Creatives

With Black Friday right around the corner, brands are looking for creative ways to stay ahead of their competition and steal momentum. During 2021’s holiday season, nearly 155 million consumers participated in Black Friday sales—and that was despite the ongoing pandemic and supply chain disruptions. Of those consumers, 66.5 million did their shopping in-store while 88 million made their purchases online. Online spending alone totaled $8.9 billion. In years to come, this growing trend of purchasing online is expected to hold strong. 

With Black Friday remaining one of the most popular shopping times of the year, businesses must do all they can to supercharge their marketing campaigns and get in front of customers. 

8 tips for building the perfect Black Friday ad campaign

Here are eight of the top ways to make a big impression on consumers. 

Choose your channels mindfully

Decide which channels are the most active and the best fit for your brand. Be wise about where you decide to place your ads and which type of ads you’ll use—for example, are you going to run Google display ads, in-app ads, or social media ads? Knowing the answers to these questions ahead of time allows you to create deals and ads suited to the audience of each target platform.

Prepare your ads early

Get in front of consumers before your competitors do! It’s never too early to plan your Black Friday campaign. Once you’ve chosen the channels you’ll use, prepare your ads. Broaden your appeal by reaching shoppers who are looking for early deals—and those who prefer to space out their purchases. You don’t want to lose out to competitors because you didn’t get in front of customers soon enough. According to a PR Newswire survey, 54% of shoppers begin their holiday spending as early as October. By publishing your ads early, you’ll also be able to adjust your strategies for Black Friday weekend because you’ll have time to figure out what’s resonating with customers—and what’s not. 

Personalize your ads

It’s been proven that personalization efforts go a long way. To leverage the power of personalization, consider using dynamic display ads to expand your reach. For a step-by-step guide, you can follow MarinOne’s tips on how to use display ads to make the most of your ad dollars and run a successful campaign. 

Offer discounts that are impossible to turn down

Provide deals consumers can’t find anywhere else. On Black Friday, you’ll want to give customers an offer they can’t resist. Make sure the discounts you give are deeper than what you offer year round. Customers aren’t just looking for any deal—they’re hunting for the offers that allow them to buy things that are normally out of their spending reach.

Leak deals as the holiday gets closer

Take advantage of social media, influencers, emails, and other communication channels to create teasers for your audience. Tempt your consumers early on with deals they can anticipate. Creating this kind of excitement will help you win consumer attention which will translate into faster sales for you. 

Maintain brand consistency

Make sure your brand creatives look similar. With familiarity across your Black Friday ads, your brand will be more recognizable and trustworthy to consumers. By taking this extra step, you’ll give your audience the confidence they need to close the deal. 

Create visually engaging designs

Create visuals that are hard to forget and don’t overlook the value of powerful visual effects. Creating memorable Black Friday ads is a crucial step in drafting your holiday marketing plan so you attract more traffic and boost sales. Step up to the challenge of creating something that really stands out. Choosing unique designs and vibrant colors can help impress your customers, winning them over with just one glance. When you make the extra effort, your consumers will remember you and keep coming back. To do this:

  • Get your point across with the right copy
  • Use imagery and colors consistent with your branding
  • Draw attention by using videos and animated graphics

Encourage shoppers to take action NOW

Make consumers excited to purchase products that benefit them. Creating a sense of urgency is one of the best ways to do this. You can make potential customers feel hyped about your brand an take action sooner by:

  • Adding deadlines
  • Using a countdown widget
  • Including emotional triggers in your ads through power words and color
  • Making them aware of how many products are left in stock
  • Using copy like “last chance,” “final discount,” “limited time,” and so on

The best Black Friday ads to take inspiration from

If you’re looking for some inspiration, here’s a roundup of some of the most noteworthy Black Friday campaigns that caught lots of attention.

IKEA: “Buyback Friday”

Consumers love brands that prioritize global issues like sustainability. As a brand that values sustainability, IKEA built it into its annual Black Friday campaign launch. They offered customers the opportunity to return used IKEA furniture in return for a credit voucher for up to 50% of the item’s value. After running the campaign in 27 countries, IKEA donated or recycled all the items that could not be resold. By celebrating Black Friday with genuine discounts, IKEA demonstrated a commitment to its brand values and also gave consumers a reason to make more purchases. In addition, loyalty program members were given an extra 20% off on vouchers used between November 19th and 29th, making them feel valued and also motivating them to engage with the campaign. 

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Bed Bath & Beyond 

With its fun Black Friday commercial, Bed Bath & Beyond can get inside the heads of its target customers. In this ad, when a shopper has trouble justifying her purchases, a reassuring sales clerk convinces her it’s “for the house.” While capturing the guilty pleasure of Black Friday shopping, this creatively genius video ad gives customers an easy “out,” encouraging them to buy the things they really want for themselves.  

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Google:  “#BlackOwnedFriday”

In its Black Friday campaign, Google chose to focus on a key social justice issue by supporting black-owned businesses. The brilliant campaign commercial they used cleverly included a Google search component, allowing viewers to search for Black-owned shops that were closest to them. With results specifically configured to promote relevant links and content, Black-owned stores received greater visibility. 

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Walmart: “#Unwrapthedeals”

In its out-of-the-box TikTok campaign, Walmart turned Black Friday sales into a gamified experience. By using a filter that allowed customers to “unwrap” deals, they created an element of surprise that kept consumers engaged. They also encouraged consumer participation by having TikTokers post their #Unwrapthedeals hashtag along with their challenges for everyone to see. Through its interactive campaign, Walmart broke all TikTok hashtag challenge benchmarks, gaining over 5.5 billion hashtag views in total. 

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Ray-Ban

Ray-Ban successfully got its customers excited not only by offering an unbeatable discount of 50%, but also by using a countdown clock. In addition to creatively advertising saving possibilities, they created a fun design to capture customers’ attention

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DECIEM: “Slowvember”

Instead of hosting a flash sale to encourage uninformed impulse buying, this Toronto-based umbrella company of skincare and makeup brands extended its discounts for the entire month of November. As part of a Black Friday campaign, they asked customers to approach their shopping differently and take their time. On the holiday itself, they shut down their brick-and-mortar stores and paused their website so consumers could “celebrate the beauty of slowing down.” 

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How MarinOne Can Help You Make This Black Friday Successful

For marketers and advertisers, Black Friday is one of the busiest times of the year. But with the right imaginative Black Friday ad campaign you can stand out amongst the fierce competition and get consumers flocking to your holiday deals.  

Whether you’re launching a campaign to increase revenue numbers, improve engagement, or cultivate interest in your brand, our tips will serve you well. Studying the top ads that ruled the internet will give you guidance on how to create your successful ad campaign.

If you’re looking to elevate your e-commerce marketing strategy, start with MarinOne’s platform to help you analyze, automate, and optimize those Black Friday ads. 

Ready to get started? Contact our team today.

Display advertising is one of the best ways for businesses to grow their online presence—and there are plenty of sites where you can promote your products and services. Unfortunately, many beginners make mistakes that impair their advertising efforts.

Several factors need to be considered to create a successful display ad campaign. This article will discuss display ads and why you should use them, and we’ll give you 11 tried and tested tips for standing out. 

Why You Should Use Display Ads 

It’s true that text-based search ads have their advantages when it comes to click-through rates and conversions, but there’s still an important place for display ads. Some important uses of display ads include highlighting products or services that are visual in nature, and cultivating and educating potential customers in the early stages of the sales funnel, regardless of whether they click on the ad. It’s no wonder, then, that companies in the US have been spending more every year on display advertising—and this trend is set to continue. 

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Why else should you use display advertising? First and foremost, display ads can—when done correctly—put you in front of your target audience immediately. This is in contrast to the longer-term investment of time needed for organic content marketing—making it an excellent option if you’re trying to scale a newly established business quickly. 

Because you’re getting in front of more of the right people more quickly, display advertising is an excellent way to increase sales right out of the gate. Since you’re driving more traffic to your website right away, you’ll have more leads to send down the marketing funnel—enabling you to convert more of those leads to paying customers while you build your brand organically at the same time.

Here’s how you can get started with display ads so you can keep your business growing. 

Keep it Brief 

Regardless of the industry you operate in, you’ve probably got fiercer competition than ever. However, at the same time, you’re fighting for limited attention spans: research from Microsoft found that average attention spans dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds between 2000 and 2015. The rise in short-form video platforms like TikTok will likely have an additional effect, but the full impact won’t be visible for a while yet.

Your advertising copy must be brief if you want to engage users. Keep the text content to no longer than a few words, and make sure that every word adds something valuable. 

Focus on One or Two Benefits 

If you’ve never tried display advertising before, you might find it tempting to try and stuff as much information into your ad as possible. However, adopting this approach will confuse your target audience. 

Remember: your display ad is only an introduction for users. Focus on one or two key benefits conveyed through strategic use of words and powerful visuals and give interested users more information once they’ve clicked through. 

Reel Users in With Your Headline 

When you consume content online, you probably skim headlines—but how many articles, videos, or ads do you click on? Probably a small percentage. Users do the same with your ads, so your headline must reel them in. 

Ask yourself this question: Why should a customer buy from you instead of a competitor? Once you know that, you’ll have an easier time creating your headline. 

Avoid Vague or Metaphorical Words 

Since you don’t have much time to convince users that they should engage with your ad, this is not the time for symbolism. Don’t force viewers to struggle with a riddle—give them the straight goods using a clear and compelling message in simple language.

Use Positive Language and Avoid Negative Words 

When a sentence is a negative statement, the reader must perform an extra mental step to decipher it, so use simpler language to help your readers understand your message at a glance. A positive statement is more engaging—and more likely to be clicked on.

Additionally, a negative attitude can repel prospective customers, so adopt a light and entertaining tone when possible.

Create Scannable Copy

Display ads are not the place for lengthy descriptions—effective ones act like a hook to lure readers to your more detailed content. Make it clear what your offer is; it should be interesting and obvious at a glance. 

Use Powerful, Relevant Visuals 

Did you know that people remember 65% of what they see three days later, compared to 10% of what they hear? And according to Venngage, 52% of research participants said that visual content is “very important”: 

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You can include several kinds of visuals in your display ads, including still images and animated GIFs. Think about your audience's interests to ensure you choose visuals that appeal to them. 

Be Creative and Authentic

Users ignore boring ads, but ads that are too flashy are also best avoided. Strive to find a balance that's authentic to your brand. Use colors and messaging that are consistent with your branding. Be daring, but take calculated risks. Listen to feedback from others, as this will guide you in the right direction. 

Tailor Ads to the Platform 

Requirements will vary depending on where you place your ads. What works on Google might not work on Bing, and ads that have succeeded on LinkedIn might not be as effective on Twitter or Facebook. Before running campaigns, take the time to think about what interests users on the platform you're using to maximize your engagement rates.

Set Clear Goals Before Your Campaign 

Setting goals before you create ads is the most important thing you can do. A campaign without direction will look disjointed, so users won't know what to expect from your products and services—and they won't click through. Clear goals give you KPIs you can assess to be sure you’re on the right track.

Examples of goals you can set include generating leads, growing your audience, or earning a certain number of subscribers. Get clear on these, and everything will run more smoothly. 

Showcase your USP: Unique Selling Point

Making an impression is the most important goal of a display ad, so use the opportunity to become familiar to your audience. Define your USP—the attribute you most want to be known for—and express it in your ad using clear and impactful words. Consistency in your messaging will help make your ads more memorable.

Now you've got everything you need to create a successful display ad campaign

Running a successful display advertising campaign means considering many factors and adopting a strategic approach. Create ads that are clear, compelling, and scannable. A campaign with no defined goals is destined for failure, but experienced marketers have developed their eye through effort and testing—and using these 11 strategies, you can do the same. 

Also remember that display ads should be a piece of your overall omnichannel marketing strategy, and it’s important to see how they are performing in relation to your ads on other channels. 

Schedule a demo to learn more about how MarinOne’s cross-channel reporting and optimization platform can give you the insights you need to put your best foot forward on display ads together with search, social, and ecommerce to help you grow your business.

Creating profitable banner ads is a non-negotiable skill in the marketing world. Like understanding Twitter and knowing your way around Google Analytics, it's just something you need to know. But mastering banner ads is no walk in the park.

Here are eye-opening stats to consider:

It’s hard to get banner ads right. When done well, not only are they an effective way to generate leads and sales—but they can also be used to increase brand awareness and drive website traffic.

We'll take a look at what banner ads are, why you need to use them—and how to make them profitable. Keep reading to learn more.

What is a banner ad?

A banner ad is a digital marketing placement that promotes a product, service, or brand using a rectangular image, GIF, or video. Banner ads are typically displayed on websites, social media platforms, and email newsletters. 

Banner ads come in a variety of different sizes, and each size has its own unique benefits and purpose. Here are the most common banner ad sizes:

  • Medium Banner: 300 x 250. This is a popular size for rectangle ads on websites, social media platforms, and email newsletters.
  • Leaderboard: 728 x 90. This is the largest banner size and is typically used at the top of a website. It can also be used as a rectangle ad on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Wide Skyscraper: 160 x 600. This is a popular size for skyscraper ads that appear on the edges of websites.
  • Full Banner: 468 x 60. This is the standard banner size that's used on most websites. It's also the smallest size that can be used for a 728 x 90 leaderboard ad.

How do banner ads work?

Banner ads typically work on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-mille (CPM) basis. This means that you'll pay every time someone clicks on your ad (CPC), or every time your ad is displayed 1000 times (CPM).

When creating a banner ad, you'll need to consider the following:

  • Your goals: What do you want your banner ad to achieve?
  • Your target audience: Who are you targeting with your banner ad?
  • Your budget: How much are you willing to spend on your banner ad campaign?
  • The size of your ad: Banner ads come in a variety of different sizes. Choose the size that's right for you.
  • The placement of your ad: Where will your banner ad be displayed?
  • Your call to action (CTA): What do you want people to do when they see your banner ad?

Once you've considered all of these factors, you'll be ready to create your banner ad.

Advanced tips for creating a profitable banner

Here are some tips to follow:

1. Keep it simple

When it comes to banner ads, less is more. You only have a split second to capture someone's attention, so don't try to cram too much information into your ad. 

Stick to one message and make sure it's clear. CTAs surrounded by negative space see an increase in conversion rate of 232% compared to those surrounded by clutter—so remember: give your buttons room to breathe! 

2. Use strong visuals

People are visual creatures, and that's especially true when it comes to banner ads. Use high-quality images and videos that are relevant to your product or service. And make sure your visuals are attention-grabbing and visually appealing.

Pixellated pics, busy backgrounds, and generic stock photos are all big no-nos if you want your banner ad to stand out and look trustworthy.

In addition to choosing a good quality image, make sure your banner ad carries the blueprint of your brand: your colors, fonts, and logo should all be present and correct. Consistency is key to building trust with your audience—if they see a banner ad that looks like it belongs to your company, they're much more likely to click on it.

Here are some great banner ads. Brand logo, font, and color? Check. Nice images? Check. Short, persuasive copy? It’s a home run! (Image Source

3. Make it mobile-friendly

More than half of all web traffic is coming from mobile devices—so you can't afford to ignore this crucial step. 

Make sure your banner ad is designed with a mobile-first approach. This means creating an ad that looks good and is easy to navigate on a mobile device. Use a large, legible font and big, bold CTAs. And keep the overall design of your ad simple and uncluttered.

4. Test, test, test

The only way to know for sure whether your banner ad is effective is to test it. Try out different versions of your ad and see what works best. Test different images, copy, CTAs, and layouts. Keep track of your results and continue tweaking your ad until it's as effective as possible. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to testing. 

When it comes to testing your banner ad, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Test different versions of your ad: It may surprise you which designs appeal to people more than others.
  • Keep track of your results: You won’t know what’s working unless you watch your metrics.
  • Optimize your ad regularly: It's important to continually optimize your banner ad so it remains effective. As your business and target audience change, so should your ad. 

5. Use the right format

The display network you choose should have all the info you need on which sites your ad will appear. Make sure you read it!

Banner ads perform best when they're:

  • Close to the content
  • Above the fold
  • On the left-hand side

It's unlikely you'll have a say over where your ad appears on the page, but you can target specific types of websites that align well with your brand.

6. Use persuasive copy

Your banner ad copy should be short, sweet, and to the point. You only have a few seconds to get your message across, so make sure it's clear and concise. Use persuasive language that speaks to your target audience and drives them to take action.

Remember, banner ads are not the place for long-form copy. Stick to one or two sentences at most.

As a business leader, staying ahead of the curve is key to success. It can also be challenging trying to keep up with all the latest changes in marketing. 

To help you on your way, we've put together this comprehensive guide on display ads—complete with everything you need to know about this ever-evolving advertising format. Read on to learn more. 

What are display ads?

Display ads are a type of online advertising that use images, videos, or text to promote a product or service on websites and apps. These ads can appear in a variety of formats, including banner ads, interstitials, native ads, etc.

Display ads are an effective way to reach a wide audience with your marketing message. They can be used to raise awareness of your brand, drive traffic to your website, and generate leads and sales.

How do display ads work?

When a user visits a site with display advertising, a small piece of code called a pixel is placed on their browser. This pixel allows the ad server to identify the user and track their activity across different sites. Based on this data, the ad server will serve relevant ads to the user as they browse the web.

Display advertisers create a custom ad for a given site that includes relevant keywords about the site or offer. The ads are typically served by a third party based on the previous behavior of the user to increase relevance.

What are some examples of display ads?

Display ads can appear in many different forms including pop-up ads, side-banner ads, image ads, and more. You've definitely spotted them while clicking around (usually in the form of an ad for a site you've just visited that keeps following you around).

Display ads pop up in all kinds of places. (Image Source)

Let's take a look at the most common types of display ads

Image ad: This is the most common type of display ad and usually includes a static image with some text.

Video ad: Video ads are becoming increasingly popular and can be used to grab attention and convey a message more effectively than an image alone.

Native ad: This type of ad is designed to blend in with the surrounding content on a website or app. It is often less intrusive than other types of display ads and can be more effective as a result. The CTA (call to action) associated with native ads are usually regarding some kind of longer content piece, such as “Read the article about X topic.”

Pop-up ad: Pop-up ads are those that appear in a new window or tab when you click on a website. They can be effective in getting your message across, but they're also a bit annoying for the user—so use them sparingly. Important: choose sites that deploy them in a user-friendly way, or you could end up irritating the user, appearing spammy as a brand, and losing a sale.

What are the benefits of display ads?

There are several reasons you might want to use display ads as part of your marketing strategy. Here are some of the most common benefits:

  • They are eye-catching and familiarize your audience with your brand
  • They allow for remarketing opportunities
  • They make it possible to track and monitor the engagement and success of your campaign

What are the challenges of display ads?

Some things to keep in mind:

  • They can be intrusive and annoying for users, and that’s not good for your brand
  • They can be blocked by ad blockers
  • It can be difficult to stand out from the competition

Despite these challenges, display advertising can be a powerful tool for reaching your target audience and achieving your marketing goals if deployed correctly. 

Here’s how not to do it: intrusive pop-ups look spammy and usually make the viewer think poorly of your brand. (Image Source)

Important considerations to make before buying a campaign

Before you start your campaign, it’s important to first carefully research and weigh the pros and cons of the two main buying models.

CPM (cost per mille/thousand)

PROS:

  • Can reach a large audience quickly
  • Good for building brand awareness
  • Ideal for targeting a specific demographic

CONS:

  • Less effective for driving conversions
  • Can be more expensive
  • More difficult to track and measure results

Impression (CPC)

PROS:

  • More effective for driving conversions
  • Less expensive
  • Easier to track and measure results

CONS:

  • Takes longer to reach a large audience
  • Not as good for building brand awareness
  • Can be more difficult to target a specific demographic

If you’re looking to quickly reach a large audience and build brand awareness, CPM may be the better option. However, if you’re looking to drive conversions and sales, CPC may be a better choice.

When deciding which model to use for your campaign, don’t forget to consider your budget. CPM can be more expensive than CPC, so if you’re working with limited funds, you may want to consider using CPC.

Once you’ve decided which model to use, you can start planning your campaign. Take note of the following best practices:

  • Create compelling ad copy that stands out from the competition
  • Use attractive visuals that are relevant to your brand and product
  • Target your ads to a specific audience
  • Test different ad placements to see what works best
  • Monitor your campaign closely and make changes as needed

How to measure the effectiveness of display ads

If you don't know how you're doing, you can't improve—which is why measuring your ads is non-negotiable.

Measuring conversion goals is a must. (Image Source

When measuring the success or failure of a display ad campaign, you'll need to track the appropriate metrics. Here are some of the key metrics to have on your radar, along with tips on how to measure each one:

Clicks: This metric measures how many times users have clicked on your ad. You can track clicks by using Google Analytics or another similar tool.

Click-through rate (CTR): This metric measures the percentage of people who see your ad and click on it. To calculate CTR, divide the number of clicks by the number of impressions. For instance, if your ad has been seen 1,000 times and clicked on 10 times, your CTR would be 1%.

Cost per click (CPC): This metric measures how much you're paying for each click on your ad. To calculate CPC, divide your total advertising spend by the number of clicks.

Conversions: This metric measures how many people who click on your ad go on to take the desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. You can track conversions by setting up conversion tracking in Google Analytics or another similar tool.

Cost per conversion: This metric measures how much you're paying for each conversion. To calculate cost per conversion, divide your total advertising spend by the number of conversions.

Once you've decided which metrics to track, you'll need to set up a system for tracking them. The best way to do this is by using Google Analytics or an ad management and analysis tool like MarinOne. By setting up event tracking, you can track how many people see your ad, click on it, and take the desired action.

Tips for making the most of your ad dollars

When spending money on display ads, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure your ad dollars are being spent wisely. 

  • Use your chosen platform’s insights section to help determine your optimal times for posting on the platform
  • Carefully research the specific target market demographics before purchasing an ad campaign
  • Run split tests to identify what works best for your brand or product
  • Experiment with new avenues to figure out the best days, times, and even types of content for your ads
  • Use MarinOne’s advanced analytics tools to optimize and easily manage your ads 

The best times for running an ad campaign on social media

There's been a lot of research into the best times to post on social media. As you can see, it varies by platform:

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The most important thing to do is test your efforts and figure out what works for you. And remember to keep testing. 

FAQs about display ads 

  • What is the difference between an in-stream video ad and a banner ad? In-stream video ads are those that show up before, during, or after a video. Banner ads are static or animated images that usually appear in the sidebars or header/footer of a website.
  • What's the difference between an impression and a click? An impression is when your ad is seen by a user. A click is when a user clicks on your ad.
  • What's a good CTR for a display ad? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as it will vary depending on your specific goals and target audience. However, a CTR of 1% or higher is considered good.
  • What's a good CPC for a display ad? Again, there is no one right answer to this question. However, a CPC of $0.50 or less is generally considered to be good.
  • What is a pixel? A pixel is a small piece of code that allows you to track conversions, or specific actions people take on your website. Pixels can be used to track a variety of things, such as whether someone has added to a cart or initiated the checkout process.
  • What is an ad set? An ad set is a group of ads that share the same targeting, budget, schedule, and bid type. Ad sets allow you to control how much you're willing to spend on a daily or lifetime basis, as well as who will see your ads.

Wrap-up

While it's always best to experiment with different strategies before making any major decisions, there are some criteria that your ads should meet to be considered successful. Meeting the criteria of your chosen social media platform, and using MarinOne’s ad management platform, is the best way to run a successful campaign. 

MarinOne is an all-in-one ad management platform that helps marketers create, manage, and measure their display ads. It's a powerful tool that provides insights into what's working and what's not, so you can make adjustments and improve your results.

Learn more about MarinOne’s automation tools today. Get in touch and speak to one of the team.

Today's consumers are always connected and always on the go. Marketing is omnipresent and users are incredibly sensitive now to inauthentic marketing tactics. Companies wanting to make a lasting impression need to shift their focus to catering to increasingly savvy digital marketing audiences. Continually innovating and coming up with the most creative marketing ideas possible is the only way to attract and engage customers in a competitive marketplace. All of this is easier said than done. In this article, we have listed 5 of the best creative marketing ideas that you can implement in 2022.

Design Content Specifically for Smaller Social Platforms like TikTok, Pinterest, and Snapchat

There is a trend in the industry of designing content for smaller social platforms, such as TikTok, Snapchat, or Pinterest. Designers and marketers alike need to pay attention to the layout and functionality of these smaller platforms and design their content with them in mind. This way we can provide an optimal, user-friendly experience for a broad range of users. Users that could ultimately end up converting on the company website.

TikTok has taken social media by storm in 2021. It is now the most popular live-video app among 13 to 18-year-olds, which is a demographic few other platforms have had success reaching over recent years. Assets for tiktok design should be vertical videos that are short, snappy, and successfully hook the user within the first 5 seconds.

Pinterest and Snapchat also continue to be large driving forces in the social media platform metaverse. Pinterest design needs to contain lots of pictures for viewers to see what's being talked about in a very literal way with any given topic. As an example, you could write a piece titled "10 DIY projects with supplies from Walmart" and include pictures of all the supplies you used to make the project.

Similar to Instagram, Snapchat design is most powerful when driven heavily by influencer campaigns or user-generated content. Marketing on Snapchat is tricky because it’s different from other forms of social media, but with over 11 billion daily active users the effort to create dynamic content will be well worth it. MarinOne’s paid social optimization tool can help you make the most of all social content optimization, especially when combined with a thoughtful paid advertising plan.

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Invest in Short Form Video, Long Form Rarely Works (Except on Youtube)

We all know that video is a powerful medium that can be used to convey a message in an entertaining way, but what is rapidly changing in the video marketing space is the length of time that users will give video content the opportunity to be entertaining. A company may choose to use video marketing for a product or service release, educational assets, or even as a search engine optimization technique. A solid short-form video marketing strategy is something that should be included in every marketer’s optimization toolkit and should be considered as one of the top digital marketing strategies for 2022 and beyond. 

In terms of video length, as marketers, we must “prove” that the content is indeed engaging within the first few seconds. And even more than that we must embrace short-formSnapchatTikTokhow-to editing from beginning to end--be prepared to make video content 15, 30, or 60 seconds in most cases. 2-3 minutes is acceptable in some cases, such as an explanatory video describing how a complex SaaS tool works, but be prepared to make every moment of those 3 minutes informative and visually interesting.

The only exception to this rule in the digital marketing space seems to be Youtube. With over 1.5 billion users and more than 400 hours of video uploaded every minute, YouTube has become one of the most popular and influential channels for marketers. Here is a quick guide when determining the ideal youtube video length for your content:

  • Short-form videos: Like other platforms, these videos are typically under 2 minutes in length, have higher watch rates, and have a low production value.
  • Mid-form videos: These are around 2 to 5 minutes long. They have a moderate production value but average watch rates. The majority of content on YouTube falls into this category--common topics include “how to” guides, quick tips, and tutorials.
  • Long-form videos: These are usually over 5 minutes in length and often promote a product or other content. Videos of extended lengths can be complex training, highly entertaining content, or lists featuring many different topics such as “The World’s Best 20 Cheapest Travel Destinations for 2022.”

Make Social Listening a Central Component to Content Planning

Social listening is the process of monitoring social media networks to find topics, trends, and insights. It's a great way for brands to find out what people are talking about them, what they are interested in, what their responses are to the brand's posts, and more. To stay relevant, content creators need to increase their social listening skills. 

Social listening tools provide a central place for data related to conversations on social media networks. The key is to listen in on conversations, gather data, analyze it, and use insights gleaned from social listening to generate relevant content. While social listening used to be only available as an expensive service offered by consulting firms or expensive software systems, now many tools allow you to do this on your own. A few popular software systems in this space include Sprout Social, and Brandwatch.

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Push the Envelope in Graphic Design, Especially for Paid Advertising

Graphic design is an important element in paid advertising - a well-designed ad draws the attention of the audience to what you are trying to sell, increases clicks, and incites action from the user. While the main objective of graphic design for any medium is to convey a message or an idea through images, symbols, words, and colors, advertising graphic design takes communication through these same visuals even further. It’s common to go through many stages to create an advertisement that is highly likely to convert and become part of an evergreen performance marketing campaign. Design trends that are likely to be prominent in conversion-centric design during 2022 include 1990’s nostalgia, anti-design, and parametric patterns.

To still be effective in the competitive world of digital marketing today, graphic designers face a colossal task. They not only need to create strong visuals for websites but also graphics for a myriad of other assets like social media posts, email campaigns, and blog cards...all while maintaining a congruent user experience from channel to channel. The first stage for a designer to achieve the best possible ad is basic research like gathering textual information about the product, its history, and its target audience. A/B testing is the best practice for comparing ad creatives, and MarinOne’s display ad testing solution makes it easier than ever before. With the use of this tool’s sophisticated AI, potential ad campaign examples can be produced in mere minutes.

Complete the Customer Lifecycle with Marketing Automation

Marketing is no longer a one-time, short-term investment. Companies need to maintain a constant stream of marketing efforts to nurture their customers and maximize the lifetime value of their business.

The customer lifecycle is the process of interacting with a customer to satisfy their needs. It starts when a potential customer's need is just an idea and ends when they become loyal customers for your company. Connect by MarinOne has powerful data visualization and integration to get the full picture of your loyal customers’ lifecycle.

Marketing automation helps you in every step of the customer lifecycle by automating processes and providing insights about your customers’ preferences. More and more businesses are executing campaigns at scale using pre-configured workflows without requiring excessive manual input from employees. Some benefits to using marketing automation software effectively include increased efficiency in lead generation, higher sales conversions due to improved data accuracy, improved customer satisfaction by providing personalized interactions, and greater sales opportunities from targeted marketing campaigns

What is consistent amongst all of these creative new marketing ideas is the need for authenticity within the content itself. Unique marketing strategies that include fascinating statistics, great storytelling, and beautiful design are paramount to stand out amongst all the noise. Thanks to MarinOne’s comprehensive suite of paid advertising optimization tools, staying at the forefront of innovation is now quicker, easier, and simpler.

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As the online space becomes more competitive, brands are going to new and greater lengths to ensure they stand out ahead of the competition. One promotional route that many are choosing is display ads. 

When well-executed, display advertising is an excellent way to capture your audience’s attention. Display advertising allows you to effectively convey your product and messaging. The ads are designed to entice the reader to click through and learn more. 

However, some expertise is required—poorly implemented display ads can negatively impact your business. When they miss their mark, users might find them intrusive and irrelevant, and you could waste a lot of money. 

But what exactly is a display ad, and how do they work? What are some good examples of display advertising? Let’s find out. 

What Is a Display Ad? 

Display ads are a common form of online advertising. There are several kinds of display ads; you’re used to seeing them in emails, and they’re also common on websites and social media

Display ads can serve multiple purposes. Some businesses use them to build awareness of new research, for example, while others will utilize them to promote the company’s products and services. 

How Do Display Ads Work?

When you implement display advertising, you start by choosing the platform you want to promote yourself on, as well as the ad size and positioning. 

The pricing varies depending on what you pick. You can choose several pricing models for display ads, such as cost-per-mille (CPM) and pay-per-click (PPC). When you run an advertisement of this kind, you can choose how long you want the campaign to run and select other parameters—such as the audience segments you’d like to target. 

Examples of Excellent Display Ads, and Why They Work

To help you create an excellent display advertising campaign of your own, let’s look at these real-life examples. Below, you’ll find eight display ads that have worked in the past. We’ll discuss why they’ve enjoyed success. 

Spotify

Music streaming giant Spotify has become well known for its innovative and quirky advertising. The company has run several paid online campaigns, each featuring its instantly recognizable branding. 

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This is a promotion for Spotify Premium. If you use the free version, you know all too well that the ads can be intrusive to the in-app experience; this ad works because it gets to the point. What they are directly and indirectly saying is, “You can wave goodbye to ads and try the full version of Spotify for 30 days, after which you probably won’t want to return to the free edition.” 

What makes this ad work? It addresses a pain point that customers using the free service all have, and offers an immediate, free (for a time) solution. The text is clear and not cluttered, and the green-means-go action button stands out. Single or two-tone color schemes with vibrant tones are also very effective statistically as they tend to pop out to the user on a desktop or mobile device.

MailChimp

MailChimp is one of the world’s most popular email marketing tools, and its marketing strategy is a key factor. 

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Why does this particular ad campaign work? Well, there are several reasons. Rhyming is a powerful way to make your message stick, and each ad is equal parts funny and absurd—inviting connection through humor. Moreover, the colors are simple and appealing. 

Klarna

Klarna has taken the fintech world by storm, and its advertising campaigns challenge the assumption that the financial services industry is drab. 

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This pay-later service originated in Stockholm, Sweden—where it still has its headquarters. And in the ad you see above, it has dug deep into its Scandinavian roots. Klarna isn’t actually Swedish for “smoother shopping”, so it’s added a bit of humor for users, as you can see with the two characters that pay homage aesthetically to playful Swedish stereotypes. 

The ad also works because the copy is simple—only four words in a unique font—and both the colors and textures suggest the smoothness they’re talking about. 

HP

HP is one of the largest tech companies in the world and is perhaps best known for its printers. How do you make printing seem a little more interesting? Create ads that are fun to view and read, of course. 

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Anyone who has had to file their own taxes knows that tax season can often be stressful. HP’s ad works because it offers a promise—that its product will make your job more straightforward. 

The ad also works because the colors are simple and the printer is at the focal point of the image

Adobe 

Adobe is one of the world’s biggest software companies. Adobe’s solutions primarily focus on helping creatives achieve their goals. Photographers, designers, and podcasters use several tools (e.g.,  Lightroom, InDesign, and Audition). 

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Any photographer will tell you that what they saw in real life often doesn’t look the same on camera. Editing software is useful for improving color quality and creating a unique style, as this ad shows. 

The ad is successful because it sums everything up in four words; you take the picture, before bringing it to life with one of Adobe’s editing tools. The company has also used complimenting colors, making the ad more eye-catching. 

Samsung

Samsung is a global manufacturer of various consumer items, including smartphones and tablets. It's one of the fiercest competitors to Apple. As such, the company needs to ensure that its advertising game is on point. 

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Upon releasing the Galaxy S6 tablet, Samsung produced a campaign with a simple message: you can create work regardless of where you are. The ad appealed to people who might need to create quick prototypes for clients on the go, along with those either traveling or working remotely. 

In addition to the messaging, the ad also works because the colors are simple – and the tablet is the main focal point for the viewer. 

Huawei

Huawei is a smartphone manufacturer headquartered in China. For a recent Christmas campaign, the company put together the following ad campaign.

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The ad encourages people to be present with their loved ones aside, but it’s clever because you can still see the main product that Huawei is trying to sell. Moreover, the candy cane adds to the Christmas theme – as do the shades of red. 

Huawei’s ad was also effective because it played on viewers’ emotions. Christmas is a time to create memories with people you care about, and the messaging reminds people about the importance of disconnecting from the virtual world now and then. 

Puma 

Puma is one of the world’s best-known sports clothing manufacturers. While it isn’t as big as Nike or Adidas, the company still has a huge presence and following – with several major partnerships. 

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Puma has created several memorable display ads in the past, but the ad above is one of the best. It uses the term “we’ve got sole” to describe the fact that puma shoes often have comfortable and sturdy soles, but also that its products have a sense of character. 

Unlike some of the other ads on this list, the Puma campaign features a wider variety of colors. However, they remain pleasing to the eye and work together without looking disjointed. 

4 Ways to Create Your Own Successful Display Ad Campaign

Now that you’ve seen a couple of display ads in action, we can discuss the top factors that will help your own campaigns stand out. 

Set a Clear Goal for Your Ads

Before you start creating copy, you must have a clear goal in mind for your display ad campaign. You can use display ads for several types of goals. Below are three to get your creative juices flowing: 

  • Generate more leads 
  • Increase email subscriptions 
  • Offer a free trial for a premium version of your product 

Consider the action you wish readers to take, and select your words carefully to connect with your audience demographics.

Use Interesting Visuals 

Each display ad example in this article uses interesting visuals. The images are simple and tell the story with minimal complexity, making it easy for the viewer to understand what’s going on.

Color is a critical factor to convey mood and personality, so choose carefully. Warm colors like red, orange, and yellow generally convey a sense of energy and enthusiasm. Blues and purples more often connote poise, wisdom, and stability. Green, of course, makes people think of action and growth.  

Think About Your Fonts

Your text will be the first thing that most people look at when engaging with your display ads, and you should have fonts that appeal to them visually. 

Your fonts should match your branding; using something modern if you sell antiques probably won’t work. Be creative; we recommend trying at least two or three different kinds to see which ones bring more engagement.

Carefully Pick the Platform for Your Ads

Since you can create display ads on several platforms, place them wisely to get the highest return on your investment. Younger customers are often found on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, while more mature audiences can be found on Twitter and Facebook.  

How to Write Copy That Gets People Clicking on Your Ads

Once you’ve chosen your display ad campaign’s goals and visuals, you’ll need to consider the copy itself. Below are some pointers to help you out. 

Understand Your Audience

When you create ad copy, it’s crucial that you understand your audience. How they speak is especially important—tone and style matter. If you’re struggling to write copy that resonates with your audience, consider outsourcing this part to someone from the same demographic. 

Keep Your Copy Short

In each of our display ad examples, the copy is short and gets to the point. People won’t read lengthy ad texts online. Long paragraphs will turn them off. 

You might find it helpful to write a few versions and A/B test them to see which works best. 

Inject Some Humor 

People love laughing, and humor is one of the best ways to connect with your target audience. Don’t be afraid to go a little left-field with your visuals and copy. The payoff is huge if you get it right. Just ensure that it feels authentic and acknowledges a common experience they’ll recognize.

Solve the Audience’s Problem

What’s in it for them? At the heart of all advertising, you need to ensure that you communicate how you will solve your audience’s problem. The reader must want what you are selling, so be sure to communicate your solution clearly and immediately.

How MarinOne Can Help

Display advertising is an excellent way to reach your target audience, and you can have a bit of fun planning your campaigns. The fight for online attention is fierce, but the rewards are big if you successfully portray yourself in the best possible light. 

We hope you are inspired by some of the best display ads of 2022, and that our tips help you create the best ads possible. If you would like to improve your display advertising, MarinOne can help you identify opportunities and optimize your campaigns across Amazon DSP, Yahoo! DSP, and Criteo Marketing Solutions

Schedule a demo with one of our display advertising experts to find out how a display-driven strategy can innovate your marketing strategy.

This is the second post in our three part series where we’ll dive into TikTok advertising and how you can leverage the platform to get in front of new audiences with unique and engaging content.

TikTok ads are relatively new, and considering how unique the TikTok video format is, marketers looking to conquer this new landscape could use all the help they can get. According to data straight from TikTok HQ, these best practices are your ticket to high-performing ads that reach their full ROI potential. 

Universal best practices

  1. Prioritize quality video

Analyzing top-performing ads showed TikTok exactly how important video quality is to performance. 83.2% of top-performing TikTok videos have a resolution of 720p or higher. And as a bonus, these videos get an average 5.4% lift in impressions. 

  1. Use sound

Sound matters. It doesn't matter whether you’re talking to the camera, playing a music track, or doing a voiceover– but your video needs to have sound. TikTok is a sound-on environment. Adding audio results in significantly more impressions, which is why the vast majority (93%!) of top-performing TikToks use audio. 

  1. Keep it short

TikTok is designed for short attention spans. Your ads need to accommodate this video format while still getting your message across. According to TikTok data, 1 in 4 top-performing videos is between 21 and 34 seconds long. Videos of this duration see a 1.6% lift in impressions. 

  1. Go full-screen

The full-screen viewing format is part of what makes TikTok unique to other social media platforms. If you want to take advantage of TikTok’s popularity for your social ads, your videos should play to the platform’s strengths. 98% of top-performing TikTok videos play full screen, without any border or black space getting in the way. And videos that adhere to the recommended 9:16 ratio get 60.5% more impressions. 

  1. Shoot vertically

The last thing you want is for your videos to snatch viewers out of the TikTok scrolling experience. Your content needs to feel natural on the platform, which is why shooting vertically is so important to TikTok ad success. Just think about it– if users have to turn their phones sideways to view your video, what’s keeping them from scrolling past it? Vertically formatted videos received 40.1% more impressions than those shot square or horizontally. 

Best practices for eCommerce

  1. Vary your scenes

When it comes to product placement on TikTok, mixing up your angles and settings goes a long way. 99% of top-performing eCommerce videos vary the way they showcase their products in a single video. When compared to videos that don’t use b-roll or transition footage, videos with varied scenes got a 40.6% lift in impressions.

  1. Caption your CTA

Captions are a vital element of all video content. They make your video accessible to your deaf and hard-of-hearing audience and give sound-off users the ability to consume your content without altering their phone settings. Captions become even more powerful when used for eCommerce ads on TikTok. Ads with captions that reinforce the CTA with on-screen text get 55.7% more impressions than ads without on-screen text. 

  1. Emphasize an offer

Advertising a special offer like a seasonal deal or discount code? VIdeos that include footage of a person emphasizing an offer get 67.4% more impressions than those that don’t. 

Best practices for gaming

Here are TikTok’s best practices for advertising games:

  • Spell out the CTA: Data shows that videos in the gaming category with a clear CTA on-screen experience 11.3% more impressions than those without.
  • Show the game: The gaming community prefers to see features and gameplay in action. Over half of gaming category videos do this (and they experience 12.6% more impressions as a result).
  • Include an end card: Summarizing download information, tips, and tricks at the end of the video got ads in the gaming category 47.3% more impressions.

Now that you know what it takes to create a winning TikTok ad, it’s time to put these best practices to work. TikTok’s editing tools simplify the process– they even have creative tools to help you repurpose content from other platforms into videos that mesh seamlessly with the platform’s top-performing ads. Once your videos are up and running, be sure to track and optimize their performance with Marin One. 

Ready to learn more about how MarinOne can expand your reach and drive growth on TikTok?

Click here for more info. 

This is the first post in our three part series where we’ll dive into TikTok advertising and how you can leverage the platform to get in front of new audiences with unique and engaging content.

TikTok is a marketing gold mine. This hub for starting conversations and sharing ideas lends itself strongly to virality, creating the perfect storm for boosting a company’s brand awareness and revenue. 

Getting your products in front of the right TikTok audience creates a domino effect. The more users engage with, share, and respond to your post using Duet and Stitch, the more favor you garner from the TikTok algorithm. The platform might even expand your reach by featuring your video on the For You Page (FYP). 

Brands just delving into the realm of trendy dances, weird challenges, and life hacks galore can use TikTok ads to find their audience (and jumpstart their success). Ready to get started? Here is everything you need to know about TikTok ad formats, explained. 

In-feed ads

In-Feed ads are your go-to ad format. They place your videos right on your target audiences’ FYP. This format embeds your video onto the FYP as an ad, making it look native. Users can interact with your ad the same way they do with any other TikTok by liking, commenting, sharing, and reusing the sound for their own content. 

In-feed ads are a good pick for quite a few campaign objectives. You can use the clickable CTA button to send users to the destination of your choice, whether that be a landing page, your app, or your TikTok profile. For the best results, make your videos around 9-15 seconds long. Make use of popular effects, filters, and sounds, and keep up with the trends to ensure your videos will resonate with TikTok’s user base. 

Top-view ads

Top-View ads are more attention-grabbing than In-Feed ads. Your target audience will see these ads at the very top of their FYP. The videos can last up to 60 seconds and have less competition than In-Feed ads. 

The Top-View ad format guarantees high reach and impressions, making it a solid strategy for building brand awareness. For the best results, prioritize creating an engaging video. This will help users remember your brand, even after they’ve scrolled past your ad. 

Brand takeover

The Brand Takeover ad format displays your video full-screen as soon as a user opens the app. While similar to the previous format, due to the lack of direct competition surrounding your video, users cannot engage with Brand Takeovers. The upside is that they can’t be skipped. The best Brand Takeovers are short videos or images that display for 5 seconds or less. 

Branded hashtag challenge

The Branded Hashtag Challenge format inspires users to create their own content using your hashtag. This format has three placements: In-Feed videos that inspire users to join in on the challenge, featured banners found on the “Discover Page” that drive users to the Hashtag Challenge placement, and lastly, the Hashtag Challenge itself. This last placement acts as a landing page for the challenge. It pulls all the challenge’s video submissions into one centralized hub, making it easy for users to connect and engage with other participants. 

This format combines traditional digital advertising with TikTok’s user-generated content focus to create the ultimate ads for driving engagement and boosting brand awareness. 

Branded effects

The Branded Effects placement allows brands to create their own effects for their audience to use when creating content. 

This format is special for two reasons. First, it allows users to engage with your brand on a deeper level by using your effects to create content of their own. This content will have a home on their profile, acting as a constant reminder of their relationship with your brand. 

Second, users all over the world who have no idea what your brand is all about will have access to your effect. If your effect becomes trendy, your reach will expand beyond your target audience. Users who might not need your products now will still be loosely aware of what you have to offer and, chances are, your brand will be the first they think of when the need does arise. 

Wrapping up

Like the platform itself, TikTok’s ad formats are unique. When used in tandem, they can create an all-powerful ad strategy that boosts brand awareness, sparks engagement, and drives sales. You can check out more examples of each of TikTok’s ad formats here


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

Ready to learn more about how MarinOne can expand your reach and drive growth on TikTok?

Click here for more info.

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!

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!

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!

The travel and tourism sector is one of the world’s largest industries. The direct economic impact of the industry, including accommodation, transportation, entertainment and attractions, is approximated to be in the trillions of dollars.

Now more than ever, with the onslaught of COVID-19, marketers face a challenge like none before. As I put pen to paper in my new office - a small space in my downstairs hallway - I ask you to reflect on the potential opportunity the current landscape brings.

The Power of Data


The most powerful weapon a performance marketer has is their own data. Business Intelligence is the vaccine that can neutralize competitors, whilst achieving performance efficiencies and guiding accurate budget allocation across all marketing channels.

Airline advertisers should be looking inwards, to their data teams and analysts, leveraging route codes, profitability metrics, and flight details to automate the creation and optimization of search and social campaigns. Similarly, those marketing the supply of accommodation, should be leveraging internal catalogues, occupancy data, and room value to balance the supply / demand of bookings. Of course, this data offers little value in our current world, however, as we begin to see countries emerging from restrictions, and life returning to normal, using this data to power your performance channels will be pivotal.

The travel ecosystem is dictated by supply / demand. Marketers, all the more, need to integrate the supply/demand equilibrium to their performance programme to ensure efficiency and competitiveness.

Incorporate Customer Lifetime Value


As performance marketers, often our theoretical focus is on the acquisition of new customers. However, in reality, very few actually optimise and report on User Acquisition or LifeTime Value. Businesses understand that the value of a new customer extends far beyond the first transaction – and this is especially the case in the travel industry. Undoubtedly the most valuable customer is a loyal customer, and in most instances, the cost of acquiring a new customer will barely cover the initial investment associated with the purchase.



Travel brands are already well-aware that there are different types of buyer personas: business travelers, big spenders, bargain-hunters on a budget, global explorers, and casual family vacationers. To predict and optimize customer lifetime value, you’ll need a clear understanding of these personalities and how they interact with your site. From there, you can tweak your keywords, content, and value proposition--through relevant messaging and loyalty programs.

As marketers look to acquire more customers through the digital battlefield that is Google, Facebook, Apple Search etc. , we need to re-focus our attention not only to external references, but to the internal data we have available to us. This synergy—plus the insight and efficiency AdTech brings to advertising—wins more customers, revenue, and ROI.

Now Is The Time to Act


As travel advertisers facing the uncertainty of when tides will shift, I believe that now, more so than ever before, is the time to lean into all things data and technology. Advertisers and agency partners should be using these usual times, which in reality are a down-time for our teams, to double-down on technological and data powered integrations to ensure post-covid, travel advertisers are bouncing back better than before.

I implore those in travel to remain positive. As a collective, let’s reshape our perspective. just as a woodworker might carefully shave a piece of wood to reveal its inner grain, use this time to work on data-driven solutions that we often do not have the time to deploy.

It may be that you are solving for the above, ingesting profitability and supply demand into the optimisation and creation of campaigns, however I ask you to go deeper. Have you come up with a solution to track your conversions amidst Apple’s latest ITP update? Are you leveraging your Audience data to the best of your ability, and does it incorporate a consistent brand experience across all channels? Are you using first-party searches on your site to dictate expansion?

Marin as an AdTech partner is positioned to solve for all of this. If you would like to have a conversation around how you could better leverage your internal data, I and my wider team are available to speak with you. Please schedule a demo with one of our account representatives today.

Stay safe.

More than 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day. And, a third of the most-viewed Stories come from a business account. With stats like these, it’s clear the Stories platform provides a great space for brands to maximize reach, build brand loyalty, and generate new customers.



Advertising with Instagram Stories is also a great way to give your brand a voice and help humanize it by discussing relatable topics or current trends. Since Stories disappear after 24 hours, there’s a lot of opportunity to be experimental, spontaneous, and transparent.

As you plan your creative content, here are a few things to incorporate into your Instagram Stories marketing strategy.

1. Interactivity


Stories have many interactive features specific to the format that aren’t available for Feed Posts, and experimenting with these can really help differentiate you from the competition. These interactive elements bring people closer together by allowing them to directly participate in your shared expression or announcement—and they help encourage conversation both on and off the platform.

Remember, these sort of add-ons really entice users to watch longer. By gaining and keeping their attention, you become a brand that goes beyond focusing on just sales or conversions—instead, you can build an audience connection and create a community with an ongoing relationship.





Examples of interactive features include:



  • Polls: Polls are great for engagement, and an awesome way to conduct market research and build your content strategy. A good example of this is showcasing your product catalog and boosting visibility of a product line. What do your users like? Which products are their favorites? From here, you can incorporate their answers into your paid media strategy and showcase similar products that your customers really want to see!
  • Instagram Stories Stickers: Instagram Stories Stickers are an excellent way to draw viewers into fun conversations, and can help with making your content look less static or boring. Examples of these are location-based hashtag stickers, questions, or GIFs. Adding a location-based hashtag sticker to your brand’s Story helps your business get seen by people searching within your local area. Furthermore, it makes your brand’s story more visible to people in your area. Your Story may show up in the suggested Stories content of other local Instagrammers!
  • Instagram Story Links: If you have a verified account or you’re running a business profile and have more than 10,000 followers, you can add a ‘swipe-up’ link to your Story. This gives you the opportunity to maximize reach to your website by driving traffic to the product page, and leverage Instagram Stories as a direct selling tool. When you link within your Story, it creates a much smoother customer experience by bringing people directly to the referenced site, rather than having to navigate to the bio before visiting the URL.


2. Instagram Story Highlights


Unlike regular Instagram Stories that vanish after 24 hours, Instagram Stories Highlights can live permanently on your profile (you can always delete or edit by tapping and holding your Story Highlight). Your highlights live front and center on your Instagram profile—meaning they’re essentially prime real estate, and perfect for helping new visitors who are discovering your brand to learn what your company is all about.

This can be a great opportunity to display your evergreen content, such as customer testimonials or reviews, as well as how-to tutorials and product displays. Displaying any event experiences or brand collaborations will also bring more transparency to your business and will make people feel like they were part of those milestones.

With that said, it’s also the perfect place to direct your community of followers to your most valuable and interesting content!

3. User-Generated Content


This is when you encourage your fans to post pictures or videos with your content and re-post them as part of your brand’s story. With user-generated content, you give your fans the opportunity to tell your narrative. As we’ve seen, this helps in making fans feel happy and honored to be part of your brand’s messaging. When people see content from actual customers, it increases your brand’s credibility, and anyone discovering your brand will view your content as more genuine and trustworthy. User-generated content helps your most loyal customers become your biggest brand advocates, effectively building communities around your products and services.

Instagram’s Biggest Benefit


We hope you’ll take full advantage of the features above to help improve your brand’s engagement and relationship with both followers and prospects! Instagram’s ability to bring people together is its biggest value-add, and something all brands should be leveraging.

Want to learn more about developing a successful marketing strategy with Instagram Stories? Watch our joint webinar with Facebook today.

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

Landing pages, especially eCommerce landing pages, have just one job — to get visitors to buy something.

But if eCommerce "best practices suck and are worthless," as GetUplift founder and conversion optimization expert Talia Wolf says, how do you make improvements that actually move the needle?

Well, as most marketers would agree, the strongest tactics and best “best practices” are always based on hard-earned data. So we’ve collected five eCommerce landing page tips and tactics that have created significant, measurable growth for eCommerce vendors.

In fact, the first example shows the importance of collecting measurable results in the first place…

Example 1: Testing & Optimization


Creating an eCommerce landing page without testing in place is like shooting a basketball with a blindfold on. You might get lucky and score once or twice, but you won’t improve if you can’t see what you’re doing.

Let’s take one common landing page bugaboo, page length, for example. Some conversion experts cite short landing pages as their favorite examples. Others will tell you to go long.

For example, SEO software provider Moz created a landing page variant that replaced their basic model with an entire buyer’s journey:

ecommerce



They say size doesn’t matter, but… - image source

In the end, the test results showed a 30% higher conversion rate for the longer page. So longer pages are better, right?

Well, in the second test, below, the shorter landing page variant increased conversions by 70.1%:

ecommerce



Wait, size really doesn’t matter? So confusing. - image source

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for the length of your landing page—but there is a way to find out what your visitors want.

How, you ask? Test it.

Testing variations on your landing page is the only surefire way to find out what your particular audience needs to convert. The right page length — just like the right headline, the right call to action, and the right form fields — is easier to find when you can back up blue-sky ideas with real information.

Why It Works


In both instances above, the data provided measurable results (not educated guesses) that the designers could work from and improve upon.

Testing elements of your landing page and making changes based on those results will help you close gaps in your conversion funnel and bring in more qualified leads.

Here’s another example: one of our recent clients, a Southern California-based credit union, increased their landing page conversion rate by 174% and reduced cost per conversion by 81% — after just one round of testing.

The three different examples prove the same tactics’ value through-and-through: strategies are one thing, testing and providing actionable data is another. The strongest changes and strategies aren’t based on hunches, they are built on cold, hard, numbers.

Example 2: Breadcrumb Technique


The Breadcrumb Technique is a fancy term for multi-stage landing page forms.

With this tactic, you don’t ask for your visitor’s name, phone number, and email up front. Instead, you start with some qualifying questions to demonstrate that you and your visitor are a good fit for each other. This filter also helps reduce leads that weren’t going to convert anyway.

In this example, the Advanced Grass’s landing page form wasn’t converting well, despite the incentives and benefits listed throughout the page:

ecommerce



Advanced Grass’s original four-question form. - image source

Instead of reducing the number of form fields or changing the offer entirely, this landing page added an initial stage of questions before the contact information request:

ecommerce



Stage one of Advanced Grass’s new two-stage landing page form. - image source

Adding questions with preset responses before the contact form actually boosted Advanced Grass’s conversion rate by 214%.

Why It Works


Adding more questions might seem counterintuitive if you’re trying to reduce user friction, but the Breadcrumb Technique is effective for three simple reasons.

First, inciting engagement is much easier if your lead off with low-impact, non-threatening questions like those in the second image above. Compliance Psychology states that the smaller the initial ask, the more likely you are to receive a yes as your request grows in size and significance.

Once you have your “foot in the door,” high-impact questions like contact information becomes less threatening.

Second, user psychology. Getting visitors to answer your innocuous first-stage questions, especially questions that don’t require personal information, creates a commitment that they’ll naturally want to follow through to the end.

Third, if you have your tracking set up correctly, you can start to identify where in your conversion form users are giving up. Maybe your initial questions are perfect and users are starting to convert, but your offer is still too strong and users are “bouncing” between the penultimate and final stages of your form. This type of actionable data makes it easier to tweak your offer.

Either way, the Breadcrumb Technique primes your conversion forms for more engagement and more quality leads.

Example 3: Dynamic Keyword Insertion


Dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) allows you to customize your ad text without creating an overwhelming number of ad groups.

DKI is a useful tool for eCommerce systems with large inventories or products with different names but the same description. By inserting specific terms that match searches, your users will be more likely to convert.

In this example, AskNicely is promoting software that records and reports customer feedback through Net Promoter Scores (NPS), which can appear under a variety of searches. The primary term, “software,” appears in the original headline, but if a user looks specifically for “NPS software,” that phrase appears in place of the original word:

ecommerce



The keyword or phrase you searched for would determine which headline you’d see in the ad above. - image source

DKI can also help with reaching a local audience. If you’re trying to reach a specific geographic area with your marketing, the same feature that inserts the location name into your ad can add it to your landing page, like in the section below:

ecommerce



Will Northern Ontario have to keep shopping for carpet the hard way? - image source

Why It Works


Dynamic Keyword Insertion adds specificity to your eCommerce efforts that make your landing pages seem more personal, local, and attuned to your user’s needs.

An AYTM Market Research study found that, even online, American buyers largely prefer the personalized service and local benefits of purchasing from small businesses over large companies.

By adapting your copy to match the local and/or specialized keywords your audience is looking for, you’re more likely to engage and convert these visitors into qualified leads.

Example 4: Micro-Conversion Tracking


Micro-conversions are the steps a visitor must take to convert on your landing page.

While they don’t count as actual conversions, some trackable landing page micro-conversions include time on site, video views, partial form completion, cart abandonment and more.

When clothing subscription service Le Tote wanted to increase the scale of their online advertising, they realized they wouldn’t get far without tracking and improving upon the steps that led to a conversion.



It’s like Rent-a-Swag, but not ridiculous. - image source

By combining updated landing pages with micro-conversion tracking, Le Tote was able to increase conversions by more than 250% and reduce cost per conversion by more than 60%.

Why It Works


Think of each successful micro-conversion as a forward step on your “conversion bridge,” which users need to cross to complete your desired action.

Tracking micro-conversions can illuminate where users are getting hung up on your landing page, which will help you address those obstacles and make your landing page more effective.

Example 5: Live Chat


Adding a live chat box to your eCommerce landing page can also improve your qualified leads, conversion rates, and sales. By actively engaging your visitors, you can guide them through the sales funnel and respond to their concerns in real time.

Financial software provider Intuit added a live chat box on their product comparison page and saw sales increase by 211%:



Having a specialist on hand to answer questions is especially useful for large or complex online transactions. – image source

Intuit also tested a “Chat Now” prompt on their shopping cart page to offer assistance during the later stages of the buying cycle and reduce cart abandonment:



Note the message match: Because QuickBooks is in the shopping cart, it’s mentioned in the chat prompt. – image source

The live chat on this page led to a 43% increase in average order value and a 20% boost in conversion rate.

Why It Works


An eDigitalResearch customer service survey found that consumers preferred live chat for customer service over email, phone, and social media. Furthermore, 67% of the respondents that were already using live chat found it easy to use, and 73% said they were highly satisfied with their system.

Live chat boxes can help you reduce any friction your visitors may be experiencing while allowing them to chat anonymously, which is less pressure than phone, email or video chat. It also helps build confidence in your brand and puts your users at ease; they know that you’re an expert who is ready and waiting to help them in any way they may need.

Conclusion


Implementing these five tips and tactics into your own eCommerce landing pages can help you increase your conversion rate, leading to more qualified leads, sales, and improved customer value.

But keep in mind, just as the first tactic stressed, eCommerce campaigns are peculiar little beasts. Each will bring its own problems, pain points, and solutions. So make sure you take the time to customize your campaigns and testing to your audience to get the best results possible.

If you’ve been in online marketing for a while, you know the importance of having good creative for social advertising.

These days, social media advertising has become so advanced, that in order to get ahead of the competition, manual or automated bid optimization aren’t enough anymore. In fact, 55% of social media advertising optimization now comes from creative management, while the remaining 45% relies on bid and budget changes.[1]

But how can we get the most relevant creative to our audiences in the most efficient way possible?

The First Way: Dynamic Creative


As we know, online advertising is never one size fits all. Facebook gives us a powerful antidote: dynamic creative.

This feature allows you to upload a number of images, videos, and text assets and have the system automatically generate the ads for you. This ensures that the right creative combination reaches the right people, and that they’ll see what’s most relevant to them. From there, they’ll be more likely to take an action.

social advertising


The Second Way: A Cross-Channel Strategy


Dynamic creative is great because it saves advertisers time and can provide efficiency. But in order to step it up a notch, a cross-channel strategy is key.

In MarinOne, we use search intent strategies to ensure that we take people’s actual intent when they’re searching for something, and customize the creative response on Facebook. For example, someone might be looking for quality underwear, and as a result, you can retarget them with an ad on Facebook that shows a high-quality image and copy that stresses the excellence of the clothes. This ensures that the creative resonates with them.

A Launch Point for Social Advertising Success


These are just two, quick-win tactics you can use to make sure your advertising campaigns benefit from the best creative, and that your audience information is powered by an automated, cross-channel approach.

Read about how Le Slip Français used these techniques to boost ROI and conversions. Then, to learn more about how Marin can help you implement a successful social advertising strategy, get in touch today.



[1] Facebook Marketing Partners Convention, Dublin, June 2018.

Although it’s a great feeling when social ad campaigns are on auto-pilot, functioning automatically, and blasting out to all the audiences we’ve carefully selected, it could happen—we start seeing stunted reach, fewer clicks, and sluggish conversion rates. At these moments, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and investigate the most common culprits for dips in social performance, and make adjustments to address the problems.

Here are a few simple things to examine to ensure your social ad campaigns are performing at their best.

Frequency


What is it and why does it matter?

Frequency is the average number of times people see your ad. A higher frequency can leave a greater impact on the user, since they’ll be more likely to remember your brand and take action. As a starting point, we recommend planning campaigns for a frequency of 5-8, but with every campaign and creative being different, this can fluctuate depending on a few different variables:

  • Campaign length
  • Daily active users
  • Optimization event
  • Page connections
  • Previous brand exposure
  • The longevity of the decision-making process


What does it mean?

A greater frequency—often combined with a decrease in click-through rate (CTR)—simply means that your ads are reaching the same audience continuously. In turn, a decreased CTR indicates that users are no longer paying attention to your ads or the audience pool is left with users who aren’t interested in your brand or product offering. Either way, the audience isn’t clicking your ads anymore.

How do you improve it?

If ad frequency has reached higher than your usual average, the best solution is to explore new audiences that represent potential new revenue. Try lifetime value audiences, campaign lookalike audiences (available through Marin via API), or Marin’s search intent retargeting and prospecting audiences.

In addition, new creatives can always provide a performance uplift, as they can appeal to audiences that initially didn’t respond to your ads. Consider changing:

  • Theme of the creative
  • Creative format (e.g., video or carousel)
  • Call to action
  • Color palette
  • Offers and text


CTR


What is it and why does it matter?

CTR indicates the percentage of clicks that result from the total number of impressions. The higher the CTR, the more people click your ad, and the higher the website traffic that could result in conversions.

What does it mean?

There are four potential reasons for a decrease in CTR.

  1. For audiences that have performed in the past or are very relevant—e.g., 1% lookalike or retargeting audiences—the creative might be the offender. Alternatively, you’d need to check the frequencies of the previously best-performing audiences to avoid audience saturation.
  2. If you’re experimenting with broad audiences such as keyword targeting, it could be that this particular audience is just less engaged with your brand and your investment could have a better return somewhere else.
  3. If your high CTR plummets, it could be that your ads are suffering from creative fatigue, meaning your audience has seen your creative for a while already and is simply tired of it. Make sure you’re following creative best practices.
  4. Lastly, if you’re targeting large audiences, the campaign may have not had enough time or budget spend for Facebook to identify the users who are most likely to convert.


How do you improve it?

Having identified the reason behind the decrease in CTR from the suggestions above, you could try a new approach or a combination of tactics:

  1. Test new creatives using one of the suggestions in the Frequency section.
  2. Make your audience more specific by overlaying your keyword targeting with a lookalike audience or reducing the percentage size.
  3. Don’t pause your campaigns too early, as Facebook’s algorithm requires at least 50 conversions per ad set to get through the learning phase. As the name suggests, during the learning phase the algorithm is learning about your audience and their behaviors and may not produce optimal results. However, having gone through the initial learning phase, Facebook has enough data to deliver your ads to the right audience and therefore produce the results you’re after.


CVR


What is it and why does it matter?

Conversion rate (CVR) indicates the conversions (purchases, sign-ups, etc.) resulting from link clicks. It’s one of the most important metrics, as it indicates the quality of the click audience and the relevance of your ad.

What does it mean?

A sudden, significant drop in CVR can indicate a tracking issue such as:

  • Broken tracking links
  • Missing pixels on your website
  • Missing pixels in ad setup


Alternatively, it can be a sign of a technical error on your website such as broken webpages or errors with processing purchase requests.

Other reasons behind a low CVR can be a misleading call to action or irrelevant landing page. It can also indicate the state of the market and competition, which is why we always recommend keeping an eye on competitors’ activity and Facebook offers.

How do you improve it?

If you’ve seen a sudden unexpected drop in conversion rate we recommend reviewing your website, since often it’s related to this.

Double-check your tracking links and ensure that active pixels are on the website and attached to your ads. Install Facebook’s Pixel Helper plugin, and verify whether the pixel fires on each relevant page such as add to cart, register, and purchase.

Additionally, try optimizing the user experience by shortening the conversion journey and providing appealing offers.

When your day-to-day is all about getting those numbers under targets, it’s easy to get mired in ongoing improvements and ignore quick wins. Your creative can be one such victory. Tweak your creative strategy in just the right way and follow a few Facebook ads best practices, and watch what happens to your monthly metrics.

1. Establish the Messaging


First off, determine the message. You know your brand and product better than anyone, but how do you effectively communicate these to a purchasing public?

A great first step is to clearly define your brand and product. Who are you? What does your product do? Why should people care? Communicate the importance of your brand through tone of voice and profile targeting, and apply this to your creatives. How does the image reflect brand and product values?

If you need inspiration, look to the industry. Your competitors are doing similar things, so take a peek at their ads. (You should be doing this anyway for competitive intelligence.)

Always remember to tell a story, make it interactive, and experiment.

creative


2. Get the Specs Right


Next, make sure the images are the right format for your objective and ad type. It may sound like a no-brainer that you should avoid any image being squeezed or distorted, but make sure you’ve done your homework.

To this end, be sure to reference Facebook’s ad guide any time you’re communicating an image request to design team. This will go far in saving time before ad creation, and you avoid resizing an image or hounding your designers about format changes.

So, you have the right size and format for your ads. Now, how do you capture the attention of the more than one billion people visiting Facebook every day?

3. Hone Your Ad Creative and Copy


Consider this a checklist you can use to implement the above four-pronged strategy.

Think Brand

Identify your brand’s unique point of view. Use brand colors, relevant icons, and your logo to engage your audience. For ad copy, use your brand’s unique tone of voice, keeping things clear and concise.

Tell a Story

Introduce a character, preferably someone representing your customer. Feature the character in all imagery to build a story over time. Show that she’s enjoying the experience, so that others will, too. Create a storyline—a visual treatment that persists through all of the ad campaign’s content.

Align the ad copy with this story. You may want to include perks and comments on the user experience, or examples of customer wins.

Make it Interactive

Use cinemagraphs and different visual formats. Ask questions—create a dialogue with targeted audience. You can also include games, apps, and contests, inviting people to join your community and interact with your brand.

giphy


via GIPHY

Experiment

Some funky things you may want to try (remember to keep it simple):

  • Patterns
  • The character in different poses and formats, or in a poster
  • Unique colors and lighting schemes
  • A different perspective (high angle, low angle, etc.)


4. Experiment with Ad Types and Formats


Facebook has plenty of ad types you can use to drive attention and help you accomplish your goals. Here are further ideas for video and carousel formats.

Video Ads

Video ads are a great way to jumpstart your branding activity and boost your direct response campaigns.























TipHow to Nail ItConsider the Mobile Feed

  • Design for a sound-off experience
  • Start with something captivating
  • Feature your brand in the first 4 seconds


Go deeper into the silence
(sound-off)

  • Tell the story visually
  • Use text and graphics
  • Use captions (see Facebook’s caption tool)


Frame it

  • Explore different thumbnail images
  • Highlight key elements of the video


Experiment

  • Make it quick and snappy
  • Short as it can be, long as it needs to be
  • Test, measure, and learn



Carousel Ads

Carousel ads allow you to show multiple images and links. You can use this ad type to drive demand and move leads down the funnel.



















TipHow to Nail ItFeature different productsUse one image on each cardTell a storyDepict a process

Show a workflow in a series of stepsUse a panoramic imageUse one image, split into a few cards

Everything a Channel Has to Offer


Remember, Facebook is a channel that ultimately combats boredom. By personalizing every impression, you bring your brand, its story, and the interactive user experience fun. And, when you experiment and frequently try new things, you make it memorable.



[1] Note: about 95% of Facebook users view videos with no sound.

Episode 2: Targeting and Bidding


This is a three-part series that explores all the things social marketers should do when setting up their social ad campaigns. In our second post, we look at best practices to target effectively and bid for the greatest ROI. For the first three tips see our previous article on account structure and creative.

One of the main goals of the social marketer is to consistently target wider and more precise audience segments, while making smart bids based on a solid bidding model. Follow these best practices to ensure your social advertising campaigns are fine-tuned for the highest performance possible.

4. Target Wisely


When it comes right down to it, Facebook is mass media, and its algorithm performs better with large audiences. A best practice is to keep the target size above 100,000, especially for your prospecting campaigns. A few other rules of thumb:

  • Always keep an eye on your reach.
  • Avoid campaign overlap—competing against yourself will lower your relevance score and obstruct spend. Use the detailed targeting feature to refine your audience.
  • Make use of email-based targeting and Website Custom Audiences.
  • Use lookalike audiences, the Facebook conversion pixel, and
    Fan Page.


You may also want to use split targeting, depending on:

  • How recently users have shown intent using the inclusion and exclusion feature
  • The level of intent (beginning of the sales funnel vs. the end)
  • User behavior
  • The purchase value


Marin Tip
Thanks to Marin's Lookalike feature, you can create high-intent lookalike audiences based on conversions from your best performing campaigns or ad sets.

5. Choose the Appropriate Conversion Window


The conversion window tells Facebook how far back in time to look at conversion data, so that it can optimize appropriately and find the right people to deliver your ad to.

You can use the conversion window for Website Conversions, App Installs, and App Events objectives. You can break them into 1-day, 7-day, and 28-day post-click windows.

In order for Facebook’s algorithm to have enough conversion data to learn from, set up your conversion window to get at least 15-25 conversions per ad set and per week. If you use the longest conversion window but don't get enough conversions, change the promoted object to a step higher in the conversion funnel (for example, add-to-cart rather than purchase).

6. Let the Audience Size Determine Bid Type


When the target size is above 100,000, bid oCPM. This’ll allow the algorithm to look for the users more likely to convert. Optimize for clicks and pay for impressions when your audience is between 80,000 and 100,000. For target sizes below 80,000, use the CPC bidding type.

On small and highly qualified audiences—for example, Website Custom Audiences of lower-funnel stages—you can even bid CPM (optimize and pay for impressions), since your aim here is to make sure that everyone in your audience sees your ads.

Marin Tip
Bid as granular as possible at the ad level in order to push the best performing ads within an ad set. Change bids across ad sets and campaigns in two clicks by clicking the Selected or All buttons.

Episode 1: Account Structure and Creative


This is a three-part series that explores all the things social marketers should do when setting up their ad campaigns. In this post, we focus on making sure your account structure is solid and how to get the most from your creative.

Setting up a social advertising campaign can be a bit daunting. With so many things to consider in reaching your goals, strategy and tactics become crucial.

We’ve developed nine best practices—presented over a series of three articles—to ensure you have a strong foundation for social advertising success. If you’re a Marin customer, we’ve added Marin Tips tailored just for you.

1. Keep a Consistent Account Structure


A/B testing is important, because it helps you understand why some variables trigger user reactions and others don’t. From there, you can take action accordingly.

Consider each campaign as a test, where you refine based on lessons learned from each test. We recommend including the following in your A/B test:

  • Up to six ad sets per campaign, testing placements, targeting, or demographic. The algorithm will optimize ad sets against each other. So, to make it a fair fight, make sure all ad sets have similar target sizes and intent.
  • Between two and six ads per ad set, each one testing a different element of the creative (image, landing page, call to action). The algorithm will find and push the best performing creatives. Be sure to pause the non-performing ads so the others have more budget.


Marin Tip
The Split button allows you to A/B test audiences in a single click.

2. Use Creatives That Resonate with Your Audience


Above all else—be different. Every business has its own identity, so use yours to find your tonality and compose smart ad copy. Here are a few more tips to stand out, get noticed, and stay current.

  • Use storytelling to make your ad attract eyes and your brand memorable.
  • Stay consistent across channels so customers recognize your brand.
  • No matter how good your creatives are, ad blindness and ad fatigue will happen. Keep refreshing images on a regular basis (two weeks on average).
  • Make the most of all Facebook ad types to engage with your audience in different ways and maximize conversions: Lead ads, Dynamic Ads, Carousel, Video, Slideshow, Canvas, and 360 photos and videos.


Marin Tip
For brand awareness, use Marin’s Reach & Frequency sequencing feature to control the order in which your ads are delivered—this is great for storytelling! Follow this link for more tips.

3. Use Videos


We all know video’s hot and only getting hotter. Make sure you’re creating killer videos and keeping people entertained, educated, and informed. In addition:

  • Keep it short. Facebook best practice is to keep video length between 15 and 30 seconds.
  • Make sure the thumbnail is attractive to your audience and relevant to your story. Change it regularly to fight ad fatigue.
  • Tell a story. As mentioned, storytelling is a great way to keep people watching all the way to the end of your video.
  • 50% of Facebook users watch videos without the sound. So, mention your brand and insert text within the first five seconds.
  • Turn on video re-engagement to people who watched your video. Retarget them with a link ad or carousel ad and a strong CTA.
  • Don’t have enough budget to develop a video? Slideshow is a great alternative.


Marin Tip
Use Carousel Ads, mixing videos and images and adding different CTAs.

Facebook Dynamic Product Ads, if we must say so, are pretty badass. In the not-so-distant future, dynamic product ads are the way all digital advertising on social and display will be delivered, regardless of industry or vertical.

Dynamic Ads for Travel (DAT) allows advertisers in the travel industry to automatically deliver personalized ads based on the interest people have shown on their travel site or app. Part of the Marin Social platform, DAT lets you seamlessly create dynamic audience and product sets across each phase of the buyer journey—from retargeting to cross-sell and up-sell.

Meliá Hotels International used DAT to lower its CPA and increase ROI by 6.7 times.

Watch the video to learn how DAT can help you target the right travel audiences, deliver thousands of relevant ads in seconds, and increase your conversions.

facebook dynamic product ads

This is a guest post from Suzie Kronberger, VP of Marketing and Revenue Operations at Boost Media.

By the end of this year, digital will overtake TV ad spending in the U.S. for the first time—digital ad spend will reach $72B and TV will grow to $71B. Strategies that worked one year aren’t guaranteed to yield the same results the next, which means marketers must be on the lookout for change and innovation.

So, how far did we come in 2016, and what does 2017 have in store for digital marketers?

2016: Here’s What We Learned


Video is the future of advertising: Mark Zuckerberg said it during the spring ‘16 Facebook earnings call. We’re seeing it in the data. Customers are ordering loads of video ad creative.

Vertical video is much more engaging than 16:9 landscape videos: Snapchat’s insight that watching landscape videos on our phones is awkward was a game-changer. They have 10-12B vertical video views per day. Facebook has vertical video ads now. Watch for this format to proliferate.

  • Insider tip: Don’t shove your 16:9 into a vertical video! There’s a reason portrait mode is called that—your footage needs to focus on people/characters large, front, and center. Best to cut unnecessary scenery.


Mobile is where it’s at, but remember: 60% of Americans watched traditional TV programming on their mobile devices. If you’re in a vertical where there are certain aspects of the funnel where mobile isn’t the preferred device, then target accordingly. For U.S. retail, many purchases are still completed on desktop. Add-to-cart is significantly lower on smartphone (6.2%) compared to desktop (10.4%).

2017: Predictions


Major innovation in ad formats: 50% of clicks on mobile ads are accidental. With delivery platforms innovating rapidly, so will ad formats. Expect there to be new mobile ad formats that will help you drive much stronger engagement than you’ve achieved in the past.

Ad formats that provide user value: Ads that are highly engaging offer users something of value. Value can come in literal forms like offers and promos, but also in the form of humor or entertainment. An ad that people thoroughly enjoy can create deeper connections between the brand and the user.

Be ready to take creative to the next level: With the innovation in ad formats, there’ll be more opportunity to tell stories in compelling, interactive ways that you never could do before. Think big on the possibilities here, and get the help you need on developing new, cutting-edge concepts, mediums, and designs.

Creative makes a difference in capturing and maintaining user and consumer attention. But high-quality, cutting-edge creative doesn’t have to be expensive. Prioritize creative in next year’s budget so you’re prepared to take advantage of opportunities quickly.

Happy holidays and here’s to a successful 2017!

Lead generation ads have many benefits, and are a great way of connecting with the people most likely to want your products. Looking to get even more qualified leads? Then lead gen ads are for you. Here a few things to keep in mind to get the best results and yes, “win big.”

Best Practices


A good way to maximize the effectiveness of your lead gen ads is to drive users to helpful content, such as....

A blog article. In the lead gen ad, provide a teaser to the content. Then, redirect the user to the actual article to continue reading and dive into the details.

A PDF: Have a piece of content you know your audience will love? Give them this gift by way of a lead gen ad. For example, if you run an online casino, provide them with a PDF guide on online gambling that includes useful advice to make them more confident in using your site.

A specific offer: Your existing clients might just love something tailored specifically to them. Think retention. Are you an
e-commerce site with promo codes for customers? A lead gen ad could be the solution, as it has the sense of ‘unfolding’ something that’s just for the individual consumer.

Continued Flow from Ad to Website


It may take you some time to put continued flow into action on your website, but once you do this—and once you’re whitelisted by Facebook—then users will be able to simply fill in their details into the lead gen ad on Facebook and won’t need to complete them again when they’re redirected to your site. This greatly improves the user experience.

Some of the details, such as the user’s name, are pre-populated in the lead gen form. After the user fills in the form, they’ll be redirected to your website, where not only will their name already be filled in, but any other required fields will also be pre-filled to avoid any redundancies between Facebook and website forms.

This all works seamlessly because of Facebook’s Continued Flow. Note that you’ll need to implement the Continued Flow API to make sure the flow works, and to ensure a smooth user experience with no need for the user to repeat actions. (It’s kind of like being transferred during a phone call and not having to explain things all over again.)

Mobile Versus Desktop


Like most online channels these days, mobile’s winning. Lead gen ads are no exception, and mobile placement tends to have better delivery and results.

For desktop ads, be sure to keep in mind that most browsers have pop-up blockers, so desktop users may not be redirected to your website. In this case, there goes your lead. And, due to security upgrades in modern browsers on desktop, it’s hard to bypass these blockers.

Since Facebook must currently live with these blockers, Continued Flow won’t work on desktop. For best results for your lead gen ads, focus on mobile.

Retargeting Campaigns


Make sure you’re taking the fullest advantage of your engaged lead ad audiences. Depending on traffic and results, run a retargeting campaign simultaneously.

Note that when you’re analyzing performance, look at blended CPAs to understand the real costs of your campaign.

Supporting Lead Ads


There are several complementary efforts you can launch to amplify the effectiveness of your lead gen ads.

Link the lead form data directly to your CRM system. Facebook integrates with several great providers, giving you the ability to send user data directly to your CRM system. From there, you can support your lead gen initiative with email or SMS campaigns. And, even if you decide not to launch a side campaign, you can still more easily download your new leads with a CRM integration.

Use email marketing. It’s a common practice for gambling companies to decrease their CPA by running email marketing campaigns to retarget users gained on Facebook. Why is this? These companies have a particular user funnel that involves a couple of conversions until they achieve the result of ‘getting the player’.

Other markets can greatly benefit from this, too. Consider running email marketing campaigns to support your lead gen ad efforts. Again, look at blended CPAs and the particular value this would have for you.

Take the Lead


All in all, there are plenty of opportunities to implement lead gen ads for your business and make your campaigns more successful. To find out how Marin can help you put lead gen ads into action, contact us today.

Shopping doesn’t end after the holidays—according to a National Retail Federation survey, 65% of shoppers plan to keep shopping after Christmas. Use this time of year to convert them to loyal customers with new demand generation and cross-sell opportunities.

Demand Generation and Cross-Sell


Don’t let your holiday campaigns go to waste—keep aiming for more purchases. Post-holidays is a great time to re-engage to drive demand.

  • Audience: Identify recent purchasers to showcase new collections to them. You can achieve this by using Website Custom Audiences (or Tailored Audiences on Twitter) with an appropriate retention window.
  • Ad formats: Use Dynamic Ads to automatically cross-sell complementary products or upsell higher value products from your catalog.
  • Creative: Focus on creative that defines your brand beyond the holidays to avoid ad fatigue and expand into the New Year. Your brand message should seamlessly transition from the holidays to the post-holiday period to maintain interest and create new opportunities, such as additional gear and add-ons for holiday presents (video games, DSLR bag, etc.), post-holiday flash promotions, etc.
  • Optimization: Optimize for product sales or conversions to maximize the delivery of your ad campaigns to people likely to convert, once again making sure that your pixel is capturing enough conversions per week.


For more tips on winning the holiday shopping game, download our Social Advertiser’s Holiday Guide.

Dynamic Ads enable you to automatically promote your entire catalog across devices. With Dynamic Ads, you have full control over the products you advertise, ensuring you’re reaching audiences who’ve expressed high intent to purchase with the most relevant products. Advanced tactics are also available—cross-sell, upsell, and even prospecting.

  • Audience: Segment audiences based on past browsing behavior. For example, you can create audiences of people who viewed or added products to their cart but didn’t purchase, then retarget them with the same products to increase their purchase intent.
  • Targeting: Upload your product catalog to Facebook and make sure it’s regularly updated. Build product sets by category, best sellers, or high-margin products.
  • Ad formats: It’s best practice to use Carousel Ads rather than static image link ads.
  • Creative: Test different variations with macros such as price, brand, and description in your ad text and Carousel titles.
  • Optimization: Always bid your maximum value for one-day post-click conversions, and make sure bid values match with audience behavior. For instance, “add to cart” is a higher intent than a simple “product view” and may justify a higher bid. Make sure your audience pools are broad enough to get sufficient delivery.


For more tips to make the most of your holiday ad campaigns across social media, download our Social Advertiser’s Holiday Guide.

This is a guest post from Sarah Burns, Content Manager
at
Boost Media.

Vertical video has become ubiquitous in the world of apps and social media, and the shift to vertical is changing the consumer experience. Vertical videos take up more space on the screen then horizontal, and smartphone users don’t have to rotate their phones first to watch. This creates a fully immersive and powerful experience every time a video is played.

Here are three creative tips to consider while adopting your vertical video strategy.

1. Rethink concepts


Find new techniques to film scenes and subjects that are optimized for vertical orientation. For example, close-ups of people, landscapes, and buildings work well vertically. Concentrate on one object to make the most impact visually. Consider how you might fill the space that appears if you tilt the camera up or down. Remember that creative should match the platform, the environment, and the context in which it’s being viewed, and be mobile-first.

2. Experiment with text overlays


Text overlays help tell a story quicker, which is important with video moving to shorter and shorter pieces. Consider using text for subtitles, which come in handy when translating videos to a foreign language, for example.

3. Revisit metrics


Due to the large size of vertical ads and the fully immersive video experience, vertical video ads are a great way to build awareness and drive increased site traffic. It’s not so much about completion of an ad as much as engagement time after the video. Test a variety of metrics to determine what works best for your organization.


About the Author


sarah

Sarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, and yoga.

About Boost Media


Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.

SEM has long been considered bottom-funnel advertising, but Facebook's new and improved direct-response features mean you can turn the platform into a revenue machine over the coming weeks. Here are five essential direct response (DR) features available on Facebook—and how to use them to your advantage.

Carousel Ads



With Q4 bringing a high saturation of ad demand—especially ecommerce and retail for the holiday season—carousel ads are a great way to stand out. With these ads, you have the ability to tell a story about your brand or product. You can also showcase the different benefits of a signature product, or a range of products or product lines. More real estate means more opportunity to grab attention and gain potential new customers.

01-carousel



Lead Gen Ads



If your focus is on lead gen, you should be using lead gen ads. The benefit here is that the user doesn’t need to leave Facebook to fill out your form. There are tons of fields to choose from—Facebook will try to fill them in automatically based on information from the user’s Facebook profile (which makes it a lot easier for someone to complete the form). You also have the option of putting up to three custom questions on the form that are specific to your company.

Wondering what creative works well? You can use carousel ads with this campaign objective to help tell your company’s story, list different benefits or services, etc. (Yes, we’re fond of carousel ads.)

02-leadgen



If you’re worried about spending a ton during a highly competitive season (remember, with Facebook ads, you’re competing for space, not keywords), we recommend establishing a test budget to figure out which messaging works, then open the budget spigot in Q1.

App Install Ads



If your focus is on app installs, Facebook now has a great new type of bidding to use for app install ads. You can now bid on in-app events such as a registration or purchase. Your cost per install may rise with this, but you’ll be targeting people who are more likely to complete the in-app event that’s most important to you.

03-appinstall



Lookalike Audiences



Trying to figure out who to target this season? Lookalike audiences should definitely be in the plan. With lookalike audiences, you can target from a 1% lookalike all the way to a 10% lookalike. A 1% lookalike will be the percentage most closely like your original seed audience, but once you find a seed audience that works, you can expand the percentage in order to scale more. Fee seed lists we see work well on Facebook are:

  • Top LTV users
  • Converters from Facebook
  • Most recent converters


04-howitworks



To go even deeper into lookalike audiences, make sure you caught Marin’s detailed article.

Pixel Implementation



Last but not least, make sure you’re confident in your pixel implementation! Once the pixel is placed, make sure you go through the user flow on your site a few times and test the pixel. You can use the Facebook Pixel Helper Tool extension on Google Chrome. With this tool, you’re able to see if the right event is firing on the page you want it to. Since you’re likely bidding oCPM for conversions (in order to maximize the number of conversions you can get), you want to ensure you’re optimizing on a conversion that’s firing correctly.

05-facebookpixel



Make sure you use all of the above features throughout the year, not just in Q4. But, to compete on Facebook and show some return for your dollar from now through mid-December, it’s imperative to use what’s available to you. These five features are a great start.

Introducing Dynamic Ads for Travel


About a year ago, Facebook launched Dynamic Product Ads to attract mostly e-commerce advertisers looking for a more efficient way to launch remarketing campaigns, without having to manually create hundreds of link ads and custom audiences per SKU. Facebook now just refers to this solution as Dynamic Ads, with a unique offering available to travel advertisers called Dynamic Ads for Travel (DAT). With DAT, you can automatically deliver ads at a product level from your hotel and destination catalogs with unique creative based on a person's click events on your website.

For example, you could dynamically deliver ads across all hotel destinations with imagery specific to the location that people are searching for. People who searched for hotels in Maui on your website and didn’t convert would be delivered a very unique offer, compared to those who searched for, say, hotels in Minneapolis.

Facebook Dynamic Ads for Travel


Dynamic Ads for Travel - Thousands of Relevant Ads in Seconds


As you can imagine, it’d be near-impossible to create all of the possible permutations of audience segments paired with unique creatives for each destination or hotel that people are searching for manually. Dynamic Ads for Travel improves campaign performance in several ways:

  • Relevancy: More intelligent ads that capture details such as price, check-in date, and destination relevant to what people are searching for and where they want to go. You can personalize landing pages with redirect URLs specific to these details.


  • Automated delivery: Ad creative is deployed automatically from your catalog feed, meaning you don’t have to manually create each individual ad.


  • Improved targeting for optimal ROI: Target people who are searching for a hotel in a certain place or flight on a specific date. Cross-sell people who’ve booked a flight with a complementary offer on a hotel.


  • Scale: Remarket to people across all placements including mobile news feed, the Audience Network, and Instagram.


So How Does Dynamic Ads for Travel Work?


Dynamic-Ads-For-Travel-How-It-Works



There are two key components that enable Dynamic Ads for Travel to work:

  1. The Facebook Pixel to enable “Website Custom Audiences” and track click events on your website
  2. A feed that includes details on all items you sell, as well as creative (description, price, availability, etc.)


The click events that the Facebook Pixel captures allow travel advertisers to deliver more personalized ads to audiences based on a variety of user signals such as search activity, browsing history, and purchase behavior on your website. You can further enhance these audiences with a few parameters in both your exclusion and inclusion targeting:

Pixel Parameters For Travel Companies




























HotelsFlightsDestinationsContent TypeContent TypeContent TypeDestinationOrigin and Destination AirportSuggested DestinationsCheck In and Out DateDeparture and Return DateTravel Start and End DateCurrencyCurrencyRegion, City, and Country


To determine which ad creative to trigger when a pixel event is fired, you need a travel feed with information from a catalog. You can either upload the catalog manually with a .CSV file or have the data retrieved programmatically from a feed in .XML format.

The good news is that many travel advertisers already have a feed that they use to deploy campaigns on Google, where the practice of retrieving this information for Facebook is very similar. Facebook currently supports the following catalogs with plans to roll out a flight specific-solution in the near future.

  • Hotel: A list of details specific to each hotel such as room availability, pricing, star rating, guest rating, and image URL with support for up to 20 images
  • Destination: A list of details specific to each destination such as longitude location, neighborhood, price, price change, and image URL with support for up to 20 images


If it seems a little hairy, not to worry—Dynamic Ads for Travel is one of the most advanced Facebook advertising features available on the platform today, so mastering it takes a bit of practice. The opportunities are truly endless, however, with all of the possible configurations that are available with this ad type.

Just note that some of these variables such as price and availability need to be updated in real-time, meaning to get your campaigns ahead of the curve, you should use a Facebook Marketing Partner platform—such as Marin Social—that’s developed this capability into its offering.

This is a guest post from Sarah Burns, Content Manager
at
Boost Media.

Instagram ads allow brands to share their story in the context of an inspirational and creative feed. With a global community of more than 500 monthly active users, it’s a great opportunity to get your brand discovered. Here are three creative best practices to help you stand out with your audience.

1. Go natural


  • Use clear images, not grainy or blurry ones.
  • Natural lighting is better than harsh artificial lighting.
  • Make sure your image is high quality and authentic, but still fits into the context of the Instagram feed.



2. Avoid overpowering


  • Your brand should never overshadow your creative.
  • Avoid front-and-center logos and use an iconic brand element or signature color instead.



3. Say less


  • Although not a requirement on Instagram, follow Facebook’s 20% rule regarding text within images.
  • Instagram is a photo app so imagery—not text—should be the focus of creative.



For advertisers who’ve been active on Instagram for a while and those just getting started, these tips should help you structure your strategy on this increasingly popular social channel.


About the Author


sarah

Sarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, and yoga.

About Boost Media


Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.

Digital advertisers are worried about ad viewability. How worried are they? According to a survey that Mixpo conducted this year, 69% of them are “extremely concerned” or “very concerned.” That’s the bad.

As we mentioned in our post on programmatic buying transparency, the environmental transparency of an ad is as important as the campaign’s message or who’s being targeted. By “environmental,” we mean viewability, ad fraud, and brand safety.

We also stated that there’s no consensus on how viewability is even defined or how to determine the tradeoffs between measurement, accuracy, and associated costs.

Still, the debate continues. As viewability becomes a greater concern for digital advertisers and vital to the success of their campaigns, solutions and standards continue to be defined and refined. In this article, we look at guidelines, outline what to consider, and recommend a few tips for ensuring your ads are viewable.

Current Verdicts: What Determines if an Ad is “Viewable”?


The Media Rating Council (MRC) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) basically define viewability as who sees your ad, how much was seen, how long they saw it, and where the ad showed up. Further, the IAB states that viewability “is not about ad effectiveness nor ad engagement. It is simply the delivery of ads that render on the screen. In other words, the opportunity to be seen.”

What does that mean?

Specifically (according to MRC and IAB guidelines), a display ad is viewable if 50% or more of its pixels appear on-screen for at least one continuous second. On the other hand, GroupM believes 100% of pixels need to be in view for at least one second. Like GroupM, other large holding companies also have their own standards.

The reasons for these discrepancies often lie in creative technologies. For instance, moving from Flash to HTML5 can slow down page loads, making verification pixels time out, which can then prevent accurate measurement. And, according to the MRC, bandwidth and network speeds make load times even worse for mobile ads.

The various viewability definitions are a way to get around these speed bumps, allowing for a departure point to effectively measure viewable versus unviewable ads. Meaning, there are standards, but they depend on the governing body or other constituents determining the guidelines.

What About Brand Safety?


Brand safety is easier to define, but it’s just as important in ensuring your brand is creating a positive user experience and maintaining your brand image. Simply put, your brand is safe not only if your ads are showing up in the right context, but also when the right ads appear on your website. For instance, if not-quite-safe-for-work ads suddenly appear on your site, your brand image will likely suffer, causing buyer-seller trust to erode.

Once again, the IAB and its standards can help. Its Content Taxonomy identifies when companies are brand-safe based on a two-tier system:

  • Self-certified
  • Certified by an independent third party


Third-party certification providers offer a list of DSPs that filter bought inventory according to IAB’s taxonomy. In this way, programmatic guidelines and technologies can be established, automated to safeguard against risky ads and hazardous placements.

The Difference Between Viewability and Fraud


Remember there’s a difference between viewability and fraud. Integral Ad Science (IAS) defines ad fraud as “the deliberate practice of attempting to serve ads that have no potential to be viewed by a human user.” However, a positive trend that IAS reported reveals that overall programmatic ad fraud dipped by 20.9% between Q4 2015 and Q1 2016. Still, the U.S. has the worst rate of ad fraud when compared to Australia, France, Germany, and the U.K., the countries the IAS profiled.

This is part of why digital marketers in the U.S. are so worried.

Something to note, however, is that the same study showed that viewability is actually up, presumably because publishers and other players in the industry increasingly have stopped getting paid for inventory that’s fraudulent—so they’re more motivated to increase viewability and reduce fraud. An article in the Journal of Advertising Research, however, states that global advertisers are expected to waste roughly seven billion dollars in 2016 on unviewable ads. Whether the forecast is sunny or gloomy, all sides are working harder to reduce fraud and increase viewability.

Why is there as much fraud as there is? In a word—bots. Specifically, bots that mask as a user and click fraudulent ads, making it seem like your website’s getting more clicks and click-throughs than it actually is.

Marketers are right to be concerned. They must continue to be vigilant about and aware of both unviewable ads and bots’ calculated attempts to muddy the ad pool. To make matters (and your measurement efforts) worse, bots don’t use ad blocking software like humans do. So, if you’re trying to measure campaign effectiveness through the average ad blocking rate and optimize accordingly, you have your work cut out for you.

Why Is Viewability So Important, Anyway?


It’s obvious that you’d like people to actually see your ads. And, you’re no doubt interested in measuring the effectiveness of these ads and adjusting as needed.

A third angle to take into account—many new vendors are trying to monetize viewability, assigning costs to only those impressions that are viewable. Here, however, there’s a tradeoff between the page actually loading, the time it takes, and how these measurements will or should affect cost.

For brand awareness and to know your true cost of doing business, viewability is essential. As we mentioned in our post on the programmatic supply chain, if your impressions aren’t viewable, you should get a credit toward them. We’ll add here—if your impressions aren’t viewable, not only did a tree fall in the forest and no one heard it, no one has any idea what the tree looks like. So much for lifting your brand awareness.

Who Measures Viewability, and How?


First off, as far as measurement goes, who should bear the burden of proof? Publishers, vendors, and agencies are working together to measure and combat viewability issues. Each of these entities, however, has a unique motivation for ensuring viewability is maintained and measured:

  • Publishers: want to optimize yield and inventory management and ensure a positive user experience
  • Vendors: want to increase brand awareness, leads, clicks, CTR, and ROI
  • Agencies: want to increase viewable impressions and customer satisfaction


As mentioned earlier, there are issues gleaning accurate viewability metrics—such as latency and the creative technologies that cause it. Third-party measurement vendors can also be problematic, since they use tracking pixels that can, ironically, result in longer page loads and add to the murkiness of precise measurement.

The answer lies in adopting standards to level the playing field. In its Primer for Publishers on Improving Ad Viewability, IAB recommends that publishers establish performance benchmarks, and have a remediation plan in place to determine what happens should an ad placement miss the benchmark by more than 10%.

The landscape’s not perfect, but the outlook’s positive. That’s the good.

The Cost of Being Seen


What factors go into determining the cost of viewability? Viewability tracking, brand safety tracking, and brand lift studies are paid by either side in an effort to run cleaner campaigns. Ad verification and brand safety tools also come with a cost, and have their own issues, but they go a long way in creating environmental transparency. These all play a role in ensuring ads get seen, but marketers must determine how these weigh against their budget and how much are overkill.

What about the costs of the future? Will all ad formats be bought on a viewable impression basis, i.e., vCPM? Time will tell.

Tips for Making Sure Your Ads are Viewable


Now that we’ve gone over definitions, standards, and budgeting considerations, here are best practices you can use to combat viewability issues and maximize the likelihood of your ads getting seen:

  • Share information: As quality/ad fraud companies continue to work with the MRC, IAB, and other groups to develop standards, advertisers and publishers should rally around recommended guidelines, so that standardization can lead to equity and visibility.
  • Experiment: Bring on one vendor at a time, make sure they’re MRC-accredited, and measure the results.
  • Have frank discussions with verification partners. Ask them how they measure viewability or what they’re doing to control for fraud.
  • If you’re a publisher: Work out any discrepancies with your advertising partners. Make sure there’s agreement between what each side says about what was viewable and what wasn't.
  • If you’re a vendor: Regularly check your tags in order to determine whether an ad was in view or not. Note, however, that doing this chews up data and power—be careful not to degrade the user experience for the sake of viewability measurement.


Better Ad Viewability Is on the Horizon


If the virtual nail-biting is any indication, viewability will continue to occupy its high-anxiety, top-of-mind position until the major issues get smoothed over. Take heed, though, that help is not only on the way—the conversation has expanded to video and audio. In the long run, continued standardization will result in better guidelines and (more) common practices.

In the meantime, remember the tradeoffs between viewability, practicality, and the costs of measurement. Do what’s appropriate for your business and budget, with the understanding that better days await you.

This is a guest post from Sarah Burns, Content Manager
at
Boost Media.

The Most Engaging Ad Format on Facebook



Arguably the most engaging ad format available on Facebook, the video carousel is growing at a rapid pace. Since Facebook first evolved the format by giving advertisers the option to display video in the carousel ad in fall 2015, advertisers have seen success with lower cost per click and increased traffic.

Showcasing video as a creative option can bring sight, sound, and motion to help advertisers improve both their brand and direct response objectives. You can exhibit any combination of up to 10 photos or videos, but only five cards will appear at a time. Video carousels provide not one, but many opportunities to engage with customers.

New Ways to Get Your Customers’ Attention



Having more images, videos, and links in a single ad opens up new opportunities to talk about your business and reach your audience. You have several creative ways to get the attention of potential customers with video carousels:

  • Show more products
  • Highlight multiple features
  • Create a larger canvas
  • Tell a good story
  • Show the steps
  • Change with the seasons


Generating Facebook Creative Concepts



A good place to start when generating creative ideas is reviewing past performance of organic Facebook posts. Has there been a particular piece of content you’ve shared in the past that performed really well?

Another good source of creative ideas is your content or marketing calendars. You can create Facebook ad campaigns and ad creative to support your brand’s events and product launches, play off of industry events, and capture attention related to seasonality and holidays.

Remember, the point of running Facebook Ads is to reach a larger audience than your current follower base, so all creative needs to be tested, even if something similar has performed well organically in the past. What works for one audience in one context may not apply universally. Once you find what works, continually discover new concepts to explore with Facebook creative.


About the Author


sarah

Sarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, and yoga.

About Boost Media


Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.

Shopping has been a hot-button topic for some time now. While many customers have launched successful Shopping campaigns, there are some lesser-known features that may provide a quick additional boost or improvement to your current efforts.

Four such features are:

  • SKU-level reporting (Marin)
  • Campaign priority settings (Marin)
  • Automatic item updates (Google Merchant Center)
  • Promotions (Google Merchant Center)


SKU-level Reporting


Marin fully supports performance reporting at the SKU level. With this extremely valuable data, advertisers can review products on a regular basis to see where individual SKUs prove to be candidates for segmentation or exclusion. If the SKU data warrants it, you can indicate a more aggressive or conservative bid.

01. SKU-level reporting



To see SKU-level reporting enabled in Marin, work with your platform representative to append the appropriate parameter to the product groups, and to have the new feature enabled and backfilled.

Campaign Priority Settings


Priority settings are extremely useful for advertisers who invest the time in building out multiple Shopping campaigns and want to maximize their effectiveness.

As Google describes the setting, “When you have the same product in multiple Shopping campaigns, you can determine which campaign should participate in the auction for that product with campaign priority. Your campaigns already have a priority: Low. But you can change this priority to Medium or High. These priorities determine the bid for any product that the campaigns share.”

  • The highest priority campaign will bid
  • If the highest priority campaign runs out of budget, the lower priority campaign bids
  • When multiple campaigns have the same priority, the highest bid is used


02. Campaign priority



The right mix of priority assignments and bid strategies by campaign solve the tricky issue of being able to control products that exist across multiple campaigns.

Automatic Item Updates


If you have metadata enabled on your site, it may be prudent to enable Google’s Automatic Item Updates feature. This allows Google to crawl your site and update Shopping based on the site’s inherent microdata information. This is mostly valuable in reconciling price discrepancies and/or availability.

Advertisers can choose from Google’s attributes for automatic updates:

  • Price only
  • Availability only
  • Price and availability


03. Automatic item updates


Merchant Promotions


Enabled in Google Merchant Center, a Promotion is an excellent way to differentiate your product from the competition and advertise your sale. You can assign Promotions to a subset of products or across all products in the feed, as applicable.

04. Merchant promotions



05. New promotion



Google manually reviews all promotions for accuracy, so be sure to schedule these well in advance of the actual promotion launch so that the approval process won’t cause any delay. Also be sure you know Google’s Merchant Promotions Program Policies.

Get ahead of the competition by testing out some of this readily available advanced functionality! If you’re interested in speaking with a Shopping Consultant from Marin, get in touch with your platform representative. Or, if you're new to Marin, get in touch with our team.

When Google released product listing ads, it dramatically changed the way retailers advertise online. Because of their huge success, retailers are constantly on the lookout for the next game-changing ad format.

If the results our retail clients have been seeing are any indication, the next frontier for product ads is harmonizing Google Shopping and Facebook Dynamic Ads (DA). Even though there’s been steady growth in the number of advertisers using Facebook DAs since their launch in 2015, many retailers are still managing their search and social channels in silo.

In this post, you’ll learn how to supercharge your shopping ads by combining the best of search and social. Using these techniques, our customers have seen a 68% higher revenue per conversion from their campaigns, when managed together with social advertising campaigns.

Seed Facebook with your best Google Shopping campaigns.


Savvy advertisers take advantage of their existing Google Shopping campaigns to optimize—or simply test—DAs for the first time. By identifying your best-performing products from Google Shopping campaigns, you can export high-ROI products to advertise using DAs.

Through Facebook’s new Google Shopping to DA product (available to Marin Software customers), advertisers using Google Shopping can take their best-performing campaigns and easily create Facebook DAs in a few easy steps, without the need for lengthy setup and extensive IT resources.

01. Workflow


Build out the right types of campaigns.


To easily increase your average order value and/or customer lifetime value, be sure to offer products related to what a customer’s ordered. As you’re building out DA campaigns, you can create upsell, cross-sell, and prospecting campaigns using the same process.

  • Upsell and cross-sell: With these types of campaigns, you can increase the chances of selling complimentary, relevant products to your customers via upsell (higher profitability items) or cross-sell (similar product sets).
  • Prospecting: Take shopping on Facebook beyond retargeting through Facebook’s DA prospecting campaigns. Advertisers can now reach new customers within the Facebook universe who haven’t visited your website. Facebook allows you to automatically create the best ads and find the best users for prospecting, giving you an efficient, effective way to find new audiences for your products.


Use search intent data to power DA creative.


Search intent retargeting is the smartest way to maximize the ROAS of your search budget. As cross-channel marketing strategies become commonplace, digital advertisers have started using search intent data to power their social campaigns. This strategy can be extended to Facebook DAs.

One example: using search intent to optimize DA creative templates. If the right users see them, these dynamic changes to creative can lead to significant lifts in CTR, conversion rates, and ROI.

Let’s say you have three users who’ve reached your website using different levels of search intent.

Example keywords:

  • Discount-driven (keyword: discount shoes)
  • Product brand (keyword: Buffalo Shoes)
  • Store name (keyword: PowPow Shoe Shop)


Through DA creative templates and search intent data, you can dynamically tailor your Facebook creatives based not only on the products users have seen on your website, but also on the keyword they used to get there in the first place. This allows you to show hyper-targeted ads, resulting in higher click-through and conversion rates.

02. Creative



In the above example, our users see different things depending on their keyword group:

  • Sales-driven user (keyword: discount shoes) sees an ad with a sales message.
  • The user who’s shown product brand infinity (keyword: Buffalo Shoes) sees a creative with a large product brand logo.
  • The user who’s shown brand affinity for the shop/advertiser (keyword: Marin Shoe Shop) sees a large advertiser logo.


Use cross-channel product reporting and optimization.


Once you start running Google Shopping and Facebook DAs, you should look at product performance and optimization in a more holistic way. The challenge with cross-channel tracking is normalizing conversions across multiple devices, ad buys, and other variables. However, with a third-party platform like Marin Software, the problem’s solved, so you can focus on the most important task—making sense of all that rich data and finding synergies.

With consistent third-party conversion tracking, you can also deduplicate conversions across search and social. And, through attribution modeling, you can gain deeper insights into how your Google Shopping and Facebook DAs are affecting the overall path to conversion.

Your future shoppers are spending an ever-increasing amount of time on Facebook and Google. In fact, 78% of all new ads were on either Facebook or Google last quarter. Now’s the time to think smarter about how you can cost-effectively engage and convert these users.

By combining search and social shopping strategies, not only do you break down channel silos—you gain a holistic view of product performance, and the ability to optimize across channels and improve overall product performance.

Shopping season is here. To help retailers navigate the current terrain of shopping ads and digital marketing, Marin has developed new features to help retailers maximize revenues and efficiencies this back to school and holiday season.

In this post, we’ve asked Anil Channappa, Senior Director Product Management for Marin Social, to talk about these features and how they’ll benefit retail and ecommerce advertisers.

[caption id="attachment_8074" align="alignnone" width="500"]

Anil Channappa

Anil Channappa[/caption]

From the lens of your role, what is Marin's cross-channel shopping solution?


It’s the ability for marketers to maximize the sales and revenue of their products through advertising regardless of the publisher. Without such a solution, advertisers have to coordinate advertising campaigns across Google and Facebook (in the same or different tool), without a way to measure the effectiveness across publishers.

With a solution like Smart Sync for Shopping, advertisers can mirror a Google shopping campaign so that the same campaign is running on both Google and Facebook, without needing to know much about leveraging their product feed on Facebook. The cross-publisher reporting helps our advertisers make smarter bid and budget decisions to maximize ROI. And this is a unique and innovative solution in the market today.

Why is it important?


Customers and prospects are browsing freely across Google and Facebook. So, advertisers shouldn’t be bogged down by publisher-specific differences, and should be able to reach customers where they are. Being able to reach shoppers where they shop with one product feed and campaign flow, will improve campaign management efficiency and the effectiveness of their campaigns.

How does this solution enhance how retailers approach their ad campaigns, and impact their business needs?


Campaigns should be geared towards business objectives and needs. Does a customer want to run a promotion that aligns with events like 4th of July, Black Friday, or a major sale of specific products? In most cases today, customers have to replicate these campaigns manually across all publishers.

With Marin’s cross-channel solution, advertisers can rely on technology to create, measure, and scale campaigns across publishers, while spending their time on critical decisions and optimizations.

Why now? What motivated Marin Software to invest in this feature rollout?


Publishers are racing to offer innovative products to keep pace with emerging customer behaviors. Mobile technologies (tablets, smartphones) have been a huge disrupter. Publishers are forced to innovate rapidly to offer advertising products that fit this new paradigm.

Shopping Campaigns and Dynamic Ads are all visual ads that are easier for users to preview and click on mobile devices. Depending on your source, anywhere from 75-95% of mobile users click social ads. Marin’s research shows that during Q1 of this year, closer to 95% of all social ad clicks were on a mobile device.

In the past, we’ve invested heavily to streamline advertising within channels (search, social, and display), but we can only go so far in our value-add, because the channels themselves are very different. Given shifting user behaviors and publishers offering similar products, there is a huge convergence of ad products across publishers. This is a perfect opportunity to help marketers who are used to streamlining their channel-specific advertising and extend it across channels.

If you could describe how a company would use this cross-channel solution and come out with strong results, what would that scenario look like?


Google is the dominant player for most retailers to drive demand and new customers. This is the place where advertisers have gone back, time and time again, to drive their sales.

With Facebook stepping up their ad products, we’re hoping it’ll be a great source of new customers, and provide advertisers with increased scale and higher revenue across the board. As a secondary benefit, the streamlined solution could help advertisers save time, reduce cost, and balance their budgets more effectively.

What tips would you like to share with Marin customers who are gearing up for the upcoming back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons?


Think about people-based marketing rather than channel-specific marketing. From the outset, we suggest that customers set up cross-channel campaigns and measure the impact to net revenue and ROI. The channel-specific team should still focus on channel-specific optimizations (creative, audience and bid optimizations in Facebook and product group, bid optimization in Google), but share cross-publisher learnings from platforms like Marin.

For more information on Smart Sync for Shopping, watch the video.


Key Takeaways:

  • Depending on your business, consider people-based marketing rather than channel-specific marketing - or utilize a hybrid of both.


  • Suggest that customers set up cross-channel campaigns, and measure the impact to net revenue and ROI.


  • A streamlined, cross-channel solution could help advertisers save time, reduce cost, and balance their budgets more effectively.

How do you get your product feed in front of as many eyes as possible? Are you using Facebook Dynamic Product Ads? Just Google Shopping? Do you have an effective social prospecting strategy? Do you know how to get your product ads in front of people who’ve never seen them before?

If your answer to any of these questions is “meh,” then this blog post is for you.

How to Get More People to See Your Product Feed


There are two ways to get your products in front of potential customers on the web today:

  • Paid placement (cost-per-click)
  • Marketplace (revenue share)


If you're a retailer, it's in your best interest to blast your product feed far and wide to make sure your product is available whether a potential customer is searching for it on Google or Amazon, or browsing the Yahoo News feed. Heck, maybe they just need a reminder that they didn’t complete their purchase of those cute red pumps.

The obvious next question is—how do I ensure my product is reaching all my potential customers across the many channels and publishers on the web? Full-blown shopping capabilities allow you to get your products in front of millions of customers through all the major paid avenues—and all the leading marketplaces like Amazon and eBay—from a single product feed. This is the easiest way to execute a true “omni-channel shopping campaign.” (Request a demo to find out how we can help you do this.)

Facebook DPA: The Value Proposition


Facebook Dynamic Product Ads (DPA) help you promote relevant products to shoppers browsing your product catalog. Once they’ve visited your website or mobile application, you can retarget them on Facebook with the specific products they showed interest in, dynamically displayed with information from your product feed (price, name, in stock or not, etc.).

There are several great things you can do with DPA:

  • Upsell or cross-sell campaigns to increase the chances of selling complimentary, relevant products to your customers.
  • Show your products to people who haven’t seen them.
  • Reach audiences no matter what channel, publisher, or device they’re on.


Here’s how this works.

Upsell and Cross-sell


Suppose a shopper buys a pair of designer shoes online, and then they see an ad for handbags from the same designer. By showing products related to what a customer orders, you increase your average order value and customer lifetime value. Upsell and cross-sell campaigns automatically extend the reach of your campaigns, and increase the chances of selling relevant incremental products.

Prospecting


With a prospecting campaign, you can offer products from your catalog to new audiences most likely to use your products (by way of a Facebook algorithm or dynamic ads across the web). This feature is meant to give you an optimal workflow—one that allows you to bulk-edit ads and duplicate DPA campaigns for retargeting, upsell, or cross-sell, all in one function.

So, for example, instead of having four separate campaigns and workflows, you can create just one workflow that handles everything you would’ve included in those disparate campaigns.

A small number of Facebook partners (including Marin) can edit product sets, add URL tags, choose creative templates, and see full previews as you make selections. These features have excellent workflow capabilities, so they deliver both fantastic targeting and ease of use. Contact us to learn more.

Shopping


Having shopping campaigns on both Google and Facebook catapults the power and performance of your product feed. Do you have the time and resources, though, to manage your shopping campaigns on two different platforms?

If you do, you should definitely include your product feed on both channels to extend your reach. If you don’t, Marin’s Smart Sync for Shopping feature automatically clones and syncs your shopping campaigns from Google to Facebook, eliminating the need for lengthy IT support. With Marin Display, you can use your same product feed to run prospecting campaigns to those outside Google and Facebook.

About Those Omni-Channel Campaigns....


Even more powerful than Google Shopping or Facebook DPA alone, omni-channel distribution allows you to advertise across a wide array of channels and publishers—native, search, social, eBay, Amazon shopping...the list of both paid and non-paid platforms goes on.

Distribution1



Distribution2



To wring every last drop of value from your product feed, you should showcase it through as many online venues as you can. You should also make sure you’re constantly optimizing your feed for the greatest possible returns.

A Word on Cross-Channel Advertising


Retailers who combine all of the above functionality with display retargeting can boast of having a full cross-channel solution, one that automatically puts in overtime to expand your reach and boost revenue. Make sure you’re taking advantage of all channels, and heighten your brand effectiveness in time for back-to-school and the Q4 holiday season.

Digital advertising is a fast-evolving organism. For retailers, this means constantly looking for new ways to meet and exceed business goals. Promoting your product catalog across channels is a powerful way to upsell existing customers and for finding new ones. To learn more about how Marin can help, request a demo.

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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

This is a guest post from Sarah Burns, Content Manager
at
Boost Media.

By now, you’ve heard about Google's Expanded Text Ads. This is big news for search engine marketers. Initial Google reports cite click-through rate increases of up to 20% for some advertisers. With more than nine billion ads impacted by Google’s change, a massive amount of copywriting is required to adapt.

All advertisers will have to react quickly, and spend more marketing dollars to adjust and profit—or else miss out on a huge opportunity. What can you do now?

Start planning early


Advertisers who move fast and adapt to the new format stand to benefit in two ways:

  • Leveraging the additional creative real estate allows you to weave in new messages as you communicate to your customers, resulting in more clicks and purchases.
  • Ads in the new format will look more aesthetically appealing, compared to the older ads that advertisers who don’t switch over will have to settle for.


Don’t rely on the traditional methods


The new format allows for an extra headline with more characters, a longer description line, and a customizable URL. Don’t waste the extra space by employing Excel spreadsheets or ad templates to update ads. The traditional methods won’t work for a seminal shift of this scope.

Mashing description lines one and two together will leave you with a confusing and disparate message. Most advertisers write the two lines of text as separate ideas, and when they’re pushed together, they don’t flow as a logical and cohesive message.

Where to go from here


Advertisers need a solution that makes it possible to write and rewrite ads in the new format with speed, quality, and scale. Through an exclusive partnership with Boost Media, Marin Software has an automated tool that can rewrite your ads to be ETA-compatible. If you’d like to get up and running on ETA ads today, you can get started here.


About the Author


sarah

Sarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, and yoga.

About Boost Media


Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.

In today’s blog post, we’re focused on three topics: sharing results from early Expanded Text Ad users, discussing support for Expanded Text Ads in the Adwords API and a brief discussion of automated transition options to get you on Expanded Text Ads quickly and profitably. If you're unclear what Expanded Text Ads are, read our full coverage here and then come back to read our in-depth coverage in this post.

Case Study - Expanded Text Ads


As the largest partner in the Adwords ecosystem, Marin was fortunate to be in a position to help many of the advertisers invited into the early beta program for Expanded Text Ads. In today’s blog post, we’d like to share with you a few of the insights we’ve learned from our early exposure.

How will Expanded Text Ads impact my performance?


Google’s introduction of dual headlines, both with longer character limits than its predecessor, creates a problem that some marketers will find easier to solve than others. We all know how important well written copy is to connect with your target audience, and ultimately run a profitable campaign. From our early exposure to Expanded Text Ads, choosing the right strategy for the new dual headline format will separate the winners from the losers.

Performance Gains Aided by Creativity


In one instance, we observed a customer who fully embraced the dual headline capabilities by not only rewriting their ad copy, but fully changing their message to better suit the additional characters now at their disposal. This customer realized a tremendous engagement lift that exceeded our expectations (+50%). An increase in engagement can be unprofitable if conversions do not also increase at a similar cadence. We were impressed (and relieved) when we observed that conversions increased in lockstep (+70%).

There’s no doubt that the increased engagement was due in part to the enlarged footprint of the Expanded Text Ads format. But, based on other observations, it’s clear to us that the larger footprint does not account for all of this improvement. We believe that this customer's decision to not only rewrite, but fully rework their creative was the key to their above average results. We applaud their savvy embrace of Expanded Text Ads and would be happy to speak with anyone who is struggling with how to get started, or looking for an experienced team to help guide their transition planning. Please contact us here for more information.

API Timings


As expected, this landmark change in Adwords has created a beehive of stories, speculation, and misinformation. One point of contention in the Adwords Partner Ecosystem is timing to support Expanded Text Ads. We’d like to touch on this topic for a moment.

Our Heritage - Partner in your Success


Marin Software recently celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary, and I’ve personally been a member of the team for 8 of them. During our time in business, we’ve prided ourselves on being a true partner to our customers. And as a partner, we’ve always been transparent on our timeline to support new API features. We’d like to remind our readers that, unfortunately, the same can not be said for all software partners that operate in the Adwords ecosystem.

For example, anyone who claimed to offer immediate Expanded Text Ad support on the day of Google’s announcement (5/24/16) was not telling you the full truth. We know this because Google just released support in the Adwords API for Expanded Text Ads today (5/27/16). Three days after the original feature announcement. We’ve been discussing this change with Google for over a month, and Google did not give preferential treatment to any partners.


Now that the API has been upgraded to support Expanded Text Ads, we’ll continue executing our plan to incorporate them into Marin Software's platform. We’ve been advised that our timeline ranks amongst the fastest to support Expanded Text Ads in the partner ecosystem.

Automated Transition Options for Expanded Text Ads


Given the promising results from early testing of Expanded Text Ads, Marin is encouraging our customers to actively plan their transition to reap the rewards. As a partner in our customer’s success we’ve designed two ways to help you get up and running on Expanded Text Ads quickly and profitably.

Option 1 - Ad Rewrite


For advertisers who would like help rewriting their ads, Marin Software has an exclusive partnership with Boost Media. By tapping into Boost Media’s network, you’ll get access to hundreds of professional writers who will create new, optimized creative for the Expanded Text Ads format. We believe the ROI of working with Boost will yield tremendous results for all of our advertisers. If you would like to learn more, please contact us here.

Option 2 - Transition Planning


For advertisers who would like strategic help, Marin’s Center of Excellence is staffed with experts ready to run a marginal analysis on your accounts and create a roadmap of the most profitable path for your program as you begin the transition to Expanded Text Ads. The demand for this service has been overwhelming, we encourage you to contact us to get started today.

--

Exciting times! Stay tuned for continuing coverage on Expanded Text Ads and the other announcements from the Google Performance Summit.

Google has made a historic change to its creative format with the introduction of a mobile optimized format called “Expanded Text Ads” (ETA). In this post, we provide information to help you understand what’s changing, why it’s a positive thing, and how to automatically make your existing ads ETA-compatible. (Pro tip: Skip to the end of this article if that last point is what you’re after.)

What Are Expanded Text Ads?


Expanded Text Ads are a mobile-optimized ad-format designed to maximize an advertiser's performance in mobile search results. This is accomplished by providing the advertiser significantly more ad copy to highlight their product or service. Expanded Text Ads also apply to desktop search results.

This change is a big deal because it’s a fundamental shift away from the legacy AdWords text ad format that’s existed for well over a decade. As such, this change will require every AdWords advertiser to rewrite their ads to be ETA-compatible. To learn how to automatically do this, skip ahead to the end of this post.

What’s Changing, Exactly?


Advertisers now have two headlines instead of one, and these headlines are joined with a hyphen. The good news – this copy expansion allows ads to occupy 50% more space on the search results page. Early results indicate that this increased presence improves CTR, which makes sense when you compare the old format (left) to the new format (right):

ETAs



Here are the nitty-gritty details:

  • Headline 1 and headline 2 are 30 characters each. This is a 240% increase over legacy text ads, which historically had just one headline and a 25-character maximum.
  • For the description line, the character count is also increasing. Instead of two 35-character description lines, there’s just one that’s 80 characters.
  • The display URL will now be automatically extracted from your destination URL. You can set up to two path fields like “golf” and “shoes”.


As marketers, we’re excited by all of these updates, and think that the addition of a new headline is only going to help performance, especially in a mobile world.

A Positive Change, for Multiple Reasons


Why is this change a net-positive for advertisers?

  • You gain a new, second headline.
  • More characters for longer messaging increase the odds of connecting with your target audience.
  • We’re seeing better overall performance in our early results.


Why is Google Making This Change?


A couple of obvious questions are: Why is Google making this change? And why now?

The short answer: Consumers have shifted to mobile as their primary method of accessing the Internet. And, advertising dollars are following in rapid succession. eMarketer estimates that in 2016, over 60% of all digital advertising spend will go to mobile. It’s also expected that mobile will continue to gobble up market share through 2020.

Google is staying ahead of this trend by shifting to mobile-optimized ads, which is consistent with the elimination of right-hand ads back in February. In the next 12-24 months, we should see more mobile-centric changes from all major publishers, as they train their attention on perfecting mobile monetization.

How Can I Automatically Make My Ads ETA-Compatible?



Stay tuned for more details, insights, and data as we continue to report on Expanded Text Ads.

This is a guest post from Sarah Burns, Content Manager
at
Boost Media.

Marketers are spending billions of dollars on Facebook advertising. Why? Because Facebook ads work, thanks to extensive targeting options and the native look and feel of ad creative. The most important, but often overlooked, element in any campaign is great ad creative. How can your brand achieve success with ad creative on Facebook?

We have three tips for you that we’ve aligned with the three stages of the customer marketing funnel.

Stage 1: Awareness



Visually engaging images are the first things people notice while scrolling through their News Feed. It’s crucial to capture the attention of your audience right off the bat with bold, beautiful imagery that will entice the viewer to click your ad. Develop original creative that hasn’t run in other social campaigns so that it stands out as new and unique.

Stage 2: Consideration



Now that a user has paused to look at your ad, how can you hook them? With powerful words. In the text of an ad, highlight your product’s unique benefits and convey a sense of urgency to get consumers to consider your offer. A call to action should appear in the first 90 characters to ensure consumers take action. Promotions and incentives like free shipping often motivate a shopper to click and buy.

Stage 3: Decision



Now someone has been enticed by your imagery and inspired by your language. Next, consider what will make a consumer click. Targeting is a great tool, and Facebook has advanced options based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. Relevancy is crucial, even post-click. Ensure landing pages are specific to the product or promotion you’re offering, or else you risk confusing your potential customer.

Finally, it’s essential to pay attention to the frequency that you’re showing ads, especially on Facebook. Are you updating creative every week? You should be. Stay on top of the latest trends, and entertain your audience with fresh creative that instantly pops.

About the Author


sarah

Sarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, and yoga.

About Boost Media


Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.

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

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


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

Some of these questions might include:

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


Step 2: Perform an audit


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

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

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

Account Structure

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


Performance

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


Step 3: Implement changes


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

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

Step 4: Measure


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

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

With the steady rise in remarketing as a digital advertising strategy, audience segmentation and activation has become a key tactic for digital marketers. What are some things that display advertisers should take into account when defining and streamlining their strategy?

Understanding Audience Segmentation


Audience segmentation can be defined as a process of dividing people into homogeneous subgroups based on defined criteria such as product usage, demographics, psychographics, communication behaviours, and media use. Audience segmentation is now a major tool advertisers can use to tailor messages, improve targeting accuracy, and drive performance.

Defining the Strategy


For display remarketing, a sound audience strategy is the foundation for a successful campaign, and has three elements:

  • A meaningful audience segmentation approach
  • A clear feedback loop to validate this approach
  • The ability to activate the segmented audience


To create a truly meaningful audience segmentation strategy, advertisers need flexibility in the tools they use to segment their audience. Segmentation methods also offer increased flexibility in what an advertiser can count as a user conversion, creating an extra dimension to audience creation.

Streamlining the Strategy


Let’s explore four key segmentation methods that allow advisers to go beyond path-based segmentation or a one-size-fits-all remarketing vendor approach.

Query string

Query string is part of a URL that contains data that doesn’t fit conveniently into a hierarchical path structure. The query string commonly includes fields added to a base URL by a web browser or other application. This opens up a huge number of possibilities when it comes to audience segmentation. For example, here’s a query string generated after a user searched on a fictitious travel comparison website.

http://www.example.com/searchresults.html?checkin_monthday=13&&checkout_monthday=27& year_month= current -2&dest_id=United%20Kingdom& group_adults=2&group_children=2&no_rooms=1

Looking at this query string, we know the user is:

1. Looking for a two-week holiday from February 13to 27, 2016

checkin_monthday=13&&checkout_monthday=27& year_month=current-2

2. Interested in a UK holiday

dest_id=United%20Kingdom

3. In a party of two adults and two children

group_adults=2&group_children=2

4. Looking for one room

no_rooms=1

Based on this information, we can now create audience lists based, grouping users based on urgency, demographics, and interests. And, our 1st party data set is fresh and reliable.

We can also count a conversion anytime someone visits a page with a specific URL query string: http://www.example.com?page=thank-you-new-user. In this case, we only count conversions from new users.

JavaScript event

Use the "event" remarketing audience method to add users to an audience when they perform an action triggering a specific JavaScript event on your site. These events could include but are not limited to number of clicks, partial form completion, time on site, hovering over a button, expanding an image, or filtering to view products (such as. from high to low).

For example, suppose a user filters to view products from high price to low. It’s normal for these users to have a higher average order value per product than a user who filters from low to high. This may affect not only the amount we’re willing to pay to acquire these users, but also the type of creative we want to show them and which publishers we might want to target.

Conversions can also be counted anytime a specific JavaScript event is fired in the browser. This allows huge flexibly when it comes to defining conversions and reduces the reliance on thank you pages as conversions.

Recency

Recency refers to how recently a user last left your website or app. Creating remarketing lists based on recency enables a range of remarketing tactics.

It’s common for conversion rates to be high when a user sees an ad in the first few minutes after they leave your website, so make sure you’re highly visible during this time. Recency segmentation also allows different creative, offers, or calls to action based on how long it’s been since someone last engaged with your website.

Recency also allows for interesting cross-sell tactics. Say a travel agent knows that certain users are most likely to purchase travel insurance 30 days after they’ve booked their flights. Advertisers could use recency targeting to show travel insurance ads around this time.

Regular expression (regex)

A regular expression is a special text string for describing a search pattern. This allows advertisers to set up complex audience lists, such as one that matches multiple web pages, query strings, or products. Regular expressions also allow you to set up complex conversions, for instance, ones that match multiple-goal pages.

Say for example you want to create a list for users that go to the Caribbean section of your website as long as the subdirectory is in the second position. You can’t use ends with, or starts with, or contains; however, you can create this list with a regular expression.

^/.*/ Caribbean/.*

^ A caret in a regular expression forces the expression to match only strings that start exactly the same way your regular expression does.

.* The dot could match any letter or digit. The star right after it matches the ability of the dot to match any single character, and keep on going so that it ends up matching everything.

Combining segmentation methods allows you to create sophisticated audiences that matter. By combining numerous segmentation methods, you can create an almost endless number of audiences to activate through remarketing.

Conclusion


To run the most successful remarketing campaigns, advertisers need segmentation tools that allow them to slice their audience in an almost unlimited number of ways. Currently, the number of advertisers using simple, path-based audience segmentation or a remarketing vendor’s standard segmentation approach is surprising. With tools that create and activate a meaningful audience segmentation strategy, you can build the foundation of a truly successful remarketing campaign.

According to Time Warner, 65% of people with a smartphone and tablet are likely to use social media while watching TV. From tweeting along during The Voice, to posting game-day Facebook statuses while watching our favorite teams, social media is now a virtual living room.

So what can digital advertisers do to capitalize on these multi-screen habits?

We’re excited to announce TV Sync, a powerful solution that allows advertisers to automatically activate their social ads based on customizable offline events including television flight schedules, live programming, weather changes, or sporting events – all in real-time. By synchronizing social media and TV advertising efforts, marketers can amplify reach and drive consumer engagement across screens.

TY Sync is made possible through Marin’s premier social partnership with TVTY, the leading provider of real-time contextual data. As TVTY’s preferred social advertising platform, Marin can now help advertisers run contextually targeted advertising campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using television signals from over 400 national and local channels, across 25 countries in North America, EMEA, and Australia.

TV Sync unleashes a multitude of possibilities for social advertisers. Consider some examples.

Extend your advertising message across screens



Running TV commercials? Use TV Sync to trigger your social ads immediately as your commercials air, reinforcing the message and increasing your impact with a multi-screen presence.

Counter your competitor’s TV commercials



As soon as your competitor’s commercials appear on TV, counter them by launching social ads in real-time. This is a great way to stay top of mind and boost mindshare.

Improve targeting and relevance with weather and sports



Trigger your social ads according to weather status or key sporting events for a timely, optimized, and personalized campaign that strikes a chord with your audience. For example, during snow-filled winters, travel advertisers can target users with ads to tropical locations.

Drive engagement during live or scheduled TV programs



TV Sync can help you advertise your auto brand during an episode of Top Gear, or launch social ads for your beauty brand during the red carpet at the Oscars. Aligning your ads with specific programming in this way creates a highly targeted and relevant ad experience.

TV Sync is immediately available for Marin Social customers, and we’ve already seen some exciting use cases and positive results. If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

For many marketers, ad copy is another “set it and forget it” item on a campaign launch to-do list. But ad copy isn’t just another box on a list to be checked off. Successful marketers intuitively understand that messaging needs to be attended to and updated on a regular basis in order to ensure campaign success.

You invest a lot of time and resources into your search campaigns, and you must know when to write a new ad or refresh your ad copy. There are several specific triggers which can indicate when you should be creating or refreshing an ad.

1. Seasonality and holiday promotions.


Consumer brands adapt keywords, ad text and landing pages to the relevant holiday or season. For example, car dealers are more likely to show a rugged, four-wheel drive vehicle in the winter than a sporty convertible. Make sure the right ads are running for the right environmental context. Even when the context doesn’t change, be aware that the hot items may change from one season to another.

2. Product changes.


Retailers have a particular cadence for updating product catalogues and refreshing inventory. Changes in product mix and product availability should go hand in hand with changes in ad copy. If your brand is launching a new product or updating an existing product, ad copy must reflect these changes.

3. Competitors and copycat messaging.


Most search engine results pages are covered with messaging that looks very similar. Smaller brands will often emulate the brand leader, copying ad text and messaging. This leaves the search results page a crowded mess of similar looking copy, and consumers are unable to distinguish one ad from another.

4. Evolving consumer needs.


One of the biggest battles that an online marketer faces, is keeping pace with the fickle, ever-changing consumer needs. As culture and language evolves, so do the ways consumers search for, and discover your products and services. Good online marketers are mindful of the continual evolution of language and sensibilities, and adjust ad copy to reflect the latest trends in language and customer desires.

5. Ad fatigue and performance decay.


Many marketers cannot find the time to refresh their ad copy and run the same messaging for months if not years. Over time consumers become increasingly immune to these ads, desensitized to seeing the same message over long periods of time. Ad fatigue is frequently seen in declining click-through rates as stale copy degrades in effectiveness with consumers.

6. Changes to the search marketplace.


The search marketplaces continuously improve their platforms to deliver new opportunities for customer engagement or improved functionality for marketers. Any time the platform opens up a new option, marketers should understand how that option impacts not just their keyword lists or bids, but the impact to the ad copy as well.

For additional best practices and tips for optimizing your creative, check out our infographic. (Click to enlarge.)


About the Author


sarah

Sarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston magazine, The Improper Bostonian and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running and yoga.

About Boost Media


Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.

Click here to schedule a free demo of the Creative Optimization platform today.

Ads that attract attention and compel searchers to click are more likely to convert. So how do you create ads that do both? Here are 7 key tactics you can leverage in your search campaigns to improve your click-through rates while also increasing conversions.

1. Attract attention with the headline or image.
Arguably, no form of advertising is more rooted in head-to-head competition than paid search. Your ads appear next to other search ads and organic listings, and are just a click away from competitive websites. The most effective approaches for grabbing attention in the headline require thinking through consumer’s motivations. Great headlines speak directly to their biases, fears or aspirations.

2. Emphasize benefits.
Ad copy should convey the end result that a searcher is looking for. What problem are you solving for a potential customer? If you’re selling a gadget that increases productivity because of your fantastic technology, focus on the productivity gains in your ad text rather than listing out technical features.

3. Differentiate your offering.
To attract attention to your product or service, include differentiators in the headline, ad text, or body of an ad. Good examples of differentiators are price, unique benefits, stats, and social proof. Consider these differentiators:

  • If you have case studies of customers experiencing X% better performance or Y% cost savings, call that out in the ad. Percentages will catch the searcher’s eye if most of the other ads are text.
  • Has your company won an award? Do you have a lot of impressive sounding customers? Including this in ad copy can lend a level of credibility to an ad that other advertisers cannot provide.


4. Address your audience’s pain points.
Get inside the mind of your audience and understand their pain points. Directly addressing pain points in your ad copy is a great way to grab a customer’s attention, engage them emotionally, and move them to action.

5. Include keywords where appropriate.
In many cases, including a keyword is a great way to increase click-through rates and conversions. Including the keyword in the ad reinforces the idea that your ad answers a searcher’s quest. It also bolds the copy. However, including keywords when it doesn’t naturally integrate with the ad copy, or when several advertisers in your vertical are already doing it, can be counter-productive.

6. Include a strong call to action.
A surprising number of ads don’t explicitly ask the searcher to do anything. Your ad needs to clearly suggest a next step for the searcher. If you’re offering a whitepaper, rather than closing the ad with, “Free whitepaper!” try including an ad with an explicit CTA like, “Download a Free Whitepaper Today!”

7. Continuously test your ad copy!
With so many different tactics and approaches to writing ad text, the only way to know which are successful is to test, test and test some more. If you don’t test many various possible ads on a regular basis, it’s likely that your click-through and conversion rates could be higher.

For additional best practices and tips for optimizing your ad creative, visit the Boost Knowledge base here to learn more.

About the Author


sarah

Sarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston magazine, The Improper Bostonian and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running and yoga.

About Boost Media


Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.

Click here to schedule a free demo of the Creative Optimization platform today.

This blog post ran as a news article on Inside Facebook yesterday. You can read that article here.

With clear objectives laid out and an understanding of your target audience, Facebook represents a vast and truly global advertising opportunity. But getting the most out of your ad creative might require a little help. Marin Software works with some of the world’s most recognizable brands and Facebook advertisers, and has a deep understanding of what components make Facebook ads relevant, engaging, and ultimately successful.



Facebook ad creative



Creative Best Practices:

  • Ensure that your creative is relevant to the audience you are targeting. For example, if targeting recent graduates with travel ads, use pictures of smiling young travelers on a beach. This will build empathy with those who see your ad.
  • Use bold colors that stand out from Facebook’s blue color scheme. Why choose a light blue when you could attract more attention with a bright red or your brand’s color scheme?
  • Take advantage of Facebook’s social endorsement option. This type of ad will get more clicks by capitalizing on Facebook’s strengths of crowd wisdom, personal connections, and positive social pressures.
  • Make use of well-known brand imagery. Try prominently displaying your logo, mascot, or brand colors.
  • Creative rotation is key. Combat ad fatigue by swapping out old ads for new. We recommend using an automated creative rotation tool to keep things fresh and to capture as much of your target audience as possible.
  • Facebook offers a variety of advertising options including standard ads, page post ads, mobile app install ads, sponsored stories, etc. Try a blend of different ad formats for best results.
  • Try a Facebook promotion to reward users for interacting with your brand. Contests, giveaways, discounts, and coupons are all great options.


If you need some inspiration, reference your own Facebook experience and see what ads attract your attention and which ads you ignore. Here are some examples to get you started:



zipcar facebook ad creative



Brand: Zipcar

Targeting: Zipcar aced their targeting strategy when they showed this ad to a young professional who recently moved and is without a car. Zipcar knew they could find their audience on Facebook, and they selected their targeting criteria carefully to reach potential new customers.

Creative: The bright red car stands out and draws attention to the ad. Zipcar also does an excellent job of using their popular brand name. Their logo is visible both on and to the right of the car, and their snappy header references the brand as well.

Promotion: This ad increases the chances that people will click on it by offering something valuable to potential consumers: $50 in free driving.



amazon facebook ad creative



Brand: Amazon.com

Creative: Amazon.com is making the most of their popularity and brand with the ad creative above. The logo dominates the ad and the message is simple and concise, asking viewers to “Like” the Amazon.com Facebook page. This ties in well with their strategy of increasing awareness and driving Facebook fans.

Social Endorsement: This ad works because it uses the social power of Facebook to show which friends already “Like” the Amazon.com Facebook page. We trust our friend’s opinions and often have a lot in common with them; therefore we are more likely to click on ads with social endorsements than those without.

For more examples, be sure to download our Facebook white paper, “The Marketers’ Guide to Driving ROI from Facebook Advertising.”



Next Week: Stay tuned for more Facebook best practices in our weekly blog series! Next week we’ll discuss how advertisers can engage and retain existing Facebook fans.

BoostCTR Account Performance Grader

For many search marketers, identifying opportunities for optimization within paid search campaigns is challenging. Monitoring and maintaining top performing ad groups, keywords, and ads is a standard best practice; but as campaigns grow, keyword lists expand, and creative tests multiply, this approach fails to scale and provide incremental improvements in paid search performance. With so many optimization opportunities hidden in an ocean of data, how can search marketers give the required attention each campaign deserves? Where do you even start?

To help search marketers answer these questions, Marin Software is thrilled to announce our partnership with BoostCTR to offer a free paid search diagnostics tool that not only provides insight into account performance, but also opportunities for optimization. The Account Performance Grader is designed to analyze historical performance across keywords, ads, quality scores, and ad groups for AdWords and Bing Ads campaigns. Simply sign up and enter the required information to receive your customized report.

Among other best practice recommendations, this report will provide actionable insights for pausing poor performing keywords and ads, as well as reveal quality score trends that identify areas where keyword relevance can be improved. With the Account Performance Grader, search marketers can remove the guesswork out of campaign optimization and focus their time on more strategic, high impact tasks.

Sign up here and start optimizing your campaigns today!

Mouse Click

Before writing this post, I performed a few web searches to scout out my competition. Based on that research, there appears to be one thing that everyone agrees upon about increasing paid search click-through-rate (CTR), the benefits:

  • Increased Quality Score
  • Increased ad position
  • Lower cost-per-click


However, given the title of this post, I figured just about everyone has their quick ways for increasing CTR—and I was right. There’s about 20 “quick” ways to increase your CTR, but not all of them are quick. Create granular keyword groupings? Restructuring campaigns and resetting Quality Score is a long term strategy. Give something away for free? Let’s choose to ignore that one. Look for assisted conversions? I personally don’t enjoy swimming in an ocean of data. Include pricing? And if prices change, it’ll be a fun week. Though all of these tactics and more do plenty to increase CTR, my goal today is to present five ways search marketers can increase CTR without breaking a sweat.

1. Implement Ad Sitelinks

This is unanimously the number one way to quickly increase CTR. Sitelinks provides up to six additional deep links to specific and highly relevant content on your site. These links not only expand your search engine results page (SERP) real estate, but they also enable search marketers to point users towards high-value landing pages, such as form fills and store locators. Keep in mind that up to six links can be added per campaign, which was increased from four in 2011. So if you haven’t touched your sitelinks in a while, it’s time to go back and ensure you have six updated links available.

Google Ad Sitelinks Example


For more information on sitelinks and how to enable them, click here.

2. Pause Poor Performing Creative

Remember that creative test you were running way back when? Well it’s still running, and one or more of those creative is hurting the entire ad group. As you prioritize ad groups for CTR optimization, be sure to evaluate the performance of existing creative. Though some poor performing creative will be easier to spot than others, be sure to reach some level of statistical significance before cutting ties and pausing those creative. It’s important to remember that poor performing creative represent an opportunity cost. By weeding them out of your account, you can drive more traffic through more relevant and engaging creative.

For additional best practices on creative testing and optimization, click here.

3. Leverage Differentiating Text

There are so many elements search marketers can test when it comes to differentiating their creative from their competitors. Let’s use a short list with simple explanations:

  • Call-to-Action: a staple for all advertisers, a simple, yet strong call-to-action encourages users to engage with a purpose. For example, “Register for free today!” or “Shop early and save”.
  • Unique Selling Point: incorporating free shipping, price match guarantees, promotions, and other unique selling points into creative not only sets you apart from competitors, but makes your creative that much more compelling.
  • Numbers and Figures: to break the repetitiveness of words and sentences, use numbers and figures (i.e. &, ®, ™) as an effective way to bring attention to creative.
  • Display URLs: there are a number of ways to arrange your display URL and incorporate keywords into them to increase relevance. For example, “keyword.example.com” or “example.com/category/keyword”. However, keep in mind that some users copy and paste display URLs into the navigation bar, so be prepared with a redirect or an effective 404 page.


4. Mine for Negative Keywords

Most search marketers know how to mine for negative keywords, but the tune changes when discussing how often. Generating a search query report is simple; with some enterprise class solutions generating them automatically. Identify keywords that have received impressions, but very few clicks. But also take note of irrelevant tokens that appear often in queries. For example, tokens like “free”, “reviews”, and “used” often appear alongside relevant keywords. Add these and those irrelevant keywords to eliminate unwanted impressions and clicks.

Negative Keywords Create A Virtuous Cycle


For more information on developing an effective negative keyword strategy, click here.

5. Use High Volume Tokens

Keyword tokens within creative will appear in bold whenever they match or closely match a user’s search query. To improve the relevancy of your creative to the keywords within an ad group, include tokens with high impression share within creative text. For example, if users are more likely to include “clothing” in their query, rather than “apparel”, generate creative that includes the token “clothing”, even if both tokens appear in multiple keywords within the same ad group. Using the most relevant tokens within your creative will increase the relevance for a larger share of impressions and help increase CTR.
Incrementally increasing CTR takes testing and continuous optimization of keywords and creative. This involves using both short term and long term strategies. Hopefully, with the tactics I’ve imparted, you can begin increasing your CTR today…quickly and sweatband-free.

Will Ferrell Sweatband

With January underway, most search marketers have already made their personal New Year resolutions. Whether it’s better health, spending more time with friends and family, or helping out in the community, we all have high hopes for 2013. For me, and many other search marketers, the motivation to do better each year defines the strategies I hope to execute on in 2013. It all starts with planning and creativity. After analyzing this past year’s performance and factoring in the objectives that have been set, three additional New Year resolutions made it on my list. The following are what I hope to do more of for my paid search program in 2013 and how I plan to get there.

1. Test More of Everything

Testing

My testing plans tend to go through cycles of high activity and mild dormancy. Building a test, analyzing results, implement the findings, and building the next test takes time and often loses steam when coupled with a busy schedule. This year, I’m going to test more and test often. This will include not just search landing pages, but also ad creative, conversion pages, and display banners. I’m working with my design team to create an optimization calendar that fits their bandwidth and allows me to prioritize tests across our multiple marketing channels. Testing more will be especially be critical this year as I look to grow leads incrementally without expanding budgets.

2. Re-Organize Messy Campaigns

Account Taxonomy

Though this resolution is much more time consuming and has more long term than short term implications, I believe that it will pay big dividends during critical seasonal periods of 2013. Many times search campaigns are built out with a structure that makes sense at that time. However, as campaigns mature and outgrow that structure, they no longer perform at optimal levels. Aggressive keyword expansion can lead to less relevant creative; and less aggressive negative keyword expansion can result in unwanted clicks. On top of that, as Google and Bing come out with new features and functionality, the account structure may become dated and less productive.

This year, I’m reviewing the structure of my campaigns and groups. Groups that achieved lower than average click-through rates (CTR) in 2012 will be split out into more granular ones. Since keywords under this new structure will vary less within any one group, I can then generate highly relevant creative and leverage more specific landing pages in hopes of increasing Quality Score, CTR, and conversion rate.

3. Prioritize Creative Optimization

AB Landing Page Testing

I've talked about this particular resolution in my previous articles, yet it always seems to fall lower in the pecking order of my daily optimization efforts. Especially among small to medium sized businesses where budgets are tight, creative testing and optimization is critical to incremental growth and improvements in overall paid search performance. In fact, all three of my resolutions for 2013 fall into the category of maximizing performance without increasing budgets. Splitting keywords out into more granular groups will require continuous testing to increase relevance and improve creative performance. To capitalize on the largest revenue opportunities, I’ll prioritize my optimization efforts to groups with high traffic volume, but poor performance. This is likely where I’ll get the most return on my time spent optimizing creative.

The key this New Year is building on the momentum from 2012. There are plenty of new publisher features and tools like remarketing and Product Listing Ads out there to try. Regardless, I've decided to rely on these three basic optimization strategies—aligning them with my marketing objectives—to improve my paid search program and increase conversions in 2013.

Defining Ad Blindness and Ad Fatigue

Facebook ads are delivered more frequently now across what are becoming smaller target audience segments. As a result, when your ads go unchanged, your Facebook audience begins ignoring your ads and at a very rapid rate. They become “blind” to the constant barrage of a static visual input. This ad blindness is further compounded by Facebook’s preference to deliver ads that are expected to perform well from a click-through-rate (CTR) perspective. As your ads’ CTR drop due to ad blindness, Facebook lets them participate in fewer auctions, and as a result, your overall impression volume drops. This is what’s known as ad fatigue.

To combat ad blindness and ad fatigue, Facebook advertisers need to generate engaging ads, monitor click metrics and continuously test and rotate new ads. Leverage these three best practices as you optimize your Facebook ads and, with the right tools in place, they’ll go a long way towards making Facebook ads deliver profitable returns for your business.

1. Generate Engaging Ads

With all the social content on Facebook today and because a single ad can be served to the same user multiple times a day, it doesn’t take very long for ad blindness to set in. Your ads need to stand out and quickly engage your audience’s attention. Unique value propositions, differentiations and calls to action are all important to your ad copy. However, it’s the images you select that can be the difference between the onset of ad blindness and a click-through.

Facebook Ad Red Border Example

The most successful Facebook ads utilize engaging and colorful images. Adding a red, yellow or orange border to your images creates contrast against Facebook’s blue and white interface, and is an effective way to draw attention to your ads. Keep in mind that many successful Facebook ads aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing; rather they do a great job of grabbing attention and engaging your audience. These images can range from happy people and easily identifiable logos to plain text overlaid on a colorful gradient background.

2. Continuously Test and Rotate

With all the images available at your disposal, continuously testing a variety of ads to the same audience can help you hone in on the most impactful image for a particular message and audience segment. Keep in mind that even a “perfect” Facebook ad is vulnerable to ad blindness and ad fatigue. When optimizing, the goal shouldn’t be to find the best performing ad; rather it should be to find the type of ad that performs the best. This is only possible if you’re always testing, rotating and measuring the performance of new ads.

3. Monitor Click Metrics

In order to proactively combat ad blindness and ad fatigue rotate ads on a regular basis, but also focus on decreases in impressions, clicks and CTR. These three metrics can expose ads that might begin to suffer from ad blindness (decreases in clicks or CTR) or are already suffering from ad fatigue (decreases in impressions).

Marin Facebook Dynamic Ad Rotation UI













































Set up automated reports and alerts across all of your active Facebook ads to warn you of large decreases in impressions, clicks or CTR. For example, if an ad experiences a 30% decrease in impressions per day after three days of going live, it’s time to rotate in a new ad. If impressions have remained consistent over the last three days, but CTR has dropped 15% each day, consider generating a new ad. Enterprise-class solutions, like Marin Software, can dynamically rotate images, headlines and body text when impressions, clicks and CTR drop below custom thresholds.

From selecting creative elements for testing to reaching statistical significance, this four part blog series reviews basic and advanced tips for conducting a successful creative test. Last week, we discussed how to prioritize tests based on return and the importance of limiting test elements. Today, in the final part of this four part series, we’ll walk through campaign rotation settings and the importance of implementing test tracking and reaching statistical significance.

Check Campaign Rotation Settings

Ensuring even creative rotation is one of the most commonly overlooked steps when implementing a creative test. Google offers three creative rotation settings: optimize for clicks, optimize for conversions and rotate evenly. Optimizing for clicks is the default setting, but does not promote a fair test since creative that provide more clicks, are displayed more often. Opting to rotate evenly results in a fair and more statistically significant test, as each creative receives an even number of impressions. This setting also favors the utilization of key performance indicators (KPI) outside of clicks and conversions, such as conversions per impression or return on ad spend (ROAS), to determine top performing creative.

AdWords Campaign Rotation Settings

















Keep in mind that Google campaigns set to rotate creative evenly will only do so for 90 days after the last creative was enabled or edited (unless opted-out of this functionality). After this 90-day period, creative will automatically optimize for clicks. This shift in rotation setting occurs regardless of whether or not statistical significance has been reached within the test. Focusing on higher volume groups will help to reach significance within the rotation period. Pausing poor performing creative and generating new creative for testing will reset this 90-day clock.

Implement Tracking Before Each Test

Day-to-day campaign management and optimization has a tendency to overshadow ongoing creative tests. Once a new test has been launched, it is critical to take note and track the where and when of each new creative. Where in the account is the creative being tested? And when was the creative activated?

Marin AB Test Tracking



















With larger scale accounts, locating old creative tests can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Taking note of when the account, campaign and group a new creative was added can mean the difference between a successful test and one that never happened.

Reaching statistical significance in a creative test can take days, weeks and sometimes months. Even for high volume groups that reach significance faster, knowing when a new creative was added defines the date range used for reporting and analysis. In addition, low-volume groups that utilize longer date ranges are more susceptible to Google’s 90-day rotation functionality and thus require more attention. Knowing when the 90-day rotation period is nearing its end means tracking when a creative test started.

Reach Statistical Significance and Stop

Online marketers often end creative tests too early or let them run for too long. Determining a winning creative through statistical significance requires patience, and is one of the most difficult steps in a successful creative test. Achieving statistical significance leaves little doubt that a new creative outperforms the other creative in the group.

Prior to calculating significance, a KPI such as conversions per impression, CTR, conversion rate or ROAS should be selected for evaluating the performance of each creative. By definition, creative performance is statistically significant if it is unlikely to have occurred by chance. To calculate this, many creative testing tools utilize a Student’s T-Test with a user-defined confidence level. This test determines the likelihood that the difference between a single creative and the average of all creative in the group, has not occurred by chance. A confidence level between 80% and 99% is standard, but keep in mind that low-volume groups do not support high-confidence levels and are not likely to achieve statistical significance as fast as high-volume groups.

In Conclusion

Search marketers are constantly searching for ways to find and engage their target audience. No optimization strategy is more central to accomplishing this goal than creative testing. Continuously testing to find more relevant and more compelling creative serves to not only increase CTR and Quality Score, but decrease costs and drive more revenue.

When implementing creative tests, search marketers must remain disciplined at every step. New creative must remain focused and relevant. Tests must be prioritized, tracked and statistically significant. Adhering to best practices and avoiding common pitfalls will help ensure that new iterations of creative will incrementally improve account performance. Though search marketers cannot guarantee that all creative tests will be successful, they can guarantee that all creative tests have been set up for success.



Download The Search Marketers Guide to Creative Testing and Optimization for additional best practices and two case studies from BoostCTR on how they successfully test and optimize creative.

From selecting creative elements for testing to reaching statistical significance, this four part blog series reviews basic and advanced tips for conducting a successful creative test. Last week, we discussed how to prioritize and test keyword tokens and leverage dynamic keyword insertion to increase creative relevancy. Today, in part three of this four part series, we’ll walk through how to prioritize tests based on return and the importance of limiting test elements.

Prioritize Tests Based On Return

As paid search programs grow, it becomes increasingly challenging to implement and manage creative tests across all groups within an account. To optimize creative at scale, prioritize tests to focus on groups with the most potential to shift overall account performance. These groups are characterized by a high share of impressions, clicks or conversions within an account.

Due to limited resources, our fictional retailer, PowPow Sports, decided to only test creative in two of the groups within their account. Group A received 10,000 impressions per week, while group B received 1,000. Each test resulted in equal improvements in performance within its respective group. The table below highlights the improvements in group performance after creative testing and highlights the potential performance of another, untested Other group.

Prioritize Creative Tests Based on Return















This example simplifies a common challenge where groups with little to no volume are prioritized over Other, higher volume groups. Though both groups benefited from a creative test, group A experienced a greater increase in clicks and conversions. Each test took the same amount of time to implement, but one resulted in a greater revenue return on time investment. Prioritizing creative tests for high volume groups has the greatest potential for incremental improvements in overall account performance.

Limit Test Elements

A new creative might be subject to one or many test elements. It can be triggered by a single set or multiple sets of keyword tokens. And it might share impressions with another or many other creative within the group. Without controlling these variables, it becomes difficult to reach statistical significance and to determine what factors contributed towards a successful or unsuccessful creative test.

Limiting the number of elements within a creative test makes it easier to identify why one creative performed better than another. For example, assume that PowPow Sports is testing two new creative. One tests a free shipping offer, creative B, and the other tests several formatting and language elements, creative C. Even with improved performance on the new creative, it would be unclear as to which test element in creative C contributed to its success. Testing each element one at a time will better determine its individual impact on creative performance.



Good Test

Tests a single element in Description Line 2

A B

Shop PowPow Sports Original
Shop PowPow Sports Good













Bad Test

Tests too many elements across the entire creative

A C

Shop PowPow Sports Original
Shop PowPow Sports Bad













To promote an optimal creative testing environment, keep keyword lists concise when building out new campaigns and groups. Groups that contain a small set of highly granular keywords allow the creative within that group to focus on a small set of tokens. Rather than having to test tokens to improve relevancy, creative within these groups can test compelling offers and calls-to-action that drive greater increases in CTR and conversion rate.

The rate at which a creative test reaches statistical significance is associated with the number of creative within the group. Testing a large number of creative requires a large number of impressions. With smaller, low volume groups, this requirement becomes an issue. For a group that receives only 1,000 total monthly impressions, testing ten creative variations might take several months to reach statistical significance.

For larger, high volume groups, reaching statistical significance is less of a concern. However, the opportunity cost of running on underperforming creative must be monitored much more closely. Underperforming creative within these groups accrue a high volume of impressions that are better served on top performing creative, and should be paused once statistical significance is reached.

To Be Continued

Adhering to best practices and avoiding common pitfalls will help ensure that new iterations of creative will incrementally improve account performance. Though search marketers cannot guarantee that all creative tests will be successful, they can guarantee that all creative tests have been set up for success. In part four of this series, we’ll review three additional best practices for creative optimization.



Download The Search Marketers Guide to Creative Testing and Optimization for additional best practices and two case studies from BoostCTR on how they successfully test and optimize creative.

From selecting creative elements for testing to reaching statistical significance, this four part blog series reviews basic and advanced tips for conducting a successful creative test. Last week, we discussed how to select an appropriate test, maintain keyword relevance and limit opportunity costs. Today, in part two of this four part series, we’ll take a look at how to prioritize and test keyword tokens and leverage dynamic keyword insertion to increase creative relevancy.

Test Keyword Tokens

Keyword tokens within a creative will appear in bold whenever they match or closely match a user’s search query. Tokens are the individual terms that make up a keyword. For example, the keyword “mens hiking backpacks” contains three tokens: “mens”, “hiking” and “backpacks”. Improve the relevancy of your creative to your keywords by testing tokens. Discovering the most relevant tokens promotes higher Quality Scores by increasing CTR.

A highly granular group might only contain keyword variations using the three tokens “mens”, “hiking” and “backpacks”. Generating creative that includes these tokens is rather trivial. Conversely, a very general group might support more tokens and additional keyword variations. Consider the search results below, where each creative utilizes a different set of the search query’s tokens. A group might contain keyword variations of “mens hiking backpacks”, “mens rucksacks” and “mens bags”. Though all three keywords share similarities, generating a relevant creative for this group proves to be a difficult task. Opting to include “rucksacks” rather than “backpacks” makes the creative less relevant to consumers searching for backpacks. Not including “mens” makes the creative less relevant to male consumers. Without splitting these keyword variations out into individual groups, deciding which tokens to include will require thorough testing.

Testing Tokens Search Results

































To prioritize your test variables, pay close attention to the impression share of each token within the group. For instance, assume keywords that contain the token “backpacks” account for 90% of the total group impressions and keywords that contain the token “packs” account for 20% of the total group impressions. Because searchers are more likely to include “backpacks” in their query, generating a creative that includes “backpacks” will likely results in a greater overall CTR than a creative that includes “packs”.

Leverage Dynamic Keyword Insertion

One of the easiest ways to incorporate keyword tokens within creative is through the use of dynamic keyword insertion. Inserting {keyword:default text} into the headline, description line or display URL dynamically populates the creative to include the keyword that triggered the creative. In Google, modifying the keyword insertion parameter controls which tokens in the keyword are capitalized. For both publishers, if the inserted keyword causes the creative to exceed the character limitations, the default text is used instead. For example:



Creative:

Dynamic Keyword Insertion Default













Inside Limit: Keyword: [red hiking boots]

Dynamic Keyword Insertion Inside Limit













Outside Limit: Keyword: [mountain hiking boots]

Dynamic Keyword Insertion Outside Limit











Using dynamic keyword insertion multiple times in a single creative is a quick and effective way to increase relevancy. However, keep in mind that not all keywords make grammatical sense when inserted into a creative. Take the headline “Shop {KeyWord: Hiking Boots}” for example. If the keyword triggering the creative was “hiking boot”, the headline would read “Shop Hiking Boot”. Even a simple keyword variation such as this can result in an awkward-sounding creative. Granular and organized groups with well-written creative will benefit most from dynamic keyword insertion—resulting in increasing CTRs and Quality Scores.

To Be Continued

Adhering to best practices and avoiding common pitfalls will help ensure that new iterations of creative will incrementally improve account performance. Though search marketers cannot guarantee that all creative tests will be successful, they can guarantee that all creative tests have been set up for success. In part three of this series, we’ll review two additional best practices for creative optimization.



Download The Search Marketers Guide to Creative Testing and Optimization for additional best practices and two case studies from BoostCTR on how they successfully test and optimize creative.

In a search landscape where millions of keywords define intent, generating the most compelling creative can prove to be a daunting task. Understanding your audience and formulating a message might be easy but packaging up that message within the narrow limits of a creative is far from it. For paid search programs, big and small, creative optimization remains the single most impactful strategy for increasing traffic, lowering costs and acquiring more revenue.

From selecting creative elements for testing to reaching statistical significance, this four part blog series will review basic and advanced tips for conducting a successful creative test. Novice and advanced testers will gain a complete understanding of how to generate, analyze and iterate on new creative to maximize performance across paid search programs. Furthermore, they will be equipped with the best practices necessary to make the implementation of a disciplined and statistically significant creative test a reality. Today, in part one of this four part series, we’ll review how to select an appropriate test, maintain keyword relevance and limit opportunity costs.

Select an Appropriate Test

All creative tests begin with a choice, and marketers are subject to a plethora of test elements to choose from. Even at a basic level, creative can be characterized by and tested with functional, emotional or promotional qualities. Functional creative focus on the product or service and provide information such as pricing or features. Emotional creative pull at metaphoric heart strings and attempt to form a connection between the customer and the product or service. Promotional creative highlight discounts and evoke a sense of urgency. The table below lists common elements that helps define how a creative is characterized. Before engaging in creative testing, it is important to identify these elements and understand the benefits each one provides.

Creative Testing Elements

















Maintain Keyword Relevance

Testing too many different elements can lead to a sacrifice in relevancy. For instance, removing keywords in favor of testing pricing or unique selling propositions may correspond to drops in Quality Score, resulting in increased cost-per-clicks (CPCs) and decreased CTRs. When testing creative, the objective is to generate and test compelling creative while maintaining keyword-to-creative relevancy.

Let us use PowPow Sports, a fictional sporting goods retailer, as an example. A group containing variations of the keyword “mens hiking backpacks” has been set up to test between functional and promotional creative. Creative A describes various hiking backpacks for men, while creative B highlights a free-shipping offer during Father’s Day weekend.

A.

Hiking Backpacks - A









B.

Hiking Backpacks - B









C.

Hiking Backpacks - C









Because creative B only utilizes the phrase “mens hiking backpacks” once, it has become less relevant to the keywords within the group. Successful creative utilize compelling language, while remaining highly relevant to the user’s search query. A more effective creative C incorporates the free-shipping offer, which influences conversion, without sacrificing occurrences of the phrase “mens hiking backpacks”, which influences click.

Limit Opportunity Costs

Opportunity cost is the cost of any activity measured in terms of the value of forgoing the next best alternative. To better understand this, let us assume that our fictional sporting-goods retailer, PowPow Sports, has decided to generate and test three creative: A, B and C. The table below compares the performance of each creative, at statistical significance.

Opportunity Cost Summary











Let us assume PowPow Sports decides to pause creative B, and continue testing creative A and C. Assuming that performance remains consistent, the opportunity cost of this activity, as well as testing creative B against creative C, is highlighted in the table below.

Opportunity Cost A-C











In continuing to test creative A, even after achieving statistical significance, PowPow Sports has lost out on 100 clicks, five conversions and $375 in revenue. This is because half the available impressions were allocated to the under-performing creative A, rather than all the available impressions being allocated to just creative C.

When testing creative, the adverse effects of opportunity cost are twofold. One, if you do not test at all, you forgo the benefits of running on better performing creative. But marketers also make a common mistake when testing – continuing to test after statistical significance has been reached. This results in the missed opportunity to simply run on the better performing creative. In our example, PowPow Sports should have paused creative A and B, leaving 100% of the impression share to creative C.

To Be Continued

Search marketers are constantly exploring ways to find and engage their target audience. No optimization strategy is more central to accomplishing this goal than creative testing. Continuously testing to find more relevant and more compelling creative serves to not only increase CTR and Quality Score, but decrease costs and drive more revenue.

Adhering to best practices and avoiding common pitfalls will help ensure that new iterations of creative will incrementally improve account performance. Though search marketers cannot guarantee that all creative tests will be successful, they can guarantee that all creative tests have been set up for success. In part two of this series, we’ll review two additional best practices for creative optimization.



Download The Search Marketers Guide to Creative Testing and Optimization for additional best practices and two case studies from BoostCTR on how they successfully test and optimize creative.

As keyword lists expand, they sometimes out-grow the groups that were initially created to contain them. For example, a group may have started out with a single keyword, “running shoes”. However, after some time and a little keyword expansion, that same group now contains the keywords “running shoes”, “womens running shoes”, “jogging shoes” and “black running shoes”, among others. The original creative that were generated to match “running shoes” queries are now less relevant to the newly expanded keywords. As a result, the overall click-through rate (CTR) of this group has declined. This decline in group CTR, as keyword count increases, leads to a useful metric that should be considered when optimizing creative: keywords per group.

Groups with a higher number of keywords often have lower CTRs and lower Quality Scores than groups with a concise and focused set of keywords. This is because the creative within densely populated groups can only leverage a subset of its keyword’s tokens for maintaining relevance. In our example above, the creative leveraged the token “running” rather than “jogging” to maintain relevance to “running shoes” queries.

To identify and prioritize groups for creative optimization, generate a data table containing the number of keywords, CTR and cost of each group in the account.

Keywords Per Group Data Table















Then create a bubble chart to plot the relationship between the three metrics.

Keywords Per Group Bubble Chart



























Take note of the larger circles in the lower right hand corner of the bubble chart. These groups should be prioritized for optimization. Locate and break out less relevant keywords within these groups into new groups that contain more relevant creative. In our example, “jogging shoes” should be split out into a Jogging Shoes group with creative that utilize the term “jogging” rather than “running”. Executing on these best practices will lead to improvements in CTR and Quality Score.

Keep in mind that Quality Score will reset for the keywords that are split out into new groups. Allow an initial burn-in period for these new keywords to establish their own Quality Score before evaluating performance. As a best practice, check the status of each keyword and ensure that its bid is set above the first page minimum. Give these bids an initial boost to increase ad position. A higher ad position promotes a higher CTR, which remains a significant factor in improving Quality Score.

To help generate the data table and bubble chart above, Marin users can leverage the Active Keywords metric under the Advanced group column category. Be sure to tag the split keywords and affected groups with Dimensions to monitor performance. Finally, don’t forget to optimize the newly created groups; setting appropriate keyword bids, generating relevant creative and researching negative keywords are just a few strategies to in mind.

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