B2B global e-commerce has become increasingly prevalent in today's digital landscape. As businesses expand their operations across borders, they are embracing the benefits of online platforms to connect with customers worldwide. However, customer adoption and retention in this highly competitive environment pose significant challenges.
To overcome these challenges and drive success in B2B global e-commerce, businesses must employ effective strategies. To achieve this, a broad understanding of the B2B e-commerce landscape and acknowledgment of the complexities of this landscape is essential. In this blog article, we will explore the strategies behind boosting customer adoption and retention for B2B e-commerce businesses while sharing our experiences at Marin Software.
Mastering B2B E-Commerce
B2B e-commerce is intricate and varied. The first step to a successful outcome is to master the key elements of what makes a great B2B e-commerce strategy for acquiring and retaining customers.
Understanding online consumer behavior is key. Today's consumers are tech-fluent and seek personalized experiences. They want to find what they need swiftly and simply, whether through a search engine, social media, or an e-commerce site. Businesses must adjust their marketing strategies to meet these evolving needs.
Competing in the B2B E-Commerce Space
Understanding the competitive nature of B2B e-commerce is also crucial. With companies constantly battling for digital consumer attention, understanding the competition allows businesses to strategically position and distinguish their brand. To stay ahead, companies must use innovative tools and technology, a process made easier with Marin Software's platform. Real-time data and insights allow businesses to monitor competition and identify growth opportunities.
Keeping Up with Tech Developments
Staying current with technological developments in B2B e-commerce is essential. As technology evolves, new online advertising opportunities arise. Keeping up with search engine algorithm advancements, social media trends, and new e-commerce platforms can provide a competitive advantage. Marin Software eases this task, offering a platform that integrates effortlessly with the latest technologies and helps businesses capitalize on emerging trends and opportunities.
Understanding the regulatory environment in the B2B e-commerce space is a key component to not only success, but simply the ability to continue operations at all in the B2B space. Online advertising is heavily regulated, with policies varying from region to region. Failure to comply can lead to hefty penalties and harm to a business’s reputation.
In sum, mastering B2B e-commerce involves understanding online consumer behavior, knowing your competition, staying current with technology, and understanding regulations. This is the first step to creating effective strategies for customer acquisition and retention.
The Importance of Data-Driven Marketing
Data-driven marketing is no longer an option; it's a vital component for successful online advertising campaigns. Let's explore why.
The Role of Data in Marketing
Today's marketing is all about the quantity and quality of data the business has access to. Data provides a detailed view of your customers, including their behaviors, preferences, and purchasing habits. Instead of guessing what your customer wants or needs, data provides the answers. This information helps businesses identify specific audiences, create personalized campaigns, and understand current market trends.
Converting Data into Action
Having a lot of data is helpful, but understanding how to use it effectively is key. Tools like Marin Software are great for such use cases. We transform raw data into actionable insights, guiding businesses to understand the data and use it effectively. By simplifying complex data, information can be transformed into valuable insights that drive your marketing decisions.
For instance, if the data indicates a specific product is popular among a certain age group, you can modify your marketing strategy to target that demographic more accurately. Similarly, if customers are abandoning their shopping carts without purchasing, you can investigate the reasons and adjust accordingly.
Data-driven marketing enables strategic, informed decisions that enhance customer adoption and retention. The key is to create actionable steps using the data that's collected.
Customer-Centric Advertising: Why It Matters
Embracing a Customer-Centric Approach
Marin Software prioritizes customer-centric advertising, an approach that places the customer at the center of all marketing efforts. This approach differs from traditional methods that focus primarily on the product or service. Instead, customer-centric advertising seeks to understand and meet the customers' needs, ensuring they feel valued and appreciated.
Unlocking the Potential of Personalized Content
In today's saturated market, great content truly moves the needle. Businesses should utilize customer data and deliver personalized advertising content to attract their attention. By understanding a customer's browsing habits, preferences, and purchasing behavior, businesses can create content that resonates with the customer. Personalized advertising can set businesses apart, attracting new customers and increasing retention. It demonstrates that a business recognizes and values the customers' unique needs and individuality.
Building Customer Relationships through Relevant Advertising
Customer-centric advertising also involves building and maintaining robust customer relationships through relevant advertising. Presenting products or services that match a customer's needs or interests shows that a business values its customers. Relevant advertising can foster customer loyalty. Customers who feel understood and provided with suitable solutions are more likely to remain loyal. Marin Software understands the importance of customer-centric advertising and provides businesses with the necessary tools to create relevant, personalized content that strengthens customer relationships and increases retention.
Customer-centric advertising is an effective strategy to enhance customer adoption and retention. It involves understanding and valuing the customer, delivering personalized content, and fostering strong relationships through relevant advertising.
Integrating Search, Social, and E-Commerce Advertising
At Marin Software, we promote the integration of search, social, and e-commerce advertising, offering a powerful solution for comprehensive marketing. Our unified platform enables businesses to manage their advertising efforts seamlessly across these vital areas, contributing to consistent brand messages and an enhanced customer experience.
Unified Advertising: Broadening Your Reach
Integrating search, social, and e-commerce advertising offers the key advantage of broadening your brand's reach. Every added channel in your marketing mix introduces a new opportunity to interact with potential customers. Search engine advertising targets users actively searching for your products or services. Social media advertising offers an engaging, conversational setting for users. e-commerce advertising connects with an audience ready to make a purchase.
Consider this approach as casting a wider net. Increasing the number of channels utilized allows for a broader customer outreach. With Marin Software's platform, you can manage all your marketing efforts in one place, saving time and resources, and maintaining a cohesive strategy.
Establishing a Consistent Customer Experience
Integrating search, social, and e-commerce advertising also leads to a consistent customer experience. Customers interact with brands across multiple touchpoints. They might first encounter your brand on social media, research your products on a search engine, and finally make a purchase on your e-commerce site.
Marin Software's integrated platform allows for a smooth transition between these touchpoints. You can ensure consistent messaging and branding across all channels, which enhances brand recognition and trust. Additionally, it enables accurate tracking of the customer experience, providing valuable insights into customer interactions with your brand.
A unified advertising approach also allows for quick responses to changes in customer behavior. If a user clicks on your ad on a search engine but doesn't make a purchase, you can retarget them with a personalized ad on social media. This cross-channel strategy boosts conversion chances and improves the customer experience.
Marin Software's unified platform simplifies the integration of search, social, and e-commerce advertising. Whether your goal is to broaden your reach, establish a consistent customer experience, or streamline your marketing efforts, we offer the tools necessary for success in advertising.
Advance Your B2B E-Commerce Success
B2B e-commerce is a competitive landscape, especially as businesses attempt to explore across borders. It's important to come up with the right strategies to find new customers and hold on to existing ones. Start by comprehending the intricacies of digital marketing, finding actionable insights based on data, and prioritizing customer-focused advertising. When ready, integrating marketing channels through a tool like Marin Software can take it to the next level.
Take advantage of this opportunity to elevate your business with tailored, data-informed marketing strategies that resonate with your audience. Remember, excelling in B2B e-commerce isn't about matching the competition—it's about staying one step ahead.
Begin benefitting from targeted online advertising with Marin Software. Partner with us now and witness a transformation in your marketing approaches!
Over time, nurturing your audience using personalized content can encourage brand advocates and loyal customers, positioning your brand as an industry authority.
If you’re ready to help your audience feel seen and hit your sales goals, stick around for six simple steps you can follow to embrace personalized marketing.
Understand your target audience profoundly
Who is your audience, really? Why are they ideal customers? What struggles do they face? What businesses do they run? What do they need help with? How can you provide tailored support that meets their needs?
Without a clear understanding of the answers to these questions, you won’t be able to tailor your content to your audience’s unique preferences and needs.
But you also need to dig a bit deeper.
Use SEO tools to discover your audience’s top searches and pain points. SEO tools can be incredibly useful for creating a content personalization strategy for B2B sales. By utilizing these tools, you can gain valuable insights into your target audience's search behavior, identifying the topics, keywords, and phrases most relevant to them.
Use these insights to inform your content creation process and build out your target buyer persona. By tailoring your content to your audience’s specific pain points and addressing their questions, you can do your part to ensure they feel heard, understood, and cared for. More on this in a bit.
Pro-Tip: Save time personalizing your brand’s look and feel using an all-in-one branding solution like Tailor Brands.
With Tailor Brands, you can design a custom logo, build a website, create digital business cards, and print branded merch — all of which will have a unified look and feel.
Consider adding elements that resonate with your audience's personal interests and experiences. For example, if you've noticed that a significant portion of your clientele shares an affection for comfort food, integrating a banana bread motif or imagery might make your brand feel more relatable and homey. For instance, look at how Semrush, a popular SEO tool suite, uses a bright and playful website theme to target energetic marketing teams.
These branding elements also carry over to their merch. Even the socks look identical to the website homepage.
Here are some additional tips you can use to personalize your branding to your audience:
Create a branded style guide your marketing and design team must adhere to when planning campaigns
Create a banner at the top of your website’s home page that addresses a pain point and provides a personalized solution, i.e., “Tired of planning your sales calls in spreadsheets? Use our Smart Sales platform and never touch a spreadsheet again”
Plan and integrate tailored value statements and calls to action (CTAs) throughout your blog, social media content, landing pages, and ads
Plan content pillars that cater to your audience’s preferences and solve their pain points
Review the top searches and pain points you discovered in your SEO research from step one.
Use these insights to plan main topics (the keywords you hope to rank for), content pillars (your go-to benchmark pieces), and clusters (relevant content used as sub-topics to support your content pillars). For instance, if you sell project management software, then you might have planned the following:
Audience insight 1: Our audience is always on the hunt for features that can help them save time planning project timelines.
A couple of the main topics we pulled include: “Project timeline” and “timeline planning”.
With this in mind, our content pillars will be: “How to Create A Project Timeline in An Hour Or Less” and “X Ways To Speed Up Timeline Planning”.
Our clusters will include:
Building mini-project timelines
Audience insight 2: Our ideal customer dreams of interacting with clients and stakeholders within their Work OS.
A couple of the main topics we pulled include: “Client portal” and “In-app messaging”.
With this in mind, our content pillars will be: “How to Set Up Your Client Portal” and “Say Goodbye to Email with In-App Messaging”.
Our clusters will include:
Client portal integrations
In-app messaging integrations
Client portal best practices
In-app messaging FAQs
Don’t forget to solidify your CTAs when drafting your content to encourage more sales. Place CTAs in your article conclusions, at the end of your social media posts, and throughout your email campaigns.
Pro-Tip: Have no idea how to do any of the above? Reach out to an SEO agency or strategist for support.
Schedule topics as blog posts and repurpose them as social media posts and email campaigns
Once you’ve planned your main topics, content pillars, and clusters, use marketing automation platforms to schedule them as blog posts on your B2B blog.
Then, repurpose snippets from your blog assets and schedule them across your B2B socials and in your B2B email campaigns. Make sure your repurposed content looks native to the channels you’re publishing them on.
Work with subject-matter expert writers that have a firm grasp on your style guide, content goals, and audience. If you’re planning a massive content initiative, consider hiring account managers or project managers to help you organize this process as strategically as possible.
Don’t forget about graphics, images, and videos, too.
Add value-driven screenshots and custom images to break up text and illustrate main ideas. Or consider creating a series of videos based on your clusters or incorporating mini-explainer videos into your email marketing campaigns and social media posts.
And if you serve a global audience, you can use human-like AI voices to create videos in multiple languages and dialects to show your commitment to creating personalized content.
Differentiate between demand-generation content and lead-generation content and plan accordingly
Which topics or individual assets will you “give” away without asking for anything in return? Which topics will you reserve as gated pieces, otherwise known as lead magnets, where you’ll expect contact information in exchange for a download or freebie?
Get clear on which content pieces you’ll reserve for list-building campaigns and which ones you’ll post openly. Striking the right balance can help you cater to B2B target customers during all marketing funnel stages.
For instance, if you’re a new business, consider starting with mostly demand-generation content (un-gated assets) to start the process of building awareness and trust with your audience. Over time, consider weaving in lead-generation content (gated assets) to give your audience more value and nurture them closer to conversion.
For example, if you’re a sales coach for sales directors and managers, then you might offer helpful sales strategy infographics, sales tips, and sales analysis insights on your LinkedIn page, Twitter, and blog without asking for anything in return.
To encourage potential customers to hand over their contact details, you might consider creating an eBook or a sales playbook to use as a lead magnet. You could also offer ultimate guides, webinar tickets, and sales worksheets as additional gated content offers.
Pro-Tip: Don’t forget about running ads! Meet with an ad specialist with experience in your industry to plan pay-per-click campaigns and other relevant ads.
Link up with pros who serve your audience
Gain more traction by reaching out to pros that serve your target audience and have cultivated a loyal following.
Take this tip up a notch by starting a user-generated content (UGC) campaign. Or, better yet, ask B2B influencers to run UGC campaigns on your brand’s behalf.
And there you go! Today we covered how to create a personalized content strategy to help inspire B2B sales.
Your next order of business?
Meeting with your marketing team to discuss the steps we covered today. Before embarking on this journey, it’s important to make sure everyone’s on the same page. It’s also crucial that the marketers on your team understand their unique roles in personalizing content and helping you drive this campaign forward.
Continue monitoring your content and look for ways to further personalize it to your audience. Consider dedicating marketing analysis to a few experienced team members so you can make the most of your personalization efforts. That’s it for now, friends. To your success!
This is a testament to the massive potential of digital ads to reach the billions of people who use the internet to read, browse, and shop. Nonetheless, digital ads have their fair share of flaws.
As a result, blockchain technology in digital advertising has entered the chat to help advertisers navigate these challenges for the better. This guide will explain the link between blockchain technology and digital advertising so you can make the most out of every campaign you run.
What is Blockchain Technology?
Blockchain is a shared database that features real-time information to countless peers across a network. Generally speaking, blockchain technology serves as a distributed ledger where multiple parties can access and verify transactions.
Originally, blockchain technology was developed to build and sustain cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. To understand the ins and outs of this complicated technology, let’s peel back the curtain with a simple example to illustrate how a blockchain network works.
Suppose you own Bitcoin and want to buy a pair of sneakers. Once you navigate to your favorite website and click the purchase button, blockchain technology will begin working to verify your purchase.
In particular, a group of anonymous miners will process your transaction over the blockchain through a process called proof of work. Finally, the transaction will go through if you have sufficient funds to cover the purchase cost.
Side note: There could be significant tax implications if you purchase anything using crypto. For a comprehensive guide on handling cryptocurrency taxes, we recommend referring to reliable resources for more information.
The blockchain is the network where all of these processes take place. It’s a secure network that enables secure sharing. And blockchain is much different from traditional databases that are managed by a single entity.
But the best part? Blockchain technology isn't restricted to just crypto transactions or use in the financial services sector. And you’re probably wondering what this has to do with digital advertising.
We’ll cover that in the next section.
Blockchain Technology in Digital Advertising
The boom in native advertising isn’t without cause. The rise of digital platforms like the Internet and social media has created a global audience for advertisers. Nonetheless, this doesn’t come without its share of consequences.
Advertisers face three critical problems when running digital campaigns:
There are so many different players in the advertising space. First, there’s the advertising marketplace, publisher, and advertiser. Even ad exchanges act as liaisons between publishers and advertisers. These parties have their own interests, which complicates the digital advertising space.
Advertisers commonly use multiple ad marketplaces, meaning they often have difficulty attributing success to a specific platform. This scenario can make their jobs more difficult in optimizing campaigns across these different channels.
The rise of digital advertising has led to rampant ad fraud. Ad campaigns depend on authentic views and clicks for profit. Blurring the line between real and fake ad engagements can hamper a campaign’s success.
These three problems present a massive challenge for advertisers to overcome. Luckily, blockchain technology can help.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these problems and explain why there's a need for blockchain technology to spruce up industry standards.
Too Many Parties Are Involved
Historically, print advertising was much simpler. All you had to do was hire an ad agency, and they'd create the content you wanted. From there, they’d pay for ad space in magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, billboards, etc. And then you’d pay the ad agency for their services.
Today, this process isn’t as cut and dry. It's messy with advertisers, online platforms, and millions of publishers looking to make the most bang for their buck. It’s complicated. And the whole process feels like you’re wading through mud (read: the opposite of transparent).
The problem is that each party has its own interests. Everyone wants to make the most money. And that means taking money out of your pocket. You’re spending even more on platform fees, bidding costs, and other outlays that can severely decrease your return on investment (ROI).
Different Platforms Make It Difficult to Attribute Ad Success
Using multiple platforms to advertise your products and services is a fundamental way to increase reach and exposure. It’s also very challenging to determine which platforms are more successful and which need more refinement.
Even though advertising platforms like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have their own analytic dashboards, people take different journeys to interact with their favorite products and services.
See for yourself — Google Analytics doesn’t have much insight into how people navigate to your ads other than listing the referral websites:
Not everyone clicks on a display ad and buys a product immediately. Some take less direct pathways in purchasing, such as viewing and researching other products across social media platforms, before making up their mind.
What makes attribution more confusing is that you must account for various streaming devices, such as smartphones, computers, and smart devices. Each device has its own buying journey.
It becomes a major challenge to adapt your advertising strategy and improve your results without knowing exactly how your audience interacts with each platform you use.
Ad Fraud is a Real Problem
The success of a digital advertising campaign depends on two metrics: views and clicks. As with anything online, advertisers can have their precious efforts ruined by bas actors and bots (read: ad fraud).
All advertisers face potential ad fraud in the form of:
Traffic hijacking takes clicks from your ads and sends them somewhere else.
Click farms and bots that assign views to your ads with no conversions.
Hidden ads that don’t showcase your products or services at all.
White publishers do their best to reduce these instances of fraud, but it remains a growing problem for advertisers.
Why Blockchain Technology is the Answer
All of the problems we mentioned have a correlation — the lack of trust and transparency about the data you’re receiving from publishers and ad platforms.
If you can’t trust your ad data, your campaign will inevitably misfire. Earlier, we explained what blockchain is. Now, let’s dive into the blockchain solutions that help mitigate these problems:
Open-source: Blockchain is a distributed network. That means that multiple parties have access to important data in the digital ledger. Using a blockchain network, you can receive authentic ad data you can trust without intermediaries.
Transparent: All data across a blockchain network is visible to every participant — no more doubting the information you receive is fraudulent.
Immutable: Blockchain data can't be altered. Again, this builds trust and stops fraudsters in their tracks.
Automated: Algorithms relevant to your campaign can be carried out like blockchain transactions, making your campaign more efficient.
Blockchain technology is more than a financial apparatus. Its use cases are spiraling into many different industries, especially digital advertising, where it’s needed to combat fraud and inauthenticity.
Blockchain Technology in Digital Advertising: A Sample Use Case
To help drive this point home, let’s look at an actionable example of blockchain in digital advertising.
With its decentralized nature and cryptographic security measures, blockchain is transforming the world of digital advertising as we know it. By cutting out intermediaries, it introduces a level of transparency and efficiency.
This powerful technology also makes sure that ads reach real people, not bots, and significantly improves ad fraud prevention. And we all know that digital advertising and personal data go together like two peas in a pod.
This is especially true in the sensitive domain of student loans. Every click, every lead, and every opportunity to apply for a student loan can lead to a collection of valuable personal information. Unfortunately, where there's value, there's a risk of fraud.
A successful advertising campaign in the student loan sector requires more than just reaching the target audience. It requires building trust, showing integrity, and proving that, as an advertiser, you value the privacy of your customer’s data.
That’s why innovative platforms such as SoFi can benefit from participating in this digital revolution. And thankfully, blockchain technology provides a robust framework for all of these aspects.
Blockchain offers greater transparency, prevents ad fraud, and can improve data security.
However, it's important to note that despite the potential security measures offered by blockchain, setting up data backup and recovery strategies is also worthwhile.
In particular, backup and recovery of data in the cloud can provide an additional layer of security, guaranteeing that your sensitive data is always accessible and protected, regardless of any problems or vulnerabilities.
The result? Happier customers. Less financial and reputational risk. And you’ll sleep better at night knowing your most sensitive data is safe and protected.
The intersection of blockchain technology in the marketing industry is clear.
Advertisers want more transparency in the campaigns they’re spending their money on. And there’s a sizable gray area due to oversaturation in the marketplace and bad actors trying to game the system.
Thankfully, the rise of blockchain technology helps to clear the muddy waters of online advertising and create a level playing field for everyone.
So are you ready to jump on the bandwagon? How will you incorporate blockchain technology in your next advertising campaign?
Today, one of the biggest technological advancements is Artificial intelligence (AI), which has immense B2B sales and marketing potential. That's why enterprises have transformed their marketing strategies by adopting full automation via smart AI technology.
Around 87% of businesses plan to use AI for sales forecasting. Whether it's engaging more website visitors or managing predictive analytic campaigns, AI is quickly becoming an integral part of the success of B2B marketers. In this article, we'll take an elaborative look at the impact of Artificial Intelligence on B2B sales and marketing and the challenges and opportunities that come with it.
Impact of AI on B2B Sales & Marketing
With AI technology, B2B sales and marketing have witnessed significant and transformative growth, revolutionizing various aspects of the industry by enabling businesses to enhance their whole business process.
AI helps businesses and encourages customers to have a more personalized experience. Through this, marketers use their software to get insights and provide the customer with smart purchase decisions.
AI has made predicting customers' future purchase choices and shopping patterns easier using predictive analytics blended with the natural language process.
We have all seen how Amazon uses AI-powered product recommendations using tags like 'recommended for you' or 'customers also bought' while purchasing or adding something to your cart. This works amazingly for the brand by encouraging customers to increase the value of their carts.
With automation tools, it has become quite easy to facilitate repetitive and time-consuming tasks in AI-driven B2B marketing. Automating email outreach, lead nurturing, and follow-up activities can be managed by robots so that high-value activities, such as building relationships, could be prioritized by real human beings.
AI in B2B sales and marketing has also influenced competition in business. It has worked to many organizations' advantage by enabling them to deliver optimized marketing campaigns, provide a superior customer experience, and generate more qualified leads.
5 Ways How AI will transform B2B Sales and Marketing
Enhanced Lead Generation and Scoring
AI in B2B marketing has started overcoming some of the biggest challenges marketers face, including generating high-quality leads and increasing leads. The labor intensity of data collection, analysis, and management plays quite a significant role in marketing problems. That's why data collection and analysis can be automated by incorporating AI into lead generation processes. This results in an increased number of quality-generated leads. Lead generation is a time-consuming manual task, so when automation came into this area, it became a powerful business process optimizer and a strong IT business strategy.
Pro tip: Focus on the call to action. Ensure your call to action button requests the user's details and stands out from the background. The button text must be clear; for instance, 'Download Free eBook' tells users the result of a click. The button's location should be eye-catching.
Your content can be amazing and optimized, but it will only succeed if you publish it right. And that's where the implementation of AI in the B2B space works the best. It helps drive maximum engagement by providing the right content at the right time and in the right manner.
Simply put, the best time to publish any written or social media content is in the evening or afternoon. Similarly, the best time for sending marketing emails is in the morning, when your audience wakes with a fresh mind. AI monitors your customer's behavior to determine the optimal publishing times. This way, it schedules your content and publishes it accordingly on its own.
Optimized Website Functionality
Usually, in B2B businesses, marketers miss out on scrutinizing their website performance data to identify any issues or improvement areas. But with AI-powered analytics tools, machine intelligence can shorten complex data into easy and actionable insights.
And the best part is that if there is any sudden or unauthorized data transfer, AI can immediately notify the marketers about it. The same goes for when there is an abrupt spike in a critical metric, like the percentage of the audience that leaves your website just after a single page session. This way, businesses can improve their website's functioning and performance.
The main problem with SEO optimization manually isn't just the time consumption; it's far more than that. And AI recognizes that and helps inform the new content by identifying trendy content, making keyword predictions, and discovering competitive gaps. Moreover, AI optimizes your website's old content for SERPs using dynamic keywords strategy and link updates. This way, your old content stays fresh, and the new one stays ahead of the curve.
Although AI cannot be that reliable when it comes to actually creating engaging content, with its marketing tools, writers can surely use it to enhance and optimize their content according to SEO best practices. AI-powered tools will help you make more optimized, professional, and error-free content.
Pro tip: Remember, SEO isn't just about keywords anymore; it's about providing valuable content. Research Google's recent "Helpful Content Update" to ensure your content is on the right track. This update emphasizes a people-first strategy and encourages SEO experts to focus on search intent, relevant subtopics, and content demonstrating expertise and depth. SEO is a lot more than just adding keywords; you need to deliver substantive value.
Improved Customer Insights
To keep your business at a competitive advantage, it's essential to conduct personalized targeting from the minute a customer enters your sales funnel. This is essential to developing accurate buyer personas and ideal customer profiles (ICP). And this is where AI benefits most through social listening and analysis tools that help businesses achieve their goals.
Challenges and Opportunities in AI Implementation
AI has played a significant and transformative role in strengthening the B2B sales and marketing industry. By improving business-customer relationships and streamlining sales processes, AI has enhanced the multi-segment marketing strategies of B2B businesses. However, the new technology also comes with certain challenges as well as opportunities, which we have discussed below:
Data Quantity and Quality: One of the biggest challenges B2B marketers face with AI implementation is data quantity and quality. The thing with AI algorithms is that they require large amounts of data to make more accurate predictions.
Skepticism: Another major challenge with AI implementation is skepticism in people's minds about its capabilities. Customers often hesitate to interact with the AI-powered system, making it quite difficult for businesses to adapt to AI usage.
Incorporation into existing systems: Incorporation of AI into the existing sales and marketing methods can also be challenging for businesses, as they have already invested in implementing these systems. So, incorporating AI would become more difficult and time-consuming as well.
Outmoded Infrastructure: As AI delivers the desired results, it also requires much information to process within seconds. And that becomes quite difficult with the outdated infrastructure many companies still use. To learn and develop methods with machine learning, one needs to be prepared to invest in its tools, infrastructure, and application, which becomes very challenging for marketers.
Requires Good Investment: Implementing AI in your business takes time to come cost-efficiently. You need to collaborate with an AI expert and launch an ongoing AI training program for your employees to get comfortable with AI and the requirement for machine learning tools. And all of this requires a good investment.
With the help of AI-powered tools and insights, businesses are boosting their sales by meeting the demand and needs of customers, generating more leads, and giving them a personalized experience. And as marketing is known to have the best usage of AI thus far, in the coming years, the B2B sales and marketing industry will be revolutionized on a whole new level.
Navigating what tactics and strategies to use in B2B marketing is tough. To gather insights on how to stay ahead, we recently participated in the Forrester B2B Summit in Austin, Texas. Leaders and visionaries from various industries gathered to explore trends, strategies, and innovations. The sessions, discussions, and networking opportunities provided valuable knowledge that will shape our B2B marketing approach for 2023 and beyond. Here are our "TLDR" notes from our favorite sessions.
Out of 100 sponsors, 50 of them already have AI built in to their tools.
"Ironman effect" - this isn't about robots taking your job, it's about marketers putting on a robotic suit to create superpower-like efficiency and effectiveness.
AI's capability to analyze vast amounts of data enables B2B marketers to identify patterns, predict customer behavior, and personalize content and interactions. It also streamlines lead generation, automates repetitive tasks, improves customer service, optimizes for voice and visual search, aids in competitive analysis, and necessitates ethical considerations. Marketers should prioritize training and upskilling, refine Account-Based Marketing strategies with AI, and stay updated on AI's future directions.
Sam had an amazing experience meeting Sebastian Vettel's pit crew, sitting in the racecar, and receiving a personal letter from the racer himself. Despite Mercedes' dominance in racecar driving, being a Ferrari fan was essential to Vettel's winning mindset. Experiential marketing, particularly in the context of Formula I, played a significant role in driving customer loyalty and advocacy. Key elements of experiential marketing include interaction, engagement, personalization, and creating memorable experiences. Leveraging technology like VR and AR enhances the impact. Storytelling and adapting to virtual events are crucial, as well as considering emerging trends and building long-term relationships with customers. The Forrester B2B Growth Engine emphasizes aligning marketing, product, and sales to meet the changing needs of buyers, as evidenced by their dissatisfaction with providers in 2022.
Buyer Value is the Core of Your Customer-Obsessed Growth Engine
Katie and her son Drew faced the challenge of choosing a college among numerous options, feeling overwhelmed by the lack of differentiation. Similarly, B2B brands encounter a "sea of sameness" and must differentiate themselves by listening to individual customer needs. Key strategies include understanding buyer value, adopting a customer-centric approach, maximizing customer lifetime value, personalization, predictive analysis, customer feedback, crafting compelling value propositions, increasing customer retention, aligning product development with customer expectations, customer journey mapping, cross-functional collaboration, and evolving with changing customer preferences for sustained value delivery.
CMOs can drive market penetration by implementing targeted marketing campaigns, enhancing branding efforts, and implementing customer retention strategies. Market development involves conducting market research, creating market entry strategies, and tailoring messaging to different market segments. CMOs collaborate with product teams in product development by integrating customer insights and developing marketing strategies. Diversification requires exploring opportunities, validating them through research, and executing marketing strategies for new products or markets. Strategic partnerships involve identifying compatible partners, creating collaborative marketing strategies, and maintaining brand alignment. CMOs also play a role in assessing potential acquisitions, overseeing post-acquisition integration, and developing effective communication strategies to inform customers about changes resulting from acquisitions.
Outreach: How Unified Revenue Operations Strategy Drives External Growth
Ashley Naumann discussed the concept of Revenue Operations (RevOps) and its significance in driving business growth. RevOps involves aligning sales, marketing, and customer service departments to provide a seamless customer experience. It emphasizes the integration of data from different departments to create a holistic view of customer interactions, enabling informed decision-making. RevOps also streamlines business processes, enhances revenue forecasting and planning, and helps overcome organizational silos, fostering collaboration and improving performance. She highlighted the impact of RevOps on customer experience and provided strategies for successful implementation.
B2B intent data is defined as data that reveals the signals and indications of a potential buyer's interests and purchasing intentions. It plays a crucial role in modern marketing and sales strategies by providing valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. There are various sources of B2B intent data, including first-party and third-party data providers. First-party data providers utilize a company's own data, such as website analytics and CRM data, to analyze user behavior. Third-party data providers collect data from external sources, offering a broader view of the market. Other intent data provider models include bidstream data providers, cooperative data providers, predictive analytics providers, publisher-based providers, and data aggregator providers. Understanding the pros and cons of different data sources helps businesses make informed decisions about utilizing B2B intent data in their marketing and sales efforts.
Dun & Bradstreet: True Stories of Successful Master Data Management
Master Data Management (MDM) is a comprehensive method that helps organizations define and manage critical data, providing a single point of reference for all data elements. It ensures data accuracy, consistency, and uniformity across the organization, leading to improved efficiency, decision-making, and regulatory compliance. MDM consists of components such as master data, metadata, data quality, and data integration. Best practices for implementing MDM include having a clear strategy, securing executive buy-in, prioritizing data quality, involving stakeholders, starting small and scaling gradually, choosing the right tools, and planning for data governance. Common challenges in MDM implementation include inconsistent data quality and resistance to change, which can be addressed through data cleansing and effective communication. Successful MDM implementation results in enhanced decision-making, improved operational efficiency, and better regulatory compliance.
How We Plan to Use What We've Learned
Attending the Forrester B2B Summit was truly an illuminating experience that has invigorated our team at MarinOne. As we reflect on the invaluable insights gained from industry experts, thought leaders, and fellow marketing professionals, we are inspired to push the boundaries of B2B marketing and embrace innovation. Armed with a fresh perspective and a deep understanding of emerging trends, we are eager to implement the strategies and best practices we've learned to drive tangible results for our clients and stay ahead of the curve. The Forrester B2B Summit served as a catalyst for growth, igniting our passion for continuous learning and reaffirming our commitment to delivering exceptional B2B marketing solutions. We eagerly look forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, armed with the knowledge and inspiration we gained. Reach out to work with one of our team members to revamp your B2B advertising campaign strategy.
We recently attended B2B Online in Chicago to get a sense of how distributors and manufacturers are delving into digital marketing to create full-funnel B2B customer journeys. Read on to get an overview of key themes industry experts shared on day one. Some of the most important topics throughout the day were about increasing ROI, developing the ultimate tech stack, aligning sales with your digital strategy, and leveraging the power of e-commerce marketplaces.
Modern Marketing to Increase ROI
To increase ROI, marketers should keep up with the latest trends and technologies. Key strategies discussed include:
Leveraging digital marketing channels: Develop a comprehensive strategy that includes social media, email marketing, SEO, and pay-per-click advertising.
Measuring ROI through analytics: Use marketing analytics tools to track website traffic, conversion rates, and customer engagement.
Personalizing marketing efforts: Segment audiences based on demographics, behaviors, and interests to create personalized campaigns.
Incorporating influencer marketing and user-generated content: Partner with influencers and encourage customers to create and share content.
Developing the Ultimate Tech Stack
Building an efficient tech stack requires understanding business needs and goals. Some of the most important tools for digital marketers to consider include:
Identifying key components: CRM software, marketing automation tools, and analytics platforms are crucial for managing customer data, automating marketing tasks, and gaining insights.
Evaluating and selecting tools: Research different options and choose those that meet specific business needs.
Integrating and optimizing the tech stack: Ensure seamless integration and collaboration between different tools for improved efficiency.
Ensuring data security and privacy compliance: Implement measures to protect customer data and comply with privacy regulations.
Aligning sales and marketing goals is crucial for driving revenue. The experts shared various methods for making this happen:
Implementing a sales enablement strategy: Provide sales teams with the right tools, resources, and training.
Using data analytics to optimize sales processes: Gain insights into customer behavior and preferences to improve engagement and increase sales.
Aligning sales compensation with business goals: Develop a compensation plan that rewards performance and aligns with objectives.
Providing ongoing training and development: Continuously improve sales teams' skills and knowledge.
Transforming Digital Experience with Nordson
Nordson Corporation's digital transformation journey highlighted the importance of enhancing the user experience and leveraging technology. Here's what Nordson did to be successful:
Leveraging the power of Coveo: Nordson used Coveo to scale their business and streamline the user experience.
Enhancing product discovery: Nordson's strong taxonomy foundation improved product discovery on their website.
Benefits of a streamlined user experience: A seamless and responsive experience leads to better engagement and business value.
Reimagining Sales to Include E-commerce
Integrating e-commerce into sales strategies is crucial for growth. Some key points that were shared more than once:
The importance of a digital frontend: Digital should be an integral part of the selling process.
Understanding headless selling: Leveraging technology and analytics to integrate digital selling and drive growth.
Personalization and customer experience: Emphasizing the role of personalization and focusing on customer satisfaction.
Measuring success and optimizing strategies: Tracking key metrics and continuously improving e-commerce sales approaches.
Proactive vs. Reactive: Enabling E-procurement
Procurement teams must adapt to remove inefficiencies in the Procure-to-Pay process. Key topics discussed include:
Understanding e-Procurement and its benefits: Emphasizing the cost savings, efficiency, and supplier relationship improvements.
Modernizing the e-commerce platform: Evolving e-commerce platforms to incorporate e-Procurement features and functionalities.
Managing suppliers and vendor relationships: Establishing effective requirements and measuring supplier performance.
Collaboration between departments: The importance of aligning procurement and e-commerce teams and breaking down silos for improved communication and efficiency.
ROI goals for e-Procurement and the company: Defining ROI goals, factors impacting ROI, and strategies for maximizing ROI.
Corporate social responsibility and hitting goals: Integrating CSR into procurement processes and aligning e-Procurement initiatives with CSR goals.
Bullsh*t Bingo in B2B Commerce: What Is Real, What Is Fake, and What Matters
This presentation highlighted the importance of transparency and authenticity in B2B marketing and sales. This was definitely the most lively, entertaining and informative presentation of the week. Here's what they ultimately had to say:
Identifying common "bullsh*t" in B2B marketing: Vague claims, jargon, and inflated statistics.
Negative effects of "bullsh*t" on trust and relationships.
Benefits of transparency and authenticity: Building trust and differentiation.
Strategies for avoiding "bullsh*t": Fact-checking, asking for proof, and focusing on specific outcomes.
Role of customer feedback and reviews: Separating real from fake in B2B commerce.
Ethical considerations in marketing and sales.
Myth Busting False B2B Online Beliefs
The presentation debunked common myths in B2B marketing. We've provided below the most common myths they "busted" and what B2B marketers should actually be doing:
B2B buyers using social media: Importance of having a social media presence as a B2B company as this is a key way to build trust, brand authenticity, and have potential buyers find you.
Importance of visual content in B2B marketing: Engaging B2B buyers through visual content should not be underestimated as it can have a lasting effect on your company's perception.
Digital channels in B2B sales: The role of digital channels and the increasing reliance of B2B buyers on them–it's well past time to move away from traditional methods.
Personalization in B2B marketing: Building stronger relationships with B2B buyers through personalization is a good technique for creating a healthy returning customer base.
Role of brand storytelling in B2B marketing: Differentiating a company from competitors through brand storytelling is not just for CPG or D2C brands.
Building brand awareness in B2B marketing: Importance of brand reputation beyond lead generation.
A paid brand presence is vital for standing out in a crowded market. Here are the highlights of what was shared:
Importance of paid brand presence: Increasing visibility, brand recognition, and sales.
Understanding the target audience: Defining demographics, psychographics, and online behaviors.
Crafting an effective paid brand strategy: Setting clear goals, selecting appropriate channels, and determining budgets.
Creating engaging ad content: Using visuals, clear messaging, and A/B testing.
Measuring and optimizing paid brand presence: Tracking performance metrics and continuously refining strategies.
How the Modern PIM is Driving Growth with Automation and AI
The main presentation surrounding this topic focused on the role of modern Product Information Management (PIM) systems in driving growth. Some quick takeaways from that presentation are as follows:
Overview of modern PIM solutions: Core features, data modeling, enrichment, and syndication.
Importance of automation in PIM: Streamlining data entry, validation, and categorization.
Role of AI in PIM: Leveraging machine learning to analyze product data and optimize information.
Benefits of automating attribution: Reducing errors and increasing efficiency.
Generating potent product descriptions using AI: Personalizing descriptions for different channels and audiences.
Case studies of successful PIM implementations: Increased sales and improved customer experience.
PIM's role in omnichannel commerce: Delivering consistent and accurate product information.
Key considerations when selecting a PIM solution: Integration capabilities, scalability, and ease of use.
Future trends in PIM: Natural language processing and image recognition for automation.
Getting the Ball Rolling With Customer Adoption in B2B Global E-commerce
The fireside chat focused on the importance of customer adoption in B2B e-commerce. Key insights discussed include:
Customer adoption impacts revenue growth and sustainability.
Develop a customer-centric approach with personalized experiences and data analytics.
Address global e-commerce adoption challenges like cultural differences and regulatory compliance.
Navigate B2B e-commerce distribution channels for efficient supply chain models.
Build a comprehensive customer acquisition strategy using paid advertising and content marketing.
Leverage AI for cross-selling and upselling to optimize customer lifetime value.
Collaborate with technology partners for customized e-commerce platforms.
Embrace emerging trends like mobile and voice commerce for innovative experiences.
Measure and report customer adoption metrics for continuous improvement.
De-risk e-commerce platforms with fraud prevention and data protection measures.
Manage customer expectations for delivery times and product quality.
Ensure robust disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
Where B2B marketers may have some changes to make compared to their B2C counterpoints is in maintaining transparency, authenticity, and ethical standards in marketing and sales. With additional focus in these areas, all the experts who presented agree that long-term relationships with customers will ultimately lead to long-term success…especially for manufacturers and distributors.
To address these areas for potential improvement, the industry expert presentations shared at B2B Online Chicago provided valuable guidance for increasing ROI, developing tech stacks, aligning sales, leveraging e-commerce, and succeeding in the marketplace model. It's clear that by embracing digital technologies, personalization, and customer-centric approaches, B2B businesses can enhance their marketing efforts, streamline operations, and drive revenue growth.
When the cold call is dead and traditional B2B prospecting tactics are not enough, it’s time to derive the maximum from LinkedIn – one of the most effective social media platforms for generating leads.
40% of B2B marketers acknowledge that LinkedIn is the #1 channel for driving high-quality leads. In addition, they report two times higher conversion rates on LinkedIn. Among all LinkedIn’s products, 74% of B2B sellers prioritize the top three sales intelligence tools: LinkedIn.com, LinkedIn Premium, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Indeed, Sales Navigator changes the whole leads-sales game for B2B companies on LinkedIn.
This article will enumerate some valuable LinkedIn Sales Navigator benefits and give you the most helpful tips.
So, let’s get the ball rolling with the definition.
What is LinkedIn Sales Navigator?
Sales Navigator is a social selling tool on LinkedIn. It has a relationship-based system that helps you conduct outreach on LinkedIn, nurture qualified leads, and establish a robust sales pipeline.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a paid subscription-based tool offering monthly and annual billing. Currently, there are three plans:
Critical Advantages of Sales Navigator for B2B Businesses
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is highly beneficial for B2B organizations. Here’s why.
The most significant amount of B2B leads
LinkedIn generates the largest number of B2B leads on social platforms – 80% compared to roughly 13% of leads driven by Twitter and 7% by Facebook. Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you’ve got the richest source of B2B data: over 75 million organizations have LinkedIn accounts.
Extensive pool of methods to work with B2B leads
Depending on the Sales Navigator subscription plan, social marketers have access to different features and tools to get qualitative leads and convert them into clients:
Team collaboration tools
CRM integrations and more
Better sales content exposure
One of the Sales Navigator’s features, Smart Links, allows packaging and sharing of sales content: product overview, sales presentation, demo video, PDF case study, pitch deck, brochure, etc.
Additionally, it enables tracking your prospects’ behavior with your content. Smart Links has great selling potential and can help expose your company’s content more efficiently and increase LinkedIn conversion rates.
Shortened sales cycles
Based on LinkedIn’s report, Hyland Software, for instance, reduced sales cycles by 30% to 60% with the help of Sales Navigator.
A faster sales cycle is a huge competitive advantage, as it improves cash flow and gives you the fuel you require for continuous and more rapid business growth.
In 2017, LinkedIn analyzed companies from 14 different industries. All of them had been using Sales Navigator for over a year. During that time, each organization’s revenue was significantly impacted by Sales Navigator. The percentage of income prompted by social selling ranged from 51% in telecommunications to 67% in computer and network security.
5 LinkedIn Sales Navigator Tips for Generating B2B Leads
Now, let’s look at the top five tactics you can use to leverage LinkedIn Sales Navigator, unlock more possibilities in B2B prospecting, and target the right buyers.
Target your B2B audience better with Advanced Search filters and Booleans
An Advanced Search option in LinkedIn Sales Navigator offers over 30 search filters for sales prospecting. It allows you to find accounts and leads, segmenting them by location, industry, job title, profile language, company headcount, etc.
“An often underestimated practice in LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the Boolean search,” says Tory Gray, CEO & Founder of Gray Dot Company.
“Booleans like OR, AND, NOT, parentheses (), and quoted search “ ” can help you prospect more efficiently and close B2B deals faster. You can use them in the keyword search bar for accounts and leads in the title field.
After using Booleans, you should refine your search results with Advanced Search. Together, they give you a more polished list of leads,” Tory mentions.
Save searches and segment leads into custom lists
After filtering your search results, you can make a saved search.
Alternatively, you can save particular leads, click “Select all,” and then save them to one list.
Make a new lead list if you haven’t done it before.
Chris Cozzolino, Co-Founder and CEO of Uptown Creation, explains how to keep LinkedIn Sales Navigator leads organized in this video. He recommends creating four Lead lists:
Connection Request Sent
Message 1 Sent
Of course, you can name and organize your lead lists however it feels most convenient.
Benefit from InMail messaging
InMail is a feature that lets you contact any B2B prospect or lead with a direct message without sending a connection request first.
In LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you get 50 free InMail message credits every month, irrespective of the Sales Navigator edition. You can also purchase some additional InMail credits if needed.
Note: the open rate for InMails is 166% higher than regular emails. Besides, personalized InMails can bring you a 15% greater result than those sent in copy-pasted heaps.
Follow some pieces of advice on InMail personalization and other actionable tips on using InMail shared by Logan Mallory, VP of Motivosity:
“Targeting your B2B prospects with InMail, you should personalize your messages as much as possible so that each recipient can feel a personal touch throughout the text.
You should start with personalized subject lines, of course. But don’t forget to optimize them with attention-grabbers to achieve higher open rates. You’ve got 80 characters to do magic with your subject line, so don’t squander them.”
Check some examples of creative subject lines for InMail sends below.
Logan Mallory also believes it’s beneficial to use the Rule of Three regarding the InMail body. When three items are grouped, named, or listed together, they are more memorable, impactful, and motivational. For example: reduce, reuse, recycle. You can stick to a three-part structure in your message and group your ideas into three big categories.
Monitor your overall progress with Social Selling Index (SSI)
SSI is a performance indicator and helpful metric to measure your efforts on LinkedIn by focusing on the four components:
Engaging with insights
Networking with the targeted audience
Building profound relationships
Each component is worth 25 points. Your total score may range from zero to 100.
Calculating your SSI score, LinkedIn relies on the following data in Sales Navigator: a) saved leads and accounts; b) profile views; c) people searches; and d) Account and Lead Lists.
Align marketing and sales
When sales and marketing on LinkedIn are properly coordinated, the customer retention rate grows by 36% and the revenue – by 208%.
Besides, LinkedIn members are 25% more likely to reply to a Sales Navigator InMail message from a sales representative when they see marketing content from that brand.
“Building brand awareness and improving engagement of your B2B audience on LinkedIn is as simple as posting short videos,” according to Max Wühr, co-founder & CGO at FINN.
“Video marketing on LinkedIn helps you communicate your brand’s message in the most effective visual way because videos perform better than images and texts. You can make your mark with B2B videos on LinkedIn and keep your prospects updated on what’s happening in your company,” he notes.
Regularly, FINN shares video updates about their business on LinkedIn. Their most recent announcement, for instance, was a video of the first car delivery for a B2B customer in the United States.
You can effectively use Sales Navigator and tap into the power of LinkedIn marketing with MarinOne to merge sales and advertising and maximize the ROI in every promotional campaign.
Grow Your Sales and Leads With LinkedIn Sales Navigator
If you’re searching for the best methods to increase B2B leads and sales, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a true goldmine for that. You won’t find a more powerful channel to connect with the right people on LinkedIn.
You have just seen the major benefits of Sales Navigator and the best ways of using it. Now it’s time to begin your path to B2B lead generation success on LinkedIn.
On this road, MarinOne can help you focus on your best-performing campaigns and help you understand the impact LinkedIn advertising has on your business goals through intelligent analytics. Check out MarinOne in three minutes with a product tour, or start a 30-day free trial right away.
Rachel Melegrito is a guest contributor to MarinOne.
Content marketing is buyer-centric. It’s measurable, compounding, and scalable. In fact, it typically performs more reliably than other tactics, which makes it one of the best foundations to build marketing success. Creating unique, consistent, and valuable B2B content is simply the best way to connect with your audience. In this article, we’ll explore what B2B content marketing is, why it’s important, how to build a strategy, and how you can use it to grow your business.
What is B2B content marketing?
Business-to-business (B2B) content marketing is the practice of producing and distributing content methodically to increase brand awareness, improve traffic, generate leads, and boost sales. It’s the process of using content to grow your audience, strengthen brand affinity, and ultimately improve your bottom line. Traditional forms of B2B content marketing include blogs, podcasts, email newsletters, and infographics.
Why do B2B companies need content marketing?
Builds brand awareness
Content marketing directly influences your organic traffic. When traffic is flowing, you’re building awareness for your brand. Done right, content marketing can help
Improve customer retention rates
Boost organic ranking of your site
Help you create brand partnerships, and
Attract more followers on social media.
Creates better engagement rates
Simply focusing on content creation isn’t enough to create an effective B2B strategy. Marketers must also take notice of leading metrics like engagement rates, clicks, and bounce rate. When content is tailored to suit their interests, audiences will continue to consume it. If content is geared towards a buyer’s tendencies and intent, it will also improve overall engagement as well as conversion rates.
Affordable, cost-effective, and supports long-term growth
A good SEO strategy coupled with high-quality content produces long-lasting results that compound over time. Once content is generated, it has great potential to drive organic traffic to your site—without you having to compete for top spot ads.
Although upfront costs for content marketing may initially seem high, it is considered to be more cost-effective than other traditional forms of marketing, paid advertising, and video marketing.
Additionally, the content you create can be frequently updated and repurposed, costing you a fraction of the price it took to make it. In the long term, the more you use your content, the cheaper it will become.
According to Statista, 30% of marketers believe content has the highest ROI of any channel. Marketers commonly try to amalgamate content’s strategic and financial value into a single metric: campaign ROI, or the success of a single campaign. When measuring the value of your content, be sure you stay focused on the challenge you are trying to solve. Content assets can be employed in numerous ways and can simultaneously be used across multiple platforms. It can also be used for video purposes, on your website, as a transcript for a blog, and so on.
How to build a successful B2B content strategy
Every B2B content marketing strategy is unique. However, to create a successful roadmap, you need goals and understanding of your company's long-term objectives. Don’t let the idea of a content strategy be too daunting. It’s actually not very complicated and once you understand what it takes to plan one, you can start creating content that can drive success in your business.
Understand your audience
When you know your audience well, you’ll find it a lot easier to create the right content for them. Even if you have a large audience, explore your Google Analytics data on a granular level. By doing so, you can learn a great deal about your site’s visitors such as gender, age, location, and what topics interest them the most. Once you have more insight into your audience, you can expand content into new relevant subject areas.
Map the customer journey
When you have a good understanding of your audience, review the customer journey. This can be complex, as they probably went through multiple touchpoints. However, it will help you discover which kinds of content are most effective at leading prospects down the sales funnel. When you have a good idea of where a prospect is in the customer journey, you can adjust your content to keep them interested.
Set yourself apart from competitors
Determine who your biggest competitors are and what kind of content they’re producing. To distinguish your company, aim to deliver content in engaging ways that your competitors can’t. Present content that highlights the unique value of your business and services. If they have specific content that is performing well, you can use an AI writing solution like Quicktools to quickly generate copy that is similar to the competitors' content, yet unique and approachable enough to give you a better chance of attracting ideal customers. Unique and approachable messaging will give you a better chance of attracting ideal customers.
Measure leads and micro-metrics
Data can provide a lot of information, allowing you to measure what’s working and what’s not. To advance your B2B content, you must take analytics seriously. Some metrics that are worth measuring include:
Current statistics such as total views, conversions, and shares of posts
Benchmarks and trends
Once you understand how your content is performing, you can adjust your strategy accordingly. If there is specific content that gets better than average conversion rates, promote it via sponsored content or paid social ads.
Common mistakes content marketers make
Content marketing pitfalls can often be prevented with careful planning. With the market so crowded, there’s little room for error and missed opportunities. Marketers need to focus on getting it right as they are limited by a finite number of potential customers. Common mistakes include:
Not taking advantage of user-generated content
When user-generated material goes ignored, marketers miss out on a major opportunity to build a solid foundation of trust with consumers. To ensure content reaches their audience with a greater impact, marketers can include reviews and testimonials where appropriate, and even outsource content creation to users. This saves time and resources.
Not having a content approval process
A review and editing process is vital to ensure high-quality content that is relevant and engaging. It is also wise for marketers to create a content review and approval checklist. Alternatively, using a content management platform can help mainstream the process, making it easy to create, approve, and publish your content.
Not promoting content enough
Promoting content is key to extending your reach to relevant audiences. Include new content in your emails and social media posts to drive more traffic to your content pieces and help nurture potential prospects. Keep in mind that producing content is only as effective as the efforts you make to advertise it. Native ads, display ads, and paid social are also great tactics for distributing articles or whitepapers as far reaching as possible. It no one reads the content then it doesn't matter how much you have or how good it is…which is why content creation is just as important as content promotion.
10 quick tips and tactics for effective content marketing
Partner with brands and influencers in your industry
MarinOne can help you supercharge your content
As a B2B company, MarinOne is well versed in what it takes to reach the right audiences with the right messages. Through our cross-channel approach, your campaigns will persuade and convert like never before.
Business to Business advertisers gain a competitive advantage by identifying and analyzing the right data and integrating insights from that data to help campaigns perform. With MarinOne, you can easily optimize your content and automate key workflows using first-party data.
Get in touch with one of MarinOne’s experts today to see how we can help you with your marketing needs.
We are thrilled to share that Marin Software has been recognized as a Strong Performer in The Forrester WaveTM: B2B Advertising Solutions Q3 2022 report, conducted by Forrester Research Inc. For many years Marin has aimed to provide you with the best advertising management solutions possible; and it is great to hear that our work stands out amongst the industry.
The report evaluated 14 B2B Advertising Solutions providers based on 28 criteria across their current offerings, strategies, and market presence. Marin Software received the top score in the B2B performance criterion reporting and also received the highest possible score in the execution roadmap and market approach criteria. We are proud of this recognition in these two areas. We have many other product improvements planned for the next year as well, so we hope to excel and shine in the other areas of evaluation in the coming months as well. Our primary goal is to listen to our users, stay at the forefront of paid media technology, and respond with the best possible tools accordingly.
According to the report, “Marin Software’s execution roadmap and market approach are superior and include the innovative use of audience data to enable a variety of B2B advertising use cases from e-commerce to ABM… Ad-level, performance-level, and ROI-level reporting are also superior.”
Our Chief Executive Officer, Chris Lien, said the following in regard to the report: “We are proud to be named as a Strong Performer in The Forrester WaveTM B2B Advertising Solutions report. We are committed to delivering B2B advertisers with the best solutions for analyzing, automating, and optimizing their marketing campaigns and we are thrilled to be recognized in the report.”
Marin has been helping advertisers advance their digital advertising campaigns for over 15 years and has managed over $40 billion in advertising spend for some of the world’s top brands. We look forward to continuing our innovation process, and if there are any other areas where our software can improve, the feedback of our clients is invaluable for us to keep moving forward and create the time-saving features digital marketers need.
Whether you are an existing client, or new to us and looking to potentially utilize MarinOne as your advertising automation tool, know that our team of experts are some of the most knowledgeable marketers you can find, and ready to help you strategize the best possible digital campaigns.
We also offer self-serve functionality to our MarinOne platform where you can get a unified view of your omnichannel marketing. Our industry leading optimization tools have flexible reporting to help advertisers maximize the impact and reach of their digital marketing investment across paid search, social, and ecommerce channels. Learn more about our offering in the ads management space–we're standing by ready to give you a complimentary analysis and consultation on your current campaign setup.
Looking for growth? Interested in a channel where you can generate leads, drive website traffic, and build brand awareness?
How about LinkedIn?
You can now manage LinkedIn Marketing Solutions campaigns from Marin Software’s flagship MarinOne platform. The MarinOne integration with LinkedIn’s Campaign Management and Reporting & ROI APIs gives advertisers better insights and improves the performance of their LinkedIn campaigns.
With nearly 800 million professionals and 4 out of 5 members driving business decisions based on information they find on the platform, LinkedIn is an important lead generation destination for B2B marketers and others with longer consideration cycles.
Our self-serve MarinOne platform unifies industry leading optimization tools with flexible reporting and bidding to help advertisers maximize the impact and reach of their LinkedIn marketing investment.
Blast Analytics, an innovative agency helping advertisers with LinkedIn ads has been using MarinOne to optimize their campaigns.
“Marin Software continues to innovate and improve its technology to drive better performance for our clients,” said Brian Lange, Senior Marketing Manager at Blast Analytics. “The MarinOne solution has saved us time reporting on our LinkedIn campaigns and also provided a significant performance uplift leveraging its bidding technology." (Click here for the full case study.)
“By connecting downstream customer data to our advanced automated bidding, MarinOne can significantly improve the performance of your campaigns,” said Chris Lien, Marin’s Chairman and CEO. “LinkedIn is an untapped opportunity for many advertisers and we are excited to help advertisers drive growth on this fast-growing channel.”
Advertisers can manage their LinkedIn campaigns alongside paid search, paid social and display campaigns to help generate additional demand. Marketers can align their efforts across channels to ensure they are working seamlessly across the customer journey.
Click here to learn more about support for the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions integration with MarinOne.
CLV is how much money a customer spends with your business for the duration of your relationship. It’s an important—yet overlooked—metric: rather than looking at a sale as simply a one-off exchange, CLV considers how valuable a customer is over time.
Understanding this can help you spend your marketing budget more wisely and keep your customer acquisition costs low. After all, it costs more to attract a new customer than it does to close an existing prospect or keep an existing customer.
Keeping your CLV high is vital to the long-term success of your business.
What is CLV?
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) refers to the profit you expect to make from a customer over time.
For some businesses, this may mean that your profitable customers make larger purchases or many repeat purchases, thereby increasing their value to your business over the lifetime of their relationship with you.
However, for many industries with long sales cycles, that profit may come months or even years after you’ve established the awareness of your business with the customer at the top of the funnel (think: buying a car, applying to a university, procuring new software, or purchasing a home). These are big decisions and consumers need time to evaluate their purchases.
5 Reasons to Measure CLV for Your Paid Search Advertising Campaigns
Regardless of the nature of your customers’ CLV, optimizing your marketing campaigns to CLV is good for business. Here are five reasons CLV matters:
It helps you keep valuable customers
If you can identify and target high CLV customers, this should translate into higher ROI and could be a good way to improve your campaign performance.
You may find that there are segments of the market who value your product but have a lower than average CLV/CAC ratio, meaning you're spending too much on acquiring individual customers. If so, it may be worth exploring ways in which you can acquire these new customers at a lower cost or perhaps look for marketing activities where you might get more exposure for the same budget (e.g., by increasing reach).
It decreases CPA costs
Customer Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) is the amount of money a company spends on acquiring new customers divided by the number of new customers acquired during a given period.
You'll notice that different customer types have different CLVs, which means they contribute more or less than others towards paying your CPA. You can use CLV to compare campaigns and determine which ones are performing better, resulting in improved return on investment (ROI).
It's important to monitor this metric over time, as you may find you can reduce CPA while maintaining or even improving your bottom line. This is because the lifetime value of certain customer segments will increase with time on your platform, resulting in an overall decrease in acquisition costs.
It allows you to optimize your bids to different stages of the funnel
Full-funnel bidding allows advertisers to use top of the funnel conversion types for bidding while also factoring in final sales as a second bid factor. This bidding solution enables advertisers to grow efficiency and revenue from the sales funnel’s final stage while maintaining reactivity to recent market changes. Bids stay reactive to market changes, while efficiency targets are based on latent conversion metrics.
It helps you calculate campaign effectiveness
CLV will reveal which paid search campaigns are more successful, allowing you to optimize your total marketing spend.
You can compare campaign effectiveness by sub-segmenting customers by their CLVs. For example, instead of just looking at conversion rates for all traffic sources as a whole, you could break down the conversion rates by each campaign. This will make it easier to understand which traffic sources are most effective at converting.
It helps you grow in the long run
CLV isn’t something you need to track all the time, but ignoring it could spell trouble. Keeping an eye on CLV helps you spend your marketing budget more wisely, engage with your customers more effectively, and keep your CPA costs down through better loyalty—all of which helps your bottom line.
How to Calculate CLV
The simplest formula is as follows:
CLV = Customer Value (average order spend x number of orders in a year) x Average Customer Lifespan (in years)
To calculate CLV, you need to track customer metrics over time and calculate your customer churn. This will allow you to determine CLV across any given timeframe.
You may want to deduct CAC (customer acquisition cost) from your total to give you a deeper understanding of the true value of a customer.
Using a comprehensive reporting suite like MarinOne, you’ll be able to Identify which channels are driving revenue to your business. You’ll then need to track offline sales and interactions back to their source with a conversion tracking solution like Marin Tracker. Make sure to continue tracking touchpoints beyond the initial click-through, all the way through conversion.
How to Improve CLV
Here are some tips on improving your CLV.
Optimize onboarding. As soon as possible, the user should be able to get value from your product or service (e.g., signups, downloads).
Don't focus on customer acquisition alone. It's important to make sure users are retained over time.
Optimize CLV by marketing based on customer behavior. If people aren't making repeat purchases or converting to long-term high-value purchases, consider investing in marketing efforts to increase retention.
Look for ways to improve value. If customers are joining, but not staying around or buying after a certain period of time, focus on improving user experience and product features.
Over-deliver. If your product and service are great, people will come back.
Boost user experience. If you can provide an improved user experience, make sure to communicate this benefit in all your marketing efforts. Consider advertising on social media platforms that offer the opportunity for strong engagement.
Increase average value order. If customers are buying, but not purchasing many items per order, then there is room to boost sales.
Gather market research. If you can gather unbiased opinions about your product or service from potential customers, use this data to create marketing campaigns that will appeal directly to your target audience.
Uncover business drivers. You may need to modify your business plan based on what customers are saying.
Improve customer service. If you’re not delivering great customer service, customers will avoid dealing with you in the future. Not only that, but they’ll likely share their experiences on social media—which could turn away potential new customers.
Measuring CLV plays an important role in determining ROI, optimizing your advertising spend, and keeping your CPA low—all of which means less budget spent on search campaigns. Optimizing your CLV can provide valuable insights regarding whether or not there is excessive spending on your search campaigns. CLV allows you to evaluate the financial impact in order to re-strategize regarding how various programs are measured and attributed.
How MarinOne Can Help
MarinOne’s powerful self-serve platform connects your offline conversion data to the ad clicks that ultimately drive the sale, making it easy to see which customers are the most valuable and which campaigns have been effective in closing customers. From analysis and reporting to advanced bidding algorithms—analyze the most valuable shoppers, optimize your bids to revenue, and focus your efforts on your best customers. This leads to extending your marketing spend while attracting high-value customers to your brand.
You’ve likely heard that Google is sunsetting the Expanded Text Ad (ETA) format in favor of Responsive Search Ads (RSAs). It’s Google’s next big push for automation in its advertising platforms. While this may seem like a big change, it’s nothing to worry about as long as you prepare. Luckily, the sunset isn’t happening until June of 2022, and Marin’s industry experts are here to answer some commonly asked questions:
What Exactly Are Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)?
Traditional Google text ads consist of static headlines and descriptions, so advertisers provide specific headlines and descriptions which remain constant within an ad. Google then rotates that version with your other static ad versions according to your campaign settings.
When creating an RSA, you’ll input a variety of different headlines and descriptions. Google and Bing will then rotate through different combinations of assets, serving the combination that seems best based on the demographic data of the person who is searching. The purpose of RSAs is to improve the personalization of search ads through automation. This personalization should lead to improved performance, and eliminate the need for you to run lots of ad copy tests as the engines are basically doing the testing for you.
How Many Headlines and Descriptions Can I Include in an Ad?
You can input at least 3 and no more than 15 potential headlines.
You can input at least 2 and no more than 4 potential descriptions.
The publishers recommend using at least 8 Headline Assets and at least 3 Description Assets.
What Will Happen to My Expanded Text Ads?
You will not be able to create new ETAs. Your current Expanded Text Ads will continue to serve, but you won’t be able to edit them. You can still play, pause, or remove them, but the ad content will be unchangeable. Reporting for your current ETAs should not be impacted in MarinOne or the platforms.
Will I Have Any Control Over Which Headlines and Descriptions Serve?
Yes, you have the option to pin assets to certain positions in the ad. For example, if you have a top performing headline that you’d like to display as Headline 1 every time your ad serves, you can pin that headline to position 1. You can also pin descriptions.
For example, if you pinned “Low Prices” to headline 1, the every time that ad serves, “Low Prices” will be the first thing people see.
But that being said…
Should I Pin My Top Performing Assets to Position 1?
My natural instinct was to pin top performing headlines and descriptions from my ETAs to my RSA positions 1 and 2. However, this often hurts the ad’s quality score, sometimes even knocking a ‘good’ ad down to ‘poor’ quality, therefore limiting its ability to serve in the SERP.
In order to avoid a decrease in quality score while still maintaining control over your ads, Google recommends pinning 2 or 3 headlines and descriptions to each position. This allows Google to rotate those assets, and may prevent decreases in quality score.
For example, if you pinned “low prices” and “shop now” to headline 1, Google will rotate through those options, so every time the ad is served people will see one of the two headlines in position 1.
How Will I Analyze Performance in MarinOne?
MarinOne users are already accustomed to the performance benefits the platform provides for all their search programs, and RSAs will be no different. The digital marketers at Marin have already made changes to help you measure, manage, and optimize your RSAs and are always prepared for future changes from the publishers.
Responsive Search Ads should flow seamlessly into any workflow you currently utilize for analyzing ad performance. These ads will be automatically added to any automated reports just like expanded text ads are.
We have also added two new columns to our creative grids, titled Headline Assets and Description Assets. Select these columns in the column selector to see a list of all headlines and description variations for an RSA.
Note that in the Headline column in the grid, you can see a preview of what your RSA might look like in its completed form. This does not necessarily represent all Headline or Description Assets that have been entered. You will simply see the first three Headline Assets in the order they were entered. This is the same behavior as in the publishers.
You will also see the ads’ creative type listed as Responsive Search, and you can filter for Responsive Search in the Creative Type column if you want to see a readout of performance for RSAs only.
If you export your ads grid into a report, you will see separate columns for each Headline and Description asset, with Headline 1 simply called Headline and the remaining Headlines numbered 2 through 15.
How Will I Bulk Create RSAs in MarinOne?
You can create RSAs in bulk in much the same way you do for other ad types in Marin. To specify the creation of an RSA in a bulksheet, you should include the value Responsive Search in the Creative Type column.
You can edit your RSAs in bulk by including the Creative ID column. To find your creative IDs, simply run a report from the main Creatives grid with the relevant columns included.
When building your bulksheet for either creation or editing of RSAs, you can use the following bulk headers:
[Headline 1] through [Headline 15]
[Description Line 1] through [Description Line 4]
[Headline Pinned to Position 1]
[Headline Pinned to Position 2]
[Headline Pinned to Position 3]
[Description Pinned to Position 1]
[Description Pinned to Position 2]
I hope this all eases your mind about the transition from ETAs to RSAs. The idea behind RSAs is basically constant, dynamic AB testing and ad personalization, which sounds great in theory. I expect this shift to lead to improved ad performance and easier management through automation.
The paid search experts at Marin are always eager to help clients, new and old, navigate the ever-changing search landscape. Click here to schedule a demo with us and learn more about what Marin can do for you!
We’ve added nine new bidding and setup Insights to help advertisers get the most out of digital marketing campaigns and provide them with the tools needed to quickly implement those recommendations.
Here are the new recommendations:
Enhanced CPC Identifies Google campaigns using Marin Bidding or Manual Bidding without Enhanced CPC and allows you to easily enable the Enhanced CPC setting
Bid Caps: Identifies keywords, ad groups, product groups, and placements performing above the bid strategy efficiency goal whose bids are limited by the Bid Cap setting. Users can then disable or raise the Bid Cap setting unless there is a specific business case to maintain a maximum bid
Bid Floors Identifies keywords, ad groups, product groups, and placements performing below the bid strategy efficiency goal whose bids are artificially raised using the Bid Floor setting. Users can disable the Bid Floor unless there is a specific business case to maintain a minimum bid
Keyword Bid Overrides Identifies keywords on Bid Override that are in active Bid Strategies. Users can disable these Bid Overrides unless there is a specific business case for manual bid optimization
Bidding Reactivity Identifies Marin Bidding Strategies that are not using the Limit Bid Changes under X% setting. Users can enable the Limit Bid Change setting and set it to 25% for affected folders.
Keyword Count Identifies ad groups with more than 100 active keywords. Advertisers should segment keywords into multiple ad groups to improve keyword/ad relevancy
Ad Count Identifies ad groups with less than 3 active ads. The publishers recommend maintaining at least 3 active ads in each ad group.
Invalid Credentials Identifies publisher accounts that require a password update in Marin.
Sync Errors Identifies campaigns that have fallen out of sync with Marin.
All Insights are available under the top-level Insights tab, next to your Home tab. For more details about Marin’s Automated Insights check out our original launch announcement.
There are a lot of moving parts to a digital marketing campaign. So many that it’s hard for even an experienced marketer to know what they need to do to get the best results from their campaign. Collecting data, recognizing the trends for optimization and other paid search strategy efforts often do not come as quickly as advertisers would like. That’s where we come in.
Marin has been providing account insight to our customers for over 10 years and now we are delivering these powerful, actionable recommendations directly in the MarinOne platform.
Insights are automatic, tailored recommendations that help advertisers get more out of digital marketing campaigns and provide them with the tools needed to quickly implement those recommendations.
Automated Insights in MarinOne are designed to
uncover opportunities to reduce wasteful spending
capitalize on additional volume in high-performing areas
Implement learnings from one channel to another
How Insights Work
Each Marin Insight is a customized, cross-channel recommendation designed to increase your campaign’ performance. Unlike recommendations from the publishers, Marin Insights look across channels to identify the most efficient areas of improvement or to highlight where a learning in one publisher can be implemented in another. We also focus on recommendations that align with your business goals, not just increasing spend.
To help you prioritize your work, Marin Insights are always presented with a corresponding performance change. With this information you can easily tell how your account may change as a result of implementing and insight. These performance forecasts are built by analysing recent performance of campaigns, ads, keywords, and products and benchmarking that against the overall account performance.
If your account is tracking revenue data the forecasts will be reflected in terms of predicted change in Revenue and Spend. If your account does not currently track revenue, the prediction is in terms of Conversions and Spend.
Insights are updated daily based on performance data over the most recent four weeks so you never have to worry about wading through old materials.
What Insights Help You Do
Each Marin Insight is presented along with a downloadable report that enables you to go from insight to action. Each report can be uploaded back into MarinOne to apply the recommendation. This workflow gives you flexibility and the ability to accept or reject each recommendation at the most granular level.
Examples of our Insights Include:
Ad Copy Optimization - Identifies the individual word with the most clicks across an ad group's keyword set and determines if that word is included in the highest-traffic creative.
Ad Optimization - Identifies underperforming ads using the KPI and statistical confidence in your A/B test settings.
Budget Capped Campaigns - Identifies high performing campaigns limited by their daily budget.
Keyword Expansion - Identifies non-exact match search terms performing at a lower cost-per-conversion than their parent campaign based on Google conversion tracking.
Keyword Match Type Expansion- Identifies high performing keywords that do not exist on more specific match types.
Keyword Publisher Expansion - Identifies top-performing keywords that are not being leveraged in Bing.
Negative Keyword Expansion - Identifies non-converting search terms based on Google conversion tracking with a statistically significant amount of clicks.
Single Keyword Ad Groups - Showcases which keywords have significant mobile performance to move each into their own ad group so it can get its own mobile bid.
Top Performing Products - Identifies shopping products performing above average within their product group and should be moved to a dedicated product group for additional control.
Highly Qualified Recommendations - Volume and performance criteria result in recommendations that are expected to provide meaningful impact to your bottom-line performance.
Performance Predictions - Incremental spend, conversion, and revenue estimates allow you to prioritize your time on recommendations that will have the most impact.
Platform-Ready Exports - Downloadable reports allow you to review Insights at the most granular level. We've also made it easy to implement the recommended changes using a bulk upload.
Click on the Insights tab in MarinOne to see your personalized recommendations today!
If you aren’t yet a Marin customer, reach out today to learn about everything Marin has to offer.
The digital marketing landscape has become more and more consolidated into “The Big Four” publishers — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.
These entities have a vested interest in keeping each other at arm’s length and they will continue to silo their data from each other. This means if you are relying on publisher-owned tools (Like Facebook Ad Manager, or SA 360) for your digital marketing management and bidding optimization, you will not be able to connect the dots for activities that jump from one silo to another and will be missing conversion data as a result.
Marin is able to work with, and across, all technologies in the space. This allows us to create cutting-edge features — like our Marin + Amazon Attribution feature, in order to provide advertisers a consolidated view of their Search, Social, and eCommerce activities alongside conversion data — regardless of where that conversion occurs.
If you have any tracking challenges or want to discuss how Marin can ensure you are effectively reporting and optimizing to a complete ROI for all your digital marketing initiatives — don’t hesitate to reach out today to speak with a Marin Expert.
We recently wrote a blog on The Power of Web Queries, a type of scheduled report in MarinOne that is hosted on a URL and automatically updated with the most recent data. These are fully customizable reports, right down to the date range, activity type and even how often the data is refreshed.
The flexible nature of Web Queries means that marketers can automatically import their data directly into Microsoft Excel instead of having to manually download their data and then import into Excel, saving you endless hours of time spent generating reports manually. You can even create dashboards and templates in Excel, which get updated with the most recent data at the click of a button.
The New and Improved Web Query Reports
Since our earlier blog post, we’ve made further enhancements to our Web Query reporting capabilities to not only allow data to be automatically imported into Excel, but now into Google Sheets too.
You’re probably asking why use Google Sheets? What’s the benefit? Well, here’s a few…
Due to the cloud-based nature of Google Sheets, collaboration between multiple users makes a marketers workflow easier and faster
Built-in revision history
No need to constantly press “Save” due to Google Sheets’ auto-save functionality
Real-time chat window with colleagues
Access to your Google Sheet and data from any computer/device
Refreshing of data is automatic on an hourly cadence - no manual intervention needed
Ability to control access levels to the data, i.e. Read-Only, Edit or Comment access
Share the data easily with management and stakeholders
The data can also be synced into big data tools from Google Sheets for enhanced customization and reporting i.e. Google Data Studio
Pricing – Google Sheets is completely free to use
Setting Up Web Query Reports for Google Sheets
Once you’ve generated your Web Query report from MarinOne, copy the URL and open up a Google Sheet then follow the steps below.
Click into a cell and type =IMPORTHTML(
This function / formula imports data into a Google Sheet from a table within a HTML page such as Marin’s Web Query reports that are hosted on a URL
The syntax format is =IMPORTHTML("url", "query", index)
url – The URL of the page to be examined, including protocol (e.g. https://). This is where you paste the Web Query report URL that you generated in MarinOne
The URL must be enclosed in quotation marks
query – Either "table" or "list" can be used, depending on what type of structure contains the data For Marin’s Web Query reports, it will be the query "table", and make sure to also enclose it in quotation marks
index – The index, starting at 1, which identifies which table or list (as defined in the HTML source) should be returned For Marin’s Web Query reports, there are three tables to choose from (as shown in the image below)
Your formula should look like the example below. Make sure that each syntax is separated with a comma.
Once you hit enter, the data will be imported into the Google Sheet from the Web Query report
Once you have the data into the spreadsheet, you’ll need to set the criteria for the data to be refreshed;Click File >> Spreadsheet settings >> in the pop up, click Calculation >> change the recalculation to ‘On change and every hour’ >> click Save Settings
Google will now automatically refresh the data on an hourly cadence, so you can be sure that the most recent data is up-to-date - There’s no need to manually refresh like you have to in Excel
Why not give it a try and enhance your workflow with our latest update? And if you haven’t already, check our earlier blog on Web Query reports: The Power of Web Queries.
Reporting is often a mundane and repetitive task. How much time do you spend on reporting? If that answer is too much, then keep on reading.
Every marketer's dream is to spend as little time on reporting as possible. The fact is that the less time you spend on reporting, the more time you have to spend on your marketing strategy, campaign optimization or perhaps testing something completely new.
One of the key benefits of using MarinOne is its web query functionality.
In a nutshell, web queries enable you to pull data from a website's URL straight into Microsoft Excel. The web query format creates an automated report that is posted to a static URL every time the report is processed.
Web query reports in MarinOne are designed to let users take advantage of their existing reports and have the application update the data on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, saving you literally hours a week by not having to pull reports manually.
As you can imagine, the possibilities with web queries are endless. Below we have outlined a few examples of the web query alerts and reports that we tend to recommend.
Performance-based alerts and reports:
Poor performing campaigns, groups, creatives or keywords
Strong performing campaigns, groups, creatives or keywords
High potential keywords and search queries
Campaign, group, keyword coverage change
Low CTR/conversion rate creatives, keywords
Performance by match type
KPIs that have been achieved by certain objects in a given timeframe
Mobile vs. desktop performance
QA-based alerts and reports:
Missing Google Analytics parameters
Active groups with less than two creatives
Example: Cross channel Dashboard build by using Web Queries
Setting Up Web Query Reports
Now that you know when to use web queries, how can you create one?
If you are using Windows, you can follow the below steps:
Create a recurring report in MarinOne and select Excel Web Query as the format
You can then run your report and click save.
Right-click on the URL for the Excel link and select Copy Shortcut.
In Excel, open the workbook where you wish to import the data. From the Data menu, select From Web under Get External Data.
Paste the link you copied into the address bar and your report will be loaded into the window.
You can choose which section of your report to import by checking boxes placed next to each table in the report.
Click Import and you will be asked to specify the location for the report and you will have to enter your Marin credentials when prompted. If you wish to have the data in the report, refresh automatically when the file is opened, click Properties and select the Refresh Data When Opening File option.
Click OK and your data will be imported into the workbook at the location you specified. This data range will be refreshed whenever you select Refresh All from the Data menu (or automatically, if you choose that option). Simply link your existing output report to this data section and your report will be updated.
As mentioned, web queries will help you save time and hopefully enhance your day-to-day workflow. If there are any questions or you would like to know more, don't hesitate to contact us.
Increasing the reach of your Facebook campaigns can be challenging due to a variety of factors outside of your control as a digital marketer, such as spending more money, changing your end goal, or altering the Facebook algorithm. Since updating campaigns based on those components is usually unrealistic, you can consider these five recommendations--all of which can be used immediately, and in any combination, but do not replace testing each element of your campaigns on a regular basis.
It’s easy to get tunnel vision around your top performing audiences and run those until the wheels fall off. But when your remarketing audience and your favorite prospecting audience are fully taxed, you will eventually be unable to pull any more value out of them. When the reach of your campaigns grows stale and the cost for reaching that next potential customer is not sustainable, it’s time to find new relevant audiences.
There are three easy avenues for uncovering new audiences that have endless possibilities. First: lookalike audiences. Even if you are already running one lookalike audience, you can still adjust the percentage of similarity to find new prospects. If you are concerned about moving too far from that initial high-value seed audience, you can use banded lookalike audiences and combine multiple levels; for example, a 3-5% banded lookalike audience.
Second: brainstorming additional interests to include in prospecting. Don’t limit yourself to just one way of thinking. Set up audiences around competitor targeting, complimentary companies, or demographic specific interests.
Finally, Marin Software offers a program called Automatic Search Intent. By breaking down that barrier between Search and Social, we are able to automatically build campaigns based on similar keywords to expand your retargeting and lookalike options.
It is possible to be too hands-on with your campaign mix. Checking daily on performance-by-placement and making decisions to eliminate the lowest performing ads by clicks, spend, or impressions will take a negative toll on your reach. Facebook wants your campaigns to be successful because, after all, the better you perform, the more you’re likely to spend on new ads. Because of this, placements that are under-performing already receive a fraction of the stronger placements. Additionally, there’s a limited amount of ad space inventory available. The option for your ad to run isn’t necessarily a Right Column ad vs. a Newsfeed ad; it’s typically that Right Column ad vs. not serving at all.
Reducing Text in Images
Gone are the days of your ads being denied if text filled more than 20% of the image. However, that doesn’t mean you are free to fill the image of your ad with an overabundance of text. If your ad is more than 20% text, Facebook will reduce the reach of your ad, driving the cost of doing business up. Avoid this problem by using text sparingly throughout the image of the ad and fully utilizing the text fields available. If you really have a lot to say about your product or service, provide that on a landing page. Those who are interested in your offering will click to learn more.
Creating Relevant Ads
Last year, Facebook phased out its metric of Relevance Score and replaced it with: Quality Ranking, Engagement Rate Ranking, and Conversion Rate Ranking. These three rankings specifically factor in the audience used, comparing your performance to those targeting similar audiences. Ad relevance goes beyond these scores, since Facebook is often the first time a potential customer has heard of your business. Being vague or misleading to drive traffic to your website, or misrepresenting your offering on Facebook, will begin to limit the number of people you are able to reach. When building your ads, think about what solution you are looking to provide and whether every piece of your creative aids in that goal.
Include High Funnel Activity in Your Ad Mix
We recently posted a blog about how to build a social media marketing funnel. In that blog, we discuss the importance of including top-of-funnel objectives, so that not every ad is pushing for those more expensive conversion goals regardless of where the prospective customer came from. Including a top-of-funnel objective, like video views or engagement, can dramatically increase your reach. The average number of times a prospect needs to see an ad before becoming a customer, but regardless of what that number is, it’s rarely the first time your ad is served. By making the first couple touches a $0.01 video view instead of a $1.00 link click, you can build that reach without breaking the bank.
Using these five ways to improve the reach of your campaigns opens up the ability to thoroughly test your ads, reduce the cost of getting in front of your audiences, and maximize down-funnel events. Facebook campaigns reward innovation, and running the same ad to the same audience for any extended period of time begins to provide diminishing returns. Instead of waiting for your ads to dip in performance, start implementing these tips to add growth and longevity to your Facebook ads.
Finally, Marin Software has a managed service offering. Included in that, our team will review existing campaigns and set up new efficiencies to increase your reach. Learn more about our Managed Services offering and schedule a demo today!
“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!
Digital technology is available in its many forms to help you work faster. For marketing in particular, technology can improve the quality of your marketing output and ultimately help you generate more revenue and leads.
With that said, today’s unprecedented shift is creating the urgent need for brands and their partners to think outside the box and pivot quickly. Furthermore, it also surfaces a time to evaluate different tech stacks and see which tools can help increase their performance and efficiency.
Evaluating the right advertising technology for the job will come down to many factors, and reaching the best decision for your organization will take considerable time and effort that will likely involve you engaging in substantial research in order to get it right.
It’s important to ask yourself the right questions so you can narrow down your search. Think about questions such as:
What level of visibility or reporting does the product provide for forecasting versus actual results? Is it able to integrate with any of the advanced data visualization tools that I use on a day-to-day?
Does the vendor support multiple channels? Does the platform integrate with all major search engines and ad exchanges?
What support does the vendor provide for audience activation, and for which channels?
What level of integration does the solution have with our organization’s current technologies? How does it integrate with different data feeds or analytics solutions?
Does the platform enable dynamic delivery of personalized ads for the end-customer?
What level of support would they provide for any account escalations or questions?
Once you’ve answered these questions, and the answers are suitable to your company’s needs, it’s time to trial your options. Going back to the dawn of humankind, when it comes to problem solving, trial and error has always been one of the fundamental methods. Cavemen would test which weapon would kill Benny the mammoth most efficiently, while our old friend Julius Caesar would stage many different kinds of gladiator fights in order to see what the Roman people enjoyed most.
Full-service tools can get expensive quickly (even if you’re just trial-and-erroring), and most digital marketers are limited on budgets. Luckily, there are many instances in which you can get a free taste of what a product can offer (also known as the freemium model). There may be limited usage of the product, but you’ll likely get a solid understanding of its core value and if it addresses the needs of your business.
At Marin Software, we offer Marin Go, which helps you experience the power of MarinOne (our flagship product), without committing to a platform fee. You can then upgrade to MarinOne at any time.
With Marin Go you can:
Aggregate data from multiple channels into a single comprehensive dashboard. Marin Go can link up to accounts from 10+ publishers, including Google, Bing, Facebook, Apple Search Ads, LinkedIn, & Amazon. You can schedule reports to be collected, curated, and sent straight to your inbox in CSV format (or linking back to the platform).
Track budget pacing for the month and preview capabilities from our premium tool, MarinOne, including automated budget allocation and machine-learning bid optimization.
Ask questions of your performance using powerful, interactive reporting with change columns, flexible date ranges, saved views, and more.
Automate the preparation of polished executive-level and client-ready PDF reports.
Improve campaign performance with actionable suggestions and insights from our Account Performance Audits.
Automatically A/B test creatives.
If you are interested in trialing an enterprise-class reporting tool for free, and evaluating a tech stack that can incorporate data from all your different marketing channels, sign up now with Marin Go! We believe every advertiser should have the tools to break down publisher silos. Simply link in your accounts to start enjoying the benefits today.
Consumer behavior has been forced to immediately change as a result of COVID-19, and change on a massive scale. The transformation in consumer consumption is fluid, and we can expect it to continuously evolve over the coming weeks and months. For us marketing professionals, it poses the opportunity to shift and re-align to meet the needs of our ever-changing customers.
A seasoned advertiser is familiar with how to roll out a new digital strategy in “normal” times. That said, very few do so at the scale and the speed suddenly required by the new world we live in today.
As restrictions are lifted, and we begin to settle back to the hustle and bustle of our familiar routines, we will continue to see consumer behavior evolve. The fluidity in the unchartered waters we’re all sailing in will require flexibility, control, reactivity and transparency across all aspects of our digital programs, optimization and budget allocation in particular.
And while many advertisers will look to Smart Bidding to execute on their campaign optimization and budget allocation, it’s important to consider the restrictions that Google’s automated bidding solution presents--including the prerequisites that we’ve laid out above--flexibility and control, reactivity and transparency. Not to mention, budget pacing and scenario forecasting is unavailable with Smart Bidding, so advertisers are unable to evaluate new optimization opportunities before testing them out in the real world. See below on what we mean.
Flexibility & Control
One of the most widely-known and influential thinkers on management, Peter Drucker, once said, “Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.” This statement, now more than ever, is very true. Consumer behavior is changing by the day, and the search auction is a highly dynamic environment. Advertisers can benefit from flexibility.
Marin Software’s technology solves for this challenge through Device Adjustments, Exclusion of Date Ranges in Bidding Calculations, and Malleable & Bespoke Optimization Bidding Targets. And rather than only catering to Google, Marin Bidding can also be applied to an advertiser’s Bing, Amazon, Apple Search Ads, and LinkedIn campaigns. Our solution optimizes for you, the advertiser, and not the publisher, and works across many different channels.
As markets and industries shift, advertisers will need to react to sudden adjustments in the marketplace. For an e-commerce advertiser, this could be a sudden increase in a product category that you had not anticipated. For marketers in insurance, it could be reacting to the sudden change in profitability across a vertical. Such shifts require prompt and agile adjustments, and Smart Bidding is not equipped to handle this.
The MarinOne platform was designed with just this in mind. Within MarinOne, advertisers have the ability to layer custom modifiers in bulk, at scale to tailor any adjustment grand or slight. Couple this with the fact that Marin is open-stack and easily able to ingest any first-party or third-party business intelligence data to automate and streamline such adjustments to ensure you never miss a trick!
Transparency & Publisher Independence
For many years to come, we will be reflecting on the spring of 2020 as the time of perplexing changes in our lifestyle. The effects for many businesses will be great, and the financial leaders of these organizations will be mindful of every investment made as they return to growth. With this in mind, we expect a wider call for transparency and publisher-agnostic partnerships. A true evaluation of marketing investments will carry an even greater weight in understanding publisher performance.
The Marin Software ethos is to deliver the best performance for our advertisers, regardless of publisher. In doing this, our technology offers absolute transparency into all areas of optimization and budget allocation - an area we increase to invest in with exciting things to come this year. Without access to the complete bid history of any keyword or any individual auction, like that of Smart Bidding, there’s no way for an advertiser to unpack the selection criteria, optimization signals or decisioning systems for their campaigns.
What to do...
According to a recent McKinsey publication on how to navigate Digital Transformation in a Crisis, now is the time to act. Playing it safe now, understandable as it might feel to do so, is often the worst option.
As we emerge, and consumer behavior continues to evolve, agility will be forced upon us. As marketers, we’ll need to use everything in our power to control shifts, react and be flexible to our surroundings. Marin is here as a partner to equip advertisers with technology, insights and support to guide them through the journey ahead.
If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between Marin Bidding and Smart Bidding, check out our dedicated page.
From spend monitoring to ad ranking, keeping tabs on your campaign performance across your different marketing channels can be a lot of work. And because optimization is the key to a successful campaign, it’s good to stay in the know. However, most of us are not on our computers all the time, so we need an easy and efficient way to stay on top of it all, and be notified of any major changes immediately.
With Marin’s Automated Alerts, you can stay in the know with automatic monitoring and notifications for all your marketing campaigns. These alerts bring changes directly to your inbox, so that you can be notified as soon as they happen. This means timelier analysis and action, so that your campaigns can continue running smoothly even while you're away.
Check out these 5 alerts that you can set up in Marin to stay productive, optimize strategy, and make the most out of each advertising dollar.
This may feel pretty standard. But as a reminder, the cost of an acquisition or conversion is important to ensure not only that our ads are converting, but that they are doing so at a profitable rate. It is important to modify an alert like this one with an impressions count to be sure that an ad or campaign has reached enough users to properly determine an ideal CPA.
Example: Alert me if impressions are greater than 1000 and CPA is greater than X.
Getting Close to Spend Cap
This can help you monitor your budget pacing, and view the rate at which your campaigns spend. Take action before your cap is hit so that you make adjustments to achieve your performance goals.
Example: Alert me if total spend > $950 (where spend cap = $1000).
Impression Share is Dropping
If your strategy includes top or absolute top impression share, this alert is for you. By receiving a notification when an ad’s impression share drops below your target, you can take the appropriate action (improve ad ranking, evaluate keywords, expand budget) before falling too far behind.
Example: Alert me if the impression share drops by more than 10%
If you’re testing out some new keywords for your campaigns, use this alert to monitor their performance and iterate when necessary. This alert is great for keyword strategy
Example: Alert me if CTR is less than 3% for selected keywords.
Ads Not Converting
Your ads may not be converting because of audience targeting, ad copy, or user-experience on your landing page, you want to be notified about ads that don’t lead consumers to the end goal of a purchase or sign-up. This helps you save money and optimize your campaign for success.
Example: Alert me if I’ve spent more than $1000 and conversion rate is less than 10%.
Once you’ve created these alerts, you can breathe a bit easier knowing that if something dramatically shifts in a campaign, you’ll be notified and can take action immediately. Automated alerts in Marin are customizable and can be set up in just a few minutes. Schedule time with an account representative today to learn more!
These are unprecedented times. Whether you have cut your advertising costs and are making tough budgeting decisions, or are gearing yourself for an unexpected increase in traffic and conversions, the marketing programs you need today are different from what you were running last month.
According to eMarketer, 38% of US Agency and Marketing Professional’s advertising efforts have been paused until later in the year.
The answer to the question “What should I be doing now?” is going to be different for every company. We want to help you make the right decisions by asking the right questions about your business, your marketing programs, and your customers.
We’ll be joined for this conversation by Jake Renter, Chief Operating Officer for Intertwine Interactive. Jake has seen a broad range of impact across the companies he helps manage and he’ll be sharing what he’s hearing from his customers.
Together we will help you answer the ten questions that will make sure you’re continuing to get the most out of your marketing investment, including topics like:
Is my messaging correct?
It’s a sensitive time for creatives, you might need to review and refresh your existing copy and revise anything that may be misconstrued as insensitive given the current climate.
Should I change my bidding strategy?
Paid search is very measurable, the first thing you need to look at is if your conversion rate has changed? We’ll elaborate on that during the webinar but as a start, one way to save yourself a lot of time and worry as long as circumstances continue to change day by day is leveraging tech for alerts. Demand and volume shifts for products can be dramatic, swinging up or down.
Should I be reducing my budgets and how should I be spending?
First, you may want to shift budgets into those products or services that have more relevance during this national emergency. Now might be a good time to do some incrementality testing and see the impact, especially at the top of the funnel.
Are there strategic projects I can be working on that will set me up for success?
If your mandate is to essentially “keep the lights on” now may present a good time to do the deep cleaning.
Sign up today to join us on Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 at 9am PST | 5pm BST
We are in uncharted waters. The changes from Covid-19 are already widespread and they will be long-lasting. Like many other companies, we at Marin have been dealing with working from home, canceled travel plans and figuring out distance learning. I just got off a conference call with 30 kindergarteners and I have to admit it was pretty amusing.
Most countries are significantly restricting social contact to avoid medical system overload. After the initial shock of these restrictions, things will adjust to the new normal, a dramatically accelerated version of the “Stay at Home Economy” trend.
The first priority needs to be the health and safety of our families, the elderly, and our communities at large. As people adjust to the new routines they've been forced into, they will look to fulfill even more of their needs online. And digital marketing will be on the front lines.
I think there are two questions that, as marketers, we should all be asking of our companies:
What can I do to help? Are there things that we can be doing that will make staying at home easier or better? Can I reduce friction for my customers in these challenging times?
How should I adjust my marketing programs? The impact of this is widespread but not even. Some industries will be hit hard, while others will benefit (see Zoom). As a digital marketer, what adjustments should I be making to my marketing programs?
What can I do to help?
Be Generous. Many companies with tools to help people work remotely are offering their services free during this time. Newspapers are lowering paywalls to make sure that people can stay informed. Zoom is offering its service free to public schools. Yogaworks is offering its online workout classes free until further notice (promo: ONLINE) to enable people to workout remotely.
Be Flexible. We are all going to be changing plans, canceling trips, adjusting schedules. Let’s make it easy for our customers to do the right thing and help to reduce the severity of this by reducing the friction of making these adjustments. Airlines are waiving most change and cancellation fees. Airbnb has followed suit, and so have Disneyland and Disney World Resorts. Vail Resorts is offering full refunds to international reservation-holders, and free rebooking to domestic reservation-holders. How can your company help?
Be Patient. Hourly workers are going to be especially hard hit as schools start to get canceled. Parents will need to stay home, meaning they can’t work (in many cases they can’t work anyway because their workplaces will be closed). Companies (and the US government) are starting to relax deadlines and late payment penalties to help people. Is this something that your company could do?
How will my industry be impacted?
You’re probably already seeing the impact in your volumes and conversion rates. You know your business better than we do but obviously travel/hospitality is already heavily impacted. Anything related to events will be similar. Companies offering products that make it easier to stay at home could benefit, including eCommerce, meal delivery, and streaming media. People are less likely to be making purchases that require longer consideration cycles at the moment, so we expect lower volumes and conversion rates in automotive and education. Sectors like financial services are less clear. With interest rates coming down and a recently-volatile stock market, expect a lot of activity in this sector.
How should I adjust my marketing programs?
Bidding: It’s key to remember that you should think about changes in volume and changes in conversion rate separately. If volumes are going down but your conversion rates aren’t changing, you might not need to adjust your bids. But if conversion rates are changing you’ll want to change your bids. If you are using an automated bidding system (Marin or Smart Bidding), your bids will automatically adjust; however, you might want to temporarily add a boost to account for a step-change in performance. On Marin, you can use excluded dates to focus the sampling period.
Budgets: For those advertisers seeing an increase in demand, make sure you aren’t hitting your budget caps and limiting the potential of your campaigns.
Messaging: Review your messaging and make sure it’s relevant in the current environment, especially if you have changed your services or policies. This impacts your website first and foremost, but your ads should match. Sitelinks can be a great way to communicate such changes.
Channel Impact: If you are a multichannel retailer, you may expect to see a shift from offline to online for conversions as consumers try to buy more online. If you sell through Amazon, your Prime support will be critical to “own the buy box” as more households will sign up for Prime. You can now send consumers directly to third-party retailers from ad sitelinks or headlines, which is important to test for effectiveness (Marin is working on an attribution tool with Amazon to connect Amazon purchases to ads on other publishers-- contact us for more info).
Focus on how you can help and protect your community of co-employees and customers, not just shareholders. Review your plans and messaging within and outside your team to ensure that you are being responsible to the business, but not look like you are “taking advantage” of the situation. How would you feel reading about your marketing tactics on the front page?
Need more help?
At Marin, we want to help as much as we can. Our team of experts can support you during this time of uncertainty. As with many companies, we are encouraging employees to work from home to reduce the spread of the virus. We won’t be traveling or meeting in person, but our teams are fully equipped to support you remotely. If you need anything, please reach out to your account manager or click here and let us know what we can do.
Let’s all remember to stay safe and healthy, and to be kinder than necessary as we all try and figure how to adjust to and help in this new world.
Does your Facebook advertising strategy include video? Should you include video as part of your overall Facebook advertising strategy?
If you find yourself asking these questions, this article is for you. In this post you’ll discover essential tips for killer Facebook video campaigns and how you can improve on your existing strategy.
Facebook has seen phenomenal growth in video usage over the past year—it’s now serving a staggering 8 billion video views a day. Video usage has exploded astronomically, with no signs of slowing down. On average US adults spend 1 hour and 16 minutes each day watching videos on digital devices. In a split second, they’ll make a decision as to whether or not your post is worth engaging with.
If you have no idea where to start, you’re in luck. We’re here to help you create a powerful campaign that gets you noticed and achieve positive results.
1. Define your goal.
Before you start your campaign, it’s essential to understand what you want to achieve. Are you looking for brand awareness or to drive action? First and foremost, getting eyeballs on your videos should be your initial goal, but don’t stop there. You have a wealth of customer data itching to be used. Take these video viewers and turn them into actual customers (which we’ll chat about in a moment).
Drive brand awareness: Tracking video views and unique reach is important to you. Remember that Facebook considers a “view” someone who’s watched three or more seconds of your video.
Drive action: Clicks to your website or conversions are important to you. Be sure to add a clear call to action to your ad.
2. Decide on your target audience.
In general, Facebook recommends defining an audience of over 10,000 people for the best ad performance. You need to make people stop to view your video ad instead of scrolling past, so choose carefully. The more relevant your audience is the more video views you’re likely to get. We recommend creating buyer personas to identify who your ideal customers are, and then using these to define your campaign’s target audiences.
Be sure to tailor your creative for each respective persona. This also goes for separate target audiences and brand awareness versus re-engagement campaigns. Be creative and experiment with different targeting options to find the one that suits you best.
3. Go mobile.
Video ads are available across desktop/mobile news feeds and Instagram. Mobile drives the most effective video views, with 65% of Facebook users watching videos on their mobile device. With mobile effectively becoming the core of Facebook’s business—having grown 82% year-over-year and accounting for 80% of its total ad revenue—it continues to attract more and more people on mobile devices. This is only set to increase with its Instagram offering.
4. Don’t over-rely on autoplay.
Create engaging videos that make people want to hit that “play” button. If your ad receives high negative feedback, your video is less likely to autoplay. Have visually engaging content in the first few seconds of your video to catch a user’s attention. Sell without sound—85% of videos on Facebook are watched on silent mode, so use text overlays and a clear CTA to get your message across. Get creative with your content and cater for silent autoplay.
5. Optimize for video views for maximum reach.
Allow Facebook to identify users who are more likely to watch your video, which in turn will help increase the reach of your campaign. By choosing video views as your objective, Facebook will look for people who are more likely to watch your video in full. This will then let you generate much more effective custom audiences for your retargeting campaigns.
6. Re-engage users and drive conversions.
Video is the perfect mode for prospecting, but don’t let your strategy stop there. Take your viewers on a journey through your funnel and convert them into actual, paying customers. How, you ask? Create a list of people who’ve engaged with your video on Facebook and choose from several options:
People who viewed at least 3 seconds of your video
People who viewed at least 10 seconds of your video
People who viewed at least 25% of your video
People who viewed at least 50% of your video
People who viewed at least 75% of your video
People who viewed at least 95% of your video
Use these audiences to retarget highly engaged users of your brand. People who’ve completed your video will represent a more engaged audience and will be more likely to take your desired action. Get your messaging right, and as we mentioned above, take your viewers on a journey through the funnel.
If you’ve shown them generic messaging in your first touch point, be sure to follow up with specific product messaging followed by an incentive to purchase if they haven’t already done so. The goal of retargeting is to place your brand at top of mind while customers are still deep in their decision-making process.
Marin launched exactly this strategy with a leading technology brand and achieved a 30% lower CPA and 11% higher CTR, plus generated the highest number of sales for the campaign overall.
7. Monitor, adjust, and optimize.
You’ve followed all of the above steps and now you want to actually figure out what’s working for you. Test, test, and test some more! Ensure to test all the creative elements of your ads, including different video variations and text overlays. The number of ad variations will add up quite quickly, so it’s best to create these in bulk to save you time.
Narrow your targets based on your key objectives and buyer personas. You can break down your audiences by location, demographics, interests, and behavior specifics.
For example, if your audience size is large enough and you want to target multiple locations, run them in separate campaigns—making it easier to optimize—and see what’s working best for you. Are you targeting fans versus non-fans? Consider using different creative for each. You should always have different messaging for people who are already familiar with your brand, versus people who may have never come across you prior to your campaign.
Along with the above be sure to:
Include a clear CTA.
Use high-quality video content.
Include your branding and main messaging in the first few seconds of your video to take advantage of the autoplay feature (remember to use text overlay to cater for silent autoplay).
Combat ad fatigue by refreshing your creative every one to two weeks for best performance. When people have seen your ad multiple times, it can become more expensive to achieve your desired results.
Navigate to the reporting section and monitor key metrics such as clicks, impressions, reach, CTR, and conversions. Be sure to track follow-on activity in your Google Analytics account, and measure the lift of your campaigns based on key website stats such as bounce rate, average session duration, pages per session, and goal completion. Use the results of your testing to create a powerful, results-driven campaign.
With the continued growth of video across the platform, Facebook video ads are more likely to generate increased engagement for brands. By implementing the above, you’re sure to generate conversions from your efforts.
Between the distant frenzy of the Q4 shopping season and the rising calm of midyear, Q2 tends to be the quietest quarter. However, this doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening. Among other things we found in our research, mobile display played a larger role this Q2—but overall, the ubiquitous move to mobile is actually slowing down. And, tablet usage continues to drop.
To create our quarterly benchmark reports, we sample the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform. We analyze data from around the world to create our report. For Q2 2016, key findings include:
The move to mobile is slowing down. Across search and social, the shift away from desktop has been slowing for the last two quarters. Device share is decelerating and seems to be approaching a stability point. Display is the only channel that’s still seeing strong shifts toward mobile over the past quarter for both advertisers and users.
Smartphone and desktop are the devices of choice. The tablet revolution never took off and continues to shrink. Instead, it was co-opted by its sibling device, the smartphone. For the foreseeable future, smartphone and desktop are the two largest winners.
Advertisers should continue to prioritize cross-channel, cross-device targeting. In order for advertisers to employ a robust cross-channel, cross-device marketing approach, they should continue to learn the strengths and weaknesses of these channels and devices.
When we looked at performance marketing data from the first quarter of 2016, one thing became clear: cross-channel, cross-device targeting remains the most powerful differentiator for profitable marketing strategies.
To create our quarterly benchmark reports, we sample the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform. We analyze data from around the world to create our report. For Q1 2016, key findings include:
All mobile, all the time. Advertisers and consumers are continuing to shift towards a more mobile ecosystem.
Cross-channel and cross device remain important. It’s important for marketers to adopt and maintain a more holistic and complete approach to digital marketing that targets across all channels and devices.
Every channel has its strengths and weaknesses. Not only should marketers become adept at recognizing each channel’s weaknesses, but even more importantly, they should start using all three channels and devices to their best strengths.
Continuing its ascent into the status of omnipresent being, global smartphone adoption reached an all-time high last year and shows no signs of slowing down. Thanks to this rapid expansion of smartphone usage around the world, advertisers now have an opportunity to reach consumers even more easily.
We sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform, to analyze data from around the world to create our latest annual benchmark report.
We uncovered three key findings:
Clicks and spend have gone mobile. In 2015, mobile devices represented the majority of consumer online usage for the first time. Consumers are now spending more time and attention on mobile devices than desktop – as a result, advertisers have been shifting spend away from desktop towards smartphones and tablets to catch consumer attention and generate clicks. We predict this trend will continue.
Desktop is becoming more like mobile. As the mobile format gains traction with consumers and advertisers, publishers are innovating. While mobile ad formats formerly took cues from desktop, publishers are now swapping the formula, making desktop ad formats and pages more similar to mobile.
Mobile conversion is gaining traction. Desktops are still the primary conversion-driving device; however, within the past year, conversion rates have been growing on mobile devices. While mobile devices have historically been used for product research or upper-funnel activities, this is changing, as better mobile attribution and ad formats are released. Expect this trend to continue.