Facebook

It’s no secret that the social advertising ecosystem (and the rest of the world) looks much different than it did just a few years ago. We know that many advertisers are searching for direction as they learn to navigate the constantly evolving landscape. 

Explaining the Ad Auction and Delivery System

Understanding how the Facebook ad auction works is the first step to adaptation. The ad auction formula consists of components that advertisers can leverage to increase their ad performance in the auction. The formula itself is a linear relationship between all components, making it easier to understand and predict how each variable will affect outcomes.

The Ad Auction

When advertisers create ads, they tell us who they want to show their ads to by defining a target audience. A person can fall into multiple target audiences. For example, one advertiser targets women who like skiing, while another advertiser targets all skiers who live in California. The same person (in this case, a female skier who lives in California) could fall into the target audience of both advertisers. When there's an opportunity to show someone an ad, the ads with a target audience that the person belongs to are eligible to compete in the auction.

To ensure that the winning ad maximizes value for both people and businesses, the winner of the auction is the ad with the highest total value. The total value is a combination of 3 major factors connected by the formula below:

  • Bid: The bid placed by an advertiser for that ad (in other words, what the advertiser is willing to pay to achieve their desired outcome).
  • Estimated action rates: An estimate of whether a particular person engages with or converts from a particular ad (in other words, the probability that showing an ad to a person leads to that desired outcome of the advertiser).
  • Ad quality: A measure of the quality of an ad as determined from many sources including feedback from people viewing or hiding the ad and and assessments of low-quality attributes in the ad, such as withholding information, sensationalized language and engagement bait.

Together, estimated action rates and ad quality measure ad relevance. Because these are components of the auction, an ad that’s more relevant to a person could win an auction against ads with higher bids.

The Ad Delivery System

Because the ad auction and ad delivery system behave like a supply-and-demand system, there are seasonal fluctuations and ecosystem changes that will affect the outcomes and costs of ad performance. There are two main causes of CPM fluctuations you may have experienced before:

  • Seasonal and Economic events:  The impact of seasonal and economic events on advertiser cost can be represented by supply and demand. Supply and demand typically have an inverse relationship, but multiple simultaneous forces on supply and demand can create different outcomes. Considering the impacts of seasonality and economic events in terms of supply and demand can help advertisers predict how this will translate into the ad auction. The examples provided by Meta below illustrate the expected impact of different macroeconomic variables and seasonality on the ad delivery system.

A positive economic event illustrates the typical inverse relationship between supply and demand. When supply (usership and user behavior) remains constant but we see advertisers competing for user attention by raising budgets, this leads to a flat level of impressions and thereby a higher cost per impression (impacting CPMs).

A relatable example of seasonality for advertisers is the holiday season. During this time, we see both supply and demand move as users are more actively searching for gifts to purchase, while advertisers are also spending more to capture this increased intent. In this example, purchases are likely to increase while CPAs remain constant.

A negative economic event in this example moves both the supply and demand curves. If users are spending more time on Facebook, the supply rises. But concerned advertisers also typically pull back spend during a negative economic event, pushing down demand. This resulted in increased impressions at a lower cost per impression, and subsequently lower CPM.

  • Effects on reporting due to user adoption of iOS tracking updates: With iOS 14.5+ adoption ramping up since July 2021, there has been an impact on advertising delivery and reporting, and performance fluctuations. While these effects have been widely felt, it’s important to recognize that these known reporting gaps do not mean our platform is not driving real business value for advertisers, or that your campaigns are not resulting in a purchase or major event. These changes just make it harder for us to measure the outcome. After extensive internal analysis, we’re able to publicly share that we now estimate - in aggregate - that we are currently underreporting iOS web conversions by approximately 8%, which is down from the 15% estimate we reported last September.

In part two of our collaboration, we’ll apply these concepts to strategies advertisers can use to structure for scale. Visit Meta for Business, for more information on the ad auction and delivery system. 

Influencer marketing, which includes businesses collaborating with influencers, is a powerful strategy for brands to broaden their social media reach. It's growing in popularity– over three-quarters of US marketers will employ influencer marketing in 2022. Influencer marketing initiatives are not one-size-fits-all. Much depends on your specialty, goals, and the pool of influencers in your audience. With the right strategy and approach, influencers can help any business reach its marketing objectives.

What exactly is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a social media marketing strategy in which companies collaborate with influencers (also called content creators) to promote a product, service, or brand. The influencer creates and distributes material about the brand or product, and the business compensates them with cash, free items, or both. Typically, businesses will supply the influencer with whatever product they will be featuring on their platform. To guarantee the influencer will post about your product, you’ll have to pay according to their sponsorship rate sheet. Reach, traffic, engagement, and conversions are the most common influencer marketing KPIs.

The first type of influencer marketing was celebrity endorsements. Social media content creators with highly engaged specialized audiences may now provide more value to marketers than superstars with large but generic followings. This is because social followers find social content producers relevant, trust their suggestions, and are committed to exhibiting their support.

How to plan an influencer marketing campaign

Here are the stages to launching a successful influencer program for your company.

Establish your objective

Like any effective marketing plan, the first step is to define your objectives. Defining your goals for influencer marketing can help you develop a practical approach throughout your campaign. It will also assist you in understanding the metrics you should follow to determine the effectiveness of your campaign.

Below are some good influencer marketing objectives to consider:

  • Boosting brand recognition
  • Increasing your fan base
  • Raising engagement and generating leads
  • Increasing your sales and conversions
  • Boosting brand loyalty
  • Link building for SEO
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Understand who you're attempting to reach

A successful influencer marketing strategy requires reaching the right people with the appropriate tools and influencers at the right time. Create audience personas to better understand who you're attempting to target with your campaign. Outline specifics regarding your target audience, such as:

  • Chronological age
  • Optimal spending habits or comfort level (if you want to drive sales with your campaign)
  • Their pursuits
  • Geographic location
  • Where they spend their time online.

You have to know your target audience to know which influencers they engage with. The influencer must be relevant to your target audience– otherwise, you’re throwing money down the drain. 

Recognize the guidelines

Before implementing an influencer marketing plan, you must first grasp the guidelines. The Federal Trade Commission establishes those rules in the United States. Transparency is key here. Influencers must also be aware of sponsored content requirements, and they frequently fail to do so. Or the influencer may make the revelation of their sponsorship delicate and partly buried. The restrictions for advertising vary widely by nation, so verify them. The sponsorship must be disclosed to the audience with clarity. Social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube are simplifying this by adding features that identify a sponsored post as such. 

Consider the three Rs of power

These three factors determine influence:

Relevance

The appropriate influencer for your campaign shares content about your industry and company, and their target audience must be similar to yours.

Reach 

Reach is the number of individuals who could see your material through the influencer's audience base.

Resonance

The influencer's potential degree of engagement with an audience that resonates with your brand is referred to as resonance.

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Influencers to be considered

The key to a successful collaboration with influencers is trust. Whoever you collaborate with must have your audience's confidence and respect. Without authentic content, your influencer marketing campaign is unlikely to achieve the desired marketing objectives.

The best approach to tell if a prospective influencer is trustworthy is to look at their engagement and the feedback they already receive from their followers in the form of comments, direct messages, likes, and shares. Socialblade is a great tool for doing a closer analysis of each influencer with which you are considering collaboration.

Conduct your research

Your study does not end with creating a shortlist. Before signing any contracts, there are a few more steps to solidify the success of your campaign. Determine how frequently your potential influencer uploads paid material. If they share a lot of sponsored posts, their engagement rate may be lower than what you would like. 5% engagement is generally considered healthy, so keep that in mind as a general rule of thumb. 

Keep the influencer's posting schedule in mind when considering the content you'll want the influencer to share. Any influencer strategic about their approach is very cautious about what promote and when. So if you ask them to share too many pieces of promotional content in a short period, the influencer will reject your offer (or their compensation expectations will increase dramatically).

Reach out privately 

Invading a potential influencer's DMs and asking for collaboration right off the bat may not be the best method to start a relationship. It can sometimes be perceived as too forward and even a bit tacky, so do your best to navigate the start of the connection with care and professionalism. Don't get me wrong: it may be effective to reach out cold, but there are other communication methods for planting seeds that lead to longer-lasting partnerships. Influencers accustomed to working with brands often list an email in their bio for this purpose. Start by engaging with the influencer’s content...Enter their direct messages after establishing an authentic interest in them as an individual and an interest in supporting their content.

Create great content in collaboration with your influencer

A social media influencer who has worked hard to build their brand would refuse any offer that jeopardizes their integrity. So it's better to offer some rules/guidelines on what you want but leave the actual content creation process to them. Content creators know what their audiences resonate with. They can also spot what will be an immediate turnoff. Best practices are to offer talking points and guidelines that the influencer can work into their native content however they see fit.

Analyze your outcomes

When you begin your influencer marketing campaign, the number of likes and comments on your branded content may overwhelm you, especially if your influencer has a significant following. These are vanity metrics that don't accomplish anything for your brand. You must calculate your actual return on investment (ROI) to determine the value of your campaign.

Even though users who engage with the sponsored content might not purchase right away, they are now aware of your brand and have started their journey to becoming a customer. Getting them to follow you or visit your website opens that door.

And even if they don't follow your account, your product will come to mind when a need arises. They can revisit the influencer's post to find the link and make a purchase. That's the power of influencer marketing-- an influencer's audience trusts their recommendations. If a follower needs something, they use the influencer's recommendations to make their purchasing decisions.

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After running a successful sponsorship, consider pulling the influencer's content and posting it to your own account as a paid ad. This maximizes the value and ROI of the partnership and allows you to reach segments of your target audience that are not already following the influencer, but that would still benefit from the influencer's content.

If you’ve been considering implementing Meta’s Conversions API, there’s no time like the present. Meta is pushing advertisers to integrate Conversions API as a more robust tracking product than the existing Meta Pixel. While we won’t rehash the logistics associated with iOS 14, Conversions API is now the gold standard of tracking on Facebook (and beyond).

For those newer to Conversions API (CAPI), in essence it’s a server to server tracking system that works in conjunction (for now) with the Meta Pixel to improve data quality and campaign performance. Per Meta, CAPI was built to “honor people’s privacy and tracking preferences” while giving marketers a solution to share their internal data to improve advertising efficacy. It’s a win-win for both advertisers and platform users. But as with any new publisher solution, advertisers can be slow to adopt until they absolutely need to. 

Part of this hesitation likely comes from confusion around the options for CAPI implementation, of which there are several that vary in accessibility and cost. Meta has recently introduced some easier options for implementing such as CAPI Gateway and Commerce Platform Integration. You can find the best solution for your advertiser here.

Even considering the potential challenges in setup, CAPI is still undeniably part of the future of advertiser tracking and Meta’s top solution for performance optimization and measurement. There are many reasons we recommend that our social advertisers use Conversions API, but these are at the top of our list:

Want to Test on Facebook? You’ll Need CAPI  

  • Meta is developing measurement and privacy enhancing tools that will be increasingly dependent on Conversions API. In case you missed it, Conversion Lift testing on Facebook now requires CAPI. It won’t be the last tool to transition to this requirement either. Per Meta, “we expect all advancement in our measurement solutions and signal improvement in the next several years to require CAPI.” Proactive implementation will lead to a seamless transition into the future of testing on Meta platforms.

You Can Use Lower Funnel Data to Optimize Ad Targeting

  • Those who have worked with ads on Facebook pre-CAPI know the limitations of data that can be captured by the Pixel well. One of the major perks of Conversions API is the ability to send a wider array of data than the pixel, such as subscriptions, converted leads, and a variety of other custom events that happen post-purchase. This is especially impactful for ecommerce and lead generation advertisers, as this data can be used to better optimize your ads. 

Better Data, Better Measurement, Better Results

  • Advertisers have been asking for a solution to reduced Pixel effectiveness, and CAPI is that answer. Conversions API improves measurement and attribution across the full funnel, giving more visibility into the impact of digital advertising on cross channel results. Currently, users can see Pixel and Conversions API data in Meta Events Manager with aggregation in the Aggregated Events Measurement tab. 

Lead Quality Level Up

  • Lead generation advertisers know the struggle to obtain leads both in quality and quantity. By using a post conversion event with Conversions API, advertisers can factor in leads that have actually converted into a sale/subscription/etc to campaign optimization. CAPI gives advertisers the ability to use this additional converted lead data to improve the overall lead quality from their campaigns. Read a success story here!

Supercharge Retargeting and Custom Audience Effectiveness with CAPI

  •  + Marin Tracker Conversions API enables better retargeting with two key components: Cross channel custom audiences and improved identity matching. Cross channel custom audiences are custom audiences that correspond with an action taken on the advertiser’s website or other sources. Improved identity matching is the ability to send hashed customer information along with Conversions API events to help attribute more conversions.

Integrating Marin Tracker with Conversions API means even better visibility into cross channel conversions and the impact of your Meta advertising dollars. Marin Tracker comes with an “always on” dashboard with near real time data, simple tracking link creation, attributes user behavior across the customer journey on mobile and web, and more. Reach out to your Marin rep or schedule a demo with us to learn more!

It's no secret that users on social media are scrolling through their feeds for much more extended periods. In 2022, social commerce sales in the United States are expected to reach $45.74 billion, with more than half of the nation's adults purchasing directly on the social media platform of their choice. 

With such robust behavior data, brands must have an omnipresent presence across social media platforms to take advantage of these trends. Recent studies indicate that the majority of significant brands plan on increasing their social commerce investments in 2022.

Get a quick look into emerging social commerce trends for 2022 and how they can help you grow your brand's sales, marketing, and profits. Continue reading and discover key trends that have shaped social business over the past few years and what you should do in 2022. 

What Is Social Commerce?

Social commerce is a part of e-commerce and refers to consumers' shopping experience on a social network. In other words, social commerce is selling products through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

Social buying is a growing trend within the US and is becoming more popular worldwide. It's estimated that social commerce will grow to $79.64 billion by 2025 in the US. Although that may be a very healthy number for the market overall, marketers still have a long way ahead of them if they want to succeed on the individual brand level.

Brands can utilize various techniques in this space to take advantage of impulse purchase decisions and consumer FOMO. The major players in social media like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat have optimized the buying experience by reducing friction throughout the buyers' journey within the platform.

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Social Commerce Trends

One of the most inherent benefits of social media marketing is how quickly it can change and adapt to new consumer trends. Text-based updates have been replaced by more visual, transient content on social media platforms in the last two decades. Companies can draw on their strengths historically to determine how they approach social commerce now. Think of it as an opportunity to present the same brand messaging that has worked before in a new medium, like taking the headline of a billboard and turning it into a PPC ad. This transition from organic social media to social commerce ought to work much in the same way. 

For example, Instagram Shopping, Facebook Shops, and Pinterest Buyable Pins have all been updated in response to consumers’ want for quicker, easier purchase experiences. Snapchat is another platform taking steps to introduce social shopping trends to its 229 million users. Snapchat’s recent introduction of “lenses” allows users to read product descriptions, reviews, and specs.

Verbiage within the content (whether in video, audio, or written form) is often purchase-driven on social media now as well. Common phrases such as "swipe-up to purchase" or "click the link in the bio" make it easy for social media users to purchase the advertised items and services. Users have come to expect these captions or comments within brand messaging, as they reinforce the CTA (call to action) in another way and make the user’s most simple next step very clear.

A Shift in Marketing Strategies For Brands

Just like any other channel, the social shopping experience for each industry can vary quite a bit. Social commerce ads that promote athleisure clothing is very different from ads that promote electronics, for example. Take the time to do thorough competitive research for your social commerce strategy, just as you would for any other new medium.

With so much content available to consume, users are unlikely to engage with or pay attention to brand-generated content. Because of this, more brands are starting to understand the value of user-generated content, live stream shopping, chatbots and influencer marketing. This content is both user-friendly and approachable–the key being that UGC is humanizing your brand and building authenticity, much like a low-key testimonial. With such a shift in traditional content engagement, these organic opportunities should not be overlooked. They will play an important supporting role in your social commerce strategy.

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Social Commerce & the Importance of User Experience

E-commerce purchases are affected by the interaction a shopper has with the website. Merchants who run online stores have ultimate control and can often view direct actions when all purchases are taking place on site. Social commerce diversifies that shopping experience. The benefit of course is that this can increase the amount of revenue and number of sales overall, as a step is removed from the users’ conversion journey. The downside is that you may not have as much data or control as an advertiser that you would have on your own site or e-commerce shopping cart.

Keep in mind that the objective is digital convenience whenever looking at important decisions within the social commerce space. Brands that still use outdated business models with a long buyer journey and complicated purchase models will frustrate customers. The faster and more seamless the path is to checkout, the better your chance to capture more revenue. 

Another factor to consider is the fact that users' attention spans have fallen dramatically. This makes it even more critical for brands to optimize their user experience to gain more confidence and increase sales with as little work from the consumer as possible. Consider diversifying your purchase integrations to optimize this process fully. Plugins from tools like Shopify Pay, PayPal, Apple Pay, and more will yet again remove a step from users’ finishing their checkout.

Social Commerce Market Stats And Outlook

It's been fascinating watching how social trends have driven innovation in social networking beyond just communicating with friends or family. Over the last several years, legacy direct-to-consumer brands (DTC) have invested billions in paid social advertising to drive new revenue. Their success caused a flood of more unique, independent brands to follow suit…which made the competition for advertising slots that much more aggressive. This led to higher costs for advertisers and increased ad fatigue for social media users. Global advertising spend on social networks was 26% higher in the third quarter of 2021 than in 2020. In 2022, Insider Intelligence forecasts that US retail and social commerce sales will rise by 24.9% to $45.74 billion. Fashion categories, such as apparel and accessories remain the largest market for social commerce. However, other lifestyle brands wanting to market electronics or home decor are also doing incredibly well with social commerce campaigns. Brands that offer new and differentiated goods are best suited to social commerce. But if the patterned growth is any indication of the value still to come for advertisers…we recommend testing it out, regardless of what kind of DTC product you’re selling.

In Conclusion

Social commerce enables brands to develop frictionless shopping experiences and reach consumers in the most critical places. As social media continues to evolve in 2022 and beyond, brands will have more options to create social commerce experiences with potentially explosive growth. Brands with a proactive approach to moving to the next level should shift their marketing efforts and build trust with customers through social commerce implementation.

Publisher skill certifications are a great resource for seasoned experts and novices alike. Even though seasoned professionals might balk at the prospect of sitting through a certification course, we’ve found that there’s always something to learn in the constantly evolving advertising landscape. 

If you’re looking to level up your skills but don’t know where to start, we’re covering a few popular publisher certifications and our experts’ experiences with them.

Meta Blueprint Certifications

Known by advertising OGs as Facebook Blueprint Certifications, these certifications have undergone an evolution over the years. Meta has continued to expand their certification offerings to include Associate and Professional level specialty certifications in a variety of Meta-related niches. Even experienced marketers will find the content of the study guides and exams challenging - Meta makes you work for that digital badge. While their courses are free, the exams will set you back anywhere from $99-150 apiece. Their exams are also proctored either in person or online, a throwback to high school exam season for many of us.

Customer Engagement Manager Lauren Neels recently took the Meta Media Buyer Certification:

“I recently completed Facebook’s Blueprint Media Buyer Certification. It was a valuable supplement to my experience as a working media buyer in the social space. The exam was a bit challenging (I recommend studying even if you have experience with media buying on Facebook), but it’s a great way to solidify your skills and set yourself apart in the industry. Since the blueprint exam is challenging, this is a certification that really means something to potential employers.”

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Apple Search Ads

The Apple Search Ads Certification is undeniably the best way to learn the basics of Apple Search Ads. You’ll learn best practices about all aspects of running Search Ads and Search Tab Ads. Apple also regularly updates their certification as their products evolve and notifies previously certified users, so you never have to worry about being behind the curve! This certification is also free to all, you just need to log in with your Apple ID to get started. 

Here’s what our Customer Engagement Manager Kassi Hall had to say about the certification:

For the Apple Search Ads certification, I think they had a good blend of information within their certification. With this in mind, I think that this certification would be helpful to both a  digital marketing newcomer and a more seasoned veteran who may already know multiple platforms. Additionally, I think that the certification showed that their ads platform is intuitive and straightforward to use. Overall, I feel as though it was time well spent to complete a fairly short certification, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to get more familiar with Apple Search Ads or for anyone who is interested in testing out running some ads in this space.

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Snapchat 

Snapchat offers a robust library of courses and certifications for every skill level on the spectrum, aptly named Snap Focus. Their programs are very user friendly and some even offer hands-on exercises for those of us who learn best by doing. Unlike some other certifications out there, you don’t have to dedicate hours of time to completing a certification or course. Many are bite-sized for easy integration into your work day.

Sam Larson, our Social Product Manager at Marin, recently completed their Public Profiles for Business Certification:

“Most of Snapchat’s certifications are short enough to complete in a day or less, which makes them easy to fit into a busy work schedule. The concepts are presented in a way that’s easy to understand and put into practice. There are always new certifications and courses being released, so there’s always something new to learn for every skill level.”

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Marin Social

Our social certification covers our Marin Social platform in depth. You’ll learn everything from the basics of using our software to time saving tips and tricks. You can expect to find clear instruction and interactive exercises to make the most of your time. This certification is great for current users and new users since there is always something new to discover about Marin Social. 

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It seems that the Facebook Reels revolution is here to stay as Meta recently announced the expansion of Reels on Facebook globally. This announcement introduced new opportunities for creators to make money with their Reels and with that (of course) new ad placements for brands to leverage.

Instagram Reels ad placements have been around since Q2 2021 as an opportunity for brands to leverage their vertically-crafted creatives to a wider audience. The expansion of Reels to Facebook indicates Meta’s continued path down the road of video-focused experiences. 

This move won’t come as a surprise to advertisers. We’ve seen TikTok reach new heights in usership and revenue, YouTube has recently introduced YouTube Shorts with massive success, and both offer opportunities for creators to be compensated for their time and content. Meta is reading the room and following suit.

How to Use Facebook Reels

New product means new ad placement opportunities. In their announcement, they outline two new ad types that come with this launch: Overlay Ads and Full Screen Immersive Ads. We reached out to Facebook for more detail to share and received the following:

  • Overlay Ads appear directly on top of Facebook Reels content – enabling people to connect with brands uninterrupted within a Reel, while also allowing creators to earn a portion of the ad revenue. To start, Overlay Ads will be available in two formats: banner ads and sticker ads.
  • Banner ads render at the bottom of Facebook Reels content in the form of a single static image ad that can appear after 1 second of the Facebook Reel elapsing.
  • Sticker ads are compressed single static image ads that can be opted into and placed anywhere by a creator or partner within their Facebook Reel content. Sticker ads can also appear after 1 second of the Facebook Reel elapsing.
  • Overlay Ads are now available to all advertisers in the US, Canada, Mexico and India, and we hopes to bring this to more countries in the coming months. And once available, advertisers will be able opt-in to Overlay Ads by selecting ‘Facebook overlay ads in Reels’ under ‘Reels Overlay’ in Ads Manager Placements or via Automatic Placements.
  • Full screen immersive ads are 9x16 video ads that appear in between Reels. As with organic Reels content on Facebook, ads may be up to 30 seconds and people can comment, like, view, save, share and skip them.
  • We began testing full-screen immersive ads in between Facebook Reels in October of last year, and currently we are testing in US, India, Mexico, and Canada with a small percent of advertisers. Over the coming months, we will further expand this test to more advertisers and then move from a test towards a phased roll-out to all advertisers globally.

Examples of the new banner ads and sticker ads

Optimize Facebook Video

If you’re using Marin Social and would like to test Reels, you can access the new Reels placements by either:

  • Using Automatic Placements in campaigns built with Marin Social (after opting in within Facebook Ads Manager)
  • Building campaigns in Facebook with Reel placements, then importing them into Marin Social

If you want to see how your Reels are performing as compared with other creative, Marin Social makes it easy with our Charts feature. Here advertisers can see their best or worst performing ads by a variety of metrics at the touch of a button. Even better, our charts can be shared externally with a simple link for easy reporting workflows. 

Deciding between Instagram Ads and Facebook Ads can be tricky when dealing with a tight budget. You could always split your ad spend between the two platforms, but you’ll get a better return on investment from allocating your full budget to the most effective platform for your business’s target audience. Not sure which platform that is? In this post, we’re covering how to choose a social media advertising platform, every step of the way.

Where is your audience

The audience is likely the biggest factor to consider when choosing a social media advertising platform. After all, advertising on a platform your target audience doesn’t frequent is like throwing dollars to the wind. 

Analyze your target demographic to find out which social media platforms they use most. Most brands have the best chance of finding their target audience on Facebook, as it's more than twice Instagram's size. Instagram users also tend to be younger, but that is changing. 

Another factor to consider— Facebook’s audience targeting is a bit more detailed than Instagram’s native targeting features. Since Facebook offers more audience refining tools, brands with hyper-specific target audiences might find more success with Facebook Ads. 

Which suits your content better

The platforms share the same available content formats for the most part. Options include:

  • Carousel: two or more images or videos 
  • Single media: one image or video
  • Boosting existing content

What’s noteworthy here is that Facebook captions can include clickable links, while Instagram captions cannot. On Instagram, you have to use the included call-to-action buttons. These get the job done, but you can only direct viewers to one link. 

Your content needs to align with your advertising goal, so it’s important to consider the purpose of your content on each platform. Facebook is suited for sharing information and interacting with loved ones, while Instagram is extremely visual (and leaning more into video with every passing algorithm update).

With that said, compelling visuals should go on Instagram, while copy-heavy ads should be reserved for Facebook. 

Your target goals

Your advertising goal should also impact your choice of platform. Facebook is best for getting website clicks or views/engagement for written content. Instagram is great for boosting brand awareness with visuals. 

Some advertisers claim that Instagram is best for brand awareness and that Facebook is best for lead generation and sales. Really, it depends on the industry and the audience. 

Instagram is capitalizing more on e-commerce these days through features like Instagram Shopping (where users can complete their purchase from start to finish without ever leaving the app). 

The best way to figure out which platform best suits your goals is to test and review the analytics. 

Your industry

If your industry doesn’t have a strong presence on a certain platform, advertising there might be less expensive. This is only a good option if your audience uses that platform. 

You might find that certain industries are better suited to one platform because their audience uses it more. Plus, some industries can easily create visual content, while others rely heavily on longer-form content. 

Facebook offers community building, like groups, that help advertisers create communities within their target audiences. This makes Facebook the better choice for brands that rely on building a community to make sales. Analytics and automation help drive performance 



Analytics and automation help drive performance

When it comes down to it, both advertising platforms yield high ROI and most businesses can find success with either. When identifying which is more effective for your business, MarinOne has the tools to help you analyze Facebook and Instagram performance side-by-side and even makes daily recommendations to grow revenue and decrease costs. Your data will reveal which platform, placements, and content types are most effective for your target audience. 

Message booster can automatically convert high performing organic content to paid ads on either Facebook or Instagram to help you leverage content that resonates well with your audience. And MarinOne’s flexible rules engine optimizes bids based on your criteria.

Click here for more on what MarinOne can do for your Facebook and Instagram campaigns.

Facebook (or Meta, depending on who you ask) is simplifying how campaign objects are set, and simplifying them in the process. 

ODAX is an acronym for “Outcome-Driven Ad Experiences”, signifying Facebook’s consolidation of campaign targeting options that is rolling out throughout 2022. Per Facebook, expected completion of the rollout is Q3 2022. 

Once Facebook automigrates affected campaigns, you won’t be able to create campaign types with the objectives that are not included in the consolidated list. Not to worry, the team at Marin has you covered! Read on to learn everything you need to know about Outcome-driven Ad Experiences (ODAX) and how to handle the migration.

What are the new ODAX Objectives?

Under ODAX, Facebook campaigns will migrate from the original 11 available objectives to 6 campaign objective types. We can see how these will be mapped below.


Facebook explains that this change is designed to better align campaign objectives with widely accepted marketing objectives, reduce confusion in campaign setup, and help advertisers discover on-site solutions to use in their campaigns. In short, this change will make campaign setup more accessible for advertisers of all experience levels. 

Facebook also teases cross-channel campaigns, stating that their mission is, in part:

“Once cross-channel conversion optimizations are available (e.g. website + app, website +shop), communicate the value of, and default advertisers into, these solutions make it easier for advertisers to adopt.”

How will ODAX affect Facebook campaigns?

The impact for advertisers will vary based on the campaign objectives in use. Facebook advises that advertisers using Messages, Video Views, and Conversions campaign objectives will be most affected by this change, at least partially because these campaign objective types will no longer exist under ODAX. Facebook provided the below chart with their announcement to show marketers how the new objectives will align with various goals and initiatives.


Advertisers running campaigns that will be affected by this change won’t need to take immediate action - Facebook assures advertisers that legacy campaigns will continue to run after implementation of ODAX. However, post-implementation there will be limitations to duplicating legacy campaigns and new campaigns will need to align with the new campaign objectives. After 100% rollout, Facebook plans to share an update about the eventual deprecation of legacy campaigns. 

Though immediate action is not required, affected advertisers should begin to consider a strategy for transitioning to this new objective mix. Advertisers should also plan to monitor the performance of both legacy and new campaigns throughout the ODAX transition.

Marin Software is proactively working with Facebook to ensure that advertisers using MarinOne will have a seamless transition to the new campaign objective mix.

Click here for more on how MarinOne can help you drive campaign performance and growth for Facebook and other social publishers. 


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard about Facebook’s announcement that certain detailed targeting options will be sunset in early 2022.

Here’s a quick review of the news straight from Facebook:

“Starting January 19, 2022 we will remove Detailed Targeting options that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.

Examples include:

  • Health causes (e.g., ‘Lung cancer awareness’, ‘World Diabetes Day’, ‘Chemotherapy’)
  • Sexual orientation (e.g., ‘same-sex marriage’ and ‘LGBT culture’)
  • Religious practices and groups (e.g., ‘Catholic Church’ and ‘Jewish holidays’)
  • Political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and figures ”

While some are supportive of this change, other marketers are concerned about the implications for companies that leverage this targeting in light of an already rapidly changing advertising landscape. Cause-based organizations, political parties, healthcare brands, and many others will need to change tack in how they communicate with their audiences.

In the same announcement, Facebook also teased that they’re working on additional Ad Controls to enable users to see fewer ads related to gambling, weight loss, and other unspecified categories. They also reminded marketers that users currently have the ability to see fewer ads related to politics, parenting, alcohol, and pets.

So why’d they do it?

This latest announcement comes on the heels of escalating public scrutiny, FTC antitrust suits, and steadily increasing concerns around consumer privacy. Not to mention a huge rebrand. Facebook, er, Meta has had a busy few years.

In the announcement, Facebook states that they “heard concerns from experts that targeting options like these could be used in ways that lead to negative experiences for people in underrepresented groups.”  While this move might pose a challenge for advertisers who use these detailed targeting options benevolently, Facebook’s move also removes the possibility that they will be misused.

Especially in a time of heightened scrutiny, it makes sense why Facebook would prioritize reducing the possibility of perceived negative experiences on the platform. Continuing to make Facebook an attractive option for social media users works in advertisers’ best interests as well.

What Advertisers Can Do (And How Marin Social Can Help)

Facebook’s announcement comes with several suggestions:

  • Leveraging Engagement Custom Audiences to capture relevant intent on Facebook-owned properties. Targeting users who currently like your page or users who watched one of your videos in the news feed are a few examples. Facebook also suggests using these audiences as a seed list to create a lookalike audience.
  • Remember the 2-Second Video Viewer audience that is no longer available on Facebook? Marin Social still offers this option so you can get even more out of your Engagement Custom Audiences.
  • Website Custom Audiences can still be used to target customers who interact with a company’s website (and can also be used as a seed list for a Lookalike Audience).
  • Want to take your custom audiences to the next level? Marin Social offers Enhanced Website Custom Audiences, which integrates rules to automatically segment your audiences based on parameters you build. Save time and find your most valuable audiences seamlessly!
  • Location targeting is suggested to help brick-and-mortar retailers reach customers around their locations.
  • Marin Social offers “Location Clusters”, which lets you group together your target locations in one fell swoop for easy use in campaigns. All of the marketers who spend hours quality checking location groups can breathe a sigh of relief.
  • Customer lists are a great way to connect with customers (if you have their permission to do so). Try segmenting your customer lists and customizing messaging to get the most out of using customer lists.

For marketers whose campaigns are impacted by Facebooks’ upcoming targeting changes, Marin Software’s social marketing experts are here to help you through the transition. Click here to schedule a demo with us and learn more about what Marin can do for you!

The 2021 holiday rush is  upon us and advertisers are feeling pressure from the perfect storm of uncertain expectations, impacts of reduced tracking capabilities, inventory challenges, and rising costs of advertising.

McKinsey’s 2021 Holiday Report reveals that Facebook (67%) and Instagram (52%) are among the top platforms influencing holiday decision making. A whopping 87% of Gen Z shoppers surveyed derive shopping inspiration from social media, with YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram holding the top spots for platform inspiration. Social marketers will need a strategy that capitalizes on this intent while making the most of holiday marketing dollars.

If you’re still looking for inspiration to create a winning holiday strategy, we’ve prepared a few ideas to get you started. You can integrate these into your strategy with or without Marin Social, but the smart, time-saving features are a holiday gift that keeps on giving!

Boost Engagement with your Organic Content (Marin Social’s Message Booster makes this easy!)

  • Organic content is key in brand awareness, gaining new customers, and nurturing relationships with current customers. Promoting posts makes it more likely that they’ll reach your intended audiences, which is especially important for advertisers who want to spread the word about upcoming holiday promotions, new products, and new initiatives.
  • Though post promotions may not directly attribute revenue, they can be used to segment your audience to then target with direct response ads. Also not to be ignored is the long term business impact of nurturing customer relationships!
  • If you already have organic content, put it to work without lifting a finger using Message Booster for Facebook and Instagram in Marin Social. In Message Booster, you can create rules to automatically promote specific ads according to a variety of parameters.

Test Innovative Creative (Marin Social makes insights a breeze)

  • If your customers are posting content, use it! Facebook recommends testing lo-fi, customer generated content this holiday season. This means less work for your creative team and forging stronger relationships with your customers. We call this a win-win.
  • Marin Social allows you to easily spot creative winners in the “Charts” tool and create custom dimensions for creative analysis in MarinOne, giving you more time to put creative insights to work.

Dedicate Time to your Audience Strategy

  • Customers are expected to be less brand loyal than ever this year per the McKinsey Report. 62% of customers surveyed over the past 3 months were unable to purchase the item they wanted due to availability. Of this number, 39% switched brands, 32% went to another retailer, and only 13% waited for the item to be back in stock. If you expect inventory impacts, it’s especially important to invest time in your audience strategy and customer loyalty programming to retain customers.
  • Audience segmentation can help you better address your core customers and lower costs during the Black Friday - Cyber Monday time period. Marin Social’s Audience Manager provides a streamlined space to create and manage complex audience segments from multiple sources.

Ready to get started with Message Booster and MarinOne? Talk to your account manager or click here and we’ll be in touch soon.

Organic Instagram posts provide your followers with a stream of free content that can help establish and strengthen your brand identity, build your social community, and hopefully, engage customers interested in buying your products.

Of course, the limitations are that your organic content has a limited viewership of your followers, the followers they may share the post with, and people searching for or following your brand or particular hashtags you may have used in your posts.

But one key advantage of organic content is that it can be very insightful into the type of content that resonates with people interested in buying the products you sell. Inevitably, some posts will perform better than others with more likes, more comments, and more shares. So how can you capitalize on those posts to help drive your business?

Using organic content to reach new audiences


Now that you know the content and creative in a post is popular with people interested in your products, why not convert it to a paid ad to expand your reach to new audiences? Instagram allows you to “boost” a post you create on Instagram and turn it into an ad. You’ll be able to choose your advertising goal (more profile visits, website visits or messages), your audience (who you want to reach), your budget (how much you want to spend daily) and the duration (how long you want your ad to run).

Targeting specific audiences is an efficient way to reach people who are likely to purchase from you based on location, interests, and demographics that you define. And because your organic post has proven to be effective in engaging these types of customers, you can avoid using your ad spend on paid ads that may or may not interest your audience.

Automating message boosting with MarinOne


Promoting organic content is a great way to leverage well-performing posts to reach more prospective customers, but tracking your engagement on Instagram can be very time consuming, especially if you are managing multiple Instagram accounts.

MarinOne’s Message Booster for Instagram analyzes the performance and content of organic posts and automatically transforms the best ones into ads. Automating this content promotion and campaign creation can save you hours of manual work.

Just like Instagram, MarinOne lets you set the criteria for your boosts based on engagement, duration, and budget. But with MarinOne’s Rules engine, you’ll be able to create paid ads at scale across multiple clients and accounts.

For example, you may want to boost all posts within the last 24 hours with an engagement rate higher than 5%. You might choose to boost these posts for a duration of three days, and ask MarinOne to pause any boost if the engagement rate drops lower than 2%. You can set your budget to a daily budget per rule, or a fixed budget per post, and then set your bid strategy and optimization goals. Then sit back while MarinOne takes care of the rest.

MarinOne’s advanced automation features are designed to save advertisers time, while driving performance at scale across accounts. Click here for more on Message Booster for Instagram with MarinOne.

Every so often, a story surfaces of a nefarious actor gaining access to a Facebook Business Manager account and running ads for an unrelated product or to a click farm. Usually, they are able to spend thousands of dollars and max out any and all credit cards associated with the account before the ads are paused and the cards are cancelled.

A majority of the time, this is caused by a digital team member simply giving access to the wrong person. Facebook’s 2-factor authentication works well against individual accounts being accessed, but unfortunately, it does not prevent user error.

The Challenges of Maintaining User Permissions


One way to reduce risk is to reduce the number of users with access high enough to provide credentials to those who should not be in your account. Sounds easy, right? Managing user permissions can be more complicated for a number of reasons.

Of course, you want your team members to have permissions high enough to do their job effectively and efficiently. But over time, team members may gain higher levels of access when they may only need to do one or two tasks at a higher level. Sometimes it’s just easier to grant permanent Admin rights (we’ve all been there).

Additionally, you must remove user access when a member of your team no longer needs it, perhaps due to a change in roles or companies. With ‘The Great Resignation’ underway as workforce dynamics shift, a record number of employees are leaving their jobs or careers altogether. Permissions should be updated quickly to reflect users’ departure. But auditing the permissions of your entire account can be time consuming and sometimes takes a back burner to the priorities of managing your campaigns.

Prevent Your Account from Being Compromised with MarinOne


There’s an easier way to solve the issues that come along with account user management.

With MarinOne, only one member of your team needs access to Facebook Business Manager, and the rest of your team would only need access to the Marin platform. By reducing the number of team members with Facebook access, the chance of permissions being granted to the wrong person is lowered significantly. Users can still build, manage, and report on Facebook campaigns to drive performance on your ad spend without the risk of opening your account to a hack.

MarinOne’s rules engine lets you set parameters to pause campaigns when there is a dramatic increase in spend and will also send you an email alert to notify you of the change immediately. By setting up these guardrails, you’ll be notified of a security breach in real time and be able to shut down your campaigns before your account is drained.

Finally, removing users in MarinOne only takes two clicks in an easy-to-navigate account configuration menu. So, as team members transition in and out of your organization and new users gain access to sensitive Facebook data, you can easily stay on top of permissions to keep your account secure.

Now more than ever, it is crucial to keep permissions limited to those who genuinely need access levels, and it’s just as important to make sure those who no longer should have access are removed. MarinOne’s security features ensure that those who never should have access to your account have fewer avenues to gain permission.

Click here to learn more about connecting your Facebook account to MarinOne.

With increasing data privacy restrictions, it is becoming more difficult to reach your intended audience on Facebook. These updates have included the removal for Partner Categories, iOS14, and in 2023, the removal of cookies from Google Chrome. With each piece of the Facebook marketing funnel likely to see an increase in cost, finding a solution and ensuring the right eyes are seeing your ads has never been more important.

MarinOne Enhanced Social Audiences can help by increasing the size of your prospecting net and strengthening retargeting audiences during. Through a partnership with Experian, Marin Software can enable Partner Categories and pair it with our easy to use, large scale campaign management platform; allowing you to build campaigns rapidly and assure those most likely to convert are seeing your content.

How will this help me in navigating iOS14?


By asking users to opt in to data targeting from Facebook, this could drastically decrease audience sizes. Data file uploads (either customer lists or 3rd party options) are necessary to assure your entire Facebook marketing funnel is working as efficiently as possible. The MarinOne Enhanced Social Audiences available are a direct file upload to Facebook and will not be impacted by iOS14 and will provide another avenue to target customers.

How can this help in the cookieless world?


Similar to iOS14, this will disproportionately hurt Website Custom Audiences more than any other targeting method. Data file uploads are not reliant on cookies or pixels and can help combat audience degradation.

Will this save me time?


Yes, in a couple ways. First, by working with the Experian and Marin Social teams you will be able to combine efforts in determining the best audiences to target (or exclude) for campaigns and brainstorm the best mix for your needs. Secondly, there is no need for a separate contract with Experian. Audience costs will be included as a line item within your Marin Software bill, limiting the number of internal approvals necessary to begin running campaigns against these audiences.

How can I sign up?


If you are interested in learning more, click here to connect with a sales representative - Marin Software Social clients will have terms included within your current agreement. For existing Marin Social clients, reach out to your Account Representative to set up a call today!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


Advertisers will need to upgrade their tracking.


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

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


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



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



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

Here are some helpful resources:  

From Facebook


From Apple:

With COVID-19 cases back on the rise, businesses that did not make changes after the first wave can expect an even greater impact this time around.

As most marketers have experienced first-hand, the pandemic has had an impact on revenue due to a shift in consumer behavior. Product and service offerings that were once considered the norm, such as gym memberships and holiday packages, have been trampled by at-home exercise bikes and local staycations.

The upcoming holiday season is no exception, and we recently attended Facebook’s “Christmas, Unwrapped” webinar series to help our clients better understand the challenges ahead and help them adapt their strategy. Pairing these insights with our own industry knowledge, we’ve compiled some key insights to help you win the holiday season in 2020.

Expand your audience and improve the mobile user experience


Although it may not seem evident for all types of products or services, marketers may want to expand their targeting beyond the tech-savvy millennials. According to the latest 2020 Facebook Christmas Package handbook, over 80% of Gen X and Boomers have been shopping online during the COVID-19 pandemic, which broadens the online shopping audience significantly.

Catering to these older generations may also require some adjustments to your mobile user journey, so keep your web developer close by. In a Facebook survey of seasonal shoppers who experienced problems while doing Christmas shopping on a mobile device, the most crucial issues among Gen X and Boomers included the text font being too small, the app/site taking too long to load, and images not being clear enough. Ensuring your online shopping experience is mobile-ready could go a long way.

If your website is not in an ideal state, the much anticipated global release of Facebook Shops might be the right solution for you. This new product offers an in-app shopping experience that users of all generations can appreciate, with no coding required on your part. Isn’t that a treat?

Focus on service and automation


The pandemic has placed a growing emphasis on customer service, with many people growing more concerned about strict cancellation policies and safe handling and delivery of their packages. In order to meet these customer needs and gain their trust, businesses will have to automate customer care wherever possible.

This may be the perfect time to dust off your Facebook Messenger bot project; in fact, Facebook reported that 46% of global consumers are spending more time using messaging services, with Gen X and Boomer demographics reporting 47% and 40% increases respectively. The Messenger bot would pair up nicely with a Messages campaign aimed at increasing brand engagement and driving sales straight from the Facebook app.

If Messenger is not on your roadmap, consider tailoring your ad messaging around flexibility, safe handling and care. Why not throw in free shipping if your business can afford it? That’s another surefire way to win potential customers over.

Test, test, test


Testing is always encouraged at any time of year, but we know that the holiday shopping season is the most crucial time for most advertisers. In order to ensure you have the right strategy in place, you should start testing as soon as possible. This is even more important in 2020 given the changing consumer behavior as a result of the pandemic. Who knows, what worked for your business last year might not be relevant this year.

Facebook recommends starting with a simple business question. What are you trying to achieve?

Once you’ve identified the question, make sure you have a SMART goal in place and devise your testing strategy accordingly. Consider running split tests with different creative, messaging, targeting, objectives and ad formats (quick tip: you can easily set this up using our MarinOne Ad Studies feature).

These tests will come a long way in identifying what works best for your brand this year, so you can implement it in your holiday planning with greater certainty.

Give back to people in need


As is the case with most recessions, some people lost more than others; be-it monetary losses due to job cuts or the loss of loved ones as a result of the spreading virus. Let’s face it, we’ve had more cheerful Christmases…

This holiday season, why not give back to the community? Whether it’s through monetary donations or pro bono work, there are many contributions your business can make depending on your industry and your expertise. Facebook research reports that 82% of global shoppers surveyed agreed brands should give back, i.e. by providing free services.

While you’re here, check out our article: Marin Software Stepping Up for Diversity and Equality with Pro Bono Digital Marketing Services for Black-Owned Businesses

Don’t forget those who are spending the holidays alone!


We’ll leave you with this thought: Don’t forget potential customers who are spending the holidays alone. Notwithstanding the global pandemic, Facebook research states that 74% of global Christmas shoppers research gifts for themselves.

This is even more relevant in times of COVID-19. Many people will be stranded in their host city or country this holiday season, unable to return home due to travel restrictions or self-isolation periods, which means they may not be buying gifts for others at all.

Make sure you speak to them too, and encourage them to treat themselves after a difficult year!

Who Are the Big Four?


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

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

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

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







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!

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, a coalition of civil-rights organizations, including the NAACP, the Anti Defamation League, and Common Sense Media, have called for a boycott of advertising on Facebook and Instagram for the month of July. Their goal is to “act against hate and disinformation being spread by Facebook...in order to force Mark Zuckerberg to address the effect that Facebook has had on our society.”

The campaign’s website currently lists 240 participating organizations as well as a list of recommended
next steps. Facebook has taken notice, holding conversations with major advertisers to address their concerns. They have also directly responded to the recommendations by highlighting their ongoing efforts as well as new initiatives stemming from this campaign.

We believe that Facebook is making progress, but that there is also much more that can be done in how Facebook handles hateful speech and disinformation. Until then, here’s a look at how this boycott will impact advertising for the foreseeable future.

A boycott is a boycott. Not a test.


For those organizations that have decided to participate, a boycott may mean a significant change to their media mix. Because of this, it may also seem like a good time to measure the impact of that change. It is not. Several considerations apply:

  • Volatile buyer behavior. We are in various stages of economic turmoil anyway because of COVID-19. Consumer confidence is in flux. An accurate assessment of causality will require shifting spend for just a portion of the advertiser’s target audience while holding a control group steady. This will help ensure that any drop in results is not misattributed to the change in ad spending when it could be due instead to a change in underlying buyer behavior.
  • Volatile competitor behavior. Competitors may or may not be participating in the boycott, further distorting what is “normal.”
  • Costs not representative. For those organizations that have decided to continue spending on Facebook during this time, audiences may be less expensive than usual due to fewer advertisers. Pay attention to effectiveness, not costs, during this time.
  • Participate based on principle, not self-interest. Despite the potential usefulness of a control group, shutting off partial spending would ring hollow and that is not the reason for the change in spending. Because of this, a holdout or control group is not available during the boycott (see below for potential restart strategies).


For some organizations, measuring impact is down the road


It’s too soon to tell if Facebook’s actions toward more active editorial reviews will happen, be effective, or be embraced by the community. It will certainly take longer than a month. While the step change in Facebook spending, from some to none, during the boycott does not present a reasonable opportunity for advertisers to evaluate incrementality, a restoration in spend in the future may. If and when spend is restored, this can be done with appropriate holdouts (typically geo) and watching for impact on paid and organic visit volumes for the holdout and test geo regions. Some metrics to consider:

  • Impact on brand vs. generic keywords
  • Searches (impressions by impression share)
  • Direct-to-site visits
  • Conversion rate
  • CTR (brand terms)


Incrementality studies are more relevant for direct response advertisers who can immediately measure their conversions online. For companies with a primary objective of awareness or driving offline purchase, the results will be harder to see.

Conclusion


The decisions of how to continue investing in Facebook, both reducing and perhaps eventually restoring spend, is ultimately up to each brand. By thinking ahead about a possible restoration process, each advertiser can get smarter about how to optimize their spending. Contact the team at Marin Software to help make the most of your decisions.

Setting up a funnel for your social media channels is a vital step for sustainable, long-term growth. For marketers, it's valuable to understand the path that your customers move through at each point of the user journey, from the moment they become aware of your brand, to their first purchase, to their evolution into a repeat and loyal customer. In this article, we will cover why you should build a funnel, what to consider while setting it up, and how to monitor the funnel’s success. The objectives referred to will be Facebook-specific, but this model can and should be implemented on any social channel that can incorporate retargeting.

Why You Need a Funnel


It’s convenient to build a set of campaigns to help achieve your ultimate goal of conversions or purchases. The strategy makes reporting easy to navigate and gives you a clear view of which campaigns are performing well, and which ones need to be fixed. But when performance begins to lag behind, there isn’t enough data available to make an informed decision, or your prized retargeting audience starts to outpace your organic traffic, a funnel can help change your trajectory.

The primary goal of a funnel is to feed your favorite retargeting audiences, while weeding out those unlikely to convert. Wasting money on clicks from those that don’t know who you are, who don’t trust your website, or have no intent to use your product or service, does not lend itself to growth. And while increasing social media spend exclusively for lower-funnel conversion campaigns is the obvious thing to do, you also need to think more strategically and guide prospects through a series of steps to get them to take the actions you want. A good marketing funnel will nurture its prospects with relevant messaging at every stage, resulting in incremental performance, more brand loyalty, and less wasted ad spend.

The Four Stages of a Funnel


In its early days, social media was primarily known as a brand awareness tool. However, more recently, and especially in light of COVID-19, its power to influence individuals and build their relationships with brands has become more apparent. After all, someone may become a brand advocate of your company through various touchpoints and interactions.



With today’s customer journey being more multi-dimensional, the marketing funnel is as applicable today as it has ever been. Social media’s ability to influence every single part of the funnel makes it a powerful tool for today’s businesses, particularly those in the consumer market.

Creating a Funnel for Your Facebook Campaigns


Facebook advertising presents a perfect example of how social media can be used throughout the customer journey. Facebook’s ad objectives are already categorized by the different stages we’ve highlighted above, and its ad types are specifically used for engaging users at the various stages.

Your social media funnel will likely start off as a simple structure with only 2-3 steps in the user journey. Things to consider when structuring your funnel are the difficulty and likelihood for the potential customer to complete an action. For example, watching a video on Facebook is easy and frequent, but taking out your credit card to buy a product on a website off of Facebook is difficult and rare (comparatively).

For this example, we will also include a step in the middle: Landing Page Views, which are less common than video views, but more common than website purchases.

So, we have our customer journey:



However, we don’t quite have that funnel shape. If we target the same audience for all three of our campaigns, the cost will be similar to if we never set up a funnel, and we may actually drive up costs by bidding against ourselves. To prevent this issue, we need to use Custom Audiences. The top of the funnel should be as broad as it can be, while still being relevant to your goal. The middle should be targeted to audiences that have shown some interest, like watching 25% of the video, while the bottom of the funnel should be reserved for those that have made it to your website and taken action.



Building these audiences take time and, in many cases, requires advertisers to start from scratch. You will also want to ensure that the potential reach of your audiences is sizable (Ads Manager provides audience summary information about the Audience Reach) and that you’ve set the right ad budget by evaluating product margins and monthly revenue goals.

Ongoing Success with a Social Media Marketing Funnel


Having diversified campaigns and audiences will now provide stability to performance and open a greater opportunity for testing. In addition to having a social media funnel setup, your reporting will likely change too. If your initial goal before was to increase revenue, that still remains the same, but remember to factor each step of the customer’s journey into your success metrics. The key to ongoing success is making sure your retargeting audience is always being updated and that you are always reevaluating your tactics to make sure they align with the objective of each stage.

Marin Software has an in-house Managed Services team that can help you create your social media marketing funnel, optimize your audiences, build a set of recurring reports to ensure your goals are met, and much more. Learn more about our Managed Services offering and schedule a demo today!

Digital technology is available in its many forms to help you work faster. For marketing in particular, technology can improve the quality of your marketing output and ultimately help you generate more revenue and leads.

With that said, today’s unprecedented shift is creating the urgent need for brands and their partners to think outside the box and pivot quickly. Furthermore, it also surfaces a time to evaluate different tech stacks and see which tools can help increase their performance and efficiency.

Evaluating the right advertising technology for the job will come down to many factors, and reaching the best decision for your organization will take considerable time and effort that will likely involve you engaging in substantial research in order to get it right.

It’s important to ask yourself the right questions so you can narrow down your search. Think about questions such as:

  • What level of visibility or reporting does the product provide for forecasting versus actual results? Is it able to integrate with any of the advanced data visualization tools that I use on a day-to-day?
  • Does the vendor support multiple channels? Does the platform integrate with all major search engines and ad exchanges?
  • What support does the vendor provide for audience activation, and for which channels?
  • What level of integration does the solution have with our organization’s current technologies? How does it integrate with different data feeds or analytics solutions?
  • Does the platform enable dynamic delivery of personalized ads for the end-customer?
  • What level of support would they provide for any account escalations or questions?


Once you’ve answered these questions, and the answers are suitable to your company’s needs, it’s time to trial your options. Going back to the dawn of humankind, when it comes to problem solving, trial and error has always been one of the fundamental methods. Cavemen would test which weapon would kill Benny the mammoth most efficiently, while our old friend Julius Caesar would stage many different kinds of gladiator fights in order to see what the Roman people enjoyed most.

Full-service tools can get expensive quickly (even if you’re just trial-and-erroring), and most digital marketers are limited on budgets. Luckily, there are many instances in which you can get a free taste of what a product can offer (also known as the freemium model). There may be limited usage of the product, but you’ll likely get a solid understanding of its core value and if it addresses the needs of your business.

At Marin Software, we offer Marin Go, which helps you experience the power of MarinOne (our flagship product), without committing to a platform fee. You can then upgrade to MarinOne at any time.

With Marin Go you can:

  • Aggregate data from multiple channels into a single comprehensive dashboard. Marin Go can link up to accounts from 10+ publishers, including Google, Bing, Facebook, Apple Search Ads, LinkedIn, & Amazon. You can schedule reports to be collected, curated, and sent straight to your inbox in CSV format (or linking back to the platform).
  • Track budget pacing for the month and preview capabilities from our premium tool, MarinOne, including automated budget allocation and machine-learning bid optimization.
  • Ask questions of your performance using powerful, interactive reporting with change columns, flexible date ranges, saved views, and more.
  • Automate the preparation of polished executive-level and client-ready PDF reports.
  • Improve campaign performance with actionable suggestions and insights from our Account Performance Audits.
  • Automatically A/B test creatives.


If you are interested in trialing an enterprise-class reporting tool for free, and evaluating a tech stack that can incorporate data from all your different marketing channels, sign up now with Marin Go! We believe every advertiser should have the tools to break down publisher silos. Simply link in your accounts to start enjoying the benefits today.

This is a guest post from Shane Danaher, Senior Data Technology Analyst at 3Q Digital.

When the California Consumer Privacy Act (or CCPA) comes into effect on January 1, 2020, companies’ use of consumer data will change dramatically.

With a broad definition of personal data and an extensive legal reach, CCPA will touch most digital businesses — especially those in the marketing space. Because CCPA foists broad restrictions on the sale and transfer of personal data, it will make third-party data both less reliable and harder to procure. In light of these changes, businesses will have to rely more heavily on first-party data, as well as tools designed for procuring the same.

Having a strategy in place to migrate away from reliance on third-party data will allow your business to maintain its engagement with customers, and avoid running afoul of the law.

Note: This article is not meant to be taken as legal advice; rather, it provides info that can serve as a starting point for your journey toward CCPA compliance.

First of all, what is the CCPA?


The California Consumer Privacy Act is a piece of legislation designed to give citizens of California better control over how their data is shared on the internet. Although many consumer-facing businesses fall within its purview, CCPA takes an especially aggressive tack toward dealers in third-party data.

The legislation targets businesses that meet any one of the following three criteria:

  1. Produce annual gross revenues greater than $25 million
  2. Annually buy, sell, or share consumer information of more than 50,000 Californian consumers, households, or devices
  3. Earn at least 50% of its revenue from the sale of California consumers’ personal information


Even if none of the above apply to your business, chances are they do apply to your third-party data provider, creating potential problems for how you target new customers.

First vs. Third-Party Data


Simply put, first-party data is information you gather yourself; third-party data is information procured from somewhere else.

Examples of first-party data would be information gathered through customer purchases or surveys; an example of third-party data would be an audience purchased through a data exchange.

Typically, businesses use third-party data for new customer acquisition, whereas they use first-party data to gain insights into their existing customer base.

Third-Party Data and CCPA


CCPA is designed to aggressively target third-party data providers. Not only does the legislation threaten significant penalties for companies that deal in third-party data without consumers’ consent, but it also obligates companies to decorate their websites with a “clear and conspicuous” link titled Do Not Sell My Personal Information, which gives users the right to restrict how their personal data is used.

Assuming that many users will avail themselves of this opportunity to restrict the sale of their data, we can infer that third-party data sources, never renowned for their quality, will likely diminish in usefulness.

CCPA also ensures that anyone selling data into a data exchange exposes themselves to great risks. The law obligates companies to delete user data at the user’s request, not only from the company’s internal records, but also from any downstream locations to which the data has been sold. This effectively puts whoever gathered the data at legal risk for the behavior of any party the data's sold to.

With third-party data likely to become more difficult to acquire, less trustworthy to use, and more risky to create, companies should pivot away from relying on it, and instead focus on building a robust, first-party data collection system.

The First-Party Alternative


Not only does using first-party data limit your legal risk under CCPA, it also ensures that you’re using quality information to inform crucial business decisions.

By using tools like Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Segment, you can gather a host of insights about your users, personally monitoring the data collection to ensure accuracy and compliance with user wishes.

Analyzing your first-party data can provide you with good information about who is using your service, and partnering with services such as Google’s Similar Audiences tool will allow you to find new users based on the data you’ve collected concerning your current audience.

With other states likely to soon adopt legislation similar to CCPA, now is the perfect time to start weaning your company off of third-party data, and relying completely on info you’ve gathered yourself.

Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out Automatic Placements, a setting that ensures that your ads will serve on Facebook, Audience Network or Instagram, to achieve your most desired result based on the bidding objective you choose.

Similar to Google, Facebook wants advertisers to entrust its machine learning to place ads in the most effective way possible, with the intention of creating the best user experience and serving the right ad at the right time. Facebook uses advanced algorithms to determine which placement type performs the best and is the most effective for your brand. The algorithms then attempt to serve more ads in those winning bids.

facebook automatic placements



This setting is designed to get your ad the lowest average cost for the event you optimize your campaign for (e.g., link clicks, landing page views, video views). This takes the guesswork out of where your audience is. The Automatic Placements feature also reduces the time it takes to manually optimize placements, since Facebook does it for you, and extends your ads’ reach by enabling placement on more platforms and multiple placements within these platforms.

By choosing Automatic Placement, you tell Facebook to find the most relevant people across all of the eligible placements at the cheapest overall average cost available.

What are the Different Types of Facebook Placements?


There are 14 placements to run ads within the Facebook Network. We anticipate that number will grow as Facebook expands to more of their network of apps. (We expect to see WhatsApp appear as a placement soon, as well as the Instagram Explore Feed.)

Facebook News Feed

When it comes to serving social media ads, the Facebook News Feed placement is the one that sparked the movement. It’s important to remember that people don’t like being disturbed from their online activities, including Facebook browsing. Placing your ad on the desktop News Feed reduces the intrusiveness of your ads since they appear with the posts of your audience’s Facebook friends and pages they like.

Instagram Feed

Not only do over one billion people use Instagram every month, but engagement numbers for the app are higher than both Facebook and Twitter. For advertisers with highly visual products or services, Instagram ads are a must. As you might have guessed, you only have the capability to target mobile users on Instagram.

Facebook Marketplace Feed

Marketplace is Facebook’s equivalent to eBay and Craigslist. The major advantage it has over the competition is the existing Facebook user base.

Facebook Suggested Video and Facebook Watch Feed

When clicking a video in your mobile News Feed, a “Suggested Video” feed that takes up the entire phone screen can come up. Scroll down on the pop-up and you’ll see additional video suggestions. These are chosen by an algorithm and related by topic or publisher.

Facebook Right Column Sponsored

Right column ads will appear on the right rail or right-hand column of the Facebook screen. This placement is only available to show to consumers on laptop or desktop computers. Right column ads typically have less expensive clicks and conversions, and they also appear smaller and look more like a traditional ad.

Messenger Inbox Feed

This is ideal for companies who want to explain their offer, directly communicate with their audiences, convince them to try another product, or remind them to revisit your store.

Stories Feed Placement for Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger

The Stories platform provides a great space for brands to maximize reach, build brand loyalty, and generate new customers. Since Stories disappear after 24 hours, there’s a lot of opportunity to be experimental, spontaneous, and transparent.

Facebook In-Stream Videos

This ad placement allows advertisers to deliver 5-15 second, non-skippable, mid-roll video ads to people who are already watching Facebook videos on a mobile device. Since these ads don’t appear until at least 60 seconds into the main video content, people are actively engaged in “lean-back” watching mode, and the ad is just like a commercial break for the actual video.

Messenger Sponsored Messages

These are ads directed to target users you’ve already had a past conversation with. They’re messages sent to followers that include relevant promotions. They’re an effective way to re-engage the people who currently have an open chat with your Facebook Page and to nurture those relationships by providing relevant content, promotions, and updates.

Facebook Instant Articles

Unlike the audience network, ads on instant articles are displayed on articles that can be easily loaded on Facebook. Ads are usually sandwiched between paragraphs of the article. This is ideal if you’re targeting audiences who frequently read longer content not available on the News Feed.

Facebook Audience Network

The audience network is a group of Facebook’s affiliate apps and websites that can be accessed through mobile. Placing ads on the network extends the reach of advertisers to 16% more people (1 billion) than advertising on Facebook alone. The network includes some of the biggest publishers like Washington Post, Univision, and the Daily Mirror. You can you can exclude specific categories of apps and websites from the targeting, reducing the amount of wasted ad spend.

Right Placement, Right Time


Facebook has established automatic placements in an effort to help advertisers get the best results across all default placements. This allows Facebook to choose results from the broadest range possible, which implies that automatic placements are typically the most efficient use of an advertiser’s budget because they help control costs.

Marin is a certified Facebook Marketing Partner and fully supports Automatic Placements in the MarinOne platform. Schedule a demo today to learn more!

This article first appeared in TotalRetail.

In an attempt to capitalize on the lucrative and competitive digital ad market, social platforms are positioning themselves as the answer for every marketer’s needs.

In the early days of social media, advertisers flocked to Facebook and Twitter because of their huge numbers of daily active users and amount of time they spent on each platform. Such metrics are no longer sufficient now that advertisers focus more on the bottom line, i.e., the return on investment that these platforms are able to yield.

For a platform to thrive in the mature, highly competitive market, it's faced with a challenge of not only getting ads in front of the intended audience, but also delivering tangible financial growth for advertisers. The attempt is to be a one-stop shop for everyone.

Drawing Advertiser Attention


There are a few approaches that platforms employ to broaden their appeal to advertisers. The classic is introducing new ad formats that solicit meaningful actions from the target audience. This move is designed to attract more direct response advertisers.

With Amazon.com posing a formidable threat as the third-largest advertising platform in the U.S., Google-owned YouTube tested shopping ads that allow users to shop directly in Google Express. It provides a seamless experience similar to how Amazon users never have to leave Amazon's app between clicking an ad and purchasing a product.

YouTube also recently tested augmented reality (AR) ads with selected brands in the beauty industry, where consumers generally have an affinity for selfies and AR lenses. Earlier this year, Reddit launched cost-per-click ads, its first performance-based ad format.

Continuous Innovation


Some platforms explore new territories and figure out ways to make them fit into their existing infrastructure. Facebook, which has become the staple of social advertising thanks to various ad offerings across campaign objectives and verticals, is heavily pushing one of its newest ad placements, Instagram Stories.

By presenting usage statistics—"inspire the 500 million that use Stories every day"—as well as educating advertisers and partners on how Stories ads yield great results, Facebook attempts to dispel the notion that Stories will drive up cost per acquisition as many skeptics believe.

Spotify, which has aggressively invested in podcasts, overhauled its app to feature podcasts more prominently. Its Spotify for Brands article highlights the direct response pull of podcast advertising: “A staggering 81 percent of listeners have taken action after hearing audio ads during a podcast.”

The Bottom Line Is the Bottom Line


For advertisers, seeing the social platforms’ shiny new objects is definitely exciting and helps reinforce the notion that these companies are committed to investing in innovations. It's important, however, to remember that the best interests of all platforms with an ad-supported business model eventually lie on maximizing their own revenue through ad sales and hitting the targets for which they're held accountable by their investors.

Every advertiser, not unlike a platform itself, has unique business goals and achieving them should always be the highest priority. Leveraging advertising channels and platforms that are already proven to be effective and constantly testing new techniques to optimize for better performance is a great place to start.

If there's room in the budget for testing new platforms or features, researching thoroughly about them while focusing on the compatibility with your brand is a necessary step to help cut through the noise and land on the candidates that can potentially generate incremental lift at scale. When it comes to shopping for advertising partnerships, there's no such thing as one size fits all.

This is a guest post from Zenia Johnson, Account Lead at
3Q Digital.

Although we’ve barely finished the leftover barbecue from Labor Day weekend, every seasoned marketer knows what’s right around the corner: the inevitable start of the 2019 holiday season. With the start of that comes meetings and conversations where we chew over the most impactful strategies for our clients—how can we ensure a winning strategy to deliver the best results in this high-demand time?

1. Upon Immediate Removal of Halloween Costumes, Customers are on the Hunt for Holiday Deals


In Facebook’s 2019 Holiday Marketing Guide, it’s reported that in 2018 about 45% of shoppers “started shopping for the holidays in November or earlier.” For advertisers, this means you need a strategy that makes sense for your customers, and have it in place and ready to activate as soon as they’re ready to start their holiday shopping.

But how to develop this amazing strategy? Well, there are myriad tools in place, from your own first-party customer data (take a look at when your sales volume started to pick up in past holiday seasons and plan your budget allocation accordingly), to Facebook’s newly launched Data Insights tool, which, according to Facebook:

...has nearly 30 searchable insights from the 2017 and 2018 holiday seasons across 25 markets, and is available in 17 languages. Explore this robust resource to ensure your 2019 holiday season is filled with insights and magic. Leveraging your data and available tools to view your customer trends can be incredibly impactful, and can greatly enhance (and ease) your ability to strategically plan your holiday campaigns."

2. Embracing Automation = More Time for Turkey & Better ROI


2019’s optimization-acronym game has been strong. With Facebook alone, we now have CBO (campaign budget optimization) and DCO (dynamic creative optimization), in addition to non-acronymized optimization options like placement optimization and dynamic ads for broad audiences. These optimizations are apart of Facebook’s “Power 5,” a set of optimization features that the platform recommends advertisers implement to scale growth.

Specifically, Facebook says:

The days of manually hacking your way to ad success are no more. Top direct-response advertisers are now leveraging a specific set of automated ad tactics to unlock new phases for growth. We call these tactics the ‘Power 5’ and when used together, they have the ability to transform ad performance and scale across the Facebook Family of Apps.”

“Transform ad performance” may sound like an exaggeration, but at 3Q we’ve found that adoption of the Power 5 does indeed deliver some pretty stellar results. While testing into CBO and placement optimization for a client during the 2018 holiday season, we were ultimately able to perform with a 5x increase in sales, a 2x increase in conversion rate, and a 2x decrease in cost per acquisition.

And those results have proven to not be an anomaly—we’re continuing to see great results with clients who adopt it across the agency, which means more time spent carving and eating turkey, and less time optimizing campaigns on Thanksgiving Day.

While we’re on the subject of the Power 5....

3. The Most Nimble and Responsive Advertisers are Using a Simplified Account Structure


I know I’m cheating a bit here by referencing the Power 5 twice, but this one is truly worthy of its own section. We’ve all worked in social ad accounts that were created back when we had to have multiple lookalike audiences, re-engagement audiences, plus a few versions of a customer list live all at the same time to see great performance, but those days are long past!

The best-performing accounts now are those with a more streamlined structure. This means instead of maintaining an account that looks like this:

social advertising



You’d shift your structure to more resemble this:

social advertising



Outside of the gains you’d get in management efficiency, a more simplified structure makes sense because we’re finding that the broader your audience, the better your performance. Again, I’m aware that this is incredibly different from the campaign structures we saw some years past, but with the improvement in Facebook’s algorithm it’s no longer necessary to rely on lookalikes to find pockets of performance efficiency.

The shift to a more simplified structure actually extends past just social media—in most cases, simplification delivers better results in Google as well. The key thing to remember is this: in the case of any platform with strong algorithmic bidding, the signals used to optimize your campaigns are at the campaign level.

A more consolidated campaign structure equals more data density for your campaigns, which equals more data points for the algorithm to use, which will ultimately deliver an incredibly optimized campaign.

Implementing the above tips may seem daunting, but we’ve found that they truly deliver fantastic performance results. As long as you start early and have an account structure in place to maximize results, you’ll be ready to cruise right through the holiday season!

Nautilus was working with an agency that used its own ad accounts to run Nautilus campaigns on Facebook. The agency “owned” the data and was reluctant to share any kind of historical performance.

Without any kind of first-party data to build valuable insights from and optimize towards, Nautilus was eager to partner with a team that could help them build an audience-aligned social marketing strategy. The goals:

  • Increase ROAS
  • Further validate the value of social
  • Gain full transparency into campaign metrics and performance


Marin’s Managed Services team introduced a three-part approach for better results:

  • Performance visibility: a reporting cadence and structure to regularly track campaign progress for more actionable insights
  • Less manual work, more strategy: a Mass Editor and DPA wizard that reduced time spent on manual campaign activities and combined manual elements of DPA creation into a single step
  • Hyper-targeted optimization: a full-funnel optimization strategy that reached the right customers at the right time, and created more personalized messaging and experiences


The results?

  • Exceeded the Nautilus ROAS KPI by 132% (US)
  • Exceeded the Nautilus ROAS KPI by 30% (Canada)
  • 388% increase from the initial ROAS goal


Learn more in our case study.

I’ve encountered many in B2B who say they’re struggling to find success with social channels and, portfolio-wide, to convert qualified leads to opportunities. Some struggle to just find qualified leads.

Not surprisingly, these same advertisers all fall short in adopting the six strategies I’ve found to be integral to building and maintaining healthy social ROI. So, before throwing in the towel and letting competitors sweep in on your misfortunes (typically, misunderstandings), adopt these key strategies to find success on social with your B2B account.

1. Warm up your leads before bringing them down the      pipeline, then nurture those audiences


When was the last time you came across a brand’s ad for the first time on Facebook or LinkedIn, went directly to the landing page, bought in at a high price-point contract, and started using the software all in the same window session/sitting?

If you’re like all other good business leaders, this has most likely never happened, as your goal is to vet out your options and truly understand each solution’s offering and capabilities at each price point. So, why do you expect your prospective customers to first hear about your brand or offering and follow through to conversion in one go?

The answer is to warm up these targets by giving them ways to learn about your brand or solution, and how others are finding success with it. Too many times I’ve taken on accounts that are sending users to a landing page to start a trial or demo, and they can’t figure out why they have a poor trial or demo-to-contract-signed CVR. Marketers must understand that on social, especially when prospecting, this is interruptive marketing—you should hold your potential customer’s hand through the pipeline with strong content and nurture strategies.

2. Solve for pain points with content (and keep testing!)


Your sales team is sitting on a mountain of valuable qualitative information. They’re contacting users at different stages of the funnel, fielding their questions, and hoping to solve their pain points. Yet, most marketing teams are either oblivious to the fact that this information is out there, or are too busy to use it. Interestingly, teams like this also often have issues moving users down pipeline!

Just by holding recurring meetings with select sales staff or mining for this qualitative data out of Salesforce, marketers can understand prospects’ pain points and match or create new content to help solve for them. Once the content is ready, you can upload these audiences into social channels and serve the appropriate content piece tailored for that audience segment. Then, you can continue to build on this approach by testing content pieces against one another at each stage to find the optimal performance and user experience.

3. Test your attribution models and understand      incremental impact


The vast majority of social traffic is on mobile, yet conversion paths and actions are still typically designed for desktop. This leads to attribution models typically showing social yielding poor acquisition costs, with even greater drop-offs when comparing to backend data. Given that social is mostly an upper-funnel channel to help find new audiences, it’s important to ensure that your attribution model can account for this drop in data.

There a few ways to do this, chief being multi-touch attribution (MTA) models (Facebook even has its own built-in and available for all advertisers) and incrementality testing. I recommend a mix of both, because even MTA isn’t perfect at truly understanding performance at all of the user touch points along the journey of a long sales cycle.

Advertisers who fail to adopt these practices into their models will also fail to understand a channel’s true performance, which will then lead them to misguided budget allocations. Ultimately, this drives advertisers to pull funding from social, and opens the door for their competitors to fill their pipeline with these new leads.

4. Adopt in-platform AI product features and
     work smarter


Similar to B2C, B2B marketers can and should be adopting most AI product features available in these social platforms in order to work smarter and leaner. Facebook specifically has grown its AI product sets, including solutions that find the best budget distribution across audiences, placements, and even the best creative messaging mix.

With only a few additional optimizations, B2B advertisers can use these tools to find success. Advertisers who work with AI will find themselves running more efficient accounts with better opportunities to scale.

5. Feed AI with as much data as you can


While AI can be a powerful tool, it must be fed ample amounts of data to find the best solution for each advertiser. The more touch points you can identify as a conversion event and fed back into each platform, the stronger AI will work for you.

With each standard event identified on the site, the AI platform will match that standard event in its black box of data of all advertisers’ standard events to find similar users in a similar market / vertical. This allows you to use your own data warehouse, plus each platform’s data warehouse, to match audiences and drive performance on the channel.

For B2B advertisers, it’s important to match these standard events to valuable event triggers on the website—for example, defining a blog subscriber as a shallower event than someone who submits a form for a demo video. (But, to each their own—understand your funnel and website user journey).

6. Find success on LinkedIn for improved pipeline      performance


LinkedIn is a valuable channel that’s getting left in the dust due to high costs shallow in the funnel or even at the delivery stage. I’ve found LinkedIn to drive more quality audiences down funnel at more efficient costs deeper in the buyer journey, despite having over 400% higher CPM or CPLs. To help get you started, follow this proven step-by-step guide to unlocking success on LinkedIn.

I’ve tested these strategies with B2B clients again and again and have always found that they help strengthen the account’s performance. Before Q4 is officially upon us, take the time to reassess your brand’s standing on social platforms. If you find that there’s room for improvement (hot tip, there’s always room for improvement), dedicate some time to exploring these avenues - your bottom line will thank you.

In our latest digital advertising benchmark report, we found a 40 percent ad spend increase in eCommerce as Amazon maintains its healthy lead. Shopping ads represented 37 percent of total search spend share, as Google Shopping continues to be a key source of traffic and online orders for many retailers.

A few other key takeaways:

  • Engaging Stories Format Pays Off: 45 percent of all Instagram spend occurred on Stories as advertisers and consumers embrace the ad format. Features like Instagram Story Links and Highlights are keeping social audiences engaged as Instagram becomes more of a direct selling tool.
  • Search Click Volume Rises: With 13 percent YoY growth, paid search click volume has shown solid growth globally. Specific industries have seen more dramatic YoY click growth, led by Healthcare rising 30 percent, Technology up 25 percent, and Retail growing 24 percent.
  • Search CPCs Dropping Across All Industries: Retail at $0.38 and travel at $0.44 recorded the lowest CPCs this quarter. Notably, healthcare saw a sharp drop, with the lowest CPCs in five quarters at $1.08. As the healthcare industry becomes more customer-centric, marketers can find good value for clicks by boosting their paid search budgets accordingly.


To learn more and see how your ad campaigns compare, view our Q2 2019 Digital Advertising Benchmark Report. You can analyze current cross-channel advertising trends by region, industry, and publisher.

benchmark report



Each quarter, we aggregate advertising performance across our customer base, and share our results with digital marketing professionals to compare against their own initiatives. In addition to global industry trends, we explore the most compelling findings in key areas of digital marketing.

Access the report for actionable insights you can apply to your digital ad campaigns.

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Feeling overwhelmed by your advertising campaigns? Donate 15 minutes of your time and we’ll show you how MarinOne allows you to easily manage, measure, and optimize all of your ad campaigns from a single location. Request a demo today.

For our latest State of Digital Advertising report, we surveyed over 400 high-level digital marketers across 12 industries to find out their current goals, strategies, and concerns.

What are some of their top priorities for this year and beyond?

Combine the Strategic and the Tactical


Advertisers are working hard on key strategic goals like increasing brand awareness and reducing friction for their clients. They’re also eager to win new business by adopting more tactical plays like running omnichannel campaigns and optimizing performance. Brands who deliver on both strategic and tactical goals will outpace the competition.

Maintain the Old (and Reliable), Embrace the New


Although paid search still dominates digital advertising, other channels are taking their share. Despite ongoing controversies and people leaving for greener (Instagram) pastures, advertisers still have a massive Facebook audience—and can also take advantage of surging video and eCommerce advertising opportunities.

Win and Maintain Consumer Trust


With regulations like the GDPR and the upcoming CCPA requiring advertisers to implement entirely new strategies for ensuring data privacy, publishers have continued work to do to win and keep public—and advertiser—confidence.

To see the complete report and compare against your organization’s goals, view our State of Digital Advertising Report 2019.



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Feeling overwhelmed by your advertising campaigns? Donate 15 minutes of your time and we’ll show you how MarinOne allows you to easily manage, measure, and optimize all of your ad campaigns from a single location. Request a demo today.

If you’re from the midwestern United States, as I am, you’ve noticed that the seasons have finally shifted. Winter feels like a memory, you’re hearing outdoor music more often, and grills are alight.

With the change of seasons, our calendars fill with outdoor events, parties, and concerts. If your brand is joining the fray and hosting some festivities of its own, you’ll want to ensure that your events stand out from the crowd and get folks in the door. Aside from organic social media sharing (which you should definitely be doing!), it’s important to use Facebook and complementary advertising to attract people to your events this season.

Use Facebook Events


So this one is fairly obvious. Hopefully, this is the first thing you do! There are a ton of features and benefits to using Facebook event pages and the more you invest in them, the more you get out of them. Setting up a Facebook event is easy, but using them to their fullest extent isn’t as straightforward.

facebook events



The first thing you should do to extend the reach of your Facebook event page is to promote the event using Facebook Ads Manager. When you set up your event, it’ll automatically post to the page that’s hosting the event, but you’ll want to start using ads to influence a wider audience. For your ads, you should use the Event Responses campaign objective. In order for your ads to succeed, you’ll need to ensure that your audience targeting is on point.

Target the Right People


When you use Facebook Events as your main registration page (instead of hosting a separate landing page on your site), it becomes very easy to advertise within the platform. I strongly recommend targeting these three segments with your event’s ads:

facebook events



Top of Funnel:Drive Awareness

For events, focus on lookalikes of your ideal attendees. Interest targeting can work really well for top-of-funnel advertising. Make sure you group similar interests into their own ad sets so you can see performance on the theme (e.g., Tech vs. Advertising). For these ad sets, create messaging to move those users who showed interest—but didn’t register—across the finish line.

From a messaging standpoint, it's important to use language that complements your creative. For instance, your creative may show the speakers at your event, but the copy would cover the current sale in ticket prices or the urgency to order. It’s ok to use longer copy in your upper-funnel advertising since these potential customers will ideally not have heard of your event yet.

Middle of Funnel:Getting Users to Register

Here you have lots of options. First, build an audience of people who’ve engaged with your brand’s content in the last 90 or 180 days. You can do this in the Audience Dashboard. Secondly, build a separate audience of people who’ve attended past events by creating a custom audience and selecting “Event” from the options. This allows you to create a ton of different audiences based on how people interacted with your previous events.

facebook events



Keep your mid-funnel messaging short and punchy. Use short copy to quickly stress the importance and impact of the event. You could say “You won’t want to miss this [event]” and use the creative to highlight what they can expect to see or receive if they attend. Because people will know your brand and may have even heard of your event, no need to waste time trying to build brand affinity.

Bottom of Funnel:Convert Highly Interested Users

Finally, you should retarget people who’ve been to your brand’s website, started the checkout process, or filled out a contact form. You can often bid higher here and pick up a few extra conversions for fairly cheap, since these audiences have expressed a lot of interest in your company. This would also be where you add your attendees from last year if you have a list.

Your copy in the bottom-funnel ads should be similar to mid-funnel—short and punchy. However, you do have the opportunity to call out where your customers are in their journey. If the tickets were in their cart, for example, you could say “Finish purchasing your tickets! The prices goes up on [date].” Be sure the copy is hyper-relevant to the actions they’ve taken to keep it as effective as possible.

Use Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger Stories


The easiest thing to do with your event ads is to turn on Auto Placements and let them run, but you’d be remiss if you didn’t account for non-typical dimensions and platform differences in your placements.

To ensure that each ad that runs is correctly sized, you should create vertical and square videos or images to add as supplemental creative options on your ads. If you’ve selected all placements you can simply click “Select a Placement to customize” at the ad level and choose one of the story formats.

This is incredibly powerful because what works in Instagram Feed and Facebook News Feed is very different from the way people interact with stories formats on the platforms. For instance, showing a video in your brand’s Instagram stories of someone inviting people to the event and ending with “Swipe up for more information” will be a lot more impactful than a picture of the venue, which you might use in one of the feed formats.

Use the placements to your advantage! Pay attention to the format, creative, and messaging for each ad version and map out where they’ll be most effective.

Afterward: Build Your Audience


After all your planning is done and your event is over, you should be left with a lot of data. Whether or not you have plans for another event, it would be a great idea to get ahead of it and organize your data into lists for future use. It's important to note that this info is not just useful for future events but should be nurtured in your funnel of potential customers.

In your event’s registration data, you should have a list of attendees’ names and emails. Assuming you had an advertiser disclosure in the Privacy Policy and Agreement, you can upload the list to Facebook as a custom audience.

Aside from actual registrants and attendees, you also have visibility to more data on your event’s page with the group of individuals who marked “Interested” but didn’t attend. You can use the tools in the Audience section of Facebook Ads Manager to build an audience of this group of people, and use it as a solid start for invites to the next shindig or for nurturing in your brand’s sales funnel.

If you had a separate online registration page hosted on your site, you should build a website custom audience of the individuals who viewed that page. Similar to the last audience, these people at least expressed some interest and will likely help you find folks who will convert easily next time.

Conclusion


Events have a lot of moving parts, and promotion is only a small portion of the things that need to be done to pull off a successful event. It is, however, a very important ingredient in that event’s success and should never be ignored.

Hopefully, these tips help demystify what it takes to organize Facebook ads to bolster your event’s visibility. Most of the tips here can be summed up to “build and use your list well,” so make this your credo! If you think strategically about how to use your owned and built lists, you’ll be in great shape.

Starting April, 30, 2019, Facebook’s relevance score will be replaced with three new “granular” metrics, plus they’ll swap out six other metrics to provide more actionable insights. As of the changeover date, the old metrics will no longer be available in Facebook’s product interfaces or in the release of Ads Insights
API v3.3.


Another change: Facebook is updating how it estimates potential reach. Now, reach will reflect the number of users who were shown an ad within the last 30 days, versus the number of users who were active on a Facebook service in the last 30 days.

Read on for more details.

Goodbye, Relevance Score


Three new metrics will take the place of relevance score:

  • Quality Ranking: Measures an ad’s perceived quality compared to ads competing for the same target audience
  • Engagement Rate Ranking: Measures an ad’s expected engagement rate compared to ads competing for the same audience
  • Conversion Rate Ranking: Measures an ad’s expected conversion rate when compared to ads with the same optimization goals and audience


Like relevance score, these metrics aren’t factored into an ad’s performance in the auction—instead, they provide insights into how changes to creative assets, audience targeting, or the post-click experience may impact ad performance. Ad relevance diagnostics will be introduced gradually over the coming months.

No More ‘Offers Saved’ and ‘Cost Per Offers Saved’


Rather than only measuring the number of ads that were being saved for the “Offers” ad format, Facebook is extending this metric to be inclusive of all ads that are being saved, across all ad formats. This will be reflected as “Post Saves.”

Messaging Replies and Cost per Messaging Reply


These are going away, too. Previously, Facebook was measuring the number of replies within new and existing conversations attributed to your ad. “New Messaging Connections” only measures new conversations, excluding those with people who’ve sent a message to your business in the past. “Messaging Conversations Started” measures the number of times people started messaging your business after at least seven days of inactivity.

Mobile App Purchase ROAS and Web Purchase ROAS


Previously, ROAS metrics were channel specific (i.e., Mobile, Web, On-Facebook, Instagram). Since the customer's path to purchase is increasingly omnichannel, there will be one, holistic “Purchase ROAS” metric that will look at ROAS across all channels.

Updates to Potential Reach


Now, businesses will be able to gauge the number of people they can reach given specific targeting and placement criteria.

The new estimation methodology is based on people who were shown an ad within the last 30 days. Previously, the estimate was based on people who were active on a Facebook service in the last 30 days. This results in:

  • More clarity: This update provides a better estimate of the potential audience that could see the ad given specific targeting and placement criteria.
  • More stable audience sizes: It also reduces volatility in daily audience size estimates.


Why Facebook’s Making These Changes


As part of its efforts to improve its reporting offerings, Facebook wants to replace metrics that marketers have told them are infrequently used with more actionable ones. These metrics are intended to provide an additional level of insight and granularity, giving advertisers the opportunity to make smarter decisions regarding ad creatives, placement, and targeting.

What to Do If You’re a Marin Customer


Because Marin’s API integration is currently built out to API v3.1 and these changes will come into effect with Ads Insights API v3.3, no immediate changes will be reflected in the Marin application. This also means that all pre-existing metrics will be readily available in the Marin application until we choose to upgrade to API v3.3. Currently, API v3.1 won’t be sunsetted until October 2020.

As we get closer to upgrading to API v3.3, we’ll notify you with the foreseen timeline. At that point, you’ll need to update any reports or alerts to incorporate the appropriate actionable metrics. You won't need to take any further action for the potential reach changes.

As always, if you have questions, touch base with your Marin rep.

Our social marketing clients use Marin’s Message Booster to automatically promote organic posts with high engagement metrics as paid advertisements.

The reality is that organic content on social media is still very important, with its unique ability to help brands create a community of loyal followers and customers. Despite their reach shrinking on social, organic posts still play an important role in communicating a brand’s lifestyle and values to consumers and potential consumers, giving that brand a “voice” for users to research and relate to.

Organic posts trigger conversation and the content brands create evokes a response from readers. Good content creation focuses on posts, videos, tweets, and pictures that a brand’s ideal audiences want to engage with.

Enter Marin’s Message Booster.

Your Content Takes Center Stage


Message Booster is a dedicated social media management tool aimed at streamlining Community Management (CM) processes and paid media content promotion. Where engagement rates on organic content are high, the Message Booster functionality allows you to promote it as a paid page post, with a simple click of a button.

organic post



Now, the same content that’s resonating with your audiences at an increasingly high rate can break through Facebook’s algorithms and into feeds as paid media, for incremental reach and exposure. Think of it as a vetting process—you know which brand messaging is working, and now you want to allocate more budget to it!

Flexibility and Control


Like all paid advertisements on Facebook, you can set additional controls such as ad set budget, audiences, delivery method (standard/accelerated), and ad scheduling. However, you can also set rules to automate these controls.

Once created, these rules are “always-on” and ensure that every trending opportunity is capitalized, without the need for manual activation. You can use metrics such as engagement on post, engagement rate, negative feedback, reach, and specific post elements (caption, description, title, etc.) as conditions to trigger the creation of the post, as shown here:

organic post



Key benefits of Marin’s Message Booster include:

  • Fast and simple interface
  • Time savings and workflow efficiencies
  • Automated content promotion rules (also known as “auto-boost”)
  • A holistic view into community engagement data and insights
  • Management of several Facebook Pages on a single interface


Want to learn more about Message Booster? Contact your account representative today, or sign up for a demo if you’re not currently a customer!

Before you begin to investigate tactics for implementing an effective cross-channel advertising strategy, it's important to take a broad view of your goals, data, and business. In this article, we look at the necessary elements you should have in place before getting tactical with your cross-channel ad campaigns.

Understand Your Goals


What are your digital advertising goals? Is the aim to drive awareness and exposure for an emerging brand or product? Are you selling commodity products, and aiming to get them in front of buyers before your competitors? Is it a longer sales cycle, with a high purchase value consideration that requires many touchpoints and a patient approach? Before you spend your first advertising dollar, get to know your business and clearly lay out your objectives.

Build the Foundation


Now that you know what you want to do, look at what you have. Does your site function well? Do you have quality landing pages that load quickly on desktop and mobile? Create strong content and write descriptions that resonate. Take the steps needed to get your program in the best place possible before spending money on cross-channel digital advertising campaigns to promote growth. At the end of the day, driving traffic to an unsatisfactory experience can damage your brand and derail ROI.

Capture the Data


Not every tactic is going to work well across every channel. As a digital advertiser, it’s important to be flexible, but more importantly, to be informed. As your program expands in breadth and volume, take advantage of all the insights you glean from your paid efforts across channels.

Unified reporting and analysis surfaces the opportunity areas both in terms of driving more sales or pulling back spend to increase efficiency. Take a product-first approach, for example: widget launches on the first of the month, and we’re tasked with promoting the widget with campaign assets across Google, Facebook, and eCommerce marketplaces.

Which channel did customers use to research their purchase? Where was the best return in terms of conversions? Where was our competition more assertive? At Marin Software, we believe companies need to think “big picture” by taking the holistic view across channels, segmenting audiences, and revisiting performance regularly.

Refine and Optimize


Too often, advertisers start strong and move along, failing to actively measure, manage, and optimize cross-channel campaigns. Sadly, digital advertising isn't as easy as putting up a billboard on the highway and waiting for responses as traffic snarls by.

Your audience is a moving target, and the battle for their attention is complicated and dynamic. Compound that with things like rotating inventory and promotional periods and it can be pretty overwhelming. However, sticking to the basics and doing things like search query analysis and product segmentation are core to program growth and improvement. Take the time to reallocate budgets and seize opportunities, and do so often.

Get Tactical


Once you have these pieces in place, you're ready for specific actions to coordinate your Facebook, Google, and eCommerce campaigns and deliver growth. We're here to help. Download our Search, Social, and eCommerce Guidebook to learn everything you need to know to create revenue-boosting digital ad campaigns.



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Feeling overwhelmed by your advertising campaigns? Donate 15 minutes of your time and we’ll show you how MarinOne allows you to easily manage, measure, and optimize all of your ad campaigns from a single location. Request a demo today.

We called time on The Big Bang 2019 recently in London’s Science Museum, but plenty of good memories abound from the conference. The agenda included several big themes swirling around the digital advertising world, including artificial intelligence, feed management, big data, and the future of search.




Our opening session was a lively slam down debate about the impact of artificial intelligence on both marketing and our world at large. Charles Radclyffe claimed that AI is just “fancy maths plus data plus computational power,” whereas Sera Miller asked if AI can “help you unlock a strategy or help you get the creative solution to where it needs to be? If you don't ask those questions, AI will be like the emperor’s new clothes.”



https://youtu.be/eeN7KcHnVgc


Anita Caras from Verizon took the stage to talk about the strength of native advertising to drive more engaging user experiences. She described how difficult it is for a digital brand to survive, when some research shows that 75% of brands could disappear tomorrow and people wouldn't notice! That’s a long way from the brand love that advertisers crave.




https://youtu.be/eAdnqsC3lhA


Our shopping panel was a big hit (despite being interrupted by a museum fire alarm—thanks, kid!) with guest speakers from Facebook, Google, Bing, Marin, and Feedonomics. Panelists agreed that AI, feed management, and online/offline closed loop advertising are all important advances in advertising. But Michael Wicks, a shopping specialist at Google, seemed to capture the panel’s mood with his comment, “Retailers have got to remind themselves that the customer comes first and must be at the heart of everything we do.”



https://youtu.be/k2QYm2j59yQ

Ian Carrington, Google’s Managing Director of Performance Advertising Solutions, treated our audience to a fascinating keynote on the future of search advertising, which pivoted on a single fundamental concept—technology’s role in being helpful to users. “Understanding the customer journey and being aware of it is the first step in giving that customer what they want. All companies are finding their way through this. No one knows the answer yet. It's an exciting time.”



https://youtu.be/j7R847zNQfc

Wes MacLaggan, Marin’s SVP of Marketing, followed with an in-depth look at how data can provide advertisers with a huge competitive advantage, particularly when it’s used to leverage performance across multiple channels. Wes took the example of Google’s translation efforts, moving from rules-based to semantic, AI-driven translation techniques to get ever closer to the holy grail of natural language processing.



The conference ended with a truly inspiring talk by Doctor Sue Black, Professor of Computer Science at Durham University. Sue shared her riveting life story—starting as a single mother in her 20s with three young children to becoming a successful academic and public speaker. “Coming from very difficult circumstances, I never ever would have believed I’d become who I am. Education and technology have changed my life. It’s changed my family’s life. I love technology. If I can do it, so can you.”





Sue’s uplifting talk led us into a cocktail party in the Science Museum’s flight gallery (think champagne reception with large aircraft dangling overhead) followed by science-themed fun in the amazing Wonderlab space. We ended the day with tesla coil demonstrations, a gin lab, and controlled explosions—going out with a big bang indeed! Until next year...



In Q4 2018, paid search continued its upward trend, growing 10% YoY. As inventory gets more expensive, however, more spend doesn’t necessarily mean more clicks—there was a modest 10% increase year-over-year in Retail, less than the search spend for the vertical.

Instagram Stories and Dynamic Product Ads ruled, however—Instagram received 18% of total Facebook spend, with 34% of that spend allocated to Instagram Stories, a 36% increase from the previous quarter. Dynamic Product Ads accounted for 35% of total Facebook spend in Q4.

See more insights in our Q4 2018 Digital Advertising Benchmark Report. Our interactive format reveals the latest cross-channel advertising trends by region, industry, and publisher.

dynamic product ads



Each quarter, we aggregate advertising performance across our customer base, and share our results with digital marketing professionals to compare against their own initiatives. In addition to global industry trends, we explore the most compelling findings in key areas of digital marketing.

Other highlights for Q4 2018 include:

  • eCommerce on the Rise: Google Shopping Ads captured 36% of search spend for all verticals. Shopping Ads remained retail advertisers’ bread and butter, as eCommerce search engines increasingly join the quest to deliver relevant, targeted experiences. According to Marin Software data, monthly spending on eCommerce channel ads increased 5x since January 2018.
  • Paid Search Up, CTRs Down: Paid search spend grew 10% globally year-over-year. Q4 remained the strongest quarter, with Financial Services (+25%) and Retail (+12%) leading the charge. As inventory gets more expensive, however, more spend doesn’t necessarily mean more clicks—there was a modest 10% increase year-over-year in Retail, less than the search spend for the vertical.
  • Search CPCs Vary by Vertical: Travel clocked the lowest global CPC in Q4 at $0.45, followed by Retail at $0.48. Education and and Technology represented the highest CPCs in Q4, at $2.92 and $1.51, respectively.
  • Mobile Search Holds Steady: Mobile accounted for 36% of search spend share in Retail and 41% of spend share across all verticals in Q4. Mobile continued to be a crucial touchpoint for product purchasing decisions, especially during the fast-paced and competitive holiday season.


View the report for actionable insights for your digital ad efforts.

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Feeling overwhelmed by your advertising campaigns? Donate 15 minutes of your time and we’ll show you how MarinOne allows you to easily manage, measure, and optimize all of your ad campaigns from a single location. Request a demo today.

As we jump headlong into 2019, the digital advertising industry continues its exciting journey through new ad formats, breaking news, and shifting ad budgets. To dive deep into the state of the industry and anticipate what the New Year will bring, we dove into industry data and the Marin Advertising Index—which represents billions of dollars of annual ad spend on the Marin platform. These 10 trends in digital advertising indicate new possibilities, persistent challenges, and ongoing turf wars among major industry players.

1. Blurred Lines: Google, Facebook, and Amazon


As the triopoly rises to the top and competes fiercely with each other for digital ad dollars, the worlds of search, social, and eCommerce will continue to blend together. Amazon is essentially a massive search engine now, Google has seen great success with Shopping Ads, and now Facebook, through Instagram, is becoming a major player in eCommerce. How can marketers optimize spend?

The Opportunity: Marketers will need to work hard to connect the dots across all these different channels and seek out an independent view of the entire customer journey, especially as lines are blurring across publishers and devices.

2. The Rise of Instagram and Facebook Stories


During its Q3 2018 earnings call, Facebook reported that more than one billion Stories are shared daily across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. And where consumers go, marketers follow. Marin Software’s Q3 Digital Advertising Benchmark Report found Stories represented 25% of their total Instagram ad spend, up from just 8% a year earlier—that’s a 212% increase YoY and rising.

The Opportunity: Because Stories are such a rich, immersive ad format, there’s plenty of opportunity to experiment with engaging creative. But brands are at the mercy of users’ thumbs clicking through the story quickly, since Facebook hasn’t yet implemented unskippable ads like Snapchat. So, it’s more important than ever to get the creative right, especially since Facebook is still working out the kinks of the format.

3. The Chatbot and Messenger Brand Advantage


The number of mobile messaging app users in the U.S. will reach 171.3 million by 2022, according to eMarketer estimates. Advertisers are only just beginning to realize the true potential of the channel.

The Opportunity: Messenger apps present an opportunity for brands to move conversations forward in a way unlike any other format. Brands can have asynchronous conversations—where they can pop in and out of the app—at various points along the customer journey (when a user abandons the shopping cart, for example).

4. Brace for Impact: CCPA Is Just the Beginning


Brands should be prepared for more states, and possibly the federal government, to follow in California’s footsteps with GDPR-like regulations. As industry leaders and government officials continue to take strides toward privacy requirements, marketers need to understand their data infrastructure and make preparations now, anticipating that new regulations will go into effect and shake up ad strategies.

The Opportunity: While these changes may seem daunting now, it’s important to remember that it’s still possible to reach consumers in a courteous way, respecting those who choose to not have their data shared and honoring those who do share their data but still want it protected. This mutual understanding and promise of transparency will keep companies in a good light, and shouldn’t deter them from continuing to create meaningful, engaging, and relevant advertising and marketing experiences for customers and prospects.

5. Data, Data, Everywhere


Google’s search query report tells you exactly what people have searched for. That’s a fire hose for any company to see what their customers are really seeking. Users often search for something much broader than a specific product, and beyond shaping marketing strategy, such marketing-centric data will increasingly be utilized across the organization.

The Opportunity: The smartest marketers will keep mining search and other types of data to stay competitive, whether it’s to improve the customer experience or inform product, services, and merchandising decisions. For example, marketers can use search intent to uncover valuable insights across channels, and take advantage of specific terms and user behaviors to fuel ongoing brand strategies and tactics.

6. The Digital Is Political: New Rules for 2020


The 2018 midterm elections changed the rules for political ads. Between shrinking TV ad influence, growing digital ad spend, and general public distrust in social media, candidates had to get creative and fork out some major cash in order to come out on top.

Much of this spend was directed towards social ads, with some estimates showing “60 percent of every digital ad dollar goes toward social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram.” This was only a glimpse into the political ad frenzy that we’ll begin to experience in 2019 as the next presidential election approaches.

The Opportunity: Political advertisers are entering a new landscape—one that’s harder to break through with all the digital noise and distrust. Candidates must be diligent about utilizing data and understanding which channels are generating the most impact, and maximizing spend accordingly.

7. eCommerce Joins the Advertising Party


2018 was the year of Amazon, as it turned the duopoly into a triopoly and officially became the third largest digital advertising platform in the U.S. behind Facebook and Google. But Amazon isn’t the only retailer seeing major success in eCommerce—other major players are bound to follow suit by monetizing their websites.

The Opportunity: As eCommerce rises as an advertising channel, expect to see other giants like eBay and Walmart mimicking Amazon’s success to turn their own websites into advertising channels. After all, Amazon leads U.S. companies in nearly half of total retail eCommerce sales, but eBay and Walmart are not far behind at no. 2 and no. 3.

Looking beyond the U.S., it’s interesting to note that Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent all take a significant share of the Chinese ad market, according to eMarketer’s Global Ad Spend Update.

8. Next-Gen Search: Visual and Voice


Google, Facebook, and Amazon are all players in the voice search game. According to Chatmeter, more than 50% of consumers own a smart speaker and use it daily. Amazon reports fielding an average of 130 million questions a day via “Alexa.” The opportunity for this next-generation version of search is huge—and visual search is on the horizon, taking search to an entirely new level.

For example, Snapchat recently announced a partnership with Amazon to offer users a new image-based shopping feature—users snap a photo of a product and Amazon will ring up a menu of store purchase options.

The Opportunity: Both voice and visual search are poised to be game-changers for marketers, and the opportunities for brands are still in the early days. One thing is for certain: voice and visual cannot be approached in the same way as traditional search. In fact, if Google and Amazon focus on capturing value from the transaction, Alexa and Google Home could be surprisingly free of traditional “ads.” The value is in the query and brands will need to figure out how to rise to the top.

9. AI’s All Over Search, but Creative’s Not Dead


A/B testing is dead, thanks to the introduction of technology like responsive search ads that put Google’s machine learning capabilities into the hands of advertisers. But with less time testing and more time to come up with smart and innovative campaigns, it’s certainly a time for marketers to ramp up the creative ingenuity.

The Opportunity: The rise of ML/AI in advertising will open up new doors for marketers to focus on their customer, deliver relevant and engaging ads, and spend more time thinking about what goals really matter. Spending less time in the trenches testing multiple creative will allow advertisers to focus on the real deliverables of any marketing initiatives.

10. Influencers Go Cross-Channel


A study conducted earlier this year found that 62 percent of marketers were planning to grow their influencer marketing budgets in 2018. Meanwhile, 61 percent of influencers said they had more sponsored partnership opportunities in 2017 than they had in 2016, and that number will surely rise in years to come as Instagram and other platforms gain popularity.

The Opportunity: Expect to see influencer marketing being incorporated into broader cross-channel campaigns and strategies. As influencers become an increasingly important part of the customer journey and continue to “influence” purchase decisions, the industry must work toward better attribution models for this fairly new form of engagement.

Okay, social advertisers—have you laid out your goals for 2019? To help you with strategic planning, we put together a New Year’s resolutions list especially for you.

I will fine-tune my attribution to better understand my biddable performance.


Most advertisers still rely on last-click attribution when evaluating their biddable channel performance. This attribution model has a number of flaws:

  • It doesn’t account for social impressions, especially the impact of social video ads.
  • It doesn’t consider the complex user journey to purchase, which often includes multiple touchpoints.
  • It has a tendency to devalue your paid social activity, and paint an inaccurate picture of which channels are driving conversions and incrementality.


Instead of last-click, we suggest considering more accurate measuring solutions. For example, using Marin’s TruePath, cross-channel advertisers are able to view the full user journey and understand the value of Facebook post-impression conversions alongside search results.

I will include video in my paid social strategy.


Digital video consumption has been growing each year, with Cisco estimating that 80% of internet traffic will be video by 2019. It’s a great way for marketers to tell their stories and get users to connect with the brand.

Over the course of 2018, here at Marin we’ve seen video ads improving in their ability to drive conversions and revenue. Now, we suggest that each advertising campaign aimed at driving conversions include both image and video assets, optimized towards the best performance.

I will open my heart to placement optimization.


Social media algorithms are constantly improving and have gotten really good at matching our ads to consumers. According to a study by Promo, 71% of consumers find Facebook video ads relevant.

With this in mind, we should concentrate on reaching the right people, no matter what device or placement they’re on. Using placement optimization allows you to serve your ads on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and a selection of partner mobile sites, all optimized towards the objective you select.

I will keep testing and learning new things.


The social media landscape is constantly evolving—consumer habits are changing and we should evolve our paid social advertising strategy to match. If a campaign is working well today, this might not be the case in 2019 if we don’t adapt to the changes.

To keep pace, it’s important to be open to new developments and carefully test whether they work for your organization. I’d encourage you to test new placements to see if they can deliver better reach and cost per conversion. Try new ad formats, especially as they tend to be cheaper once they’re first rolled out. Finally, use the split testing feature, which allows you to carefully determine whether the new campaign additions are working well for you.

Here are a few ideas to test in 2019:

  • Placements: Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, Messenger Stories, Marketplace
  • Ad formats: Stories, Click-to-Messenger ads
  • Optimization: Creative optimization for different placements, placement optimization


And there you have it—your social advertising resolutions for 2019. As you get ready for an exciting New Year, we’re here to answer your questions about any of the products or strategies mentioned above. Just get in touch with your Marin Social representative. Or, if you’re new to Marin, schedule a demo and we’ll show you how you can optimize your social ad campaigns.

The holidays are here—meaning a busy time for brands. To help you usher in the next round of shopping sprees, we’ve made a list (and checked it twice) of recommendations to boost campaign performance of your social holiday ads.

Be Careful Not to Limit Ad Delivery


‘Tis the season for free shipping—and refining your ad delivery. Be sure not to establish too many delivery constraints, which will limit your campaigns. With just the right restrictions, however, your social ad delivery system will explore the best opportunities and locate the best possible value in alignment with your strategies and goals.

There are several tips and tools that can help you refine your ad delivery and increase clicks:

  • Combine ad sets so that you can reach the minimum conversion optimization requirement per ad set. You'll see better performance by merging some ad sets and having only a few in your campaign.
  • Include MarketPlace, Messenger, and Stories in your ad placements. This will help Facebook find the best fit and encourage ad delivery based on where people are. For instance, some people may be looking at Facebook Stories but not using Messenger.
  • Marin Tip: Marin Social’s Budget Allocation feature automatically adjusts your ad set budgets based on performance. This feature helps increase your delivery while reducing your cost per action.


Broaden Your Audience


Facebook results tend to be more effective when the audience is broader. Conversely, limiting the audience restrains the number of reachable people to the lowest price, which will increase your cost per action. We recommend using an audience size of at least two million. This allows you to create and vary your audience.

Marin Tip: Marin Social offers features such as Campaign Lookalike Audiences, and Interest and Location Clusters, that allow you to create audiences based on characteristics you specify. This is great for broadening your audience while you refine your targeting.

Bid Higher During the Holidays


Competition is fierce during the holiday season, leading to increased conversion rates and CPMs. To win auctions, you’ll need to bid higher. You’ll be rewarded with higher conversion rates and better performance.

Marin Tip: Marin Social’s automated rules feature allows you to set rules that make sense for you and your business. For example, you can limit and control your costs and spend automatically during days when you’re out of the office.

Optimize According to Your Objective


It’s important to bid on the right optimization goal that helps you achieve your business objective. When you do this, the Facebook system delivers the best performance and generates more volume.

For example, the link clicks optimization helps with the website traffic objective but not an app install objective. Furthermore, the delivery system needs a certain amount of data—at least 50 conversions—to reliably predict the conversion rate and maximize value.

Vary Your Content


Make sure your content is relevant to your audience, message, and objective. Include different formats in the same ad set to allow the Facebook algorithm to have more flexibility to give you the best results possible. Also, to avoid audience fatigue, refresh your ads every 10 days.

Marin Tip: Marin Social has various features—such as Mass Editor, Bulk Creator, and the Find & Replace tool—to help you create and refresh your ads.

The holiday season is upon us and it’s always fun to analyze the aggregate performance of our advertisers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Each year when we “read the tea leaves”, some existing trends are reinforced while a new pattern jumps out at us. 2018 is no exception.

More Clicks, Higher Spend



As expected, we see a marked jump in clicks and spend on paid search in the U.S. this holiday season. Clicks and ad spend were up 53% and 81% respectively on Black Friday this year when indexed off the monthly pre-holiday average. Cyber Monday also posted 40% growth in clicks and 105% growth in ad spend for the U.S. market.


CPCs Rise Up



We also observed a large gulf between click (40%) and spend (105%) growth on Cyber Monday this year, which means CPCs have increased. A combination of greater click volume with increased competition means higher CPCs for advertisers. If conversion rates increase accordingly, then advertisers can justify this higher spend and this is where an ad management platform like Marin can excel by delivering sterling return on ad spend (ROAS) to match your increased investment.



Black Friday & Cyber Monday Go Global



Although both events originated in the US, data from Marin’s ad management platform shows that advertisers in the United Kingdom and Europe are rallying around Black Friday and Cyber Monday too. While the US leads in overall ad spend for Black Friday (81%) and Cyber Monday (105%), the UK runs a close second, followed by Europe.



What better indication that the shopping season is now global than robust ad spend growth across all three regions in 2018. Stay tuned for more in-depth analysis of this holiday period from Marin as we roll into December.

For more in-depth analysis of trends across search, social, and eCommerce channels this year, check out Marin’s Q3 2018 Digital Advertising Benchmark Report.

Instagram Stories are a huge success for Facebook. The format rolled out in August 2016 to the general Instagram public, and then to advertisers in March 2017.

Now, Instagram can boast of 400 million people using Stories every day. This is more than double the 191 million Snapchat users, the platform where stories were first born.

With user habits shifting so rapidly, Stories are poised to be the future of social media. According to research conducted by Block Party, Stories creation and consumption is up 842% since 2016. Facebook also estimates that Stories will surpass sharing to news feeds in 2019.

In light of all this, Facebook recently announced that Facebook Stories Ads are now available to all advertisers globally.

Why are Stories so wildly popular?

A Story’s Worth a Thousand Words


Stories make it easier to share experiences, are easier to consume than text, and are highly immersive, occupying the full screen and often playing with sound on.

Should you drop what you’re doing and start making Facebook Stories Ads right now? Well, maybe not drop everything, but you should add Stories to your social advertising toolkit.

What More Can Facebook Stories Offer Advertisers?


Before you fully dive in, consider these additional stats:

  • Facebook Stories have about 150 million daily active users. The reach is a few times smaller than reach on Instagram Stories, but still significant.
  • The format’s available to be bought along with Facebook Feed or Instagram Stories ads as a placement optimization. It’s not yet available as a standalone.
  • It’s versatile and supports direct response and brand objectives: Reach, Brand Awareness, Video Views, App Installs, Conversion, Traffic, and Lead Generation.
  • It includes the entire suite of Facebook targeting options.
  • Facebook Stories support image and video ad formats (up to 15 seconds). By comparison, Instagram now supports up to 60-second video in Stories and the Carousel format.


Our Take on Facebook Stories Ads


Facebook Stories ads are available to all advertisers through Marin Social. After initial testing, we have a few recommendations.

facebook stories


  • If you’re already using Instagram Stories, extend your reach to Facebook Stories. It’s a no-brainer. As long as you’re using single image or short video ads, selecting the extra placement is an easy way to get additional reach and improve your performance. In this case, you won’t need to develop new assets and can test Facebook Stories in a couple of clicks.
  • Don’t expect massive additional reach just yet. Facebook Stories have less reach than Instagram Stories. Also, because you can’t choose Facebook Stories as a standalone placement, the almighty algorithm will control your ads, and they prioritize placements that deliver the best value. You won’t be able to predict how much delivery you’ll get, at first, on Facebook Stories.
  • Leave a little space at the top and bottom of the asset, free from text and logos—about 14%. Your profile icon and call to action (CTA) will fill this space. (Note that Facebook requires a profile icon but a CTA is optional. See our example Facebook Story ad).
  • Use text overlay and emojis to narrate the story. Text overlays are commonly used in organic stories and can help you add a little humor or context to the story. This is especially useful as Stories are consumed very quickly. Make sure your key message stands out fast.


Learn More


We’re excited about this ad format and can’t wait for more advertisers to try it out. If you’re a Marin customer and want to learn more, get in touch with your account rep. Or, if you’re new to Marin, see it in action by requesting a demo.

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.

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

Google and Facebook want half


The “duopoly” are marching toward making up half of the U.S. ad market, as video, TV, and politics bring in big media dollars.

Read the article

Is this the end of the Ad ID Consortium?


With AppNexus leaving the Ad ID Consortium and only one founding group remaining, what happens next?

Read the article

Snapchat links visual search to Amazon listings


Snapchat users can now scan their mobile phone over a physical item to bring up the item’s associated Amazon product listing.

Read the article

Mobile likely to dominate holiday shopping


According to a new OpenX and Harris Poll survey, most consumers think the U.S. economy is doing okay, so plan to spend the same or more on gifts this holiday season.

Read the article

Amazon’s making the duopoly a triopoly


New projections say that not only is Amazon gaining ground on Google and Facebook—it’s poised to surpass them.

Read the article

Although Instagram Stories is the fastest-growing Facebook product, and more and more consumers are shifting to the stories format, most businesses are still lagging behind.

If you haven’t adopted the Stories ad format on Instagram yet, now’s a perfect time. This ad format is an easy, great way to stay ahead of the competition. In this post, we offer tips for using Instagram Stories to build your brand. For the basics, check out A Brief Guide to Advertising with Instagram Stories.

How People Interact with Stories


Before building ad campaigns and adapting your existing assets to Stories, it’s important to understand how people engage with this format.

How to Build Your Brand with Instagram Stories



According to Facebook, video represents over 40% of Instagram Stories, with over 60% of these being sound-on.[1] And, about one-third of the most viewed Stories are from businesses, meaning that people on Instagram are open to engaging with you!

Getting Started


If you’re new to Instagram Stories, start with the basics: tell your brand story with awareness objectives, such as reach, reach and frequency, brand awareness, and video views. Keep a few pointers in mind to maximize success:

  • Creative storytelling: Instagram formats allow you to be creative and craft assets that capture people’s imagination.
  • Well-branded and authentic content: This will build trust (brand loyalty) and encourage feedback.
  • Key moments: Incorporate opportunities for your audiences to respond. Use these moments to drive awareness and action.


Finally, be sure to consider your measurement tool. Make sure to properly implement tracking so that you gather relevant data, but also gain an understanding on how people interact with your brand. This will allow you to focus more specifically on achieving your target objectives and KPIs.

The Creative Sky’s the Limit


Be bold, understand the format, and create alluring ad campaigns with Instagram Stories. If you’d like to learn how Marin can help, contact us today.



[1] Instagram internal data, 2016-2017.

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

Instagram expands shopping features


To make it easier for people to buy products they see on Instagram, the social platform unleashed two new features.

Read the article

What advertisers are spending on social video


eMarketer provides a new forecast for social video advertising, and examines what’s driving the projected growth.

Read the article

Amazon hits third best in the US


Although it still trails behind its Google and Facebook rivals, Amazon’s a contender, making up 4.1% of all US digital ad spend.

Read the article

Google plans to loosen control over AMP


Decisions about Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages will now be made by committee, its ongoing attempt to enhance the mobile web.

Read the article

90% of consumers report being brand-loyal


Surprise! People are connected to brands. And, by a large margin, most people interact with their favorites via Facebook.

Read the article

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

What 100 days after GDPR looks like


Over three months after rollout of the new GDPR regulations, how are digital advertisers faring? As might be expected, all’s well for the major publishers.

Read the article

Podcasters turn to measurement and attribution


When companies gathered at the fourth annual IAB Podcast Upfront, content wasn’t necessarily king. Instead, discussions centered on how to attract brand advertising dollars.

Read the article

With low CPMs, Facebook Stories draw advertisers


As people eliminate or reduce their Facebook usage, advertisers continue to experiment with the latest Facebook ad formats, with Facebook Stories poised to attract ad dollars.

Read the article

Mobile commerce to overtake eCommerce by 2019


According to 451 Research, mobile commerce is about to have its moment, as online retail growth continues to outpace in-store sales.

Read the article

Vertical video ads are coming to YouTube


To enable brands to “provide a more seamless mobile experience,” YouTube unveiled its vertical video offering at this year’s DMEXCO.

Read the article

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

AT&T blasts new California privacy law


Stating that internet communications are “geography-agnostic,” AT&T raises the concern that tailored services will be more challenging across different U.S. regions.

Read the article

Mobile sales to hit $117B in 2018


A Forrester report predicts continued mobile ascendance, with mobile influence expected to impact $1.3 trillion in retail sales.

Read the article

What’s wrong with "50% by 2020" voice search


Econsultancy writer Rebecca Sentance brings nuance to the oft-repeated projection for voice search usage.

Read the article

Brand posts up, organic engagement down on Facebook


As Facebook faces increased competition, boosts content quality, and pushes paid content, organic takes a continued hit.

Read the article

Google introduces new relevance metric, 'ad strength'


The new metric lets marketers know the quality of their ad content, plus the relevance, quality, and diversity of ad copy.

Read the article

For a long time, lift studies were considered a Facebook feature only available to large advertisers with high ad campaign budgets. Just recently, Facebook released a ‘test and learn’ feature that enables all advertisers—large and small alike—to help answer the big question: How do I know if my ads are driving incremental sales or conversions?

The self-serve solution allows you to run as many studies as you need to determine Facebook’s value to your campaigns. Now, Facebook advertisers have another way to not only understand, but also act on their lift study results and continuously test for optimal performance.

Here’s a rundown of how the test works, and best practices for achieving the most statistically significant results.

Lift Study Methodology and How It Works


Unless your Facebook account manager sets up a specific test and learn study, the study runs on the whole ad account. Facebook splits the study into two random groups: One will be served Facebook ads, and the other one won’t. The size of these groups is determined by various factors such as ad account reach, ad study schedule, and budget.

Using a random number generator and linking it to each Facebook user ID allows Facebook to create random groups, and ensures that people are staying in the dedicated group regardless of which platform and device they’re using.

When you run the test and learn study, you can select from a couple of options:

  • Incremental sales or conversions caused by ads run on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network
  • Which campaigns caused the lowest cost conversions


Once you select the objective and optimization event, the data gets passed to Facebook via the Facebook pixel. Facebook then compares the conversions in the test and control group to measure the lift.

Once Facebook analyzes the results and measures lift, you’ll see the outcomes on your Ads Manager.

lift studies



lift studies


Best Practices for Running Test and Learn Studies


To get the most out of your lift studies, be sure to implement these creative and optimization tactics.

On the Creative Side

  • Have a clear message and main point: Make sure people don’t have to guess what you’re offering or the action they should take.
  • Static images and video work better together: According to Facebook, including static images and video assets within the same campaign leads to better performance for direct response objectives, and results in more conversions than video or static images alone.
  • Optimize video ads for mobile: With major publishers like Google, Facebook, and Amazon all offering and/or enhancing their mobile advertising options, mobile ad optimization has become a prerequisite to effective ad campaigns.


On the Campaign Optimization Side

  • Match your optimization goal as closely as possible to your business goal.
  • Limit manual optimization—most importantly, avoid making drastic changes to your ad campaigns.
  • Optimize on all placements across the Facebook family of apps to maximize ad inventory and keep CPMs down.


Even if you’re confident about incremental conversions that Facebook is driving for your ads, the test and learn solution is now widely available. Jump in and try it out! Feel free to run it in the background to give you additional visibility on how your campaigns are performing.

If you’re a Marin customer, be sure to consult with your account manager to get personalized recommendations. If you’re new to Marin, get in touch to learn more.

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

Instagram Stories pioneers turn to Facebook Stories


Price spikes are driving some advertisers away from Instagram Stories and towards Facebook Stories, the cheaper option.

Read the article

Repeat buyers favor marketplaces over retailers


Online marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba’s Tmall are giving global retailers and brands a run for their money.

Read the article

LinkedIn is relaunching Groups in its flagship app


Looking to undo its ‘ghost town’ image and get more people onto its platform, LinkedIn is rolling Groups back into its main app by the end of August.

Read the article

Neutrogena, Sonos beta test use of Amazon video ads


Several prominent brands are piloting Amazon’s video ad placements in product search results, another sign of its expanding advertising business.

Read the article

Forrester: Video ad spending will hit $103B by 2023


Lastly, Forrester's new Video Advertising Forecast predicts over 200 million online video viewers in 2018, and 258 TV audience members, among other insights.

Read the article

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

Facebook influencer organic reach drops 23%


Marketing Dive attributes a drop in organic reach for influencer content to Facebook’s algorithm tweaks in early 2018. With Facebook’s new tools for influencers, this dip may not be a lasting one.

Read the article

Facebook has changed—so should your digital strategy


Facebook is in constant flux, quickly making updates based on lessons learned and optimizing as fast as breaking news. Digital advertisers have to adapt to keep up with the rapid pace of change.

Read the article

Amazon is testing video ads in mobile search results


On the Amazon front, advertisers spoke and the company listened. Now, it’s trying out video ads in mobile search results, in a limited beta test.

Read the article

The evolution of Amazon as an ad platform


Amazon’s expanding ad formats are just the tip of the iceberg. The Drum takes a look at just how far Amazon has come in such a short amount of time.

Read the article

Should ad tech panic over the California Consumer Privacy Act?


Finally, with changes under the California Consumer Privacy Act set to take effect on the first day of 2020, data privacy will land in the tech capital of the world. What’s an advertiser to do?

Read the article

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

Facebook’s new and revised video metrics


Facebook is changing the way it measures news feed videos. This is good news for advertisers wanting more insights into how their video ads are performing.

Read the article

Facebook brings playable ads to the news feed


Wait, there’s more: Facebook also announced that developers can now use playable ads in the news feed to advertise games. Gamers can experiment before downloading a game from an app store.

Read the article

Amazon to merge its ad businesses into one platform


Amazon is quickly and frequently streamlining and building up its ad business. Amazon advertisers will be able to buy campaigns from the same place, whether selling directly to the site or to shoppers.

Read the article

WhatsApp moves to monetize


WhatsApp is stepping up to a new challenge: make money. This podcast dives into the strategies and tactics WhatsApp plans to launch to drive revenue.

Read the article

Google to remove blanket exclusion from mobile app ads


Lastly, Google plans to remove a feature that lets advertisers put a blanket exclusion of mobile devices on ad campaigns. How will it affect the in-app advertising market?

Read the article

The “big three” publishers—Google, Facebook, and Amazon—operate as walled gardens by design. Sadly, they have zero incentive to share data across channels. This siloed approach is totally at odds with your goals as an advertiser—you need a single view of performance to run effective cross-channel ad campaigns.

There’s an answer—our next-generation advertising solution, MarinOne, unifies your search, social, and eCommerce advertising. Within a single platform, you can:

  • Get a unified view of your true customer journey
  • Amplify your search, social, and eCommerce campaigns
  • Gain campaign insight with a single, customizable dashboard


We’d love for you to see it in action. Sign up for our webinar on Tuesday, July 10th at 10am PT / 1pm ET for a preview and to learn how our customers are using MarinOne to save time and increase conversions.

Speaker Bios



Wes MacLaggan has over a decade’s experience developing and delivering analytical enterprise SaaS applications, including four years with Applied Predictive Technologies working on the company’s platform to help retailers maximize the return on their promotional spending. He is currently SVP of Marketing at Marin Software, and has been with the company since 2008.



Rob Emery has been part of the product team at Marin Software since 2015, where he has honed and delivered features serving Search, Social, and Optimization. He’s currently Director of Product Management and taking a lead role in the development and release of MarinOne. Prior to joining Marin, Rob worked in digital marketing for brands including Hilton Worldwide and Bonnier Corporation.

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

How to Map and Make Sense of Engagement Metrics that Matter


Building an effective customer engagement plan can be daunting. eMarketer’s Lauren Fisher spoke with Jennifer Zeszut, co-founder and chief customer officer of Beckon, on how to set up an effective customer engagement framework.

Read the article

Microsoft matches Google Lens with AI-powered visual search for Bing


You can ‘Bing’ a picture now. See how Google’s main competitor is entering the world of visual search.

Read the article

Facebook starts showing all ads a Page is running


In its continuing efforts towards greater transparency, Facebook has introduced an “Info & Ads” section on Pages. It lists all ads the page has run across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and partner networks.

Read the article

Google streamlines ad products, winding down AdWords, DoubleClick branding


Google has rebranded its advertising products and consolidated them into Google Ads. Marketing Dive digs into the rationale behind the changes.

Read the article

We Have Reached Peak Screen. Now Revolution Is in
the Air.


“Tech has now captured pretty much all visual capacity,” writes New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo. In this new phase of what he calls “Peak Screen,” what comes next?

Read the article

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

Google Clears Up Confusion Around Mobile-First Indexing


A recap of Google’s tweets deciphering the most common misunderstandings around mobile-first indexing.

Read the article

Magna upgrades global ad growth forecasts, with Facebook and Google as drivers


Global ad revenue is expected to grow beyond expectations this year, to $551 billion. You guessed it—Facebook and Google are leading the way.

Read the article

US brands remain 'mediocre' when it comes to CX, Forrester finds


The field is open for a CX leader to emerge in sales in marketing, according to research by Forrester, while some industries are doing a better job than others.

Read the article

Facebook is testing paid subscription options for private groups


Although free Facebook groups aren’t going anywhere, the company’s testing a program to allow group administrators to charge for content.

Read the article

Keeping Up With Change: How Marketers Give Customers What They Want


With rapid industry change and new trends emerging even faster, customers are coming to expect constant innovation.

Read the article

It’s a wrap for another year at SMX Advanced in Seattle, where thousands of digital advertisers huddle up to explore the latest paid search and SEO industry trends.

SMX was an exciting show for team Marin, not least because we unveiled our new platform, MarinOne, to the world on the conference opening day. The announcement garnered quite a bit of media coverage also—check out what Laurie Sullivan at MediaPost had to say about it.

Later that evening, we were thrilled to share our news with a room full of digital marketing leaders during our launch party at the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum underneath Seattle’s iconic Space Needle.

smx



While it wasn’t possible to attend all the sessions due to the excitement and activities around MarinOne, I did manage to siphon off my top five takeaways from SMX this year:

  1. Purple, a Utah-based mattress startup, used story-based video to generate incredible demand throughout their funnel. Check out these video engagement stats, for example—Purple videos get 35,000 YouTube viewing hours and 17,500 Facebook viewing hours each day. That marketing team must be getting no sleep!
  2. YouTube’s TrueView In-Stream is “the most valuable impression on the web,” according to video advertising expert Cory Henke. TrueView is free for the first 30 seconds and gives ample opportunities for testing and validating new video creative.
  3. Brad Geddes gave an interesting session titled Humans Rule the Machines, which outlined the role of “imagination workers” in marketing who will add value on top of AI in terms of creativity, strategy, storytelling, and machine auditing.
  4. Amazon marches on. Mary Meeker’s latest Internet Trends Report shows that 49% of all product searches start on Amazon, and 28% of all eCommerce sales are processed by Amazon. To quote Bryan Garvin from Purple, “Ignore if you don’t like sales.” Duly noted, Bryan!
  5. Several sessions highlighted the value of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for publishers and eCommerce vendors. A recent Forrester study outlines the total economic impact of AMP as $211K in cost, six-month payback period, and a $1M return over three years.


As you can tell from my notes, there were many important digital advertising topics under discussion at the conference. It’s also an excellent opportunity to mingle with brands, agencies, and digital marketing experts in the great city of Seattle. Until next year!

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

Would You Pay for an Ad-Free Facebook?


Despite Facebook’s headline news and recent data privacy speed bumps, only 23% of consumers would pay for an ad-free version of the platform. Read more via eMarketer.

Read the article

Fortnite’s Explosion in Popularity Is Opening New Doors for Marketers


Gamers are serious about their passion—and marketers are clueing in to the advertising opportunities. A few great ideas from Adweek on how to capture the attention of avid gaming audiences.

Read the article

Employee advocacy outweighs influencer marketing


Move over, online celebrities—employee advocacy is more scalable, cost-efficient, and effective. A recent Sprout Social survey uncovered the numbers and trends.

Read the article

Commemorating 20 years of Google


Google turns 20 this year. Check out Search Engine Land’s retrospective and how Google became synonymous with “internet search.”

Read the article

64% of live streamers have engaged with ads, IAB finds


Lastly, happy World Cup day! Marketing Dive digs into the data around live-streamed soccer matches, online versus TV ads, device usage, and more.

Read the article

We’re excited to share some big news today: We’ve launched our next-generation platform, MarinOne, which unites your search, social, and eCommerce advertising.

Now, you can maximize the results of your digital ad campaigns with a single view of the customer. By focusing on the customer and not the channel, MarinOne gives you a powerful new way to engage with people wherever they are, no matter which device they’re using or what channel they’re on—ultimately driving more customers and higher revenue.

Check out our video to learn more, and then request a demo today.

digital advertising

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

1. Facebook’s Latest Transparency Move Is Showing You How Much Objectionable Content It Removes


Despite dramatic news headlines, Facebook is doing a good job of keeping offensive content off its platform. This Fast Company article covers Facebook’s efforts to keep its community safe.

Read the article

2. How Publishers Are Responding to GDPR


The GDPR goes into effect today. eMarketer spoke to Richard Reeves, managing director of the UK's Association of Online Publishers, to get his take on challenges that publishers face with the new privacy rules.

Read the article

3. Data Suggests Surprising Shift: Duopoly Not
All-Powerful


However slow the pace or slight the drop—what goes up must come down. eMarketer looks at companies that are growing faster than expected, and cutting in to Google’s and Facebook’s frenetic wedding dance.

Read the article

4. Shopper Marketing Undergoes A Digital Evolution


This is an exciting time for e-commerce. According to Gartner’s, marketers now spend $178 billion each year on in-store campaigns, and $55 billion of this could shift to online ads. Read more about the current retail opportunities and challenges.

Read the article

5. YouTube channels are seeing a lift in live
video viewership


And lastly, if you’re as ready to go with GDPR as we are, you might still be looking up last-minute resources to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Here’s a handy Marketo resource. Also be sure to check out
our FAQ.

Read the article

At this year’s Facebook Developer Conference, Mark Zuckerberg was quick to address the (not-quite) Elephant in the News, acknowledging recent data privacy issues and outlining the steps Facebook is taking to return to its main focus as a social network: connecting people with others in their lives. He also announced a new dating app, another way the company is striving to foster meaningful connections among people on its platform.

Combined with the latest data that says people and advertisers are sticking around Facebook, this year’s F8 announcements show great promise for digital advertisers. Here, we cover just a few, and weigh in on the continued and potential Facebook advertising opportunities.

The Human Need to Connect


Although Zuckerberg admittedly wasn’t a fan of connecting with U.S. senators in front of millions of people, the company’s recalibrated focus on human connection bodes well for digital advertisers, for a few reasons:

  • Facebook isn’t going anywhere. Advertisers today are investing more and more ad spend on social, as people continue to visit the platform to the tune of 1.45 billion active users a day.
  • This number will likely grow. If new features such as the dating app are successful, more people will likely join the platform in search of more targeted match suggestions.
  • The dating app is a future advertising opportunity. If/when the app takes off, it’ll no doubt be a great chance for marketers to scale their Facebook advertising even further. Watch this space.


Expanding the Virtual World


Artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) are having a field day, and F8 confirmed that Facebook are among the pioneers leading us into a brave new cyberspace. Messenger chatbots are already being adopted as a customer service vehicle. Advertisers can refine this experience to scale their business and drive more impactful interactions.

For example, someone who purchased a t-shirt in the wrong size could contact the brand via Messenger, and then the friendly customer service bot could acknowledge the complaint and notify the purchaser once the replacement’s on the way.

If people want an even more personal interaction, Instagram already has video chat capability, and as this gets extended to Facebook it’ll be just the tip of the iceberg on delivering an innovative customer experience.

Advertising of the Future


Facebook’s long-term investments in AI, VR, and AR will mean enhanced possibilities for advertisers sooner than we think. Also, although only a third of the people on Facebook currently use Marketplace, this forum is still in its relative infancy and may eventually support paid ads. As Facebook continues to diversify and innovate, its advertising opportunities will only grow.

We’re looking forward to further demand as Facebook continues to flourish and expand. As an early adopter of Facebook advertising, we believe in the opportunity to engage with your customers at the right time, and think that Messenger is a great place to experiment.

Facebook wants to keep cultivating great relationships. We’re excited and eager to hear about how Facebook continues to develop these deeper connections.

Audience optimization is one great way to ensure your social ad campaigns meet your goals. However, what’s involved with optimization, and what things should you keep in mind to maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns?

In this article, we discuss the main elements of audience optimization and how to set your social campaigns up for success.

Audience Fatigue


Every audience has a life cycle. Depending on its size, budget, and campaign length, an audience will eventually grow tired of a campaign’s ads (i.e., fatigue). Naturally, a smaller audience
(< 80,000) will fatigue quicker than a larger one.

The most efficient way to avoid audience fatigue is to keep things fresh and strategize for new audiences every seven to 14 days. In other words, understand audience fatigue and be able to optimize to avoid it. Audience fatigue is when an audience is overused, resulting in a high frequency, costly CPM, and declines in performance.

Audience Overlap


Audience overlap is another issue that social marketers face on a regular basis. This is a result of ad sets from the same advertiser ending up in the same auction, bidding against each other, and inevitably damaging performance. Having overlapping audiences can lead to poor delivery of your ad sets.

Additionally, averaging a high Ad Relevance Score can often be difficult, especially if you’re constantly trying to avoid overlap and fatigue. Facebook calculates the Ad Relevance Score based on the positive and negative feedback an ad receives from its target audience. In short, if your Relevance Score is high, your audience wants to see it, and if not—well, something’s wrong.

Ad Creative for Audiences


Facebook allows you to create Engagement Custom Audiences from four ad types:

  • Canvas
  • Video
  • Slideshow
  • Lead generation


An Engagement Custom Audience (ECA) is a Custom Audience made up of people who’ve interacted with your content on Facebook. “Engagement” refers to actions like viewing your video or opening your lead form on Canvas. These four variations of ad creative are also the most customer-friendly and engaging ad types. Where it’s relevant to your campaigns, use these ad types as much as possible.

Using ECAs, you can retarget ads to people who’ve shown intent by interacting with your video, canvas, or lead gen form. You can also use Engagement Custom Audiences as a source for a lookalike audience, which will let you find people similar to those who’ve engaged with content on Facebook.

Audience Strategy


There are a vast number of audiences available to advertisers. Start building these audiences and using an audience tracker (this can be a simple Excel spreadsheet; see example below) to understand how often and when they were last used.

For example, you may have audiences compiled from:

  • The Facebook pixel
  • Your CRM data
  • Leads from Facebook content (videos, slideshows, etc.)
  • And more


[caption id="attachment_11410" align="alignnone" width="500"]

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A Sample Social Strategy (click to enlarge)[/caption]

With more insight into your audiences, you can more effectively build campaigns with the right targeting and ad durations. Keep experimenting and optimizing.

Why advertise on Facebook Messenger?


Over the last few years messaging has become more important and popular. Believe it or not, since the beginning of 2015, there have been more people using messaging apps than social networks.

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We recommend that all forward-looking advertisers consider where messaging stands in their social media strategy. Businesses might be quick to dismiss this advertising channel, thinking that only the young and tech-savvy use it. However, a few reasons say that’s not the case:

  • Messaging apps now have more active users than social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. At over 3.5 billion people, that’s a huge reach—almost half the planet use messaging apps.
  • People across generations prefer to message than call or email when chatting one-to-one or with a group.
  • Customers like the speed and simplicity of instant messaging. In fact, Facebook research shows that 53% of people are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly.


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Facebook Messenger itself has reached over 1.3 billion people, allowing brands and businesses to reach customers at scale. Facebook built out a number of features, allowing brands to:

  • Extend their reach on the Messenger placement
  • Drive new users to chat with your business
  • Re-engage existing customers with Sponsored Messages


Here’s a quick guide on how to use these Facebook Messenger features to drive business results.

Extend your reach using the Messenger placement


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One of the easiest ways to add Messenger to your social media strategy is to extend the reach of your Facebook ads to the Messenger Home placement. You don’t need any additional preparation, as this can complement your existing Facebook activity as part of placement optimization.

Here are a few things to consider before testing this placement:

  • Messenger Home placement is available as part of placement optimization and not a standalone placement. Although you can’t create Messenger Home-only ads, you’ll still be able to review how the placement performed against others through breakdown reporting.
  • You can test this with Link or Carousel ads.
  • It supports the Messages, Reach, Brand Awareness, Traffic, Conversions, and App Installs objectives.


Test this placement to see if you can get extended reach and improve your campaign performance. As this will be served as part of placement optimization, the algorithm will aim to serve your ads on a placement that can deliver the best price possible at the time. Make sure you allow enough time for the test and gather data before making big strategy decisions—depending on your audience, Messenger Home might be a small part of your campaign delivery.

Drive people to your Messenger chat


We outlined some of the merits of engaging with your customers via messaging apps. Messaging offers speed and convenience, and can increase customer satisfaction. However, how do you get people to discover your Messenger presence and reach out to you?

There are a number of organic ways you can get discovered—Messenger Codes, adding a button to your Facebook page, sharing an m.me link. However, you can really scale and tailor who you reach with Click-to-Messenger ads. In a nutshell, these are Link ads served in the Facebook feed that entice people to open a chat with you on Messenger.

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You can use all of the regular Facebook targeting—demographics, interests, custom audiences, and more. There are a number of different strategies you can explore here:

  • Prospecting: Target your audience on Facebook and drive them to find out more about your products through Messenger.
  • Retargeting: Use the Facebook pixel to target those customers that viewed your products but haven’t purchased yet. Messenger could work as a great bridge from interest to conversion, allowing your customers to ask important questions and get immediate answers.
  • Seasonal: Create a Messenger bot around a season or event that’s key to your business. For example, target a gifter’s audience in the lead-up to Christmas offering to help them choose the perfect gift.


Before testing this ad unit, there are a few guidelines to note:

  • It’s supported under three objectives: Traffic, Conversions, and Messages.
  • You can use these ad formats to increase Messenger usage: Image Link, Video Link, or Carousel.
  • You can place Click-to-Messenger ads on the Facebook and Instagram news feeds.


Re-engage customers with Sponsored Messages


Finally, if you already have plenty of people engaging with you on Messenger, you should consider running Sponsored Messages. These are targeted, in-context ads allowing you to re-engage a warm audience.

The way I like to think about this ad unit is seeing people that have connected to you on Messenger as leads—people who signed up to communicate with your business. They’re already an open audience more likely to show interest in your products, respond to your marketing, and convert.

Sponsored Messages can only be targeted at people who already have an open conversation with you, meaning that your audience size is very limited. You’re able to layer additional targeting, based on Facebook data; however, I suggest keeping it simple and not reducing your audience size too much. A few strategies to consider:

  • Using the Facebook Pixel, data exclude people who already converted and aren’t likely to convert again. That way, you can ensure your Sponsored Messages are still relevant to your audience.
  • Make the messages personalized by segmenting your ad sets based on gender, age group, or interest.
  • Remind your Messenger audience about your business by sending them an offer.


Sponsored Messages are an interesting ad unit in the Facebook ecosystem, reminding me of Sponsored InMail on LinkedIn. As such, there are a few things to note before launching them:

  • The ad unit is currently supported by Messages objective only.
  • It can only be served in Messenger and only to people who already have an open conversation with your business.
  • You will be bidding manually on CPM—the recommended bids are much higher than you would bid on the Facebook news feed.
  • It only works on accelerated delivery—due to the smaller audience sizes than you’re used to on Facebook, the goal for this unit is to deliver the messages out, fast.
  • You can place 1x message per ad set and serve it at a frequency of 1. This makes sense since you don’t want to bombard your customers with the same message over and over again. If you have 2x messages you’d like to serve, you have to create 2x ad sets.


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In its effort to protect its users’ privacy, Facebook is focusing on data security. With the introduction of changes around access of information via their API, it’s now easier for folks on Facebook to find and manage their privacy settings. As part of the strategy, Facebook also removed some targeting options dependent on third-party data providers (i.e., Partner Categories).

The Difference with Marin


While Facebook’s changes might affect advertisers’ marketing capabilities, it won’t affect Marin’s core working processes, since we don’t rely or store any personally identifiable information for the activity on our platform.

Nevertheless, we know that Partner Categories was essential for advertisers in particular verticals. For instance, those in the automotive, financial, and insurance industries rely on targeting options available in Partner Categories to refine their campaigns by targeting specific demographic sectors unavailable in other audience settings. Without the third-party possibilities, these advertisers may see a decrease in their social account performance.

To address these issues and improve ad campaign performance, advertisers can take advantage of Marin Software’s industry-leading targeting features. This is how we do it:

Optimizing based on the source of truth


Marin Software is an open platform that allows advertisers to integrate cost and conversion data coming from third-party tracking partners such as Google Analytics, Omniture, and DCM (among many others). You can manage and optimize all of your social media campaigns towards your source of truth, resulting in better results.

Search Intent Audiences


Our advanced targeting allows you to harness search audiences on social, and retarget high-value social audiences browsing on search. This creates a high-quality audience that allows you to implement more relevant and resonant bidding and creative strategies for your core customers and prospects. For example, Le Slip Français saw a 67% increase in Facebook conversion volume after running Search Intent Audiences, plus a 241% increase on Google.

Prospecting audiences from Search Intent


Marin allows you to create lookalike audiences based on core Search Intent audiences. When people show specific intent, you can use those insights to find new audiences that share similar characteristics. Learn how a leading automotive brand maximized its lead generation with Search Intent audiences on Facebook.

Enhanced lookalikes


With Marin Social, advertisers can create lookalike audiences with a similarity level of up to 20%—in contrast to Facebook’s 10% similarity level. While these high-similarity audiences may not be ideal for direct response campaigns, they’re very effective for top-of-funnel initiatives such as branding campaigns. With Facebook users sharing less personal info and the absence of Partner Categories, enhanced lookalikes are a great way to keep your interest-based targeting up, running, and successful.

Campaign lookalikes


This audience type is unique to Marin Software. It allows you to create lookalike audiences from your campaigns’ performance. With this feature, you can decide which campaigns performed the best based on your unique source of truth, whether it’s the Facebook pixel or other source. For example, Performics-Starcom used campaign lookalikes to triple its ROI.

Without a doubt, Facebook’s updates to its audience targeting solutions are game changers. Still, you can continue to drive business growth by using Marin’s valuable enhanced audiences. To learn more, request a demo today.

Lookalike audiences are the Facebook feature when it comes to audience targeting. If you’re looking to scale your campaigns and more, it’s a must-consider option.

The Basics: What Is It and How Does It Work?


You can use lookalike targeting to find similar users to your core audience based on interests, click behavior, and conversion habits. The smaller the percentage of your core audience, the more similar your lookalike audience will be.

A lookalike percentage says, “Give me x% of the selected country users who are most similar to my seed audience.” For example, if you create a 1% lookalike in the US, the output will always be around 2.1 million profiles, since this is more or less 1% of the total number of Facebook users in the US.

However, depending on the seed audience, the profiles may greatly differ—for example, a 1% lookalike of your most valuable lifetime users will be different from a 1% lookalike of all website visitors. Therefore, seed quality is the most important factor for success.

You have several options from which to generate lookalike audiences:

  • Your custom audience (email lists, phone numbers, etc.)
  • Website Custom Audience
  • Page fans
  • Campaign data (API-only feature)


A Few Size Guidelines


When segmenting/choosing seed audiences, think quality over quantity. Although quality can be subjective, there are a few generic size benchmarks (guidelines) for your seed audience.

  • Keep it under 50,000, since anything above this may see a drop in performance.
  • Keep it above 1,000.


For example, let’s take our previous 1% US lookalike. Our audience has 2.1 million people. When we create our lookalike audience, Facebook compares the people in this audience against how similar they are to our seed audience of less than 50,000. In other words, we’re magnifying the seed 40 times. If the seed isn’t high quality, then the magnification won’t produce the best audience.

As you can see, you have a lot of choices to test different audience types and associated performance. The key challenge is to segment and structure the audiences to avoid overlaps and achieve the best delivery.

Something to note: Since frequency caps limit the daily number of times you can deliver an ad to a user, lookalike audiences won’t increase your overall reach. And, you’ll have less predictability when it comes to which ad wins each auction.

There’s a way to overcome these challenges, however. Make sure your strategy includes nested lookalikes and smart exclusions. Let’s go into more detail.

Using Nested Lookalikes and Smart Exclusions


Let’s start with an example, where we exclude the next-highest percentage audience from our targeted lookalike audience. So, if you’re targeting lookalike 3% and lookalike 5%, then exclude the 3% audience from the campaign that’s targeting the 5% one.

Nested lookalikes:



Smart exclusions:



With smart exclusions, we exclude the targeted audiences that we’re already using in other live campaigns. For example, if you’re running campaigns with 1% lookalike and 3% lookalike and want to launch a broader targeting campaign, then exclude the 3% lookalike.

Avoiding Campaign Redundancies and Fine-Tuning


When you’re planning your targeting strategy, make sure you’re segmenting your lookalike thresholds according to the value of the user, and excluding the targeted audiences from campaigns to avoid overlap. This’ll allow you to use lookalike audiences from different sources, increasing the overall reach and scalability of your campaigns.

For example, if you’re running a retargeting campaign based on a Website Custom Audience of all your site visitors, exclude this campaign from all of your acquisition initiatives, along with the associated lookalike audiences.

Here’s another scenario. Suppose you’re a travel website and the user funnel includes two conversions—registration and booking. You would segment the audiences based on your goals—perhaps based on the custom audience of the previous month's bookers, conversion pixel data, and Website Custom Audience of people who registered but didn’t book. Your segmentation would look like this:

Custom audience segmentation:



You can use all of these audiences for your acquisition campaigns, along with interest-based and other targeting options.

Here’s the final campaign planning structure for this example. This takes into account that retargeting campaigns are running based on your Website Custom Audiences.

Fine-tuned campaign planning structure:


Putting It All Together


Creating effective lookalike audiences takes a bit of cunning and patience, but it’s not rocket science. With continued practice, refinement, and measurement, you can scale your campaigns to ensure you’re targeting audiences with the most relevant ads at the most relevant time, in a way that works the best for your business. If you haven’t yet implemented this feature, we strongly recommend you get started today!

It’s no mystery that most people connect to Facebook through the mobile app. What’s still a puzzle, however—at least for certain advertisers—is how to tailor ad messaging and strategy to suit mobile devices.

Shopping advertisers often adjust campaign structures and overall approaches according to a brand’s products and business model. Additionally, there are several things they should do to rock their paid social mobile e-commerce initiatives.

Start with tracking


Show of hands—who wants to lose track of the conversions on your mobile web page or app? Nobody? Indeed, the very first thing you should consider is the tracking system you’re going to use. If you’re going to promote content on your mobile app, you’ll need one.

If your campaigns will redirect to the mobile version of your website through a mobile browser like Google Chrome or Safari, be sure to set up your Facebook Pixel correctly. Facebook provides its own mobile SDK, which is an excellent tool for advertisers who don’t want to invest in a third-party mobile tracking system.

The Facebook SDK allows you to track many different in-app events, including Add to Cart, Add of Payment Info and, of course, Purchase. This will not only enable you to track purchase conversions on your campaigns, but will also provide great visibility of your customers’ in-app decision journey.

Pick a format—or two


When choosing the right mobile shopping ad format, there’s no right or wrong one. Ideally, you should always explore all the creative possibilities that Facebook offers—from static images to videos to carousels.

Although there’s no single answer to which creative format you should use, here are some things to consider:

  1. If you can’t afford to shoot a video, consider slideshow ads. These are quick and inexpensive to create. All you need is a set of images to be used as animated slides.
  2. Collection ads are an amazing format for e-commerce. They show your targeted audience not only the main product you want to promote, but also a whole set of items you sell on your website. This ad format looks great on mobile, and it can redirect to either a website or an app.
  3. As always on Facebook, you should test different formats and variations of the same ad. An A/B split test could be a great ally in your quest to find the perfect creative solution for your campaigns.


Establish a bidding strategy


One of the key features of a successful campaign is a strong bidding strategy.

Always make sure you’re bidding not only with the right value, but also with the right optimization type. On conversion campaigns—the most likely campaign type for your mobile shopping efforts—the best bidding strategy is to optimize on conversions.

But what if you get poor delivery?

Especially right after the launch of a new campaign, you might consider optimizing on a less precise conversion type, which could help improve delivery on your ads, before switching back to a conversion-focused bidding strategy.

A great way to do this, particularly on mobile, is with the “Landing Page Views” optimization.

[caption id="attachment_11250" align="alignnone" width="500"]

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Facebook Ads Manager[/caption]

Why use this bidding optimization on mobile shopping campaigns, which redirects to a website? Because on mobile, link clicks can sometimes lead to a high bounce rate. This is due to a variety of reasons, such as a long page load time due to poor mobile connection. With “Landing Page Views” optimization you can gain more actual website page views, rather than generic link clicks.

What if you’re redirecting to your e-commerce app? In this case, you can send customers to a specific landing page inside the app through a deep link. Thanks to the SDK you’ve set up, you can redirect them to a specific product, or a certain section of your app, and track their actions.

You may be familiar with existing best practices for Facebook ad auctions, understand how they work, and know how to efficiently optimize your campaigns. The only constant is change, however, and maximizing success on Facebook auctions is no exception.

As Facebook improves their algorithmic solutions and the ad auction becomes more competitive, here are a few bits of advice for ensuring optimal performance.

Optimize to the highest revenue possible.

Bid on the item that’ll help you achieve this goal. Yes, it’s great to bid on the item that generates the most volume. However, if your goal is purchases and you’re optimizing for link clicks, you won’t get the most out of your campaign.

Set fewer constraints to the delivery system.

Let Facebook’s algorithms look for better results. Although you want to be as precise as possible with your targeting, applying too many constraints (such as demographic targeting on lookalikes and custom audiences) will limit the number of people you can reach for lower cost. Plus, your cost per action will grow.

Ensure a great user experience.

Optimize your landing page. Your ad creative, optimization, and targeting are very important; however, if your landing page isn’t providing the best experience—for example, it isn’t optimized for mobile—then you won’t win conversions.

Improve speed.

Minimize redirects, plugins, and shortened links; compress files to decrease rendering time; and improve server response time. Although these can have their own benefits, people won’t wait for a slow site to load.

Focus on the winning format.

Look at where the volume is. Some formats may not work for all advertisers, but you can at least test winning formats per objective—such as direct response formats like video, image, and collection ads. This may lead to great results.

Test format combinations.

Include an image and a video in one ad set. Maybe you tested video and it doesn’t perform as great as an image does. However, by including video and image in the same ad sets, Facebook algorithms have more flexibility to get you the best results, since some people may like video more than image and will decrease the overall cost per action.

Reduce duplicates and attribute well.

Look at cross-channel/cross-platform. Yes, your attribution model may be the best for you. However, make sure you're not double-counting the conversions and remember it may take multiple steps to get the final event.

Don’t try to outsmart the system.

Allow the Facebook algorithm to work for you. This is especially true during the learning phase. It may seem like you just launched the campaign and your performance is fluctuating, so you want to make changes. However, Facebook’s algorithm is still learning. It has to test and meet certain thresholds in order to properly deliver your ads. Therefore, avoid making changes for at least 24 hours and until you reach 50 optimized conversions.

Learn and adapt.

What worked last month may not work this month. You’ve likely tested and identified creative and targeting best practices. However, remember to test again and again once you see delivery decline, as the Facebook ad auction is a fast-paced environment.

Continual Improvement


It’s always possible to continue optimizing and improving performance. On top of trying out different best practices and recommendations, find what works for you, stay patient, and don’t be afraid to experiment with your campaigns.

There’s been no shortage of recent Facebook headlines, with data privacy and the responsibilities of tech powerhouses leading the conversation. At Marin, we believe Facebook remains an important way for brands to connect with their customers.

With these events and the upcoming implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we think it’s a good time to review how we’re using data at Marin and clarify a few questions for our customers.

The short answer: The recent changes are a step in the right direction for protecting consumer privacy, and still let brands connect with their customers and prospects with relevant messages.

What happened at Facebook?



Before 2014, Facebook allowed developers to access the profiles of users who’d granted permission and those people’s friends. The goal was to provide a platform for developers to harness the power of Facebook’s social graph for interesting new applications. What Facebook didn't plan is the misuse of their data and the threat to their users' privacy. Facebook disabled this ability well before the election, but the proverbial cat was out of the bag.

This is what allowed Cambridge Analytica and their partners to turn 270,000 app installs into access to 50 million profiles.

What is Facebook doing about it now?



Facebook has a multi-pronged effort to bolster data privacy, making user data security the center of their strategy. Recent changes include:


We believe these are all positive steps to help give Facebook users more control over their information.

How does this affect Marin?



These changes don’t affect Marin’s core value—helping advertisers get the most out of their digital advertising. We don’t rely on or store any personally identifiable information.

Industry-leading capabilities like our Search Intent tools help advertisers better leverage their first-party behavioral data in a clean and compliant manner. We can even help find new customers through Facebook’s lookalike capabilities. With Marin, your data’s covered:

  • Anonymous tracking data: Whether we integrate data from publisher, third party tracking or Marin Tracker, the data is purely anonymous. With Marin, users and brands are safe.
  • Secure audience capabilities: With its clean data flow and precise segmentation options, our audience targeting features rely solely on first party data.
  • Advanced cross-channel targeting: Our advanced targeting allows advertisers to harness search audiences on social, and retarget high-value social audiences browsing on search. These features leverage advertisers' first party data only, and keep advertisers in touch with people on their multi channel, multi-device journeys.


With users and brand safety at heart, our mission is to offer cross-channel capabilities to advertisers in a clean and transparent way.

What about GDPR?



European privacy law is also on digital advertiser minds.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU regulation on data protection and privacy for people in the European Union. Its goal is to harmonize and simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying privacy regulations within the EU.

Given the global nature of the internet, everyone with a digital presence should understand the required changes. If the US government starts to consider additional regulation on user data, GDPR is a likely model for future legislation.

The core elements of GDPR include the rights to:

  • Transparency: Clear policies can help users understand data use.
  • Notice and Choice: A clear opportunity to opt-out of data collection.
  • Right to Access: Know how their data is being used and for what purposes.
  • Data Erasure (“Right to be Forgotten”): Request the erasure of their personal data.
  • Data Portability: Request copies of their personal data and transfer to other companies.


GDPR was adopted on May 27, 2016 and becomes enforceable on May 25, 2018. The IAB has more details and resources.

What should you do next?



Above all else, take the time to review your data privacy practices and policies and make sure you’re using data in a way you’re proud of and that your customers are comfortable with. You should do the same for any partners you’re working with. (Also see our privacy policy). Stay up to date on steps that both Facebook and the EU are taking to ensure user privacy.

In the meantime, continue to focus on creating meaningful, engaging, and relevant experiences for your customers and prospects. By taking these extra, thoughtful steps, they’ll reward you with their business and loyalty.

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.

In the previous article in our Marketing on Facebook series, we looked at how to build a robust A/B scope of test framework to help uncover optimal relevance and ROAS. In our third and final post, we analyze the results of our test and formulate an action plan. (Be sure to refer back to the previous article for a refresher.)

Summary of Insights



Remember, we’re working with a retail advertiser’s scope of test. The retail advertiser is using Conversion and Product Catalog sales objectives. They’ve set a goal to optimize their campaigns, with the broader challenge to drive ROAS improvements.

Let’s don the hat of a Marin Customer Engagement Manager. Reviewing performance insights, we can formulate our summary:

  • Men and women display consistently different trends in purchase behaviors—men have higher conversion rates, but cost more per conversion and produce lower revenue; women produce higher revenue, but have lower conversion rates.
  • Instagram posted consistently higher ROAS versus other placements.



Summary of Opportunities for Optimization



In response, we note several opportunities for optimization:

  • Testing men and women targeted together versus. segmented
  • Testing placement optimized ad sets including Instagram versus segmenting Instagram
  • Testing optimizing to standard pixel events versus. Custom Conversion
  • Testing more refined lookback windows for seed audiences
  • Testing more refined lookback windows for dynamic ads



Summary of Scope of Test



Because age, gender, and in many cases the location often have a significant impact on results, the gender A/B test weighted higher in importance for Phase 1, versus testing placement optimization. Additionally, this was a priority for the advertiser at the time because they were also thinking about a more gender-tailored approach to creative design.

We’ve noted that in setting up ad studies, a clear definition of success is very important for successful learnings, so be sure to define KPIs. We elected ‘overall campaign performance’ as the measured goal for our scope of test, and also noted improvements for our KPIs of Relevance Score and ROAS.

Let’s look at some of the highlights that the example scope of test produced.

Phase 1: Testing Gender Optimized Ad Set Versus Unique Ad Sets for Men and Women



Background: A/B test campaign targeting men and women together in an ad set, versus a campaign targeting men and women in unique ad sets. Winner is plugged into Phase 2.

Theory: Optimized ad sets—whether combining placement or genders—allow the Facebook auction algorithm to find the most opportunities from the defined audience pool. When we target women uniquely, do we see higher ROAS?

Test Results

Including men and women in the same ad set can work better in some cases. This is because the auction algorithm has more options in effectively placing impression opportunities for results (placing an ad impression in front of the person most likely to take action X), for the most efficient price.

In other cases, we need segmentation to better refine the audience versus the goal—to make it more relevant.

Learnings: The campaign segmenting men and women improved Relevance Scores by two points, and improved ROAS by 18%. Creating segmentation in the audience—limiting and refining its overall scope—helped generate a more relevant targeting pool. Because more relevant ads are more cost efficient, we saw improved ROAS in correlation with higher Relevance Scores.

Highlights: Looking at the ad set targeting men only, we saw that the Relevance Score and ROAS were about equal to that of the campaign ad set that combined gender targeting. However, the ad set targeting women only posted significantly higher Relevance Scores and ROAS. While men remained an overall difficult and more expensive conversion, the more focused and relevant ad set targeting women was able to efficiently serve impressions, and generate conversions and revenue.

Conclusion: Overall, the campaign segmenting gender targeting produced better results.

Targeting in this way achieved not only a more relevant—but also a more positive—user experience. The auction produced more value for our advertising outcomes, reaching people who mattered most to specific goals. As a result, we gained improved ROI.

Additional Insights

It’s possible for a budget to be spent faster yet win less auction impressions. Why? Because of low relevance. For comparison, the two campaigns with equal overall audiences produced the following insights in Round 1:

CPM (Campaign A, Segmented Genders): $26.16

CPM (Campaign B, Combined Genders): $29.66

For the same budget of $1,500, Campaign B produced 6,776 fewer impressions, and despite a higher conversion rate (52.94% vs. 49.89%), produced 18% less revenue.

In all, the ‘less relevant campaign’ produced less impressions, less clicks, higher overall CPAs, and lower revenue.

With similar results in Round 2, we were able to prove that fostering more relevance in our targeting, ads in the auction produced more results at higher overall campaign ROAS in response.

Marin Tip: Relevance Score can be a powerful tool in your campaign management. Look for it in the Marin Social dashboard at the campaign, ad set, and ad level:

facebook



With the above results, you can also test unique creatives to men and women in the future, to see if you can further optimize with a more tailored message or image/video.

Phase 2: Test Placement Optimization Versus Segmenting Instagram



A/B test campaign utilizing Placement Optimization (including Phase 1 winner: men and women segmented), versus a campaign utilizing Placement Optimization except for Instagram, which is a unique ad set. With noted insights that Instagram produces higher ROAS, can a controlled budget via a dedicated ad set improve overall campaign ROAS?

Winner is plugged into Phase 3.

Test Results

Learnings: Segmenting Instagram into a unique placement and providing for controlled budget produced a 4% improvement in ROAS overall. We noted a slight uptick in Relevance Score, (under 1 point).

Highlights: While Instagram continued to post performance gains in a dedicated at set, we saw smaller overall gains than we hoped for. We noticed that the ad set utilizing all other placement options without Instagram performed markedly worse than when we included Instagram.

In the ‘overall’ performance gains overview, Instagram carried the campaign’s success. We planned further testing to produce a placement-optimized ad set.

While not as impactful as we’d hoped, Phase 2 created an opportunity to build a follow-up scope of test to understand the best combination of placements. Just because our results don’t post a clear winner doesn’t necessarily mean a failed ad study. We should view such results as additional opportunities to test and refine our strategy.

Phase 3 and Beyond



Additional testing found that building Lookalike Audiences from Custom Audiences that used more narrow lookback windows (10days was best) helped improve Relevance Scores. In addition, on average, it produced 11% gains in ROAS, versus campaigns that used Lookalikes based on a 180-day lookback window seed Custom Audience.

We uncovered similar patterns for dynamic retargeting ads—using more tiers, plus more narrow windows in those tiers, proved most optimal from a ROAS perspective. There was no significant impact to Relevance Scores.

Dynamic retargeting tiers we found most successful were:

  • Added to Cart but not Purchased in 3 days
  • Added to Cart but not Purchased in 10 days, not Added to Cart in 3 days
  • Viewed Content but not Added to Cart in 7 days
  • Viewed Content but not Added to Cart in 14 days, not Viewed Content in 7 days
  • Viewed Content but not Added to Cart in 30 days, not Viewed Content in 14 days


We also determined that using a Custom Conversion produced worse overall results, versus using a pixel event to track conversions. When using the pixel event, for example, our Relevance Scores were on average 1.2 points higher than when we used a Custom Conversion. Also, we also improved our ROAS when we used the pixel event.

Final Thoughts


Relevancy and quality can help advertisers achieve efficiency gains in assigned budgets on Facebook. However, they’re often overlooked in favor of bid and budget adjustments.

While bid changes and budget adjustments hold value in optimizing campaigns, Relevance Score—and overall the relevance concept in the auction as described within the total bid—is one of the key drivers of performance efficiency.

Time after time we’ve noticed that campaigns with low Relevance Scores perform worse when compared with campaigns posting a higher Relevance Score. In these cases, increasing the bid value or switching to Auto Bid doesn’t typically improve acquisition costs or revenue.

In a lot of cases, campaigns with low Relevance Scores also under-deliver to allocated budgets.

Finally, to achieve efficiency gains, you need a carefully outlined approach that incorporates an understanding of the baseline, plus measured steps to test improvements to this baseline.

Refining Your Campaign Strategy



If you’d like to partner on projects similar to the one we’ve described here, contact your Customer Engagement Manager and they’ll gladly schedule a time to review your campaign strategy. They can also help model and support your progress through a scope of test. Or, if you’re new to Marin, feel free to get in touch.

This is a guest post from David Creatura, Senior Analyst at Wheelhouse DMG.

One of the most important questions you can ask about your Facebook advertising efforts is, “How am I attributing our traffic and conversions?” Attribution is a commonly covered topic purely because of the wide range of opinions and perspectives one can have on the issue.

facebook



Customer journeys are often complex, and far from a one-to-one interaction between a single advertisement and conversion. Knowing how Facebook’s attribution works is critical to understanding your social advertising in a nuanced way to grow your program, versus relying on the default view.

To Attribute or Not to Attribute: That is the Question


How do we value a conversion for an individual who clicks on a Facebook ad one day, comes back to the site organically the next, opens an organic Instagram post a week later, and eventually converts via an email two days later?

In this scenario for our example company, the time between the customer initially clicking the ad and completing a purchase was 11 days. In the company’s analytics platform, the purchase would register in the default view as coming from the email campaign, as that was the last interaction the customer had prior to converting.

However, as the customer journey shows, there were many other touchpoints that helped move the customer closer to the conversion. Should we not also give credit to the organic Instagram post for keeping the customer engaged with the brand? Does the Facebook ad deserve full credit for being the initial interaction with the brand?

There have been plenty of publications focusing on the inexact science of attribution. No one model is a perfect fit for every company. Depending on your customer base, industry, brand, products, etc, there will be a different attribution model that will make the most sense for your advertising efforts and business planning.

Facebook’s Default Attribution View


Let’s use a fake e-commerce company to help explain the process. In honor of our resident furry friend in the Wheelhouse DMG office, we’ll make it an artisanal cheese manufacturer called Reggie’s Parmigiano Reggiano. We’ll use Reggie’s business to help us understand Facebook’s default attribution.

Reggie launches a Facebook ads campaign with the goal of driving a positive return on ad spend (ROAS) of 4:1. After a month of running his advertisements across different audiences he pulls in his “Website Purchases” and “Website Purchases Conversion Value” columns to see how his ads performed. (Ideally Reggie checks his campaigns routinely during the month, but he has other standard business priorities such as walks, begging for food, and angling for belly rubs.)

After pulling in the columns he sees that he drove $11.5k in revenue from just over 200 purchases and a total spend of $2.5k. After dividing his revenue by spend, he sees that he drove to a ROAS of 4.6 and exceeded his goal! This would seemingly signal the opportunity to spend more aggressively on his Facebook campaign, as he has room to hit his ROAS goal.

In this scenario, we would encourage Reggie to look a little bit deeper into the initial data that Facebook is showing him. Companies are often unaware that Facebook’s default attribution view is a 28 day post-click and also a 1 day view-through conversion. This means that Facebook will give 100% full revenue credit to an individual who clicks an ad so long as they complete a purchase within 28 days of clicking.

Facebook will also give 100% full revenue credit to a customer who just scrolls past an advertisement on their feed and then converts within 24 hours. This has significant implications as Facebook will show revenue for someone who does not click through an advertisement and will inflate the actual performance of your ad campaign.

This can be especially misleading if your campaign contains audience targeting of previous customers, email subscribers, or past site visitors. These are individuals who are already familiar or fans of your brand and have a higher likelihood of converting than a new prospect.

They very well may scroll past your ad while looking at their friend’s news for the day, then convert from an email that was sent as part of a broader campaign strategy. When presented with this scenario the Facebook ad is getting credit for performance when the email actually drove the revenue.

Now, this is not to say that view-through conversions can be disregarded, because there is legitimacy in accounting for view-through conversions. Thinking about attribution a bit differently than the default view, however, we recommend taking a percentage of that revenue to account for the impact an ad impression has in a customer journey as opposed to 100% credit.

This percentage will vary across advertisers, but if there is no standard that they apply for, it’s recommended that view-through conversions be roughly 20% of the total view-through revenue. We’ll touch on how to calculate the unique percentage for your advertising efforts in a future post.

Changing Your Attribution Window


To better help Reggie understand his artisanal cheese business success, we would segment our purchases by conversion type to change the way we view our campaign. To segment out by conversion type, click your column’s dropdown and select “customize.”

In the lower right of the available metrics to pull in, there’s a section titled “Attribution Window.” Beneath that, you’ll find Facebook presenting its default window of 28-day post-click and 1-day post-view. In our example below, we’ve changed that to shorten the post-click window for this specific client.

facebook



Upon editing your attribution window, the columns for “Website Purchases” and “Website Purchases Conversion Values” will expand to show the number of view-through conversions and revenue, as well as click conversions and revenue.

In our example with Reggie, we see that the ad campaign drove $6.8k in revenue using 7-day post-click attribution. If looking purely at click-driven revenue, this would result in an actual ROAS of 2.7.

That ROAS represents a 41% lower figure than what Facebook presents in its default window many advertisers are using to judge performance. Instead of increasing bids like Reggie initially would using the default view, Reggie should be significantly decreasing bids.

When we account for the view-through revenue, Reggie drove just over $3k in revenue using view-through conversions. Taking 20% of that $3k in revenue would show $600 in revenue is a fair representation of a view-through conversion. When added to our $6.8k in revenue that results in a complete revenue view of $7.4k, or a ROAS of roughly 3.0. At this point, Reggie still needs to pull back his bids!

Find What Works for You


To reiterate, no single attribution window or view is a one-size-fits-all for advertisers. But knowledge and further analysis about how Facebook presents your ad performance will tremendously alter the way that you’ll bid on your Facebook campaigns. For purely performance-focused campaigns and advertising efforts, this is a critical first step in ensuring your Facebook advertising campaigns are grounded in a reporting foundation that will allow you to scale your program.

Marketers who conduct the most successful ad studies with the most quality, consistent learnings tend to do a few important things:

  • Establish a foundation of refining and outlining business goals
  • Review and mark out baseline performance and past results
  • Methodically execute campaign flights against the A/B testing framework outlined


This is where the concept of a “scope of test” framework can help you succeed. In this second article in a three-part series, we unpack this framework so that you can better understand it. Using a real-world example, we’ll review how a scope of test used ad studies to help reveal what creates the most relevance, and in turn, how that improves ROAS.

While our focus in this post is more specific to testing for relevance and quality, we’re happy to support other forms of ad studies for advertisers.

A/B Test (Ad Studies) Background and Guidelines


Ad studies help test test the impact of different audience types, delivery optimization techniques, ad placements and creative, budgets, and more, on mutually exclusive audiences. Once they’re completed, these studies help you understand ‘what works’.[1]

Audiences are split into ‘cells’, ensuring that someone in one cell isn’t in the other. Because of this ‘split’ comparing one variable versus another—for example, News Feed Desktop placement versus News Feed Mobile placement—the data is statistically accurate. Each cell is exposed to a unique variation of the test variable, so a determination can be made as to which variable delivers performance in comparison.

facebook



When you’re creating an ad study, it’s important to follow a few test guidelines:

  • Define KPIs
  • Determine confidence level: tests with larger reach, longer schedules, or higher budgets tend to deliver more statistically significant results
  • Select only one variable per test
  • Avoid launching segmented A/B tests (e.g., one round of testing that’s then used to determine winners and losers)


Once you follow and meet these guidelines and recommendations, you can create a scope of test in support of planned ad studies. It includes KPIs, schedules, etc., and builds a process to implement the ad studies, and acts as a compass in tracking results and winners.

Scope of Test


A scope of test has several sections:

  • Historical Scenario
  • Understanding the Baseline and Goals
  • Summary of Insights
  • Summary of Opportunities for Optimization

  • Summary of Scope of Test (Phases and Rounds)


A phase is the umbrella to rounds, used as a proof of concept. For example, “Phase 1” could be “Testing Placement Optimized Ad Sets.” (We’ll review this in more detail in our next article.),.

There should be at least two rounds within a phase to establish a pattern in the data—a tiebreaker to determine winners and losers.

To help define KPIs, review historical data and establish a benchmark, both from an insights perspective and an Opportunities for Optimization perspective. Be sure to include summaries of both within the Understanding the Baseline and Goals section of the scope of test.

If no historical data is available, run a few campaigns to what you believe are the most relevant audiences, using the resolving data as the benchmark.

With available benchmarks, the summary of scope of test incorporates the KPIs that will determine the success of each study.

In our real-world example below, we review a retail advertiser’s scope of test. For the purposes of this article, we’ve condensed a lot of the summaries. If you’re a Marin customer, reach out to your account manager or Customer Engagement Team for more details on a scope of test and how to implement one.

Historical Scenario


The retail advertiser is using Conversion and Product Catalog sales objectives. They’ve set a goal to optimize their campaigns, with the broader challenge to drive ROAS improvements.

The advertiser is targeting men and women without segmenting the genders into separate ad sets, using a custom conversion to track results. They’re also running Dynamic Ads using a ‘Purchase’ event for tracking conversions.

Within the prospecting conversion campaigns, the advertiser’s targeting focuses on a similarity Lookalike Audience based on past purchasers (180-days lookback), as well as interests gleaned from Page Insights. Placement optimization incorporates all available placements for Carousel ads.

For retargeting business goals, they’re running Dynamic Ads, targeting people who’ve engaged with products but haven’t added them to cart, as well as those that did add to cart but haven’t completed the purchase. Both dynamic audiences are looking back 30 days.

Understanding the Baseline and Goals


In partnering with this advertiser, a Marin Software Customer Engagement Manager first outlined the Understanding the Baseline and Goals section of the Scope of Test, which provided the benchmarks and helped set the KPIs.

Here’s some of the content included within Understanding the Baseline and Goals:

Prospecting Campaigns

  • Men and women targeted in the same ad sets
  • Similarity lookalike audience based on 180-days purchasers
  • Targeting framed around relevant Facebook interests
  • Optimized placements (Facebook Feed, Mobile Feed, Instagram, Messenger, etc.)
  • Custom Conversion
  • Auto Bid


Retargeting Dynamic Ads Campaigns

  • Men and women targeted in the same ad sets
  • 30 days viewed but not added to cart
  • 30 days added to cart but not purchased
    Conversion: Purchase event
  • Auto Bid


On average, prospecting campaigns post a Relevance Score of 3; their dynamic retargeting campaigns post a Relevance Score of 5. In our test, the team reviewed 90 days of recent campaign insights.

In our next article, we’ll review these campaign insights and how they can be analyzed and acted on for future growth.

[1] Split Testing

The marketing landscape is awash with competing attribution models—from first-touch to time-decayed to last click—none of which truly capture the full path to conversion. So what’s an advertiser to do?

We believe you should focus on true cross-channel, multi-touch attribution. Without a clear picture of your conversion efforts across channels and devices, it’s simply impossible to follow your customer’s journey, calculate ROAS, and double down on your most successful campaigns.

Sign Up for Our Attribution Webinar


Join us for a live, 60-minute webinar on Wednesday, March 28th, 2018 at 10 am PST / 1pm EST. We’ll explore the myths and realities of cross-channel attribution. You'll learn:

  • How to map the full customer journey
  • The pros and cons of modern attribution models
  • The real value of views, clicks, and conversions


Our Senior Product Manager for Attribution, William Hartley-Booth, will present with Emilio Tamez from Facebook. Be sure to sign up today to reserve your spot.

Speaker Bios

Emilio



Emilio Tamez is a Quantitative Researcher on the Advertising Research team at Facebook, whose primary focus areas include cross-channel measurement (especially search and TV) and brand equity quantification. He joined Facebook in 2016 after holding jobs in media analytics for a political campaign and neuroscience research. He is native to the American Southwest and holds a degree in Statistics from Rice University.

Will



William Hartley-Booth is a Marin Senior Product Manager who oversees Marin’s conversion tracking products, among other responsibilities. He joined Marin in 2010 after holding positions at other advertising technology companies specializing in optimizing digital advertising across search, social, and display.

Like all algorithms, Facebook’s collects a certain amount of data and analyzes it before stabilizing performance and delivering the best results. So, while your ad sets are in this “learning phase,” you may see fluctuations in performance, which might make it tempting to stop your ads before they’ve had a chance to work most effectively.

In this article, we cover the basics of the Facebook algorithm and things that can impact the learning phase.

More About the Learning Phase


Facebook wants to ensure a flawless user experience and that you’re reaching the people that matter the most to your business. To this end, they’ve introduced the learning phase.

During this time, Facebook’s algorithm shows ads to different types of people in your audience, and tries to feed the delivery system with more conversion data for the most stable and best results after the phase ends. The algorithm decides who gets served ads.

Facebook has different requirements depending on the optimization timeframe:

  • Day: Facebook has a minimum requirement for an ad set of five optimized conversions. You should aim to get at least 10.
  • Week: For a week, the number of conversions has to reach 50 for optimal optimization.


What Happens Once the Learning Phase Ends


After an ad set reaches 50 conversions, the learning phase ends. This means the Facebook algorithm has collected the necessary amount of data and you should start seeing stable performance.

If you’re using a different attribution model than the Facebook default (one-day post-view/28 days post-click) the learning phase can be longer. For example, for one-day post-click it’ll take longer to get 50 conversions.

In addition to the recommended number of conversions, be sure to not pause ads or make any drastic changes to the ad set, especially by editing creatives, updating targeting specs or the optimization timeframe, amending bids and budgets, and firing the pixel conditionally. Also, note that the oCPM algorithm needs at least 24 hours, with no changes at all, to effectively learn.

After the learning phase, you can start optimizing your ad sets to get the best performance. However, make sure that your budget/bid changes aren’t higher than 20%, as this will most likely restart the learning phase.

It’s important to gather enough of data for the algorithm to collect learnings and stabilize performance. So, be sure to allow the algorithm to reach the time thresholds before trying to optimize your campaigns.

Marketing on Facebook is as much an art as a science. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to curate a marketing program for full-funnel success, using a variety of ad formats and optimization tools. Among the myriad tools available to advertisers, creating relevance is a key component in achieving optimal results for your budget.

In this first article in a three-part series, we’ll explore the basic concepts of the Facebook auction. In our last two posts, we’ll describe a framework advertisers can adopt to help create and execute A/B tests (ad studies) aiming to improve campaigns for relevancy—and in turn, drive better return on investment.

The Nuts and Bolts of the Facebook Auction


Basic Concepts


Facebook ads are paid messages from businesses that are written in their voice and help reach the people who matter most to them.[1] Ads (or orders) are placed into an auction within campaigns, and the auction works to create the most value for advertisers in response to objectives and goals. The auction also supports the best experience for people browsing on Facebook properties.

To start building and launching Facebook ads, you need:[2]

facebook


  • Business Goal: campaign objective (Brand Awareness, App Installs, Product Catalog Sales, etc.)
  • Audience Reach: core audiences (age, gender, etc.), custom audiences (first-party data)
  • Budget: Lifetime and Daily budgets pace daily allocations differently
  • Bid: target maximum amount advertisers are willing to pay per result
  • Creatives: variations such as video ads, Instagram Stories ads, Carousel ads, etc.


Once you submit your ad, it goes to the ad auction, which helps get it to the right people. At a high level, Facebook describes the ad auction in these terms:

“We try to show your ads evenly throughout the day so that the people most valuable to you in your target audience are more likely to see them. The more relevant we predict an ad will be to a person, the less it should cost for the advertiser to show the ad to that person.” — Facebook Blueprint

Total Bid


When marketing on Facebook, every auction opportunity to serve an impression to someone is won or lost in response to the Total Bid—a combination of:

  1. The bid value + expected rate of action (results) (eCPM)
  2. Ad Relevance


The Total Bid applies across all campaign objectives using the formula:

facebook



An ad that's high quality and very relevant can beat an ad that has a higher bid, but is lower quality and has less relevance.

To put it another way, Ad Relevance determines winning ad impressions within a balance of two things:[3]

  • Creating value for advertisers by helping them reach and get results from people in their target audiences
  • Providing positive, relevant experiences for people using the Facebook family of apps and services


Putting It Together


We’ve covered several key concepts, which we can sum up in a few points:

  • Create value for advertisers’ outcomes by helping them reach people who matter most in response to specific goals
  • Positive and more relevant experiences are rewarded with higher ROI


And, the most important: an ad that's high quality and very relevant can beat an ad that has a higher bid, but is lower quality and has less relevance.

Determining the Total Value


As we’ve learned, the auction is supportive of producing the most results for advertisers, and ads that win in the auction and get shown deliver the highest total value—in other words, the highest Total Bid.

Total value isn't how much an advertiser is willing to pay us to show their ad—the bid alone doesn’t win the auction. It’s important to note that it’s a combination of three major factors:[4]

  1. Bid
  2. Estimated action rates
  3. Ad quality and relevance


High relevance and quality is as much an audience targeting challenge as it is an ad creative one.

For example, advertisers can cast a wide net and target nearly everyone on Facebook and Instagram. Not everyone wants what the advertiser is offering, however; as a result, Ad Relevance will likely be negatively impacted.

This negative impact can come from two possible sources:

  • An algorithmic calculation, as Facebook reviews the advertisers goals vs. target audience and message, and then downgrades the ad because it’s not very relevant to targeted people
  • Actions by people on Facebook signalling that they’re not interested in the ad served to them (e.g., hiding the ad or not engaging with the ad)


Creating a campaign is fairly simple, from a workflow perspective. Creating a relevant campaign, however, is what requires the most attention and care.

How to Check Your Work


To empower advertisers to success, our Customer Engagement teams encourage building and incorporating an A/B testing framework which scientifically validates audience, optimization actions, and ads—a Scope of Test.

When advertisers design and implement such a framework, the ROI results are typically positive and improved over the long term in comparison with advertisers that don’t take opportunities to A/B test and refine their strategies.

In our next article, we’ll lay out exactly how to conduct a proper Scope of Test. Stay tuned!

[1]Prepare to Advertise on Facebook

[2] Getting Started with Ads

[3]About the delivery system: Ad auctions

[4]About the delivery system: Ad auctions

Surprise, delight, and convert with video


Mobile applications like Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram have transformed user behavior. Now, at any given moment, people have an always-on outlet for recording and publishing videos of life moments as they happen.

This means that video-based content has taken over online posts that were formerly text-only. To stay relevant, brands need to transition to a mobile-video-first content and paid media strategy for a few reasons:

  • Video is more engaging and performs better than static images
  • In comparison to TV commercials, online video ads are cheaper, highly targeted, and measurable
  • Video is a proven driver of direct response, not just brand awareness


Here are six tactics to improve your Facebook ad campaign performance with video.

1. Use text with your visual assets


The use of text is a great way to hook a person into your video—they’re probably discovering your content while swiping through their mobile news feeds, along with other messages competing for attention.

Overlay compelling copy on your video using neat, easy-to-read typeface and simple text animation. Chances are high that the sound will be muted, so be sure that the first text animation appears within seconds of the ad reel. This will ensure that Facebook impressions at least some element of your message.

2. Keep it short


Brands are discovering that short and sweet videos are oftentimes just at effective, if not more so, than longer form, complicated videos. More videos are competing for more people’s attention, so your video should be no longer than 30 seconds to maintain interest. If you don’t have an in-house production team, use Facebook’s slideshow ads to easily add animation to your ad creative.

3. Get personal with video Facebook Messenger ads


Facebook Messenger ads allow you to expand the reach of your campaigns to nearly 1.3 billion users on the most widely used messaging app in the world. Early adopters of Messenger ads are seeing better click-through rates and engagement than email. That’s because Messenger ads allow you to have a more personalized, one-to-one conversation with your prospects and customers.

Video is a great way to add even more of a human touch to your Messenger ads. For example, you could create a 30-second video introduction to your brand. Once you’ve hooked your audience into the Messenger app, be sure to use Quick Replies to streamline your customers’ experience and encourage next steps, e.g., click here to learn more, find nearby store, tell me more, etc.

4. Plot your story to the customer journey


The key to success is a full-funnel strategy that combines video ads with custom audiences. In other words, your video content should vary based on where your targeted audience is in the funnel.

For example, you may want to use educational videos featuring gurus, thought leaders, or celebrities to drive awareness. Or, you may want to incorporate elements that encourage people to share your video, such as hashtags, competitions, or challenges. At the bottom stages of the funnel, a video with a compelling demo of your offering would be a great way to drive conversion.

5. Collapse the funnel with video


Historically, advertisers have considered video a top-of-funnel tactic. As more and more people watch videos on their mobile devices, many marketers are using video for direct response and brand awareness. New ad formats like Twitter Website Video Cards and Facebook Canvas Ads allow marketers to collapse the funnel, giving users a frictionless experience from discovery to conversion. Both of these new video ad formats provide an engaging way for brands to tell their story with links to landing pages to encourage a purchase.

6. Measure the influence video views have on conversion


The popularity of video means that post-view conversion data is more important than ever. Marketers need to understand the influence that views have on the path to purchase to make informed budget allocation decisions, and to move beyond last-click attribution. Most organizations are still using cookie-based analytics tracking, which doesn’t allow you to track across devices.

Additionally, publisher reporting (such as Facebook and Google) doesn’t provide insight into the influence each channel has to conversion, often leading to overcounting of conversions.

facebook video



Marin Software is uniquely positioned to solve this attribution gap with TruePath, an innovative new measurement solution providing marketers with actionable cross-channel intelligence and unbiased conversion data. TruePath utilizes people-based tracking mechanisms to account for both post-click and view-level conversions as your customers interact with your brand across devices.

These insights are crucial for growth. A leading travel brand saw 158% increase in overall return on ad spend (ROAS) using TruePath. They were also able to establish a better understanding of how their campaigns on Google and Facebook can work together to optimize the path to purchase across each stage of the buyer journey.

To learn more about Marin TruePath, contact your Customer Success representative. Or, if you’re new to Marin, contact us to discuss with a member of our sales team.

If your Facebook ads aren’t quite reaching all the people you’re looking to influence, there are several things you can analyze to solve the problem. Here are a few tactics to ensure your ads are delivering the way you want them to.

Is your bid too low?


In order to run competitive campaigns in an increasingly competitive Facebook auction market, make sure you’re entering your ads in the auction with a realistic bid that reflects your CPA target. However, if the initial bid doesn’t get you delivery at some point, don’t be afraid to test higher values to get back on track. Facebook’s market is ever-changing, so be sure your bids keep pace.

Is audience overlap too high?


If ad sets in your ad account have a high overlap, Facebook will try its best to keep you from bidding against yourself in the auction. However, in order to do so one of the ad sets will miss out on impressions and subsequently suffer from under-delivery.

To combat this, try excluding the audiences from each other. If this result sin small audience sizes, try testing broader audiences (such as increased lookalike threshold) and apply the exclusions then.

Your promoted object may not have enough data


Generally, if you’re optimizing towards one of your pixel events, it’s recommended to be as specific with your promoted object as possible. By setting your promoted object, you’re telling Facebook what you want your final conversion to be so that Facebook can help you achieve it.

Some advertisers may struggle with generating enough conversions to feed Facebook’s algorithm to have the required delivery. Facebook recommends having 50 conversions per ad set per week so that the algorithm has enough data to optimize delivery.

If you’ve concluded that your promoted object doesn’t reach this target, try adjusting the promoted object to an event before the final conversion. The volumes there are likely to be considerably higher and therefore can improve delivery.

Are you using the right bidding type?


Facebook offers various bidding types to suit your objective, audience type, and audience size. While oCPM bidding can be very powerful, it’s not always the right bidding value. As a rule of thumb, we suggest using oCPM only with larger audiences whom you know relatively little about (i.e., prospecting audiences). Keep the audience size over 100k.

Consider seasonality


Sometimes seasons, holidays, and major retail days (such as Black Friday, Christmas, and Back to School) can increase the demand of ad space for particular verticals. If you’ve historically noticed increased competition during those periods, consider increasing your bidding to stay in the game.

Is your budget realistic?


Make sure your budget expectations are realistic for the audience size you’re targeting. For instance, if you’re retargeting a high-value custom audience of 500 users, you might not be able to spend the whole allocated budget. To set realistic audience targets for your team and your client, follow this simple calculation.

Audience size x 5 (frequency)
____________________________ = Anticipated budget
CPM that you’ve historically seen
for such small audiences


With this calculation, you’ll get the total number of impressions you’re able to deliver with a recommended maximum frequency of 5. By dividing it with your historical CPM for a similar audience, you’ll get the expected budget you’ll be able to spend.

Check the Relevance Score


Lastly, Facebook is always looking out for its audience as it’s aiming to provide a pleasant user experience. If your ads have received a lot of negative feedback (hint: the tiny x button in the top right corner of the ad) Facebook will scale down the delivery of the ad as it’s seeing that it’s not resonating well with the audience. So, always make sure to target the relevant audience with the best possible creative most likely to resonate with them.

It takes a significant investment of time and capital to plan, produce, and distribute TV commercials. On Facebook, the only real barrier to entry is testing video ads and acting on the lessons learned.

Additionally, the feedback loop and audience insights available on Facebook provide considerably more advantages over TV—marketers can take an agile approach to test and learn before scaling up.

There are a few other areas where Facebook excels over TV that marketers can benefit from: targeting, interactivity, and measurement. Because of Facebook’s social, mobile, digital framework—and massive reach of 2.1 billion people—these benefits just aren’t possible with media buys on TV. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

1. Targeting


Facebook’s wealth of psychographic, demographic, and first-party data matching options allow you to reach very precise audiences with your video content. With TV, media buyers are more limited to reaching people based on the types of shows they’re watching and time of day. Facebook Custom Audiences, in conjunction with your Video Ads, allow you to reach people who’ve interacted with your brand, online or offline, with personalized content.

2. Interactivity


To keep the conversation going with people who engaged with your video content, you can create audiences. Not so on TV. Although you can continue to buy commercials for specific channels to reach people based on the type of entertainment and channels they prefer, you can’t be 100% confident you’re reaching that exact person.

What this means—marketers on Facebook can take an interactive approach to the media planning and buying process by aligning video formats with a compelling narrative to drive conversion.

For example, using Facebook Video Ads, The Economist increased newspaper subscriptions across 24 countries, including the US and in the UK, by 66%. A key driver of success was Marin’s multi-objective media plans, allowing The Economist to implement a full-funnel strategy by re-engaging people who had interacted with their web properties, and video ads with bottom-of-funnel messaging to subscribe.

3. Measurement and Optimization


Video ads on Facebook provide marketers with instant insights, such as how long people watched your video, demographic insights of who interacted with your video, and ultimately whether or not your video impacted a conversion online or off.

In broadcast TV, Nielsen's ratings are the de facto performance measurement, capable of providing statistical conversion lift insights. However, the data insights available on Facebook are instantaneous, allowing marketers to take an agile test-and-learn approach to determine which videos are performing the best and then scale budget upwards. Gaining similar insights with TV would mean more time and higher costs.

Using video ads on Instagram, online casino LeoVegas saw a 44% decrease in cost per first time depositing player. Their key to success was implementing the carousel format with video ads to optimize to the game creative, with the highest level of engagement ultimately lowering overall costs.

Carousel ads automatically determine the most engaging video creative and then shift budget accordingly. For LeoVegas, this wouldn’t have been possible with a TV commercial. TV also couldn’t have measured how much revenue LeoVegas generated from people subscribing online.

Facebook Video: An Easy Win


With social video advertising on the rise and more people actually watching videos before making a purchase, the mandate’s clear—advertisers should incorporate video into their Facebook advertising. If you’d like to learn how Marin can help, contact us today.

In our Q4 2017 benchmark report, we show that advertisers are investing heavily in Google Shopping ads, which increased 31% in click share year over year (YoY). Our data reveals that audience utilization remains low at 24%, despite the clear benefits of combining audiences with keyword targeting.

Also, social CPMs increased 44% YoY, indicating that competition for consumer attention is heating up among advertisers.

digital advertising



To create our quarterly benchmark reports, we sample the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest billions of dollars in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform. We analyze data from around the world to create our report.

For Q4 2017, other key findings include:

  • Get the Mobile Bargain While You Can: At 53% of spend, mobile CPCs increased 25% YoY. While mobile CPCs remain discounted relative to desktop CPCs, the gap is closing rapidly. Advertisers should seize the opportunity to court customers on their preferred medium by utilizing mobile bid adjustments, but be mindful that discounted CPCs on mobile will soon dissipate.
  • Social Engagement Gets More Competitive: CPMs increased 44% YoY, indicating that competition for consumer attention is heating up on social channels. Yet, click-through rates have remained relatively flat YoY, which may indicate creative personalization isn’t keeping pace with consumer expectations.
  • Too Many Ad Groups Have Too Few Creative: In Q4 2017, there was a slight shift (3%) away from creative-heavy ad groups to creative-light ad groups. Advertisers have an opportunity to benefit from Google’s machine learning technology underpinning the newly released “optimize” ad rotation setting.
  • Audience Utilization Remains Low: Just 24% of advertisers have an audience KPI, despite the strong campaign performance advantage that combining audiences with keyword targeting provides.


To find out how your ad campaigns measure up to industry benchmarks across channels and devices, download our Q4 2017 Digital Benchmark Report. In addition to global trends, we explore the most compelling areas of digital marketing today, and identify tactical opportunities to help you drive better performance.

This article first appeared in Marketing Dive.

Mark Zuckerberg's 2018 resolution and Facebook's subsequent News Feed change announcement are sending shockwaves through the digital advertising world.

As Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page on Jan. 4, "The world feels anxious and divided, and Facebook has a lot of work to do — whether it's protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent." Stemming from this, Facebook will start to show users more posts from friends and family and fewer from publishers and brands.

Although some are already portending doom and gloom for marketers, the reality will be a little less dramatic. Here are a few things that the industry can expect now that Facebook is focusing on a more quality and secure user experience (which, subtly, will require advertisers to pay more to reach desired audiences):

1. Feeds will be less cluttered


The industry has already noticed a significant decline in organic reach for brand posts, and focusing on friends and family will only continue this trend. Advertisers will have to experiment, identify what works and refine their marketing strategy accordingly to find the perfect mix of paid and organic. Do event photos work better than press releases? What do your users want to see in their Facebook feed? Advertisers will need to maintain a clear view of what's driving people to their brand.

2. However, ads may stand out more in a cleaner feed


With more content coming from users, high-quality, professional ads may pop in a way they don't today. In this case, the increased incentives will force brands to look at their ad offerings to make them more appealing, more engaging, and better suited to a people-first platform.

Less clickbait and attention-grabbing headlines create an opportunity for a brand's messaging to rise above the noise of baby pictures and travel stories.

3. Video: red-hot in 2018


Video represents the biggest opportunity for continued Facebook ad growth, with its new and engaging paid media formats like in-stream video ads. And, expect to see the growth of Facebook Live and Facebook Watch for organically reaching audiences with paid content versus organic posts.

Video is not just red-hot due to its massive popularity. Sixty-four percent of users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video, according to data from Animoto. With that statistic alone, it's definitely time for advertisers to ramp up their video advertising if they haven't already.

4. Facebook Messenger will keep the conversation going


After a somewhat wobbly start, Facebook Messenger now offers concrete advertising solutions. With over 1.6 billion users, it's the most popular mobile messaging app in the world, and Facebook's News Feed changes won't affect the emerging advertising opportunities that Messenger presents.

Note that a majority of Messenger users opt to have push notifications turned on. Messenger ads can additionally perform better than email since there's greater opportunity for personalization and engagement.

Beyond the opportunity to expand the reach of paid ads, now businesses can use Messenger to engage in 1:1 personalized conversations with prospects and customers. For example, someone looking for a flight could click a few automated responses, such as "Where are you going?," and interact with a brand for a top-notch customer experience.

In sum: not to fret


Facebook Messenger is just the beginning. Thinking across channels, Google provides a similar capability with click-to-message ads that prompt SMS interactions with customers. Plus, we can expect to see Facebook expand advertising into WhatsApp in the near future. Lastly, companies can add a Facebook Messenger plug-in to their website that can serve as a direct customer service and lead generation portal.

Hey, Snapchat, Amazon, and LinkedIn — your turn to make a move.

As with all changes in the industry, advertisers who stay flexible and roll with the changes will be best equipped to benefit from them. My advice? Stay aware, refine strategy as needed, test and test again, and keep exploring new and meaningful ways to attract customers.

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

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

Plan More


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

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

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


Learn from Last Year’s Successes and Failures


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

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

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

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

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

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

Think Mobile-First


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

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

Make Time for Video


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

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


Explore Multi-Touch Attribution


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

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

Optimize Placements


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

Happy New Year and good luck with your resolutions!

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

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

What Is Attribution?


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

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

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


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

attribution



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

Understanding the Google Analytics Attribution Model


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

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

How Does Time Impact Conversion Data Discrepancies?


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

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

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

More Ways Facebook Attribution Is Different from Google Analytics


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

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

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

Conclusion


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

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

Marin's TruePath


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

Between Q3 2016 and Q3 2017, clicks on Google product ads grew by 62%, showing that more advertisers are taking advantage of Google’s latest shopping ad formats to capture first-mover advantage. The auto industry posted the largest CPC increase on Google, clocking a 35% YoY gain.



To create our quarterly benchmark reports, we sample the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest billions of dollars in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform. We analyze data from around the world. For Q3 2017, other key findings include:

  • Creative goes deeper. Because its “ad rotation” capabilities have dramatically improved, Google is signaling the end of A/B testing. They’re suggesting ad groups have at least three creatives, but nearly 50% of ad groups aren’t yet meeting this target.
  • Bing out your best. Bing presents 10-15% in additional volume for advertisers not invested there today. As Google’s market share levels out, include Bing in your search advertising mix for a more holistic approach.
  • Showcase what you got. Industries with the biggest CPC decreases include real estate (-27% YoY) and healthcare (-11%). Newly released Showcase Shopping Ads present an opportunity to get ahead.


To find out how your ad campaigns measure up to industry benchmarks across channels and devices, download our Q3 2017 Digital Benchmark Report. In addition to global trends, we explore the most compelling areas of digital marketing today, and identify tactical opportunities to help you drive better performance.

According to a recent study by Cisco, video will represent a whopping 80% of all Internet traffic by 2019. But that’s mostly people watching videos of cats falling off furniture, right?

Not entirely! In fact, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video, according to comScore.

Despite the numbers and trends, many advertisers still struggle to craft stellar video advertising campaigns—what video formats improve ROI? How should marketers handle creative? How do video ads impact paid search?

The Video Advertising Learning Curve


As video advertising continues to explode, marketers who master the game stand to drive substantial campaign performance improvements. Leading video advertisers must:

  • Understand the best ways to incorporate video into paid campaigns
  • Learn what video ad formats and creative drive the best ROAS
  • Consider how video can outperform traditional text and display ads


With a holistic view of the overall advertising landscape and the right preparation, marketers can use video ads to boost brand awareness, move consumers through the sales funnel, and increase revenue.

Join Our Webinar and Press Play on Your Video Ads


Sign up for our webinar, Press Play on Video Advertising: Tips for Success in 2018, to learn everything you need to know about paid video advertising. Marin’s Wes MacLaggan and Cory Henke from Variable Media will share the latest data, tips, and tactics.

The webinar is on Thursday, December 14th, at 10 am PST
(1 pm EST)
.

Speaker Bios



Wes MacLaggan has over a decade’s experience developing and delivering analytical enterprise SaaS applications, including four years with Applied Predictive Technologies working on the company’s platform to help retailers maximize the return on their promotional spending. He is currently Head of Marketing at Marin Software, and has been with the company since 2008.



Cory Henke launched his creative and analytics advertising agency, Variable Media, in March and has been able to grow and mature both large and small clients. His background is heavily rooted in analysis stemming from many years with ad agencies such as IPG and web publishers like Yahoo!, developing substantial experience in the direct response and e-commerce front.







Running your Facebook advertising campaigns at the end of the year can be challenging, especially with so many e-commerce marketers running their own branding initiatives. Still, by looking at last year’s Facebook insights, we can better understand auction dynamics and allocate budgets efficiently.

Since November Facebook ads tend to have lower ad saturation and more efficient auction performance, this should allow you to increase your custom audiences for retargeting in December.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you escalate Facebook campaign activity this month.

Your Strategic Checklist


Even if your ad campaigns are already up and running, you should review several key items to make sure everything’s optimized for maximum views and clicks. And, if you’re just out of the gate, these tips will help you craft a successful effort going forward.

  • Focus on conversion campaigns and retargeting.
  • Make sure you have clear, results-focused volume and cost per acquisition (CPA) targets.
  • Develop a library of creative assets, in case you need more ads to scale your performance. Ensure your creatives are eye-catching. Aim directly for conversion to take advantage of low CPAs.
  • Ensure staff is in place to provide the best customer service to match the increased conversion volume (orders, purchases, etc.).
  • Make sure your website is stable, with fast loading times despite increased site traffic


November Trends Influence December Behavior


By now, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, last-minute shoppers are looking for online deals. Mobile device in hand, they’re more open than ever to snatching up the incentives that your ad campaigns are offering.

If you haven’t already, increase your ad spend to reach these shoppers where they are. Make sure your creatives are fully designed for conversions.

With increased November CPCs most likely due to lower CPA and the spike in conversion rates, this higher conversion volume will offset your acquisition and retargeting-focused ad spend increase. So, despite the CPC jump, keep calm and carry on!

Now’s the Time to Bring It On


Now that December’s here, your competition will increase more each day until the wrapping paper’s in the recycling bin. Your increased ad spend this month will help outdo your rivals in auctions.

Note that Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve tend to be the quietest days for conversion campaigns. So, you may want to decrease ad spend on these days.

Ringing in the New Year


After the New Year starts, conversions start picking up, well into the first two weeks of January. This is the perfect time to apply the previous months’ learnings to your conversion campaigns.

The end of the year can be hectic for Facebook advertisers. But, if you’re prepared and you’ve done all of your homework, the season can bring you lots of gifts—in the form of more conversions.

A key way to drive better performance than your competitors as you vie for consumer attention is by incorporating search intent signals.

In our Marin Software Holiday Guide, we detail things you can do to create powerful cross-channel campaigns using search intent audiences—and find new growth during the holidays and beyond.

Here’s a preview of just a few tactics the guide includes:

  • Dimensions to Audiences: Roll up multiple similarly themed keywords and categories into one dimension, in order to avoid fragmenting audiences into very small sub-segments that deliver minimal reach on Facebook.
  • Make creatives consistent: Make sure your landing pages align with specific keywords, categories, or any other criteria.
  • Add the right optimization layers: Automatically increase or decrease your manual Facebook bids by a set percentage, based on ad performance versus your expressed CPA or ROI goal. Also, automatically allocate the right budget to the right ad sets.
  • Experiment with different ad formats and objectives: Use search intent to build new campaigns and expand to more specialized ad types and objectives; for example, you could combine search intent with Facebook Leads Ads to reduce CPA and increase lead quality.
  • Measure and refine: Use multi-touch attribution to measure across devices and channels and to deduplicate for accurate data.


Crack the Cross-Channel Code


To learn how to fully harness search intent signals to power your cross-channel campaigns, download our guide, Marin Software Holiday Guide: Cracking the Cross-Channel Code with Marin Search Intent Audiences.

search intent

On October 23rd at this year’s International Performance Marketing Awards (IPMA) in London, Marin Software took home the gold, winning Best Paid Social Campaign for our innovative work with The Economist. The IPMA is the largest and most prestigious ceremony in the world for paid advertising.

With Marin’s experts leading the way and tapping into our social campaign management technology, The Economist boosted new subscriptions by 66% through a highly targeted Facebook video campaign. The results shattered targets while generating a 72% lower CPC than image-based ads.


How We Did It


The goal of the campaign was to increase the number of subscriptions to The Economist across 24 countries, including the UK and the US. Along with boosting new signups, The Economist wanted to improve the outlet’s profile as a trusted source of news within social platforms, and to keep conversion costs as low as possible.

The strategy was to focus on converting those who had expressed interest in The Economist by continuously engaging with them. We used two specific ad types—Facebook link posts and animated video ads—to engage readers and encourage them to subscribe.

The team’s tactics ensured a prizewinning campaign:

Dynamic Product Ads

The Economist used Dynamic Product Ads (DPA)— traditionally used only in e-commerce—to target people who’d read an online article on Economist.com. The reader would then receive subscription offers based on the themes of the article. This was an industry-first use of DPA in EMEA.

Unique to Marin: Managed Social Advertising Rules and Ad-level Bidding

The Economist used automated ad pausing to maintain a below-target cost per subscription. The Marin platform automatically paused ads that spent over a set threshold without converting, resulting in more efficient budget allocation.

With managed rules and automated bid management, The Economist increased the reach of its video ads in strong-performing markets, and paused under-performing video ads in other markets. This strategy delivered the maximum number of subscriptions within a target cost per acquisition. In fact, it reduced cost per subscription by 12%.

With ad-level bidding, The Economist achieved granular bidding capabilities on the ad level on Facebook—as opposed to the ad set. This allowed for maximum control over delivery and optimization to meet results.

Video and Animated Covers

The industry is currently mad about video. To ride this trend, ad creative included animated magazine covers and video that provided a much higher engagement CTR of 1.24% on video ads compared to 0.51% on link posts. The Economist also used video carousels to showcase multiple covers in one ad format.

Learn More


We’re proud to have partnered with The Economist to achieve not only record-breaking performance but also a big win at the IPMA! To find out more about how Marin can help your team realize similar results, get in touch today.

Luckily for social advertisers, Facebook algorithms continually optimize to create value and provide a positive, relevant user experience. Still, there are a few things you can periodically do to boost performance.

One important exercise is examining why your ads may be under-delivering. There are two main areas to monitor for under-delivering ads: targeting and bidding.

Targeting


Cause: Audience is too narrow and paired with low budget

Solution: The easiest solution to overcome this issue is to broaden your audience. Facebook offers many audience types—so, instead of being granular with your splits, make sure your audience is broad enough for Facebook to maximize opportunities of reaching relevant users.

Cause: Overlapping ad set audiences

Solution: We all try to get the most out of our high-value users. However, it’s important to use smart exclusions to make sure you’re not targeting the same people to ensure the best delivery.

Cause: Audience too broad paired with low eCTR (the probability of a click) and eCVR (the probability of a conversion)

Solution: Segment your audiences to be more precise, making sure the segmentation isn’t too granular. If the segment is too narrow, consider changing the bid type.

What’s in the eCTR and eCVR? Everything. Facebook looks at your ad, ad set, campaign, and account history; recent activity on the ad set; user characteristics such as gender, age, and conversion history; page/app history; and other factors.

Focus on your value and let Facebook do the rest. Test value-based lookalikes, including the tiered lookalike approach, remember smart exclusions, and always test different targeting options.

Let the system optimize and avoid stopping or starting your ads too often.

Bidding


Cause: Bid is too low

Solution: Increase the bid to the maximum to ensure ad delivery.

Cause: Low number of 1-day post-click conversions

Solution: There are a few possible solutions here:

  • Consider changing bid type to clicks or reach.
  • Optimize to a conversion higher in the funnel.
  • Change the bid to a 7-day post click conversion optimization.


Note that bidding higher won’t affect your cost. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right bidding option depending on your objective.

Average and Maximum Cost Bidding


Average or maximum cost bidding can also lead to better results. Use maximum cost bidding to optimize for cost that’s under a given amount. Use average cost bidding to increase delivery and volume within an average threshold.

Remember that it’s important to enable an ad set to deliver at least a few conversions per day, so that Facebook can gather more data and optimize more efficiently.

The Quest for Better Ad Delivery


Remember that whenever you’re experiencing ad delivery issues, be sure to review your targeting and bidding options. The fewer constraints, the better Facebook can optimize your ads. Best of luck!

Brand awareness campaigns on Facebook are great—they allow you to improve the visibility of your brand and products, and enlarge your fan base.

But, when it comes to driving users to perform specific actions on your website or app, conversion campaigns are your best allies!

Unlike branding campaigns, conversion campaigns usually need not only a more detailed plan and sophisticated structure—they also require a more specific and timely optimization, along with an impeccable bidding strategy.

Every situation and project has its own peculiar characteristics, and needs to be considered carefully in developing the right strategy. But, you can follow some basic steps that serve as a mini-guide on how to master conversion campaigns on Facebook.

Tracking


Before you launch a conversion campaign, always make sure you’re able to properly track your conversions. You should only have one Main KPI—which we’ll discuss in the next section—but you should also have perfect visibility of the whole conversion funnel, in order to be able to answers questions like:

  • How many users left the website right after viewing a product without converting?
  • How many “add to cart” events did your campaign generate?
  • What’s your bounce rate on each step?


You can answer these questions with intermediate, specific events that you track along with your main KPI.

Main KPI


Choosing the right Main KPI enables you to accurately evaluate your campaigns, and optimize them towards your central objective.

Pick the Pixel or In-App event wisely. Main KPIs that generate poor volume—like the purchase of a very expensive product—or metrics that will most certainly be performed outside of the attribution time frame, may complicate campaign optimization. If you don’t achieve enough conversion volume, you won’t be able to analyze your campaign results properly and take the right course of action to optimize them.

CPA Goal


Make sure your desired cost per conversion is achievable, and that it ensures a transparent analysis of your campaign.

If you’re new to the publisher or launching in a new market—or simply unsure of the best cost per conversion you can get with your campaign—start by optimizing on CPC or other delivery metrics.

It’s easy to estimate the average CPC and CPM, so use this as a good starting point for your new digital advertising activity.

Bidding


Conversion-focused optimization is the most precise way of bidding in conversion campaigns. But, you may want to start with a CPC or CPM optimised bidding model, especially with small audiences.

Once you get your first conversions and a decent volume (and your audience is ample enough), you can switch to oCPM and let Facebook’s algorithm optimize your bidding towards your Main KPI.

For More Information


If you’d like more information on setting up the best conversion ad campaigns for your business, just get in touch.

With Facebook now supporting over 2 billion monthly users and Instagram quickly becoming a social network force to reckon with, marketers must be more creative than ever to attract attention. And, not only that—we have to constantly make sure our messages are clear, and that we’re driving consideration, clicks, and conversions. If pictures were worth a thousand words before, now they’ve hit double-digital annual growth.

This is even more important on mobile. Smartphones have become the device of choice for today’s users on the go. Advertisers need to devote attention to refining the user experience for people who are constantly “plugged in.”

Here are a few tips for making sure your Facebook and Instagram ads are going the extra mile for today’s consumer.

Who’s Your Audience?


A first step is to determine your target audiences, and to keep them in mind as your create your ads. Avoid using the same creatives for all of your markets and audiences. Adapt your creatives to fit different user wants and needs.

Focus on the Product


Try using images that feature a close-up of your app, in a mock-up on a device adapted to the mobile OS you’re targeting (Apple iPhones on an iOS target, for instance).

Also experiment with short videos showing a demo of the main features of the app. We’ll discuss video ads in a later section.


Focus on the People


You should also try images featuring people using your app. For example, a music streaming mobile app could feature a person listening to music on their headphones. Basically, any action symbolizing or suggesting the nature of the app you’re promoting is a great way to make your message clear at first glance.


Optimize Your Text and Logo


Your logo should always be visible. This is especially important when you’re targeting markets where your brand awareness is strong.

Note that Facebook, Instagram, and the Audience Network place limits on the amount of text you can have on your ad image. You’ll have to follow the rules, but be sure to get as close to the limit as possible to make sure your message stands out.

Get Creative on Instagram


Instagram is a heavily image-based network, so creativity is crucial. Draw inspiration from the main influencers in your field—look at what they’re doing and make sure you’re targeting your audience as efficiently and inventively as possible.

Use filters, image composites, and videos—all the while making your ads as natural and seamless as possible to users.

Get in the Video Game


With six-second videos poised to become a standard, you’ll have even less time to immediately make a splash with video. Make yours as brief and clear as possible—six seconds can be a challenge, but be sure not to exceed 30 seconds, and make sure you feature your product in a clear and recognizable way.

Note that many people don’t activate sound on an ad. So, ensure your message comes across, even on mute. Include captions and feature your logo in the first few moments.

A/B Test Everything


Don’t just assume one solution will work better than another. Always test two versions of an image—they need to differ only on a specific element, so that you can compare results and consider insights once the A/B test is over.



versus...



Blue or green? A/B test both to identify the best version.

Be sure to A/B test different kinds of videos, too—is a generic one showing a product overview more effective than one with a specific and unique feature?

An Exciting Time for Mobile Advertisers


The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “Everything changes and nothing stands still.” When it comes to the evolution of digital advertising and the active routines of today’s mobile user, the philosopher’s words ring true. Stay ahead with awesome mobile ads on Facebook and Instagram. Clicks and conversions await!

Until recently, Facebook Dynamics Ads was a retargeting-only solution. Now, as Facebook’s strongest performance-focused ad format, marketers can combine it with Broad Audiences to create high-powered prospecting campaigns.

Along with its Aerie sub-brand, American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) did exactly that. Over three quarters starting in Q4 2016, Broad Audiences for Dynamic Ads continuously outperformed other non-dynamic prospecting tactics and ad formats, boosting Revenue on Ad Spend and efficiency, and gaining 4x higher ROAS (versus regular lookalike audiences).

To achieve stellar results, AEO and Marin Customer Success:

  • Locked in early access to Broad Audiences for Dynamic Ads
  • Used Marin Budget Allocation for better budget allotment and performance
  • Planned additional Dynamic Ads initiatives for more efficiency improvements


Read all about it in our case study.

A leading women’s accessory retailer wanted to extend its digital advertising from search alone to a combined search and social strategy. To increase sales, the retailer tested performance of its manual prospecting campaigns against the product sets that Smart Sync for Dynamic Ads generated. The result—ROI increased
by 456%
.

The retailer’s tactics included:

  • Identifying top performing product categories from Google Shopping campaigns
  • Cloning these directly into Facebook
  • Using Dynamic Ads targeting to prospects, transitioning from email lookalike custom audiences to intent lookalikes on the web


Read all about it in our case study.

This is a guest post from Vernon Johnson, Paid Social Account Manager at 3Q Digital.

It’s becoming increasingly important to understand attribution, especially as it relates to each channel and analytics platform. Marketing as a whole is about creating meaningful and lasting connections between people and businesses. But, in order to get a clear picture of how online advertising impacts real business outcomes, we need to understand how it’s tracked.

Essentially, we need to accurately measure the connections that count and drive business impact. Often, platforms measure these channels in silo, which often leads to blind spots and missed opportunities.

How Facebook Measures


When advertisers measure channel performance separately, they end up greatly diminishing overall effectiveness. Not having a view of the customer’s complete journey can stymie business decisions.

facebook



Among channels and platforms, people are the common denominator. Though Facebook is limited in determining attribution across channels, it does a great job of factoring in the actual person’s journey across the web and Facebook ecosystem.

In a world of multi-touch attribution points, Facebook wants to look at more than simply the last click or cookie data. Facebook has even reported that 22% of incremental revenue could be misattributed when using last-click models, and 54% could be misattributed when mobile spend is high.[1]

Does the Click Matter?


One of the pitfalls of the last-click method of attribution pertains to the value of a click versus the intent of the user. When Facebook looked across 478 online global campaigns, they found that clicks aren’t always a good proxy for brand results.[2] In fact, there is no significant correlation between click through rate (CTR) and brand effect metrics.[3]

facebook



For Facebook advertisers, the most effective people are often those less likely to click, and surprisingly, they’re also the least expensive. So, if you’re looking to drive brand awareness, you have to go beyond level of engagement, since a potential customer can notice and be influenced by your content without interacting with it.

A 2012 Facebook and Datalogix ROI study even found that, “more than 90% of offline sales come from people who don’t interact with ads during the campaign."

facebook


Where Are You in Your Journey?


Understanding and getting a sense for how multi-touch attribution works is one thing—implementing it can be a process. There are essentially five stages that advertisers often find themselves in. Within the roadmap, it’s important to accurately assess where you are and begin to understand what’s needed in the next stage.

facebook



Social Metrics

In the first stage, the business is primarily concerned with “How are my Facebook campaigns performing?” and “What are the demographic interests, purchase behaviors, and intent qualities of my target audience?” This is the very beginning of the journey and also builds the entire foundation for the rest of it.

Are My Ads Working?

The next stage goes beyond simply looking at the metrics and targeting of ads and asks the question, “Are my Facebook ads driving incremental buyers and conversions?” Beyond CTR and CVR, we want to know if our ads and spend are driving incremental growth at the main KPI. This is also the point in the journey where we should be asking, “How are my Facebook ads impacting my brand metrics?”

Optimize

Once we’ve determined what impact Facebook ads are making on the main business objectives, we want to be asking, “How can I optimize my Facebook ad performance?” or, even better, “How do my Facebook ads impact offline or in-store sales?” We want to start capitalizing on what’s working and ditch what isn’t driving bottom-line growth. This is also a great stage to begin split testing, doing a conversion lift test or even a brand lift test.

Media Mix

This is the stage in the journey where we begin looking outside the world of Facebook. It’s where we begin asking, “How do Facebook ads compare to other media channels in driving business objectives across devices?” We want to know exactly where Facebook fits in from the broad perspective. This is where we begin thinking hard about properly tracking attribution between every channel. It may be time to run a Facebook Attribution Checkup or get a Reach Report from Facebook.

Statistical Modeling

In the final stage of the journey, we’re thinking hard about the cross-channel effectiveness across the entire media ecosystem. We’ll be asking, “How do Facebook ads compare to other channels to drive key metrics?” and “How effective is my cross-publisher ad spend at reaching my target audience across channels?” We’re using Facebook data and best practices to inform total media spend.

Conclusion


Multi-touch attribution helps significantly in understanding how marketing campaigns directly correlate to conversions, even when clicks don’t happen. Though the road to multi-touch implementation typically has a few steps, it’s essential that marketers get a clear picture of how lasting connections are built.

Further Reading


Marin Software provides further insights on a few of the topics mentioned here. They also recently published a guide on extending the cross-channel attribution model across search and social channels for even better performance and increased revenue, including a comprehensive reference on Google + Facebook ad formats. Be sure to give them a read.




[1] Media figures across 136 Facebook conversion lift studies in all industries except telecomm, May 15-Aug 27, 2015 with at least two weeks of data, positive and statistically significant incremental pixel-based conversion events, only campaigns including FB conversion pixel. Figures not shown by event type: 24-hour click models miss 6% and 24% of lead generation and registrations respectively. “Higher mobile ad spend” refers to campaigns with mobile share of impressions ÷68% (median).

[2] Nielson Brand Effect meta-analysis of 478 online global campaigns that ran between Oct 2014 and April 2015.

[3] Correlation is less than 1%.

As savvy marketers know, it often takes multiple touches with a brand before a prospect or existing customer takes a desired action. We’ve created a sample workflow that illustrates how Google and Facebook can work together in an integrated, cross-channel way to deliver both new conversions and repeat purchases.


From Intent to Purchase


As we follow Amy through the customer journey, it’s notable that the Facebook video ad she viewed was based on the search intent from Google. Leveraging that search intent cross-channel, Marin was able to serve Amy with a relevant video ad for the particular hotel ad that she viewed. In other words, had Amy not clicked the search ad on Google, she would have never seen the Facebook ad.

This purchase is a great example of how dynamically generated micro audience segments on Facebook can deliver incremental returns from a conversion that never would have occurred had it not started with the first Google click. In a nutshell, that explains the true potential of cross-channel advertising to span the entire customer journey and drive meaningful conversions.

A Note About Attribution: Unified Versus Last-Click


As digital advertising has evolved, many advertisers have sought a more sophisticated solution than last-click attribution to track conversions. In a cross-channel world, where users see ads in different formats and often on multiple devices, it’s important to identify all the sources that influence a conversion rather than just one final conversion event.

The table below shows how a last-click attribution model compares to unified attribution in the context of a cross-channel customer journey on Facebook and Google. Instead of attributing the entire conversion to Google’s last click, you can see how a using unified attribution values all touch points in the actual user’s journey.



Here, with unified attribution, each touchpoint receives credit for the path to conversion. The total value of a conversion is one—a last-click attribution model wouldn’t give any credit to the video ad highlighting the hotel brand, which ultimately led to Amy searching on Google two weeks later and converting.

Cross-Channel Plays for Improved Performance


For more insights and tips on combining search and social for enhanced advertising performance, download our guide, Google + Facebook: A Playbook for Cross-Channel Advertising Success.

facebook

Online retail is on the rise, with the National Retail Federation estimating an 8-12% US e-commerce bump in 2017. Still, most purchases continue to happen in stores—how can retail advertisers accurately measure the impact of their digital advertising efforts on these brick-and-mortar sales?

To help close this gap, we’ve launched Offline Conversions in Marin Social.

Know What’s Working and What’s Not


With offline conversion tracking, you can track transactions that happen at a physical retail store and other offline channels such as phone orders. From here, you can attribute these conversions to users engaging with your Facebook ads.

Marin Social offers full support for this type of offline conversion tracking, and maps transaction data from your customer database or point-of-sale system to your Facebook ad reporting. This gives you a better understanding of the effectiveness of your social campaigns.

Close the Loop to Offline Sales


In Marin Social, Offline Conversions setup is easy. Once you update the settings in your Marin Social media plan, every new ad you create will automatically be tagged to enable offline conversion tracking.

social advertising



We’ve designed Offline Conversions to be as flexible as possible, so you’re free to create a single media plan for an ad account that covers all available offline events. Or, you might choose to create multiple media plans for the same ad account and include only the appropriate offline events. You can even link existing ad campaigns to offline events on the publisher side. It’s all up to you.

Learn More


If you’re already a Marin Social Customer, just get in touch with your account rep and learn more in our support center. If you’re new to Marin, contact us today.

Living in a mobile-focused world has changed the way people discover and buy products. To keep pace with this mobile shopping revolution, Facebook continually develops new mobile ad formats to deliver a smooth user experience and that allow advertisers to exhibit a wide range of available products. Collection Ads is one such format.

A Brief Intro



Facebook Collection Ads empower advertisers to “Tell a story and showcase relevant products and features—all in a single Facebook ad.”[1] Although Collection Ads are focused on retail and
e-commerce, they’re easy to implement for any business with a product catalog that links to an online store. Advertisers are increasingly adopting this ad type, which allows them to combine video or images with other images from a product catalog.

facebook



To stand out in the digital crowd, advertisers must create Collection Ads that ‘inspire’ and ‘optimize’.

Inspire



Facebook recommends that advertisers use Collection Ads to drive and optimize for conversions. So, inspire users to convert by having your main asset tell your brand story. Use complementary images from your product feed to drive home the brand message and to highlight a variety of your products.

Keep these things in mind as you create your ads:

  • Your Story: In telling your brand story, visually highlight the people it’s designed for. Then, when you’re selecting associated images, choose ones that provide a good counterpart for the main image. For example, if you’re a fashion brand, include behind-the-scenes or runway images. Remember to include relevant messaging in the headline.
  • Theme: Explore different motifs such as seasons, promotions, or specific audiences or styles.
  • Utility: Try presenting something that demonstrates the ‘need’ for your product. Show users ‘how’, leverage influencers, and inspire viewers with the possibilities of using your products.
  • Cross-sell: Explore how you can cross-sell related products.



Optimize



Collection Ads are mobile-only, so optimizing for the experience is key. It’s also important to optimize the content itself, following a few guidelines:

  • Mobile mobile mobile: If your ads are inspiring but your mobile experience is weak, you won’t achieve the best performance.
  • Fitting content: Tailor the content for mobile feed by capturing attention quickly and designing for sound off.
  • Less text: Let the visuals spark attention.
  • Products: Use a product set with more than eight products to emphasize variety and availability.



Want to know how to create Collection Ads on Marin Social? Read how in our support center article. Or, if you’re new to Marin, just request a demo.

[1] Facebook Business, https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/facebook-create-ad-collection.

You may have noticed the trend towards Facebook flexible placements (i.e., placement optimization). Are these worth incorporating into your account?

In this article, we cover the main advantages of placement optimization and why you should include it in your marketing strategy. The benefits sound a lot like common business goals: timesaving, efficiency, and expanded reach.

Timesaving


Saving Time Through Predictable Performance

When you run your campaigns only on what you consider to be the best-performing placement or split individual placements, you’ll most likely see fluctuating performance. And, it may be challenging to achieve low CPA or delivery in a specific placement. Manual adjustments become an ongoing struggle as you try to get the most out of your campaigns.

Optimizing for more placements, on the other hand, will save you some time when you create and refine your campaigns. This produces better delivery, enhanced performance, and expanded reach.

Saving Time Through Robust Tools

There are duplication and mass-editing tools that allow you to clone ad sets or campaigns, automatically make changes to placements, and run Facebook and Instagram campaigns independently. With these tools, there’s no need to create everything from scratch or reinvent the wheel.

However, what if you’re running full-funnel activities, from branding to retention? What if you’re also advertising in multiple markets, plus variations for those audiences?

Here, placement optimization can help save you tons of time. Instead of targeting and setting up every placement, you can let Facebook do it for you, clearing more time for strategic planning, optimization, and further testing.

Saving Time Through Insightful Reporting

As for reporting, Facebook provides the option of seeing the placement breakdown, allowing you to determine which placement drives the best performance. But, don’t rush to divert all of your budget to the best-performing placement by separating placements again, as Facebook will optimize for the best performer, anyway. Which leads us to efficiency.

Efficiency


When you’re developing your strategy and creating your Facebook ad campaigns, one aim is to provide as much information as possible so that Facebook algorithms know your goal and optimize for it. This includes indicators like objective, promoted object, and bidding type.

Why should you let the algorithms deliver ads in placements that bring low CPAs? Because they’re flexible, serving your ads on Facebook, Instagram, or Facebook Audience Network (FAN) when there’s the greatest likelihood of the cheapest CPA and highest volume.

[caption id="attachment_9878" align="alignnone" width="500"]

facebook

How placement optimization works (Source: Facebook)[/caption]

Expanded Reach


Audience size plays a key role in achieving the cheapest CPA, meaning that if there’s a possibility to increase reach, it’s always a good idea to do it.

With placement optimization, you have the opportunity to reach more users with the same budget, which can solve cost effectiveness and single-placement delivery issues.

How does placement optimization work? Easy—it takes advantage of Facebook’s algorithms that dynamically search and serve your ad to the placement that’s most cost effective at any given time, whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, or FAN.

Conclusion


More time, better use of resources, more brand awareness and revenue. Placement optimization is one of the best strategies for putting your marketing dollars to effective use.

The year is halfway over but digital advertising remains fast and furious. From what we’ve seen in our blog traffic, it’s clear that marketers want to keep on top of the latest trends and channel announcements, and are also continually looking for ways to enhance their digital ad strategies.

To honor these past six months, we’re showcasing our six most popular blog posts.

Current Trends


  1. Your Google Analytics Data Will Never Match Your Facebook Data: The only way to accurately measure your Facebook data is through Facebook reporting itself. This article explains why.
  2. Cheat Sheet: Facebook and Google Ad Types Mapped to the Customer Journey: Our popular cheat sheet provides clear tactics for advertisers looking to meet specific campaign goals and objectives.
  3. 10 Best Practices for Combining Paid Search and Social: From planning to execution to measurement, this how-to article gets into the nuts and bolts of a successful cross-channel ad campaign.


Oldies But Goodies


  1. How to Determine Optimal Frequency Caps for Retargeting: Frequency caps can be a bit complex, but this article breaks it all down. You’ll learn easy ways to determine optimal frequency caps, how to test them, and more.
  2. How to Get the Most Out of Sequential Advertising on Facebook: People love a good story. Here, we explain the many benefits of sequential advertising on Facebook, and show how DS Automobiles used it to increase impressions and engagement.
  3. The 8 Players in the Programmatic Ecosystem: Programmatic has evolved from “hot new thing” to “advertising standard.” This article provides an easy reference for both new and seasoned users of programmatic advertising.


The Outlook for the Rest of the Year


As retail shifts online, search and social dominate ad spend, and Facebook usage continues to skyrocket, we’ll be there. Subscribe to our blog today to keep current on the latest news, developments, and expert opinion.

The Economist wanted to increase subscriptions to its newspaper across 24 countries, including the UK and the US. It also needed to keep the average subscription cost below a certain amount.

Using Marin Social, The Economist gained 66% more new subscriptions with video ad campaigns, and lowered CPC
by 72%
.

Video Ads for the Win


In a year rich with events of global significance such as Brexit and the American elections, The Economist recognized the social demand for authoritative insights and opinions on international affairs. To drive subscriptions in a cost-efficient way, the team applied a range of retargeting strategies on Facebook.

Performance over time revealed that video ads had a positive effect on engagement rates, with a CTR of 1.24% compared to a CTR of 0.51% on link posts.

More Subscriptions, Lower Costs


Between September and December 2016, The Economist's Facebook video ad campaigns delivered strong results:

  • 66% rise in new subscriptions
  • 12% lower cost per subscription than the static image format
  • 72% lower CPC for video ad format than static image


To learn more about how The Economist raised the bar on its ad campaigns, read the full case study.

People can’t click ads they don’t see. Audience targeting is the best way to reach the right people with relevant ads and grow revenue. And, when it’s done in an integrated way across channels, audience targeting will jump-start your advertising efforts.

Google and Facebook have particular strengths that help advertisers. Google captures data on what people are looking for, and Facebook identifies who people are and what they like. The combined power of both channels allows you to reach people anywhere in the funnel.

Here are three pointers as you combine the best of Google and Facebook in cross-channel campaigns for maximum ad exposure:

  1. Find the perfect match: Use Google’s Customer Match and Facebook’s Custom Audiences to identify your existing customers, and then build lookalikes to find potential customers with similar affinities.
  2. Show up for shoppers: With Broad Audiences for Dynamic Ads, reach people in-market for your product who haven’t visited your website.
  3. Give them what they want: People are telling Google exactly what they’re looking for. Use this information to tailor the ads they see on Facebook by creating audiences based on their search query.


We live in an age of personalized experiences—your customers are open to hearing from you if there’s something in it for them. By leveraging cross-channel advertising on Google and Facebook and the potential to be laser-focused in your ad targeting, you can indeed give them exactly what they’re looking for.

Want to Learn More?


For more great tips—including how to develop a cross-channel story, grow ROI with incremental lift testing, and measure performance beyond the last click—sign up for our upcoming webinar, Facebook + Google: Bridging the Search and Social Divide.

To make it convenient for global marketing teams, we’ve scheduled the webinar at three different times:

  • Tuesday, July 11th @ 10am PT (1pm ET)
  • Wednesday, July 12th @ 10 am GMT
  • Wednesday, July 12th @ 1pm Singapore Time


Speakers include Noah Singer, Product Marketing, Monetization and Measurement Manager from Facebook, and Brett Loney, Product Marketing Manager – Social, Marin Software. Be sure to register today—we hope you can join us!

Speaker Bios

Noah Singer helps lead and manage Atlas’ and Facebook’s ads measurement solutions, bring products to market, conduct market analysis, lead policy decision making, identify and execute against operational improvements, evangelize Facebook solutions and points of view within the industry, and determine how to best partner with companies in the Facebook ecosystem. He previously helped launch and build its mobile app ads business and Facebook Analytics for Apps.

Brett Loney has managed over $50 million in paid social spend for diverse companies, from startups to the Fortune 500. Brett led paid social for Cartwheel by Target, Target’s first digital product team and internal startup. The app achieved, and has sustained, a top 5 ranking in the retail category on the Apple and Google Play stores, with over 10 million downloads in its first year. Brett has a B.S. in Marketing from St. John’s University and is a die-hard Minnesota Vikings fan.





Facebook recently worked with Kantar Worldpanel to test the hypothesis: is someone exposed to an ad on both TV and Facebook more likely to buy? Specifically, would there be at least a 22% lift in sales from this “double exposure” on both channels?

The short answer: yes. The amazing answer: the lift was actually 29%—1.3 times higher than expected.

What can digital advertisers do to capitalize on these numbers?

Get in the Game with TV Sync Technology


If you already have a good baseline social advertising strategy, use TV Sync technology to take things to the next level. TV Sync allows you to automatically activate your social ads based on customizable offline events like television flight schedules, live programming, weather changes, or sporting events—all in real time. It’s a powerful way to amplify your reach and drive engagement across screens.

And, as the Kantar Worldpanel study indicates, it’s a great way to increase revenue across a host of CPG industries.

TV Sync allows you to:

  • Trigger your social ads when your competitor’s commercial airs
  • Launch social ads automatically based on weather status or key sporting events such as touchdowns and timing
  • Extend your advertising beyond TV, onto the second screen and into the virtual shopping space


Consider a few other examples of how you can use Marin’s TV Sync to amplify your advertising efforts.

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.

Make TV + Social a Default Part of Your Advertising Strategy

As more and more brands see positive results from this dual advertising approach—and as premium TV and Facebook continue to domineer viewers’ leisure time—make the double exposure a given. Measure and optimize, and see if you can top Facebook’s and Kantar’s 29% sales lift figure.

TV Sync is available for Marin Social customers, and clients like Danone Actimel have already seen great results—nearly 40% increase in CTR, helping drive down video view costs by over 60%. Be sure to check out the full case study.

If you’re interested in learning how Marin can help you expand your ad exposure and reach, contact us today.

Dynamic Ads allows advertisers with a product feed to automatically deliver personalized ads based on the interest people show on your website site or app. This powerful—and largely untapped—ad type delivers hyper-targeted ads on Facebook, Instagram, and the Audience Network to people most likely to buy what you’re selling.

In our Ultimate Guide to Dynamic Ads on Facebook, we share tactical advice and timely tips to get you up, running, and profitable with this innovative ad type.

Just a few highlights:

  • The Key Benefits of Dynamic Ads: Marketers who implement Dynamic Ads can expect to see increased sales, time savings, automatic alignment with inventory, and more. Read about how a name-brand jeweler boosted ROAS by 357% with Dynamic Ads.
  • Finding New Customers and Improving Conversion Rates: We take a close look at Broad Audiences, a way to expand the reach of your Dynamic Ad campaigns by serving more relevant ads to people who haven’t visited your website.
  • Cross-Selling and Upselling Existing Customers: Dynamic Ads is perfect for attracting customers to a more expensive item or an entirely different product from your catalog. We offer techniques and tips to increase revenue and expand reach.


To learn more, download the full document.

We’re excited about the new rollout of Broad Audiences for Dynamic Ads! Up until now, we’ve been in closed beta for this feature.

As we discussed in a previous blog post, Broad Audiences helps you expand the reach of your Dynamic Ad campaigns, by serving more relevant ads to people who haven’t visited your website. Use Broad Audiences as a top-of-funnel tactic to expand reach and improve quality, as shown here:

dynamic ads



Fine-Tuning Your Broad Audiences



You can tweak your Dynamic Ads campaigns until they’re a perfect fit for your business goals and campaign objectives. We’ve identified a few ways to fine-tune your Dynamic Ads campaigns with Broad Audiences.

  1. Organize campaigns by existing customers and new customers with a budget that’s spread out based on projected reach of your dynamic audiences.
  2. Use exclusion audiences to block out people who’ve recently made a purchase on your website from seeing your ads.
  3. Keep your Broad Audiences as broad as possible with only location, gender, and age targeting inputs selected.
  4. Don’t layer in lookalikes or any detailed interest targeting to your ad sets with Broad Audiences, as doing so will limit delivery.
  5. Use ad creative that’s tailored to folks unfamiliar with your brand, to entice new customers.
  6. Set your bids to be optimized towards actual conversion events such as add-to-cart, purchase, and registration. You’ll need to have the Facebook pixel configured for these events in order to run Dynamic Ads, so an ideal scenario is to optimize for registration events.
  7. Specify new vs. existing within your URL parameters to better understand the full path to conversion in your analytics tool—specifically, whether a conversion’s tied to in-store or online purchase events.


If you’re interested in implementing Broad Audiences for Dynamic Ads, contact your CS representative today or request a demo.

To help retail and e-commerce advertisers create more compelling creative and increase sales, today we’re rolling out Smart Images for Dynamic Ads to our customers as a closed beta feature.

Add a Personalized Touch to Stand Out from the Competition


With Marin Social’s drag and drop editor, you can enhance ad creatives with details at a SKU level such as sales price, product ratings, brand logos, or calls to action. Adding these details helps drive higher engagement than Dynamic Ads with plain images and improves sales. As you can see from the images below, Smart Images adds a noticeable improvement to your ad creative.

Save Time by Fully Automating the Creative Process


Dynamic Ads - Layers


Apply Smart Images across all of your products in just a few clicks with a simple-to-use editor that can be mapped to your product feed




Smart Images allows you to automate the entire creative process, since the templates pull each detail in your ad creative from your product feed with up-to-date information at a SKU level, in both the image and ad copy. As information in your product feed changes, your creative updates accordingly in real time. Just think of how many hours your design team would have to put into creating each iteration with that level of detail!

Create Your Own Template or Select One from the Library


Dynamic Ads - Templates


Choose from one of our professionally designed templates or create your own.


Whether you build your own template or choose one from the in-app library, all of your product images are automatically resized to meet Facebook’s specifications. The Smart Images editor gives you complete control of creative elements—all you have to do is edit the Smart Images template once, then in just one click, update thousands of ad permutations across your entire product catalog. You can save your Smart Images templates to reuse later, or create multiple to see which performs best.

Increase Engagement with Clip Art, Background Colors, and CTAs


Dynamic Ads - Inserts


Insert your own text and image layers directly into Smart Images with a library of hundreds of clip art images.


Choose from a library of clip art to add some spice to your product imagery. For example, you could use an emoticon to draw someone into a compelling sales offer or a banner highlighting a sale with slash-through pricing. Usually, product images from your feed come with a background that doesn’t stand out well in Facebook’s feed. You can choose from an image palette or input RGB details to adjust the color of any layer in your ad image, including the background. Be sure to use a .PNG file in your product feed so that there’s no overlap in the background color.

Interested in Smart Images for Dynamic Ads?


If you’re interested in implementing Smart Images contact your CS representative today or request a demo.

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