Attribution

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!

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.  

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

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

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

Target Product Ads Help Brands Intersect Shoppers’ Line of Sight

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

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

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

MarinOne Optimizes Target Product Ads to Drive Incremental Sales

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to get started with Target Product Ads today.

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.

Apple has been busy adding privacy-related features in iOS14. In December, with iOS 14.3, Apple added “Privacy Nutrition Labels” to the app store, clearly summarizing the applications privacy practices, including what information is collected and how it is used. App Tracking Transparency will be required with iOS 14.5 later this spring. Developers must ask users to opt in to tracking for advertising and other purposes.

In this blog, we give you a perspective on how marketers should be thinking about these changes. To learn more, don't miss our webinar Find Your Way in the Cookieless World on Thursday, March 25th | 10am PT - 1pm EST - 5pm GMT.

Apple’s iOS 14 updates are great for users’ privacy and Facebook is rolling with Apple updates by introducing breaking changes that facilitate enhanced privacy options. Since many of our Marin Social customers have questions about the impact of the iOS 14 updates, we want to assure customers that Marin is well positioned for iOS 14 updates along with providing a recap on the impact of iOS 14, especially for Facebook users and advertisers.

In terms of impact on Facebook users, Facebook is introducing a screen to prompt iOS 14 users to opt in to Facebook ad tracking. The carrot is better ad personalization. If users opt out, limited information about conversions, generated by FB ads to that user, will be available to advertisers.

In terms of impact on Facebook advertisers, Ads Manager contains detailed, account specific, action items for advertisers ex. selecting only eight conversion events for optimization efforts across an account. However, after the iOS 14 updates go into effect, advertisers can expect five fundamental changes:

Facebook will have limited conversion tracking for iOS 14 users that opt out. And many will opt out.


  • Facebook pixel Cookie Window is limited to 7 days for clicks and same day for views; this may lower reported conversions. In terms of impact scope, a majority of Marin Social advertisers attribute Facebook conversions to clicks that occurred up to 28 days before the Sale/Form Fill. As such, we expect a majority of Facebook advertisers to be impacted by this change and we recommend proactively updating Attribution Settings.
  • Advertisers with multiple domains can no longer attribute conversions from paid traffic across multiple domains. Customers that drive paid traffic to Domain A and convert the same visitors on Domain B will be directly impacted by Apple’s Private Click Measurement (PCM).


Audiences based on website interactions and mobile app engagements will decrease in Size and Reach.


  • App advertisers will no longer be able to use ‘app connections targeting’ e.g. they cannot target people that are connected to App fans/followers.  
  • Facebook Audiences for retargeting (WCA and MACA) will contract in size due to iOS users opting out when the Facebook prompt is shown. Ideal audience size for retargeting and lookalike audience creation is 10,000 people; smaller audiences may yield relatively lower performance.


Publisher reported conversions should not be expected to reconcile with internal systems.


While both Google and Facebook are preparing for a cookie-less future, neither publisher has announced plans for cross-channel ad tracking.

  1. each Publisher only includes their view through conversions, but not the others
  2. Google includes ‘Modeled’ conversions and Facebook may include estimated metrics for iOS 14 ad campaigns at the ad and ad set level.
  3. Each Publisher has different attribution windows for paid clicks.


Advertisers will need to upgrade their tracking.


Facebook is offering a robust server-to-server solution to provide advertisers with more transaction (not user) level details. Cross-Channel advertisers should plan on deploying Search and Social publishers’ enhanced ad tracking solutions alongside a third party’s server-to-server solution like Marin Tracker. This way, advertisers can analyze paid channels performance under the publishers lens and via conversion metrics that are click based, de-duplicated, and measured under the same attribution window.

Facebook Ads will no longer offer demographic breakdowns for conversion events.


Facebook Advertisers should plan on running A/B tests to determine if there's a statistically significant difference in performance between demographic segments.



For Marin customers, our cross-channel conversion tracking pixel - Marin Tracker - complies with GDPR and CCPA regulations along with meeting Apple iOS requirements. Our privacy policy, with more details, is available here. Marin Customers that leverage Marin Tracker can also report on Tracker conversion data via MarinOne. Our proprietary Tracker dashboards include de-duplicated, click based, conversions with transaction ids for an unlimited amount of conversion events. As advertisers prepare to sunset ad tracking via cookies, Marin is doubling down on our privacy-first ad tracking and measurement solutions.



If you need more information about the impact of iOS14 changes on Facebook ads, sign up to our webinar Find Your Way in the Cookieless World on Thursday, March 25th | 10am PT - 1pm EST - 5pm GMT.

Here are some helpful resources:  

From Facebook


From Apple:

Prime Day is a great example of a “rising tide” lifting all retail “ships” - if you are focusing your Prime Day activities exclusively on Amazon Advertising you are likely missing out on a lot of great traffic.

Google search trends highlights how customers are not always starting their Prime Day shopping on Amazon. Instead, we see a healthy amount of people who are still using Google as their starting point - even if they end up converting via Amazon.



Retailers should be ready for an increase in their search impressions as consumers are executing Prime Day focused searches on channels like Google. To take advantage of this increase in traffic, retailers should enable Marin’s Amazon Attribution feature. This feature allows our advertisers to easily see the advertising impression and cost information alongside the purchases that occur on Amazon. This insight allows Marin customers to explore some Prime Day tactics that would otherwise be impossible to measure.

Consider sending non-branded search terms directly to Amazon


During normal time periods, consumers are more likely to buy a product on Amazon.com than on another eCommerce site. Our advertisers have seen this even more strongly during Prime Day for New to Brand shoppers. With Marin and Amazon Attribution configured you have a full view of the search costs and Amazon purchases tied together in MarinOne. Take advantage of the increased search traffic and the “ready to buy” attitude of a Prime Day shopper to achieve higher ROAS on these non branded terms, even after accounting for the higher fees of selling on Amazon vs your site.

Advertise your Prime Day deals on social channels


Highlight your sales, coupons, or lightning deals via social media and retargeting. Prior to Marin’s Amazon Attribution support this tactic would have resulted in social expenditures but zero visibility into the return. Now our advertisers can take advantage of Prime Day buzz and proactively drive customers to their deals and track every step of the way!

Add Prime Day Sitelinks


For Branded terms, advertisers might not want to direct all traffic directly to Amazon, however a Prime Day specific sitelink could be a great opportunity to allow consumers to self select if they prefer to go directly to Amazon. Consider directing the sitelink to your Amazon Store for a more brand focused approach.

Prime Day 2020 is a great opportunity to think outside the box - now that advertisers have access to Amazon Attribution in Marin there is no excuse not to experiment with your search and social traffic on Prime Day.

Who Are the Big Four?


The digital marketing landscape has become more and more consolidated into “The Big Four” publishers — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

These entities have a vested interest in keeping each other at arm’s length and they will continue to silo their data from each other. This means if you are relying on publisher-owned tools (Like Facebook Ad Manager, or SA 360) for your digital marketing management and bidding optimization, you will not be able to connect the dots for activities that jump from one silo to another and will be missing conversion data as a result.

Marin is able to work with, and across, all technologies in the space. This allows us to create cutting-edge features — like our Marin + Amazon Attribution feature, in order to provide advertisers a consolidated view of their Search, Social, and eCommerce activities alongside conversion data — regardless of where that conversion occurs.

If you have any tracking challenges or want to discuss how Marin can ensure you are effectively reporting and optimizing to a complete ROI for all your digital marketing initiatives — don’t hesitate to reach out today to speak with a Marin Expert.







What’s New with Marin + Amazon Attribution?


We’ve discussed Amazon Attribution in the past, and in the last few months, we have been working with some key clients to help them answer the question — how much of my paid (non-Amazon) traffic ends up converting on Amazon? Answering this question has allowed our customers to achieve a more complete view of their ROI and optimize bids accordingly.

The one downside to this feature was that it required the advertisers to manually create the tracking tags in the Amazon Attribution platform prior to the tracking being appended in Marin — but no longer!

Marin is proud to announce that we are one of the first companies that will have access to the Amazon Attribution API — this means we can now offer our customers an automated, scalable solution to programmatically implement Amazon Attribution across their paid initiatives no matter how many ads or keywords require unique tracking.

Who Can Benefit From Marin + Amazon Attribution?


  • Amazon Vendors or Sellers who sell on Amazon.com or Amazon Vendors who sell on Amazon.co.uk
  • Any Paid Search or Paid Social advertiser — you do not need to be using any Amazon Advertising to be eligible
  • Any advertiser that would benefit from a more complete view of their paid digital media ROI, including the ability to optimize bids based on this information


The following Amazon conversion metrics will be available in Marin alongside the corresponding publisher metrics (Cost, Impressions, Clicks, ect). Marin Bidding is able to incorporate any of these metrics into your bidding algorithm.

  • Detail Page View
  • Add to Carts
  • Purchases
  • Units Sold
  • Sale Revenue


Amazon Attribution is one of the many ways that advertisers are using Marin Software to better report, manage, and optimize their digital marketing — contact us today to discuss your specific needs and learn how Marin can help!

What is Amazon Attribution?


Amazon Attribution allows advertisers to measure the impact of non-Amazon search, social, display, email, and video media channels that drive searchers to buy your products on Amazon. Examples include third party search ads that lead directly to Amazon product pages, keywords with sitelinks, and social media advertising that directs users to purchase directly on Amazon.

Amazon Attribution reports contain publisher metrics such as impressions and clicks, as well as Amazon conversion metrics, such as detailed page views, add to carts, and purchases.

Why does Amazon Attribution matter?


If you are selling on Amazon, some of the customers you are reaching with other paid media may be converting on Amazon and this is almost certainly a blind spot when you are measuring the ROI of that media.



Amazon Attribution allows advertisers to better understand the impact of their paid search, social and eCommerce channels together. This reporting also provides a holistic view of how each marketing tactic contributes to a brand's shopping activity on Amazon.

How does Amazon Attribution work?


Amazon Attribution requires adding attribution tags to the click-through URL of your third party search ads (or other media to be tracked). Once you’ve implemented your attribution tags and your ads are being measured, Amazon Attribution is then able to report which campaigns, channels, ads, or keywords help to drive conversions for your brand on Amazon. Advertisers can decide where they place attribution tags to determine the level of their reporting output.

How should I use Amazon Attribution data?


Now that Amazon Attribution conversions are available for third party search and social ads, advertisers can use this reporting as part of their search and social workflow and optimization strategies.

In summary, Amazon Attribution provides an excellent tool for brands to understand how non-Amazon media is helping to drive sales for their brand on Amazon. It also allows advertisers to develop optimization and budgeting strategies across paid media channels that will ultimately increase efficacy and ROI. Want to learn more? Schedule a demo with one of our account representatives today!

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!

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.

The Marin Marketing team stays busy not only striving to deliver compelling, educational, and relevant content—we also spend time following the most interesting industry news. In this weekly series, we list the stories that are grabbing our team’s attention.

Consumers double their retailer apps


Shoppers are on the move, smartphone in hand. To keep pace, brick-and-mortar retailers with eCommerce sites must step up their mobile app game.

Read the article

Amazon is testing an attribution pixel


“My ads are better than yours,” said the online publisher to its competitors. Now, in an effort to drive more sales than its rivals, Amazon is testing a new attribution tool. (Not only that—it’s firmly focused on the $88 billion online ad market.)

Read the article

The state of advertising on Instagram Stories


With the Stories format growing ever more popular, advertisers are moving more of their spend to Instagram.

Read the article

Some marketers are cutting back on third-party data


With all the news around data privacy and “bad actors” in the social media world, some advertisers are changing their third-party tune.

Read the article

What’s next for net neutrality?


Lastly, while California is set to pass its Consumer Privacy Act and Congressional eyes are on the major online players, the public wants to maintain net neutrality.

Read the article

Omnichannel marketing causes many brands to look at their programs as a set of disparate disciplines—SEM, SEO, content marketing, social marketing, email marketing, etc. And, each discipline often has its own department, budget, and strategy, even though customers only see a single brand.

Advertisers are increasingly coming to understand that a good way to tackle the challenges inherent in omnichannel marketing is through a unified strategy, one that combines search and social into a single blueprint. Here are what our survey of digital advertisers identified as the top obstacles to overcome in reaching the goal of an integrated program.

1. Search and social silos


Separate departments for search and social mean separate staff, managers, budgets, and strategies—resulting in teams that rarely communicate, even when they might be sitting right next to each other in the office. This lack of collaboration can result in mismatched or conflicting campaign messaging, and lead to internal battles for shared resources, such as IT, engineering, budget, or creative.

2. Attribution ‘turf wars’


When search, social, and other marketing channels operate in silos, it creates organizational knowledge gaps and makes it more difficult to agree on how to attribute credit to each touchpoint on the conversion path. Social tends to benefit from a first-click attribution model because it’s typically used to create awareness at the top of the funnel.

A last-click model, on the other hand, will provide search with most of the credit for a conversion. Changing to an attribution model that applies equal or partial credit to each channel could threaten each department’s budget or organizational standing.


3. Lack of a shared budget


As the saying goes, ‘follow the money.’ Successful paid search and paid social marketers operating in different departments and with separate budgets are understandably protective of their dollars.

Search may enjoy the largest share of the digital marketing budget. However, social is increasingly carving out a larger share. As long as search and social strategies and campaigns are isolated from each other, the competition for budget dollars will continue.

4. Incompatible metrics and goals


Search and social marketers each speak their own language around key performance metrics (KPIs) and campaign goals. A social brand awareness campaign may use Facebook to increase the number of followers or the length of time followers spend on the brand’s Facebook page.

Conversely, an AdWords campaign may seek more conversions by increasing click-throughs to the website or improving the cost per click (CPC) of specific keywords. It’s difficult to measure a unified search and social campaign’s ROI when metrics don’t line up.

Learn more


To learn the emerging best practices that brands are using to solve these challenges, download Unifying Your Search & Social Ad Strategies. Or, if you’d like to learn how Marin can help, request a demo today.

omnichannel marketing

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

Amidst a shaky GDPR rollout, we saw a number of industry changes (in addition to big shifts earlier this year) that impact measurement and tracking:

  • Apple announced Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) phase 2.
  • Google will roll out Parallel Tracking this fall.
  • Google deprecated the user ID field from DoubleClick Campaign Manager premium reports, complicating efforts to link a conversion to its ads. Google may even reduce the extra charge for these reports, since they will no longer have a primary key. :-)
  • Facebook revoked floodlight tags from their ads.
  • AppNexus, The Trade Desk, and AdForm created the Advertising ID Consortium, defined as “people-based interoperability for the advertising ecosystem.” This effort is aimed at creating a standardized ID large enough to offer marketers similar targeting capabilities that the dominant publishers like Google and Facebook provide behind their walled gardens. Bonne chance!


Wow! Using a redirect as a “party loophole” (first from third) will further fall away under Safari. Parallel Tracking will cause redirects to be treated as just another object on the page (and subject to the same first/third party rules). Unlike Facebook and Google, no RTB companies enjoy significant visitor traffic directly to their domains. (When was the last time you visited “adnxs.com”?)

What are the implications of these changes? What options do marketers have to implement an accurate, multi-touch attribution model to measure effectiveness across large publishers?

Goodnight, Floodlight!


According to Google, “Floodlight iframe and image tags are not able to observe all of your conversions.” Instead, Google will estimate Safari conversions by extrapolating results from other browsers—not exactly desirable, as iPhone users are generally more affluent and younger, and represent half of all mobile traffic.

Advertisers can opt to replace floodlights with global site tags. Big spenders can look at the new and complicated Ads Data Hub (ADH) for custom analysis and measurement. ADH data can only be queried in aggregated form, so it can’t be exported for detailed analysis.

And, since large publishers such as Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter don’t contribute, Google will deliver a Google-centric view. Impressions from Facebook, for example, won’t be present. This setup makes it impossible to achieve a transparent and complete multi-touch solution.

The Enterprise Approach


Enterprise multi-touch attribution solutions such as Visual IQ, Ipsos, or Convertro were never easy. Deployments often took a year to roll out and gain predictability. It’s not getting easier—these consumed the DCM log file and/or a pixel-based ID, both of which are increasingly problematic.

Marin’s Stack-Independent Answer to Multi-Touch Attribution Challenges


Marin Software is in the optimization business so our first priority is getting the right data, whatever the source. We integrate with all the Google tracking products, including GA, DCM, 360, and ADH, and have many customers on each. We integrate with enterprise attribution vendors such as Convertro, VIQ, and others, with multiple customers deployed. We integrate with Adobe measurement as well. A number of our larger customers have multiple integration techniques so that they can compare the numbers between different approaches.

Over the years Marin developed our own first-party tracking solution to support customers that had not deployed another system. However, it has evolved into a useful supplemental measurement technology, allowing us to compare numbers across vendors, audit order IDs, analyze converting paths, and better integrate with ad servers such as DCM, Sizmek, and AdForm (to include search and social clicks in those solutions’ reports).

Because Marin Tracker doesn’t do retargeting, it can be first-party. Marin Tracker can re-inflate DCM Data Transfer path to conversion reports back to their original glory, with a user ID present.

Data-Driven Attribution


Marin Tracker interleaves with Facebook-provided converting path data to deliver view-through and cross-device insights, a product offering called Marin TruePath. Because TruePath operates primarily on converting traffic, it’s not suitable for creating attribution models automatically.

However, advertisers can run their existing models against TruePath, or work with Marin to construct models using incrementality testing, also known as data-driven attribution. In our experience, an explicit test-based approach is transparent and more easily explained to senior leadership.

Marin TruePath is lightweight can be implemented quickly. To see our solution in action, be sure to request a demo and we’ll schedule some time for a test drive.

This is a guest post from Ashley Aptt, Account Director at 3Q Digital.

While attribution is simply the act of assigning conversion credit to certain keywords or ads, many advertisers are beginning to realize the importance of understanding how it works. Attribution plays a large role in how advertisers perceive their campaign performance.

Without a solid grasp of knowing how your attribution model works, you might be misinterpreting your data. Certain campaigns can easily be over or under estimated based on the attribution model being used.

Here are a few points to demystify the nuts and bolts of attribution for search campaigns.

The Standard Model: Last-Click Attribution


Google AdWords defaults to a last-click attribution model, which assigns conversion credit to the last keyword that received a click. This means that if someone clicks an ad from a non-brand keyword search then later converts after clicking a brand ad, Google assigns conversion credit to the brand campaign.

Meanwhile, Google doesn’t assign any conversion credit to the non-brand campaign. A major flaw with the last-click attribution model is that it doesn’t account for the fact that the user may have only heard about the brand because of the non-brand search they performed earlier. So brand campaigns get the conversion credit and performance looks strong, while non-brand played a large role in driving the user to the site but performance metrics looks bleak.

This is just one example, but scenarios like this play out numerous times every day, week, and month. And over time, the performance metrics add up and can lead advertisers to believe that non-brand is not driving enough value to justify the expense (often resulting in budget cuts for non-brand). On the other hand, the brand campaign could be getting more credit (and investment) than it deserves.

Brand and Non-Brand Working Together


It’s important to understand how attribution plays a role here, and how it easy it can be to jump to conclusions in terms of brand versus non-brand performance. It’s also important to understand the role that non-brand plays in the user’s conversion journey.

Non-brand can be a great acquisition strategy to bring new, qualified people to your site. Without a good acquisition strategy, growth can become stagnant—and over time, those high-performing brand campaigns could begin to see a decline in performance as brand awareness begins to decline.

In thinking about the example above, if that person never searched on the non-brand term as they were beginning their journey, would they still have purchased from your site? Maybe. Or perhaps they never would have even heard of your company.

Non-brand performance may not look strong on the surface when using a last-click attribution model, but there’s value in non-brand! And it’s important to think about the true value of brand campaigns, and if they’re worthy of all the conversion credit they’re being given.

Understanding Brand Incrementality


At this point, you may be wondering if bidding on your brand keywords is as valuable or important as you’ve thought. Would these users have clicked an organic listing and converted regardless of the presence of a paid search brand ad? It’s certainly a possibility.

Without brand ads, some people would have still navigated to your site and completed their purchase. But even though Google’s last-click attribution model is likely over-reporting the value of brand campaigns, this doesn’t mean that investing in brand terms isn’t valuable—it absolutely is!

Bidding on brand keywords is still an important strategy to ensure high visibility when users are most likely to convert. And maintaining ownership of your brand terms is especially important if you also have lots of competitors bidding on your brand terms.

However, there’s a chance that you’re over-investing in brand campaigns, and spending money on these terms when the funds could be re-allocated (where they would have a larger impact on performance or account growth). To know if this is true for your account, it’s important to test brand incrementality. Running a brand incrementality test will allow you to quantify the true value of brand search spend, conversions, and ROI.

Advantages of a Multi-Touch Attribution Platform


There are various ways you can measure brand incrementality. One approach I recommend is to use a multi-touch attribution platform, which will allow you to understand the true value of brand campaigns and non-brand campaigns (along with other marketing initiatives).

Multi-touch attribution platforms can assess marketing performance and go beyond a last-click attribution model to apply conversion credit to various touchpoints throughout the customer’s conversion journey. This gives advertisers a more insightful look at how each of their marketing initiatives perform. And ultimately it can help ensure that marketing budgets are being allocated towards the right strategies to drive optimal performance.

Conclusion


Brand campaigns may be getting more conversion credit than they deserve, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bid on brand. Reconsider how you evaluate non-brand performance and consider if having a larger non-brand investment could help your brand grow. Use a multi-touch attribution platform to test brand incrementality and properly assess campaign performance in order to properly allocate marketing funds.

This guest post first appeared on the Wheelhouse DMG blog. If you attended our webinar with Facebook on cross-channel attribution, it offers further, valuable insights on the pros and cons of using various attribution models to measure your marketing success.

Understanding the Value—and Limitations—of Marketing Attribution Systems


Digital marketing continues to expand, both in scale and opportunity. A decade ago, digital marketers were limited in the ways they could connect with customers, but now have a multitude of display opportunities: paid search (text and shopping), marketplaces with Amazon and eBay, video, and myriad social channels.

With the increase in digital investment and, more importantly, the diversity of channels where we are investing, it’s essential that we know which investments are actually generating revenue. And these insights, to a degree, can be found through attribution models.

The Value of Today’s Attribution Models


A good attribution platform can really help digital marketers solve this problem. Data siloed in multiple platforms results in duplicate credit being given to multiple marketing efforts. However, attribution solutions only give credit based on set rules—and it’s up to us to make smart assumptions as to how credit should be given (first-click, last-click, etc.).

These models were born from our need to determine which traffic sources drive value before a conversion takes place—to be able to place a fractional percentage to each individual purchase. This is what we now have, but don’t be fooled. Industry wide, marketers have a concept in their mind that attribution is telling them whether their money is well spent. And to a degree this may be true, but it’s an incomplete picture.

The Misconceptions and Limitations of Marketing Attribution Systems


A smart friend of mine, Philip Chiappini, data scientist at REI, reminded me a few years back: “Attribution only tries to measure fractionally how to give credit. It does not measure the incrementality of a marketing effort.”

I can’t stress this enough—and it’s an essential concept to confront when deciding how important an attribution platform is for your business. Attribution platforms cannot answer how much revenue you will lose if you turn off your remarketing efforts, or what lift in revenue you’ll see if you double your marketing budget. Only mixed market analysis or even more simple A/B, on/off tests can tease out those answers.

The primary purpose of an attribution tool is to avoid double counting of conversions and to algorithmically give fractional credit. Attribution models are measuring the value of each touch within a path before a conversion (or micro moment). Measuring that path’s conversion rate to a similar path, minus one touch point, gives you the fractional value of that touch point in the first path.

When compiling millions of different paths, an attribution algorithm can begin to place value on each marketing channel. Because this is how credit is valued, systems tend to overvalue channels where touch paths are more prominent.

Envisioning the Future of Attribution Systems


What marketers need are attribution systems that continue to do the heavy lifting through computer learning algorithms, but are also customizable enough that a smart person can differentiate a remarketing display ad from prospecting ads.

Until these systems can take into consideration the purpose of the ad and not just the ad type, attribution tools will fall short of delivering what we really need. A system that can not only provide fractional credit but also test for true incrementality would be a welcome, actionable addition to the digital marketer’s tool belt.

Over 1,000 digital marketers braved the torrential rain and weather delays to attend SMX West 2018 in the San Jose Convention Center from March 13-15. Despite a wide-ranging agenda that included artificial intelligence and voice search, the emphasis of this year’s show fell squarely on marketing attribution.

Scoring Points with Attribution



We all know that attribution is a complex topic that frustrates many advertisers. It’s hardly surprising that all the competing attribution models—such as first-touch, last-click non-direct, linear, time-decayed—leave some advertisers dazed and confused.

Google’s session at SMX West promised an “Inside Look at Attribution” using a clever soccer analogy for capturing all touch points along the customer journey. In soccer terms, you can consider last-click attribution as the equivalent of giving 100% credit to the striker who scores a goal—and I know a few strikers who would happily take all the glory! Last-click gives an incomplete picture of the path to success, as it’s designed to ignore the defender who won the ball, the midfielders who played it forward, and the winger who crossed it for the assist.

The Value of Assisted Conversions



Although many advertisers still use it today, last-click attribution discards much of the creativity (and credit) from the goal-scoring process. The Google team shared statistics showing that most retailers see four clicks along the customer journey prior to a purchase. Using a last-click model inherently ignores 75% of the influence by discarding the first three clicks in each consumer’s path to purchase. Put simply, you’ll never get an accurate Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) if your model ditches three-quarters of the data you should be using to measure a conversion.

Placing this into the context of a modern marketing campaign: it may be a thought leadership webinar that gets a prospect to take a discovery call, but you can’t discount the benchmark report that prospect downloaded earlier in the year, or the newsletter that contained a relevant customer success story, or the email campaign that generated a website visit. The point that Google and others made is that data-driven attribution is the only way to track all of those meaningful interactions that happen along the customer journey to conversion.

Mobile’s Place in the Customer Journey



It’s also notable that mobile activity tends to take place earlier in the customer journey when buyers are researching a purchase or doing some digital window shopping. Although mobile accounts for a growing volume of transactions, many consumers still feel more comfortable completing their purchases on a computer or in-store. As a result, mobile influence is easily discarded by last-click, and it’s important influence on the buyer’s journey is often overlooked by less sophisticated attribution models.

Dig Deeper into Attribution



If you’re interested in learning more about attribution, join Marin Software and Facebook for a live, 60-minute webinar on Wednesday, March 28th, 2018 at 10 am PST / 1pm EST. This event will explore the myths and realities of cross-channel attribution, offering a clear picture of your conversion efforts across channels and devices. 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
  • Exploring cross-channel attribution with Marin TruePath



We’ll answer any attribution questions you have and demystify the various models. Hope you can join us.

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.

Attribution. It’s one of the most important topics of 2018; many advertisers are realizing how critical attribution is when it comes to evaluating multi-channel performance. It’s a bird’s-eye view of how online advertising—how each touch point—impacts customers and drives revenue for businesses.

Why Last-Click Won’t Cut It Anymore


The most common model used in the past was “last-click,” which gives credit to the last interaction a user had with the advertiser—for instance, the user searched an item of clothing, clicked an organic result, and then bought that item. It’s simple, and last-click data is usually free. But, you get what you pay for, which is to say an incomplete picture.

Let’s say the user took these steps:

  1. Searched for running shoes on Google, clicked a shopping ad to the advertiser’s site, then got distracted and abandoned cart
  2. Scrolled through Facebook and was served a retargeting ad but didn’t click
  3. Browsed a favorite blog and was served a remarketing ad but again, didn’t click
  4. Searched for the brand, clicked an organic search result, and finally purchased


In this situation, who gets the credit? Arguably, if steps 2 and 3 didn’t happen, the user might still have purchased running shoes, but they could’ve gone to a competitor. And there are plenty of scenarios that look a whole lot like that one—complicated and impossible to reconcile by giving one interaction 100% of the credit.

So you’re convinced you need more nuance in your attribution, right? Let’s talk about multi-touch (or multi-channel) attribution.

Your Multi-Touch Attribution Options


To set the attribution stage, here’s a quick breakdown of the most common models:

attribution



The first three are what we call single-source models; the latter four are multi-touch models. Regardless of which one you choose to go with, multi-touch models give a larger picture of each user’s path and funnel leading up to a final sale or lead.

Multi-Touch Works: A Quick Case Study


The Problem

One advertiser in the finance industry made the switch from single source to multi-touch in Q3 2017. This particular advertiser’s main KPI is ROAS, or return on ad spend, and they’d found tremendous success with what we traditionally consider higher-intent channels, like search. On search, they were consistently hitting their ROAS targets throughout 2017 and able to grow their investments to drive revenue growth for the business. However, they were struggling to hit their goals in channels like display.

The advertiser knew there was value in these channels, but the data just wasn’t there. ROAS for their display campaigns on Google was 50-70% lower than their search campaigns, and they had begun cutting budgets to reinvest in better-performing channels.

The Solution

By Q3 2017, this advertiser’s display monthly budget had dwindled from $60k to only $20k, with most of the spend going toward retargeting small segments of audiences that worked well. They tried prospecting campaigns, targeting similar audiences to their customers, but ROAS was so low that they quickly paused. Despite the small, segmented remarketing audiences performing well, ROAS wasn’t showing growth, and managing such a low spend on those campaigns wasn’t worth the investment or time. By the end of July, the advertiser decided to pause their display campaigns.

While their display campaigns were paused, the advertiser decided to roll out a multi-touch attribution model, specifically Time Decay, giving credit to all touch points within a 7-day lookback window, including view-throughs, which they used Sizmek tagging to track. This was in opposition to their first-click model, where they previously only gave credit to the first click within a 24-hour window. After being paused for a month, they re-launched their display campaigns with a test budget of $30k, evaluating performance with their new multi-touch model.

Results

Performance was strong out of the gate, with ROAS up nearly 200%, exceeding their expectations. They were able to finally see the impact of these more upper-funnel channels, open up their targeting to broader remarketing audiences, and even launch prospecting campaigns on display. By October 2017, the advertiser was able increase their monthly display budget 350% from what it had been pre-multi-touch, nearly $90k, while hitting their ROAS goals, which now matched search.

Through this experience, we learned that single-source attribution models fail to tell us how middle interactions contribute to the user journey. Even though these touch points might not be how users first find out about a brand, or even serve as the final interaction before a sale or lead, they help ensure that the brand or product is top of mind and sway the user towards completing the final step in their path. Though it can be a huge investment, it’s worth it to figure out the true value of channels like display or Facebook. Who knows: you could end up tripling your investment and revenue on a channel previously deemed ineffective.

Editor’s Note: Marin TruePath


Marin TruePath is a cross-channel measurement solution that provides you with actionable insights across the customer journey. With view-level conversion data that accounts for each device, marketers can finally make more informed budget allocation decisions with a complete picture of the customer journey.

For more information, reach out to your Marin Customer Success Manager or contact us.

Another year older and wiser, and the digital advertising industry shows few signs of slowing down. To understand the current landscape and get a sense of what lies ahead, we dug deep into industry data as well as the Marin Advertising Index—which represents billions of dollars of annual ad spend on the Marin platform.

I hope you enjoy the result—our list of 10 digital advertising trends that promise increasing opportunities and unique challenges for global advertisers.

1. Google + Facebook “Eat the World”


By the end of 2017, Google and Facebook owned 63 percent of the U.S. digital ad market and 54 percent of digital ad revenue worldwide, according to eMarketer. Nationally, Microsoft grew but remained a distant third place, claiming four percent of the total U.S. revenue share.

The numbers don’t lie—at the close of Q3 2017, Google reported ad revenues of $24B and Facebook reported $10B. All signs point to continued dominance of “the big two” in 2018.

The opportunity: Upping your cross-channel game stands to net you more customers and more revenue. Our own research indicates that brands who manage their search campaigns alongside social have almost 10% higher revenue per conversion.

2. Audience Targeting Takes the Stage


Digital marketers increasingly understand that a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t cut it anymore. They’re finding ways to go even further to meet customer expectations of greater personalization and map relevant ad campaigns to audience needs. Audience targeting fills this need.

Layering “Audiences” on top of keywords drives better results than using keywords alone. With this focus on more refined audience targeting, marketers will be able to more easily identify people interested in their products, set the right bidding rules, and create the right experience for millions of people. In fact, advertisers using Similar Audiences in conjunction with remarketing on Marin’s platform are seeing strong campaign results, including 40%+ increases in clicks and conversions.

The opportunity: Despite the advantage that combining audiences with keyword targeting provides, use of Audiences by advertisers remains low at just 21%. As a result, first movers stand to benefit the most. Add audiences to all campaigns, starting with “Bid Only” to measure without restricting your reach.

3. Press Play on Video Advertising


Cisco expects video will represent 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. Not only that—64% of users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video, according to comScore.

YouTube has a secret weapon in the video battle: TrueView. TrueView has 93% ad viewability, plus you only pay when a viewer watches 30 seconds of your ad. As an advertiser, you can deliver big spikes in conversion with video advertising campaigns by evaluating your videos across a variety of variables, and then optimizing and adjust to meet your goals. We predict that TrueView will become a not-so-secret weapon for advertisers in 2018.

The opportunity: As video advertising continues to explode, marketers who master the game stand to drive substantial campaign performance improvements. Use YouTube and Facebook for your video ad campaigns to take advantage of 80%+ of the public’s attention in digital. In addition, be sure to use search intent to inform and drive your social ad campaigns. Then, measure, manage, and optimize to continuously improve results.

To see just a couple of examples of how businesses have crafted successful video ad campaigns, read our case studies and check out our recent webinar on video advertising tips:


4. The (Amazon) Empire Strikes Back


Despite the dominance of Google and Facebook, Amazon is emerging as the next big player in digital advertising. But let’s be realistic here—Amazon’s current share of the digital ad market is just two percent nationally and less than one percent worldwide.

However—as The Wall Street Journal reported in December, GroupM’s parent agency, WPP, may increase its spending with Amazon by 50 percent this year from $200 million in 2017. This would help push total spending on Amazon ads by three of the world’s largest agencies to a collective $800 million a year.

As Amazon opens retail stores and ventures into the CPG space with its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods, retail advertisers in particular will have to do double time to keep pace and take advantage. Additionally, Amazon’s self-service offering for retailers on Amazon Stores, with basic headline search ad capabilities, means retailers have yet another avenue for additional revenue and growth.

Consumers definitely now have a voice—and they’re using it to make purchases. Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant—inside millions of Echo virtual-assistant devices sold into U.S. homes—should give the company a powerful boost in an online advertising market driven by consumer targeting.

The opportunity: Keep an eye on Amazon. It remains to be seen whether it’s “too big to fail” or will be perceived as a competitive threat to retailers. In the meantime, advertisers would be wise to monitor Amazon’s evolution as an emerging powerhouse in the digital advertising space, and start to plan for future ad spend on that platform.

5. The “Next Big Thing” in Ad Tech


Voice search has taken the consumer market by storm and the numbers are staggering. Amazon has sold over 20 million Echo units, with Google Home gaining ground and gobbling up to 24% of market share since it hit the scene in 2015.

In addition to voice search, smart hubs and visual search will become firmly established in 2018. Innovative products like Google Lens, Pinterest Lens, and Amazon’s CamFind allow consumers to take a picture of an item and then search for that product to purchase online.

The opportunity: As voice and visual search technology matures, so will the advertising opportunities. Adapt to increased voice and visual search volumes and make sure your team is understands these technologies. A single-answer voice response is vastly different from the familiar world of typed search queries with multiple ranked results. Stay informed, knowledgeable, and ready to be an early adopter.

6. Changing Channels on Attribution


Because up to 90% of sales still happen in-store, marketers increasingly want to understand the full path to conversion and the impact of digital touch points to offline sales. To this end, the industry’s quickly moving away from the limitations of last-click attribution—rife with its inaccuracy, double-counted conversions, and poor reflection of the customer journey across devices and platforms. Advertisers are increasingly embracing a holistic view of measurement.

The opportunity: Unify attribution across channels. Assign reasonable and accurate value to all touch points along the customer journey to gain a full picture of performance and make better budgeting decisions to drive profitable return on ad spend (ROAS).

7. Offline Measurement Gets Connected


Speaking of offline sales—consumers continue to turn to mobile for all aspects of the shopping experience, whether it’s searching for products, finding the nearest retail location, or consulting their mobile device in-store. In other words, when it comes to mobile, shoppers are most often looking—and searching—to buy.

Additionally, it’s important to note that Google has access to 70% of all US debit and credit card transactions in-store through partnerships with companies that track that information. That’s a whole lotta data! To determine when digital ads contribute to an offline purchase, marketers will have to match this user data with other identifying information from merchants and credit/debit card issuers.

The opportunity: By matching ad clicks with in-store transaction data, Google has a treasure trove of information for merchants about which digital ads translate into physical store sales.

8. The Supreme Court of Privacy


Advertising is an industry in the crosshairs of consumer privacy, and the past several years have seen a substantial shift in attitudes towards protecting user identity and online activities. Many people are no longer content to share personally identifiable information (PII) without providing publishers with explicit permission and defining strict rules of engagement. Coupled with fresh legislation such as GDPR, many advertisers find themselves seeking practical advice on what marketing activities are permitted or prohibited.

The opportunity: GDPR will have a broad impact on all advertisers (not just those based in the EU), but programmatic ads will be most affected. Advertisers who adapt to GDPR will likely be forced to emphasize less ad volume and much higher quality data. Advertisers will be required to show far greater transparency around their data collection and targeting practices, but this presents an opportunity to build a much greater level of trust (and engagement) with users in the longer term.

9. Is Ad Blocking an Immovable Object?


Recent estimates from eMarketer predicted that over a quarter of US internet users would block ads in 2018, up from just under 16% in 2014. Also, research from PageFair shows that people are much more likely to leave your site if you ask them to disable ad blockers. Not only are ad blockers a reality on US desktop and mobile, but they’re also on the rise in developing countries.

This all means, of course, that ad blockers will continue to pose a significant threat to ad-funded business models due to their rising popularity with users globally.

What’s an advertiser to do? Large publishers have little incentive to intervene as their business booms, but small publishers still struggle with these ad blocker restrictions. In particular, recent Apple/Safari and Google/Chrome moves on privacy impact smaller publishers, given the potentially deadly impact of ad blockers on already limited revenue streams.

The opportunity: Despite the seeming doom and gloom surrounding ad blocker adoption, advertisers still have options to run successful campaigns. Be sure to focus on a positive user experience, so that users won’t be prompted to block your ads in the first place. Make your ads relevant and enjoyable. It’s essential that you deliver meaningful ads that don’t annoy users. Also, be sure to get fewer, higher quality ads via opt-in mechanisms, as advertisers will pay higher CPCs on these ads.

10. Messenger Ads: There’s an App for That


Messenger Ads represent one of the most exciting channels to come online as of late—although still a nascent offering, it’s being touted as “the new email” by some in the advertising industry. Despite its relatively recent arrival on the scene, Messenger itself now has 1.3 billion monthly users, up from 1 billion in July 2016. That’s the same count as Facebook’s other chat product, WhatsApp, showing massive advertising potential.

The opportunity: Advertisers are already reporting CTRs north of 50% (which is basically unheard of these days). Perhaps it'll decline with time, but Messenger Ads promise a huge opportunity for advertisers who jump on the bandwagon in 2018. Be sure to hop on.

It’s still January, so there’s plenty of time to keep your New Year’s resolutions. While most of us are trying to stick to an earnest regimen of daily gym visits (and actually going this year!), eating healthy, and having a well-balanced lifestyle, social marketers in particular are making an industry-friendly list of our 2018 ambitions.

Let’s take a step back and organize our strategy for getting ahead in advertising this year.

Plan More


Where do you want to take your social media strategy in 2018? The first step is looking at the current state of your campaigns. Are you meeting goals and capturing the right measures of success? Are you happy with your growth rate or can you accomplish even more? If you had all the resources you needed, what would you do to create a killer strategy?

Make a list of all the goals and objectives you want to achieve. This will be the basis of your plan and help guide you towards favorable outcomes. Be sure your goals are SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound


Learn from Last Year’s Successes and Failures


As Thomas Edison famously stated, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” Learning means trial and error—we all fail at some stage or another and it's what you do with that failure that strengthens your efforts going forward.

Listen to constructive feedback and ask yourself, “Why? How did that happen?” Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback in the first place. You’ll challenge your team’s abilities and shake up the status quo, which will increase the chances of discovering even better ways of doing business.

“Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.”

No, this isn’t a grade-school dare. It’s sound advice from Mark Zuckerberg, who used this mantra to build a trillion-dollar social empire. Your failure just may be the key to your success! Use your own version of “creative destruction” to rethink, revamp, and revive any deficient or lackluster parts of your social ad campaigns.

Explore ways to take advantage of new and evolving advertising technologies. Also take stock of your successes and what's working, then build on these. Set new growth targets and determine precise tactics for how you’ll achieve them.

Remember, 3M’s failed adhesive evolved into its flagship and ubiquitous product, the Post-it!

Think Mobile-First


According to Facebook, mobile is now driving over half of all campaign conversions. If you’re not including mobile as part of your existing strategies, you’re missing out on a huge potential revenue stream.

With this trend expected to expand even more this year, we highly recommend a mobile-first strategy. Build out your campaigns with mobile in mind rather than having to adapt later.

Make Time for Video


Video ads are a powerful ad unit for generating engagement. Facebook has seen phenomenal growth in video usage over the past year—it’s now serving a staggering 8 billion video views a day. Video usage has exploded astronomically, with no signs of slowing down.

If you have no idea where to start, check out our previous article detailing 7 Tips for a Killer Video Advertising Strategy. And, to see just a few examples of how businesses have crafted successful video ad campaigns, read our case studies and check out our recent webinar on video advertising tips:


Explore Multi-Touch Attribution


It’s now becoming more important than ever to understand each of the touch points in your customer’s journey. It often takes multiple touches with a brand before a consumer takes action, so it’s key for us marketers to plot this path to conversion accurately.

Resolve to make 2018 your Year of Attribution. You’ll gain valuable insights into your social ad campaigns, achieve a full picture of performance, and enable better budgeting decisions to drive profitable return on ad spend.

Optimize Placements


Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have a host of placements across their platforms, so don’t limit your reach. Effectively drive action from your audience by choosing to set up placement-optimized campaigns whenever possible. Test various iterations of your placement setup—if you didn’t achieve your desired outcome the first time around, explore and analyze the reasons and refine to ensure success. Read our article on the benefits of placement optimization and how to implement it into your campaigns.

Happy New Year and good luck with your resolutions!

This is a guest post from Ashley Aptt, Account Director at 3Q Digital.

If you’re an advertiser and you’ve ever wondered why conversion metrics are different in AdWords and Facebook versus Google Analytics, you’re not alone. As a user goes through the purchase process, it’s likely that they’ll interact with the same brand numerous times before converting. Assuming there are no tracking issues on your site, these reporting differences can be summed up in one word: attribution.

What Is Attribution?


Attribution is the science of understanding which media campaigns are driving conversions for your business. It’s very common to see data discrepancies in Google Analytics compared to media platforms, and it all boils down to differences in attribution models.

Here’s a common path a customer may take along the purchase journey with one company. We’ll return to this scenario throughout the rest of this article.

  • Day 1: The user starts their search and clicks an AdWords ad
  • Day 2: The user sees a Facebook ad and clicks it
  • Day 2: The user clicks another AdWords ad
  • Day 3: The user later converts on a Google organic listing


In the use case above, Google Analytics would assign conversion credit to the Google organic listing, Google AdWords would take credit for the conversion, and Facebook would also take credit for the conversion. As you can see, both AdWords and Facebook take credit, but Google Analytics only considers the organic listing.

attribution



Let’s dive into the attribution differences between these platforms in greater detail.

Understanding the Google Analytics Attribution Model


Many platforms use a last-click attribution model. This means that the last ad or keyword that led to a conversion gets credit. Google AdWords, for example, uses a last-click attribution model (by default). So, when a user clicks two paid search ads, AdWords assigns conversion credit to the last ad that was clicked before the conversion event occurred.

Google Analytics also uses a last-click attribution model. But an important differentiator is that Google Analytics takes all channels into account. So, in the scenario above, even though Google AdWords is applying conversion credit to the last AdWords ad that was clicked, Google Analytics isn’t giving Google AdWords any credit for this conversion. Google Analytics attributes all conversion credit to the Google organic listing. This is a key difference in understanding why Google Analytics conversion data can differ greatly compared to media platforms.

How Does Time Impact Conversion Data Discrepancies?


Another key differentiator in how Google Analytics records conversions in comparison to many media platforms is that Google Analytics assigns conversion credit on the day of the conversion, whereas media platforms typically assign conversion credit on the day of the click.

Again, looking at the example above, Google Analytics records the conversion on Day 3 (the day of the purchase). Conversely, Facebook and AdWords retroactively assign conversion back to
Day 2 (the day each of these platforms received their last click).

Depending on your business, this difference can be meaningful, especially if your purchase cycle is longer or if you have an event that drives a lot of conversions on a given day.

More Ways Facebook Attribution Is Different from Google Analytics


In addition to the differences with last-click models and the timing of conversion reporting, a few additional elements make Facebook conversion tracking unique.

First, Facebook can track impression-based conversions. The default attribution window for Facebook is 28 days post-click and one day post-view. This means that Facebook counts a conversion even if a user never clicked a Facebook ad. This is a huge difference in reporting, because Google Analytics doesn’t have the ability to track impression-based conversions.

Another difference between Facebook and Google Analytics is that Facebook has the unique ability to track users from one device to another (if the user is signed-in on all their devices). This means that Facebook can track cross-device conversions. Google Analytics only uses cookies to track users, so it doesn’t have the ability to track cross-device conversions.

Conclusion


There are several reasons why conversion data in Google Analytics doesn’t match conversion data that media platforms provide. Neither method is right or wrong, but it’s important to understand what the attribution differences are, because these differences can cause a huge discrepancy in the data that you see reported in each platform, especially in Facebook.

If you don’t feel comfortable using Google Analytics data as the point of truth because it greatly under-values Facebook, but you also don’t like to use the Facebook data because it’s too lenient with the conversion data it records, then using a multi-touch attribution platform is likely your best option. Multi-touch attribution platforms can look at the various touchpoints in a user’s purchaser cycle and determine a better way to assign conversion credit to each platform.

Marin's TruePath


Want one place to track all your channel activity, including every touchpoint that led to a conversion? This is where Marin TruePath comes in—a lightweight, cross-device, cross-channel measurement solution. TruePath delivers user journey reports that properly attribute revenue to all touchpoints—including search, social, display, organic traffic, and more. To learn about TruePath, contact Marin today.

Where did 2017 go? And can you believe we’re talking about 2018 already? I guess it’s never too early to plan ahead, especially in marketing. As conferences like DMEXCO 2017 revealed, topics such as influencer marketing, attribution, and data-driven advertising remain at the forefront of advertisers’ hearts and minds.

Based on current trends and industry activity, we have a few predictions on what digital marketers can expect in 2018.

1. Audiences


The quest to reach specific and precise online audiences is now a staple of any savvy marketer’s strategy. Still, the emphasis on audience targeting will kick up a notch in 2018. Digital marketers will increasingly understand that a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t cut it anymore. They’ll need to go even further to meet customer expectations of greater personalization and map ad campaigns to audience needs.

As marketers combine existing tools such as remarketing lists and lookalikes with strategies that identify the perfect rules for current and desired audiences, the coming year holds great promise. With a focus on more refined audience targeting, marketers will be able to more easily identify people interested in their products, set the right bidding rules, and create the right experience for millions of people.

2. Unified Paid Search and Social Campaigns


As we covered in our guide, Google + Facebook: A Playbook for Cross-Channel Advertising Success, in 2016, Google and Facebook represented 99% of revenue growth from digital advertising in the U.S. alone. Marketers have flocked to these channels, just as they’re chasing technologies that allow them to mine the search and social gold. In 2018, you’ll hear much about:

  • Achieving a single view of cross-channel performance
  • Driving incremental retail sales on Facebook using search intent signals
  • Refining Google and Facebook retargeting
  • Product feed optimization and cross-channel insights


With product feed optimization, the top marketers will focus on more than just bidding and budgets—they’ll extend their strategy to include successful Google Shopping campaigns. This will be the case across the board, whether it’s A/B testing to find the best product title, determining the best product groupings, or determining price competitiveness. Increasingly, those insights will fuel more dynamic and effective campaigns on Facebook.

3. Dynamic Ads


Speaking of dynamic campaigns on Facebook….

Dynamic ads are already well established for industries such as travel and retail—in 2018, other verticals will no doubt gain the benefit of feed-based ads with dynamically generated creative, driven by user intent. In fact, we predict that dynamic ads will become the norm for targeted digital marketing.

Not only will marketers focus on bridging the search and social divide—combining search intent signals with dynamic social advertising—they’ll also mesh the two channels to allow for seamless micro-targeting and creation of meaningful audience segments.

This will result in an even smoother customer experience, more conversions and incremental returns, and greater real-time audience insights. Now that’s a dynamic result!

4. Measurement Beyond Last-click Attribution


We know that up to 90% of sales still happen in-store. Next year, marketers will raise the bar on connecting digital touchpoints with offline sales and using in-store insights to inform their marketing campaigns. The attribution question of the year will be: How do my digital advertising campaigns affect offline conversions, in-store sales, and repeat trips?

Marketers increasingly want to understand the full path to conversion. Fortunately, post-impression and post-click conversion data will make this a cinch. In addition, a couple of practices will likely become the measurement norm:

  • Linear conversion to equally credit each touchpoint to conversion, versus last-click attribution
  • Automatically re-allocating budget between campaigns based on performance


The More Things Change….


If there’s one thing that won’t change in 2018, it’s the list of primary objectives for marketers: gain more customers, achieve higher revenue, and increase ROI. Along with that, we’d add the mantra, “measure, manage, optimize.” Here at Marin, we look forward to seeing what exciting developments and new challenges 2018 brings, and how marketers continue to make their mark in the digital advertising space.

This is a guest post from Ashley Aptt, Account Director at 3Q Digital.

When evaluating the performance of AdWords campaigns or keywords, many advertisers don’t look much further than the primary conversion data that AdWords provides. Evaluating conversion volume, cost-per-conversion, conversion rate, and return on ad spend are all-important metrics. But does this paint the full picture? Or could this evaluation tactic be hindering stronger performance during the holiday season?

How Does AdWords Report Conversion Data?


By default, AdWords uses a last-click attribution model. This means that AdWords will assign conversion credit to the last AdWords keyword that resulted in the conversion.

For example, a user searching for boots during the holiday season may begin their search by clicking a Google ad for “women’s boots,” then a day later they click an ad for “women’s black booties,” and then they convert the following day on an ad for “BrandXYZ black booties.” In this situation, AdWords would assign conversion credit to the last keyword that drove the conversion (which would be “BrandXYZ black booties”).

Even though the previous two queries played a role in the conversion process, those keywords don’t get credit for the conversion with last-click attribution. When evaluating performance based solely on conversion data provided with last-click attribution, advertisers don’t get the full customer journey picture and may be de-valuing important keywords based on poor performance.

What Are Assisted Conversions?


Luckily, AdWords allows advertisers to easily view assisted conversion data within the AdWords interface. Assisted conversions report on the number of conversions that a keyword assisted with even if it wasn’t the last keyword that generated the conversion. You can view ‘Click-Assisted conversions’ or ‘Impression-Assisted conversions’. ‘Click-Assisted conversions’ report on the number of conversions assisted by actual clicks, whereas ‘Impression-Assisted conversions’ report on the number of conversions assisted by impressions even when the user didn’t click the ad. This data is very helpful in determining which keywords drive conversions during the customer journey leading to a conversion.

You may discover that a keyword appears to have poor performance on the surface (when looking only at last-click attribution conversion data), but it could actually be valuable in driving qualified traffic to your site and assisting in the conversion process. In the example above, “women’s boots” and “women’s black booties” both would have received an assisted conversion, but not an actual conversion.

assisted conversions


How to Access Assisted Conversion Data


Accessing assisted conversion data within AdWords is very easy! All you need to do is add “Click assisted conversion” and “Impression assisted conversion” columns to your AdWords reports (as shown below).

You can access this data at the campaign, ad group or keyword level and it’ll appear in AdWords reports along with other commonly used metrics such as clicks, impression, cost, etc. Applying these columns to your reporting dashboard allows you to easily access this information and make better-informed bidding decisions.

assisted conversions


Why Is This Important During Holiday Season?


During Q4, it’s especially important to evaluate keyword performance using assisted conversion data. The holiday season is notorious for shopping and gift giving, which means that users turn to Google to aid in the process of shopping for the best holiday gifts. Gift-givers often step outside of their comfort zone and search for brands, products, and categories that they’re not familiar with.

Non-brand keywords present a great opportunity for companies to get in front of these users and convert new users during holiday season. However, if you only evaluate performance based on last-click attribution conversion data, you may think these non-brand keywords perform horribly and decide to bid down or pause these keywords. But if you pull in the assisted-conversion data, you may be surprised to see that some of your non-brand terms are indeed aiding in the process of generating conversions, and decide to keep bidding on those terms.

This strategy will allow you to continue generating brand awareness via non-brand terms, and generate more conversions during the holiday season.

Conclusion


Applying assisted conversion data to your AdWords reports is fast and easy. There’s no harm in adding these insights to your dashboard, but the added value from these metrics could produce strong results for your business this holiday season!

With over 1,000 businesses exhibiting and more than 55,000 digital marketing professionals roaming the halls, DMEXCO has indeed secured its spot as the digital marketing spectacle of the year. For many, not only it is the first chance to uncover the latest trends and innovations in digital, it is a mega launchpad for ad tech players (and an opportunity for some serious parties.)

dmexco



Among the many discussions and presentations, five DMEXCO feats rose to the top of the highlights list:

1. The Rise of Influencer Disruption and Killer Millennials


Influencer marketing—arguably defined as a hybrid of affiliate marketing and celebrity-endorsed infomercials—had a prominent seat at the table, with brands and agencies recognizing the growing role of influencers in their social advertising strategy. As consumers continue to adopt online and offline ad blockers, influencer value will run parallel and disrupt how brands go to market. Millennials, also known as the ‘I need it yesterday’ generation, are key protagonists of the influencer disruption movement.

2. All About Attribution


A digital revolution is upon us. Marketing attribution has become more complex than ever before as the concept of the Internet of things (IoT) becomes reality and advanced algorithmic-based adtech continue to dominate the digital marketing industry. DMEXCO was all about examining the importance of using audience data and leveraging cross-channel transparency when measuring digital marketing performance KPIs.

3. Data-Driven Search and Social Advertising


Overlaying user search intent with audience data is all the rave as the concept of machine learning continues to gain momentum. Marketers were keen to learn how to better convert their ad spend into profits. Although Google led the conversation, Marin Software’s Google + Facebook: A Playbook for Cross-Channel Success was one of the most highly sought-out pieces of content available at the conference. This playbook demonstrates the importance of combining search and social advertising channels to deliver above and beyond on performance KPIs.

4. Catching the Moment


DMEXCO is all about the experience—humanizing digital and understanding how artificial intelligence can advance society and empower brands to leverage advertising technologies to ‘capture the moment’. This boils down to connecting with customers wherever they are.

5. Cutting Through the Noise


Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook delivered a keynote, Building Community and Discovering Growth in a Mobile World, which championed building meaningful connections to achieve growth through mobile. It’s a new take on how brands can leverage traditional marketing techniques in their digital strategy. As we previously noted in our 2017 State of Digital Advertising Report earlier this year, mobile surpassed desktop for the first time, confirming a shift in how people consume information. It therefore makes sense for brands to rethink how they engage with consumers via mobile, differentiate, and break through the clutter.

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%.

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.

How do you measure the impact of influence? More importantly, what’s the best way to measure such a fuzzy concept using an analytical approach?

As marketers have been complementing their bread-and-butter search advertising efforts by adding new tactics into the marketing mix—whether it’s social media native ads, rich media banners, mobile in-app interstitials, or desktop and mobile video ads—it’s increased the spotlight on the sticky issue of attributing conversions properly across different channels. It’s especially relevant for the aforementioned tactics, because none of them are particularly well suited for measuring via click-through conversions alone.

Measuring view-through conversions has quantifiable benefits on the bottom line


There are three powerful reasons for making a proper view-through attribution model a high priority:

  1. View-through conversions are a better representation for upper- and middle-funnel performance than click-through conversions. Display ads are renowned for their epically terrible click-through rates. But rather than dismiss the medium as a poor performer, it’s important to understand that most display ads are typically served further up the conversion funnel to help move the customer closer towards making a decision. Measuring them on click-through conversions alone is akin to measuring search ads solely on how many customers it drives to the store. It’s important to use the right metric for the right situation.
  2. Proper view-through attribution can lead to increased search lift. The positive impact of display and social advertising on search activity and conversions is undeniable. It’s been proven by a number of different studies over the past several years. Accordingly, if we understand the assistive impact of display and social on search, then it’s important to properly measure their impact in order to make the right investment across the different channels. If $1 spent on a Facebook ad leads to an extra $5 within the search channel, that’s something you’d definitely want to know.
  3. Measuring view-through conversions improves optimization efforts. What if the very small percentage of people clicking on your display ads didn’t represent your very best customers? What if half the clicks on a mobile ad were from people with fat finger syndrome? And what if you optimized all your future spend on trying to acquire all these wrong types of people? Advertisers who optimize based on click-through conversions alone find themselves in this conundrum.
  4. This is just the beginning. While view-through attribution doesn’t have to be complex (on the contrary, it’s actually quite straightforward to set up properly!), it does require an understanding of its business rationale and some of its limitations. To learn more about view-through attribution, including the two-step process for how you can set them up for maximum success,
    download the white paper
    or
    view the webinar archive
    .

Summer. It’s the time of year when I get serious about my binge watching. All of my shows are off the air, and I have precisely two months between the airing of the finale of Game of Thrones (Cleganebowl will be a thing) and Nathan Adrian’s first swim in the Rio Olympics.

But I would never limit my binge watching to just my personal time. I’m always happy to fall down the YouTube rabbit hole at work, and really, so should you with this hit list of Marin’s most popular and highest rated webinars. My colleague Maria shared a fantastic roundup of our best quickie blog reads, but our educational, half-hour to hour-long best practices webcasts are the sort of content you want to chill out with on a long summer workday.

  1. Your Guide to Native Advertising: Best Practices for Commanding Audience Attention (35 minutes)
    National native advertising spend ballooned to $10.7 billion in 2015, a 150% increase over only two years before. There’s no better time than now to learn how to take advantage of its ability to connect and attract the attention of your target audience.


  1. Scale and Optimize Your Social Campaigns Starting Now (40 minutes)
    We joined forces with our partner, Twitter, for this educational webcast on how to best leverage direct response advertising and utilize Twitter's ad environment in combination with your search and display campaigns.


  1. The Newest Way to Reach and Convert Facebook’s 1.4 Billion Users (55 minutes)
    In this webinar, one of our most popular ever, we teamed up with our partner, Facebook, to tackle the topic of Facebook Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs). Are you taking full advantage of Facebook DPAs to promote your product catalogs? We discuss best practices for utilizing this feature to zero in on your best consumers and boost sales.


  1. The Path to Mobile Advertising Success (40 minutes)
    Whether you’re a skeptic who doesn’t see a reason for mobile to be a top priority, an advertiser unclear on how mobile bid adjustments work, or a seasoned mobile marketer looking for advanced recommendations to improve your mobile game plan, Google’s outlook on the future of mobile and Marin’s mobile-optimized advertising strategies will set you on the path to mobile success. Another partner webinar! This time it’s Google.


  1. Increase Your Display Advertising Performance with Image Optimization (40 minutes)
    Approximately 5.3 trillion display ads are served to U.S. users per year. Yet historically, the click-through rate of display ads is less than .1%. How can display advertisers leverage image optimization to increase performance and gain insights? Marin Software and Boost Media give you answers.


  1. Integrated Search and Social Advertising: Transforming Trends & Tactics into Revenue (55 minutes)
    It’s an oldie but goodie. We’re joined by one of our agency partners, iProspect, for a webinar on integrating your search and social strategies. We walk through 15 proven tactics to help you better manage, measure, and optimize your campaigns for improved ROI and maximum customer lifetime value.


  1. 8 Reasons View-through Attribution Should be Working for You (30 minutes)
    This webcast provides viewers an introduction to and better understanding of the value and necessity of view-through conversions. It also offers best practices to drive more profitable display ad spend.



It may not rival your Battlestar Galactica binge watch, but it’s the only one you can get away with at work, so happy viewing, online marketers!

According to eMarketer, over 70% of U.S. paid search spend will be mobile by 2017. And yet, optimizing mobile advertising and seeing significant ROI on it remains a crucible for many in the digital advertising world.

We joined our technology partner DialogTech at the end of April for
a webinar about how search marketers can adopt new mobile-first optimization strategies to drive PPC conversions and customers.

One of Marin’s very own search marketing experts, Patrick Hutchison, teamed up with Kelley Schultz, Digital Marketing Lead at DialogTech, to share proven mobile optimization and attribution tactics digital marketers can use to drive more clicks, calls, and customers from Google AdWords, Yahoo, and Bing.

In order to achieve their mobile advertising goals, digital marketers need to understand the customer journey and all of the touch points prior to sale. To that end, here are five strategies for optimizing your mobile game plan that we learned from this webinar.

1. If your business gets mobile traffic, then you need to be      setting a bid adjustment



You want to get into a top (1-2) position for mobile devices to ensure visibility, so set up campaigns with an initial +25-30% bid modifier. You can adjust and optimize based on the types of conversions and traffic you see.

2. Optimize for calls



Incorporate call conversion tracking to ensure you’re optimizing for all conversions. Without measuring call leads, you miss out on a significant piece of the puzzle when it comes to tracking and understanding the source of your leads.

3. Segment search query reports by device



When you perform search query reports, add a device segment. This will allow you to see what keywords are getting the most mobile conversions and traffic. Within your reports, sort by conversions and then adjust your bids for your highest performing keywords to ensure top position.

Next, sort your report by clicks that don’t drive conversions, and adjust bids or add negatives as necessary for these keywords that are driving up both clicks and spend.

4. Remember that mobile-targeted ad copy is key



Create mobile-preferred search ads with mobile ad extensions and CTAs. Remember to take advantage of call extensions, since as Google reports, 70% of mobile searchers use call extensions to call businesses.

5. Incorporate remarketing bidding strategies



Set up remarketing lists into your campaigns, so that you can adjust mobile bids for the top position.

Remember the importance of not only bidding up for mobile traffic, but also increasing bidding for your custom audience lists. If users showed interest once, capture them again on their next query with a different message in the top position.

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.

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.

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.

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.

“It makes my job a lot easier, and now I don’t have to spend all day combing through spreadsheet after spreadsheet, trying to figure out where a booking value came from because it’s nowhere in
my system.”

– Kevin High / Digital Marketing Manager, IBC Hotels

IBC Hotels had a retargeting problem. Not only were they unable to easily attribute conversions – they were having a hard time even implementing their existing solution’s dynamic tracking code, and considered their vendor’s service team “unknowledgeable and nonexistent.”

IBC Hotels prides itself in introducing travelers to unique, locally owned hotels all over the world. Since IBC makes commission on each acquired booking, it’s crucial for them to accurately attribute the source of their conversions and revenue.

If they were going to lower cost and increase ROI, they needed a platform that would make their jobs easier, not more burdensome and clunky.

Enter Marin Display


IBC implemented Marin Display – with its Site Tracking Tag – to build audiences for retargeting across channels and devices. IBC found Marin Display’s tracking solution worked flawlessly and was easier to implement than their previous retargeting solution.

The Site Tracking Tag allowed IBC to automatically collect important information such as order ID and revenue, and to easily attribute conversions. IBC could then effortlessly access this data and
export it.

From here, they were able to optimize their retargeting funnel, attribute conversions accurately back to their own internal reporting, and ultimately lower CPM and improve ROI.

Learn more and see full results in our IBC Hotels case study.

With spring rapidly approaching, this is a great time for search marketers to start preparing for an annual account audit. What are some of the top areas of focus for spring cleaning your account? Marin's Center of Excellence has created a process for identifying key ways accounts can be improved through structural and performance-based changes.

Step 1: Identify pain points in the account to narrow
your focus


Before you dive into cleaning up your account, identify the main areas where you’d like to focus your time. Chances are you don’t have a lot of bandwidth to dedicate to anything but day to day management tasks -- so to save time, start by asking yourself some questions to help narrow the focus of your audit and cleanup.

Some of these questions might include:

  • Where does the account fall short of meeting its goals?
  • Does the account have unutilized objects (things like past promotional creatives)?
  • Do you regularly perform A/B tests?
  • Have you had issues with revenue attribution?


Step 2: Perform an audit


The second step is to perform an audit of your account. You should focus your time on two major areas of opportunity: account structure and performance.

Tip: When performing the account audit, pull data in a format that allows you to make bulk changes. This way, once you’ve identified issues, you can easily take action and save time.

First, take a look at your account structure to make sure it follows search marketing best practices. This’ll make your account easier to navigate and ease day to day management. Second, analyze your account for performance issues that require action. The Center of Excellence recommends looking for the following:

Account Structure

  • Duplicate keywords
  • Conflicting negatives
  • Past promotional creatives
  • Missing active keywords/creatives
  • Misspelled creatives
  • Campaign setting alignment
  • URL tracking issues


Performance

  • Underperforming objects
  • Optimal use of negative keywords
  • Quality Score analysis
  • Landing page content
  • Keywords
  • Ad copy


Step 3: Implement changes


The third step is to take corrective action based on insights you discover during the audit.

Be sure to keep track of any changes you make and a record of the audit -- this is essential, since it’ll allow you to effectively measure future performance.

Step 4: Measure


Use your record of changes to measure the impact of your spring cleaning efforts. Compile this information into a visual representation of the improvements to share with your colleagues or clients.

If you’re a Marin customer interested in partnering with the Center of Excellence on an account audit, contact your account representative, who’ll connect you with a Center of Excellence consultant today! Or, if you’re new to Marin, request a demo.

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 :)

This is a guest post from Casey Carey - Head of Marketing, Adometry by Google.

Over the past few weeks, there has been a significant amount of discussion regarding attribution models. At this point, you may be curious about how data-driven attribution, or any attribution model for that matter, fits into your marketing organization’s priorities.

Score Keeping without the Blinders


If you watched the Preakness or Kentucky Derby recently, you may have noticed many of the horses wearing blinders, a marketing measurement metaphor if there ever was one. In a sport with such a small margin for error, these eye covers play a vital role in helping the horses maintain focus on the path ahead rather than what is taking place on either side. Unfortunately, for years many marketing organizations made decisions with a similarly narrow viewpoint with the idea being, let’s look at each of these things individually and then compare results at the end. Often this was done out of necessity more than desire, but the byproduct was typically a combination of poorly-optimized campaigns followed by disappointing results and difficult questions from stakeholders across the company.

Marketers are rethinking how to best engage audiences during a period of rapidly shifting consumer behavior. By now it should be clear that the “customer journey” is no longer a straight line or predictable path to purchase. In fact, roughly 65 percent of all revenues come from multi-touch conversion paths, the majority of which involve impressions across multiple channels. Intuitively, marketers know customers are engaging with the brand across channels, but the vast majority still lack the ability to monitor and measure the impact of these interactions holistically. This causes a disconnect between what channel-specific reports say they contributed to revenue versus what actually occurred.

Learning to Trust the Data Begins with Openness


One common barrier for many organizations when attempting to adopt data-driven attribution methodologies is a feeling they are trapped by existing investments. Sometimes this takes the form of data trapped inside vendors’ proprietary reporting systems, other times it might be internal processes or change management issues obstructing anything from rocking the proverbial measurement boat. In either case, the result is marketers receiving multiple versions of the “truth” instead of a united picture that allows them to analyze and optimize their marketing mix using data-driven methodologies that take these variables into consideration.

Luckily, platform providers, like Marin, are opting to build an open ecosystem in which data can be incorporated from a variety of sources—including site and ad analytics as well as e-commerce data—to enable customers to make informed decision based on the entirety of data available.

From a measurement standpoint, this is invaluable and allows marketers adopting data-driven attribution methodologies, such as Adometry’s, to seamlessly incorporate or “operationalize” attribution insights into day-to-day decision-making workflows. This not only solves the a major data consolidation challenge but also completes the promise of data-driven attribution—trusted measurement that provides not just feedback on how you’ve done but also offers guidance on how you can improve moving forward.

No one is saying this is easy. Marketers faced with consolidating data from a non-trivial number of channel-specific sources and analytics tools know that this takes time and commitment. If you’re struggling with where to get started, these 10 Tactics for Building an Effective Attribution Management Program will help. Attribution is a marathon, not a sprint. But there’s no time like the present to get started.

Adometry


Did you know? Only about half of businesses carry out some sort of attribution.

Marketing attribution is the practice of determining the role that different channels play in informing and influencing the customer journey, and subsequently allocating partial value to different touch points which have influenced a sale or another desired outcome.

There are many different attribution models, each with their own merits - the most important thing is picking a model that fits your business. Consider:

  • First-click - Credit is given to the first click in the path to conversion.
  • Last-click - Credit is given to the last click in the path to conversion.
  • Linear - Credit is spread equally across all clicks in the path to conversion.
  • Time decay - More credit is given to clicks that occur closest to the time of conversion.
  • Position-based - Credit is given based on the position of the click in the path to conversion, with the first and last click receiving more value.
  • Regression or algorithmic - Credit is given based on regression analysis of historical performance.


While it can be complicated to make attribution a part of your marketing process, the business motivation is very clear: to justify marketing spend, to build an understanding of the customer journey and audience behavior, and to use this understanding to optimize the media mix.

When marketers implement attribution, they often get immediate insights that allow them to better adjust their budgets, moving money away from poorly performing channels and toward better ones. This allows for a better strategy across the entire path-to-conversion.

To learn the basics of marketing attribution, download our guide.

Although paid search still commands the majority of digital advertising spend, online marketers find themselves having to follow consumers through an always-on, multi-channel world. In this highly competitive landscape, the path-to-conversion is anything but linear, and the ways in which consumers engage with brands is gaining complexity. For instance, a customer may have viewed a display banner, clicked on a paid search ad, and was retargeted on Facebook prior to converting on an iPad.

Keep in mind that the click-path above wasn't even possible three years ago. The degree to which media is fragmented today makes attribution incredibly challenging. So how would an online marketer value each of these touch-points and subsequently develop an effective bidding strategy to maximize performance across their entire marketing program?

This is exactly the problem that Marin Software has solved. Today, we’re excited to announce a partnership with Adometry, a leading attribution company. Through conversion and revenue data integrations, advertisers using this joint solution will be able to:

  1. Assess the value (revenue) associated with each ad-unit using a consistent attribution model across multiple channels and revenue sources
  2. Calculate precise bids at the keyword and ad-unit level by leveraging de-duplicated and post-attributed conversion data
  3. Have a single source of truth that mitigates discrepancies or double-counting across channels and devices


And because Marin has certified the integration process with Adometry, our mutual clients will be able to take advantage of these industry leading capabilities without incurring any additional costs or disruptions to service.

So there you have it, Adometry + Marin = A win for online marketers.

Adometry and Marin Software

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?

Attribution may not seem like the world's most interesting topic for a blog post. Or, really, an interesting topic, period. It's not as glamorous as a blurb on new features, or as essential as a discussion on search strategy. I thought so, myself, I must admit. But, in considering attribution, I realized it is exactly that: essential.

The other day, I had a discussion about data issues, primarily the reason behind conversion numbers of the past changing between viewings. Of course, several factors were involved, but I was ultimately shocked when I was asked a simple question: what is the difference between day of click and day of conversion? They never considered latency, or rather that a click from 2 weeks ago might result in a conversion today.



So if you do have that kind of latency, how do you go about deciding how to look at your data? Do you consider the conversion as attributed to today or to the last click of 2 weeks ago? What if the click was 2 months or 6 months ago? I have no clear-cut answer, but I do have a couple of items you could meditate on.

Online marketing is becoming more and more sophisticated. It's no longer about building out massive sheets of keywords, in hopes of capturing the interest of people browsing the web. SEM and SEO are now just pieces of a grander strategy, a larger playing field. The proof? 2 years ago, AdWords didn't have much meaning outside the industry. Now, you have to look no further than the front page of the New York Times (Search Optimization and Its Dirty Little Secrets, a fascinating read) to see just how pervasive search marketing has really become. Marketers now think of display ads, of re-targeting, of social networks, as integral parts of their marketing strategies.

How, then, do you give credit in an environment where the process of conversion may take up to a year with multiple touch points within and across channels? Is the ad that first moved a user to consider a product or a service deserving of the majority of the credit? Or is it the ad that finally pushed them to convert, to commit? (Here, of course, I mean “revenue attribution” when I say “credit”.) Some marketers use a spectrum approach - doling out the credit between the elements. Some, with larger latency windows, prefer to know exactly when the revenue is coming in, instead of when the process was started. It's a business-level decision that always has implications beyond a spreadsheet full of data. How do you give credit where credit is due? And why even bother trying to figure it out?

Because you need to know where you're spending your money and what you're getting in return. Attribution changes the way you look at your end result. And isn't that the whole point? Understanding an end result and leveraging that knowledge to improve future strategies/budgets? And therein, as the bard would say, lies the rub. It may not be a glamorous subject, but it definitely is a necessary topic for consideration.

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