family.

We’re seeing two interesting differences between 2017 and the previous two years:

  • The jump in spend on Black Friday was 11% more than we observed over the prior two years.
  • Thanksgiving shopping was much quieter than prior years.


Black Friday Bump 11% Larger


For our group of US advertisers, we saw a 62% bump in spend relative to the average spend for the rest of November. This was 11% higher than we observed in 2015 and 2016. Are more consumers looking for deals online instead of heading to the stores? The rise in spend was a result of increased volume and higher click-through rates, which increased from 2.2% to 2.8%.

Black Friday Showing Shifts in Consumer Behavior


More Time with Family


The other interesting observation was that Thanksgiving was slower than in previous years, continuing a pattern we saw last year. Spend was only up 14%, a significant change from 2015 where the bump was 53%. Are people more focused on their families on Thanksgiving or just heading out to the stores earlier for the pre-Black Friday deals?

Stay tuned for updates on Cyber Monday and the rest of the holiday season.

As the dust settles on Marin Masters 2017, we stepped back and reviewed the core themes from our annual customer summit in San Francisco and New York.

This is our first article in a two-part series.

Cognitive Marketing


Christopher Penn of Shift Communications, our keynote speaker in New York, addressed how AI is redefining marketing in fundamental ways. Gone are the days of “spray and pray” campaigns that lack scale, profitability, and agility.

Instead, we’ve entered a brave new world of cognitive marketing that leverages AI, algorithms, and machine learning to drive results. How will this impact marketing professionals? “If you do it with a template today, a machine does it without you tomorrow,” said Chris.

Increasingly, marketing organizations will seek out multidisciplinary skills—think about pairing data mining with mobile development—and algorithmic thinking, where machines do the heavy lifting. It’ll be interesting to monitor which job roles drive this revolution in marketing practices. In Chris Penn’s view, the future of marketing belongs to developers, data scientists, and marketing technologists. Do you agree?

To learn more, check out his fascinating Marin Masters presentation on Cognitive Marketing.


Getting Smarter with Data


At our San Francisco event, Google’s Todd Pollak gave an excellent presentation on the increasing role of data in marketing and advertising campaigns. In his role as Managing Director of Google’s US Product Specialist Team, Todd noted that CMOs are moving away from channel-focusedmarketing efforts with distinct silos for media buying, digital marketing, and data. Instead, marketing leaders are moving towards a customer-centric model that connects first-party data across websites, channels, and teams.



In New York, Dan Taylor, Managing Director of Global Display and Programmatic at Google, explored how Similar Audiences lets you find and reach people who share similar interests with your best customers. Reaching the right people is part of the equation, but capturing their attention with relevant ads at the right time completes the customer-centric approach. Dan’s session focused on putting the customer first and using audience data to rethink the customer journey. You’ll find more customer-first insights in the Think with Google collection of case studies and resources.


Making Social Content Resonate


At both our San Francisco and New York events, Emerson Spartz, the CEO of Dose, delivered a high-octane presentation about the death of website influence and the primacy of social. Applying a test-driven model to identify which social content will resonate is part of Emerson’s successful top-of-funnel methodology. Using a predictive approach consisting of bare-bones ideation, pre-testing, and production has allowed his team to deliver impressive results for brands heavily invested in social.

Emerson’s final point is simple—if you don’t use data to inform your creative, it’s like setting fire to your marketing budget. Check out Emerson’s thought-provoking presentation on The Future of Innovation, Data, and Attention.



That’s all for now, but stay tuned for our next post with more insights from Marin Masters 2017.

This is a guest post from Vernon Johnson, Paid Social Account Manager at 3Q Digital.

It’s becoming increasingly important to understand attribution, especially as it relates to each channel and analytics platform. Marketing as a whole is about creating meaningful and lasting connections between people and businesses. But, in order to get a clear picture of how online advertising impacts real business outcomes, we need to understand how it’s tracked.

Essentially, we need to accurately measure the connections that count and drive business impact. Often, platforms measure these channels in silo, which often leads to blind spots and missed opportunities.

How Facebook Measures


When advertisers measure channel performance separately, they end up greatly diminishing overall effectiveness. Not having a view of the customer’s complete journey can stymie business decisions.

facebook



Among channels and platforms, people are the common denominator. Though Facebook is limited in determining attribution across channels, it does a great job of factoring in the actual person’s journey across the web and Facebook ecosystem.

In a world of multi-touch attribution points, Facebook wants to look at more than simply the last click or cookie data. Facebook has even reported that 22% of incremental revenue could be misattributed when using last-click models, and 54% could be misattributed when mobile spend is high.[1]

Does the Click Matter?


One of the pitfalls of the last-click method of attribution pertains to the value of a click versus the intent of the user. When Facebook looked across 478 online global campaigns, they found that clicks aren’t always a good proxy for brand results.[2] In fact, there is no significant correlation between click through rate (CTR) and brand effect metrics.[3]

facebook



For Facebook advertisers, the most effective people are often those less likely to click, and surprisingly, they’re also the least expensive. So, if you’re looking to drive brand awareness, you have to go beyond level of engagement, since a potential customer can notice and be influenced by your content without interacting with it.

A 2012 Facebook and Datalogix ROI study even found that, “more than 90% of offline sales come from people who don’t interact with ads during the campaign."

facebook


Where Are You in Your Journey?


Understanding and getting a sense for how multi-touch attribution works is one thing—implementing it can be a process. There are essentially five stages that advertisers often find themselves in. Within the roadmap, it’s important to accurately assess where you are and begin to understand what’s needed in the next stage.

facebook



Social Metrics

In the first stage, the business is primarily concerned with “How are my Facebook campaigns performing?” and “What are the demographic interests, purchase behaviors, and intent qualities of my target audience?” This is the very beginning of the journey and also builds the entire foundation for the rest of it.

Are My Ads Working?

The next stage goes beyond simply looking at the metrics and targeting of ads and asks the question, “Are my Facebook ads driving incremental buyers and conversions?” Beyond CTR and CVR, we want to know if our ads and spend are driving incremental growth at the main KPI. This is also the point in the journey where we should be asking, “How are my Facebook ads impacting my brand metrics?”

Optimize

Once we’ve determined what impact Facebook ads are making on the main business objectives, we want to be asking, “How can I optimize my Facebook ad performance?” or, even better, “How do my Facebook ads impact offline or in-store sales?” We want to start capitalizing on what’s working and ditch what isn’t driving bottom-line growth. This is also a great stage to begin split testing, doing a conversion lift test or even a brand lift test.

Media Mix

This is the stage in the journey where we begin looking outside the world of Facebook. It’s where we begin asking, “How do Facebook ads compare to other media channels in driving business objectives across devices?” We want to know exactly where Facebook fits in from the broad perspective. This is where we begin thinking hard about properly tracking attribution between every channel. It may be time to run a Facebook Attribution Checkup or get a Reach Report from Facebook.

Statistical Modeling

In the final stage of the journey, we’re thinking hard about the cross-channel effectiveness across the entire media ecosystem. We’ll be asking, “How do Facebook ads compare to other channels to drive key metrics?” and “How effective is my cross-publisher ad spend at reaching my target audience across channels?” We’re using Facebook data and best practices to inform total media spend.

Conclusion


Multi-touch attribution helps significantly in understanding how marketing campaigns directly correlate to conversions, even when clicks don’t happen. Though the road to multi-touch implementation typically has a few steps, it’s essential that marketers get a clear picture of how lasting connections are built.

Further Reading


Marin Software provides further insights on a few of the topics mentioned here. They also recently published a guide on extending the cross-channel attribution model across search and social channels for even better performance and increased revenue, including a comprehensive reference on Google + Facebook ad formats. Be sure to give them a read.




[1] Media figures across 136 Facebook conversion lift studies in all industries except telecomm, May 15-Aug 27, 2015 with at least two weeks of data, positive and statistically significant incremental pixel-based conversion events, only campaigns including FB conversion pixel. Figures not shown by event type: 24-hour click models miss 6% and 24% of lead generation and registrations respectively. “Higher mobile ad spend” refers to campaigns with mobile share of impressions ÷68% (median).

[2] Nielson Brand Effect meta-analysis of 478 online global campaigns that ran between Oct 2014 and April 2015.

[3] Correlation is less than 1%.

Tracking the performance of your social campaigns is one of the most important factors for success. The fact is that your Google Analytics data and your Facebook data will never match.

Why is this?

The only way to accurately measure your Facebook data is through Facebook reporting itself.

1. Cross Device Conversions


In this day and age, people use multiple devices throughout the user journey before any purchase is made. It takes multiple touch points before a sale is made, and this happens across multiple devices. This was all well and good when a sale happened on a single device (desktop).

For example, suppose you’re out and about and start browsing on your mobile device. You click an ad but don’t convert. Later that day, you’re sitting at your desktop computer and decide to jump onto that company's website to buy the product you saw earlier. Google Analytics would fail to attribute that conversion back to the click on your mobile device and will subsequently under-report your results.

Facebook has the unique ability to track conversions back to users instead of cookies. This means you can track the same user across all devices as long as they’re logged into their Facebook account. In comparison, Google Analytics relies on cookies, meaning all the tracking happens exactly on the browser where the cookie was dropped.

2. Impressions and Clicks


Google Analytics uses cookies to track users on a website, and doesn’t have the ability to track impressions like Facebook. If cookies aren’t enabled, you won’t be able to track those users through GA.

With Google Analytics, it’s considered a conversion when a user clicks the intended link within the ad, whereas with Facebook, a user can click any portion of the ad, convert, and still be tracked as a conversion.

If a user clears their cookies, all of that data will remain on Google Analytics. In Facebook, however, this data is cleared from your custom audiences. It’s also good to note that Google Analytics back-dates data, while Facebook collects the data from the day your audiences are set up.

3. Clicks vs. Sessions


This one is always a cause for concern with marketers. “Wait, my clicks in Facebook don’t match my sessions reported in Google Analytics? Why?” There are several reasons for this discrepancy.

  • If a user clicks your Facebook post more than once in a 30-minute window, Google Analytics only tracks this as one session. Conversely, Facebook considers this as more than one click. (i.e., one Google Analytics session and two Facebook clicks).
  • If a user clicks your Facebook post and visits your website, becomes inactive for more than 30 minutes, and then re-engages with your site after 30 minutes, Google will records two separate sessions. Facebook reports only the single click. In this case, one Facebook click equals two sessions.
  • If a user accidentally clicks your Facebook ad but jumps off quickly, Google Analytics will most likely not have had the chance to record this click, since the page hadn’t loaded fully.


4. UTM Parameters


Google Analytics uses referrer URLs to credit conversions back to ads. Facebook users browse Facebook using ‘https’ instead of ‘http’. So, if a user clicks an ad in Facebook and leaves to convert on an http website, the user can’t be recorded since they have left a secure environment. This, again, will lead to under-reporting of conversions.

5. Multiple Conversions


This is an important one to note. Google Analytics only allows a one-per-click attribution, meaning only one conversion is counted regardless of the number of conversions that actually happened. If a user saw or clicked an ad and converted multiple times, Facebook attributes multiple conversions to the ad last clicked or viewed.

6. Attribution Window


Facebook conversion measurement attributes conversions based on a 24-hour view and 28-day click-through window—so, any comparison you do against other tracking data must compare exactly the same attribution window. Google Analytics uses the last interaction model, which attributes 100% of the conversion value to the last channel the customer interacted with before buying or converting.

To update your attribution window in Facebook, click Customize Columns and choose the window that best suits your needs.

facebook analytics



facebook analytics


7. Conversion Date


Facebook reports on the time of a view or click of the conversion, whereas 3rd party tracking tools often report on the time of conversion.

8. Ad Blocker Software


Your conversion pixel may not fire if the user has an ad blocker installed in the browser. This will cause undercounting conversions, so the number may be lower than your internal data.

This is the third article in a series on the nuts and bolts of Facebook Dynamic Ads campaigns. See our previous article on acing Facebook Dynamic Ads cross-sell and upsell campaigns, as well as seven quick tricks for better results.

In today’s post, we discuss the Facebook Dynamic Ads metrics you should use to measure the success of campaigns targeted to existing customers. These metrics provide the best means of achieving the goals of increasing revenue and customer lifetime value through reduced churn or increased average order value.

Customer Lifetime Value


Projects how much revenue the average customer nets throughout the time they’re a customer. The better your customer lifetime value, the less you have to spend on acquisition costs. The calculation is simple—customer value x average lifespan. However, determining these values will greatly vary based on your type of business.

Average Order Value


This is the amount of money each customer spends on each purchase with your brand. The more successful you are increasing this amount, the less you’ll need to spend on acquisition. And, customers will have a stronger affinity with your brand. The calculation for this is total revenue over 365 days/total number of orders over 365 days.

Customer Churn Rate


This should be captured as a percentage indicating the number of customers who've been lost over a specific amount of time. First, define a time period in which you want to keep customer churn accountable to, e.g., monthly, quarterly, or yearly. We recommend that you look at this monthly once you have a year’s worth of data to benchmark against.

To calculate this metric, take the number of customers at the beginning of the month minus the number of customers at the end of the month, divided by number of customers for the beginning of the month. The lower this is the better, since (generally speaking) you don’t want to lose customers.

Note that you should have an understanding of these three benchmarks prior to your campaigns taking flight. You can then segment your campaigns to audiences based on these success metrics, and choose to give higher bids to those likely to spend more with higher LTVs or those who may be likely to churn.

If you find these tips helpful and want to explore the right Dynamic Ads implementation for your business, contact us today. Also check out our Dynamic Ads webinar with Facebook.

Simplify Campaign Creation with Multi-Objective
Media Plans


This month, we’ve rolled out several new UI enhancements to help our users streamline workflows—most notably, our next generation of media plans. Marin Social now supports the ability to create media plans with multiple objectives, which provides users the ability to create campaigns and view performance across objectives within a single plan. This is a significant workflow enhancement that greatly reduces data clutter and the amount of time it takes to launch campaigns.

Roll up Performance Across Multiple Objectives and Calculate Costs Along the Funnel


Multi-Objective Media Plans are especially effective for enterprise advertisers or agencies that want to organize performance across complex initiatives. Now, you can organize your campaigns within a single media plan by things like region, teams, brands, or new vs. existing customer strategies to understand performance across the buyer journey.

For example, say you were launching a new, complicated product with the goal of driving leads. You could create a Multi-Objective Media Plan with video ad campaigns for more top-of-funnel awareness, and Lead Gen Ad campaigns for bottom-of-funnel conversion. This would allow you to view performance metrics across both objectives in the same view and better understand the costs associated to conversion with each touch point.

To see how this new feature can help grow your business, check out our demo video.



For Marin customers only—resources from our Knowledge Base:

How do you know how well your unified search and social advertising efforts are working? To answer this question, an incremental lift analysis is a must.

What’s an Incremental Lift Test?


Incremental revenue is earnings you wouldn’t have gained without a specific campaign. An incremental lift analysis, then, assesses the average revenue from two groups:

  1. People exposed to certain variables within a test group (two segments)
  2. People in a control group


The Framework


A popular setup for an incremental analysis is testing the average revenue of the two segments of our test group. Here is an example of how you could implement an incremental lift test with Product Listing Ads on Google and Dynamic Ads on Facebook. The two formats are similar in that they are both intended for to drive sales with a product feed used to automatically generate creative.

  1. Control Group - Those who converted from a paid search campaign over a certain period and were not exposed to an a cross-sell ad on Facebook.
  2. Test Group - Those who converted from a paid search campaign and were added to a “cross-sell” audience exposed to a dynamic ad on Facebook (encouraging the purchase of a complementary item)


The hypothesis that we're testing here is that by showing a cross-sell ad of a complementary product offering on Facebook to people that converted from a paid search ad will see an increase in customer lifetime value and top line revenue. For example purposes, we could create a product set on Facebook of socks to cross-sell people who purchased shoes. We would need to create a website custom audience with a UTM parameter specifying the category of "shoes" and channel "paid search".

With the Test Group, we want to identify the average revenue impact of the group that was added to the cross-sell segment on Facebook. Then, we want to compare this impact to our control group, i.e., those who weren’t exposed to a “cross-sell” dynamic ad on Facebook after making a purchase.

The campaign should run for at least a month and you should take into consideration the sample size of your existing paid search traffic to determine which cross-sell product sets to create for a healthy population size to market to. We see a significant increase when cross-sell recent converters so make sure there is a time threshold set as to when folks see your ads.

Once the campaign has ran for a month you will want to measure average revenue per customer between the test and control group to determine what the lift is between the two groups. This should be your primary Key Performance Indicator KPI that you use to determine how to allocate your budget for additional incremental impact across Paid Search and Social. Another metric you will want to look at is Customer Lifetime Value. This metric projects how much revenue the average customer nets throughout the time period that they’re a customer. The better your customer lifetime value the lower you have to spend on acquisition costs. The calculation is simple—customer value X average lifespan. However, determining these values will greatly vary based on your type of business.

Additional Best Practices For Measuring Incremental Lift


There are several things e-commerce advertisers should consider when implementing an increment lift test. In this example, we’re using Google Analytics for attribution beyond last-click.

  1. When deciding how long the campaign should be, consider the average time to purchase for first-time buyers and repeat purchases. The campaign should run, at minimum, for the full purchase cycle to best determine impact.
  2. Simplify creative and messaging iterations, and make sure they’re consistent across both paid search and social channels.
  3. Deploy both the Facebook Pixel and the Google Pixel using a tag management solution. View conversion data as directional within each publisher, and compare to conversion events/goals within your analytics tool early into the campaign flight. This ensures there are no noticeable discrepancies.
  4. Set up revenue goals (completed purchase or pre-order request) for the products being amplified in the ads. Be sure to use a monetary value here with the funnel turned on—if you’d like to track landing page success metrics such as where people bounce within the checkout page, input URLs for each screen page the user will see.
  5. Ensure the UTM parameters within ads all have a standardized naming convention, so that you can run funnel reports to analyze the consumers path to conversion.
  6. A true measure of sales lift uses an attribution model that reveals the individual and collective contribution of each paid channel on the online (or, offline) conversion event.
  7. Select an attribution model within the analytics tool that your digital marketing team fully understands prior to launching campaigns. For the purpose of this analysis, the goal should be to view performance beyond post-click or post-impression metrics with a linear attribution model that gives each touchpoint along the path to conversion an equal weight.

According to Charles Schwab, demand for healthcare products and services is on the rise. And, despite the uncertain regulatory outlook heading into the new year, if spending and clicks are any indication, then consumers and healthcare advertisers can boast of a clean bill of health.

We took a look at the Marin Advertising Index to see where the industry’s at and where it’s headed. Here are a few highlights.

Healhcare Stats

This is a guest post from Jacob Ehrnstein, Search Account Manager at 3Q Digital.

One of the search marketer’s best weapons is a Dynamic Search campaign. As you may or may not know, Dynamic Search campaigns rely not on keywords for targeting, but instead use your site’s content to create and target your ads based on a user’s search behavior.

There are many great things about Dynamic Search campaigns. First off, you can be precise about the scope of the pages that you target from your site. And, even more interesting and useful, there’s the Dynamic Search Ad (DSA).

A Powerful, Automated Tool for Ad Creation



With Dynamic Search campaigns, Google dynamically generates a portion of the ad. For DSAs, you don’t provide a static headline—rather, Google dynamically generates it for you. As Google states, “The headline is dynamically created from each matching phrase entered in Google Search, and from the title of the most relevant landing page used for the ad.”

dsa-example



Additionally, Google states that “Dynamic Search Ads can have longer headlines than other search ads, which improves their visibility.”

A Nitty-Gritty Test of Dynamic Headlines



That all sounds great. But, what does a search marketer need to know to make best use of DSAs? For instance, how long are dynamic headlines? And, how often does a user’s search match the headline, or the headline match a user’s search or the title tag?

To answer the question of DSA headline length, I looked at the results of DSA campaigns targeting nearly 20,000 unique pages, with unique content that generated nearly 400,000 queries.

I broke the results into three areas:

  • Headline length
  • CTR analysis based on headline length
  • Source of dynamic headline


Let’s dive in.

Headline Length of Dynamic Search Ads

When looking at the headline length, I broke out the analysis into three categories, and here’s what surfaced for each category:

  • Shorter than standard text ads: 8% of the headlines generated
  • Longer than standard text ads, but shorter than the combined length of expanded text ad headlines: 60% of the headlines
  • Longer then expanded text ads combined headlines: 32% of the headlines


The lengthiest headline I found was 90 characters long. This appears to be the longest that a dynamic search ad headline can be.





























Number of ImpressionsHeadline LengthPercent of Impressions12,448,010Total Number of DSA Impressions100%1,009,327Headline Length < 25 Characters8%7,504,566Headline Length > 25 Characters and < 61 Characters60%3,934,117Headline Length > 60 Characters32%


CTR Analysis

Next, I looked at the click-through rate (CTR) by headline length to see if there was a correlation between the length of the dynamic headline and the CTR.
























Headline LengthCTRTotal Number of DSA Impressions11.44%Headline Length < 25 Characters12.12%Headline Length > 25 Characters and < 61 Characters11.21%Headline Length > 61 Characters11.70%


While it doesn’t appear that having longer headlines necessarily yields you the highest CTR, one segment that outperformed the rest was when the character length exceeded 70 characters.















Headline LengthPercent of ImpressionsCTRHeadline Length > 70 Characters11%18.81%


So, the true efficiencies appear to happen when you’ve far exceeded the normal ad headline length. Even Google’s Expanded Text Ads, with its new combined headlines, would max out at 60 characters.

The data here shows that as the headline moves into this longer territory, the CTR shoots up. This may be because when an ad gets this long, it blends in more with organic results (which have a character limit of around 77 characters).

Dynamic Headline Source

Last, I looked at the source of the headline for the Dynamic Search Ad. Google documentation states that the headline will either come from the headline of the page or the keyword, but I wanted to know what percentage of the time either situation happens. Here’s what I found:











Percent of Headlines that Match Title Tag60%Percent of Headlines that Are Variations of Keyword Searched40%


Here, 60% of the time the dynamic headlines exactly matched the title tag. What this means—if you’re going to be a heavy user of Dynamic Search Ads, it’s best to pay close attention to the pages being targeted and ensure the title tags on those pages are high-quality. Keep in mind that other variables—such as description lines and the pages being targeted—play into the performance of the ads I’ve analyzed.

Hopefully, this information helps you better understand your Dynamic Search Ads and how to improve their performance. Here’s to successful campaigns.

Here we go again. The shopping period is already here, and season-crazy advertisers are going where every ad campaign has gone before, but now even more so—online and mobile.

This year’s expected to be even more frenzied—and lucrative—than the last. To help you maneuver through the upcoming spending sprees and plan for a successful holiday season, we dug into the Marin Advertising Index to assess last year’s digital advertising performance and provide tips for Q4 2016. Check out a few of our industry highlights.








SPEND AND CONVERSIONS


In 2015, retailers spent 200% of their average daily spend on Black Friday, and received 210% more conversions.








PHONES AND DESKTOPS


Smartphone clicks grew by 87% year over year (YoY), almost equaling desktop clicks in 2015. Compared to 2014, 54% of clicks were on desktops and only 28% were on smartphones.







In 2015, retailers spent 200% of their average daily spend on Black Friday, and received 210% more conversions.







STAT #1


Cyber Monday had a bigger online presence than Black Friday in 2015. We may see this behavior again this year.


STAT #2


In 2015, Cyber Monday saw 280% higher spend than the daily average, and 270% of conversions.







For online advertisers, Cyber Monday should be even bigger than Black Friday. Advertisers should be ready for up to 3x more clicks and conversions. Begin preparing at least a week ahead for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.



With school out and warm weather in, we traditionally think of the summer months as the best time to take a vacation. However, is it actually prime time for search advertisers to ramp up their ad campaigns?

To answer this question and others, we took a look at travel advertisers on Google and Bing. We examined 2014 and 2015 to locate any trends in advertiser spend and performance for the travel vertical across quarters, and to assess the state of consumer behavior. Google and Bing dominate the global search market, which made them ideal for our study—other search publishers have regional presence at best, so they were excluded.

We found a few interesting things:

  • Summer searches, but fall clicks. Although, on average, consumers searched for travel terms (flights, lodging, auto rentals, etc.) almost 20% more during summer than winter, clicks on travel-related searches didn’t peak in summer as expected. Instead, their highest point was in autumn, right after the summer months.
  • The great smartphone migration. Over the past two years, travel advertisers have steadily shifted spend away from desktop and tablet towards smartphone. While smartphone made up under 10% of search spend in early 2014, by end of 2015, that number grew to almost 30% of all search budgets.
  • Native is restless. The travel ad format that’s seen significant growth is native advertising via channels such as Yahoo! Gemini. Starting in late 2014, investment growth in native ads by travel companies grew almost 5x by mid to late 2015. While this format is one of the newer ones, it’s been growing consistently in both advertiser and consumer adoption over the past year.


For more great information on search advertising in the travel industry—including cross-device performance data and campaign recommendations—download The State of Travel Search Advertising: Trends, Formats, and Paths to Success.

This is a guest post from Dionte Pounds, Account Manager at
3Q Digital.

One of the reasons advertisers choose the Marin platform is for the flexibility it provides. It grants advertisers the ability to track conversions through the standard publishers (Google, Bing, Gemini), via Marin’s own platform tracking, or by importing conversion goals from Google Analytics. Each method of counting conversions has benefits and should be considered when you’re first setting up on the account.

If you have multiple conversion actions, one method I believe is very powerful and should be considered is integrating Google Analytics and Marin.

Who Should Consider This?


While this type of account setup could benefit most advertisers, those who judge performance based on the revenue or goal completions reported in Google Analytics—over publisher metrics—will find this setup most useful. The reason is that Google Analytics aligns publisher performance metrics (clicks, impressions, etc.) with the goals that impact your business the most.

I personally manage an ecommerce client that likes to monitor publisher conversions and reported revenue, but primarily cares about driving transactions and revenue as reported in Analytics. So, setting up my Marin account to import this data from Analytics allows me to look at total performance as it matters to my client and build a strategy based on the bottom-line numbers.

Bidding


As you may have guessed, the biggest benefit to importing this data is in bidding. Revenue and conversions can be tracked from Google Analytics back to the keyword level from each publisher platform. With this data now imported into Marin, any bidding folders you have in place are now able to execute bid adjustments based on the data that’s most valuable to your business. This makes their adjustments more accurate than if they were based on the reported revenue data from any publisher platform alone.

Setup


To make Marin integration with Google Analytics simple, a Setup Wizard guides you through the process. To set up the wizard, go to the Admin tab, and click the Revenue sub-tab.

01-admin



From the RevenueTracking setting, select Google Analytics.

02-revenuesettings



If you’d like to use the imported goal to be added to the platform, select the Bidding Eligible box. Before moving forward with this option, be sure the Google Analytics goals are reporting correctly.

03-googleanalytics



Granularity and accuracy are key for all advertisers and particularly critical in high season. If you’re an ecommerce advertiser heading into Q4, put this strategy into play ASAP, test, and refine as needed. Good luck!

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.


For detailed information on Q2 2016 search, social, and display mobile performance and strategy recommendations, download our Performance Marketer’s Benchmark Report Q3 2016 – Vital Search, Social, and Display Performance Data by Device.

Last year, we forecast that 30% of all retail paid-search spend would be on a shopping ad, and 45% of all product ad clicks would be on a smartphone—and smartphone click growth ended up being even stronger than we predicted. Looking forward, where do we see shopping ads this holiday season?

We took a look at month-over-month variations and factored in seasonal shifts in performance to forecast where we’ll be by December 2016:

  • 40% of all shopping ad dollars will be on a smartphone
  • 37% of paid search clicks will be on a shopping ad
  • Social clicks and spend share should flatten out over the year and remain at current levels


shopping-2016-blog-the-future-body-image



For more results sampled from the Marin Global Online Advertising Index—composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform—read The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report. With data charts on mobile, social, text versus product ads, and strategy recommendations for the 2016 holiday season, be sure to download your copy today so that you’re prepared for the Q4 rush.

As retail search advertisers continue to plan their campaigns for the 2016 holiday season, they’re weighing the pros and cons of text versus product ads. What’s the most effective ad type for reducing cost, increasing CTR, and maximizing returns on spend?

The answer: it depends.

Sampling the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform, we analyzed data from around the world to create our 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report. Here are just a few of our findings:

  • November beat December in both 2014 and 2015 for shopping ad spend.
  • Over the past two years, shopping ad spend share grew from 18% to 28%.
  • CPC between text ads and product ads remained stable year-over-year.
  • CTR between the two ad types is virtually the same.


shopping-2016-blog-text-v-product-body-image



For the full results of our research, including data charts on mobile, social, text versus product ads, and strategy recommendations for the 2016 holiday season, download The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report.

Shoppers are already prepping their lists for the holidays, and retail advertisers are close behind, on the mobile-focused, ad spend case. If smartphones were big-box retail destinations, they’d be the new “mad rush” of holiday sales.

Thankfully, when shoppers are looking for deals and information, they can now easily turn to their mobile devices.

Sampling the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform, we analyzed data from around the world to create our 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report. Our research uncovered some surprising things about what to expect for social advertising this 2016 shopping season.

  • Advertisers are investing big on smartphones and tablets: During Q1 2016, social ad spend on mobile devices represented 90% of ad spend.
  • Shoppers love social ads on mobile: Those ads were popular, with 95% of all clicks happening on social by way of a mobile device during the same time period.
  • This bodes quite well for Q4 2016: Social clicks and spend share should flatten out over the year and remain at current levels.


shopping-2016-blog-social-body-image



Happy shopping—and spending—in 2016.

For the full results of our research, including data charts on mobile, social, text versus product ads, and recommendations for how to stand out during the 2016 holiday season, download The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report.

Retailers know that the second half of the year is always more important than the first. The shopping season and back to school are crucial periods for brick-and-mortar and online stores—these are times when retailers need to capture consumers with sales and promotions, so that they’ll stay longer and buy more.

With advertisers over doubling their ad spend during the holiday season compared to the rest of the year, competition remains fierce. The 2015 holidays raked in over $100 billion for ecommerce alone. How can advertisers compete within this complex online marketplace?

Launch search shopping campaigns.


During the holiday season, we expect that shopping ad clicks will spike almost 400% when compared to the beginning of the year, and will account for one of every three clicks on a search ad.

By now, all retailers should be exploring shopping campaigns for their products. Not only do shopping ads perform better for search advertisers, they’re also competitive in price and particularly effective for mobile advertising. This is especially important since smartphones are now the device of choice for most shoppers.

While Google is the biggest player in the shopping ad market, be sure to consider Bing, which offers its own shopping ad format.

Expand into cross-channel advertising.


90% of social retail clicks come from mobile.

Although search is important, it’s not the only channel where retailers should advertise. Display and social are both vital channels to consider for how they interact with potential shoppers and audiences, and they're both much more heavily mobile than search. Combining search, social, and display allows advertisers to create a very powerful campaign that can target shoppers across channels more effectively and efficiently.

Play to device strengths.


About 40% of all retail advertising dollars will be spent on a smartphone this holiday season.

Understanding the strengths of each device is key to effectively spending advertising dollars. While desktop remains on top for converting an ad click into a purchase, the role of mobile devices in the conversion pathway is becoming better understood.

Many consumers treat mobile devices as a research tool, and while they may not convert directly to a purchase through a mobile click, there are ad types such as click-for-directions and click-to-call that contribute directly to an offline or later purchase.

Timing is everything.


Back to school clicks and conversions increased year-over-year by about 15% and 10%, respectively.

Timing campaigns appropriately allows you to reach the maximum number of people. For retailers, this is particularly important during the second half of the year. If you’re looking to reach the right audiences at the right time, be sure to take into account the day on which your campaigns go live.

The back to school click boost begins a month ahead of school, usually peaking about a week before school starts. For the holidays, it begins slightly earlier every year. We usually see consumer interest rise as soon as October ends or even slightly before, with steadily increasing impressions and clicks for retailers when compared to prior months until a peak in late November.

Read our full forecasts for this upcoming holiday season in our report, The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report.

When it comes to shopping ads, Q4 and mobile go together like thumbs on a small screen (literally).

Sampling the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform, we analyzed data from around the world to create our 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report. Our research allowed us to make a few definitive predictions for mobile performance in the 2016 shopping season.

  • Smartphones rule clicks: By April 2016, we expect the smartphone click rate to have grown by about 200% from January 2014. Mobile will leave tablets and desktops in the dust, as they hover just around the 75% point in terms of click share. No competition, as they say.
  • Smartphones rule CTR: The same will hold true for click-through rate, with smartphones projected to dominate the scene throughout the holiday season and beyond.
  • Smartphones rule CPC: Increased mobile activity will lead to lower cost per click, allowing advertisers to allocate spend where it counts most, and to better evaluate the different strengths and weaknesses of different ad formats.


shopping-2016-blog-mobile-body-image



In sum: smartphones rule. For the full results our research, including data on social, text versus product ads, and recommendations for how to stand out during the 2016 holiday season, download The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report.

As Father’s Day approaches, dads everywhere are eagerly anticipating a day for themselves (bring on the socks, watches, and gadgets). If advertising dollars were any indication in 2015, how much should they really be looking forward to it this year?

Last year, we looked at Mother’s Day versus Father’s Day advertising spend and clicks, and the latter simply couldn’t hold up to the former. For 2016, we investigated whether there was a chance that consumers and advertisers would show more love to Father’s Day.

How Did Spend Correspond to Clicks?



When we looked at consumer and advertiser behavior for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day last year, we got an idea of how retailers allocated budgets. They increased spend by an average of 12% for the week leading up to Mother’s Day. In comparison, Father’s Day only saw an average of a 5% bump in advertiser budgets during the same relative time period.

On the consumer side, we saw a 3% increase in clicks for both Mother’s and Father’s Day, during the week leading up to each day. This could be due to increased consumer awareness for Father’s Day leading to a similar bump when compared to Mother’s Day. It also appears that the number of Father’s Day sales has increased compared to 2014, based on campaigns within the Marin Index.

What does this mean? While consumers paid similar online retail attention to both holidays, advertisers viewed Mother’s Day as more competitive and important. This may be explained by looking at the number of conversions for both holidays. Mother’s Day had a 10% increase in conversions versus 3% on Father’s Day.

Chart



Advertisers Should Pay More Attention to Father’s Day



While dads didn’t quite overtake moms last year, it was much closer than the year before. If the trend continues this year, it’s a good sign for dads. We’ll see this Sunday.

Perhaps this year, advertisers will devote more of their attention to Father’s Day, which is what we recommend—giving equal consideration and budget to Father’s Day, as it may shape up to be just as important as Mother’s Day in terms of sales and bringing in consumers. The two appear to be converging with each new year, and it makes sense for advertisers to adjust their spends and sales campaigns to compensate.

Global mobile trends all point to the same conclusion – operating in channel-specific silos no longer works, and now’s the time for marketers to implement a strong cross-channel marketing strategy.

If you subscribe to this blog (and if you don’t, see that second little box on the right), you already know we’ve been evangelizing the message of “cross-device, cross-channel.” There’s a good reason for that.

Data Are Fundamental to Consumer Engagement


As we approach the halfway point of 2016, it’s more important than ever that marketers not only use data to understand customer behavior, but also to act on that behavior to deliver engaging, personalized experiences.

On May 25, Nitin Rabadia – our Director of Audience Marketing EMEA, APAC – will explain how to use data to win the online battle for attention and revenue. Gleaning insights from our 2016 Global Mobile Report (available with webinar registration), Nitin will field your questions and discuss:

  • How consumer behavior is affecting desktop and mobile spend
  • Recommendations for optimizing advertising across channels
  • Tactics to take advantage of customer signals
  • How to improve budgeting, bidding, and targeting decisions with full transparency


Register for the webinar today.

A few months ago, Google veered course from how it’s historically served desktop ads. Right-hand ads were removed, while a fourth ad slot was added above the organic search results. This change aligned mobile and desktop search results, and is regarded as Google’s acknowledgement that mobile search — not desktop — is key to the company’s continued growth and success.

Google’s Initial Response


Last month, Google’s new CEO, Sundar Pichai, penned Google’s annual Founders Letter. His opening two paragraphs reinforce the importance of mobile to Google’s mission:

"When Larry and Sergey founded Google in 1998, there were about 300 million people online. By and large, they were sitting in a chair, logging on to a desktop machine, typing searches on a big keyboard connected to a big, bulky monitor. Today, that number is around 3 billion people, many of them searching for information on tiny devices they carry with them wherever they go.

In many ways, the founding mission of Google back in ’98 — 'to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful' — is even truer and more important to tackle today, in a world where people look to their devices to help organize their day, get them from one place to another, and keep in touch. The mobile phone really has become the remote control for our daily lives, and we’re communicating, consuming, educating, and entertaining ourselves, on our phones, in ways unimaginable just a few years ago."


For a visual representation of this shift, Andressen Horowitz put together this great chart:

Horowitz Chart


Our Initial Reactions


When news of Google’s ad format change broke in mid-February, we offered our first reactions in a post titled, “Google’s New Ad Layout: Pros, Cons, Ins, Outs.” Our hypothesis used basic economic principles to argue that with tightened supply and constant demand, the average CPC could increase for some advertisers.

Secondly, we predicted that with fewer distractions (e.g., right-hand rail ads), advertisers with a strong product-market fit —typically in positions 1 through 3 —would have an easier time connecting with current and future customers.

What Does the Data Say About Google’s Ad Layout?


Now that some time has passed, we decided to take a look at our dataset — the Marin Global Online Advertising Index — to confirm or reject our early predictions. For this blog post, we compared performance immediately before, and immediately after, the changes went into effect.

The results were interesting. We’ll start by laying out the findings and then provide some closing thoughts.

Positions 1-3 saw little change in competition, as CPCs on these top positions declined marginally for the period. The slight dip in CPCs may be attributable to the increase in consumer propensity to click on these top positions without the distraction of ads on the right rail. This is consistent with our prediction that fewer distractions would yield better brand engagement.

Meanwhile, click-through rates (CTR) for positions 1 and 2 were largely flat, while CTR for 3 and 4 increased by +10% and +13%, respectively. Movements in positions 5 and 6 were particularly noteworthy. Position 5 had significant increases in CTR +10% and CPC +6%, while position 6 had material declines in CTR -20%, yet CPC increased marginally.

An Analysis of Our Predictions


So, how did our predictions stack up?

We were delighted to see economic theory in action (and our hypothesis confirmed) with observed CPCs increasing on tightened supply, and the revised layout of prime real estate favoring established brands.

In this new frontier, positions 4 to 5 appear to be the proving ground for new market entrants. Our secondary hypothesis — that less distraction would increase advertisers’ ability to connect with their (potential) customers — played out by the significantly higher engagement rate on top ad slots.

Other useful takeaways from this analysis pertain to advertisers fighting for position in the lower ad slots. In particular, position 6 appears to be a questionable strategy given the significantly lower engagement rate, while position 4 and position 5 are clearly the most competitive positions for advertisers who don’t have the quality score or brand recognition to lock in the top positions.

The Bottom Line


These results provide a teaser of things to come. As mentioned, we’re looking at two small datasets to give you a quick pulse on the immediate before and after results. Check back for future follow-up posts, as we dig deeper into the Marin Software Online Advertising Index to understand the more nuanced effects of Google’s ad format change on particular industries and geographies.

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.


For detailed information on Q1 2016 search, social, and display mobile performance – including detailed data charts with YoY performance and up-to-date recommendations – download our Performance Marketer’s Benchmark Report Q2 2016 – Vital Search, Social, and Display Performance Data by Device.

Mother’s Day is almost here! With flowers, cards, and family visits close at hand, many brick and mortar retailers are gearing up for the shopping spike. The season of maternal appreciation extends to online retailers, who are also gussying up their search, social, and display campaigns to attract consumers around the world.

How did online retailers do in 2015, and what to expect this year?

Mother’s Day 2015 – Clicks, Spend, and Conversions



In the week leading up to Mother’s Day 2015 (May 10th), clicks increased an average of 15% across retailers as click-through rates rose 6%. In addition, spend increased 9% during the same time period, peaking a few days before Mother’s Day.

Most notably, conversions saw a bump of 12%, peaking on the 5th at 18% above the monthly average. This noticeable bump for all retailers was more pronounced among those specialty retailers that Mother’s Day particularly impacts.

CPCs actually dropped slightly during this period, except for two days where they spiked, the 4th and 5th. The 5th proved to be a particularly important day for consumers and advertisers, showing abnormal surges along all metrics.

Perhaps consumers took account delivery times and the looming holiday date into account, giving themselves a few buffer days in case of delays in delivery and arrival.

These numbers dropped dramatically on Mother’s Day itself, and returned slowly to roughly average afterwards. Click-through rates remained elevated for Mother’s Day and a few days afterwards before returning to seasonal norms.

Recommendations for 2016



For retailers looking to maximize their Mother’s Day sales, here are a few key takeaways:

  • Start campaigns at least a week before Mother’s Day to capture the online shopping market, especially those looking to have a gift arrive in time for the occasion.
  • In particular, focus attention on five or six days beforehand, as this is when consumer interest peaked last year.
  • Expect similar trends to 2015, as people power down for the actual day to celebrate a mom!

2015 was a banner year for mobile.

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.


For detailed information on 2015 search, social, and display mobile performance – including detailed data charts with YoY performance and further recommendations for 2016 – download our Mobile Advertising Around the Globe: 2016 Annual Report.

2016-mobile-report_cover

Thank you, Google! Your announcement of the Google Analytics 360 Suite is industry-wide confirmation that enterprise level marketing tools are necessary in order to get the most out of your advertising dollars. Of course, Marin Software has known this all along and believes marketers of all sizes can benefit from these tools.

All marketers want efficient ways to reach new and existing customers and to understand what works and what doesn’t. As Forrester Research reports: “Sophisticated marketers who use analytics platforms are 3X more likely to outperform their peers in achieving revenue goals.” Organizations need this kind of sophisticated software to enable marketing teams to align around goals that help them optimize, compete, and drive revenue.

Cross-publisher, Cross-channel, Cross-device


At Marin, our focus is providing the technology and data needed for demand and revenue generation based steadfastly on our customer’s goals. We enable customers to make holistic creative, bid and budget optimization decisions across their campaigns, all from the same integrated platform.

Besides integrating well with Google, we have extensive experience working with Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many other leading partners, including 10 of the largest global exchanges. Our commitment remains the same - helping marketers reach their goals across publishers, across channels (search, social and display) and devices (desktop, tablet, mobile).

Accomplish Your Goals with 100% Transparency


Purpose-built to provide customers with complete transparency of campaign data and results, our mission aligns with Peter Drucker’s adage, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” We provide digital marketers superlative cross-publisher data and measurement including:

  • Transparent reporting, bidding algorithms, and predictive modeling
  • Advertisers’ intent data for better targeting and ROAS
  • Cross-channel insights and metrics
  • The true cost of media
  • Data throughout the customer journey
  • Quality and viewability metrics
  • View-through or click-through attribution


Although Marin Software has had a legacy in search leadership, we’ve evolved our cross-publisher platform via industry-leading acquisitions to power digital marketing campaigns for the world's biggest brands and agencies. We look forward to continuing to provide our customers with the tools and insights to profitably compete and reach their goals.

Every year, March Madness fever consumes millions of sports fans across America. Productivity plummets across workplaces, as employees catch a few minutes of the game on their computer or phone. In fact, it’s estimated that companies lose millions, if not billions, annually during the March Madness productivity dip.

For sports retailers, is there another story? How much does March Madness increase their sales, and can it offset losses in work output during this basketball-crazed month? To find out, we took a look at the retail vertical during 2015 and associated consumer behavior.

March Madness Means More Clicks and Spend



During March 2015, the retail industry saw a noticeable rise in clicks and advertising spend starting just before the 22nd – last year’s start of the regionals – through the end of the month and the finals.

During the regionals, there was a steady climb in clicks and spend, culminating and peaking near the end of March when the Final Four were decided. Click-through rates also almost doubled between the beginning of the month and the Final Four decision, showing that there was a strong correlation between US sports retailer and consumer activity, and when the games were decided.

In other words, the first small bump happened when the tournament began, and then rose and peaked close to the final four teams being decided, when consumers looked to buy products supporting their team of choice.

MarchGrowth



While these gains probably didn’t offset the productivity losses across employers nationwide, it’s clear that US sports retailers had a field day for interest in NCAA attire and merchandise.

General conversion metrics about your visitors only tell part of the story. In reality, there are many steps a visitor might have taken before converting on your site. How do you measure the value of your upper-funnel prospecting campaigns, and determine whether they’re providing incremental benefit and driving last-touch attribution and conversion?

What Are Assisted Conversions?



Assisted conversions help give you better insight for how other campaigns may have contributed to your final conversion. This insight is important, since it helps you make better decisions on your campaigns and immediately illustrates the value of your top-of-funnel marketing efforts.

How It Works



Suppose you’re running a campaign where you’re targeting people who visited your website. You have another campaign that targets people who looked at a specific product page on your website, a much more focused group. You’re probably measuring how well you’re targeting website visitors, but you may not be crediting this campaign with any conversions that come from your product page.

In other words, your website targeting campaign alone looks like it’s not providing any value, although it’s pushing customers along
the funnel.

Here’s another example: Suppose your visitor sees or clicks a Facebook News Feed ad, and then clicks a web ad to convert. With general standard conversion metrics, the web ad gets the credit for the final conversion. But, in this scenario, your Facebook News Feed ad should get an assisted conversion credit, since it contributed to the “slam dunk,” as it were.

To read more about assisted conversions and how they contribute to accurate attribution, see Understanding Assisted Conversions.

Every year, Q4 is huge for retail advertisers and other verticals looking to capitalize on holiday shopping sprees. In 2015, even more ad spend was devoted to capturing people’s attention at the moment they’re most likely to buy the perfect gift.

We sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, which looks at over $7 billion worth of spend in the Marin platform, and one thing was clear: people are wedded to their mobile devices.

Time and again, the Q4 2015 data played this out, with across-the-board increases in mobile spend, ad clicks, and impressions. When it came to search, however, consumers still preferred powering up their desktop computers and doing a deeper dive on a larger screen.

For detailed information on how the 2015 shopping season played out across devices for search, social, and display – and what you should do to stay ahead of the game – download The Q4 2015 Performance Marketer’s Benchmark Report.

2016-Q4-benchmark-report_cover

Impression share (IS) is one of the most misunderstood data points used in search. Metrics used to maximize revenue or conversion volume are pretty straightforward to understand, since the numbers speak for themselves.

You should periodically revisit the question, “What metrics should I maximize to increase brand awareness on my search campaigns?”

What’s IS, Anyway?


You can be forgiven for thinking that the most important metric to increase brand awareness is IS. In theory, the higher the IS, the more times your ads are served, potentially providing greater exposure.

In fact, IS is simply a measurement of how frequently your keywords appear in auctions for which they’re eligible. It’s easier to achieve a high IS when you target smaller audiences with little competition. The larger your target audience, the greater the competition, making it harder to achieve the desired 100% IS.

The IS Formula


IS is calculated by dividing served impressions by the estimated number of impressions that you’re eligible to receive. Google uses several factors to calculate which keywords should win an auction:

  • Targeting settings
  • Approval status
  • Bids
  • Daily budgets
  • Quality Score


Increasing IS doesn't always mean you’ll increase the amount of people who’ll see and interact with your brand. It should be used to monitor the frequency of your keywords appearing in auctions for which they’re eligible. It’s a brilliant metric for identifying keywords that aren’t performing as well as they could.

If your keywords are eligible to receive the maximum impressions targeting your specified audience, a 100% IS means you’ve reached this limit. However, this can come at a cost, overinflating daily budgets. Achieving a 100% IS means your keywords will be entered into all eligible auctions regardless of the cost.

Optimize to Improve Clicks and Impressions


Optimizing a campaign for clicks disregarding IS can improve both the click and impression volumes while maintaining or reducing spend. This method involves bidding down on keywords with low-click volume that have high CPCs while increasing bids for keywords with high-click volume and low CPCs.

ClickVolume



It's important to understand the relationship between aggregate IS and impression volume. Aggregate IS is weighted impressions, so there could be a scenario where there’s lower aggregate IS but higher impression volume. However, click volume, impression volume, and aggregate IS tend to be positively correlated, so maximizing clicks should be a sound strategy in most cases.

How are you using IS? Are you using it to monitor brand awareness, share of voice, or impression frequency? Whatever your optimization objective, it’s important to use the correct KPIs to monitor performance.

The year is 2016, and Facebook will soon be 12 years old. As Facebook hits puberty, it’s no longer just an influencer platform – now, it delivers actual (and many) conversions to social advertisers.

We took a look at Facebook’s growth and development over the last year, and three main trends stood out as being the most significant for the platform: clicks, video, and geotargeting.

People are clicking Facebook ads


Social media targeting in general is the most precise it’s ever been, and it’ll only get better this year. In 2015, Facebook click-through rates (CTR) more than doubled. Why is this?

  • Ad quality is better
  • Ad serving is much more selective and targeted
  • People are more willing to view and click Facebook ads


For Facebook advertisers, this translated to a sharp increase in CTR and lower cost-per-click.

Social video is growing fast


In 2015, video was one of the fastest growing sectors of online advertising, and Facebook quickly picked up on this trend. We’re now used to seeing video ad formats in our news feeds.

According to Facebook, by the end of 2015 there were eight billion average daily video views, or 100% growth in a seven-month time period.[1]

This incredible growth is part of the reason Facebook is investing so much attention on improving and refining video ad formats to increase user engagement and relevance. And, there’s a lot of potential for Facebook video ad sales to take off in 2016. The future looks bright for this ad format.

Local ads are more precise and effective than ever


During 2015, geotargeted ads gained major steam on Facebook, due in no small part to Facebook’s improvements to their local ad type. Hyper-local ad targeting on social media has allowed marketers to reach very specific audiences to within a mile of particular locales.

This hyper-local targeting easily synergizes with mobile ad formats, such as click- for-directions or click-to-call to reach nearby audiences that have high engagement rates for local brick-and-mortar businesses. Since 2010, locally targeted social media ads have grown a compounded 33% every year, with $8.3 billion worth of ads in 2015.[2]

For more information on current trends in Facebook advertising – including year-over-year trend charts and the latest intelligence on mobile – download our report, The State of Facebook Advertising: Clicks, Videos, and Geotargeting.

When it comes to TV viewership, the Super Bowl is the most-watched sporting event in the United States. From advertising to merchandise, millions of dollars are invested each year in both the actual event and everything surrounding it.

For many Super Bowl fans, the advertising is almost as important, with 77.1% of consumers seeing the ads as a form of entertainment. A well-done Super Bowl video has a way of amassing millions of views, and brands often feel the impact for weeks or months after the end of the game.

Still, a 30-second spot costs millions of dollars. In the long run, does this really pan out for advertisers?

The Super Bowl Leaves Huge Impressions


We compared a group of advertisers who aired an ad during the 2015 Super Bowl (Group A) against a group who did not (Group B) to see how performance fared weeks after the event.

Group A, predictably, saw a massive spike in online search ad impressions during the Super Bowl, which trailed off to normal levels in the following weeks. This peaked during the Super Bowl when Group A saw 340% more conversions than the start of the year.

Conversely, Group B saw impressions drop 17% on Super Bowl Sunday. For Group A, this increase in impressions led to a similar increase in clicks, which peaked at 250% during and immediately after the Super Bowl.

While advertiser impressions and clicks increased, cost-per-click didn't appreciably increase except for terms centered on the Super Bowl. Longer-term, Super Bowl advertisers got more clicks at a lower price.

More Ads, More Conversions


Not only did Super Bowl TV ads result in more impressions and clicks — they actually increased conversions over 400% on Super Bowl Sunday when compared to Group B. This increased engagement and conversion remained consistent throughout the entire month of February in 2015, representing a long-term return on investment.

With increased conversions and relatively stable costs, cost per lead actually decreased throughout February for Super Bowl advertisers, meaning that by mid-month, it cost Group A less per conversion than Group B.

SuperBowlConversions


Do What Works For You


While it may be tough to determine if buying a Super Bowl TV ad is worth it, it undoubtedly has a huge impact on online advertising campaigns for any company that chooses to buy a spot. Ultimately, a TV ad during the Super Bowl translates to increased search volume, which results in increased clicks at a similar cost and increased conversions at a lower CPL.

December has always been a frenzy of retailer activity, and the biggest month of the year for most, if not all, of them. Many retailers rely on a strong end of the year to buoy profits and plan accordingly for the new year.

We took a look at retail search advertiser behavior last month to see how the dust settled.

There Was Growth, But Less Than 2014



Compared to November and December 2014, this year’s holiday season actually saw less search growth. Ad spend in 2014 grew 27% in December when compared to October, while it only grew 16% in 2015.

However, clicks grew comparably, at 22% vs 19%, respectively, and ad efficiency also went up year-over-year. While CTR was only 6% higher in 2014, it was 18% higher in 2015, largely due to the growing adoption of PLAs and mobile.

December2015Performance



Holidays, Mobile, and PLAs



December 2015, in particular, saw large, predictable spikes during the month that coincided with holiday sales. In the week leading up to the 25th, clicks and spend spiked over 250%, peaking during Christmas day itself when compared to the December average. This is very similar to 2014 behavior, and again, there were higher CTRs, largely through mobile and PLA growth in proportion to text ads.

Overall, this holiday season was very successful for retailers, who embraced newer ad formats to great effect.

This is a guest post from Johnathan Dane, Founder of KlientBoost.

Have you ever thought your Google advertising account should be performing better?

You may be following the advice of many that say that the more time you spend in your account, the better.

But what if it’s all backwards?

What if it only takes you 10 minutes a week to improve your Google advertising performance?

If your Google campaign performance hasn’t been improving month over month like the table below, then keep reading.

01-GoogleCampaignImprovement



It’s about to get interesting. Let’s get started.

Automatic Placement Extraction


If you’re running any type of display or remarketing campaign, you might find that your display ads are showing up on websites, apps, or even video overlays that aren’t performing well.

Overall though, you might be decently happy with your display performance, but always wondered if it could do better.

[caption id="attachment_7076" align="alignnone" width="500"]

02-DisplayPerformance

Take a look at your Automatic placements under your Dimensions tab[/caption]

To start the “performance pruning”, see which Automatic placements either have a cost per conversion that’s too high, or better yet, which placements are actually bringing in sales (not just conversions) by equipping your Google advertising Final URLs with ValueTrack parameters.

This will then help you get more conversion volume out of those specific placements when you extract and target them exclusively through a new campaign.

Search Term Extraction


Search term reports are such an important part of regular Google advertising maintenance that it’s not uncommon that some people do this more frequently than brushing their teeth.

When looking at your search term report, get as close as possible to making sure your search terms and keywords have no discrepancies between them.

In other words, your Added / Excluded column from your search term report should have the green “Added” label going down the list for as long as possible, just like this:

[caption id="attachment_7077" align="alignnone" width="500"]

03-SearchTermExtraction

This gives you a much stronger control of what you’re paying for[/caption]

When that happens, you can make your ads specific to not your keywords, but your search terms and see higher click-through-rates from your efforts.

Let’s say you look at your search term report and find your search terms and keywords don’t match. The first thing you should do is extract your search terms with the most impressions and create what are called Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs).

Just like the name implies, SKAGs are ad groups that only allow one keyword per ad group, that then have corresponding ads that are extremely specific to that keyword.

Time Lag and Attribution Reports


Did you know that the last keyword and/or ad clicked always gets to lionshare of conversion credit?

What if there were seven other touchpoints (impression and ad clicks) that happened before the final conversion? Wouldn’t you want to know what helped assist that conversion?

I know I would.

If you don’t care, there’s a good chance you’ll pause keywords and placements that don’t get the conversion credit. But, when you do, you’re strangling your account at the same time, without even knowing it.

Let’s take a look at your Google advertising attribution.

Inside your account, go to the top of your Google advertising interface and click Tools > Attribution.

Once you’re there, take a look at the Time Lag report on the left side. Here, you can see how long it takes people to convert from either first impression, first click, or last click.

[caption id="attachment_7078" align="alignnone" width="500"]

04-ImpressionConversionDelay

Here’s a look at first impression conversion delay of 6.19 days[/caption]

This will help you make your nurture and/or retargeting campaigns more of a priority to test.

Geographic Granularity


Are you a local, statewide, nationwide, or even an international advertiser?

No matter how big an area you’re targeting, every geographic hill, slope, mountain, and valley performs differently. The same thing goes for individual states and cities.

And, because you can’t target people who live on just a hill (yet), the next best thing is to understand the performance of each state or city that sees your ads.

[caption id="attachment_7079" align="alignnone" width="500"]

05-GeographicGranularity

To see this report, go to your Dimensions tab, then View -> User locations[/caption]

As you can see above, the state of New York may be costing more per conversion than others. So, you may want to add in negative bid modifiers at the state level, like this screenshot shows.

06-States



You can then drill even deeper and create new campaigns with state level campaign targeting, and give bid modifiers to individual cities within that specific state to get your closer to your cost per conversion goals.

You can take it even further and start utilizing city specific ad copy and landing pages with area code specific phone numbers, to appear more local to visitors and increase your conversion rates.

Device Targeting


As I’m sure you’re already aware of, Google advertising doesn’t allow you to separate devices in their own campaigns like they used to.

These days, you have to group desktop and tablets together in the same campaign. And while Google may say that both those devices perform similarly, there are thousands of Google advertising accounts out there that say something completely different.

Here’s the truth: Desktops and tablets will never perform the same way.

I’m not just speaking from a conversion rate standpoint, but also from a sales standpoint.

When Google told the world that devices don’t matter, but user context does, they certainly never thought of every single industry, but more so of a blanket band-aid that would apply to “most advertisers”.

Believe it or not, there are some workarounds you can use to get desktop, tablet, and mobile campaigns in their own campaigns and still target the search and/or display network.

But first, let’s look at how we find current device performance differences within your account.

[caption id="attachment_7082" align="alignnone" width="500"]

07-PerformanceDifferences

Here’s how you find that info[/caption]

First, go to Segment then Device in the dropdown.

[caption id="attachment_7083" align="alignnone" width="500"]

08-SegmentDevice

This will expand your view with three extra rows[/caption]

As you can see in the screenshot above, our mobile devices are giving us the lowest cost per conversion while tablets are sucking it up and being the most expensive.

Now let’s say for a minute that your tablet performance is just as good as your desktop performance (like Google says it is), but your mobile performance sucks.

You can quickly add in what’s called a negative bid modifier between 1 and 100%.

[caption id="attachment_7084" align="alignnone" width="500"]

09-NegativeBidModifier

Go to Settings -> Devices and increase or decrease in the red square[/caption]

If you never want to target mobile devices, then you can set a negative bid modifier of 100%.

Day of Week Targeting


Just like keywords, ads, and landing pages perform differently, so does Monday compared to Thursday, and Saturday compared to Wednesday.

Inside your Google advertising account, you can see this day of the week granularity in a snap. Just head over to Dimensions ->View: Day of the week.

[caption id="attachment_7085" align="alignnone" width="500"]

10-DayOfWeek

In this case, Saturdays and Sundays are doing really well[/caption]

Having these kinds of numbers doesn’t mean that you should stop advertising on Thursdays (because it has the highest cost per conversions). But, it could mean that you should start considering “day of the week” bid modifiers like we did for our devices earlier.

Some industries tend to be very predictable in their weekly trends. If your company falls into a category like that, then take advantage of the control you have and get more aggressive with your bids on great performing days, and taper back on the not so great-performing ones.

Time of Day Targeting


Just like we saw how your days perform differently during the week, so do your hours within the day.

11-TimeOfDay



And, just as we can create bid modifiers for 24-hour day targeting, we can also take advantage of the same thing with bidding blocks of hours within a certain day of the week, to break it down even further.

[caption id="attachment_7088" align="alignnone" width="498"]

12-BiddingBlocks

In this screenshot, late mornings and afternoons tend to perform better than mornings[/caption]

If you already have the data and insight that allow you to use this type of granular bidding, then definitely do so.

You might even find that Google or other bidding platforms are restricting how many bid modifications you can make on a daily basis. If that’s the case, I suggest you try using Brainlab’s 24 hour bidding script that allows you to take it one step further, and then some.

In Closing


Now before I let you go, please keep this in mind:

“With great control, comes great responsibility.”

Having access to all of this data is great, but only if you can be actionable with it to improve your performance.

I see time and time again that people spend countless hours trying to tweak and prune things with modifiers, rules, and even scripts that change bids depending on the weather.

While all of this is great, most of it becomes entirely obsolete as soon as you have a landing page test that improves your conversion rates by 50%. When that happens, all the things you’ve put into place need to be redone.

One thing that will always help you out, no matter your goals, is to extract and target things in a granular fashion that makes sense.

Use the dimensions tab and its reports to your advantage and keep on making progress :)

Once again, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, signaling the official beginning of the holiday season. We recently discussed how Cyber Monday outperformed Black Friday in 2014, forecasting similar behavior this year. How exactly did Black Friday and Cyber Monday pan out?

Using the same methodology, we looked at how close our predictions were.

Friday-MondayChart


Clicks Increase by 185%, Spend Over 200%


This Black Friday (November 27th) clicks hit 185% of the November monthly average, and spend reached over 200%. This resulted in 210% more conversions on Black Friday than on any other average day in November. This is huge for retailers, but was it enough for Black Friday to stay ahead of Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday Conversions Up 270%


Cyber Monday showed huge spikes this year, with clicks and spend 220% and 280% higher than the November average, respectively. Conversions were 270% higher as well. This, combined with what we saw last year, means Cyber Monday really has become the new king of post-Thanksgiving shopping holidays for online retailers. The numbers will no doubt play out even more dramatically in 2016.

We’re familiar with the images – long lines of people huddled on the sidewalk outside big-box stores, viral footage of stampeding bargain shoppers. For consumers and retailers, these are the telltale Black Friday signs that the holiday shopping season has truly begun.

Black Friday versus Cyber Monday


This week, shoppers are getting ready both on and offline for one of the largest shopping events of the year. While Black Friday is undoubtedly a huge day for merchants, how does its sister holiday, Cyber Monday, compare?

Cyber Monday is the relatively new kid on the block. Still, it’s rapidly gained traction as another strong day for online deals and promotions. We wanted to see exactly how big a difference there was between the two shopping holidays last year, and understand if there are potential opportunities for retailers to optimize their spend.

Cyber Monday Wins by a Landslide


Large spikes in consumer engagement and advertiser spend are characteristic of these two holidays and last year was no different. In 2014, Black Friday saw clicks and budgets sharply spike upwards of 180% of November’s monthly average. This all resulted in 200% more conversions than an average November day for retailers before declining to near-average levels.

While Black Friday performance was impressive, Cyber Monday shot it out of the water. On Cyber Monday, clicks and spend rose to over 200% and 275%, respectively. Conversions rose an astounding 300% on Cyber Monday.

Two Days Are Better Than One


While Cyber Monday may be the online leader in retail sales this month, this doesn't mean that retailers should neglect Black Friday. Cyber Monday is exactly that, cyber and online, and shoppers who are buying in-store are a valuable segment that shouldn't be discounted. And, many of them are relying on online resources to augment their in-store experience. For retailers, both of these shopping days will be crucial for a successful holiday season, and attributing spend accordingly is a must for the successful marketer.

With the recent release of Google’s Customer Match, the ability to target users through their email address has finally come to search advertising. This type of targeting has been available in social since Facebook announced Custom Audiences in 2013, and is accessible to display through data onboarding. Now, because of Google’s new feature, advertisers can target users using this data across search, social, and display, and across multiple devices.

This opens up many new possibilities for cross-channel, cross-device advertising. As it stands, a large percentage of marketing CRM emails are never opened. Advertisers can’t depend on email alone to connect with high-value customers in a CRM. We recommend using your CRM data to serve ads across search, social, and the web.

How do publishers match emails or user IDs to users across the web?


First, some background. The deterministic matching method relies on personally identifiable information commonly stored in CRM systems. With this method, a linkage is made when a user in your CRM uses the same email address or social media user IDs to log into an app and a website – across browsers and devices.

As long as a user is logged in across devices and targeting is set up across channels, advertisers and publishers can use this unique identifier to target those users cross-channel, on multiple devices.

Advantages over cookie-based remarketing


Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Display Networks already allow you to serve ads to previous site visitors with remarketing lists. This is traditionally done with cookie pools. Customer Match, Custom Audiences, and display customer targeting all allow you to advertise to recognized, signed-in users wherever they are – whether it’s mobile, tablet, laptop, or desktop.

This cross-channel path is difficult for cookies to traverse. It’s also hard for cookies to move across different browsers, and users can easily delete most cookies.

The other main advantage is that CRM data can be collected from multiple offline sources. For example, retailers can ask for a customer’s email address after an in-store purchase, or a travel agent can ask for an email address after a phone booking is made.

The Best Uses of CRM Data to Amplify Cross-Channel Reach


1. Do the Right Thing for the Right Channel

When it comes to matching CRM data with users for targeting, each online advertising channel has slightly different options. Be sure to make the most of each channel’s unique possibilities.

Search
Email addresses

Google’s Customer Match is a new product designed to help you reach your highest-value customers on Google Search, YouTube, and Gmail. Customer Match allows you to upload of a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google in a secure and privacy-safe way. From there, you can build campaigns in Marin with highly relevant targeting and specifically tailored messaging for your audience.

Social
Email lists, phone numbers, Facebook user IDs, Twitter IDs, mobile advertisers IDs

Custom Audiences (Facebook) and Tailored Audiences (Twitter) make it easy to target specific customers or prospects at scale. It allows you to match your customer list against Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter users in a secure and privacy-safe way. Advertisers can use Marin to target users across social platforms and devices.

Display
Email addresses, CRM, point of sale, and mobile advertisers IDs

Through uploading emails, CRM data, point of sale, and mobile advertisers IDs, data onboarding technology (such as LiveRamp) can match your anonymized data to online devices and digital IDs, and segment audiences. These audience segments can then be sent to Marin for display targeting.

CRM-workflow



2. Be Sure to Segment

Segmentation is key to the success of CRM targeting for search, social, and display. Users can be segmented by value, actions, loyalty, recency, and satisfaction, among many other options – the segmenting possibilities of your customer database are virtually unlimited. You can use all of these segments for innovative advertising, such as enhancing your strategy, target audiences, and creative based on fresh and reliable data.

3. Go Cross-Channel

Using CRM data for targeting can produce fantastic results in single-channel siloes. However, when it’s used as part of a cross channel marketing strategy, the number of creative marketing tactics becomes almost limitless.

One common example of using CRM data across channels is targeting users with tailored messages across search, social, and display, depending on whether or not they’re existing customers.

Channel exclusion lists are just as important as positive targeting lists. In addition to reaching specific audiences with your ads, you can exclude unprofitable channels but still reach the same audiences.

For example, suppose an advertiser is in an industry where search keywords are particularly expensive. But, they want to update existing customers about a new product in a more cost-effective way. They could exclude the existing users from search targeting but still advertise to them on social and display.

CRM targeting strategies also open up new customer care and support avenues outside of phone, email, or direct mail. If a customer has a specific issue, it can be resolved at the level of a search query. Using CRM data, you could automatically deliver the most relevant information and links based on the products or services your customers are using, even if they use the exact same search query to search for information.

Using CRM data and user matching addresses a number of the challenges of cookie-based remarketing. It also helps bridge the gap between offline and online marketing activities. With Google’s new Customer Match, CRM data can now be used to actively target across search, social and display. This paves the way for innovative cross-channel, cross-device advertising strategies.

In just a year, display has gone from a desktop-based ad channel to a mobile one, showing a dramatically faster shift than either search or social. Not only has the display advertising world seen huge changes this year, but even more changes are anticipated in 2016.

This is indicative of a larger trend in digital advertising as a whole, where consumers are spending more time and attention on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets instead of desktops. In response, advertisers are allocating more and more of their display budget to targeting mobile consumers.

During Q3 2015, consumer engagement with display ads moved very decidedly towards smartphones. Over half of all display ad clicks came from a smartphone, and these ad clicks resulted in the majority of conversions.

eMarketer predicts that, by end of year, 60.5% of display ad budgets will be on a mobile device, and we’re seeing the same trends within Marin. This added consumer attention has translated to heightened innovation in the mobile display ad space. New formats for display ads are coming out on a regular basis, replacing the old banner ads to help encourage more click-through and conversion on mobile display ads.

For more information about the current state of display advertising and forecasts for 2016, download our report, The Q3 2015 Performance Marketer's Benchmark Report, and check out our industry infographic below.

Infographic_3Q2015-Rise-of-Mobile_v7

On the heels of Google’s success with Product Listing Ads and Shopping Campaigns, other publishers have developed their own product ad platforms, most notably Bing with its Product Ads and Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads. These major players have proven that shopping ads are a viable and highly effective marketing investment for digital advertisers.

And, shopping ad campaigns have now been around long enough for us to identify exactly which trends retail advertisers should be most aware of.

1. Holiday Shoppers Love Product Ads


In 2014, advertisers spent a whopping 318% more on product ads in December than they did in January of the same year. Share of clicks closely mirrored this spend, with one in four paid-search clicks being on a product ad in December of 2014.

It’s undeniable that this trend will continue, as spend continues to increase, product ads get more sophisticated, and advertisers continually optimize for the most aesthetically pleasing and persuasive ads.

2. Images and Text are Neck-and-Neck


Again, the holidays are always a boon for digital advertisers in the retail space. During Q4 of the last couple of years, spend on shopping ads pulled ahead of text ads, since retailers served engaging and eye-catching ads during that time. What’s surprising, however, is that this year, text ads have an advantage.

Since mid-year 2014, text ad CTR has actually increased, and overtook shopping ad CTR until the end of the year.

3. Mobile’s on the Move


Not only are we experiencing a mobile revolution – there is a groundswell of mobile ad clicks. Even though desktops had a 25% increase in clicks during November and December of 2014, this pales in comparison to smartphone’s almost 90% increase between January and December. During the holidays, consumers are now shopping and clicking at the same time, on screens uniquely designed to offer ads, deals, and product information to someone on the go.

For more information and data charts on Google and Bing shopping ad 2014 performance, download our new report, Google and Bing Shopping Ads Report: Current Trends and What Lies Ahead.

With Google processing more than 3.5 billion search queries in a single day, there’s a surprising amount of insight that can be gained by analyzing the content and user behaviors behind these searches. Studying your own paid search data can substantially benefit several areas of your marketing strategy, including product, pricing, competitive strategy, branding, and store location selection.

Product Strategy


Search engines periodically release insights based on overarching or vertical-specific search trends. Bing and Google both offer places to start researching search trends related to your product. This data can help you:

  • Research the viability of a possible new product launch.
  • Discover what customers like and dislike about your existing products.
  • Inform product-market fit.


If you analyze search query data directly associated with your brand name, you can identify customer pain points, bugs, and potential new product features.

Pricing Strategy


SEM ad creative testing can help inform pricing strategy, as well as the best way to message pricing.

  • Develop a variable pricing approach: Launch hypothesis tests of identical ad copy and landing pages where the only variable is price. The ideal price point is when you’re generating the best possible balance of order volume and return on ad spend.
  • Optimize pricing verbiage: Set up testing with identical price points and variant messaging to learn the best way to position prices and discounts. For example, customers may react differently to these two variations describing a discount on a $100 item: “Save $20” and “20% off.”


Competitive Strategy


The search engine results page is a goldmine of competitive data. By performing searches related to your product, you can:

  • Find out who your competitors are.
  • Identify your competitors’ weaknesses.
  • Exploit your competitors’ weaknesses to your advantage.


Even if you don’t plan to launch a competitor campaign, it’s important to monitor your own branded search terms. The simplest way to do this is to look for spikes in your brand CPC. If it jumps, you may have a new competitor.

Brand Strategy


Search data can help you test new approaches to brand messaging. Marketers can utilize search data to:

  • Understand how your brand awareness plays are performing.
  • Identify tone and intent of customer interest in your brand.
  • Continually optimize and identify ways to position your brand.


Store Location Strategy


Search data can help inform your store location strategy by providing:

  • Granular geographic data to identify zip codes likely to be profitable.
  • Insight into the market share of foreign language speakers to determine demand for foreign language customer support.
  • Brand search volume cross-referenced with existing store locations—spikes can indicate hotspots for interest in your brand, and where existing locations underserve customers.


Search marketing isn’t just a direct response channel, but rather a means to inform your marketing strategy with data. Product, pricing, competitive strategy, branding, and store location selection are just a few examples of how to use search data. Make it a regular practice to analyze search data for insights that can be applied throughout your marketing strategy.

About the Author


sarah

Sarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, and yoga.

About Boost Media


Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.

Click here to schedule a free demo of the Creative Optimization platform today.

As a performance marketer, there's never a day when I'm not using an analytics platform to measure the performance of my campaigns. It's extremely important to track and measure advertising spend and understand how people are engaging with the assets you're promoting. If you're looking for a way to prove the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, then you're in the right place. In this post, I'll walk you through how to set up and define goals and conversions, tag your advertising campaigns for consistency, and analyze the data for actionable insight on Google Analytics.

How to Setup Goal Tracking


Goals are essential, allowing us to see conversions, conversion rates, and conversion values. From making a purchase to downloading a whitepaper or requesting a demo, tracking goals is critical in evaluating the quality and value of traffic to your website. It’s important to measure different segments, understand how people are engaging with your site and content, and see what the outcomes are.

  1. 1. To begin, make sure your account has editing permissions, otherwise you won't be able to set this up. If you haven't already, you must install the Google Analytics tracking code on every single page of your site.
  2. 2. Log in to Google Analytics. Select the Admin tab and navigate to the desired account, property, and view.


1


  1. 3. In the VIEW column, click Goals.
  2. 4. Click the red + NEW GOAL button.
  3. 5. Follow the steps and click on the most relevant goal option for your business.


2


  1. 6. Name your goal conversion and select ‘Destination’ as your goal, then click on the ‘Next step’ button.


3


  1. 7. Set your destination to the applicable choice of equal to, begins with, or regular expression. Then add your goal confirmation/thank you page URL. In most cases, it would be equal to.


4


  1. 8. Optional: If you wish, you may assign a monetary value to your goal or turn on the funnel (if you have required steps leading to your conversion).
  2. 9. Save Goal and you're good to go. You may also click on Verify this Goal and see how many people landed on this page in the past 7 days as a validation.


How to Setup Consistent Landing Page Tracking Parameters


Now that you have goal tracking figured out, the next step is to tag all of your advertising efforts with consistent landing page parameters in order to get a clear view of what channels are most effective. For a basic understanding of how this works, please refer to Google Analytics' URL builder. There is no absolute way to do this and it depends on how you want to structure your advertising for ease of reporting, but once you develop the model, it is important that you stick with it. Here's how I apply the utm parameters in order to understand performance for Marin.

  1. • utm_source: The main advertising channel my promotion is running on
  2. • utm_medium: The type of advertising that's running (placement, email, banner, retargeting, newsfeed, right rail, etc)
  3. • utm_campaign: The asset name (whitepaper, case study, etc) or theme I'm promoting
  4. • utm_content: The graphic/ad name, the target audience (when creative isn't applicable)


No matter what you decide to put in these parameters, it is very important that you use the same naming convention throughout. If you don't have a clear understanding of how to use utm parameters consistently, it will get very messy and be very difficult to understand your data.

Example Scenario: I need to promote our 2015 Mobile Report on various channels - Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, and Linkedin Ads. This is how I would setup the landing page utm tags per channel based on the type of advertising that's running.

5


[Click to Enlarge]


Do you see the consistency? The campaigns are all labeled the same naming convention, 2015Mobile Report, for all channels. The source and medium are the same labels that I've used throughout time for all marketing initiatives. For the content parameter, I use the ad name if the channel relies on a banner, otherwise I use it to evaluate groupings of my target audience.

Analyzing the Data with Consistent Tracking Parameters and Goal Conversion


Let's do a quick dive and put these consistent tracking parameters into action by analyzing the data using the tags indicated, in addition to looking at goal completions to see how many people converted.

Campaign Analysis

  1. • Navigate to the left side and click on Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns.


6


  1. • Type in the campaign name in the search box and click on the magnifying button, then click on the campaign name to drill further into.


7


[Click to Enlarge]



  1. • By default, you will find all the source/medium traffic associated with that campaign. You can toggle the conversions drop-down if you have a specific goal you'd like to check against to see what channel is most effective. In this example below, you will see all the tags I mentioned in the example scenario above.


8


[Click to Enlarge]


Example Analysis: Taking a look at each source/medium for the 2015 Mobile Report campaign, I can see that most of the website traffic and conversions are coming from facebookwca and linkedin-su. I can back into the cost per conversion by getting the advertising spend. So, say that I spent a $1,000 on facebookwca and $1,000 on linkedin-su, the cost per conversion in this scenario would be $16.13 ($1000/62) for facebookwca and $17.24 ($1000/58) for linkedin-su. As for the other campaigns, I expected the low results because they are new campaigns that were recently set live.

To do a high-level source/medium analysis, navigate to: Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium.

To do a high-level content analysis, navigate to: Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium, then click on "Other", expand "Acquisition" and click on "Ad Content":

9


The steps for analyzing both are similar to the steps indicated in the campaign analysis – you simply type in the parameters you used in your URLs and your data will populate.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. By spending time analyzing your marketing campaigns, you are one step closer to becoming a performance marketer.

In the previous post we discussed how to segment your customer base for lifetime value (CLV). In our fourth and final post of this lifetime value series, we’ll provide some recommendations for optimizing for CLV.

Once you have identified audience segments, you’ll want to investigate things like:

  • Where are these people? What marketing channels do they cross?
  • What messaging or value propositions are relevant to this segment?
  • What are different ways that you can reach a customer within a particular segment?


The idea of optimizing for CLV is to achieve increasing profits from your existing customer base, or find new high-value customers.

Be channel agnostic when looking for marketing opportunities

When asking these questions, it’s useful to take a channel agnostic approach to your thinking. Instead of relying on data from one specific channel, you’ll want to incorporate data signals across different marketing channels like search intent, behavioral data, and audience characteristics, in addition to your own data, in order to paint a detailed picture of your high value segments and develop strategies to increase your customer CLV.

Once you have a good understanding of your high-value customers, you can start developing strategies to drive higher CLV. A few potential scenarios follow below:

Scenario 1 – Find new high CLV customers

A financial company could improve its acquisition efforts by refocusing its spend towards an acquisition channel that has proven to attract high CLV customers. Alternatively, it could also expand its reach by leveraging 2nd and 3rd party data to create look-alike audiences for additional targeting opportunities.

Scenario 2 – Reduce customer churn

An insurance company creates an audience segment for current customers with contracts expiring within the next 30 days in order to run a search retargeting campaign that ensures the brand has top that the brand is well represented when the user conduct relevant searches.

Scenario 3 – Increase repurchase rates

An online clothing retailer rolling out a new seasonal line could remarket its product ads on Facebook to customers who haven’t bought from the company within the past 6 months.

Scenario 4 – Cross-promote or upsell to potential customers

A home improvement retailer could look for opportunities to cross-sell to potential customers who’ve recently shown interest in home loans. Alternatively, the retailer could promote upsell opportunities to sell kitchen upgrades to customers who’ve recently indicated interest in or purchased a new appliance.

The possibilities are numerous. By taking basic customer lifetime value information, developing useful segments, and connecting that information with the customer data that you’ve collected or have access to, you can open up a number of new, interesting ways to make smarter marketing decisions and increase profits.

Looking for additional posts in this series?
3 Reasons Why Segmentation is Necessary to Understand Customer Lifetime Value
Gathering Customer Lifetime Value Data – Start Small and Build
Using Lifetime Value to Create Audience Segments

Now that you have your data in order, you’ll want to start parceling out relevant customer segments.

The goal is to identify segments that are practical and helps you make better marketing decisions. You’ll want to strike a balance between segments granular enough to execute targeting strategies, but broad enough to scale your targeted marketing efficiently.

There’s no shortage of advanced statistical models to determine customer segments, but in this post we’ll provide a few straightforward, practical recommendations.

Start segmenting based on customer value.

The 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of your profitability comes from 20% of your customers, is a good place to start your segmentation effort. You might actually find your customer profitability distribution is even more extreme with over 100% of your profits coming from your top customers, and your worst customers actually taking away from your bottom line. However, at the most basic level, the distribution might look like the above graph.

In this case, we’ve identified high CLV, medium CLV and low CLV segments. However, these segments are still too broad for much use. From here, you’ll need to rely on your data to help unearth demographic or behavioral commonalities within each segment.

Ideally, you’ll want to try to identify segments with commonalities that you can act upon and measure changes in performance.

For example, you might find that:

  • Customers of a particular demographic or geography might have different CLV characteristics
  • Certain acquisition channels may be more effective at driving higher CLV customers
  • A customer segment may show high loyalty, but lower CLV, suggesting opportunities to drive increased business


Once you’ve identified different customer segments, you can identify opportunities to optimize for your higher CLV segments. We’ll explore some ideas to optimize for lifetime value in our next post.

It's important to segment your customer data to gain useful insights, but the relevant segments may not become apparent until you start wading through the financial data. In this post, we’ll discuss three important financial factors you’ll need for your customer lifetime value (CLV) calculations.

There are three important things you’ll need to find:

1. Retention rate/Customer lifetime
2. Revenue per customer segment
3. Margins per customer segment/sale


The latter two are pretty straightforward, and don’t leave much room for interpretation, so in this post we’ll focus on divining the retention rate. (One caveat on revenue – businesses with a brick and-mortar presence should also make sure to account for the “research online, buy offline” effect when calculating CLV. Otherwise,customers acquired via online channels will be undervalued.)

Customer “lifetime” doesn’t mean forever

“How long is a customer’s lifetime?” is a pretty common question. The “lifetime” in lifetime value isn’t quite so literal. You’re not expected to be projecting profits for the 75 years or so of a customer’s life. For one, that’s impractical. But more pressingly, the further out the revenue projections, the less reliable they are. Generally, we would recommend calculating your CLV within a five-year window (although some exceptions apply).

There are a number of different ways to figure out your customer’s lifetime. Two of the more common methods involve using your retention rate or your repeat purchase rate.

Scenario 1: Use retention rate

If you charge your customers a monthly or yearly retainer or subscription fee, you should know your monthly or yearly churn rates (retention rate = 1 - churn rate).

For example, an enterprise SaaS company with a yearly retention rate of 90% would have an expected customer lifetime of 10 years based on the equation below:

CLV formula retention rate









Scenario 2: Use repeat purchase rate

Repeat purchase rates are very similar to retention rates, except they are more relevant for companies whose customers have irregular purchase cycles. For example, a retailer with repeat purchase rates of 50% will have different customer lifetimes depending on whether their customer buys from them every 3 months, or every 3 years.

Scenario 3: You know neither

Some businesses may not know what their repeat purchase or retention rates are. In those cases, you’ll have to back into the number. You can do this by specifying a gap of inactivity where you decide a customer is no longer a customer, and then measuring the time period between the customer’s first and last purchase.

The period of inactivity in which you determine a customer has lapsed depends on the nature of your business. For example, a grocery store whose best customers buy weekly might determine that a 3-month dry spell is sufficient enough to indicate that they are no longer customers. Other businesses - auto dealerships for example - will have much longer lag between purchases.

Don’t forget about your segments

Regardless of how you calculate your customer’s lifetime, remember from our previous post that you’ll want to find the customer lifetime for each relevant segment you’re measuring, not just the total average customer lifetime.

This is part of a 4-part blog series. Missed the first post? Read 3 Reasons Why Segmentation is Necessary to Understand Customer Lifetime Value here. Our next post will dive deeper into how you can carve out relevant customer segments, so stay tuned!



Marketing metrics like CPC or CPA only capture the cost part of the profit equation. This seems a bit odd when you think about how often successful marketing campaigns are judged on the revenue portion of the equation. It’s also detrimental over the long-term because it treats your marketing efforts as a cost-center vs. a revenue center.

Incorporating customer lifetime value (CLV) is important because it takes both revenue and costs into account. Our recent white paper provided an introduction on how to introduce customer lifetime value into your online marketing campaigns. This post is the first of a 4-part series that will provide pragmatic recommendations for building lifetime value models.

Prelude - Get your data ready

A lifetime value model is only as good as the quality of the data you keep. To develop a good CLV model, you’ll need to ensure you’re accurately measuring things like revenue per customer, margin per sale, and retention/churn or repeat purchase rates.

Once you have your data, there are three good reasons why you need to segment your customers to get an accurate understanding of your customer lifetime value.

Reason 1: Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is incomplete

A simple example can illustrate. Let's say a business has two customers:


Customer Lifetime Value example


Customer #1 is an unmarried, 25+ y/o librarian, $35K HHI, and buys a hatchback for $15K. Customer #2 is a married, 55 y/o executive with 3 kids, $250K HHI, and bought a sports car for $160K.

Based on this data, the average customer for this business buys $80K cars. Except in reality that $80K car is far outside the price range of Customer #1, and it might not be upscale enough for Customer #2. Furthermore, the average customer’s demographic info based on the details above is basically worthless.

This is why segmentation matters. ARPU tells you that you have paying customers, segmentation can tell you who’s actually driving your business.

Reason 2: Focus your effort on the segments matter most

Go back to the two customers above. Which segment appears to be more valuable to you? Which is the one you want to focus your marketing on?

That’s a trick question. The answer is it depends. If you can convert the hatchback buyer and she buys several cars from you over her lifetime, then she could be worth more than the sportscar buyer. But if you were focusing on a window of 3-5 years, then you’d probably want to focus your marketing efforts on other sportscar buyers.

Either way, you can’t make this decision until you know how different your customers are.

Reason 3: Make better decisions

You might choose to target both customers. And that’s where segmenting for CLVcan be most helpful. Once you can divulge a segment’s CLV, opportunities for acquisition, upsell, and cross-promotion may become more visible. For example, you might leverage retargeting campaigns to upsell to segments with high CLV. Alternatively, you may find that there are cross-promotion opportunities with a segment with lower CLV but potential for growth. Finally, you might decide to cut marketing in channels that consistently acquire customers with low CLV.

Ultimately, understanding your customers' CLV enable you to be a better marketer. This is a 4-part blog series, so stay tuned for more best practices to follow! [Part 2: Gathering Customer Lifetime Value Data – Start Small and Build]

BoostCTR Account Performance Grader

For many search marketers, identifying opportunities for optimization within paid search campaigns is challenging. Monitoring and maintaining top performing ad groups, keywords, and ads is a standard best practice; but as campaigns grow, keyword lists expand, and creative tests multiply, this approach fails to scale and provide incremental improvements in paid search performance. With so many optimization opportunities hidden in an ocean of data, how can search marketers give the required attention each campaign deserves? Where do you even start?

To help search marketers answer these questions, Marin Software is thrilled to announce our partnership with BoostCTR to offer a free paid search diagnostics tool that not only provides insight into account performance, but also opportunities for optimization. The Account Performance Grader is designed to analyze historical performance across keywords, ads, quality scores, and ad groups for AdWords and Bing Ads campaigns. Simply sign up and enter the required information to receive your customized report.

Among other best practice recommendations, this report will provide actionable insights for pausing poor performing keywords and ads, as well as reveal quality score trends that identify areas where keyword relevance can be improved. With the Account Performance Grader, search marketers can remove the guesswork out of campaign optimization and focus their time on more strategic, high impact tasks.

Sign up here and start optimizing your campaigns today!

I began my love of data-driven marketing nearly a decade ago when I started at The Nielsen Company. While my time there was limited to the Consumer Packaged Goods and Telecommunications industries, I was hard pressed to get away from the heart of the Nielsen business—or at least what they were best known for—their television ratings. That’s where I started to become familiar with terms like Gross Rating Point (GRP), which is:

“A unit of measurement of audience size. It is used to measure the exposure to one or more programs or commercials, without regard to multiple exposures of the same advertising to individuals. One GRP = 1% of TV households.” (Source: Nielsen Media Research)

Gross Rating Point (GRP)



GRP is the foundation by which media buyers compare the advertising strength of various media vehicles. So why should digital marketers care? Nielsen, in addition to other companies like Comscore, wants to give marketers new GRP-like metrics by which to measure the effectiveness of their advertising efforts across channels (TV and online).

Aside from providing a single lens for viewing performance across platforms, a GRP-type metric would also lend itself to informing advertisers on how much they would be willing to pay for certain digital media impressions. This could change the way advertisers currently manage their online bidding—only paying for those impressions that they feel will be most valuable to their business. The end goal would be to obtain the highest possible GRPs at the lowest possible cost, while remaining focused on the target market—all of this now being done across both TV and online channels.

As with any foray into new metrics and crossing the chasm of advertising channels, there are pros and cons to the idea of using GRPs. Critics have argued that GRPs are not a guarantee, but rather an estimation of the audience that could be reached and, therefore, aren’t the best gauge for what media channels are the most effective. On the other hand, this is one of the first efforts to bring TV and online channels together and I applaud the effort. I believe this is an inevitable step in the evolution of advertising and will continue to be a focus for marketers as they continue to maximize budgets, refine their advertising and hone in on high-value customers.

While these digital GRP metrics are relegated to mostly display advertising channels at this time, who’s to say search isn’t far behind? With search retargeting now becoming a reality, a search GRP system could be on the horizon as well.

Marin is proud to announce the release of our 2012 Q1 online advertising report. This report, which identifies significant year-over-year paid search trends, was compiled using data from over 1,500 advertisers and agencies who invest over $3.5 billion annually in online advertising through Marin.

At a glance, our study revealed an increase in click-through-rate (CTR), with cost-per-click (CPC) remained relatively steady. More specifically, we found a significant increase in CTR and a drop in CPC on Google. Some of our key findings include:

  • 46% increase in Google click volume
  • 14% increase in CTR on Google
  • 4% increase in the share of clicks coming from Exact match


Q1 2012 Industry Click Through Rates





















So what does all this mean? The increase in CTR coupled with a 12% lower CPC points to Marin users increasing their efficiency on Google. This finding is further validated by the increased usage of exact and phrase match type keywords, as users continue to identify and fill gaps using Marin’s keyword expansion tools.

Q1 2012 Click Share by Device























Device targeting, specifically smart phones and tablets, continues to soar in popularity. Increases in click volume give evidence of the growth in consumer adoption. With smart phones and tablets showing higher CTRs and lower CPCs compared to desktops, mobile search should continue to be top of mind for advertisers.

Want to see other Q1 industry trends from 2012 with our recommendations? Download the full report here.

Marin is proud to announce the release of our 2012 Q1 online advertising report. This report, which identifies significant year-over-year paid search trends, was compiled using data from over 1,500 advertisers and agencies who invest over $3.5 billion annually in online advertising through Marin.

At a glance, our study revealed an increase in click-through-rate (CTR), with cost-per-click (CPC) remained relatively steady. More specifically, we found a significant increase in CTR and a drop in CPC on Google. Some of our key findings include:

  • 46% increase in Google click volume
  • 14% increase in CTR on Google
  • 4% increase in the share of clicks coming from Exact match


Q1 2012 Industry Click Through Rates





















So what does all this mean? The increase in CTR coupled with a 12% lower CPC points to Marin users increasing their efficiency on Google. This finding is further validated by the increased usage of exact and phrase match type keywords, as users continue to identify and fill gaps using Marin’s keyword expansion tools.

Q1 2012 Click Share by Device























Device targeting, specifically smart phones and tablets, continues to soar in popularity. Increases in click volume give evidence of the growth in consumer adoption. With smart phones and tablets showing higher CTRs and lower CPCs compared to desktops, mobile search should continue to be top of mind for advertisers.

Want to see other Q1 industry trends from 2012 with our recommendations? Download the full report here.

We love our mobile devices, and according to our recent study of mobile paid search, we love searching on them. In looking across our client base the trend was unanimous, mobile search is up, way up.

In the U.S., we saw ad clicks from mobile devices increase 132% during 2011, and by the end of this year mobile will comprise 25% of all paid search clicks. Similarly, in the UK mobile ended the year with 15% of all clicks in the UK. And, even though it’s not as significant a percentage, mobile clicks in the Eurozone more than doubled in 2011.

Things get even more interesting for marketers when looking at the differences between smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Generally (UK was the sole exception), smartphones carry higher CTRs and lower CPCs, but the lowest conversion rates. Tablets beat desktops in CTR and CPC, come close to trumping desktops in conversion rate, and edge all devices out in cost per conversion.


So, what’s this all mean?

Mobile devices are not only changing the way consumers search and shop, but how marketers advertise. The immediate response by advertisers is to devote more budget to mobile search (we project ad budgets will fall just a bit short of click volume in 2012). However, down the road as savvy marketers adapt to mobile search scenarios, click to call, location-based promos, and integration with social will all become common place. Furthermore, attribution becomes a much larger issue, particularly in a scenario where a mobile search directly leads to an in-store sale. Who gets the credit?

How do you foresee search marketing changing with the increased adoption and use of smartphones and tablets?

Whether you’re just starting out in paid search or have fully built out search campaigns, in order to be successful, you’ll want to know how to implement negative-keywords within your campaigns. Why? Actively managing negatives is possibly the single most impactful tool marketers have to increase revenues and lower costs. The virtuous circle of lowering costs while simultaneously increasing quality and position results in a win-win for the advertiser: increased revenue and ROI. Given the benefits, negative keywords should always be a top consideration for advertisers looking to optimize paid search.



In a recent white paper, Marin Software reviews the benefits of successful negatives strategies and presents a variety of best practices for deploying and managing negatives. Some of these best practices include:


  • Strategies for Identifying Negatives: Where does one start when identifying negative keywords? Learn 5 tactics for sourcing negatives, as well as tips and tricks for implementing these methods efficiently.
  • Using Negatives to Shape Traffic: One of the most common methods for shaping traffic with negatives is by creating match-type silos. Discover how match-type silos force search engines to trigger the correct keyword-match-type combination for each query and how to implement them in your campaigns.
  • Negative-Keyword Strategies for Yahoo! & Bing: Marketers should not assume that negatives in adCenter act the same way as negatives in AdWords. Find out the important differences in the treatment of negatives between the two search engines.


Gain a complete understanding of how to leverage negatives to maximize revenue and performance for online advertising programs. More importantly, become equipped with the techniques necessary to make a strategic implementation of negatives a reality.

Download the free white paper here.

The Giants may have won this year’s Vince Lombardi Trophy, but auto advertisers won the online advertising wars on Super Bowl Sunday.
The list of car companies vying for consumer attention was a who’s who of the industry, and included such household names as Acura, Cadillac, Toyota, GM and Volkswagen. Ads were priced at $3.5 Million for 30 seconds and averaged around a minute.

So was the $7 Million worth it?

To try and answer this question, we looked at click volumes and paid-search spend for the auto sector on Super Bowl Sunday and compared it to the rest of our US clients. Here’s what we saw:


Compared to Sunday the previous week, automotive advertisers saw a 28% jump in clicks, a 34% increase in impressions, and a staggering 122% increase in spend on Super Bowl Sunday. As advertisers competed for the same users, the auto segment’s cost-per-click (CPC) increased 73% on Super Bowl Sunday. In comparison, we saw a modest 6% increase in paid-search spend across our overall US clients, coupled with a 9% increase in CPC.

By getting the largest increase in click volume this Super Bowl, car companies clearly won the battle for the digital consumer’s mindshare. And in the process, they showed us how TV advertising and Search advertising can be used in concert to drive brand lift and deliver performance.

We just released our Q4 online advertising report, identifying important trends year over year in online advertising. We sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, which includes over 1,000 advertisers and agencies that invest over $2.7 billion annually in online advertising.

Overall, our advertisers saw an increase in click-through-rate (CTR) and a decrease in cost-per-click (CPC). But more importantly, we found significant changes in clicks and impressions compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. Key findings include:

  • 56% increase in click volume
  • 23% jump in click through rates
  • Smartphones and tablets now account for 10% of all paid-clicks


So, what does all this mean? The big jump in clicks and click through rates in the last year suggests that advertisers are continuing to increase investment in paid-search and consumers are even more engaged with paid search results.

Device targeting is also showing promise as smart phone and tablets become increasingly popular around the world. Based on the growing click share of smart phones and tablets, it seems evident that more and more people are conducting searches on these newer devices. And, these new devices are actually delivering solid performance for search marketers! The chart below compares CTR across devices in Q4 of 2011.

CTR-Q4-2011



As this trend is growing rapidly, keep device targeting top of mind when planning your 2012 campaigns.

As a very tech-savvy customer acquisition agency, we learned a long time ago the extraordinary value of having extremely close relationships with technology providers. Being a user of Marin Enterprise Edition for years, the resources and time we’ve put into this relationship has paid off in spades, giving us the capability to get the greatest value from Marin and therefore be the most effective for our clients.

For very basic tools that have limited functionality, mastering them is easy, but there’s very little you can do with them and you get minimal benefits. For extremely sophisticated and function-laden tools like Marin, taking advantage of their breadth and depth of training, onboarding options, contextual help and other services was something we eagerly embraced in a big way. Doing so has paid off: we’ve seen a quantum leap in terms of results.

That’s the tip of the iceberg, as there are many other reasons that we chose to have a very close working relationship with Marin. Because acquirgy has a wide variety of direct response clients, with different business models, different metrics and different ROI goals, Marin’s desire to listen to our recommendations has led to numerous enhancements that we can confidently say has improved our ability to serve our clients. For example, using Marin’s Ad Testing feature, we were able to see dramatic differences between creative in a manner that was prudent and statistically significant.

It’s a win-win for Marin and acquirgy: Marin gets valuable feedback, leading to new features that benefits all their users; acquirgy gets new features that were developed based on our knowledge of our clients’ businesses.

Another example of the benefits of working closely with Marin is their close ties with Google. As clients we are among the first to learn about upcoming releases. This helps us plan for them so that we can take full advantage of them upon release. Marin’s ability to customize reporting and be a sounding board are two more reasons why our agency is proud to have developed such a close relationship with Marin.

Want to learn how we chose Marin from among all their competitors? Drop me a line (irv@acquirgy.com).

In the wake of another historical early holiday shopping weekend, we thought it interesting to take a look at how search marketers faired from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. Here’s what we found compared to 2010:

  • 30% increase in paid search impressions
  • 118% increase in paid search clicks
  • 44% increase in paid search spend
  • 68% increase in click-through rate (CTR)
  • 34% decrease in cost-per-click (CPC)


So what’s it all mean? The dramatic increase in clicks and click-through rate compared to the more moderate increases in impressions suggest a significant change in consumer behavior. Either advertisers have managed to make their ads more relevant and appealing, or the search engines have come a long way in improving their matching algorithms. Most likely, it’s a little bit of both.

In our Q3 benchmarking report, we detailed a trend of rising click-through rates for large-scale advertisers over the past couple of quarters. This shift has occurred in large part as advertisers expand their use of phrase and exact match keywords – improving relevance and click-through. This shift in match types would also explain why click volumes rose faster than spend, resulting in lower costs-per-click for search marketers. If that trend continues throughout the remainder of the season, it will be a happy holiday indeed for advertisers and shoppers alike!

Pumpkin and pecan pie certainly reign as the Thanksgiving desserts of choice, but with the holiday around the corner we thought we’d take a look at what other holiday treats you might expect at the dessert table. Looking across our database, we identified the most popular dessert recipes searched for in the last two weeks. Sadly, pumpkin pie doesn’t crack the top 9, but we assume that’s because Mom already has that recipe down pat; so, no need to panic.

However, based on our findings there’s a good chance next to the pumpkin and pecan pies there will be an Apple Crisp (32%), and there is a decent possibility of a Pineapple Upside Down Cake (13%) making an appearance. For cookies, looks like Peanut Butter (10%), Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (9%), Chocolate Chip (8%), and Snickerdoodles (5%) will garnish the dessert platter.

Let us know after Thanksgiving if we came close to predicting your dessert table. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

About a month ago, Google announced the global roll-out of an update to the AdWords algorithm that increases the value of landing page relevancy and quality when determining Quality Score. Google predicted with these changes, some campaigns would see variations in keyword Quality Scores and ad positions, but most would not see a significant change in overall performance. At Marin, we decided to investigate.

We sampled a population of 240 accounts across our Marin Enterprise client base that had limited average bid movements, consistent keyword counts, and consistently received greater than 1,000 impressions per day. For these 240 accounts, we examined the daily impression-weighted Quality Score at the publisher account level.

QS of Sample Accounts


From the sample accounts, we observed 12 accounts with an increase in Quality Score greater than 0.25.

SampAcctsWs


When taking a closer look at two of these accounts, we see the spike in Quality Score occurred on 10/2/2011 – 10/4/2011. Furthermore, there was little change to Click-Through Rates during this time, which suggests that the increase in Quality Score was related to the quality of their landing page.

SpecAcctsWs


We also identified 15 accounts that had a week-over-week drop in Quality Score of 0.25 or more.

SampAcctsLs


After further investigation into four of these accounts, we see the drop in Quality Score took place between 10/2/2011 – 10/4/2011, with minimal change in Click-Through Rates, indicating these accounts had landing pages that Google deemed to be less relevant, adversely impacting quality.

SpecAcctsLs


What our investigation and findings suggest:

  • The updated AdWords algorithm has had limited impact on Quality Scores.
  • Only about 11.25% of Google Accounts saw their Quality Score change by more than 0.25 as a result of the algorithm change.
  • If you did see a decrease in Quality Score during the 10/2/2011 – 10/4/2011 timeframe, with little or no change to Click-Through Rates, consider improving your landing pages to account for this change in Google’s algorithm.

Just last week, Google released their third quarter earnings. With almost $10 Billion in revenue for the quarter, the search giant continues to show strong and consistent top line growth. In their earnings report, Google noted a 5% increase in the average cost per click (CPC) on a year over year (YOY) basis.

In contrast, the typical Marin user running a Google paid search campaign during this time saw an 18% decline in CPC, coupled with higher click through rates (CTR). This combination of decreasing CPCs and increasing CTR resulted in a higher return on ad spend (ROAS) for Marin users. Assuming no changes in other factors, the following chart shows how reducing the CPC leads to a direct increase in the ROAS.

ROAS vs CPC



As ROAS is also affected by ad position and Quality Score, we normalized for the influence of these two factors by looking at CTR trends. The chart below shows how CTR actually increased across our user base during this time, implying that Quality Score and ad position did not have an adverse impact on ROAS.

CTR Trends



While this trend doesn’t apply to every client, our data suggests that the average Marin user may have outperformed the average AdWords user. So, how did this happen?

We think that these performance gains can be attributed to the following three factors:

1) Improved Keyword Matching – Marin users leveraged match types more effectively. More clicks were observed coming from exact and phrase match terms, which led to higher CTRs and lower average CPCs.

2) Bidding Efficiencies – Marin’s bidding algorithm automates keyword bids based on user defined business goals (such as ROAS), leading to more efficient capital allocation across the keyword portfolio.

3) Cross-Channel Visibility – Many conversions happen offline or in a call center. Because Marin incorporates conversion data from online and offline channels, users have complete visibility into their paid search performance and can make smarter, informed decisions about where and how they spend precious ad dollars.

Download the complete quarterly report behind this blog post and learn about the latest trends across verticals, devices and search engines.

(Note: You will be asked to fill out a short registration form to gain access to the full report)



Excited to introduce Marin Next, an innovative recommendation engine we designed to help advertisers uncover new areas for optimization. We realize advertisers have only so much time in the day and developing new creative, testing new target audiences, etc. is probably a better use of energy than spending hours crunching numbers to discover areas for optimization or expansion. So, leveraging a proprietary methodology based on our experience with hundreds of successful online advertisers, we developed Marin Next to help assess the state of campaigns and make optimization suggestions.

Marin Next is the first of its kind, providing advertisers recommendations in the areas of budgeting, bidding, creative optimization and campaign structure across search, display and social campaigns. Based on the actual performance and structure of their marketing programs, with Marin next marketers will gain insights previously hard to identify or prioritize.

Our recent whitepaper, “Taking Paid Search Performance to the Next Level” describes Marin’s optimization methodology and provides examples of the types of recommendations provided by Marin Next. Contact your Marin Online Marketing Manager for more information on leveraging Marin Next on your campaigns.

Analytics is the process of using historic data as the basis of any new decisions. Online advertisers now have an increasing amount of tools bringing ever-improving reporting functionality. The number of metrics being recorded and the volume of data being captured leads to the question - where should analytics and optimization efforts be focused?

Apart from the volume of data, online campaigns are especially difficult to analyze since there are so many factors constantly changing. The performance is directly affected by the actions of competitors. Also, there are often multiple people working on the same campaigns each optimizing to their own agenda, but in doing so, making any analysis of overall performance far less clear.



As mentioned, there are numerous metrics for analysis and optimization, some of the key areas that affect online campaigns are:

  • Coverage
  • Creative messaging
  • Seasonality
  • Day-parting
  • Ad position
  • Bidding strategy
  • Paid vs. Natural traffic
  • Cross-channel attribution
  • Landing page
  • Bounce rate
  • Time on site
  • Conversion journey


The importance of each metric will differ for each client, but narrowing down your options to what is currently possible is a great first step in building out your plan. For example, if you are unable to influence the journey from landing page to conversions, then you should probably disregard this in favor of something else! Similarly, if the tracking solution currently employed only tracks conversions to the last click, attribution analysis will not be possible. Equally, if the recent period is unusual, such as a sale or seasonal uplift, some analysis might best be delayed till later in the year.

Working on all of these areas at once will make it very difficult to determine which changes are generating the improvements, and just as importantly, which are not proving to be a good use of your time. A clear strategy should be worked out based on the areas would yield the highest potential improvement in campaign performance. For example:

  • if the CTR is low, work on your ad copy/negatives and targeting
  • if your conversion rate is low, optimize your landing page and path to conversion
  • if spend volumes are low, then work on both of the above and your bidding strategy
  • if conversions seem to be driven solely by brand terms, then look beyond the last-click to investigate what is driving these brand searches and clicks?


During a period where a particular aspect is being worked on, all changes should be tagged so that it is easy to filter and analyze the performance before and after testing to draw conclusions as its success. Ensure you are using a tool that allows you to easily tag changes that you are making and make notes for all users so that any sudden increases/decreases in performance are noted in a single area. This will be hugely beneficial when making decisions weeks or even months later.

The first quarter of 2011 unveiled several important paid-search trends. From stronger click through rates (CTR) to higher click volumes, a review of the period between January and March 2011 shows healthy growth from the same period in 2010. With advertisers increasing their reliance on paid search and consumers showing a greater appetite to click on sponsored ads, our findings indicate that search engine marketing will likely continue its strong streak through the rest of 2011.

Here at Marin, we recently concluded a study of key paid-search metrics and trends during the first quarter of 2011. Our findings, which are presented in this Research Brief, will help you understand the overarching trends in the US paid-search market, as well as, specific insights about your industry...

By downloading this Research Brief, you’ll come away with specific insights on:

  • What are the emerging trends in the US paid-search market
  • How did paid-search metrics, such as cost and clicks, change on a quarterly and annual basis
  • What are the average cost-per-click (CPC) and typical click-through rates (CTR) for a given industry


Overall Changes in Paid Search Metrics - Q1 2011

In a recent blog post on Search Engine Land, I detailed the results of a study that examined 3rd party cookie blocking issues on the Apple iOS family of devices. The Safari browser, which is the default on the iPhone and the iPad, blocks third party cookies as its default setting, creating measurement challenges for some advertisers. In fact, we found that conversion metrics recorded by tracking systems using third party cookies could be off by 80% or more as it relates to iPhone and iPad users. Clearly, this has staggering implications for the online marketing industry. Many ad serving an audience buying solutions rely on third party cookies to target users and measure advertising response. 3rd party cookies remain the primary means of tracking users across domains, and the accelerating trend of third-party cookie blocking has ominous implications for the future of many forms of online display advertising.

While we tried to focus our conclusions on third party cookies, in the text of our study we occasionally referred to tracking solutions that rely on redirects and third party cookies interchangeably. Many advertising solutions that rely on third-party cookies also rely on redirects, however, redirects do not require the use of third party cookies. Some tracking solutions, for example, use redirects to deploy a first-party cookie from the vendor’s domain which is later read on the confirmation page of the advertiser. We’ve updated the research brief to more accurately reflect this. Special thanks to George Michie of the Rimm-Kaufman Group for pointing this out.

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