B2B

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

How about LinkedIn?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLV is how much money a customer spends with your business for the duration of your relationship. It’s an important—yet overlooked—metric: rather than looking at a sale as simply a one-off exchange, CLV considers how valuable a customer is over time

Understanding this can help you spend your marketing budget more wisely and keep your customer acquisition costs low. After all, it costs more to attract a new customer than it does to close an existing prospect or keep an existing customer. 

Keeping your CLV high is vital to the long-term success of your business. 

What is CLV?

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) refers to the profit you expect to make from a customer over time.



For some businesses, this may mean that your profitable customers make larger purchases or many repeat purchases, thereby increasing their value to your business over the lifetime of their relationship with you. 

However, for many industries with long sales cycles, that profit may come months or even years after you’ve established the awareness of your business with the customer at the top of the funnel (think: buying a car, applying to a university, procuring new software, or purchasing a home). These are big decisions and consumers need time to evaluate their purchases. 

5 Reasons to Measure CLV for Your Paid Search Advertising Campaigns 

Regardless of the nature of your customers’ CLV, optimizing your marketing campaigns to CLV is good for business. Here are five reasons CLV matters:  

  1. It helps you keep valuable customers

If you can identify and target high CLV customers, this should translate into higher ROI and could be a good way to improve your campaign performance. 

You may find that there are segments of the market who value your product but have a lower than average CLV/CAC ratio, meaning you're spending too much on acquiring individual customers. If so, it may be worth exploring ways in which you can acquire these new customers at a lower cost or perhaps look for marketing activities where you might get more exposure for the same budget (e.g., by increasing reach).

  1. It decreases CPA costs

Customer Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) is the amount of money a company spends on acquiring new customers divided by the number of new customers acquired during a given period. 


You'll notice that different customer types have different CLVs, which means they contribute more or less than others towards paying your CPA. You can use CLV to compare campaigns and determine which ones are performing better, resulting in improved return on investment (ROI).

It's important to monitor this metric over time, as you may find you can reduce CPA while maintaining or even improving your bottom line. This is because the lifetime value of certain customer segments will increase with time on your platform, resulting in an overall decrease in acquisition costs.

  1. It allows you to optimize your bids to different stages of the funnel

Full-funnel bidding allows advertisers to use top of the funnel conversion types for bidding while also factoring in final sales as a second bid factor. This bidding solution enables advertisers to grow efficiency and revenue from the sales funnel’s final stage while maintaining reactivity to recent market changes. Bids stay reactive to market changes, while efficiency targets are based on latent conversion metrics. 

  1. It helps you calculate campaign effectiveness

CLV will reveal which paid search campaigns are more successful, allowing you to optimize your total marketing spend. 

You can compare campaign effectiveness by sub-segmenting customers by their CLVs. For example, instead of just looking at conversion rates for all traffic sources as a whole, you could break down the conversion rates by each campaign. This will make it easier to understand which traffic sources are most effective at converting.

  1. It helps you grow in the long run

CLV isn’t something you need to track all the time, but ignoring it could spell trouble. Keeping an eye on CLV helps you spend your marketing budget more wisely, engage with your customers more effectively, and keep your CPA costs down through better loyalty—all of which helps your bottom line. 

How to Calculate CLV

The simplest formula is as follows: 

CLV = Customer Value (average order spend x number of orders in a year) x Average Customer Lifespan (in years) 

To calculate CLV, you need to track customer metrics over time and calculate your customer churn. This will allow you to determine CLV across any given timeframe.



You may want to deduct CAC (customer acquisition cost) from your total to give you a deeper understanding of the true value of a customer. 

Using a comprehensive reporting suite like MarinOne, you’ll be able to Identify which channels are driving revenue to your business. You’ll then need to track offline sales and interactions back to their source with a conversion tracking solution like Marin Tracker. Make sure to continue tracking touchpoints beyond the initial click-through, all the way through conversion. 

How to Improve CLV

Here are some tips on improving your CLV. 

  • Optimize onboarding. As soon as possible, the user should be able to get value from your product or service (e.g., signups, downloads).
  • Don't focus on customer acquisition alone. It's important to make sure users are retained over time.
  • Optimize CLV by marketing based on customer behavior. If people aren't making repeat purchases or converting to long-term high-value purchases, consider investing in marketing efforts to increase retention.
  • Look for ways to improve value. If customers are joining, but not staying around or buying after a certain period of time, focus on improving user experience and product features.
  • Over-deliver. If your product and service are great, people will come back.
  • Boost user experience. If you can provide an improved user experience, make sure to communicate this benefit in all your marketing efforts. Consider advertising on social media platforms that offer the opportunity for strong engagement.
  • Increase average value order. If customers are buying, but not purchasing many items per order, then there is room to boost sales.
  • Gather market research. If you can gather unbiased opinions about your product or service from potential customers, use this data to create marketing campaigns that will appeal directly to your target audience.
  • Uncover business drivers. You may need to modify your business plan based on what customers are saying.
  • Improve customer service. If you’re not delivering great customer service, customers will avoid dealing with you in the future. Not only that, but they’ll likely share their experiences on social media—which could turn away potential new customers.

Conclusion

Measuring CLV plays an important role in determining ROI, optimizing your advertising spend, and keeping your CPA low—all of which means less budget spent on search campaigns. Optimizing your CLV can provide valuable insights regarding whether or not there is excessive spending on your search campaigns. CLV allows you to evaluate the financial impact in order to re-strategize regarding how various programs are measured and attributed.

How MarinOne Can Help

MarinOne’s powerful self-serve platform connects your offline conversion data to the ad clicks that ultimately drive the sale, making it easy to see which customers are the most valuable and which campaigns have been effective in closing customers. From analysis and reporting to advanced bidding algorithms—analyze the most valuable shoppers, optimize your bids to revenue, and focus your efforts on your best customers. This leads to extending your marketing spend while attracting high-value customers to your brand.

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

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.

What are Automated Insights?


There are a lot of moving parts to a digital marketing campaign. So many that it’s hard for even an experienced marketer to know what they need to do to get the best results from their campaign. Collecting data, recognizing the trends for optimization and other paid search strategy efforts often do not come as quickly as advertisers would like. That’s where we come in.

Marin has been providing account insight to our customers for over 10 years and now we are delivering these powerful, actionable recommendations directly in the MarinOne platform.

Insights are automatic, tailored recommendations that help advertisers get more out of digital marketing campaigns and provide them with the tools needed to quickly implement those recommendations.

Automated Insights in MarinOne are designed to

  • uncover opportunities to reduce wasteful spending
  • capitalize on additional volume in high-performing areas
  • Implement learnings from one channel to another


How Insights Work


Each Marin Insight is a customized, cross-channel recommendation designed to increase your campaign’ performance. Unlike recommendations from the publishers, Marin Insights look across channels to identify the most efficient areas of improvement or to highlight where a learning in one publisher can be implemented in another. We also focus on recommendations that align with your business goals, not just increasing spend.

To help you prioritize your work, Marin Insights are always presented with a corresponding performance change. With this information you can easily tell how your account may change as a result of implementing and insight. These performance forecasts are built by analysing recent performance of campaigns, ads, keywords, and products and benchmarking that against the overall account performance.



If your account is tracking revenue data the forecasts will be reflected in terms of predicted change in Revenue and Spend. If your account does not currently track revenue, the prediction is in terms of Conversions and Spend.

Insights are updated daily based on performance data over the most recent four weeks so you never have to worry about wading through old materials.

What Insights Help You Do


Each Marin Insight is presented along with a downloadable report that enables you to go from insight to action. Each report can be uploaded back into MarinOne to apply the recommendation. This workflow gives you flexibility and the ability to accept or reject each recommendation at the most granular level.

Examples of our Insights Include:

Ad Copy Optimization - Identifies the individual word with the most clicks across an ad group's keyword set and determines if that word is included in the highest-traffic creative.

Ad Optimization - Identifies underperforming ads using the KPI and statistical confidence in your A/B test settings.

Budget Capped Campaigns - Identifies high performing campaigns limited by their daily budget.

Keyword Expansion - Identifies non-exact match search terms performing at a lower cost-per-conversion than their parent campaign based on Google conversion tracking.

Keyword Match Type Expansion- Identifies high performing keywords that do not exist on more specific match types.

Keyword Publisher Expansion - Identifies top-performing keywords that are not being leveraged in Bing.

Negative Keyword Expansion - Identifies non-converting search terms based on Google conversion tracking with a statistically significant amount of clicks.

Single Keyword Ad Groups - Showcases which keywords have significant mobile performance to move each into their own ad group so it can get its own mobile bid.

Top Performing Products - Identifies shopping products performing above average within their product group and should be moved to a dedicated product group for additional control.

Key Benefits:


Highly Qualified Recommendations - Volume and performance criteria result in recommendations that are expected to provide meaningful impact to your bottom-line performance.

Performance Predictions - Incremental spend, conversion, and revenue estimates allow you to prioritize your time on recommendations that will have the most impact.

Platform-Ready Exports - Downloadable reports allow you to review Insights at the most granular level. We've also made it easy to implement the recommended changes using a bulk upload.

Click on the Insights tab in MarinOne to see your personalized recommendations today!

If you aren’t yet a Marin customer, reach out today to learn about everything Marin has to offer.

Who Are the Big Four?


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

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

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

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







We recently wrote a blog on The Power of Web Queries, a type of scheduled report in MarinOne that is hosted on a URL and automatically updated with the most recent data. These are fully customizable reports, right down to the date range, activity type and even how often the data is refreshed.

The flexible nature of Web Queries means that marketers can automatically import their data directly into Microsoft Excel instead of having to manually download their data and then import into Excel, saving you endless hours of time spent generating reports manually. You can even create dashboards and templates in Excel, which get updated with the most recent data at the click of a button.

The New and Improved Web Query Reports


Since our earlier blog post, we’ve made further enhancements to our Web Query reporting capabilities to not only allow data to be automatically imported into Excel, but now into Google Sheets too.

You’re probably asking why use Google Sheets? What’s the benefit? Well, here’s a few…

  • Due to the cloud-based nature of Google Sheets, collaboration between multiple users makes a marketers workflow easier and faster
  • Built-in revision history
  • No need to constantly press “Save” due to Google Sheets’ auto-save functionality
  • Real-time chat window with colleagues
  • Access to your Google Sheet and data from any computer/device
  • Refreshing of data is automatic on an hourly cadence - no manual intervention needed
  • Ability to control access levels to the data, i.e. Read-Only, Edit or Comment access
  • Share the data easily with management and stakeholders
  • The data can also be synced into big data tools from Google Sheets for enhanced customization and reporting i.e. Google Data Studio
  • Pricing – Google Sheets is completely free to use


Setting Up Web Query Reports for Google Sheets


Once you’ve generated your Web Query report from MarinOne, copy the URL and open up a Google Sheet then follow the steps below.

Click into a cell and type =IMPORTHTML(

  • This function / formula imports data into a Google Sheet from a table within a HTML page such as Marin’s Web Query reports that are hosted on a URL


The syntax format is =IMPORTHTML("url", "query", index)

  • url – The URL of the page to be examined, including protocol (e.g. https://).
    This is where you paste the Web Query report URL that you generated in MarinOne

  • The URL must be enclosed in quotation marks


  • query – Either "table" or "list" can be used, depending on what type of structure contains the data
    For Marin’s Web Query reports, it will be the query "table", and make sure to also enclose it in quotation marks


  • index – The index, starting at 1, which identifies which table or list (as defined in the HTML source) should be returned
    For Marin’s Web Query reports, there are three tables to choose from (as shown in the image below)




Your formula should look like the example below. Make sure that each syntax is separated with a comma.

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

  • Once you hit enter, the data will be imported into the Google Sheet from the Web Query report
  • Once you have the data into the spreadsheet, you’ll need to set the criteria for the data to be refreshed;Click File >> Spreadsheet settings >> in the pop up, click Calculation >> change the recalculation to ‘On change and every hour’ >> click Save Settings




Google will now automatically refresh the data on an hourly cadence, so you can be sure that the most recent data is up-to-date - There’s no need to manually refresh like you have to in Excel

Why not give it a try and enhance your workflow with our latest update? And if you haven’t already, check our earlier blog on Web Query reports: The Power of Web Queries.



Reporting is often a mundane and repetitive task. How much time do you spend on reporting? If that answer is too much, then keep on reading.

Every marketer's dream is to spend as little time on reporting as possible. The fact is that the less time you spend on reporting, the more time you have to spend on your marketing strategy, campaign optimization or perhaps testing something completely new.

One of the key benefits of using MarinOne is its web query functionality.

In a nutshell, web queries enable you to pull data from a website's URL straight into Microsoft Excel. The web query format creates an automated report that is posted to a static URL every time the report is processed.

Web query reports in MarinOne are designed to let users take advantage of their existing reports and have the application update the data on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, saving you literally hours a week by not having to pull reports manually.

As you can imagine, the possibilities with web queries are endless. Below we have outlined a few examples of the web query alerts and reports that we tend to recommend.

Performance-based alerts and reports:


  • Poor performing campaigns, groups, creatives or keywords
  • Strong performing campaigns, groups, creatives or keywords
  • High potential keywords and search queries
  • Campaign, group, keyword coverage change
  • Low CTR/conversion rate creatives, keywords
  • Performance by match type
  • KPIs that have been achieved by certain objects in a given timeframe
  • Mobile vs. desktop performance


QA-based alerts and reports:


  • Disapproved creatives
  • Missing Google Analytics parameters
  • Active groups with less than two creatives



Example: Cross channel Dashboard build by using Web Queries



Setting Up Web Query Reports


Now that you know when to use web queries, how can you create one?

If you are using Windows, you can follow the below steps:

  1. Create a recurring report in MarinOne and select Excel Web Query as the format
  2. You can then run your report and click save.
  3. Right-click on the URL for the Excel link and select Copy Shortcut.
  4. In Excel, open the workbook where you wish to import the data. From the Data menu, select From Web under Get External Data.
  5. Paste the link you copied into the address bar and your report will be loaded into the window.
  6. You can choose which section of your report to import by checking boxes placed next to each table in the report.
  7. Click Import and you will be asked to specify the location for the report and you will have to enter your Marin credentials when prompted. If you wish to have the data in the report, refresh automatically when the file is opened, click Properties and select the Refresh Data When Opening File option.
  8. Click OK and your data will be imported into the workbook at the location you specified. This data range will be refreshed whenever you select Refresh All from the Data menu (or automatically, if you choose that option). Simply link your existing output report to this data section and your report will be updated.


As mentioned, web queries will help you save time and hopefully enhance your day-to-day workflow. If there are any questions or you would like to know more, don't hesitate to contact us.

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.

Expanding Audiences


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.

Auto-Placement


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.

Conclusion


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.

Conclusion


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.

Reactivity


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.

  1. Monitor CPA


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.


  1. 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).


  1. 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%


  1. Check Keywords


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.


  1. 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).


Be Thoughtful


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.

This piece was recently featured in PerformanceIN, the leading global performance marketing publication.

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.

Video Views


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


Custom Audience



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.


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

When we looked at performance marketing data from the first quarter of 2016, one thing became clear: cross-channel, cross-device targeting remains the most powerful differentiator for profitable marketing strategies.

To create our quarterly benchmark reports, we sample the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform. We analyze data from around the world to create our report. For Q1 2016, key findings include:

  • All mobile, all the time. Advertisers and consumers are continuing to shift towards a more mobile ecosystem.
  • Cross-channel and cross device remain important. It’s important for marketers to adopt and maintain a more holistic and complete approach to digital marketing that targets across all channels and devices.
  • Every channel has its strengths and weaknesses. Not only should marketers become adept at recognizing each channel’s weaknesses, but even more importantly, they should start using all three channels and devices to their best strengths.


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

2015 was a banner year for mobile.

Continuing its ascent into the status of omnipresent being, global smartphone adoption reached an all-time high last year and shows no signs of slowing down. Thanks to this rapid expansion of smartphone usage around the world, advertisers now have an opportunity to reach consumers even more easily.

We sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform, to analyze data from around the world to create our latest annual benchmark report.

We uncovered three key findings:

  • Clicks and spend have gone mobile. In 2015, mobile devices represented the majority of consumer online usage for the first time. Consumers are now spending more time and attention on mobile devices than desktop – as a result, advertisers have been shifting spend away from desktop towards smartphones and tablets to catch consumer attention and generate clicks. We predict this trend will continue.
  • Desktop is becoming more like mobile. As the mobile format gains traction with consumers and advertisers, publishers are innovating. While mobile ad formats formerly took cues from desktop, publishers are now swapping the formula, making desktop ad formats and pages more similar to mobile.
  • Mobile conversion is gaining traction. Desktops are still the primary conversion-driving device; however, within the past year, conversion rates have been growing on mobile devices. While mobile devices have historically been used for product research or upper-funnel activities, this is changing, as better mobile attribution and ad formats are released. Expect this trend to continue.


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

2016-mobile-report_cover
Retargeting Audiences

The demographic of Facebook users is similar to that of the general internet population— so if your target customers are online, they’re on Facebook too. But how do you reach the right Facebook users? And how can you ensure that clicks from users turn into actual engagement with their brands? Marin Software’s newest Facebook white paper provides helpful ideas and practical advice for audience targeting.

Thankfully, Facebook makes it easy to target the customers you want by providing a wealth of user information and a plethora of targeting options. You can now reach the right users, at the right time, with an appropriately engaging message.

9 Best Practice Tips:

  1. Keep your strategy and objectives in mind.
  2. Draw on experience from other channels for Facebook targeting ideas. Analyze best performing keywords and best performing placements. This information can provide key insights into what audiences will likely perform best on Facebook.
  3. Mine the demographics of your existing fan base, and look for appropriate targeting criteria for future ad campaigns.
  4. Analyze your existing fans’ likes and interests. If existing fans are interested in “healthy eating,” then it makes sense to explore other lifestyle terms such as “healthy foods.”
  5. Try a visual thesaurus, such as Visuwords, to provide inspiration for additional areas of interest to explore.
  6. Focus on themes rather than individual words. For example, use “flowers” rather than “roses.”
  7. Make use of the social nature of Facebook by taking advantage of social endorsements. People are more likely to click on ads for brands that are liked by their friends.
  8. Make sure your audience reach is not too big or too small.
  9. Don’t forget to save your audience templates for future use.


Facebook provides an incredible amount of user information, so make sure to analyze it and explore related areas of interest. Keep things in perspective by also remembering what targeting works outside of Facebook. All of these data points will help you successfully target and reach your audience.

Next Week: Stay tuned for more Facebook best practices! Next week we’ll discuss how to get the most out of your Facebook creative. If you would like to read more on how to drive ROI from Facebook advertising, click here to download our newest white paper, “The Marketers’ Guide to Driving ROI from Facebook Advertising.”

When it comes to crafting a strategic game plan for your Facebook ad campaigns, Marin Software’s newest white paper makes for a great resource. Over the last two weeks, we've discussed how Facebook advertising can play a key role in any online marketing program and how success can be achieved by setting clear objectives. However, once you’re confident in the goals you've set, a strategy must still be put in place. You can map it out in many different ways, but be sure to assess and include your key business goals, campaign objectives, success metrics, and available brand assets.

Best Practices

  • Ensure that high-level stakeholders and media managers understand how your proposed Facebook investments and targeting strategies align with other company initiatives. You’ll want everyone to be on-board with your objectives and how you plan to meet them.
  • Consider a mix of ads (voice of your business), stories (voice of your customers), or a combination of both to communicate the right message to your audience.
  • Lay out your strategy and allow it to serve as a guide for your team. Refer back to it as you build, implement, and optimize your Facebook campaigns.


Sample Strategy:

Sample Facebook Ads Strategy Matrix

A well thought out strategy like the one above will give direction, ensure everyone’s on the same page, and provide a flexible reference guide that can be adjusted as a result of changes in business goals or requirements.


Next Week: Stay tuned for more Facebook tips and tricks in our blog series! Next week we’ll look at best practices for targeting your Facebook audience. If you enjoy this series and want to read more, click here to download our latest Facebook white paper “The Marketers’ Guide to Driving ROI from Facebook Advertising.”

Facebook Goals and Objectives



The key to any successful marketing program is to set clear objectives, and Facebook marketing is no different. This basic truth was confirmed by our newest white paper – “The Marketers’ Guide to Driving ROI from Facebook Advertising” – which looks at the best practices of top Facebook advertisers and Marin clients.

As tempting as it may be to launch a Facebook campaign just to check it off the list or to cover all the bases, it’s important to invest a little time and come up with a plan before you dive in. Successful marketers are learning to take a “full funnel” approach to their Facebook marketing, and the first step is setting objectives. Start by answering these two fundamental questions:

  1. What business outcome(s) would you like your Facebook marketing investment to produce?
  2. How will you measure and optimize these outcomes?


Marin Software’s research shows that marketers who are able to identify and articulate clear “top of the funnel” and “bottom of the funnel” objectives will ultimately have a more successful Facebook campaign experience.

Top Tips:

  • Consider the maturity of your brand on Facebook. Did you just launch your brand’s Facebook page? Focus on building awareness and gaining fans. Already established on Facebook? In that case, engage with your fans and aim to increase word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Think about your industry. Are you B2B or B2C? Would a direct promotion help, or do you want to focus on promoting awareness and thought leadership for your brand?
  • Brainstorm the brand assets you have to promote. Do you have an app? An upcoming event? Or a special discount? These can all be used to your advantage in a successful Facebook campaign.
  • Identify the Facebook metrics that align with your objective. Think about short-term and long-term value. Consider reach and frequency, engagement, and leads/sales metrics. What combination of metrics makes the most sense for your brand?
  • Confirm tracking and reporting capabilities. Make sure you have a plan for this before launching your campaign so you are able to determine ROI and Lifetime Value.


Spend some time setting up objectives. Think about your goals, talk to upper-level management, consider all the tools and brand assets you can use to your advantage, and make sure you have a way to track your success. Once you've done the initial legwork, it will be easy to fit this information into an action plan.

Next Week: Stay tuned for more Facebook tips and tricks in our blog series! Next week we’ll discuss how to make an action plan for your Facebook advertising. If you enjoy this series and want to read more, click here to download our latest Facebook white paper “The Marketers’ Guide to Driving ROI from Facebook Advertising.”

Earlier this week, I started to take a look at the top 10 biggest changes to happen in the paid search industry over the last decade plus. From ad rotation settings to device targeting, search marketers have certainly seen our fair share of new features and innovations. Today, I’ll reveal the top five biggest changes in paid search history:

5. Google enhanced campaigns

Google Enhanced Campaigns Pie

Some might argue this should be higher on the list. But before we bump it higher on the list, let’s wait and see how it all plays out after July. Google is fundamentally changing the way search marketers manage and optimize their AdWords campaigns. The migration to Google enhanced campaigns will place all device targeting capabilities under the roof of a single campaign, along with the ability to set mobile bid adjustments at the campaign and group level.


Theories differ on what the long term impact of enhanced campaigns will be on paid search performance, but what all search marketers can agree upon is the importance of a successful migration where enhanced campaigns are optimized to ensure post-migration success. We've invested too much time structuring and optimizing our campaigns to meet our business needs to dismiss enhanced campaigns as a minor change that will have minimal impact on paid search performance. If I recreated this list a year from now, I wouldn't be surprised if enhanced campaigns were much higher on this list, but until we know more, I’m happy keeping it at number five.

4. Google Product Listing Ads

Google PLAs have been a game-changer for those in the online retail space. Managing listings are now easier, the listings are more accurate and up-to-date, and the ads themselves stand out and are more engaging. Though you still need to optimize to get your listings to show, one can argue PLAs are much more effective than traditional text ads, especially when attempting to advertiser your entire product catalog.

Google Product Listing Ads Example


3. AdWords Desktop Editor

Though not as vital as it was when it was first introduced some eight years ago, the AdWords Desktop Editor paved the way for the next generation of platforms and tools for managing paid search campaigns at scale. Those of you who managed paid search in 2004 or earlier understand how much more difficult it was back then using just the AdWords interface and spreadsheets—plenty of manual toggling between campaigns, and much more time-consuming workflows for creating or editing keywords and ads. When Google introduced the offline desktop editor, it transformed the way search marketers managed and made changes within our search accounts. Now publishers like Bing and Facebook have their own offline desktop editors.

AdWords Editor


2. Sitelinks

Would you like to add multiple, deeper links to your search ads? Yes, please! Though they don’t show up for all keywords, ad sitelinks creates a big incentive for search marketers to get relevant and push ads to the top of the search engine results page. The ability to include additional links within a search ad enables search marketers to not only increase the ads’ real estate, but also provide users with more relevant, deep-linked landing pages. The combination of the two has enabled sitelinks to increase ad CTRs for the keywords they are eligible to show for.

Google Ad Sitelinks Example


1. Quality Score visibility

Finally, the secret formula was revealed! Well, not really. One of the biggest mysteries and challenges for search marketers was understanding the relevancy of our keywords and what exactly determined their competitiveness and cost. Once Google revealed the concept of Quality Score and the variables that influence it, search marketers became obsessed. All management and optimizing strategies from that moment on was predicated around improving Quality Score. Gone is the guess-work in figuring out what keyword, ad, or landing page changes will have the greatest impact. Now we know the factors of relevancy that Google deems most important, and we’re able to better manage and optimize our accounts to improve and maximize long-term performance.


Google Quality Score Breakdown


There you have it, my list of the top 10 biggest paid search changes. Chances are your list, if you choose to create one, will vary from mine. If that’s the case, please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below and let me know why you’d rank one change higher than another.

Last Friday, Facebook announced several updates to their advertising offering, aimed to help simplify the campaign creation process and entice new advertisers to test the channel.

In a nutshell, advertisers should expect to see the following changes in Facebook’s social advertising offerings in the coming months:

  1. Facebook will be eliminating Sponsored Story ad units this fall (exact time frame TBA) as a stand-alone advertising product. In their place, Facebook will begin to automatically include social context in ads without the extra step of creating additional Sponsored Story ad units.
  2. Facebook will be eliminating Question and Offer creative types effective July 9.
  3. Facebook will be adjusting the “look and feel” of their various ad types to be more consistent across the board, regardless of placement (i.e. right-hand rail vs. News Feed) or device (desktop vs. mobile). Beginning in late June, advertisers will be required to adhere to a standard image size, whereas previously they had flexibility.


According to Facebook, these changes stem primarily from customer feedback. With the wide array of advertising products and creative types Facebook has added to their feature set over the past year, many advertisers have raised concerns over the complexity entailed with launching campaigns. By eliminating less popular creative types, Facebook is aiming to foster increased adoption across its advertiser base.

At Marin, we are supportive of these changes and see them as a way to simplify campaign creation so advertisers can focus less on creative type selection and more on strategy and optimization. As Facebook strives to cut down on the advertising complexities they created over the past year, our advertisers will be able to launch more effective campaigns in less time and focus more on optimizing towards their business goals. Also, by simplifying the implementation process, advertisers who have been hesitant to try Facebook advertising may be more inclined to test.

What additional workflow benefits can users expect to see as a result of these changes?

Eliminating Sponsored Story Ads as Stand-Alone Ad Formats: Today, a popular advertising strategy on Facebook is to launch a separate Sponsored Story along with an ad promoting a Facebook asset. For example, if Macys.com wants to promote its Facebook fan page under the current system, along with any instances of fans “Liking” their Fan page they will need to create two separate Facebook ad units: 1.) A Page Promotion ad and 2.) A Page Like Sponsored Story ad. At scale, this process can be confusing and complex to some advertisers. Moving forward, Facebook will automatically display relevant social context for any ads promoting Facebook brand assets. In our example, under the new system Macys.com would only need to create a Page Promotion ad, and any Page “Likes” will automatically be displayed in the same ad unit.

Facebook Sponsored Stories Update


Elimination of Question and Offer Ads: Question and Offer ads were two of the lesser used Facebook creative types. Facebook believes this is because many brands already ask users questions and promote offers within other popular ad units (i.e. Page Post ads). Simplifying creative options should streamline the campaign launch process for advertisers.

Consistent Requirements for Creative Formats: Today, many Facebook creative types are in different formats and offer different sizes for text and images. For example, a Page Post ad allows for a much larger image size than a right-hand rail marketplace ad. By requiring one standard ad format, advertisers will no longer have to worry about uploading different images sizes for different placements and creative types.

Facebook Ads Image Size Update

With the migration deadline for Google enhanced campaign right around the corner (July 22nd), we thought it would be fun to look at where this AdWords upgrade would rank among the other significant changes to the paid search landscape over the last decade plus. Here’s a look at one search marketer’s (mine) perspective on the 10 biggest changes over the years:

10. Upgraded ad rotation settings

Last year Google made some adjustments to their ad rotation settings. Gone are the days where you had simple “rotate evenly” or “optimize for clicks” options. A new rotate evenly option was introduced that would automatically change to optimize for clicks after 30 days (which was subsequently changed to 90 days after the search world let Google know of their disapproval). They also added a rotate indefinitely, an optimize for clicks, and an optimize for conversions option.

AdWords Creative Rotation Settings



It wouldn't surprise me if many search marketers had a "set it and forget it" ad rotation strategy in place. This change did make search marketers more aware of the available options and which one was most appropriate for their business needs. The increase and improvement in ad rotation settings gave search marketers more tools for successfully executing their ad testing and optimization strategies.

9. Impression Share

I was actually inclined to put this higher on the list. However, I looked back and asked myself how often do I actually use this feature? I asked a few other search marketers the same, and all said it’s a neat feature in principal but I don’t find myself using it as much as you’d think. Impression share does allow us to get a good gauge on how much potential spend/leads/revenue you could be missing out on, but in the long run, we probably know better than to cap our campaign budgets, especially on the higher performing groups.

Impression Share Metrics


8. Yahoo! Bing Alliance

Yahoo Bing Alliance Logo

It wasn't much of a surprise when the Yahoo! Bing alliance was announced as rumors were running rampant for quite some time before it became official. The change did cause some frenzy in the industry as marketers were unsure what the short term and long term impact would be. The first piece was the migration itself onto the Bing platform. The second was how this new merger would affect performance and if Yahoo! Bing could take a bite out of Google’s dominance in search. Looking back, the changes and impact were probably not the biggest, but we could say this was the #1 most newsworthy moment on this list.

7. $.05 to $.01 minimum bid and keyword minimum bid requirements

Sometime in either 2006 or 2007, Google changed the way they calculate the minimum bid requirements. This change dropped the minimum bids from $.05 to $.01, but then added a never before seen wrinkle: assigning a minimum bid requirement to activate a keyword for a given search if the quality score was deemed too low. Here was an example:

AdWords First Page Bid Updates


This change really started the movement to create and deliver the most relevant ads for very specific search queries. Gone were the days where you could easily delivery ads promoting “nike shoes” at position one for searches on “new balance shoes”. I feel this change caused a significant shift in terms of how search marketers started focusing their efforts on specific keywords and keeping ads/landing pages as relevant as possible.

6. Device targeting

The shift to mobile and tablets really took off with the launch of the iPhone and the iPad, respectively. As consumers started spending more of their time on these devices, advertisers quickly aligned their paid search strategies towards these devices as well. As a result, we saw the introduction of device targeting capabilities within campaign settings. The ability to segment and target these devices, deliver unique ad copy and landing pages, and measure the performance separately helped kick-start a new wave of mobile advertising strategies. However, this all changed in February of this year…

Later this week, I’ll reveal my top five biggest changes.

Facebook advertising presents marketers with a vast and truly global advertising opportunity.

Facebook Ads

Did you know?

  • 7.5% of global page views are on Facebook
  • The average user spends 28 minutes on the site each day
  • Facebook officially surpassed Google in weekly traffic in 2010
  • People who Like a brand’s Facebook page spend twice as much money on the brand’s products as people who have not connected


It’s no surprise that marketers are increasingly seeking to engage with Facebook users through ads, fan pages, news feeds, applications, and events. As a result, Facebook’s advertising revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012 grew 41% to $1.33 billion, a testament to the growth of user adoption and the value of the channel.

Still, Facebook advertising can be intimidating. Some marketers worry about spending too much time and resources on the medium. Others struggle to capture the attention of users. And then there are marketers who turn to Facebook advertising because they think it’s a required component of any good marketing program without ever really understanding the dynamics behind it.

Marin Software decided to take a deeper look at Facebook strategies and best practices used by our clients—some of the world’s most recognizable brands and Facebook advertisers—and summarized them in our newest white paper, “The Marketers’ Guide to Driving ROI from Facebook Advertising.” This is a must-read for anyone interested in Facebook advertising, whether you are just starting out or already have many successful campaigns under your belt.

“The Marketers’ Guide to Driving ROI from Facebook Advertising” offers great advice for building awareness and driving revenue through outstanding Facebook campaigns. Check back every week as we discuss the findings of our white paper and provide tips on how to make this social channel work for your brand and business.

With one year as a public company under their belt, Facebook continues to be the talk of the town. However, we’ll leave the stock price analysis to financial pundits; digital marketers want to know how ads are performing across the social network.

In comparing Q1 2012 performance levels to Q1 2013, Marin’s data shows click volume increased 40%, click-through rate (CTR) skyrocketed 100% and cost-per-click (CPC) dropped 38% year-over-year. In other words, performance increased while costs decreased—an online marketer’s dream come true. The increase in click volume and rise in CTR likely indicates an increase in ad relevancy for users. After their IPO, Facebook improved Sponsored Stories and News Feed ads while releasing new mobile targeting capabilities. In fact, more than half of Facebook users now access the social media giant via a mobile device. And with the support for mobile device targeting enabled, marketers are suddenly able to reach this growing segment of Facebook users.

Facebook Ad Formats


On the performance front, Facebook Exchange chipped-in as well. Now when users return to Facebook after being out and about across the web, marketers can retarget them with highly relevant and socially rich ads based on sites they've visited. Between mobile ads, Exchange, and the newly redesigned News Feed, Facebook’s ad relevancy got a shot in the arm over the past year.

Facebook advertising is still in its infancy, especially compared to other online advertising channels like paid search and display. But like any maturing online channel, another year’s worth of testing ad creative, refining audience segments, and establishing best practices has led to improved efficiency and increased effectiveness in social marketers’ Facebook campaigns. Combine this with the time savings and optimization tools available as a result of revenue acquisition management platforms like Marin Software; it’s no surprise that advertisers are becoming more sophisticated and capitalizing on new, emerging revenue opportunities.

The next twelve months look bright for driving revenue with Facebook ads. For advance tips on building awareness and driving improved ROI from Facebook advertising, download the Marketer’s Guide to Facebook Advertising today.

Marin Software Actionable Recommendations

In a previous post, we explored the effects of seasonality and cyclical trends on revenue-per-click (RPC) and conversion rate. Today, we’ll take a look at how identifying and excluding irregular or outlying data, and accounting for conversion latency, are critical to calculating optimal bids and maintaining control over revenue outcomes.

Seasonality and Outlying Performance

During the holiday shopping season, RPC and conversion rates can double in the months leading up to mid-December, and drop dramatically thereafter. Leveraging data during these periods of irregular paid search performance can result in suboptimal bid calculations. In order to factor these types of performance shifts into their bidding strategy, search marketers must first identify outlying and irregular data and subsequently exclude those dates or date ranges from bid calculations. Using advanced filters and alerts, search marketers can manage their data by exception and quickly identify the extent to which seasonality or cyclical behavior has impacted paid search performance.

For example, you might create an alert to notify you when RPC or conversion rate has increased by more than 50% of the average over the last three days. It’s possible that a new promotion or period of seasonality is causing a significant shift in performance. Excluding dates with outlying RPC or conversion rates will prevent calculations from inflating bids even as performance returns to normal.

Conversion Latency

Looking past seasonality and cyclical trends, date exclusions are also critical in accounting for conversion latency—the time between an initial ad click and an eventual conversion or revenue. Conversion latency varies across industries and product lines, ranging from same session to several months. For certain businesses with high consideration products or services, conversions and revenue can go unattributed to click and cost data for extended periods of time. As a result, bid calculations that leverage these periods of incomplete data fail to maximize performance. To address conversion latency, search marketers need the ability to exclude the most recent days from bid calculations.

For instance, if it typically takes two days for a customer to complete a purchase after clicking on a paid search ad, a sound bidding strategy would exclude the last two days from bid calculations. This would ensure that bids aren't being calculated using click and cost data that would otherwise have revenue attributed to it after two days. Dynamically extending or shortening a rolling exclusion window (in the example above, it would be a two day rolling date exclusion), depending on business needs, enables search marketers to calculate optimal bids based on a complete picture of paid search performance.

Marin Software Rolling Date Exclusion


Informed vs. Reactive Bidding

For some businesses, high conversion latency can often warrant leveraging a lengthy rolling date exclusion. However, to remain competitive and respond quickly to shifts in the bidding landscape, carefully consider how long of an exclusion window is used. For example, let’s pretend that a business needs to wait sixty days until 98% of their revenue is attributed back to their paid search clicks. With a sixty day rolling date exclusion, it would require them to wait nearly two months before making informed bid calculations. Due to this length of time, they would undoubtedly fail to capitalize on immediate revenue opportunities. On the other hand, let’s assume that the same business can attribute 80% of their revenue after seven days. Using a seven day rolling date exclusion, they could still calculate informed bids while remaining reactive to the current bidding landscape.

Marin-Certified-Migration

Since Google’s announcement in early February of this year, Marin Software has been rapidly developing and releasing initial support for enhanced campaigns. This includes, but is not limited to, the ability to create enhanced campaigns, set mobile bid adjustments, generate mobile preferred ads, and bulk and multi-edit enhanced campaign settings. Each of these critical features enables Marin users to efficiently manage, report on, and optimize enhanced campaigns.

However, as the July 22, 2013 migration deadline approaches, Marin understands the importance of preparing campaigns not only for the initial migration of legacy campaigns to enhanced campaigns, but also the eventual merging of separate desktop, tablet, and mobile device targeted campaigns. To help search marketers navigate through this time of change and successfully migrate to enhanced campaigns, Marin has created a comprehensive campaign migration guide.

This guide will help search marketers:

  • Understand what enhanced campaigns are.
  • Establish a plan for migrating to enhanced campaigns.
  • Review the requirements for merging campaigns.
  • Execute best practices for ensuring post-migration success.


Download the comprehensive 12 page guide for migrating to enhanced campaigns, here.


Register for the webinar on Thursday, June 6th at 10am PST, here.

Anticipated changes in paid search performance, such as increases in RPC or decreases in conversion rate, create a common challenge that all bidding strategies must address—seasonality. To account for seasonal changes in performance, like the holiday shopping season, search marketers must constantly analyze year-over-year performance and adjust bids according to identifiable trends. Whether you’re driving clicks, increasing conversions, or maximizing revenue, accounting for these types of fluctuations in performance is critical to success in highly dynamic and competitive bidding environments. By deploying boost schedules, where bids are increased or decreased over specified time periods, search marketers can optimize their campaigns ahead of expected fluctuations in RPC or conversion rate. For example, a marketer might bid aggressively or dampen bids for in-season and off-season products, respectively. A bidding strategy that doesn't adjust bids for seasonality will fail to capitalize on critical revenue opportunities throughout the year, enabling competitors to capitalize instead.

Example Boost Schedule


For more information on how to determine an optimal boost during seasonal periods, please see our tutorial on adjusting bids for seasonality.

Cyclical Trends

Cyclical, as opposed to seasonal, shifts in RPC or conversion rate can last for time periods shorter or longer than a calendar year. In paid search, these trends are typically observed as day-of-week or time-of-day fluctuations in performance. For example, an increase in mobile conversion rate during afternoons and evenings, or a decrease in desktop RPC during weekends. To account for cyclical trends, search marketers must analyze campaign performance across multiple weeks, identifying day-to-day changes in RPC or conversion rate; and in more sophisticated bidding strategies, analyze hourly changes in performance. Once these trends have been identifying, search marketers can implement dayparting strategies unique to each campaign, where keyword bids are boosted or dampened by day or by hour to maximize paid search performance.

Marin Enterprise Ad Scheduling Recommendations


Addressing Seasonal and Cyclical Data

Accounting for shifts in consumer behavior, whether it’s seasonal or cyclical is critical to a sound paid search bidding strategy. However, increases and decreases in RPC and conversion rate often results in periods of irregular performance. Consequently, bidding solutions and tools that don’t exclude this data may calculate suboptimal bids. So how do search marketers account for periods of incomplete or irregular data? Next time, we’ll take a closer look at addressing conversion latency and the importance of excluding abnormal search data from bid calculations.

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

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

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

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


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

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

Adometry and Marin Software
Facebook Home

Earlier this month, Facebook announced a new social-based home screen experience for Android devices called Home. Though Facebook has insisted that they aren't developing a new phone or operating system, Home certainly comes close and stands to change the way consumers and advertisers engage across Android phones and tablets. Let’s take a look at how Home’s immersive experience will impact the way advertisers engage on-the-go, social consumers and what risks stand in its path to success.

What Does Home Do For The Consumer Experience?

According to Mark Zuckerberg, the goal of Facebook Home is to “transform your Android phone into a great social device.” To do this, Home unifies the user’s News Feed, messages, and notifications on the home screen of any Android device. This friends-first experience makes Facebook messaging the centerpiece of communication, reducing the need to use voice or texts to engage with your social circle. Because of this intimate and socially-immersive environment, Home differentiates itself from any other smartphone experience in the market. As a result, it’s caught the attention of social advertisers as a new and highly relevant way of engaging their customers.

How Does Home Impact Advertisers?

With users spending more time on their mobile devices, and with more competition from other forms of entertainment and communication like music, gaming, video, and texting, Facebook has felt the impact of an industry shifting to mobile consumption. However, even with consumers’ fragmented attention, the average Facebook mobile user in the US still spends an average of 30 minutes per day on the Facebook app. Home is primed to dramatically increase this level of daily Facebook engagement, and this is great news for advertisers. Marin believes that Home will:

  • Dramatically increase mobile user engagement, with every Facebook interaction on a smartphone creating an engagement opportunity
  • Significantly increase available ad inventory and enable larger and more interactive Facebook ad units due to the home screen real estate
  • Enable Facebook to sell more and stronger performing ads at a higher CPM, leading to an increase in ad revenue
  • Create an always-on identity layer for mobile users, which will enable better ad targeting (i.e. real-time, location-based targeting) as well as more accurate conversion attribution
  • Be a powerful way to engage and acquire users in developing economies where mobile has leapfrogged desktop devices, and users are seeking low-cost smartphones as replacements


What Risks Does Home Face?

Home will be an uphill battle for Facebook with multiple risks involved. With development resources committed to monthly updates and a tablet version still in the works, Home could limit Facebook’s focus on their mobile app, impacting the user experience for the vast majority of Facebook’s users and slowing down innovation within the app. Additionally, Home might not scale. Competing with Apple and Samsung won’t be easy, since these companies have figured out their distribution models and have developed a loyal following. Finally, Google could change their licensing agreement for Android, making it difficult for Facebook to continue innovating on Home. Though it remains unclear if these risks will become a factor, for now, Home remains an intriguing piece of mobile technology that will undoubtedly have the attention of advertisers throughout 2013, and possibly longer.

Red Alarm

Imagine a world where firefighters wander the streets, putting out 2-alarm blazes as they happen to come across them. Thankfully, Francis Upton introduced the world to the first electronic fire alarm in 1890, and since then, firefighters have been much more efficient at identifying, responding to, and extinguishing deadly blazes.

In paid search, online marketers are also responsible for fighting fires. Though these fires are far from life-threatening, they result in wasted ad spend and plenty of headaches. Whether it’s addressing non-converting keywords, pausing under-performing creative, fixing broken landing page URLs, or submitting exemption requests for disapproved creative, critical paid search issues can quickly lead to wasted budget and missed performance goals.

Only You Can Prevent Paid Search Fires

Alerts are a quick and easy way for search marketers to identify and address issues when their account experiences a significant shift in performance. Setting up alerts is simple. Using filters to manage your performance data by exception, set pre-defined conditions that constitute a critical issue. Schedule an automated email so that if and when these conditions are met, you are automatically alerted via an email identifying the affected campaigns, groups, keywords, or creative that require your attention. There are two types of alerts search marketers can set up across their account; and each has a unique purpose in helping maintain a healthy paid search program.

Performance-Based Alerts

Performance-based alerts are great for helping you identify objects within your account that can be further optimized. A simple example would be identifying high volume keywords with low click-through rate (CTR) by creating an alert that looks for keywords with a high number of impressions and a low CTR. After receiving this email alert, you might consider breaking out these keywords into new groups, or possibly changing the ad creative to increase relevance.

Another alert might identify significant shifts in campaign, group, or keyword spend; using an absolute value percentage to identify both increases and decreases in spend. Large swings in cost would warrant investigation into seasonality, negative keywords, quality scores, or other factors that influence spend. Other performance-based alerts include:

  • Keyword conversion rate increases or decreases by more than 30%. This could indicate a significant change in landing page, creative, or seasonality.
  • Keyword average position decreases by more than 2. This could indicate an increase in competition in the auction environment.
  • Keywords with high spend and no conversions. This could indicate under-performing keywords that should be paused or re-evaluated.


Account Alerts

Account alerts help ensure that your paid search accounts are structured properly, tracking has been implemented correctly, and that all objects are aligned with business needs. All of these alerts are actionable because they identify an administrative issue in your account. For example, new keywords and creative are always subject to editorial review. Creating an alert that returns any object with a “Disapproved” status enables you to quickly review the affected keywords or creative, and submit the appropriate exemption requests. Without alerts, these types of issues can remain undetected for weeks, significantly impacting campaign performance. Other account alerts include:

  • Destination URLs missing tracking parameters.
  • Ad groups without active creative or active keywords.
  • Promotional creative that is active outside of that promotion's valid date range.


Keys to an Effective Alert

Marin Software Automated Reporting and Alerts

For the same reason you wouldn't want your smoke alarm to go off for burnt toast, pre-defined alert conditions should be rare enough that they are immediately actionable. In other words, be restrictive. If almost everything in your account is considered a fire, your alerts won’t be of much use. Also, when defining an alert, be specific and set your filters to pull enough data. Whether it’s “show me all keywords with 0 conversions and over 100 clicks” or “show me all creative that has dropped 50% in CTR over the last 7 days”, significant data is crucial to making informed decisions.

Finally, when setting your alert threshold, it’s a good idea to leverage the absolute change of your key performance indicator (KPI). For instance, set an email alert when “a keyword’s spend has changed by more than 100% over the past 7 days”. Keywords with significant spend increases and decreases over the last 7 days would be included in this alert; both sets deserving of attention.

Keep in mind that alerts don’t always point to a critical issue. In some cases, using the absolute change value of a KPI can help you identify areas within your account where optimization efforts are paying big dividends. Play around with alerts and see how they can scale your optimization efforts and help you maintain a healthy paid search program.

For more information on how Marin Software can help you manage by exception, contact info@marinsoftware.com.

Morpheus Enhanced Campaigns Mobile Bid Adjustments

On Tuesday Google announced that advertisers will soon be able to set mobile bid adjustments at the ad group level, in addition to the campaign level, for enhanced campaigns. This comes on the heels of Google’s release of two new ValueTrack parameters: {ifmobile:[value]} and {ifnotmobile:[value]}. Google also indicated July 22, 2013 as the start of the migration deadline, when AdWords will begin automatically upgrading legacy campaigns to enhanced campaigns.

These recent announcements shouldn’t come as a surprise to search marketers. Google has historically made adjustments to new AdWords features as market demands became more evident. (A recent example is last year’s update to the campaign ad rotation settings.) Sophisticated search marketers have been asking for additional enhanced campaign features to provide additional control and transparency for optimizing their paid search programs. Today, we’ll review the two recently announced enhancements to enhanced campaigns and discuss their importance to search marketers who operate in a multi-device world.

Ad Group Mobile Bid Adjustment

Before this Announcement: A mobile bid adjustment could only be set at the campaign level, which allows advertisers to boost desktop keyword bids for searches on mobile devices by -100% to 300% across the entire campaign.

The Ask from Marketers: Search marketers are used to granularity. From management to reporting to optimization, sophisticated marketers often desire to operate at the most granular levels possible, which often means making decisions down at the keyword level. The reason is that clicks, cost, conversions, and revenue data are all attributed at the keyword level; and in order to optimize bids and maximize performance, keyword-level bids needed to be calculated and applied individually.

The Updated Approach: Google will now allow advertisers to set a mobile bid adjustment at the ad group level. Once implemented, the same boost range, from -100% to 300%, can be applied to all desktop keyword bids within a given ad group for searches made on mobile devices. The campaign level mobile bid adjustment will be ignored if an ad group level bid adjustment has been set.

What It Means: The enhancement to allow group-level mobile bid adjustments provides search marketers with additional control over their enhanced campaigns and mobile performance. For advertisers that follow account best practices, where ad groups contain a small set of like or similar performing keywords, this enhancement should meet the requirements for most paid search programs. Although some search marketers may long for keyword-level mobile bid adjustments, keep in mind that the goal of enhanced campaigns is to simplify the way advertisers manage their paid search campaigns across device, location, and time of day. Group-level adjustments appear to be a reasonable and effective compromise.

{ifmobile} and {ifnotmobile} ValueTrack Parameter

Before this Announcement: Search marketers could only leverage one landing page across all devices rather than have the ability to direct users to optimized landing pages based on device. The other option was to remove keyword level destination URLs in favor of creative level URLs.

The Ask from Marketers: Screen sizes and user behavior varies significantly between desktop and mobile devices. Presenting users with a device-specific landing page is critical to improving the user experience and maximizing paid search performance. Consequently, advertisers wanted the ability to define two destination URLs at the keyword level in order to present the most relevant content and optimal experience based on the device the user is searching on.

Device Optimized Website - NY Times


The Updated Approach: The {ifmobile} and {ifnotmobile} ValueTrack parameters will enable search marketers to direct users to device-specific landing pages at the keyword level. Additionally, these new parameters enable the measurement of the effectiveness of campaigns by device for advertisers who are unable to leverage the {device} ValueTrack parameter.

What It Means: The ability to assign a device-specific landing page falls directly in line with Google’s approach to a multi-device world—helping advertisers reach consumers with the right ad experience based on device, location, and time of day. As users move across device, this enhancement will enable search marketers to remain relevant and engaging.

Google Is Listening

Clearly, Google is open to enhancing enhanced campaigns based on industry feedback. However, I wouldn’t expect any further changes to be announced ahead of the migration deadline as advertisers nail down their migration plans and establish revised best practices before heading into the holiday season. In order for enhanced campaigns to be a win-win-win solution (for Google, the consumer, and the advertiser), Google will need to continue collecting and applying market feedback, especially once all advertisers have migrated over to enhanced campaigns.

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