Market segmentation is the foundation of a successful marketing campaign. There are likely many different types of consumers that could be interested in your products, and sending the right message to each type of customer is key to acquiring new users. Whether it be targeting customers based on their age, or understanding that different types of customers value different aspects of your product or service, you’ll want to deliver unique, personalized messages to different segments in order to foster enthusiastic brand loyalty.
Let’s run through the 5 different types of market segmentation in detail so that you can understand which is right for you.
This is usually the first type of segmentation we think of when starting to define our different customer personas. These are basic defining characteristics such as age, gender, race, income level and education level. Demographic targeting can be anything from advertising high end products to those with higher income levels, to a clothing company advertising gendered clothing to women and men separately.
This is mostly used in B2C marketing efforts, as these traits focus on the individual. The B2B counterpart is firmographic segmentation.
Firmographic segmentation is the most basic form of market segmentation for B2B marketing efforts. Firmographic traits of a company include size, location, industry, structure and financial performance. For example, you’ll want to use different messaging when marketing towards a small business than when reaching out to an organization with hundreds of employees.
A subset of demographic segmentation, geographic segmentation entails segmenting customers by their location. You can segment by city, country, zip code or even language region. The most straightforward example of this is trying to drive foot traffic to a brick and mortar store by targeting people who live within a certain number of miles from the store. But even for online businesses, it’s important to analyze which geographic areas your website traffic is coming from. Sometimes these answers may seem obvious, like a company selling cowboy boots targeting states in the south. But you may be surprised what other regions are interested in your product, beyond the most obvious opportunities. Often market research brings about data that cannot be acquired by intuition alone. Who knows, there could be a lot of cowboys in Vermont…
This is the most complex and arguably the most valuable type of segmentation. Behavioral segmentation is the ongoing process of tracking and targeting users’ behavioral trends. As you collect data about your target market over time, you’ll be able to segment your audience into groups based on things like purchasing habits, brand interactions, buying history, website visits and interactions with competing brands. This form of market research is very valuable because it brings to light users with intent to buy, allowing you to target your most interested audiences.
This form of segmentation attempts to understand the consumers’ motivations. It’s not the what, or where, but the why that psychographic segmentation strives to make sense of. Why do customers buy your product, or choose your competitor's product over yours? Is it their values? Their political beliefs? Their interests? This sort of segmentation is extremely valuable for media companies, for example. News stations will market towards those with aligned political beliefs. Gossip magazines will target those interested in celebrity content. This form of segmentation can be difficult to nail down, but is very powerful.
Now that we’ve got an understanding of the different types of segmentation, let’s discuss how to begin segmenting your market.
Start with testing
The first step is market research. You’ll want to cast your net wide with broad targeting, then see what content appeals to different segments of users. Once you’ve identified segments based on engagement with your different categories of content, you’ll understand what sorts of products or services they are interested in. Then you can hit those segmented audiences with more specific retargeting ads.
It’s important to set a measurable goal when testing. Let’s say you’re trying to understand if your products appeal more to women or men. Send ads to both groups equally, and measure performance with a metric such as click through rate or conversion rate. If women seem to drive a higher conversion rate for a particular product, break men and women out into separate audiences and allocate proportionately more ad spend to the female audience. This is one simple example; but there are countless ways to run this same sort of test based on the segmentation factors you believe could apply to your particular campaign.
Never stop analyzing
It’s important to continually analyze these different sorts of user trends, as things can change over time and new segments may emerge. Moving forward, allocate a small portion of your marketing budget to testing ongoing so that you can make sure you're capitalizing on emerging segments and keeping your audience fresh.
Streamline analysis with MarinOne
If you create strong audience segments and send the right message to each segment, you’re sure to win in performance marketing. With so much data to navigate when analyzing the unique performance of your various market segments, it's best to bring it all together in a powerful tool like MarinOne. MarinOne makes your life easier by enabling you to optimize campaigns in bulk, pivot bidding types on the fly, and get a holistic view of all your paid media campaigns in one place. Start your journey to better market segmentation and great advertising performance with MarinOne today. Our team of experienced marketers is ready to help you achieve your goals.
Apple Search Ads is a powerful acquisition tool for app marketing that has been around for several years. It’s a proven method that connects advertisers with a relevant target audience to increase conversions. Using Apple Search Ads, app developers can drastically improve their visibility in the App store, thereby gaining an edge over competitors. And with two different solutions offered—basic and advanced—advertisers can implement either simple or complex campaigns, depending on their organization’s goals.
While Apple Search Ads are a gateway for advertisers to convert more users, users are hyper-aware that companies are trying to glean as much information as they can to track them. Consequently, privacy settings in Apple’s mobile ecosystem are growing ever-more stringent. More and more users are tapping into Limit Ad Tracking (LAT), a simple but sophisticated feature that can be enabled on their mobile devices to prevent data collection by apps and to help maintain privacy rights. Limit Ad Tracking disrupted the advertising space simply by providing users the option to safeguard their personal data.
iPhone devices now make up approximately 45% of the US smartphone market and users are turning on Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) to feel safer. This means advertisers face new challenges as they launch their App Store search ads to connect with iOS users.
Share of Apple iPhone users in the U.S. from 2014 to 2021
What Is Limit Ad Tracking (LAT)?
Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) is a feature on Apple’s mobile OS that gives users a choice to opt out of having an ID for Advertisers (IDFA) and can be turned on from a user’s Settings app. When this setting is on, networks are unable to locate an identity associated with a device, and users who seek privacy protection do not receive unwanted targeted ads. While LAT doesn’t completely block ads, it prevents targeting users based on their behavior, and ad tech companies can’t collect as much data as they normally would if the setting is turned off. Rather, tracking is largely limited to contextual data points such as the device’s OS version, the app store subcategory, the version of the app, and so on.
LAT was the predecessor to App Tracking Transparency, or ATT. Both iterations are Apple’s way of letting users choose to decline personalized ads. Essentially, the opt-out prevents Apple Search Ads from recognizing the user as a returning customer and using their information to serve more relevant ads. While previously referred to as the Limit ad tracking (LAT tracking) feature, Apple’s verbiage of choice is now “personalized ads”. Instead of turning on LAT tracking to prevent personalized ads, users with iOS 14+ can simply turn off the personalized ads feature. Users who choose to guard their privacy with either version of the feature prevent advertisers from targeting them through any aspects of their Apple ID. This includes demographic and search data.
With so much riding on whether or not a user consents to personalized ads, you might be wondering if the initial ATT prompt is your only chance to acquire ATT consent. Users can turn off the “Allow Apps to Request to Track” option in their privacy settings. If they enable the requests, advertisers have one chance to request ATT permission. If the user denies the native ATT prompt, you don’t get another chance.
At this point, your only option is to provide information in your app informing users on the benefits of tracking, as well as how to adjust the settings to enable it.
Why It Matters for Advertisers
As more users enable the LAT feature on their devices, advertisers are being hit with a big challenge. Many users see LAT as a privacy-preserving tool. For advertisers, however, it reduces their ability to reach their target audience. The implications for marketers are not favorable; here are some of the reasons why.
As the mobile marketing era shifts, user information will no longer be automatically collected. Rather, the user will have to provide it voluntarily, either willingly offering their information or denying it. While users feel more secure using the LAT feature, mobile marketers are unable to access as much information as they were able to previously.
The App Store may remove an app that uses an iOS ad identifier outside its intended purpose—and understandably so. A user's Limit Ad Tracking settings should be respected.
If user privacy rights are violated, a developer's app risks its reputation, and users are likely to turn to competitors. The LAT feature has created new challenges for mobile marketers, urging them to step up their game or lose a user’s attention.
For opted-out users, lack of attribution makes it harder for advertisers to measure the success of campaigns.
Impact of LAT on attribution
Prior to iOS 10, companies did not have to honor the user’s LAT request. Apple also previously allowed companies to use permanent device identifiers (called universal device IDs or UDIDs) for frequency capping, attribution, conversion events, estimating the number of unique users, advertising fraud detection, and debugging. Once iOS 10 entered the picture, Apple began showing zeros in place of the user IDFA for those who selected LAT. IDFA stands for “identifier for advertisers” on Apple mobile devices. It’s like a web cookie, but for ad tracking. An IDFA notifies advertisers when an iPhone user takes a certain action on their ads or apps.
iOS 14 changed the game by only assigning IDFAs to those who explicitly opt into tracking. IDFAs let advertisers know when a user takes an action as a result of an ad. They’re also used for fraud detection. Post-iOS 14, advertisers have to use Apple’s SKANetwork (StoreKit Ad Network) to get attribution data per campaign and marketing channel without device-level data for privacy safety.
What to do about Apple’s App Tracking Transparency pop-up
After updating to iOS 15, users receive a prompt explaining what personalized ads are, equipped with buttons for the users to turn the feature on or off. Apple’s data on their first-part advertising efforts shows that when prompted, 78% of users opt to turn off the personalized ads feature. The same data revealed that the conversion rate between users with personalized ads on and off are practically identical. Advertisers report a 62.1% conversion rate for customers who opt in and a 62.5% conversion rate for those who opt out. In response to this data, Apple recommends developers target users with the feature disabled as they are far greater in number. Because there are more users with the feature disabled, bidding prices for that audience are lower.
How does LAT tracking affect campaigns
Advertisers who choose to target users based on demographic data like age or gender will not reach those who opt out of personalized ads. Those who don’t target using demographic information will automatically advertise to LAT-on users.
LAT-on users don’t share identifying information with Apple Search Ads. This includes age, gender, user behavior, etc. If you use these criteria to refine your audience, LAT-on users will be excluded.
Targeting LAT-on users is not an option. Advertisers can target either LAT-off users or both LAT-on and LAT-off users. Geographic targeting doesn’t exclude LAT-on users. Discovery campaigns can target LAT-on users, but advertisers will get this data at the ad group level rather than the keyword level.
Benefits of Limit Ad Tracking (LAT)
Even with the limitations that LAT poses, Apple search ads enable app marketers to reach their target audience on a global scale. Apple search ads are a very effective channel of advertising with very high user intent, and so the ongoing ad-blocking evolution still has advantages for mobile marketers.
Limit Ad Tracking improves cost per taps and cost per download.
Challenges/Drawbacks of Limit Ad Tracking (LAT)
Although there are many advantages to LAT, there are some obvious downsides. Without IDFA, behavioral targeting becomes impossible, leaving advertisers to depend on contextual targeting criteria. As a result of IDFA opt-in rates ranging from 4–13%, many organizations are seeking solutions that can provide accurate analytics, reporting, and attribution.
Worldwide Daily Opt-in Rates
For mobile marketers, tracking for LAT-on users is extremely limiting because a user’s data is off-limits unless they provide consent via App Tracking Transparency (ATT). Apple Search Ads ad groups with specific targeting (either age or gender-based) will be unable to reach users who have enabled LAT. Without a way to track LAT-on users, mobile marketers risk missing a quarter of the potential traffic.
As a result, by only being able to obtain install data from LAT-off users, mobile marketers suffer from data discrepancies that lead to an incomplete picture with a lower number of attributed conversions. Furthermore, turning on LAT can negatively affect the functionality of certain apps by disrupting advertisers’ ability to track revenue and other post-install metrics.
How advertisers can adapt
Possibly the biggest step advertisers can take to adapt as privacy preservation becomes more prevalent is to transition advertising measurement away from deterministic, user-centric models and instead use a holistic model that incorporates variations in ad spend and revenue to attribute efficiency to channel-specific ad campaigns.
Essentially, privacy preservation and ATT aren’t going anywhere. Workarounds are possible, however they are temporary. Eliminating the need to use extremely targeted ads simplifies the process of reaching target customers.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can use cutting-edge software to reach your customers more effectively, contact us. We’ll be happy to schedule a no-strings-attached demo of our solution for you today.
It’s hard to keep up with what’s new in the world of marketing with so many new strategies emerging every day. A decade ago, marketers focused on creating catchy ads and putting them in the right places at the right time. However, a lot of things have changed since then. For one thing, effective marketing now requires businesses to implement a more holistic approach.
With more competition than ever before, simply creating an ad won’t yield the best results. In this day and age, customers are more in control and are more discerning. You must understand your buyer, learn what they want, and develop a strategy to meet their needs. One of the best ways to do that? Precision marketing.
Read on to learn about precision marketing and gain meaningful insights and advice from one of our very own MarinOne digital advertising experts, Anu Adegbola, on how to create an effective strategy that will get your brand noticed and help you win your customers’ loyalty.
What is precision marketing?
Precision marketing uses data and relationship-building to precisely target a brand’s customers. The technique involves nurturing relationships—specifically, prioritizing existing customers over new ones and connecting with them in a more relevant way. It’s about customer retention, upselling, and cross-selling. Using precision marketing, marketers rely heavily on market segmentation to analyze shopper habits, behaviors, and other patterns to help increase the success of their marketing efforts while providing a better and more intelligent customer experience.
Why precision marketing is important
Marketing needs to be agile
The internet has made it easy for customers to respond to marketing campaigns and ads in real time. If you want to stay ahead of your competition, you need to be prepared to adapt quickly.
Marketing is more complex than it used to be
To thoroughly understand your customer base, you need more than just demographic information. While it’s helpful to know the basics of where and who your customers are, it’s just as critical to know what’s important to them, how they communicate with one another, and more. When you have accurate data, you’ll be able to create messaging that resonates with your key audiences.
Customers have high expectations
Customers expect their user experience to be frictionless. In this new digital age, they want what they want, when they want it. To ensure customer satisfaction it is critical to stay up-to-date with the latest marketing trends. If you don’t, your customers may look elsewhere, seeking out your competitors instead.
Marketing is no longer about copy that sells. While engaging ads are still very important, success now requires social insight along with an understanding of psychology. When you understand why customers are making their purchase decisions, you can develop a more tailored marketing strategy.
5 tips for an effective precision marketing strategy
Implementing an effective precision marketing strategy that produces results requires following a careful and comprehensive plan.
Engage with your customers
When promoting your product, don’t forget that commitment to your customer comes first, and their purchase comes second. Developing real relationships will help foster more brand loyalty along the way.
“If all you’re focusing on is getting clicks, you’re not going to get the return you’re looking for. It’s not all about volume—it’s about the right volume. You need to make sure you’re showing things to the right audience,” says MarinOne marketing expert, Anu Adegbola. “Those who have focused on just the data and not building a relationship with their clients won’t succeed because they don’t have the whole picture.”
Have a strong online presence
Besides having had a profound effect on marketing, social media has proven to be an essential part of a successful marketing strategy. Old marketing strategies like live events and cold calls may have worked in the past, but not now. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media platforms give you a way to connect with customers more personally.
Anu’s advice: “If you’re going to have a presence on a social platform, you need to do it well. Test the various platforms to see what’s working for your brand or company—if it’s not working for you, move on and find what does. Make sure you’re on the appropriate platform for your brand and your customers. If you’re in the wrong space, you may get a negative reaction.”
Offer real value to repeat customers
Customers respond well to brands that cater to their needs and consistently offer them real value. “It’s not just about targeting the single purchases, but it’s about building repeat customers,” Anu explains. Make lifecycle marketing an integral part of your precision marketing strategy by creating interesting and dynamic content that brings your precisely targeted customers back to your brand again and again. Personalized offers that relate to past products they've bought, birthdays, or unique interests are all great ways to get repeat purchases from the same customer over time.
Customers appreciate authenticity. Understand where your brand sits in the market and what makes it unique. To be effective, know your brand values and make sure you represent those values through your marketing efforts. It also helps to have an approachable brand voice–test out multiple variants of landing page or ad copy when running a targeted campaign. Most likely the assets that will perform the best will be the most simple to comprehend; making things too complex increases the likelihood that you'll lose interest by those unfamiliar with your brand.
Create a desirable customer experience
Customers today live in a digital world with unlimited options. Give them a compelling reason to work with you. By delivering an exceptional customer experience, you can win their trust and expect that they will keep coming back.
“You need to make things easy for the customer,” suggests Anu. “For example, if the return process is easy, they’ll come back to shop again, and hopefully buy something even more expensive the next time they shop with you.”
5 keys for success in brand loyalty
Here are some of the best ways to get in front of your customers and build their loyalty.
Maintain a strong brand
Customers naturally gravitate towards brands they’re familiar with and can trust. Aim to align your brand with your values, mission, and your customers’ expectations.
Understand your audience’s habits
Use precision marketing to gain accurate insight into your audience’s behaviors. When used effectively, audience data can help you create content that is engaging and relevant.
Stick to your goals
Setting realistic goals will make it easier for you to track the success of your marketing efforts. By measuring what’s working and what’s not, you can adjust your goals accordingly. Consider evaluating click through rates, the number of email newsletter subscribers, how effective CTAs are working, as well as ups and downs in website traffic.
Make retention a priority
While it's good to attract new customers, it’s far more cost effective to focus on retaining your existing ones. The goal is to have people keep coming back. To drive more conversions, focus on creating personalized experiences and deals that your existing customers will find appealing. Segment your audiences, collect data about each audience group and their behavior, and you’re sure to be on your way to higher retention rates.
Stay on top of trends
You may already be aware that marketing trends change frequently. Staying on top of trends—even if they come and go—gives you a competitive advantage and helps you maintain a close connection with customers. When a new trend pops up, assess whether it will be effective for your brand. To make sure you're in the loop, read current blogs and listen to your customers so you can meet their needs.
Use MarinOne to boost your precision marketing efforts
The marketing industry is constantly evolving and it will continue to do so in the years to come. To remain responsive, marketers must use precision marketing to build solid relationships with their existing customers and attract the right audiences for new potential customers.
MarinOne can help you streamline and amplify your precision marketing campaigns using the latest analytics and automation tools. We can also provide tactical and strategic advice, guide you on what strategies will work best for your specific needs, and much more. Learn more about MarinOne today.
Get in touch with one of our experts to see how we can help you get the information and tools you need to increase the effectiveness of your precision marketing campaigns.
As most performance marketers will tell you, knowing your audience and how they interact with your brand is crucial to help you measure and optimize your campaigns. While advertisers used to rely on guesswork in devising strategies to reach more prospects, they can now confidently make informed decisions based on real-time data, thanks to tracking pixels.
Tracking pixels are crucial when you’re thinking about campaign planning, targeting, and optimization. Although pixels are simply small snippets of code on the backend of your website, they have the power to transform your entire marketing strategy. In this article, we’ll break down the basics of pixel tracking, how it works, the different types, and how you can start using pixels properly for any kind of marketing campaign.
What is a tracking pixel?
Simply put, a tracking pixel is an HTML code snippet embedded in a site or email. Although it’s a nearly invisible component of the site, it contains a tag that tracks user behavior—things like the pages they’ve visited, the actions they’ve taken, and their purchasing history. This is powerful because it can capture important information that reveals consumer interactions with advertising and other marketing efforts.
How does a tracking pixel work?
A pixel code is added to your site’s HTML code or email.
A user’s browser processes the HTML code when they visit your website.
The browser then follows the link stored in the code and opens the graphic.
The server registers this activity within its log files.
The data is then available to analyze.
What are the different types of tracking pixels?
There are a few different types of tracking pixels:
Conversion pixels focus on what happens once your targeted audience interacts with your ads. They inform you of the products customers added to their cart, which contact forms they completed and submitted, and what they bought, among other things.
Impression pixels measure the number of times an ad unit displays on a customer’s screen. The goal of these pixels is to provide you with a precise number of impressions that have been served so you can determine whether an ad is successful.
Retargeting pixels track the behavior of your site’s previous visitors so you can tailor ads to suit their particular interests.
Click tracking pixels allow you to see the exact number of clicks on your URL, email links, ads, or text links, which helps you understand which sites are generating the most clicks.
What’s the difference between a pixel, a cookie, and a tag?
We could spend a great deal of time on the distinction between various types of tracking codes. For those just trying to get a basic understanding, however, here’s a brief overview.
Pixels allow you to follow users on all their devices, linking marketing efforts across your mobile ads and website. Because they don’t rely on an individual’s browser, users can’t disable them. Pixels are useful for tracking conversions on your landing pages, partner sites, and even affiliate networks.
Cookies, on the other hand, are saved in a user’s browser. Unlike pixels, users can disable, block, or clear cookies as they choose. Cookies are most commonly used to create an easier login experience and also for adding multiple items to a visitor’s cart for a single checkout.
Tags are often used interchangeably with pixels. Defined loosely, tags are the keywords that describe elements on a page and all their attributes.
While all three are different, they are all used to capture user information so you can deliver a more customized web experience for your site’s visitors.
When I am planning a new campaign, which things should I pixel?
Key landing pages: Adding a pixel to key landing pages such as a “contact us” page can make a difference to your conversion lifecycle.
Home page: A pixel here will help you figure out which visitors are coming to your site.
View product: This pixel will help give you insight into who is looking at your products but not actually purchasing them.
Add to cart: Adding a pixel further down the funnel at the “add to cart” phase of the lifecycle is intended to track your high buying potential audience.
Lead forms: Placing a pixel on the start button of your lead form will help you determine the percentage of users who complete the form. You can also add one to the confirmation page. This pixel placement will also help you understand any upper funnel interaction from your campaign or different tactics.
Before getting started, here are some helpful tips to consider.
Be intentional. Be selective with your pixel usage. You don’t need to attach a pixel to every single web page. Rather than casting a wide net with your tracking data, work on refining your focus, which will result in more accurate user data. Quality over quantity is key here.
Track pixel frequencies cautiously. They can make your site slower—and slow load times will make users more likely to leave. Keep in mind that users can’t see a tracking pixel, so if it’s the last item to load on a page, that’s quite okay.
Don’t lose sight of your targeted campaigns. Stay focused on your target audience. Don’t waste tracking pixels on demographics you’re not aiming for.
Respect users’ privacy. While you may not like the idea of users opting out of tracking, respect their choice. Even though you have good intentions, some users prefer that their movements go unwatched.
Monitor ad performance. Identify which ads are resonating best with your audience. Tracking pixels can help determine which ads perform well so you can create content that your audience responds to and optimize your online ad spend.
Use a platform that provides detailed reports. To track your marketing performance and analyze information such as digital ad impressions, email responses, social media conversion rates, and other types of activity related to your campaign, choose a platform that can do it all for you. Eliminating the guesswork from your tracking pixel strategy will enable you to see real-time results and also allows you to make adjustments quickly.
Set up tracking parameters. Implementing tracking parameters can help you discover which channels are producing high conversion rates, which campaigns are successful, which creatives are performing well, and much more.
Ready to get started with pixel tracking?
MarinOne can help. Our Marin Tracker is a conversion tracking solution with optimization tools built into its platform to give you a better understanding of your buying cycle.
We help you make data-driven marketing decisions by unifying your campaign data with sales outcomes and machine learning. Our tracker makes it easy for you to measure your revenue impact from all of your digital marketing efforts.
Save time managing tracking codes so you can spend more time on what matters most—driving your campaigns with rich insights.
Tracking pixels can give you the edge you need if you’re ready to take your online advertising or latest campaign to the next level. Get in touch with one of our experts about how we can help you set up, plan, execute, and optimize your campaigns.
This is a story about people doing bad things on the internet. It’s not the first and certainly won’t be the last. We decided to tell our story to help prevent others from becoming victims. Of course we don’t want people misusing our brand, but the people who have spent their precious time and lost money in this are the real victims and are the ones we are looking to protect.
It started with a DM
We started getting strange messages to our social media accounts and various company email addresses asking “is this project real?” The project: Translation work from somebody who is using a name very similar to ours and our company logo.
This has nothing to do with our company (if you look closely, you can see the misspelled name). We responded to these inquiries letting the email senders know the project was not real and that they should not communicate with these Scammers (I’d really prefer to use a stronger term here, but my editor would not allow it). We also let the platforms where these conversations originated know what was happening.
As we received more messages, some of them became more urgent. Some of these new Victims were panicked because they had done the work and then sent money to the Scammers. One of them had sent $1,500.
How does this work?
We believe that these scams start with a job posting on sites like Freelancer.com and Upwork. The Scammer then asks the Victim to move their communications off the original platform and to communicate directly through Telegram or another messaging platform, including email.
The Victim is given work that seems legitimate, and completes the task. When the Victim seeks payment, the Scammer then requires the Victim to establish an account for payment, which requires the Victim to send an “account registration fee” to the Scammer. This advance-fee scam is not new. Similar scams have been around in various forms for decades or longer, including the Spanish Prisoner and Nigerian Prince scams.
The Scammer promises that the account registration fee will be refunded upon the Scammer’s payment for the Victim’s work. At this point, many of the Victims realize that they have fallen for a scam. But some Victims, having already done some work and not wanting to walk away from a potential payment, go ahead and pay the account registration fee. A behavioral psychologist might refer to this as an escalation of commitment or sunk-cost fallacy.
In a few cases, the Scammer further escalates the commitment by asking the Victim to make an additional payment to link their account.
How can freelancers protect themselves?
The first thing that people can do when working on freelance projects is to always work through the platforms. They have established policies in place to ensure that payment happens once the job is completed and that payment should happen directly through the platform. Being asked to move communication to email or another platform should be a red flag.
Secondly, there is absolutely no reason that we can think of where a legitimate company would ask you to provide payment in order to get paid. If it sounds like it doesn't make sense, it probably doesn't.
Third: watch out for projects that look too good to be true. The pay for the projects that we've seen were quite generous and this of course gets people more interested. If it seems like you are being overpaid for the amount of work involved, keep your guard up.
There are many articles and videos with additional advice on what to watch for.
What are you doing to stop this? What can other companies do?
We aim to work with the freelance platforms and relevant law enforcement to try to prevent these types of scams from happening. Below are some contacts and links that we used so you can use them if needed. If you become aware of a scam online posting, please report the posting and/or the user to the relevant platform.
Also, provide a way for people to contact you. People who have lost money are very resourceful about getting in touch with someone who can help. We have seen direct messages on social networks, emails to every alias listed on our website, and well as personal telephone outreach to team members and their families. By posting a link on our Contact Us page, we have made it easier for people to connect with our legal team and get additional information.
Open request to freelancing platforms
As we discussed how to handle this internally, one of the things that we think could provide a significant Improvement in the freelance ecosystem would be to allow companies to become certified. This would be similar to the blue check on Twitter. This way, a freelancer would know that the job is legitimate and coming from the official company account. It seems like a step in the right direction. It appears there is something similar for individuals, but we couldn’t find anything for companies.
We are not experts in this area, so there may be other things in place or better ways to solve this problem. We'd love to start a discussion about how we can do that. For now, know that Marin's cyber security practices are strong. If we need any freelance assistance, we will not be contacting anyone through Telegram or Whatsapp.
As we live in a world with increasingly remote employees, we expect that we will all face more of these types of threats. We all should keep our guards up.
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!
As a business leader, staying ahead of the curve is key to success. It can also be challenging trying to keep up with all the latest changes in marketing.
To help you on your way, we've put together this comprehensive guide on display ads—complete with everything you need to know about this ever-evolving advertising format. Read on to learn more.
What are display ads?
Display ads are a type of online advertising that use images, videos, or text to promote a product or service on websites and apps. These ads can appear in a variety of formats, including banner ads, interstitials, native ads, etc.
Display ads are an effective way to reach a wide audience with your marketing message. They can be used to raise awareness of your brand, drive traffic to your website, and generate leads and sales.
How do display ads work?
When a user visits a site with display advertising, a small piece of code called a pixel is placed on their browser. This pixel allows the ad server to identify the user and track their activity across different sites. Based on this data, the ad server will serve relevant ads to the user as they browse the web.
Display advertisers create a custom ad for a given site that includes relevant keywords about the site or offer. The ads are typically served by a third party based on the previous behavior of the user to increase relevance.
What are some examples of display ads?
Display ads can appear in many different forms including pop-up ads, side-banner ads, image ads, and more. You've definitely spotted them while clicking around (usually in the form of an ad for a site you've just visited that keeps following you around).
Let's take a look at the most common types of display ads
Image ad: This is the most common type of display ad and usually includes a static image with some text.
Video ad: Video ads are becoming increasingly popular and can be used to grab attention and convey a message more effectively than an image alone.
Native ad: This type of ad is designed to blend in with the surrounding content on a website or app. It is often less intrusive than other types of display ads and can be more effective as a result. The CTA (call to action) associated with native ads are usually regarding some kind of longer content piece, such as “Read the article about X topic.”
Pop-up ad: Pop-up ads are those that appear in a new window or tab when you click on a website. They can be effective in getting your message across, but they're also a bit annoying for the user—so use them sparingly. Important: choose sites that deploy them in a user-friendly way, or you could end up irritating the user, appearing spammy as a brand, and losing a sale.
What are the benefits of display ads?
There are several reasons you might want to use display ads as part of your marketing strategy. Here are some of the most common benefits:
They are eye-catching and familiarize your audience with your brand
They allow for remarketing opportunities
They make it possible to track and monitor the engagement and success of your campaign
What are the challenges of display ads?
Some things to keep in mind:
They can be intrusive and annoying for users, and that’s not good for your brand
They can be blocked by ad blockers
It can be difficult to stand out from the competition
Despite these challenges, display advertising can be a powerful tool for reaching your target audience and achieving your marketing goals if deployed correctly.
Important considerations to make before buying a campaign
Before you start your campaign, it’s important to first carefully research and weigh the pros and cons of the two main buying models.
Can be more difficult to target a specific demographic
If you’re looking to quickly reach a large audience and build brand awareness, CPM may be the better option. However, if you’re looking to drive conversions and sales, CPC may be a better choice.
When deciding which model to use for your campaign, don’t forget to consider your budget. CPM can be more expensive than CPC, so if you’re working with limited funds, you may want to consider using CPC.
Once you’ve decided which model to use, you can start planning your campaign. Take note of the following best practices:
Create compelling ad copy that stands out from the competition
Use attractive visuals that are relevant to your brand and product
Target your ads to a specific audience
Test different ad placements to see what works best
Monitor your campaign closely and make changes as needed
How to measure the effectiveness of display ads
If you don't know how you're doing, you can't improve—which is why measuring your ads is non-negotiable.
When measuring the success or failure of a display ad campaign, you'll need to track the appropriate metrics. Here are some of the key metrics to have on your radar, along with tips on how to measure each one:
Clicks: This metric measures how many times users have clicked on your ad. You can track clicks by using Google Analytics or another similar tool.
Click-through rate (CTR): This metric measures the percentage of people who see your ad and click on it. To calculate CTR, divide the number of clicks by the number of impressions. For instance, if your ad has been seen 1,000 times and clicked on 10 times, your CTR would be 1%.
Cost per click (CPC): This metric measures how much you're paying for each click on your ad. To calculate CPC, divide your total advertising spend by the number of clicks.
Conversions: This metric measures how many people who click on your ad go on to take the desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. You can track conversions by setting up conversion tracking in Google Analytics or another similar tool.
Cost per conversion: This metric measures how much you're paying for each conversion. To calculate cost per conversion, divide your total advertising spend by the number of conversions.
Once you've decided which metrics to track, you'll need to set up a system for tracking them. The best way to do this is by using Google Analytics or an ad management and analysis tool like MarinOne. By setting up event tracking, you can track how many people see your ad, click on it, and take the desired action.
Tips for making the most of your ad dollars
When spending money on display ads, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure your ad dollars are being spent wisely.
Use your chosen platform’s insights section to help determine your optimal times for posting on the platform
Carefully research the specific target market demographics before purchasing an ad campaign
Run split tests to identify what works best for your brand or product
Experiment with new avenues to figure out the best days, times, and even types of content for your ads
The best times for running an ad campaign on social media
There's been a lot of research into the best times to post on social media. As you can see, it varies by platform:
The most important thing to do is test your efforts and figure out what works for you. And remember to keep testing.
FAQs about display ads
What is the difference between an in-stream video ad and a banner ad?In-stream video ads are those that show up before, during, or after a video. Banner ads are static or animated images that usually appear in the sidebars or header/footer of a website.
What's the difference between an impression and a click? An impression is when your ad is seen by a user. A click is when a user clicks on your ad.
What's a good CTR for a display ad? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as it will vary depending on your specific goals and target audience. However, a CTR of 1% or higher is considered good.
What's a good CPC for a display ad? Again, there is no one right answer to this question. However, a CPC of $0.50 or less is generally considered to be good.
What is a pixel? A pixel is a small piece of code that allows you to track conversions, or specific actions people take on your website. Pixels can be used to track a variety of things, such as whether someone has added to a cart or initiated the checkout process.
What is an ad set? An ad set is a group of ads that share the same targeting, budget, schedule, and bid type. Ad sets allow you to control how much you're willing to spend on a daily or lifetime basis, as well as who will see your ads.
While it's always best to experiment with different strategies before making any major decisions, there are some criteria that your ads should meet to be considered successful. Meeting the criteria of your chosen social media platform, and using MarinOne’s ad management platform, is the best way to run a successful campaign.
MarinOne is an all-in-one ad management platform that helps marketers create, manage, and measure their display ads. It's a powerful tool that provides insights into what's working and what's not, so you can make adjustments and improve your results.
Earlier this year, Apple expanded their Apple Search Ads portfolio on the App Store by offering a placement in the “Suggested” section of the Search tab. So while app marketers have always been able to reach customers in the results after they search for keywords, now you can get your ads in front of users even before they search.
This functionality opens up “keyword-free” advertising, meaning your ads will show based on your target audience (location, age, gender, and device type), and the ad copy will be generated from App Store metadata.
Search tab campaigns are an easy way to help users discover apps they may not have intended to search for, and it also helps app marketers drive visibility and awareness at the right time (versus an always-on approach), while also topping up your conversions and audience pools.
So, does it work? The simple answer is yes! So let’s have a look at some strategies you can use to get the most out of Search tab ads.
When is the best time to run Search tab campaigns?
1. Seasonal periods (Black Friday, Holiday, end of season sales)
For retail, entertainment, and any app marketer impacted by seasonality, running a Search tab campaign can be a really effective way to drive sales during a short time period. You will be showing your ads to customers in your target audience before they search. Tactics like these help gain a competitive advantage by giving you maximum visibility.
2. Key business events (product and app launches, new entertainment or gaming releases)
Similar to seasonal periods, any business event can benefit from an additional boost, especially in a saturated market. Let’s say you are marketing a streaming entertainment app, and you have a new season of a streaming series launching soon — leveraging Search tab ads can build momentum by driving downloads in anticipation of the release date. Follow this up with a search results campaign with the show’s keywords, and you’ve got a one-two punch to maximize conversions.
3. Reaching specific audiences
Because Search tab ads use target audiences, they are a great way to reach new users, returning users, or users of your other apps. In the example above, for instance, perhaps you have users who fell off after the last season ended. Search tab ads can complement your integrated media plan: once you’ve raised awareness in the market, you can reach returning users at just the right time, reminding them to re-install before the next season starts.
4. Brand/awareness activity push
Of course, anyone can benefit from additional exposure, whether you are a well-known brand or just getting started. Most brands have budgets allocated towards competitor campaigns. These can be costly and quite often suffer from low conversion rates. By using Search tab campaigns to target specific audience types, you can drive added value, and help reach new customers. Think of them like an expansion pack to bidding on competitor terms.
How do I get started with Search tab campaigns?
Setting up a Search tab campaign is easy. The process is essentially the same as setting up a search results campaign, only you can skip the keyword miming and implementation step. Since there are no keywords in the campaign setup, Search Match is disabled. Apple Search Ads uses the assets you’ve already uploaded to your App Store product page (app name, icon, and subtitle) to create the ads, so there is no need to provide anything else.
As for pricing, ads are based on a cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) model. There is no minimum spend, and you can determine the maximum amount you’re willing to pay with an overall campaign budget as well as a daily cap. You’ll also be able to start, stop, or adjust campaigns any time.
MarinOne’s Apple Search Ads integration supercharges already powerful Apple Search Ads campaigns. From optimization to reporting, MarinOne offers unique advantages to app marketers. Advanced analytical grids provide flexible reporting within and across Apple Search Ads with unlimited data retention. MarinOne for Apple Search Ads also seamlessly integrates with BI Tools such as Tableau and Google Data Studio. Cross-channel reporting puts paid media metrics from search, social, display, and e-commerce all in one place, streamlining reporting workflows.
MarinOne also offers automated bidding leveraging advanced machine learning. Advertisers can also set custom bid modifiers for MarinOne Bidding to adjust to external signals, giving you more time saved on manually optimizing campaigns, better performance, and happier clients. Budget pacing, forecasting, performance insights, and recommendations make planning and management a breeze. Plus, cross-account edits and manual keyword bid overrides give marketers full control over their campaigns. Advertisers can also integrate MMP data and optimize toward post download metrics.
As Search tab campaigns are best used to reach particular audiences and drive tap throughs during specific periods, any comparison to always-on activity is somewhat misguided. By incorporating both Search tab campaigns and search results campaigns into your overall media plan, you can reap the benefits of incremental growth, reach and additional exposure.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard about Facebook’s announcement that certain detailed targeting options will be sunset in early 2022.
Here’s a quick review of the news straight from Facebook:
“Starting January 19, 2022 we will remove Detailed Targeting options that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.
Health causes (e.g., ‘Lung cancer awareness’, ‘World Diabetes Day’, ‘Chemotherapy’)
Sexual orientation (e.g., ‘same-sex marriage’ and ‘LGBT culture’)
Religious practices and groups (e.g., ‘Catholic Church’ and ‘Jewish holidays’)
Political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and figures ”
While some are supportive of this change, other marketers are concerned about the implications for companies that leverage this targeting in light of an already rapidly changing advertising landscape. Cause-based organizations, political parties, healthcare brands, and many others will need to change tack in how they communicate with their audiences.
In the same announcement, Facebook also teased that they’re working on additional Ad Controls to enable users to see fewer ads related to gambling, weight loss, and other unspecified categories. They also reminded marketers that users currently have the ability to see fewer ads related to politics, parenting, alcohol, and pets.
So why’d they do it?
This latest announcement comes on the heels of escalating public scrutiny, FTC antitrust suits, and steadily increasing concerns around consumer privacy. Not to mention a huge rebrand. Facebook, er, Meta has had a busy few years.
In the announcement, Facebook states that they “heard concerns from experts that targeting options like these could be used in ways that lead to negative experiences for people in underrepresented groups.” While this move might pose a challenge for advertisers who use these detailed targeting options benevolently, Facebook’s move also removes the possibility that they will be misused.
Especially in a time of heightened scrutiny, it makes sense why Facebook would prioritize reducing the possibility of perceived negative experiences on the platform. Continuing to make Facebook an attractive option for social media users works in advertisers’ best interests as well.
What Advertisers Can Do (And How Marin Social Can Help)
Facebook’s announcement comes with several suggestions:
Leveraging Engagement Custom Audiences to capture relevant intent on Facebook-owned properties. Targeting users who currently like your page or users who watched one of your videos in the news feed are a few examples. Facebook also suggests using these audiences as a seed list to create a lookalike audience.
Remember the 2-Second Video Viewer audience that is no longer available on Facebook? Marin Social still offers this option so you can get even more out of your Engagement Custom Audiences.
Website Custom Audiences can still be used to target customers who interact with a company’s website (and can also be used as a seed list for a Lookalike Audience).
Want to take your custom audiences to the next level? Marin Social offers Enhanced Website Custom Audiences, which integrates rules to automatically segment your audiences based on parameters you build. Save time and find your most valuable audiences seamlessly!
Location targeting is suggested to help brick-and-mortar retailers reach customers around their locations.
Marin Social offers “Location Clusters”, which lets you group together your target locations in one fell swoop for easy use in campaigns. All of the marketers who spend hours quality checking location groups can breathe a sigh of relief.
Customer lists are a great way to connect with customers (if you have their permission to do so). Try segmenting your customer lists and customizing messaging to get the most out of using customer lists.
For marketers whose campaigns are impacted by Facebooks’ upcoming targeting changes, Marin Software’s social marketing experts are here to help you through the transition. Click here to schedule a demo with us and learn more about what Marin can do for you!
Brands can now optimize Target Product Ads in MarinOne’s cross-channel ad management platform
There’s a reason so many consumers shop on Target.com and the Target app: the guest experience. Target has invested heavily over the last few years in making online shopping easy, convenient, affordable, and enjoyable for its millions of shoppers.
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.
With increasing data privacy restrictions, it is becoming more difficult to reach your intended audience on Facebook. These updates have included the removal for Partner Categories, iOS14, and in 2023, the removal of cookies from Google Chrome. With each piece of the Facebook marketing funnel likely to see an increase in cost, finding a solution and ensuring the right eyes are seeing your ads has never been more important.
MarinOne Enhanced Social Audiences can help by increasing the size of your prospecting net and strengthening retargeting audiences during. Through a partnership with Experian, Marin Software can enable Partner Categories and pair it with our easy to use, large scale campaign management platform; allowing you to build campaigns rapidly and assure those most likely to convert are seeing your content.
How will this help me in navigating iOS14?
By asking users to opt in to data targeting from Facebook, this could drastically decrease audience sizes. Data file uploads (either customer lists or 3rd party options) are necessary to assure your entire Facebook marketing funnel is working as efficiently as possible. The MarinOne Enhanced Social Audiences available are a direct file upload to Facebook and will not be impacted by iOS14 and will provide another avenue to target customers.
How can this help in the cookieless world?
Similar to iOS14, this will disproportionately hurt Website Custom Audiences more than any other targeting method. Data file uploads are not reliant on cookies or pixels and can help combat audience degradation.
Will this save me time?
Yes, in a couple ways. First, by working with the Experian and Marin Social teams you will be able to combine efforts in determining the best audiences to target (or exclude) for campaigns and brainstorm the best mix for your needs. Secondly, there is no need for a separate contract with Experian. Audience costs will be included as a line item within your Marin Software bill, limiting the number of internal approvals necessary to begin running campaigns against these audiences.
How can I sign up?
If you are interested in learning more, click here to connect with a sales representative - Marin Software Social clients will have terms included within your current agreement. For existing Marin Social clients, reach out to your Account Representative to set up a call today!
Increasing the reach of your Facebook campaigns can be challenging due to a variety of factors outside of your control as a digital marketer, such as spending more money, changing your end goal, or altering the Facebook algorithm. Since updating campaigns based on those components is usually unrealistic, you can consider these five recommendations--all of which can be used immediately, and in any combination, but do not replace testing each element of your campaigns on a regular basis.
It’s easy to get tunnel vision around your top performing audiences and run those until the wheels fall off. But when your remarketing audience and your favorite prospecting audience are fully taxed, you will eventually be unable to pull any more value out of them. When the reach of your campaigns grows stale and the cost for reaching that next potential customer is not sustainable, it’s time to find new relevant audiences.
There are three easy avenues for uncovering new audiences that have endless possibilities. First: lookalike audiences. Even if you are already running one lookalike audience, you can still adjust the percentage of similarity to find new prospects. If you are concerned about moving too far from that initial high-value seed audience, you can use banded lookalike audiences and combine multiple levels; for example, a 3-5% banded lookalike audience.
Second: brainstorming additional interests to include in prospecting. Don’t limit yourself to just one way of thinking. Set up audiences around competitor targeting, complimentary companies, or demographic specific interests.
Finally, Marin Software offers a program called Automatic Search Intent. By breaking down that barrier between Search and Social, we are able to automatically build campaigns based on similar keywords to expand your retargeting and lookalike options.
It is possible to be too hands-on with your campaign mix. Checking daily on performance-by-placement and making decisions to eliminate the lowest performing ads by clicks, spend, or impressions will take a negative toll on your reach. Facebook wants your campaigns to be successful because, after all, the better you perform, the more you’re likely to spend on new ads. Because of this, placements that are under-performing already receive a fraction of the stronger placements. Additionally, there’s a limited amount of ad space inventory available. The option for your ad to run isn’t necessarily a Right Column ad vs. a Newsfeed ad; it’s typically that Right Column ad vs. not serving at all.
Reducing Text in Images
Gone are the days of your ads being denied if text filled more than 20% of the image. However, that doesn’t mean you are free to fill the image of your ad with an overabundance of text. If your ad is more than 20% text, Facebook will reduce the reach of your ad, driving the cost of doing business up. Avoid this problem by using text sparingly throughout the image of the ad and fully utilizing the text fields available. If you really have a lot to say about your product or service, provide that on a landing page. Those who are interested in your offering will click to learn more.
Creating Relevant Ads
Last year, Facebook phased out its metric of Relevance Score and replaced it with: Quality Ranking, Engagement Rate Ranking, and Conversion Rate Ranking. These three rankings specifically factor in the audience used, comparing your performance to those targeting similar audiences. Ad relevance goes beyond these scores, since Facebook is often the first time a potential customer has heard of your business. Being vague or misleading to drive traffic to your website, or misrepresenting your offering on Facebook, will begin to limit the number of people you are able to reach. When building your ads, think about what solution you are looking to provide and whether every piece of your creative aids in that goal.
Include High Funnel Activity in Your Ad Mix
We recently posted a blog about how to build a social media marketing funnel. In that blog, we discuss the importance of including top-of-funnel objectives, so that not every ad is pushing for those more expensive conversion goals regardless of where the prospective customer came from. Including a top-of-funnel objective, like video views or engagement, can dramatically increase your reach. The average number of times a prospect needs to see an ad before becoming a customer, but regardless of what that number is, it’s rarely the first time your ad is served. By making the first couple touches a $0.01 video view instead of a $1.00 link click, you can build that reach without breaking the bank.
Using these five ways to improve the reach of your campaigns opens up the ability to thoroughly test your ads, reduce the cost of getting in front of your audiences, and maximize down-funnel events. Facebook campaigns reward innovation, and running the same ad to the same audience for any extended period of time begins to provide diminishing returns. Instead of waiting for your ads to dip in performance, start implementing these tips to add growth and longevity to your Facebook ads.
Finally, Marin Software has a managed service offering. Included in that, our team will review existing campaigns and set up new efficiencies to increase your reach. Learn more about our Managed Services offering and schedule a demo today!
“How can I improve the quality of leads for my sales team?” It’s a question I hear in nearly every conversation with a lead-focused marketer. Coupled with measuring ROI and longer sales cycles, difficulty obtaining enough quality leads is an ongoing battle for marketers in the automotive, real estate, B2B, insurance, and finance industries.
The balancing act between lead volume, lead quality, and lead cost is the triad we’re all trying to solve for. Each business is unique and needs to figure out the optimal equilibrium for these crucial metrics while, at the same time, focusing on optimizing them.
Whether your business is predominantly focused on Volume, Quality or Cost, Marin Software is equipped with solutions that can increase the performance of your B2B Lead Gen activities in each of these areas, so that you can generate a higher ROI and reduce wasted time and financial cost
Solving for Long Sales Cycles & Multiple Touchpoints
A study by Miller Heiman Group, leveraging data stretching back to 2014, comments on how three-quarters of B2B sales to new customers take at least 4 months to close, with almost half taking seven months or more. This timeline of course varies on industry, product, price and on-boarding cost for the product or service; however, the sentiment is there: the challenges with a longer decision-making process are much higher.
As a marketer, you are likely familiar with a purchase funnel and the various touchpoints in a customer journey. The stages vary per business, but typically include awareness, interest, desire, and action. So whether it’s the initial Contact Us or White Paper Download, the single or many phone conversations for additional information, or the final purchase, it can be challenging for marketers to combine these touchpoints into a holistic strategy.
Marin’s Full Funnel Bidding addresses this challenge. Marin’s full funnel approach allows for a bespoke bid strategy to accommodate the latency and multiple touchpoints we often see in the purchase cycle. This allows advertisers to dynamically set more aggressive CPA targets for leads that have higher propensity to convert to a sale.
Marketers are tasked with optimizing to the volume of leads coming into the top of the funnel while also managing the revenue or value of the lead. With MarinOne’s Full Funnel Optimization, touchpoints can receive revenue credit no matter where in the funnel.
Analytics to Action
If your business is not already capturing a Lead Score, I highly encourage you to start leveraging this methodology. This means ranking leads in order to determine their sales-readiness. You score leads based on the interest they show in your business, their current place in the buying cycle, and their fit in regard to your business. Understanding the quality of your leads by working on your internal metrics is pivotal.
In addition to that, it’s often the case that some PPC keywords or certain social creatives will drive a higher quality lead. Advertisers should be capturing this level of granularity, and then passing it into their optimization engine to capitalize on incremental lift and performance.
For example, an enterprise-level SaaS business may be leveraging two keywords: “ERP Software,” and “ERP Enterprise Solutions.” In this instance, both keywords are upper-funnel, and in many ways very similar. However, let’s imagine the term “ERP Enterprise Solutions” drives a higher revenue value per subscription and a higher renewal rate, thus increasing its Lead Score. Advertisers should be capitalizing on this granularity by applying agile modifiers. In this example, we recommend applying a Bid Boost Modifier to increase the bid value by 10%.
The lead generation game is fluid. The campaign structure we take today may not be successful tomorrow. Thus we need to be agile and flexible with the ability to automate optimization modifiers on the fly.
Marin Software can layer bid modifiers across any data point or signals, including Lead Score.
Budget Allocation & Forecasting
As marketers, we may often be tasked with “driving more calls” or “generating more downloads for the whitepaper.” Our partners in Sales & Operations often don’t understand the intricacies of simply driving more of a certain touchpoint.
On top of optimization modifiers, we at Marin Software have developed Budget & Forecasting techniques to support you during these demands for shifts. They help you evaluate new optimization opportunities before testing them out in the real world, and help you invest more of your marketing spend into campaigns and channels with increased upside potential. No more over-allocating to the wrong channels or tactics that don't produce qualified results. This information is not only helpful to us as marketers, but can also support advertisers’ conversations with internal stakeholders.
Understanding how to improve lead quality for your PPC campaign isn’t always obvious. Yet, there are simple ways in which Marin Software can provide support:
Consulting on your internal Lead Scoring process and ingesting that into your Bid Calculations.
Evaluating your consumer journey and feeding any latency expectations into the algorithmic engine to ensure total efficiencies across channels.
Layering agile and bespoke modifiers across channels to optimize toward the areas of your campaigns that drive higher quality engagements.
Leveraging advanced forecasting and scenario-planning tools to help you respond quickly to changing market conditions.
Ready to take action on generating higher quality leads? Schedule a demo with one of our account representatives today!
Setting up a funnel for your social media channels is a vital step for sustainable, long-term growth. For marketers, it's valuable to understand the path that your customers move through at each point of the user journey, from the moment they become aware of your brand, to their first purchase, to their evolution into a repeat and loyal customer. In this article, we will cover why you should build a funnel, what to consider while setting it up, and how to monitor the funnel’s success. The objectives referred to will be Facebook-specific, but this model can and should be implemented on any social channel that can incorporate retargeting.
Why You Need a Funnel
It’s convenient to build a set of campaigns to help achieve your ultimate goal of conversions or purchases. The strategy makes reporting easy to navigate and gives you a clear view of which campaigns are performing well, and which ones need to be fixed. But when performance begins to lag behind, there isn’t enough data available to make an informed decision, or your prized retargeting audience starts to outpace your organic traffic, a funnel can help change your trajectory.
The primary goal of a funnel is to feed your favorite retargeting audiences, while weeding out those unlikely to convert. Wasting money on clicks from those that don’t know who you are, who don’t trust your website, or have no intent to use your product or service, does not lend itself to growth. And while increasing social media spend exclusively for lower-funnel conversion campaigns is the obvious thing to do, you also need to think more strategically and guide prospects through a series of steps to get them to take the actions you want. A good marketing funnel will nurture its prospects with relevant messaging at every stage, resulting in incremental performance, more brand loyalty, and less wasted ad spend.
The Four Stages of a Funnel
In its early days, social media was primarily known as a brand awareness tool. However, more recently, and especially in light of COVID-19, its power to influence individuals and build their relationships with brands has become more apparent. After all, someone may become a brand advocate of your company through various touchpoints and interactions.
With today’s customer journey being more multi-dimensional, the marketing funnel is as applicable today as it has ever been. Social media’s ability to influence every single part of the funnel makes it a powerful tool for today’s businesses, particularly those in the consumer market.
Creating a Funnel for Your Facebook Campaigns
Facebook advertising presents a perfect example of how social media can be used throughout the customer journey. Facebook’s ad objectives are already categorized by the different stages we’ve highlighted above, and its ad types are specifically used for engaging users at the various stages.
Your social media funnel will likely start off as a simple structure with only 2-3 steps in the user journey. Things to consider when structuring your funnel are the difficulty and likelihood for the potential customer to complete an action. For example, watching a video on Facebook is easy and frequent, but taking out your credit card to buy a product on a website off of Facebook is difficult and rare (comparatively).
For this example, we will also include a step in the middle: Landing Page Views, which are less common than video views, but more common than website purchases.
So, we have our customer journey:
However, we don’t quite have that funnel shape. If we target the same audience for all three of our campaigns, the cost will be similar to if we never set up a funnel, and we may actually drive up costs by bidding against ourselves. To prevent this issue, we need to use Custom Audiences. The top of the funnel should be as broad as it can be, while still being relevant to your goal. The middle should be targeted to audiences that have shown some interest, like watching 25% of the video, while the bottom of the funnel should be reserved for those that have made it to your website and taken action.
Building these audiences take time and, in many cases, requires advertisers to start from scratch. You will also want to ensure that the potential reach of your audiences is sizable (Ads Manager provides audience summary information about the Audience Reach) and that you’ve set the right ad budget by evaluating product margins and monthly revenue goals.
Ongoing Success with a Social Media Marketing Funnel
Having diversified campaigns and audiences will now provide stability to performance and open a greater opportunity for testing. In addition to having a social media funnel setup, your reporting will likely change too. If your initial goal before was to increase revenue, that still remains the same, but remember to factor each step of the customer’s journey into your success metrics. The key to ongoing success is making sure your retargeting audience is always being updated and that you are always reevaluating your tactics to make sure they align with the objective of each stage.
Marin Software has an in-house Managed Services team that can help you create your social media marketing funnel, optimize your audiences, build a set of recurring reports to ensure your goals are met, and much more. Learn more about our Managed Services offering and schedule a demo today!
Audience targeting is much like cooking—with the right ingredients, a few adjustments, and seasoning to taste, you can create something hearty and enticing. Like any good online recipe, we’ll start broad and dive into the details, and cover the options you have for building an excellent mixture of audience-enabled advertising campaigns.
And, while you can look at the faces of your dinner guests to assess the success—or failure—of your culinary handiwork, we recommend a more analytical approach for your ad campaigns.
What Is Audience Targeting?
Audiences are buckets of your users or customers, grouped based on your preferences. As an advertiser, you can create these buckets across every publisher where you sell your ads (Google Ads, Bing, Yandex, Facebook, etc.).
Once you build audiences, you can utilize them in different ways:
Reporting: This allows you to better understand consumer behaviors, e.g., which web page is driving the most traffic/revenue.
Bidding: Based on the data you’ve gathered, you can adjust your CPCs for advanced bidding.
Prospecting: You can create similar audiences based on your existing lists to target new users.
In this article, we focus on Google Ads audiences—however, you can use this audience approach across all search publishers. The main difference is usually the naming convention across Google Ads, Bing, Yandex, etc.
Where Do I Start?
If you’ve never worked with audiences before, the best way to start is to create Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs) and add these to all or top campaigns in Observation mode. This will allow you to gather data on your audiences, while keeping reach open for everyone performing a search query on your keywords.
You can set up RLSAs for specific pages of your website and based on rules—for example, a customer added items to the shopping cart, but didn’t complete the transaction in the last seven days. Generally, it’s a good practice to retarget your cart abandoners with a slightly higher bid, to remind them about their incomplete purchase.
Another good set of audiences are ones based on your top/desired web pages, for example:
Specific category / product line
Blog sections like “what to wear,” ”inspiration,” or “what’s trending this season”
Look at your website structure to determine the audiences to create.
Option two—category audiences
If you don’t know which pages to target or your business is still very new, publishers have an option to use pre-created audiences based on user interests. These are called in-marketaudiences, and represent the people interested in something specific such as travelling, cars, a particular industry, etc.
There are also demographic audiences that allow you to focus on gender and/or age range.
Option three—Customer Match
If your business has been in the market for a while and you have a list of loyal customers you’d like to retarget, all you need to do is upload your CRM list to the publisher and apply these audiences to your search campaigns.
Note that for legal and confidentiality reasons, all publishers encode user data upon upload.
Okay, I Have My Data—What’s Next?
Once you’ve identified which audiences deliver the most revenue for your campaigns, you can:
Start using them in bidding: Based on the most successful conversion rates (CVR), you can add bid adjustments for these audiences proportionally in your campaigns/groups.
Create specific retargeting campaigns: You can duplicate your existing campaigns, while adding top audiences to your campaigns and setting them in Targeting mode instead of Observation. This will restrict who sees these campaigns to people who fall into your audience buckets.
Create similar audiences: The publishers generate these audiences—they include people whose behavior is similar to the one identified in your existing audiences (RLSAs or CRM).
Piece of Cake… Or Is There More?
There’s always more! ;)
You can create and retarget audiences based on the people who spend above your average order value (note that this requires additional analytics tools like Google Analytics or Yandex.Metrica). Or, you can retarget search users who interacted with your social campaigns. Yet another option is combining your audiences with “competitors” campaigns, to drive people back to your website when they enter a competitor’s search term.
Good luck! If you have any questions or want more information, reach out to your Marin CS team. Or, if you’re new to Marin, schedule a demo today.
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.
“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.)
“Privacy” is a trending term in headlines and a pressing concern for the online public. With prominent news items like Cambridge Analytica’s data mining activities and third-party developers reading Google emails, people are increasingly concerned about the use and misuse of their personal information.
To address mounting fears, California passed the Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), following on the heels of the EU’s new GDPR guidelines. According to TrustArc, “the CCPA is set to be the toughest privacy law in the United States by broadly expanding the rights of consumers and requiring businesses within scope to be significantly more transparent about how they collect, use, and disclose personal information.”
How will the CCPA affect companies doing business with California residents?
The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 passed through the California legislature on June 28, 2018 without opposition. Set to take effect on January 1, 2020, the current version will definitely be revised before this date, with prominent tech companies like Facebook looking to weigh in and provide feedback.
How did we get here? Back in 1972, the California Constitution was amended to state that its constituents have a right to privacy. That amendment afforded every Californian a legal and enforceable right to privacy.
Almost a half a century later—in a world of over 200 billion emails, three billion online searches, and two hours per person spent on social media a day—people’s privacy needs have increased exponentially.
To address this reality, the CCPA grants consumers the right to request that a business disclose the categories and specific pieces of personal information it collects, how they collect it, and what third parties they share it with. As the bill itself states:
“Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to further Californians’ right to privacy by giving consumers an effective way to control their personal information, by ensuring the following rights:
(1) The right of Californians to know what personal information is being collected about them.
(2) The right of Californians to know whether their personal information is sold or disclosed and to whom.
(3) The right of Californians to say no to the sale of personal information.
(4) The right of Californians to access their personal information.
(5) The right of Californians to equal service and price, even if they exercise their privacy rights.”
That’s quite a legal mouthful, but what does it all mean specifically for digital advertisers?
Because of the GDPR, digital advertisers have already refined their processes to ensure compliance and consumer data safety. This includes mechanisms for fielding people’s requests for data access, deletion, and retrieval.
With the CCPA (notwithstanding AdExchanger calling it “GDPR-light”), there are a few additional things companies must do to make sure they’re protecting people’s data. Arguably the most significant part of the law for digital advertisers is a consumer’s ability to request deletion of their data and opt out of its sale—but the CCPA includes a definition of “personal information” that covers browsing and search history.
As far as scope goes, any company that does business with California residents—even if that company isn’t based in the state—must comply with the law. At the very least, this means many companies doing business in California will have to update their privacy policies and work practices to align with the new law when it comes into effect.
It’s important to note that companies have both a fix and an opportunity in front of them:
They can apply the “Spotify exemption,” which lets them offer services based on the information consumers provide them.
They can work with California lawmakers to influence the final legislation.
The law’s specifics are indeed likely to change by the time it’s rolled out on January 1, 2020. Despite an initial tech backlash, companies like Facebook are already weighing in on the changes. As Will Castleberry, Facebook's VP of state and local public policy, stated, Facebook is “working with policymakers on an approach that protects consumers and promotes responsible innovation.”
As other states frequently look to California’s outsized influence and precedents, there’s a good chance the CCPA could become the national gold standard through state-level legislation. (With the current federal administration going in the opposite direction and loosening data privacy rules, we don’t see it adopting anything like the CCPA or GDPR in the foreseeable future.)
Should digital advertisers be worried? We don’t think so, for a few reasons:
The GDPR is here and the industry is successfully adapting. There may be legal hiccups but we don’t expect them to have a lasting impact on a robust and thriving market.
From making data policies more transparent to changing third-party data access, the industry has proven itself to be highly adaptive and innovative, quickly implementing changes that new laws dictate.
Both the GDPR and CCPA can be seen as positive steps for protecting consumer privacy, while still allowing brands to connect with their customers and prospects with relevant messages.
As for our team at Marin Software, as we’ve mentioned before, our core working processes don’t rely on or store any personally identifiable information for the activity on our platform. So, our customers can already depend on solutions that deliver superior campaign performance while ensuring true data integrity and privacy.
Our team understands the importance of the CCPA and can analyze your particular cross-domain, sub-domain, or retargeting requirements. Our advice: continue to focus on creating meaningful, engaging, and relevant experiences for your customers and prospects. Contact us today if you’d like to discuss further.
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. :-)
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?
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.
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.
A marketer’s data is as good as gold. Certainly, there are number of ways to collect data via internal and external sources.
The most common data sources are first party and third party—first party data is essentially your data. It’s the information you collect directly from your customers or your website. In contrast, third party data comes from other sources—it’s data aggregated from a variety of sources.
Due to changes that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires, the future of third party data is uncertain. Under the GDPR, companies are required to inform consumers about the data they’re collecting, such as how they intend to use it and with whom they intend to share it. Given this change, there are concerns that this can lead to the end of third party data as we know it.
What Does This Mean for Marketers?
With all the shake-up around third party data, now’s the time to rethink your marketing strategy and utilize your first party data as much as possible. If your website is already tagged with a remarketing pixel for your various media platforms, then you’re off to a good start. Remarketing pixels are considered first party data since they capture the user’s behavior and activity while they’re on your website.
If you have a customer relationship management (CRM) system to help manage your customer information, then you likely have details about your customer’s past purchases and other interactions with your business. When used properly, you can leverage your remarketing audiences and CRM data to create targeted marketing lists to re-engage site visitors and past purchasers.
Incorporating First Party Data into Your Digital Media Strategy
Most advertisers are already familiar with the basics of remarketing and the importance of segmenting your data to re-engage users with relevant messaging across search and social platforms to increase conversion prospects. But by using your remarketing and CRM data, you can take your strategy to the next level by analyzing customer data and trends to home in on customer retention and repeat purchases, while also using that data to expand your reach to a targeted audience.
Here are some ideas to leverage your first party data and up your remarketing game across paid search and social:
Push upsells and cross-sells: Once a visitor converts, leverage CRM data to determine complementary products they may be interested in. For example, if a customer purchases a swimsuit, follow up with ads to sell them a beach towel or swim cover-up.
Re-engage seasonal shoppers: If you have a set of customers who only purchase during a certain time of year (such as holidays or summer), that’s okay! Create lists for these purchasers, and ramp up your marketing efforts for them during the time of year they’re most likely to convert. Also consider if there are other holidays or promotional events when it might make sense to re-engage these visitors.
Don’t forget about video: Video advertising is becoming more and more popular and it’s a great way to reach your audience. Consider using a sequential messaging strategy to build a story and keep users interested in your brand.
Expand your reach with lookalikes or similar audiences: Google and Facebook both have the ability to build a new audience based off your first party data. This is a great way to expand your reach and find users who are like your current customers.
While first party data may not offer as much opportunity to scale your marketing efforts as third party data, there’s still a lot of potential to leverage first party data to increase revenue and improve ROI. Put your customer data and insights to good use to refine your remarketing, retention, and acquisition strategies.
Audience optimization is one great way to ensure your social ad campaigns meet your goals. However, what’s involved with optimization, and what things should you keep in mind to maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns?
In this article, we discuss the main elements of audience optimization and how to set your social campaigns up for success.
Every audience has a life cycle. Depending on its size, budget, and campaign length, an audience will eventually grow tired of a campaign’s ads (i.e., fatigue). Naturally, a smaller audience (< 80,000) will fatigue quicker than a larger one.
The most efficient way to avoid audience fatigue is to keep things fresh and strategize for new audiences every seven to 14 days. In other words, understand audience fatigue and be able to optimize to avoid it. Audience fatigue is when an audience is overused, resulting in a high frequency, costly CPM, and declines in performance.
Audience overlap is another issue that social marketers face on a regular basis. This is a result of ad sets from the same advertiser ending up in the same auction, bidding against each other, and inevitably damaging performance. Having overlapping audiences can lead to poor delivery of your ad sets.
Additionally, averaging a high Ad Relevance Score can often be difficult, especially if you’re constantly trying to avoid overlap and fatigue. Facebook calculates the Ad Relevance Score based on the positive and negative feedback an ad receives from its target audience. In short, if your Relevance Score is high, your audience wants to see it, and if not—well, something’s wrong.
Ad Creative for Audiences
Facebook allows you to create Engagement Custom Audiences from four ad types:
An Engagement Custom Audience (ECA) is a Custom Audience made up of people who’ve interacted with your content on Facebook. “Engagement” refers to actions like viewing your video or opening your lead form on Canvas. These four variations of ad creative are also the most customer-friendly and engaging ad types. Where it’s relevant to your campaigns, use these ad types as much as possible.
Using ECAs, you can retarget ads to people who’ve shown intent by interacting with your video, canvas, or lead gen form. You can also use Engagement Custom Audiences as a source for a lookalike audience, which will let you find people similar to those who’ve engaged with content on Facebook.
There are a vast number of audiences available to advertisers. Start building these audiences and using an audience tracker (this can be a simple Excel spreadsheet; see example below) to understand how often and when they were last used.
For example, you may have audiences compiled from:
The Facebook pixel
Your CRM data
Leads from Facebook content (videos, slideshows, etc.)
Lookalike audiences are the Facebook feature when it comes to audience targeting. If you’re looking to scale your campaigns and more, it’s a must-consider option.
The Basics: What Is It and How Does It Work?
You can use lookalike targeting to find similar users to your core audience based on interests, click behavior, and conversion habits. The smaller the percentage of your core audience, the more similar your lookalike audience will be.
A lookalike percentage says, “Give me x% of the selected country users who are most similar to my seed audience.” For example, if you create a 1% lookalike in the US, the output will always be around 2.1 million profiles, since this is more or less 1% of the total number of Facebook users in the US.
However, depending on the seed audience, the profiles may greatly differ—for example, a 1% lookalike of your most valuable lifetime users will be different from a 1% lookalike of all website visitors. Therefore, seed quality is the most important factor for success.
You have several options from which to generate lookalike audiences:
Your custom audience (email lists, phone numbers, etc.)
Website Custom Audience
Campaign data (API-only feature)
A Few Size Guidelines
When segmenting/choosing seed audiences, think quality over quantity. Although quality can be subjective, there are a few generic size benchmarks (guidelines) for your seed audience.
Keep it under 50,000, since anything above this may see a drop in performance.
Keep it above 1,000.
For example, let’s take our previous 1% US lookalike. Our audience has 2.1 million people. When we create our lookalike audience, Facebook compares the people in this audience against how similar they are to our seed audience of less than 50,000. In other words, we’re magnifying the seed 40 times. If the seed isn’t high quality, then the magnification won’t produce the best audience.
As you can see, you have a lot of choices to test different audience types and associated performance. The key challenge is to segment and structure the audiences to avoid overlaps and achieve the best delivery.
Something to note: Since frequency caps limit the daily number of times you can deliver an ad to a user, lookalike audiences won’t increase your overall reach. And, you’ll have less predictability when it comes to which ad wins each auction.
There’s a way to overcome these challenges, however. Make sure your strategy includes nested lookalikes and smart exclusions. Let’s go into more detail.
Using Nested Lookalikes and Smart Exclusions
Let’s start with an example, where we exclude the next-highest percentage audience from our targeted lookalike audience. So, if you’re targeting lookalike 3% and lookalike 5%, then exclude the 3% audience from the campaign that’s targeting the 5% one.
With smart exclusions, we exclude the targeted audiences that we’re already using in other live campaigns. For example, if you’re running campaigns with 1% lookalike and 3% lookalike and want to launch a broader targeting campaign, then exclude the 3% lookalike.
Avoiding Campaign Redundancies and Fine-Tuning
When you’re planning your targeting strategy, make sure you’re segmenting your lookalike thresholds according to the value of the user, and excluding the targeted audiences from campaigns to avoid overlap. This’ll allow you to use lookalike audiences from different sources, increasing the overall reach and scalability of your campaigns.
For example, if you’re running a retargeting campaign based on a Website Custom Audience of all your site visitors, exclude this campaign from all of your acquisition initiatives, along with the associated lookalike audiences.
Here’s another scenario. Suppose you’re a travel website and the user funnel includes two conversions—registration and booking. You would segment the audiences based on your goals—perhaps based on the custom audience of the previous month's bookers, conversion pixel data, and Website Custom Audience of people who registered but didn’t book. Your segmentation would look like this:
Custom audience segmentation:
You can use all of these audiences for your acquisition campaigns, along with interest-based and other targeting options.
Here’s the final campaign planning structure for this example. This takes into account that retargeting campaigns are running based on your Website Custom Audiences.
Fine-tuned campaign planning structure:
Putting It All Together
Creating effective lookalike audiences takes a bit of cunning and patience, but it’s not rocket science. With continued practice, refinement, and measurement, you can scale your campaigns to ensure you’re targeting audiences with the most relevant ads at the most relevant time, in a way that works the best for your business. If you haven’t yet implemented this feature, we strongly recommend you get started today!
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:
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.
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.
Audience targeting gives marketers a powerful tool to tailor their message and build highly relevant ad campaigns for different customer segments. Layering “Audiences” on top of keywords drives better results than using keywords alone.
Consider a few results:
eharmony averaged 220% ROI after adopting an advertising strategy based on personalization and audience segments.
Ancestry’s smart audience utilization continues to increase its ROI and drive high-performance remarketing campaigns.
MoneySuperMarket discovered that delivering the right message at the right time was key to keeping customers happy and retaining their business.
Breaking Down Barriers to Success
Most marketers underutilize audience products today. In our conversations, we hear a number of recurring themes when we explore why this is happening.
Many advertisers say that “We don’t have a retargeting pixel installed” or “I don’t know where to start or how to test audiences.” The good news: After you set a baseline with Google Analytics, audience targeting is easy to implement and test to find the best configuration for your organization.
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.
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.
Google research shows that if you’re a search advertiser, you may be missing over 70% of potential mobile shoppers by relying on demographic targeting alone. On the other hand, if users are already familiar with your brand, they’re 20% more likely to convert.
How do you get people to discover you in the first place? And, how can you move beyond demographics to reach existing and potential customers more precisely and efficiently?
To ensure the success of your search ad campaigns, it makes sense to adopt a combination of audience targeting and smart bidding.
Tools of an Evolving Trade
There are a number of search ad formats designed to deliver specific results based on your business goals and objectives. The key is knowing how to mix and match. For instance, according to Google, advertisers using Similar Audiences in conjunction with remarketing are seeing some pretty amazing results:
60% more impressions
48% more clicks
41% more conversions
Think of audience targeting as a toolkit—a set of ad types you can choose from to build performance-boosting campaigns. Audience targeting allows you to achieve several great benefits and capabilities:
Identify people interested in your products at scale
Reach new and existing customers across devices
Set the right bidding rules for maximum ad exposure
Use search intent to deliver ads to highly receptive target audiences
Deliver the right message to build relationships and drive action
The name of the game is accuracy—building the right audiences, choosing who sees your ads, and optimizing based on performance.
Join Our Audiences Webinar
Sign up for our upcoming webinar, Finding Your Ideal Audience: Targeted Ads for Customer Acquisition, to learn how to effectively use your first-party data and insights on consumer behavior to drive profitable search ad campaigns. Mike Lerra from Google and Marin’s Patrick Hutchison will share practical insights, tips, and tactics for your advertising efforts.
To make it convenient for global teams, we’ve scheduled three different times:
Mike Lerra is a lifelong Massachusetts native and the Global Product Lead for Search Audiences out of Google’s Cambridge office. Prior to this role, he was an Analytical Lead for Google’s sales teams in the Retail and B2B verticals. Mike came to Google from TripAdvisor, where he managed search engine marketing. Outside of work, Mike is an avid sabermetrician, always looking for the next great baseball statistic or analysis.
Patrick Hutchison has been on the Marin team for 10 years, filling roles as diverse as Search Manager, Solutions Architect, and Sales Engineer. In 2015 he became a Product Marketing Manager, and now helps create effective customer success stories and evangelize the Marin Brand. Patrick graduated from University of California, Davis, with a BS in Managerial Economics.
As the dust settles on Marin Masters 2017, we stepped back and reviewed the core themes from our annual customer summit in San Francisco and New York.
This is our first article in a two-part series.
Christopher Penn of Shift Communications, our keynote speaker in New York, addressed how AI is redefining marketing in fundamental ways. Gone are the days of “spray and pray” campaigns that lack scale, profitability, and agility.
Instead, we’ve entered a brave new world of cognitive marketing that leverages AI, algorithms, and machine learning to drive results. How will this impact marketing professionals? “If you do it with a template today, a machine does it without you tomorrow,” said Chris.
Increasingly, marketing organizations will seek out multidisciplinary skills—think about pairing data mining with mobile development—and algorithmic thinking, where machines do the heavy lifting. It’ll be interesting to monitor which job roles drive this revolution in marketing practices. In Chris Penn’s view, the future of marketing belongs to developers, data scientists, and marketing technologists. Do you agree?
At our San Francisco event, Google’s Todd Pollak gave an excellent presentation on the increasing role of data in marketing and advertising campaigns. In his role as Managing Director of Google’s US Product Specialist Team, Todd noted that CMOs are moving away from channel-focusedmarketing efforts with distinct silos for media buying, digital marketing, and data. Instead, marketing leaders are moving towards a customer-centric model that connects first-party data across websites, channels, and teams.
In New York, Dan Taylor, Managing Director of Global Display and Programmatic at Google, explored how Similar Audiences lets you find and reach people who share similar interests with your best customers. Reaching the right people is part of the equation, but capturing their attention with relevant ads at the right time completes the customer-centric approach. Dan’s session focused on putting the customer first and using audience data to rethink the customer journey. You’ll find more customer-first insights in the Think with Google collection of case studies and resources.
Making Social Content Resonate
At both our San Francisco and New York events, Emerson Spartz, the CEO of Dose, delivered a high-octane presentation about the death of website influence and the primacy of social. Applying a test-driven model to identify which social content will resonate is part of Emerson’s successful top-of-funnel methodology. Using a predictive approach consisting of bare-bones ideation, pre-testing, and production has allowed his team to deliver impressive results for brands heavily invested in social.
Emerson’s final point is simple—if you don’t use data to inform your creative, it’s like setting fire to your marketing budget. Check out Emerson’s thought-provoking presentation on The Future of Innovation, Data, and Attention.
That’s all for now, but stay tuned for our next post with more insights from Marin Masters 2017.
This is a guest post from Ashley Aptt, Account Director at 3Q Digital.
With Q4 right around the corner, the big question is, “How can I drive more sales this holiday season?” Everyone wants to increase revenue, plus look for new and efficient ways to do so. Today we’ll focus on how you can leverage AdWords Customer Match and Similar Audiences to meet your holiday goals.
Customer Match is an AdWords advertising tool that utilizes your customer email file. By uploading a file with your customer emails, you can target these users when they’re signed into their Google account.
If your Customer Match audience meets eligibility criteria, Google automatically creates Similar Audiences. Similar Audiences allow you to reach people who share characteristics with the users in your Customer Match file.
Customer Match is currently available for Search, Shopping, YouTube, and Gmail campaigns (not the Google Display Network). Similar Audiences for Customer Match is available for YouTube and Gmail only.
There are several strategies and use cases for Customer Match and Similar Audiences to boost brand awareness and increase revenue. Here are several things you can do to get started.
Create Customer Segments
To maximize the benefits of Customer Match, create customer segments based on user behaviors. Depending on how much information you collect from users when they provide their email address, the segmenting possibilities are endless. A few list segmentation examples include:
Prospects versus customers
Customer purchase frequency
Product or category affinities
Increase Bids for Past Purchasers
Use Customer Match as a remarketing list for search ads (RLSA) audience in search campaigns to adjust bids for users who’ve previously purchased from your site. Experiment with higher bids when your customers perform non-brand or competitor searches to stay top of mind and drive more sales during the holiday season.
Since past purchasers are familiar with your brand, it’s less risky to aggressively bid on non-brand search queries, because these users are more likely to convert compared to users who haven’t previously visited your site.
Target Broad/General Keywords
Explore targeting very broad or general non-brand keywords with your Customer Match list. This can be done with the RLSA Target and bid feature.
For example, a department store could test targeting general keywords such as ‘shoes’. This may be a risky move under normal situations, but using Target and bid limits the reach to people familiar with your brand. This lets you get in front of your customers again (when they may not be thinking of your brand) and potentially drive more revenue.
Use Customer Match to implement unique ad copy that makes use of what you know about the people on your email list via RLSA Target and bid, Gmail Sponsored Promotions, or YouTube. Test different ad copy for frequent purchasers versus customers who haven’t made a purchase in over a year. A steeper promotional discount could entice old customers to come back and make another purchase.
Cross-Sell or Upsell
You can use Customer Match to cross-sell or upsell to existing customers to drive incremental revenue. For example, if a department store has a customer file segmented with a list of people who frequently buy children’s clothing, you can target that list of users with ad copy relevant to holiday gifts specifically for children. This could encourage customers to make another purchase to buy children’s shoes, backpacks, toys, etc.
Expand Acquisition Efforts
Similar Audiences is a great tool to expand your acquisition efforts with Gmail Sponsored Promotions or YouTube. When looking to acquire new customers, Similar Audiences is a great place to start, as it allows you to target users who share similar characteristics and traits with your most loyal customers. Google has a lot of back-end knowledge about users, and leveraging this feature can help advertisers get in front of a new audience and drive more sales.
Customer Match and Similar Audiences present advertisers with many great targeting strategies. Get started on creating and segmenting your customer lists now. Then, build your strategy and get ready to drive more revenue this holiday season!
This is a guest post from Emily Hodges, Marketing and Public Relations Manager at Kiip.
We’re four months out from the holiday season. Yet, in the ad industry, we all know that brands are already plotting their marketing strategies and how they can effectively capture their targeted mobile audiences for the biggest shopping season of the year.
Kiip recently launched a survey tool to gather relevant mobile consumer data. US-based Kiip redeemers are surveyed about their demographics, behaviors, lifestyle, reward preferences, and buying habits. So far, Kiip’s surveys have received nearly three million user responses!
Below are the results specifically on holiday shopping habits. Check them out and see which category you fall under when it comes to your gift purchases.
This is a guest post from Dionte Pounds, Account Manager at 3Q Digital.
A few months ago, Google unveiled a new tool that allows advertisers to interact directly with an audience across the search, Gmail, and YouTube networks. That tool was Customer Match (See my previous post about setup tips).
With this feature, advertisers could submit a list of email addresses from past customers or email subscribers directly into the AdWords interface. Then, advertisers could target individuals who’d already expressed interest in their products, across channels, as long as they were signed in to Google.
With this update, Google strengthened the ability of advertisers to leverage 1st-party data. The move echoed Facebook’s Custom Audiences, which has been in the market for years and proven very effective. While it provides Google-focused marketers a great way to use 1st-party data, Google’s added another feature that uses that data to find and target new customers.
That tool is Similar Audiences.
Similar Audiences are made up of groups of people who have characteristics with a remarketing audience you’ve previously created. For example, if you have a remarketing audience created for people who’ve visited your website via a paid ad click within the last 30 days, Google will automatically generate a new pool of prospects you can target if the starting audience is large enough.
Because paid ad traffic is cookied, Google tracks the browsing habits of that cookied traffic over the last 30 days and uses that to find shared interests and behaviors. For a new Similar Audience to be created, at least 500 cookies with enough similarities and characteristics must be active. In theory, a larger remarketing list should yield a better Similar Audience in terms of relevancy, because it’s pulling from a larger set of data being sent back for Google to use.
So, a Similar Audience taken from a Customer Match list should be an extremely relevant pool of new users that you can target to grow a business. However, there are some features that are disabled for a Similar to Customer Match audience that must be taken into consideration when planning new advertising strategy.
The first is that, like all Similar Audiences, you can’t target a Similar to Customer Match audience across the Search Network. Because Similar Audiences are based on the webpage browsing history of the cookied user, you’re limited to targeting on the Display Network and YouTube Network.
The Display Network
Speaking of the Display Network, you can only target Similar to Customer Match audiences on the Google Display Network and YouTube. This is where the use of 1st-party data is somewhat limiting in Google. Because the uploaded customer lists lack the cookies needed to track browsing behavior, Google can’t use that data to find an audience with related interests on the Display Network.
Still, you can utilize a similar audience across Gmail and YouTube ads, because these are networks entirely owned by Google where the user is signed in to the network (at least most of the time for YouTube). Because the data Google receives from these channels are different from Display Network, where 3rd-party groups simply opt in to the network, the way Google finds these users and tracks characteristics greatly varies.
Even with these limitations, I still highly recommend testing all similar audiences, but especially a similar audience built from Customer Match. It’s a great way to engage a new audience of individuals similar to that of your past customers.
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
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.
Mother’s Day is almost here! With flowers, cards, and family visits close at hand, many brick and mortar retailers are gearing up for the shopping spike. The season of maternal appreciation extends to online retailers, who are also gussying up their search, social, and display campaigns to attract consumers around the world.
How did online retailers do in 2015, and what to expect this year?
Mother’s Day 2015 – Clicks, Spend, and Conversions
In the week leading up to Mother’s Day 2015 (May 10th), clicks increased an average of 15% across retailers as click-through rates rose 6%. In addition, spend increased 9% during the same time period, peaking a few days before Mother’s Day.
Most notably, conversions saw a bump of 12%, peaking on the 5th at 18% above the monthly average. This noticeable bump for all retailers was more pronounced among those specialty retailers that Mother’s Day particularly impacts.
CPCs actually dropped slightly during this period, except for two days where they spiked, the 4th and 5th. The 5th proved to be a particularly important day for consumers and advertisers, showing abnormal surges along all metrics.
Perhaps consumers took account delivery times and the looming holiday date into account, giving themselves a few buffer days in case of delays in delivery and arrival.
These numbers dropped dramatically on Mother’s Day itself, and returned slowly to roughly average afterwards. Click-through rates remained elevated for Mother’s Day and a few days afterwards before returning to seasonal norms.
Recommendations for 2016
For retailers looking to maximize their Mother’s Day sales, here are a few key takeaways:
Start campaigns at least a week before Mother’s Day to capture the online shopping market, especially those looking to have a gift arrive in time for the occasion.
In particular, focus attention on five or six days beforehand, as this is when consumer interest peaked last year.
Expect similar trends to 2015, as people power down for the actual day to celebrate a mom!
This is a guest post from Dionte Pounds, Account Manager at 3Q Digital.
Last month, I discussed how to use proper segmentation to optimize the performance of Dynamic Search Ads campaigns and why segmentation is vital for success. Segmentation also plays a large part in the success of shopping campaigns.
If you’re not already familiar, shopping campaigns promote your online inventory of products by matching search queries to ads that feature these products. These ads, known as product listing ads, can appear in Google search results or on the Google Shopping results page.
Shopping campaigns generally benefit from high click-through rates and low CPCs. With segmentation, the value of shopping campaigns increases. Reporting on specific product performance becomes even easier. Product bidding becomes more accurate. And, overall product management improves through better organization.
If you’re a digital advertiser new to shopping campaigns, the steps below can help you successfully leverage this campaign type.
1. Optimize the Data Feed
Proper segmentation doesn’t actually begin in the AdWords interface. The foundation of a highly organized and structured shopping campaign truly starts with the data feed. The data feed contains all the product data that’s uploaded to the Google Merchant Center. The Merchant Center essentially houses all the product data and makes it available to Google and Google Shopping.
To make sure proper segmentation within AdWords is possible, include as much data as possible for each product. For segmentation purposes, it’s vital to include the brand, condition, Google Product Category, and product type attributes. You also have the ability to include up to five custom labels that you can segment by. We’ll touch more on that later.
I strongly recommend having values for not only the required data attributes, but as many of the optional attributes as well. Google is more likely to reward products with rich data with a higher impression share and better ad position. So, there are incentives for fleshing out your data feed as much as possible, beyond just functionality.
2. Subdivide Properly
Once your foundation (accurate product data) is set, you first need to figure out what type of segmentation makes the most sense for your business. To go back to the online luxury jewelry store from my last article, if I’m selling different brands of jewelry, I know that select brands are more popular than others. Because of this, I want to be able to bid differently for each brand in my inventory.
So, for this example, it makes sense to first segment, or subdivide, my shopping campaign by the Brand attribute. Selecting the correct starting subdivision immediately improves my ability to bid better, as I now have organized product groups that provide insightful data that allow me to bid more accurately than if they were grouped together.
3. Further Subdivide By Relevant Attributes
Let’s imagine my online jewelry store sells Cartier, among other brands. After first subdividing all my products by brand, I now have a product group specifically for Cartier products. While this is great, I know that I get different returns from different product types, such as rings, bracelets, or necklaces. So, I want to be able to set bids for each individual Cartier product group.
What I would then do is segment that Cartier group by the product type attribute. Now, I have the ability to bid for Cartier rings separate from Cartier bracelets. Once you have your first subdivision completed, you can continue to subdivide until you believe you have the correct product organization for your business.
Keep in mind that each time you subdivide by another attribute, the bid will be placed at the resulting product groups. While this gives you improved bidding and a clear understanding of what products drive revenue for your business, you don’t want to subdivide too much. This could make the product group too small to get any valuable data from and optimize around.
4. Use Custom Labels
Earlier, I mentioned that in addition to the Google required data attributes, you have the ability to create up to five custom labels for each product. Utilizing these labels allows you to be a bit more creative with the segmentation of your shopping campaign than the standard parameters Google allows, and to better segment by attributes that make the most sense for your business goals.
For example, let’s say my jewelry store categorizes products by expected popularity. A product could be given a rating of High, Medium, or Low. By including this rating in the custom label column, I could then subdivide my initial brand segment by this custom label, and bid up for the most popular products and bid low for less popular items.
5. Strategically Exclude Products
Let’s say my jewelry store sells Cartier watches. Imagine these product listing ads have a great click-through rate but a poor conversion rate due to the high price point. Over time, these clicks result in wasted spend and drag down the efficiency of the account. To avoid a poor ROI moving forward, I can exclude Cartier watches from my shopping campaign.
Product exclusion is an effective way of improving performance by removing items from your shopping campaign that carry low ROI. Product exclusion can also be used to organize your shopping campaigns. To exclude products, click the max CPC column for that particular product group and then check Excluded.
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.
Google AdWords now lets you upload both Identifiers for Advertising (IDFAs) and advertising IDs in bulk so that you can target your mobile app users using the Google Display Network. Although you can use this feature to solicit new users under the right circumstances, its chief use is re-engaging your mobile app users.
After all, your current mobile app users are your easiest source of IDFAs and advertising IDs, meaning you’re going to struggle making the most of this feature if you don't already have a user base.
Regardless, you shouldn’t see this as a limitation but rather a reminder of the importance of re-engaging your mobile app users.
This is mainly because re-engaging your mobile app users can boost the success rates of your mobile advertising – though it’s important to note that there are a number of reasons why Google AdWords is now particularly useful for this purpose. And, successfully re-engaging those users will contribute to creating a “consumable experience” that makes them want to keep coming back for more.
Existing vs. Potential Users
Generally speaking, you can convince your existing users with much greater ease than your potential users. In part, this is because you’ve accumulated goodwill with your existing users, meaning you’ll have a much easier time convincing them you’re trustworthy, likable, and reliable.
However, it’s also important to note that you have existing data on their purchasing patterns, meaning you can tailor your mobile advertising for the best results. Summed up, you should focus on existing rather than potential users because it costs you less time, effort, and other resources to convince them on average.
Re-engagement can be useful throughout an app's lifecycle, meaning that the resources spent on such mobile advertising can prove useful longer than otherwise possible.
For example, you can use it to solicit new users for a similar app, build loyalty in existing users by making them more invested in an app they’re already using, and even bring back past users by reminding them of the app's existence at an opportune time.
Simply put, re-engagement is so versatile that it can be used for all stages of an app’s promotion.
Expanding User Base
Finally, mobile advertising has become more important, with no signs of stopping in the foreseeable future. This is because the number of mobile app users is continuing to rise as mobile devices become more convenient and more powerful. As a result, you can expect a better rate of return by spending your dollars on mobile advertising rather than the other options out there.
Re-engaging Your Mobile App Users
With that said, just because you can count on this latest Google AdWords feature to be useful, it doesn’t mean you can slack off when it comes to creating your mobile advertising for re-engaging your mobile app users.
As always, if you want to convince your mobile app users to pay attention – and consider your brand a consumable experience – your advertising needs to show your app as useful and interesting. Furthermore, you need to use your existing data to figure out what will appeal the most to them before sending it out at the right times, which is where the rest of Google AdWords features will prove to be beneficial.
Every year, March Madness fever consumes millions of sports fans across America. Productivity plummets across workplaces, as employees catch a few minutes of the game on their computer or phone. In fact, it’s estimated that companies lose millions, if not billions, annually during the March Madness productivity dip.
For sports retailers, is there another story? How much does March Madness increase their sales, and can it offset losses in work output during this basketball-crazed month? To find out, we took a look at the retail vertical during 2015 and associated consumer behavior.
March Madness Means More Clicks and Spend
During March 2015, the retail industry saw a noticeable rise in clicks and advertising spend starting just before the 22nd – last year’s start of the regionals – through the end of the month and the finals.
During the regionals, there was a steady climb in clicks and spend, culminating and peaking near the end of March when the Final Four were decided. Click-through rates also almost doubled between the beginning of the month and the Final Four decision, showing that there was a strong correlation between US sports retailer and consumer activity, and when the games were decided.
In other words, the first small bump happened when the tournament began, and then rose and peaked close to the final four teams being decided, when consumers looked to buy products supporting their team of choice.
While these gains probably didn’t offset the productivity losses across employers nationwide, it’s clear that US sports retailers had a field day for interest in NCAA attire and merchandise.
General conversion metrics about your visitors only tell part of the story. In reality, there are many steps a visitor might have taken before converting on your site. How do you measure the value of your upper-funnel prospecting campaigns, and determine whether they’re providing incremental benefit and driving last-touch attribution and conversion?
What Are Assisted Conversions?
Assisted conversions help give you better insight for how other campaigns may have contributed to your final conversion. This insight is important, since it helps you make better decisions on your campaigns and immediately illustrates the value of your top-of-funnel marketing efforts.
How It Works
Suppose you’re running a campaign where you’re targeting people who visited your website. You have another campaign that targets people who looked at a specific product page on your website, a much more focused group. You’re probably measuring how well you’re targeting website visitors, but you may not be crediting this campaign with any conversions that come from your product page.
In other words, your website targeting campaign alone looks like it’s not providing any value, although it’s pushing customers along the funnel.
Here’s another example: Suppose your visitor sees or clicks a Facebook News Feed ad, and then clicks a web ad to convert. With general standard conversion metrics, the web ad gets the credit for the final conversion. But, in this scenario, your Facebook News Feed ad should get an assisted conversion credit, since it contributed to the “slam dunk,” as it were.
“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.
With the steady rise in remarketing as a digital advertising strategy, audience segmentation and activation has become a key tactic for digital marketers. What are some things that display advertisers should take into account when defining and streamlining their strategy?
Understanding Audience Segmentation
Audience segmentation can be defined as a process of dividing people into homogeneous subgroups based on defined criteria such as product usage, demographics, psychographics, communication behaviours, and media use. Audience segmentation is now a major tool advertisers can use to tailor messages, improve targeting accuracy, and drive performance.
Defining the Strategy
For display remarketing, a sound audience strategy is the foundation for a successful campaign, and has three elements:
A meaningful audience segmentation approach
A clear feedback loop to validate this approach
The ability to activate the segmented audience
To create a truly meaningful audience segmentation strategy, advertisers need flexibility in the tools they use to segment their audience. Segmentation methods also offer increased flexibility in what an advertiser can count as a user conversion, creating an extra dimension to audience creation.
Streamlining the Strategy
Let’s explore four key segmentation methods that allow advisers to go beyond path-based segmentation or a one-size-fits-all remarketing vendor approach.
Query string is part of a URL that contains data that doesn’t fit conveniently into a hierarchical path structure. The query string commonly includes fields added to a base URL by a web browser or other application. This opens up a huge number of possibilities when it comes to audience segmentation. For example, here’s a query string generated after a user searched on a fictitious travel comparison website.
http://www.example.com/searchresults.html?checkin_monthday=13&&checkout_monthday=27& year_month= current -2&dest_id=United%20Kingdom& group_adults=2&group_children=2&no_rooms=1
Looking at this query string, we know the user is:
1. Looking for a two-week holiday from February 13to 27, 2016
For example, suppose a user filters to view products from high price to low. It’s normal for these users to have a higher average order value per product than a user who filters from low to high. This may affect not only the amount we’re willing to pay to acquire these users, but also the type of creative we want to show them and which publishers we might want to target.
Recency refers to how recently a user last left your website or app. Creating remarketing lists based on recency enables a range of remarketing tactics.
It’s common for conversion rates to be high when a user sees an ad in the first few minutes after they leave your website, so make sure you’re highly visible during this time. Recency segmentation also allows different creative, offers, or calls to action based on how long it’s been since someone last engaged with your website.
Recency also allows for interesting cross-sell tactics. Say a travel agent knows that certain users are most likely to purchase travel insurance 30 days after they’ve booked their flights. Advertisers could use recency targeting to show travel insurance ads around this time.
Regular expression (regex)
A regular expression is a special text string for describing a search pattern. This allows advertisers to set up complex audience lists, such as one that matches multiple web pages, query strings, or products. Regular expressions also allow you to set up complex conversions, for instance, ones that match multiple-goal pages.
Say for example you want to create a list for users that go to the Caribbean section of your website as long as the subdirectory is in the second position. You can’t use ends with, or starts with, or contains; however, you can create this list with a regular expression.
^ A caret in a regular expression forces the expression to match only strings that start exactly the same way your regular expression does.
.* The dot could match any letter or digit. The star right after it matches the ability of the dot to match any single character, and keep on going so that it ends up matching everything.
Combining segmentation methods allows you to create sophisticated audiences that matter. By combining numerous segmentation methods, you can create an almost endless number of audiences to activate through remarketing.
To run the most successful remarketing campaigns, advertisers need segmentation tools that allow them to slice their audience in an almost unlimited number of ways. Currently, the number of advertisers using simple, path-based audience segmentation or a remarketing vendor’s standard segmentation approach is surprising. With tools that create and activate a meaningful audience segmentation strategy, you can build the foundation of a truly successful remarketing campaign.
This is a guest post from Dionte Pounds, Account Manager at 3Q Digital.
When building out a fully functional PPC account, it’s important to utilize remarketing lists in addition to your standard campaigns. Remarketing lists allow you to target individuals with ads that are already familiar with your brand because of a past interaction, generally an ad click leading to a visit.
These visitors are valuable because they’re usually further down the sales funnel. Remarketing is a great way to retain these past visitors, capture incremental volume, and shorten the gap between time of click and time of purchase.
If you’re advertising on a pay-per-click network (Google, Bing, Facebook, etc.), you’ve more than likely utilized remarketing lists to improve account performance. You can also improve your remarketing lists, specifically your Google and Bing lists, by segmenting your audience based on time of last interaction.
Why Segment by Time?
There are a few benefits to segmenting your audience by time. The first is that it breaks apart a very large audience into multiple audiences of very manageable sizes. This then allows you to bid more or less aggressively depending on the audience.
For example, you may want to bid very aggressively to get an audience of users that last interacted with your website one to three days ago back to the website. You may not want to bid as high for the people that last touched the site 25-30 days ago.
Using this method, you can place a bid on each audience that’s most appropriate. However, be conscious of the size of the main audience you’re trying to split. This practice is usually a better fit for more general touchpoints that generate larger audience lists. It isn’t always the best to break apart a very small audience pool because at that point, the lists can become too small to employ.
How to Create Your Audiences
1. Create a new remarketing list
2. Select who to add to your list
Generally, I select page visitors. But there are options to select page visitors who did/did not visit another page, visitors of a page during specific dates, and visitors of a page with a specific tag.
If you’re more advanced, definitely utilize the custom combination option. I’ve used this capability to refine my segmented lists even further in the past and to block past converters from my lists.
3. Set the rule
Enter the page URL that you want to build your audience around.
4. Set the membership duration
Here’s where you can get creative. Go to the Tools drop down, then select Conversions and take a look at your attribution data. How long is the time lag from click to conversion? Use this information to set your membership duration for your audiences.
If you’re unsure, just use common sense to create reasonable durations. For this example, let’s assign the first audience a five-day membership duration.
After creating the first audience, repeat the process and extend the membership duration with each additional audience. Using the five-day example above as a starting reference, we can create three more audiences with membership durations of 10, 20, and 30 days.
In the end, instead of one very large audience, we have one broken up into chunks based on the account’s specific conversion history, which gives us more control over bidding and ultimately better performance. Using this method, we don’t bid the same amount for someone that last interacted with the website 30 days ago as a person who last interacted with the website one day ago. Try it out and see how it performs!
Customer Match is an exciting new feature that Google recently unveiled that can greatly strengthen your ability to connect with an existing customer base. You now have the option to upload the email addresses of past customers or email subscribers directly to AdWords. You can then target that audience through Google Search, Gmail, or YouTube. Similar features are already available through AdRoll and Facebook. With Google’s newest addition, you can now leverage 1st-party data across yet another network.
This is fantastic news for all advertisers, particularly those in possession of large lists of customer emails who are looking for new ways to utilize that data to improve marketing efforts. Every marketer I know is looking for a better way to increase marketing efficiency, so this should really benefit all of us.
Google is allowing you to take what you know about your customers and use that to drive messaging across devices and platforms. This, in turn, allows you to build loyalty and repeat purchases among an existing customer base.
Three Main Methods for Leveraging Customer Match
1) The first, and most obvious, way to use Customer Match is to stay in front of your customers. If someone has made a purchase from your business, these audiences can be used to target existing customers and keep your brand fresh in their mind. This encourages repeat purchases and leads to incremental gains.
2) The second is to re-engage past buyers who haven’t interacted with your brand in an extended period of time. Imagine Jane Doe bought a stereo in January and hasn’t purchased from your brand since. You can now create an audience specifically to target her, and individuals like her, when they’re logged into the Google network.
3) The third method is to create a negative audience. This audience is made from a group of people whom you do not want to see your ads. (Maybe you don’t want to risk overexposure, or you wouldn’t benefit from re-engaging this audience.) Businesses focusing on generating leads fit into this category. Customer Match allows you to create and exclude that audience from your advertising campaigns. As a result, you only capture new leads.
There’s a Low Barrier of Entry
Setup for Customer Match is simple. Upload a .csv file containing hashed email addresses directly into AdWords. The larger the list the better, since audiences with fewer than 1,000 members won’t be targeted through any of Google’s networks for privacy reasons. Once processed, you have a new audience to target across devices and channels like any other remarketing audience.
The one exception here is the Display Network, since this feature is not yet compatible. For YouTube and Gmail, Google also creates a “Similar Audience” when eligible. This can increase overall lead volume by allowing you to target audiences made of new users who exhibit characteristics similar to your Customer Match lists.
Customers Come First
Google goes to great lengths to protect user privacy, and this feature is no different. All data uploaded to AdWords must be 1st-party data. All email addresses must be hashed before uploading. Once they’ve been processed and matched to Google users, all data is discarded. This process ensures that all user information remains safe and protected throughout the entire matching process.
To summarize, if you have a large amount of 1st-party data, Customer Match is a feature you should definitely test. It’s simple to implement and can be used in a variety of ways across Search, Gmail, and YouTube. Since Google makes privacy a top priority, you don’t need to worry about putting any of your customer base at risk. Overall, the AdWords team has made a great improvement that makes it easier for businesses to enhance consumer relationships and brand loyalty.
With the recent release of Google’s Customer Match, the ability to target users through their email address has finally come to search advertising. This type of targeting has been available in social since Facebook announced Custom Audiences in 2013, and is accessible to display through data onboarding. Now, because of Google’s new feature, advertisers can target users using this data across search, social, and display, and across multiple devices.
This opens up many new possibilities for cross-channel, cross-device advertising. As it stands, a large percentage of marketing CRM emails are never opened. Advertisers can’t depend on email alone to connect with high-value customers in a CRM. We recommend using your CRM data to serve ads across search, social, and the web.
How do publishers match emails or user IDs to users across the web?
First, some background. The deterministic matching method relies on personally identifiable information commonly stored in CRM systems. With this method, a linkage is made when a user in your CRM uses the same email address or social media user IDs to log into an app and a website – across browsers and devices.
As long as a user is logged in across devices and targeting is set up across channels, advertisers and publishers can use this unique identifier to target those users cross-channel, on multiple devices.
Advantages over cookie-based remarketing
Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Display Networks already allow you to serve ads to previous site visitors with remarketing lists. This is traditionally done with cookie pools. Customer Match, Custom Audiences, and display customer targeting all allow you to advertise to recognized, signed-in users wherever they are – whether it’s mobile, tablet, laptop, or desktop.
This cross-channel path is difficult for cookies to traverse. It’s also hard for cookies to move across different browsers, and users can easily delete most cookies.
The other main advantage is that CRM data can be collected from multiple offline sources. For example, retailers can ask for a customer’s email address after an in-store purchase, or a travel agent can ask for an email address after a phone booking is made.
The Best Uses of CRM Data to Amplify Cross-Channel Reach
1. Do the Right Thing for the Right Channel
When it comes to matching CRM data with users for targeting, each online advertising channel has slightly different options. Be sure to make the most of each channel’s unique possibilities.
Search Email addresses
Google’s Customer Match is a new product designed to help you reach your highest-value customers on Google Search, YouTube, and Gmail. Customer Match allows you to upload of a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google in a secure and privacy-safe way. From there, you can build campaigns in Marin with highly relevant targeting and specifically tailored messaging for your audience.
Social Email lists, phone numbers, Facebook user IDs, Twitter IDs, mobile advertisers IDs
Custom Audiences (Facebook) and Tailored Audiences (Twitter) make it easy to target specific customers or prospects at scale. It allows you to match your customer list against Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter users in a secure and privacy-safe way. Advertisers can use Marin to target users across social platforms and devices.
Display Email addresses, CRM, point of sale, and mobile advertisers IDs
Through uploading emails, CRM data, point of sale, and mobile advertisers IDs, data onboarding technology (such as LiveRamp) can match your anonymized data to online devices and digital IDs, and segment audiences. These audience segments can then be sent to Marin for display targeting.
2. Be Sure to Segment
Segmentation is key to the success of CRM targeting for search, social, and display. Users can be segmented by value, actions, loyalty, recency, and satisfaction, among many other options – the segmenting possibilities of your customer database are virtually unlimited. You can use all of these segments for innovative advertising, such as enhancing your strategy, target audiences, and creative based on fresh and reliable data.
3. Go Cross-Channel
Using CRM data for targeting can produce fantastic results in single-channel siloes. However, when it’s used as part of a cross channel marketing strategy, the number of creative marketing tactics becomes almost limitless.
One common example of using CRM data across channels is targeting users with tailored messages across search, social, and display, depending on whether or not they’re existing customers.
Channel exclusion lists are just as important as positive targeting lists. In addition to reaching specific audiences with your ads, you can exclude unprofitable channels but still reach the same audiences.
For example, suppose an advertiser is in an industry where search keywords are particularly expensive. But, they want to update existing customers about a new product in a more cost-effective way. They could exclude the existing users from search targeting but still advertise to them on social and display.
CRM targeting strategies also open up new customer care and support avenues outside of phone, email, or direct mail. If a customer has a specific issue, it can be resolved at the level of a search query. Using CRM data, you could automatically deliver the most relevant information and links based on the products or services your customers are using, even if they use the exact same search query to search for information.
Using CRM data and user matching addresses a number of the challenges of cookie-based remarketing. It also helps bridge the gap between offline and online marketing activities. With Google’s new Customer Match, CRM data can now be used to actively target across search, social and display. This paves the way for innovative cross-channel, cross-device advertising strategies.
In just a year, display has gone from a desktop-based ad channel to a mobile one, showing a dramatically faster shift than either search or social. Not only has the display advertising world seen huge changes this year, but even more changes are anticipated in 2016.
This is indicative of a larger trend in digital advertising as a whole, where consumers are spending more time and attention on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets instead of desktops. In response, advertisers are allocating more and more of their display budget to targeting mobile consumers.
During Q3 2015, consumer engagement with display ads moved very decidedly towards smartphones. Over half of all display ad clicks came from a smartphone, and these ad clicks resulted in the majority of conversions.
eMarketer predicts that, by end of year, 60.5% of display ad budgets will be on a mobile device, and we’re seeing the same trends within Marin. This added consumer attention has translated to heightened innovation in the mobile display ad space. New formats for display ads are coming out on a regular basis, replacing the old banner ads to help encourage more click-through and conversion on mobile display ads.
According to Time Warner, 65% of people with a smartphone and tablet are likely to use social media while watching TV. From tweeting along during The Voice, to posting game-day Facebook statuses while watching our favorite teams, social media is now a virtual living room.
So what can digital advertisers do to capitalize on these multi-screen habits?
We’re excited to announce TV Sync, a powerful solution that allows advertisers to automatically activate their social ads based on customizable offline events including television flight schedules, live programming, weather changes, or sporting events – all in real-time. By synchronizing social media and TV advertising efforts, marketers can amplify reach and drive consumer engagement across screens.
TY Sync is made possible through Marin’s premier social partnership with TVTY, the leading provider of real-time contextual data. As TVTY’s preferred social advertising platform, Marin can now help advertisers run contextually targeted advertising campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using television signals from over 400 national and local channels, across 25 countries in North America, EMEA, and Australia.
TV Sync unleashes a multitude of possibilities for social advertisers. Consider some examples.
Extend your advertising message across screens
Running TV commercials? Use TV Sync to trigger your social ads immediately as your commercials air, reinforcing the message and increasing your impact with a multi-screen presence.
Counter your competitor’s TV commercials
As soon as your competitor’s commercials appear on TV, counter them by launching social ads in real-time. This is a great way to stay top of mind and boost mindshare.
Improve targeting and relevance with weather and sports
Trigger your social ads according to weather status or key sporting events for a timely, optimized, and personalized campaign that strikes a chord with your audience. For example, during snow-filled winters, travel advertisers can target users with ads to tropical locations.
Drive engagement during live or scheduled TV programs
TV Sync can help you advertise your auto brand during an episode of Top Gear, or launch social ads for your beauty brand during the red carpet at the Oscars. Aligning your ads with specific programming in this way creates a highly targeted and relevant ad experience.
TV Sync is immediately available for Marin Social customers, and we’ve already seen some exciting use cases and positive results. If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We continue to get closer and closer to the busiest time of year for e-commerce businesses and the most festive for online consumer traffic. Our teams at Marin Software have even more tips and tricks for making sure you’re amply prepared.
To help you prepare your accounts for the holidays and top your competitors, we've put together five key action points you can start to implement today, directly in Marin.
1. Identify Your Target Audience and Determine Key Dates
There are several holidays between November and January. However, not every holiday is relevant to your customers – so, it’s important to focus and prepare for the dates and audiences that matter.
First, identify your customers. Are they discount shoppers looking for online bargains? Or shoppers looking for that special present for a loved one? Depending on what’s relevant to your business, bucket your strategy into interest-based audiences. For example:
Next, plot the dates that could influence them to search and purchase online. Here’s a short list of eight dates that have the most impact on consumer behavior, and who the holiday appeals to most. Be sure to add these dates to your calendar!
Black Friday, 27th Nov: Bargain hunters
Cyber Monday, 30th Nov: Bargain hunters
Hanukkah, 6th Dec – 14th Dec: Gift buyers
Christmas, 25th Dec: Gift buyers
Kwanzaa, 26 Dec – Jan 1: Cultural purchasers
Boxing Day, 26th Dec: Bargain hunters
New Year’s Day, 1st Jan: Event purchasers
January sales, 1st Jan – 31st Jan: Bargain hunters
Review your target audience - will any of these dates affect their purchasing decision? In some cases, people might be interested in a holiday just to benefit from the special promotions that come with it. Instead of including the holiday name in your copy, try organizing by interest. To increase CTRs, tailor your creatives to match the holiday that appeals to your customers.
2. Implement Scheduled Actions
Creating ad copy for every holiday can become difficult to manage. Having a Christmas creative active on New Year’s Day can reflect poorly on your company. It’s important that a mechanism is in place to prevent this from happening.
Scheduled Actions in Marin enables you to schedule campaigns, groups, and creatives at a specified date and time. So, if you’re planning on ringing in the New Year on a beach in Mauritania, you can schedule your seasonal campaigns in advance and let Marin pause and activate them while you’re out of the office.
3. Use Ad Extensions
The top positions for your main keywords are prime real estate. With your competitors throwing compelling ad copy and offers into the ring, competition can be fierce. Just your presence alone in the top spot is not always enough.
To expand the size of your creatives and improve visibility, add Ad Extensions to them. This can increase CTR and brand awareness.
Leverage from your existing creatives’ quality score and add Ad Extensions to:
Sitelinks: Drive customers to holiday promotion pages
Location Extensions: Show your holiday opening and closing times
Call Out Extensions: Add a non-clickable festive message or promote an offer like ‘Free Shipping’
4. Exclude Dates from Bidding
Excluding dates from bidding allows you to leave out cost and conversion data for specified dates and date ranges. This is useful during seasonal periods where accounts experience unusual performance, which can skew bid calculations.
If the data is not a true reflection of normal performance, bids will be calculated based on this inaccurate data. To prevent this, exclude the relevant dates.
Your additional holiday marketing efforts will very likely attract new visitors to your site. These new visitors may have gone to several sites before and after yours. With so many online holiday bright lights, it’s understandable how they could forget where they found that perfect product.
Use retargeting to help jog their memory, bringing them back to the original page where they first saw your offer. Whether you decide to use them or not, there’s no cost in building retargeting lists in AdWords and syncing them with Marin.
Each holiday attracts different search intent. Converting customers on Cyber Monday and Boxing Day could be listed as ‘Bargain hunters’, and customers converting on Christmas can be listed as ‘Gift Buyers’. Building retargeting lists around your target audience will enable you to promote offers across audiences through Display and Search.
We hope these tips get you well on your way to clinching the holiday gold. To learn more about how you can stand out this season, take a look at some of our recent content:
The countdown for the holiday season is on – which means now’s the perfect time to review your retargeting strategies and adjust accordingly. To ensure your retargeting campaigns are delivering the right message to the right audience, audience segmenting is essential.
This post covers audience segmentation and the types of audiences you should have in your holiday campaign. Identify Target Groups Using your visitor intent data, segment your visitors into several groups, depending on the page they’ve visited.
Add to cart
Add to wish list
Confirmation page (converted)
Sign-in / Login page
Set Up Campaigns Based on Intent
Once you’ve segmented your visitors this way, set up a number of high intent and low intent retargeting campaigns. Each campaign should have specific messaging and creative for the intended audience.
High Intent: Cart Abandonment
To set up a Cart Abandonment campaign, target users who’ve viewed the cart page but haven’t completed the checkout steps. With this campaign type, you can advertise a special holiday discount code or free shipping to get visitors to complete their purchase.
Low Intent: General Branding and Awareness
A General Branding campaign targets users who’ve visited your site but bounced off the home page. So, target the home page audience and exclude all other audiences.
Medium to High Intent: Add to wish list
This unique campaign type is one you can have during the holiday season to spread general brand awareness, or to target users with dynamic ads based on the products they’ve added to their wish list.
Important note: When setting up any of the above campaigns, always exclude users who’ve already converted. This’ll prevent you from spending your budget on users who’ve already made their purchase and may no longer be a good fit for the campaign.
Audience segmentation is key to having impactful campaigns and is the foundation to retargeting success. The above campaigns are just a few examples of what you can create with segmented audiences.
If you’re new to Marin Display, try it for free and get a $100 credit toward your first retargeting campaign.
In the old days of advertising, the name of the game was reach and frequency. Brands preferred mass media vehicles like television and radio, because they were the easiest means to reach large audiences and build brand awareness. Obviously, this meant the most effective advertising campaigns were dominated by the biggest brands with the largest marketing budgets.
If you’ve been reading our blog then you don’t need to be sold on the ways retargeting can help your business. However, putting everything together – building audiences, managing campaigns, optimizing performance, etc. – can sometimes feel overwhelming. This is especially true when retargeting is just one of the many marketing strategies that you focus on.
To help you out, we’ve teamed up with HubSpot, the world’s leading inbound and sales marketing platform, to bring you a free eBook, titled The Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting. In addition to providing context on the types of retargeting and the different ways it can help your business, we’ve collected some of our favorite tips and best practices for getting started, running your campaigns, creating good ads, and measuring and optimizing your performance.
Apple keynotes are exactly what we’ve come to expect – huge events for mobile users around the world, highlighting the latest and exciting upgrades, features, and new products. This September was no different.
Apple’s Event Increases Ad Spend and CTR
At this year’s Special Event, technophiles the world over tuned in to see what the company from Cupertino had in store for them. There is always an unquestionable buzz around Apple’s newest tech products. But, how does this buzz impact ad spend and online interaction?
We decided to measure the impact of the event itself. To do this, we examined a subset of the Marin Global Digital Advertising Index for advertisers in consumer-focused tech goods, to see if the keynote produced a noticeable shift in behavior.
The event was held on September 9th at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. In front of a packed and enthusiastic audience, Apple leadership made “monster announcements” about products including the Apple Watch, the iPhone 6s, and the new iPad Pro. Tech-loving consumers responded in kind: there was a 17% bump in ad clicks on searches related to tech retailers when compared to the previous week and following days. Also, click-through rates jumped almost 13% on that day exclusively, peaking on the 9th and falling back afterwards in a similar pattern to clicks.
Which Came First – the Product or the Event?
We tried to find corresponding upticks in consumer interest during events for other mobile releases, but it appears that Apple is the only tech firm that causes such a significant jump in search behavior, triggered by the increased interest in high-tech consumer goods Apple’s particular event spurred. This is most likely due to the amount of press and attention Apple events get every year – these events are a magnitude more exciting for the average consumer than a competitor’s due to the hype surrounding the products and the event itself.
Indeed, the online/offline divide for advertisers is growing smaller every day. With advertising being launched simultaneously both on and offline, advertisers need to take offline context into consideration more often. This could be anything from offline events to weather to radio and TV advertisements. All these factors greatly affect consumer behavior and online behavior.
A couple months ago, we announced a partnership with HubSpot. We’ve since been helping joint HubSpot and Perfect Audience customers connect their inbound and outbound marketing efforts more seamlessly. By automatically building retargeting lists based on HubSpot landing pages and Smart Lists, we’ve made it incredibly simple for HubSpot customers to build targeted, intelligent retargeting campaigns that help give more legs to their inbound marketing tactics.
Now, we’re taking it a step further. At the INBOUND 2015 Conference, HubSpot announced the launch of HubSpot Connect. We’re proud to have been introduced as a launch partner, and the only retargeting solution amongst their network of partners.
What Marketers Expect – A Wizard Behind the Curtain
Today, marketers expect to interact as one cohesive company that shares data and customer information across departmental lines. They don’t think about the different departments they’re interacting with or who’s responsible for what. Instead, they have the expectation that everyone in a company is able to work together to solve customer problems quickly and effectively.
Taking this even further – marketers are looking for ways to optimize their campaigns and reach the right audiences at the right time. For many HubSpot customers, though, outbound advertising and retargeting are new. It can be challenging figuring out how to set up the right types of campaigns, develop good creative, and determine how much to spend on your marketing efforts.
Because of the Perfect Audience and HubSpot partnership, all of this is now a lot easier. By creating audiences automatically from your landing page and Smart Lists, you can start your marketing efforts by targeting the audiences that are most valuable to you. From there, you can gradually test new campaign ideas by tagging the rest of your site and creating new audiences. So, not only do you have a cohesive, automated marketing experience – you’re making it work even more for you, to grow your audience and achieve new and better outcomes.
A Strong and Growing Partnership, Built for Results
If you’re a HubSpot customer who uses Perfect Audience, make sure to try the integration and let us know what you think about how we can make it better. We’ve already received a lot of great feedback and will continue working on strengthening our partnership.
If you’re reading this from HubSpot’s INBOUND 2015 conference, stop by and say hello!
Summer vacation is winding down and families are getting ready to go back to school as soon as August hits. The upcoming school year means back-to-school sales are right around the corner. For education advertisers and retailers, this is an important period where their audience is looking for educational goods and services. It’s the time when people go back online to shop for new school supplies and textbooks.
When we examined search advertisers around this time last year, we saw clear spikes in the clicks and conversions for search advertisers working in the education vertical. When comparing back-to-school against the summer months, clicks spiked almost 15% during August across search advertisers. Similarly, conversions also jump 10% during this time period.
These signals validate the increased interest that the back-to-school time period incurs in consumers, resulting in more searches and clicks on education-related ads, and conversions for these products during August. Tweaking and adjusting relevant campaigns will be very important this month for education advertisers looking for an opportunity to capture the most attention for their back-to-school sales. Be sure to take advantage of this critical period to optimize your search campaigns!
Over 65% of online revenue now comes from purchases made across more than one digital channel. With this in mind, it’s essential that marketers use cross-channel strategies, rather than just looking at each digital channel in a silo. Using the right technology, you can reach the same users across search, social, and display, engaging with audiences on one channel based on their profile and activities on another.
Here are three strategies to survive – and thrive – in a cross-channel world.
1. Cross-Channel Remarketing for High-Cost Search Keywords
Competitive search terms can be expensive. Using cross-channel remarketing for high-cost search keywords can save money while still serving ads to users who’ve shown search intent.Using remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs), you can make sure the same user doesn't click a search ad more than once, but still retarget them using social and display – where the CPC is a lot cheaper. For example, an insurance company may not want to have to pay for two expensive, generic insurance search clicks from the same user. Suppose that user visits the company’s website via a generic keyword. The company can use negative remarketing lists for search, but pass the search intent data to social and display channels and spend less on remarketing.
2. Expand Search Targeting Using Social Signals
You may want to use more generic keyword targeting on search for users that you know have visited your website through a social channel. Users visiting your website through social have shown some brand affinity, so there’s less risk with wider keyword targeting to this audience. For instance, the keyword "dresses" may be too generic for a retailer to target without any social signals from the user. But, if the retailer knows the user has some brand affinity, they may want to bid on these keywords for this audience. By creating an RLSA campaign with more generic keywords just for this audience, advertisers can expand targeting while maintaining performance.
3. Search Intent Social Lookalike Modeling
Lookalike audiences let you reach new prospects who are more likely to be interested in your business because they're similar to audiences who’ve visited your website or performed a desired action. Using search intent data for lookalike modeling allows you to build lookalike audiences based on how users have performed a specific search, or who have shown specific search intent. For example, a travel agent may want to reach potential travellers looking for luxury hotels. The agent could use their search intent data to build a Facebook Custom Audience website campaign for prospecting, based on people who searched for upmarket hotels and landed on the website.
Each digital advertising channel has its own unique benefits, data sets, and targeting options. By utilizing cross-channel advertising strategies, advertisers can take audience information from one channel and use it to optimize campaigns on another.
As we delve deeper into audience marketing and programmatic, we often talk about this ideal scenario of delivering the right message to the right person at the right moment. However, in that scenario, often times the focus on the “right message” gets buried. Acquiring data has become easier and more automated, but the same can’t be said for delivering a compelling experience to the customer. While tools like dynamic product ads improve the efficiency of creating millions of different versions of ads, they still don’t help marketers figure out the most important part: what’s the right hook that will convince your audience to pay attention. Figuring that out is still a very manual, creatively driven process.
In working with our clients, we’ve learned that developing the “right message” requires discipline and communication between the data analysis and creative parts of the organization. Here are three basic steps you should be taking:
Step 1: Know Your Audience; Use Personas
Knowing your audience starts with being able to paint a vivid picture of each customer – knowing their needs, their aspirations, and their goals. The best way to do this is ensuring you have accurate, compelling, and useful personas of your target audiences. The best personas are an amalgam of both qualitative and quantitative insights. The Nielsen Norman Group offers a great primer on developing data-driven personas.
Step 2: Categorize Your Intent Data
Once you start collecting intent data, it won’t be long before you find yourself being deluged by it. The challenge we face constantly is figuring out how to categorize data in the most useful ways.
There are two basic ways we start categorizing intent data – the first is based on signals that indicate how likely a user is to take an action, the second is signals that show how valuable that user might be. By mapping these segments, we can start to build a narrative of where they are in the buying cycle, and what messages might resonate with them.
Step 3: Think “Personal” Not “Programmatic”
In the equation of being in the right place at the right time with the right message. Having the right message is the most important part of that equation. Studies have shown that creative quality, not targeting or optimization, is the primary reason why brand campaigns succeed or fail.
However, developing “good” creative is easier said than done. The key takeaway is that while dynamic advertising will help operationally, simply rotating a never ending stream of images, copy and colors, to try to hit upon a “winning” combination will not deliver an ideal customer experience. It is essential that any design and copy template start by speaking the right language, is considerate of where your customers might be in the funnel, and takes into account the contexts where they’re going to encounter your ads.
By leveraging intent data with your existing understanding of your customers, you can start making your data work harder and smarter for you. Optimized targeting and compelling, customer-first creative is a powerful combination that will help you drive incremental results.
If spring’s the time for cleaning, summer’s the time for home improvement. Every summer, people begin to think about updating and upgrading their living situation, whether it’s through renovations, remodeling, or purchases. During these warmer and brighter months, people line up to get into open houses, sample flooring and bathroom tiles, and get in the mood for spending money to upgrade their home. This is especially true this year, with rumors of rising interest rates sending consumers rushing to get their finances in order while the rates are still favorable.
Summer Surge Versus Winter Slump
We looked at a narrow cut of real estate and home improvement advertisers to understand how summer impacts consumer behavior. There are obvious patterns of consumer interest during the summer months (June to August) that drop during the winter. Click-through rates for home improvement search ads go up almost 15% during the summer when compared to the winter months, signaling an increased interest in home improvement topics. Conversion rates also trend 37% higher during the summer. While we saw a brief spike during late December and early January, this is presumably for the holiday season, as people look for deals and make plans to change things for the New Year (and which doesn’t offset the general trend of summer home improvement).
Competition Also Heats Up in the Summer
Unsurprisingly, real estate and home improvement advertisers are aware of the summer effect. Competitiveness peaks during the summer months, with search CPCs jumping 4% before falling back again during the winter – when consumers aren’t quite as eager to paint the outside of their house or spend time remodeling.
If you’re looking to slap a fresh coat of paint on your digital marketing strategy, it’s always good to begin by understanding where your audience is and when they’re engaging. For marketers looking for potential home buyers or renovators, be sure to take advantage of the summer months, when people are splurging on new shelves or looking for a new place to call home.
The online customer purchase path has become way more complex. If marketers want to develop a relevant and efficient online acquisition strategy, they have to fully understand this new online purchasing landscape.
The online advertising world is traditionally “ad centric” – campaign performance is measured for a given format and on a specific channel. Now, it’s evolving into a “customer-centric” model, where performance is measured and analyzed at the user level (i.e., its overall acquisition cost, regardless of the channel or formats being used). The move from a silo to a cross-channel vision allows advertisers to allocate ad investments more wisely, avoiding excessive spend on a single user. If you’re a marketer who’s willing to create a unified strategy for your ad campaigns – across Search, Social, and Display channels – then audience targeting and use of first-party data are vital necessities.
The Audience Is the Glue and Cement Between Channels
Did you know that 98% of website visitors don’t convert on their first visit? To send them back to your website and directly to the bottom of the celebrated conversion funnel, you have to retarget them one way or another. This is especially important for marketers who:
Invest heavily to acquire high levels of web traffic
Want to ensure the right use of their website across diverse channels
Are trying to take strategic advantage of these channels – whether it’s Search (Google AdWords, Bing, Yahoo Gemini), Social (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), or Display (network and banner publishers, video)
Because of the obvious link between search intent and the related click action, until recently, no channel was able to compete with Search. However, this is changing, due to technologies that focus on audiences and are able to leverage substantial volumes of data.
Now, advertisers no longer rely solely on what customers are searching for (queried keywords). They’re also leveraging multiple behavioral and demographic data from other channels. The marketers’ goal is to identify, segment, target, and retarget the audience with the highest customer lifetime value, across different channels and devices (smartphones, tablets, and desktop) in order to maximize conversion rates.
Leverage Customer Intent and Behavioral Signals – Building First-Party Data
Your website is still the best source of information on user behavior, since you can easily analyze browsing patterns (number of page views, shares on social media, cart abandon, etc.).
This information allows you to identify trends and define various profiles according to your performance goals. For example, a user who’s seen 10 different pages has a tendency to convert more frequently than someone who’s seen only one.
You can enrich these website profiles with other data (internal or external to the site) in order to build powerful data combinations. Two types of data that always seem to be inescapable: intent (via search engine) and demographic.
Combining the windfall of useful information from search campaigns with demographic targeting insights from social campaigns, you can refine your user profiles for more optimized retargeting campaigns.
By cross-checking this audience data, you can better understand your prospective customers while improving the efficiency of your online campaigns. And, you can more precisely target your most important user segments. Indeed, these audience lists can be used across your three ad campaign types:
1. Search – Google Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)
2. Social – Facebook Website Custom Audiences (WCA) and Twitter Tailored Audiences
3. Display – ad exchange platforms (programmatic), Facebook Exchange, and DoubleClick Ad Exchange
To provide a real-world example: Someone starts his purchase journey on a search engine with the term “cheap hotel in London”. Then, he clicks the text ad without converting. You could add him to the audience list that includes people interested in the “London” destination with an intent of “cheap”. You can then implement a targeting campaign for this list by bidding differently on each channel to optimize its cost of acquisition (for instance, Search at -20%, Social at +20%, and Display at +10%).
Improved Campaign Performance, Unified Management
Looking at the customer purchase path, it’s obvious that each channel has drastically different roles and impacts on final outcomes. For example, Search is more likely to generate direct sales, while Social and Display have more supporting roles. According to a Marin Software study, Search campaigns – when jointly managed with Social – generate 26% higher revenue per click compared to single-channel campaigns. This type of unified management strategy also improves revenue per conversion – Search campaign revenue per conversion was 68% higher when managed simultaneously with Social.
Marketers who successfully leverage unified Search, Social, and Display strategies experience better managed and optimized online acquisition spend. By firmly shifting focus to your audience, you can maximize lifetime value and overall ROI. Using a flexible and transparent platform that enables you to precisely segment and target users on all channels allows you to more effectively achieve your business goals, while evolving away from a single-channel approach.
Programmatic is hot right now. eMarketer predicts that by 2020, programmatic spending will top $65 billion, making up over 82% of all US display ad spending in 2018 alone. As quickly as it’s growing, though, programmatic has some serious terminology and conventions you have to learn if you want to consider yourself an expert. And once you get started, you may feel like you’re drowning in a sea of programmatic jargon, lingo, and acronyms.
The programmatic ecosystem is large and wide – but not impassable. A good way to start the journey is getting to know the 8 major players in the ecosystem, as well as their main functions.
1. The Advertiser
If you’re reading this, this is probably you. The advertising world wouldn’t exist without the companies that buy the ads.
2. The Publisher
Publishers are all the publications, web sites, and mobile apps that create and deliver the real value – the content – as well as the ad space that advertisers buy.
3. Ad Exchanges
Ad exchanges are the backbone of programmatic ad buying, and a major driving force for the display advertising renaissance over the past few years. Ad exchanges are essentially marketplaces where advertisers and publishers buy and sell ad space programmatically. Publishers make their inventory available and advertisers then bid for those ads, often in real-time, based on how much a particular visitor is worth to them.
4. Ad Networks
Ad networks are like the older, less capable big brother of the ad exchange. Like ad exchanges, ad networks aggregate inventory across multiple publishers and package it up, helping advertisers buy ads at scale more efficiently. Because they can still be a simple, efficient way to scale your media buy across a large number of publishers, they’re still relevant in this age of programmatic. Still, ad networks don’t offer the same targeting sophistication that ad exchanges do.
5. Data Management Platforms (DMPs)
Advertisers use DMPs to collect, store, and leverage their first-party audience data. DMPs also aggregate data from third parties and make it available to clients to use in their advertising.
6. Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs)
A demand-side platform is a tool that enables marketers to bid on and buy ads from ad exchanges. There are some big differences between the different platforms out there, so be sure to determine what’s most important to your business before investing in one – for example, access to data, quality of reach, transparency, etc.
7. Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs)
Advertisers use DSPs to buy ads on ad exchanges. Publishers use SSPs to sell their ads on ad exchanges. It’s basically the mirror opposite.
8. Agency Trading Desk
Agency Trading Desks (ATDs) are essentially the media buying and reselling arms of major advertising agency holding companies like WPP, Publicis, and Interpublic. ATDs reflect a mix of people and technology. While media is often bought programmatically using technology like DSPs and DMPs, it’s then resold to advertisers as a managed service.
These eight players are just one piece of the programmatic puzzle. For a more complete discussion – including how data, targeting, and retargeting figure in – download our full white paper, The ABCs of Programmatic.
Advertisers cite data quality as one of their top concerns in creating complete customer profiles. Many advertisers are still looking for ways to expand the reach and effectiveness of their campaigns with strong, quality data. Being able to effectively synthesize different sources of data is a key step in this process. While first- and third-party data are most common and have their own, unique strengths, second-party data is making a big splash – and quickly becoming the life of the party.
First- and Third-Party Data Aren’t Enough
First-party data is your data, collected from your own audience and customers. It’s unique, cost-effective, and relevant. However, it has scalability issues since – by its very nature – it’s not designed to locate and target additional audiences.
Third-party data is data from an external source, aggregated and sold to advertisers for use in display campaigns and analytics. It has equal-but-opposite issues – it provides a good overall look at a segment or market, but is not unique and less relevant.
Second-party data allows advertisers to bridge the gap between the two.
Second-Party Data to the Rescue
Second-party data is data received from a trusted source that an advertiser has a direct relationship with. Not only is it scalable – unlike first-party data – it’s also more reliable than third-party data. Second-party data allows you to expand audience reach with accurate data from a trusted partner, whereas third-party data is unreliable due to how the audiences are compiled – information can quickly become outdated.
As a modern marketer, you need to use all the tools at your disposal to best reach and target your audience. Using a healthy mix of all three data types can help you optimize your campaigns and reduce costs, while reaching larger portions of your target audience.
When you’re trying to decide which audience is best suited for your consumption, it’s best to look at your decision similar to how you would choose an eating establishment.
I typically ask myself the following questions when choosing a place to eat. Funny enough, these questions also work very well when choosing audiences.
Is their food fresh? Like expired food leads to a bad meal, out of date audiences lead to poor program performance. A fresh audience, that is recently active, is the best type of audience because they are more likely to be influenced by relevant offers.
Are the ingredients unique? Unique ingredients lead to surprising combinations that mark some of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had. Similarly, a unique data set can reveal audience intent signals that can’t be revealed through any other means. If you can capitalize on that intent by messaging that person with the right offer, you’ll benefit from memorable performance.
Are there many other people trying to eat at the place I want to eat at? If all of my competitors can message my same audience, they most likely will. That also means that my message is likely to get lost in a sea of other offers. Ideally, I want an audience my competition can’t reach because my message has a higher chance of being noticed.
Fine dining restaurants are similar to 1st party audiences. They are exclusive, they are expensive, they are unique, and they have the freshest ingredients and make a lasting impact. These audiences are typically the most valuable and coveted audiences but it also means they are harder to access and oftentimes very expensive.
Local mom and pop restaurants are similar to 2nd party audiences. Everyone has a favorite local restaurant. They are familiar; you may see your friends or family eating there. They are more widely available than fine dining establishments, and while they offer fresh ingredients they’re still not quite at the level of fine dining. A great option for every day use.
Quick service restaurants are similar to 3rd party data. They are designed to appeal to the largest customer set possible. They vary widely in quality and freshness, are very easy to buy but provide minimal lasting impact. Many question the value of their ingredients but much of the market can't live without them.
The biggest difference between choosing audiences and restaurants is that you can choose many different audiences for the same program where as you typically only choose one restaurant per meal.
If you want a special, unique audience that few others have access to, choose 1st party data. Err on the side of 2nd party data to be in the company of friendly brands who are looking to message a highly qualified, shared audience. And when choosing to go with 3rd party data, go with those whose ingredients have been carefully selected to add an additional layer of scale to your audience buy.