Mobile

Have you noticed a change to your Google search results on your phone or tablet? Google has just finished rolling out continuous scrolling for mobile devices for English users in the U.S. This means instead of having to tap the “See more” button at the bottom of the page, Google automatically loads another page of results. Pages continue loading for four pages, as Google says most people typically browse up to four pages of results.

It sounds like a subtle change, but you’ll notice it is a huge difference in user experience on your mobile device. This update makes it easier for people to access more search results which could mean finding what they’re looking for faster. And depending on the nature of the search query, users who enter limited keywords or broad phrases may be looking for a wide range of results (think: chicken recipes). So continuous scrolling eliminates a lot of friction in the user’s search for content.

What continuous scrolling means for advertisers


But what does this mean for advertisers?

First off, this change does not affect how the ad auction works or the way Ad Rank is calculated. Your Ad Rank (where ads are shown on a page relative to other ads) will still be calculated using:

  • your bid amount
  • your auction-time ad quality (including expected clickthrough rate
  • ad relevance
  • landing page experience
  • the competitiveness of an auction
  • the context of the person’s search (location, device, time of search, the nature of the search terms)
  • the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats


Ad Rank will also continue to be eligible to show on multiple pages since Google calculates Ad Rank for each page.

With that said, there are some other considerations to be aware of with continuous scrolling.

Google will now be redistributing the number of text ads that can show between the top and bottom of pages. So, text ads can show at the top of the second page and beyond, while fewer text ads will show at the bottom.

And some users who previously used to go back to the top of the search results in page one may continue to scroll down to page two. So some campaigns may see more impressions from top ads and fewer impressions from bottom ads. Google does expect clicks, conversions, average CPC, average CPA to remain relatively stable.

How MarinOne can help manage this change


The Search experts at Marin recommend monitoring your prominence metrics which will give you more information on where your ads are appearing on the page.

  • Search top impression rate “Impr. (Top) %” is the percentage of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.
  • Search absolute top impression rate “Impr. (Abs.Top) %” is the percentage of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
  • Search absolute top impression share “Search abs. top IS” is the impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
  • Search top impression share “Search top IS” is the impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.


In addition to monitoring performance, consider using an automated bid strategy to dynamically adjust keywords bids based on prominence metrics. For Example, Smart Bidding for Impression Share, set at the Campaign Level or Marin Awareness Targeting, set at the group or campaign level, and capable of targeting an Impression Share range or Impression Rate (intraday).

The marketing experts at Marin are always here to help you navigate the quickly evolving digital landscape. Click here for more on how MarinOne can optimize your Google campaigns.

iOS 15 is here and with it come several updates for apps like SharePlay streaming in FaceTime, Notifications Focus and Interruption Levels, and Swift UI updates. But there are still a few straggling developer updates that Apple has committed to launching before the end of the year, and app marketers should take note. Custom Product Pages and Product Page Optimization are two features designed to help maximize app store listings and ultimately drive user acquisition.

What are Custom Product Pages?


Custom Product Pages allow app marketers to create more relevant, custom pages on the App Store that can be tailored to specific target audiences and linked to individual campaigns. As an example, a fitness app could develop one product page that highlights a GPS running tracker to audiences interested in marathons, and another product page that highlights trail maps to audiences interested in mountain biking. Other options might be creating pages based on user locations for delivery services or in-app options like gaming avatars or streaming content themes. Whatever the content may be, custom product pages deliver a personalized app store experience to users which are sure to increase conversion rates.

You can create up to 35 custom product pages and each page can be customized with metadata for app preview videos, screenshots, and promotional text, giving advertisers a wide range of flexibility for targeting customers with personalized content. App analytics will provide metrics for each product page on impressions, downloads, conversion rates, retention data, and average proceeds per paying user so you’ll be able to see which pages are driving awareness, conversions, and in-app behavior.

What is Product Page Optimization?


Product Page Optimization applies to your default product page, where users might land through search or browse. This feature allows app marketers to set up two separate default pages and split traffic between them. You can select up to three treatments for the treatment page including app icon, preview videos, or screenshots. Once you’ve designated the percentage of traffic to each page, you can let the test run and then monitor results like impressions, downloads, and conversions. Use those results to determine if you should apply the treatments to your default page, and you’ve now optimized your page for the best possible conversion rates.

What You Can Do to Prepare


Don’t wait for Custom Product Pages to arrive! Start mapping out which features and content you have in your app and how they might appeal to a particular audience. Next, think about which preview videos, screenshots, and text would be most impactful to convey the highlighted feature to that specific audience. You still have time to create new assets and copy if you feel there are other messages that would resonate with potential users.

You can also start thinking through any treatments you might want to consider testing for your default page. Once Product Page Optimization launches, your treatment page will have to be approved by App Review, so be ready to go with your selected icon, video, and screenshot choices.

Do some prep work now, and you’ll be able to hit the ground running to drive incremental app installs as soon as Apple rolls out their Custom Product Pages and Product Page Optimization.

Apple Search Ads + MarinOne


Now that you’ve planned out your default and custom page optimization, MarinOne can help you analyze your campaign performance and automatically identify opportunities in your account with estimates of potential value and easy implementation. Our optimization tools help identify optimal levels of spend while MarinOne bidding delivers the best possible performance.

MarinOne has been helping advertisers manage and optimize their Apple Search Ads campaigns since 2019, and we were recently recognized as an Apple Search Ads Partner specializing in campaign management. Apple Search Ads Partners are leading companies skilled in helping Apple Search Ads Advanced customers manage, measure and optimize their campaigns.

MarinOne also integrates with leading mobile measurement solutions including Kochava, Appsflyer, Branch and Singular, as well as traditional measurement solutions like Google Analytics to give advertisers a complete view of their return on investment. Advertisers can also manage their Apple Search Ads alongside their Google Universal App Campaigns, making it easy to share insights across publishers.

Click here to get started with Apple Search Ads today.

Marin Software has been recognized as an Apple Search Ads Partner specializing in campaign management. Apple Search Ads Partners are leading companies skilled in helping Apple Search Ads Advanced customers manage, measure and optimize their campaigns. Marin has been helping digital advertisers get the best performance from their advertising campaigns for almost 15 years and has helped manage and optimize over $40 billion in advertising spend.



Our self-serve MarinOne platform has been helping advertisers manage and optimize their Apple Search Ads campaigns since 2019. In the first quarter of 2020, our client’s Apple Search Ads spend grew by 200% year-over-year, a sign of their success with this advertising channel.



MarinOne Dashboard



As an Apple Search Ads Partner, Marin will work closely with Apple Search Ads to provide our joint customers with the highest level of support and expertise, including sharing best practices and implementing the latest Apple Search Ads features.



“Apps represent an increasingly important part of the marketing mix for many advertisers, not just for app and game developers,” said Chris Lien, Marin’s Chairman and CEO. “Our customers have seen fantastic results using MarinOne to optimize their Apple Search Ads while coordinating with their other search, social and eCommerce campaigns.”



Paddy Power, one of the most popular betting brands in the UK and Ireland, tested Marin Bidding on their Apple Search Ads campaigns to see if they could improve efficiency and lower CPCs and CPAs while maintaining steady app installs and revenue.



“We tested Marin Bidding on Apple Search Ads and our CPAs came down by 30%. Our CPCs became more manageable and we were able to free up budget to re-invest in additional growth opportunities. We’re thrilled with the results, and we plan to keep using MarinOne Bidding for Apple Search Ads on other lines of business in the future,” noted Anthony Elders, Head of Search, Paddy Power Betfair.



The powerful MarinOne platform integrates with leading mobile measurement solutions including Kochava, Appsflyer, Branch and Singular, as well as traditional measurement solutions like Google Analytics to give advertisers a complete view of their return on investment.



Apple Search Ads




Our optimization tools help identify optimal levels of spend while MarinOne bidding delivers the best possible performance. MarinOne’s Insight module automatically identifies opportunities in your account with estimates of potential value and easy implementation.




Automation tools make it easier and more efficient to manage Apple Search Ads campaigns. Advertisers can manage their Apple Search Ads alongside their Google Universal App Campaigns, making it easy to share insights across publishers.



Click here to get started with Apple Search Ads today.


Apple’s latest iOS update has now launched and users are now updating their software to version 14.5.

Apple has also announced dates for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which should include announcements for iOS 15, and will take place from June 7th through 11th.

How will this affect me?




Starting with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, you’ll be required to ask users for their permission to track them across apps and websites owned by other companies. Unless you receive permission from the user to enable tracking, the device’s advertising identifier value will be all zeros and you will not be able to track them.

When a user opens an app, such as Facebook, they will be asked whether they consent to having their activity tracked across apps and websites they use, which if they decline will have an impact on businesses being able to monetize through ads. Given Facebook’s heavy dependence on app advertising, this will negatively impact their Audience Network, resulting in the loss of accurately targeting and measuring campaigns and making it much harder for small businesses to reach their target audiences. According to Facebook, when testing using constrained delivery, more than a 50% drop in revenue occurred when personalization was removed from mobile app ad install campaigns.

Ultimately, despite their best efforts, Facebook and other apps have no choice in the matter but to comply with Apple’s new rules and regulations or otherwise have their apps blocked on the Apple App Store.

What’s next on Apple’s agenda?


Apple announced back in February that in early spring 2021, they would add support for Private Click Measurement (PCM) for iOS and iPadOS apps, in addition to websites. Developed by Apple’s browser engine WebKit to support measurement of online advertising, PCM will allow you to measure the effectiveness of advertisement clicks within iOS or iPadOS apps that navigate to a website. According to Apple, This information can be used to understand which advertisements drive conversions (such as purchases or signups) — while maintaining user privacy.

While this is a step in the right direction toward heightened privacy, we’re yet to see how this will impact customers and whether PCM is viable in the long run. PCM attribution reports will contain limited data in addition to being delayed randomly between 24- and 48-hours to disassociate events in time. This change is very interesting for Safari users, but other browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Edge would need to implement PCM for it to become a web standard. What is promising, however, is that WebKit states “We are working with them to get there” so who knows, maybe sometime in the future PCM will become “the norm” to measure advertising.

Is there a silver lining?


Make sure that your measurement system is using a first-party approach and, if possible, combat conversion attribution restrictions further using a server-to-server approach.

As mentioned in our earlier blog post about browser cookies, for advertisers relying on third party cookies for ad targeting, you should look to diversify your ad buys to account for potential lost opportunities as these options go away.

For Marin customers, you can leverage our cross-channel conversion tracking pixel – Marin Tracker – which complies with GDPR and CCPA regulations and meets Apple iOS requirements. Our proprietary Marin 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.

Feel free to download our latest Marin Tracker overview, which showcases our solution to privacy-safe measurement for a post-cookie world, the challenges that marketers face, and how using Marin Tracker can combat these obstacles.

If you are a Marin Social customer and have questions about the impact of the iOS 14 updates, read our blog post on the Five Fundamental Changes After the Apple’s iOS 14 Release or, alternatively, reach out to your Marin Customer Success Manager for more information.

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:

Apple Search Ads is a fast-growing marketing channel seeing increased adoption and greater chunks of advertising budgets. Did you know that MarinOne offers reporting and bidding for Apple Search Ads?

In this article, we’ll spell out some of the more advanced and automated ways our advertisers optimize their Apple Search Ad budget.

Full Funnel Optimization


As an open platform, MarinOne integrates with a wealth of tracking solutions, including in-app tracking such as Adjust, Appsflyer, or Tune. Our Full Funnel Bidding solution enables you to leverage this information in bid optimization. In practice, this means Marin can calculate bids based on the cost-per-download, allowing our advertisers to be highly reactive due to the volume and short latency from click to download. Remember that 65% of app downloads occur right after a search.

These initial bids are then adjusted up and down based on lower funnel events that can be tracked with third party solutions, such as sales, subscriptions, or customer lifetime values—data that typically has longer latency and less volume.

Combined, Full Funnel Bidding will get you the best of both worlds: it’s highly reactive to the cost-per-download and download-per-click ratio while taking into account the lower funnel value these downloads represent for your company!

Time of Day Bidding


At what moments do you find yourself with a smartphone in your hands? There are often very specific points in the day that we reach for the screen, and even more so for apps that relate to specific events, such as sports!

Marin Bidding allows you to set scheduled boosts for your Apple Search Ads activity, increasing your bids during times of day when you expect performance and volume to increase, and decreasing bids during times that may be less relevant. This means concentrating your budget where it matters most!

Dynamic Actions


Dynamic Actions are an extremely powerful feature of Marin, allowing custom modifiers based on almost any data source and used in combination with Marin Dimensions for big optimization. This means tagging objects (keywords/groups/campaigns) with a value on a dimension, and then specifying rules to be taken into account in bid calculation. Here’s just a couple of ideas for using Dynamic Actions to enhance your Apple Search Ads campaign:

  • Adjust bids for seasonal events: Increase bids by 10% on all keywords that contain “basketball” across all markets when game 7 of the NBA Finals is on, increasing volume.
  • Leverage external data: The options here are almost unlimited, but two ideas are:
  • Upload the organic position of your app on the results page, and increase bids where your position is poor and decrease bids where your position is great. Again, it’s a way to make sure you put your advertising dollars where they matter most.
  • When targeting specific geographic regions and your results depend on the weather, leverage Dynamic Actions to increase your bids when one of your target regions has a high likelihood of rain or sun.


Interested in integrating your Apple Search Ads into your MarinOne application? Contact your account representative for more information, or request a demo today!

Mobile app install campaigns allow developers to promote iOS and Android apps across Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Audience Network. These platforms advertise your app within a specific campaign and budget, and let you target specific devices and even device versions.

This campaign type is only available for advertisers with an app, as people will be sent directly to iTunes or the Play Store to download.

Here are some essential elements to include to ensure a successful mobile app install campaign.

1) Set up the Facebook SDK or the third-party tracker


To track the performance of your mobile app event, you’ll need to install the Facebook SDK on your app. It’s a kind of Facebook Pixel that’s specific to apps. Through the Facebook SDK, you’ll be able to measure app installs and app events as subscriptions.

Marin Tip: Some may suggest using a third-party tracker. Not to worry—Marin Social integrates with select third-party trackers. You can set this up within the Media Plan Parameters.

app install campaign


2) Set up the campaign


To create the campaign, select the App Installs Objective.

The app selection is at the ad set level. Instead of writing a landing page URL, you’ll be able to select your app URL. If you’re unable to choose an application, double-check that you’ve registered your app on Facebook.

app install campaign



You can choose only one app per ad set. Once you’ve selected iTunes, for instance, you’ll only be able to create ads driving customers to the iTunes store. We recommend creating two different campaigns corresponding to each app to avoid any confusion. For example:

  • App Install Campaign - Jan.19 - Android
  • App Install Campaign - Jan.19 - iOS


3) Specify your audiences


Audiences settings—demographics, locations, interests, custom audiences, etc.—are the same ones as other Facebook ad campaigns. We recommend choosing the right OS for each campaign.

Suppose you’re creating an iOS campaign, “ads driving to the iTunes store.” Be sure to select iOS. This way, your iOS ad will only target iOS users. You’ll also be able to choose an OS version.

app install campaign



In the ad set settings, you can also choose the app install state. It will allow you, for example, to target people who haven’t yet installed your app.

app install campaign


4) Select the ad format


For app install campaigns, the available formats are Images, Carousels, Videos, and Slideshows. For calls to action, we recommend using “Install Now,” “Download,” “Sign Up,” or “Use App,” which are more tailored to app install campaigns.

You can also use a deep link when you’re creating your ad. A deep link is a URL that drives the user to a specific location in your app once they’ve downloaded it. This could be useful if you’re promoting a specific product within your app.

5) Optimization and reporting


With the app install campaign type, you can optimize towards link clicks, but also for app installs and app events. By selecting app installs, the Facebook algorithm displays your ad to people likely to download your app. An app event could be a subscription—by optimizing for the app event, it'll optimize for subscriptions inside your app.

To be able to report on the results you’re looking for, be sure to select the right default KPI corresponding to the mobile app installs in your Media Plan parameters.

Marin Tip: To help you to optimize your campaigns, use Marin Budget Allocation, which automatically allocates the budget on your best-performing ad sets. You can also use the Managed Rules feature, which automatically controls bidding at the ad level according to metrics that matter to your business.

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.

Have we reached peak smartphone, and what does that mean for marketers?


Among all of Mary Meeker’s insights and factoids, she reported a decline in the cost of smartphones. Marketing Land looks at what this means for marketers and how the industry should respond.

Read the article

71% of retailers use mobile location strategies to boost store traffic


Are you using location data to entice people into your store? If not, you’re lagging behind the ever-increasing number of retail marketers taking advantage of location strategies in their advertising campaigns. Read more from Mobile Marketer.

Read the article

Apple debuts screen limits, Siri shortcuts and privacy updates


Apple announced several new developments at its recent developer’s conference, keeping consumers excited and mobile marketers on their toes.

Read the article

The Battle for the Soul of Advertising Will Affect Everything


In today’s advertising world, says author Ken Auletta, there are “the disrupters and the disrupted”—and they both need each other to ensure a thriving consumer economy. Great read.

Read the article and the NY Times book review

82% of marketers plan to increase digital spend, but only 26% are confident in ROI


Nielsen's latest CMO report shows that the ascent of digital marketing budgets continues, but marketers still aren’t fully confident about it. They also continue to want greater transparency and real-time data insights.

Read the article

Our Q1 2018 benchmark report shows that search ad spend increased 11% around the globe, fueled by significant eurozone growth of 30%. Also, mobile advertising accounted for 40% of total search spend, representing a growing market share. Advertisers should be aware that mobile ads still offer a 33% discount versus desktop CPCs globally, a bargain that won’t always be available.

digital advertising trends



We hope you enjoy these insights and more in our Q1 2018 Digital Advertising Benchmark Report. Now available as an interactive web page, we reveal the latest cross-channel advertising trends and allow you to slice the data by region, industry, and publisher.

In addition to global industry trends, we explore the most compelling areas of digital marketing, including the evolution of mobile, the best use of creative to gain more clicks and market share, and using the right search and social tools to attract the right customers.

The Latest on Mobile, Targeting, and Ad Formats


Other key findings for Q1 2018 include:

  • EMEA Clients Enjoy Lower CPCs. CPCs for EMEA clients offer a significant discount at $0.40, when compared with CPCs in the US ($0.88) and UK ($0.85).
  • More Search Clicks, Better Targeting. Click-through rates (CTRs) for search are up 25% year over year, showing how improved targeting allows publishers to deliver more relevant ads to people.
  • Dynamic Ads Showing Strong Growth. Facebook Dynamic Ads, the highly personalized ad format based on user browsing behavior, were up 37% year over year.


Download the report for other actionable insights for your digital ad campaigns.

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"]

facebook

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.

This is a guest post from Ashley Aptt, Account Director at 3Q Digital.

We all know it by now—mobile is important! Mobile usage continues to grow, and if you don’t have a strong mobile strategy in place, you’ll be left in dust. Aside from the fact that over half of Google’s paid search clicks come from mobile devices, Google is also moving to a mobile-first index. While this doesn’t have a direct impact on paid search, it’s a clear indicator that mobile is the new frontier and you’ve got to have a plan in place for this ever-growing trend.

Here are three keys ways to assess your mobile strategy.

1. How Does Your Site Stack Up?


There are resources readily available to test the mobile friendliness of your site, and even your site speed. I recommend using Google’s Test My Site tool, a free website tool that evaluates your mobile site speed and estimates the percentage of visitors lost due to loading time. And luckily, when you use this tool, Google will even provide a few suggestions on how you can reduce loading time for your mobile website.

It’s important to evaluate how your mobile site performs, because a strong mobile experience equates to stronger performance results for your media campaigns. Use the Google site speed tool to find out how much traffic you’re losing due to poor mobile site speed.

Then, run some basic math based on your conversion rate and average order value to get a sense of how much revenue you’re losing out on. If your site is falling short and costing you money, then make necessary changes soon!

2. Understanding the Value of Mobile


Many advertisers mistakenly take mobile performance at face value when making paid search campaign optimizations. They download a Google AdWords performance report segmented by device to compare performance among the various devices, and then apply device bid modifications to equalize performance based on the data.

The thought process here comes from a good place—if mobile CPAs are higher, it seems like a logical optimization strategy to bid down on mobile to reduce the CPA. However, since many users begin their journey on a mobile device and then convert on a desktop later, mobile is likely being under-valued in the performance report because it’s not getting credit for the conversion.

To paint a better picture of mobile performance, you should evaluate cross-device performance (user-friendly visuals are located in the “tools” section of your Google AdWords account). The screenshot below illustrates how mobile plays a part in the conversion cycle.

For this client, mobile assisted in over 1,200 desktop conversions. If you’re using Google’s last-click attribution model, those conversions are not counted toward mobile performance, thus understating the value of mobile device interaction.

mobile



Additionally, if you have retail store locations, you should talk with your Google rep about adding “Store Visits” data to your AdWords account. Many users search from a mobile device while they’re on the go, so mobile is a great source for driving in-store traffic. Once you have Store Visits data in your account, you can segment this data to evaluate the number of store visits coming from mobile devices specifically.

3. Optimizing Mobile Performance


Now that you have a better understanding of why mobile is important and steps you can take to improve your mobile site experience, let’s dive into ways that you can optimize your mobile strategy for paid search.

Applying proper device bid modifications is a great first step in optimizing your mobile strategy. As mentioned above, just remember to take into account the hidden value of mobile and consider things like cross-device conversions and in-store visits before bidding down mobile too much.

For your top-performing keywords, consider increasing mobile bids to top-of-page bid estimates to ensure full visibility on those keywords, as most visibility and clicks come from the top position on mobile devices. It’s also worth testing smart bidding instead of manual bidding. Smart bidding leverages Google’s machine learning and backend data to optimize bids for each auction, and it even takes the user’s device into account.

In terms of ad copy, strive to make your ads appealing to mobile users. Here are a few tips:

  • Try using the Ad Customizers “IF” function to tailor ad copy based on the user’s device.
  • Ad copy that mentions the ease of converting from a mobile device, or even featuring a mobile URL, can provide the user with a sense of confidence in your mobile site experience. This will encourage more clicks and visits.
  • Leveraging call extensions and message extensions is another way you can provide potential customers with an easy way to get in touch with you.
  • Consider testing some mobile-specific features such as image extensions or Google Shopping Showcase ads to determine if the more visually appealing aspects attract your users.


Conclusion


Mobile isn’t going anywhere! Start assessing your mobile site and make necessary changes to improve the mobile experience for your site visitors. Then dive into mobile performance to get a clearer understanding of the role mobile plays in the customer journey.

You may want to regularly analyze this data, as the results can change as your site improves and more users continue to search and shop online. Lastly, keep mobile top of mind as you create campaigns and ad copy. Think about the user experience from a mobile perspective to guide your strategy.

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!

As mobile continues to grow and advertisers perpetually optimize ad campaigns for better performance, it becomes increasingly challenging to know what’s working and what’s not. Where should you allocate budget? Exactly how much should you be investing in mobile versus desktop? How can you further improve?

We’re happy to offer customers our Mobile Scorecard, a kind of “decoder ring” that provides a total view of your mobile performance and identifies areas for growth.

How It Works


Our scorecard is a two-page summary that includes a high-level dashboard, followed by a more detailed analysis by device. Our aggregating scripts show you:

  • Topline score: How well your mobile campaigns are performing
  • Average score: How you measure up against the average industry benchmark
  • Potential revenue: The amount of money you’re currently leaving on the table


mobile



After your high-level dashboard, we show you how your desktop and mobile ad campaigns stack up in terms of usage and key KPIs. From here, we recommend specific actions you should take to increase your mobile score and to find the “sweet spot” for your mobile advertising budget.

We tailor our guidance to your particular business needs and objectives. Whether it’s advice to leverage our automated bid optimization engine or implement our forecast and budgeting tool, we have solutions to meet any digital advertising goal and reveal your untapped revenue opportunities.

Filling the Gap


In her 2017 Internet Trends Report, Mary Meeker highlights the amount of time spent on mobile versus the associated ad spend. As Meeker points out, given the vast number of people looking at mobile screens, advertisers in the US aren’t devoting nearly enough advertising dollars to mobile.

mobile



Our scorecard shows you how your ad campaigns can stay competitive in the battle for consumer attention.

Discover Your Mobile Score


You may be missing out on opportunities or overlooking potential revenue. To learn how we can help, contact us today.

We’re all obsessed with our mobile phones. So obsessed, in fact, that 67% of us check our phone for an incoming call even when it doesn’t vibrate or ring.

We look up to—or rather down at—our mobile devices, to the tune of almost 30,000 times a year.

eMarketer provides another astonishing stat: between 2016 and 2018, people in the UK alone will spend about 3.4% more time with mobile media. Advertising budgets will increase to keep pace—but how much of the mobile opportunity remains untapped? What strategic steps can advertisers take to gain and hold consumer attention?

The Social Mobile Gold Rush


According to Zenith’s 2017 ad spend forecast, new and “innovative” digital ad formats—such as social media, in-feed ads, and video—will drive 14% of annual growth in total display advertising. Paid social display will grow 20% annually from 2016 to 2019.

Does this mean traditional display is booming? Not necessarily.

As we know, Facebook growth has been astronomical—so much so that it’s cutting into and skewing the display advertising growth stats. In particular, Facebook mobile ad spend is exploding, boosting sales way above projections. By many measures, mobile is poised to significantly dominate ad spend in the coming months and years.

mobile


Mobile Search is Thriving, Too


Statista’s 2017 Digital Advertising report projects that digital advertising will generate $10.5 billion US by 2021, with $7.4 billion of that in search in 2017.

As far as traffic goes, Facebook and Google are riding side by side.

mobile



And, it looks like the dynamic Google-Facebook duo won’t be exiting the advertising superhighway any time soon.

How Attribution Contributes to Mobile


As an advertiser, you’re most likely managing or executing any number of efforts to get people to click and convert, including:

  • Finding ways to attract new and existing customers to your site
  • Running paid search campaigns
  • Optimizing your organic search
  • Identifying the sweet spots in your email initiatives
  • Honing your social efforts with dynamic ads, lead gen ads, etc.


An increasing number of advertisers understand that most social clicks happen on mobile, whereas most conversions still occur on desktop. What they’re still tackling is accurate measurement of campaign outcomes using a multi-touch attribution model. This is another largely untapped source of campaign insights, one that can make the difference between smart budget allocations and wasted marketing spend.

An Action Plan for Mobile Advertising Success


Advertisers should take these three steps to ensure profitable mobile results.

Step #1: Increase your mobile advertising spend.

This may seem like a no-brainer. But, with overall mobile budgets increasing across industries, advertisers who don’t follow suit will be out-maneuvered and left behind.

Step #2: Unify your paid search and social programs.

The benefits of a combined search and social strategy are substantial and the mandate is clear: marketers who unify their programs and focus on the journey rather than the channel deliver incremental ROI. For comprehensive tips and tactics, download our guide, Google + Facebook: A Playbook for Cross-Channel Advertising Success.

Step #3: Implement multi-touch attribution.

To use another driving metaphor—you probably wouldn’t get behind the wheel blindfolded and expect to successfully reach your destination. Knowing how all of your marketing efforts contribute to a conversion is vital to attaining your goals and objectives.

This is where Marin TruePath comes in—our 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 us today.

Conclusion


No matter what your next steps are, one thing is certain—mobile usage is increasing and will continue to grow at breakneck speed. Analyze what you’re currently doing, see where you can discover growth, and plan ahead for the inevitability of not only “mobile-first,” but “mobile-immersed” users.

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!

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

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

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

2016: Here’s What We Learned


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

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

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


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

2017: Predictions


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

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

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

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

Happy holidays and here’s to a successful 2017!

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

Does your Facebook advertising strategy include video? Should you include video as part of your overall Facebook advertising strategy?

If you find yourself asking these questions, this article is for you. In this post you’ll discover essential tips for killer Facebook video campaigns and how you can improve on your existing strategy.

Facebook has seen phenomenal growth in video usage over the past year—it’s now serving a staggering 8 billion video views a day. Video usage has exploded astronomically, with no signs of slowing down. On average US adults spend 1 hour and 16 minutes each day watching videos on digital devices. In a split second, they’ll make a decision as to whether or not your post is worth engaging with.

If you have no idea where to start, you’re in luck. We’re here to help you create a powerful campaign that gets you noticed and achieve positive results.

1. Define your goal.


Before you start your campaign, it’s essential to understand what you want to achieve. Are you looking for brand awareness or to drive action? First and foremost, getting eyeballs on your videos should be your initial goal, but don’t stop there. You have a wealth of customer data itching to be used. Take these video viewers and turn them into actual customers (which we’ll chat about in a moment).

  • Drive brand awareness: Tracking video views and unique reach is important to you. Remember that Facebook considers a “view” someone who’s watched three or more seconds of your video.
  • Drive action: Clicks to your website or conversions are important to you. Be sure to add a clear call to action to your ad.


2. Decide on your target audience.


In general, Facebook recommends defining an audience of over 10,000 people for the best ad performance. You need to make people stop to view your video ad instead of scrolling past, so choose carefully. The more relevant your audience is the more video views you’re likely to get. We recommend creating buyer personas to identify who your ideal customers are, and then using these to define your campaign’s target audiences.

Be sure to tailor your creative for each respective persona. This also goes for separate target audiences and brand awareness versus re-engagement campaigns. Be creative and experiment with different targeting options to find the one that suits you best.

3. Go mobile.


Video ads are available across desktop/mobile news feeds and Instagram. Mobile drives the most effective video views, with 65% of Facebook users watching videos on their mobile device. With mobile effectively becoming the core of Facebook’s business—having grown 82% year-over-year and accounting for 80% of its total ad revenue—it continues to attract more and more people on mobile devices. This is only set to increase with its Instagram offering.

4. Don’t over-rely on autoplay.


Create engaging videos that make people want to hit that “play” button. If your ad receives high negative feedback, your video is less likely to autoplay. Have visually engaging content in the first few seconds of your video to catch a user’s attention. Sell without sound—85% of videos on Facebook are watched on silent mode, so use text overlays and a clear CTA to get your message across. Get creative with your content and cater for silent autoplay.

5. Optimize for video views for maximum reach.


Allow Facebook to identify users who are more likely to watch your video, which in turn will help increase the reach of your campaign. By choosing video views as your objective, Facebook will look for people who are more likely to watch your video in full. This will then let you generate much more effective custom audiences for your retargeting campaigns.

Video Views


6. Re-engage users and drive conversions.


Video is the perfect mode for prospecting, but don’t let your strategy stop there. Take your viewers on a journey through your funnel and convert them into actual, paying customers. How, you ask? Create a list of people who’ve engaged with your video on Facebook and choose from several options:

  • People who viewed at least 3 seconds of your video
  • People who viewed at least 10 seconds of your video
  • People who viewed at least 25% of your video
  • People who viewed at least 50% of your video
  • People who viewed at least 75% of your video
  • People who viewed at least 95% of your video


Custom Audience



Use these audiences to retarget highly engaged users of your brand. People who’ve completed your video will represent a more engaged audience and will be more likely to take your desired action. Get your messaging right, and as we mentioned above, take your viewers on a journey through the funnel.

If you’ve shown them generic messaging in your first touch point, be sure to follow up with specific product messaging followed by an incentive to purchase if they haven’t already done so. The goal of retargeting is to place your brand at top of mind while customers are still deep in their decision-making process.

Marin launched exactly this strategy with a leading technology brand and achieved a 30% lower CPA and 11% higher CTR, plus generated the highest number of sales for the campaign overall.

7. Monitor, adjust, and optimize.


You’ve followed all of the above steps and now you want to actually figure out what’s working for you. Test, test, and test some more! Ensure to test all the creative elements of your ads, including different video variations and text overlays. The number of ad variations will add up quite quickly, so it’s best to create these in bulk to save you time.

Narrow your targets based on your key objectives and buyer personas. You can break down your audiences by location, demographics, interests, and behavior specifics.

For example, if your audience size is large enough and you want to target multiple locations, run them in separate campaigns—making it easier to optimize—and see what’s working best for you. Are you targeting fans versus non-fans? Consider using different creative for each. You should always have different messaging for people who are already familiar with your brand, versus people who may have never come across you prior to your campaign.

Along with the above be sure to:

  • Include a clear CTA.
  • Use high-quality video content.
  • Include your branding and main messaging in the first few seconds of your video to take advantage of the autoplay feature (remember to use text overlay to cater for silent autoplay).
  • Combat ad fatigue by refreshing your creative every one to two weeks for best performance. When people have seen your ad multiple times, it can become more expensive to achieve your desired results.


Navigate to the reporting section and monitor key metrics such as clicks, impressions, reach, CTR, and conversions. Be sure to track follow-on activity in your Google Analytics account, and measure the lift of your campaigns based on key website stats such as bounce rate, average session duration, pages per session, and goal completion. Use the results of your testing to create a powerful, results-driven campaign.

With the continued growth of video across the platform, Facebook video ads are more likely to generate increased engagement for brands. By implementing the above, you’re sure to generate conversions from your efforts.

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

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

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

1. Rethink concepts


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

2. Experiment with text overlays


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

3. Revisit metrics


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


About the Author


sarah

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

About Boost Media


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

With school out and warm weather in, we traditionally think of the summer months as the best time to take a vacation. However, is it actually prime time for search advertisers to ramp up their ad campaigns?

To answer this question and others, we took a look at travel advertisers on Google and Bing. We examined 2014 and 2015 to locate any trends in advertiser spend and performance for the travel vertical across quarters, and to assess the state of consumer behavior. Google and Bing dominate the global search market, which made them ideal for our study—other search publishers have regional presence at best, so they were excluded.

We found a few interesting things:

  • Summer searches, but fall clicks. Although, on average, consumers searched for travel terms (flights, lodging, auto rentals, etc.) almost 20% more during summer than winter, clicks on travel-related searches didn’t peak in summer as expected. Instead, their highest point was in autumn, right after the summer months.
  • The great smartphone migration. Over the past two years, travel advertisers have steadily shifted spend away from desktop and tablet towards smartphone. While smartphone made up under 10% of search spend in early 2014, by end of 2015, that number grew to almost 30% of all search budgets.
  • Native is restless. The travel ad format that’s seen significant growth is native advertising via channels such as Yahoo! Gemini. Starting in late 2014, investment growth in native ads by travel companies grew almost 5x by mid to late 2015. While this format is one of the newer ones, it’s been growing consistently in both advertiser and consumer adoption over the past year.


For more great information on search advertising in the travel industry—including cross-device performance data and campaign recommendations—download The State of Travel Search Advertising: Trends, Formats, and Paths to Success.

We recently published our 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report, which looked at the current state of shopping ads, and examined advertiser and consumer behavior over the past year. Now, with the shopping season even closer, advertisers are quickly making sure their budgets and ad campaigns are ready and flawless.

Based on the data, what are our top tips for retailers looking to get the most value out of their digital advertising campaigns this holiday season? Read on.

1. Plan and time large increases in budget to account for holiday spikes.


We predict that 40% of all shopping ad dollars will be on a mobile device. Similarly, around 37% of search clicks will be on a shopping ad on either Bing or Google. Be sure to budget ad campaigns accordingly to match up with consumer attention during critical holiday spikes.

Research shows that spend peaks in November, with overall ad spend reaching almost 90% above what it was in January. Smartphone behavior was the most pronounced—smartphone ad spend spiked to almost 400% above baseline in November when compared to the year’s beginning.

2. Account for mobile-desktop differences for shoppers.


Smartphones now make up the majority of clicks and spend for all shopping ads. With 55% of all shopping ad clicks originating on a smartphone, the importance of properly optimizing ad spend can’t be overstated.

Research shows that shoppers are utilizing mobile devices in-store more than ever, to conduct product research and price-shop. Being able to capture this audience while they’re in the middle of a purchase decision may be crucial this holiday season to ensure an offline conversion.

3. Spread shopping ad budget across publishers.


While Google remains the largest search publisher for shopping campaigns, Bing is no slouch, either. Adoption of Bing Shopping Campaigns (BSC) has been accelerating and Marin has seen over 20% of clients on Google Shopping already using BSC. While Google Shopping has more viewership and use, BSCs are competitive in price and performance, and may be a good option for some retailers.

4. Go beyond shopping ads.


Shopping ad spend has been taking up a larger portion of retailer ad spend every year, reaching almost 30% of all search ad dollars this year. However, this doesn’t mean this is the only ad format retailers should consider.

Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) are a relatively new ad format that have seen strong early returns for many advertisers. Early data has shown an almost 300% ROAS for ETAs, meaning they’re highly competitive with both conventional search ads and shopping ads.

5. Social shopping is great for mobile retailers.


While social networks have always been a highly mobile device oriented channel, this is especially true for retail. Almost 95% of clicks on retail ads on social are on a mobile device, and mobile also accounts for 90% of all social spend for retail advertisers. Research shows that consumers interact differently with social ads than they do with search. Rather than research, social ads are better used for awareness and to start conversations with target audiences.

Each holiday season has been bigger than the last, and the trend is positioned to continue this year. Retailers have more choices than ever when it comes to ad campaigns. However, with this increased choice comes increased difficulty, as effectively managing spend across multiple devices and channels isn’t easy. A little planning, knowledge, and foresight will go a long way.

Between the distant frenzy of the Q4 shopping season and the rising calm of midyear, Q2 tends to be the quietest quarter. However, this doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening. Among other things we found in our research, mobile display played a larger role this Q2—but overall, the ubiquitous move to mobile is actually slowing down. And, tablet usage continues to drop.

To create our quarterly benchmark reports, we sample the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform. We analyze data from around the world to create our report. For Q2 2016, key findings include:

  • The move to mobile is slowing down. Across search and social, the shift away from desktop has been slowing for the last two quarters. Device share is decelerating and seems to be approaching a stability point. Display is the only channel that’s still seeing strong shifts toward mobile over the past quarter for both advertisers and users.
  • Smartphone and desktop are the devices of choice. The tablet revolution never took off and continues to shrink. Instead, it was co-opted by its sibling device, the smartphone. For the foreseeable future, smartphone and desktop are the two largest winners.
  • Advertisers should continue to prioritize cross-channel, cross-device targeting. In order for advertisers to employ a robust cross-channel, cross-device marketing approach, they should continue to learn the strengths and weaknesses of these channels and devices.


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

Last year, we forecast that 30% of all retail paid-search spend would be on a shopping ad, and 45% of all product ad clicks would be on a smartphone—and smartphone click growth ended up being even stronger than we predicted. Looking forward, where do we see shopping ads this holiday season?

We took a look at month-over-month variations and factored in seasonal shifts in performance to forecast where we’ll be by December 2016:

  • 40% of all shopping ad dollars will be on a smartphone
  • 37% of paid search clicks will be on a shopping ad
  • Social clicks and spend share should flatten out over the year and remain at current levels


shopping-2016-blog-the-future-body-image



For more results sampled from the Marin Global Online Advertising Index—composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform—read The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report. With data charts on mobile, social, text versus product ads, and strategy recommendations for the 2016 holiday season, be sure to download your copy today so that you’re prepared for the Q4 rush.

Shoppers are already prepping their lists for the holidays, and retail advertisers are close behind, on the mobile-focused, ad spend case. If smartphones were big-box retail destinations, they’d be the new “mad rush” of holiday sales.

Thankfully, when shoppers are looking for deals and information, they can now easily turn to their mobile devices.

Sampling the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform, we analyzed data from around the world to create our 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report. Our research uncovered some surprising things about what to expect for social advertising this 2016 shopping season.

  • Advertisers are investing big on smartphones and tablets: During Q1 2016, social ad spend on mobile devices represented 90% of ad spend.
  • Shoppers love social ads on mobile: Those ads were popular, with 95% of all clicks happening on social by way of a mobile device during the same time period.
  • This bodes quite well for Q4 2016: Social clicks and spend share should flatten out over the year and remain at current levels.


shopping-2016-blog-social-body-image



Happy shopping—and spending—in 2016.

For the full results of our research, including data charts on mobile, social, text versus product ads, and recommendations for how to stand out during the 2016 holiday season, download The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report.

When it comes to shopping ads, Q4 and mobile go together like thumbs on a small screen (literally).

Sampling the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform, we analyzed data from around the world to create our 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report. Our research allowed us to make a few definitive predictions for mobile performance in the 2016 shopping season.

  • Smartphones rule clicks: By April 2016, we expect the smartphone click rate to have grown by about 200% from January 2014. Mobile will leave tablets and desktops in the dust, as they hover just around the 75% point in terms of click share. No competition, as they say.
  • Smartphones rule CTR: The same will hold true for click-through rate, with smartphones projected to dominate the scene throughout the holiday season and beyond.
  • Smartphones rule CPC: Increased mobile activity will lead to lower cost per click, allowing advertisers to allocate spend where it counts most, and to better evaluate the different strengths and weaknesses of different ad formats.


shopping-2016-blog-mobile-body-image



In sum: smartphones rule. For the full results our research, including data on social, text versus product ads, and recommendations for how to stand out during the 2016 holiday season, download The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report.

What’s the saying? There is no rest for the weary? Just when it feels like summer’s just begun, it’s already time to switch up your marketing campaigns for back-to-school shoppers.

According to Google Trends, interest in “Back to school” is on the rise since early June. But summer isn’t over yet, which makes this the perfect time to take advantage of this level of interest before we hit peak season.

Here are the top 6 things to make sure you check off your list to ensure you’re prepared for this year’s back-to-school season:

Understand your competition.


Don’t be so quick to start changing bids. A little research on your competitors goes a long way. Identify the gaps and move quickly on those opportunities. Look for top and direct competitor ads, and don’t forget online tools that can assist in finding out what competitors are doing with keyword bids. We recommend arming yourself with competitive information now so that your account is prepared for the next big retail shopping season.

Target back-to-school focused search queries.


Most back-to-school shoppers include parents and college students—as they prepare for back to school, they’re also searching online for deals. Marketers can benefit from this by creating campaigns that are focused specifically on back-to-school keywords and deal searches. Some examples of this are:

  • back to school supplies
  • back to school sales
  • cheap school supplies


Be sure to give these campaigns a healthy budget, plus either an end date or a scheduled pause to ensure they don’t continue to run post-season.

Create relevant, compelling ad copy and landing pages.


Parents and college students are often price conscious, but also want the products they purchase to last. Also, shoppers are often looking for sales to save money. Marketers should focus their ad copy around these consumer needs to incentivize shoppers to click their ads.

If a consumer doesn’t see a phrase that indicates there may be a good deal on the landing page that comes after their click, they may select a competitor instead. Helpful phrases include the obvious “back to school,” but also things like:

  • sale
  • clearance
  • an additional X% off
  • durable
  • lasting
  • all school year long


And more. We suggest using discount-focused terms for smaller ticket items like colored pencils, and durability-focused terms for larger ticket items like backpacks and athletic shoes.

Put together a bidding strategy


Make sure your strategy is informed by previous years’ data and this year’s goals. This also goes in line with understanding your competition, as we mentioned earlier. Take note of when the cost-per-click in your campaigns rose last year, and by how much, and adjust bids accordingly to ensure you’re pacing well with market demands throughout the season.

Don’t forget to include your shopping campaigns in your bidding strategy planning as well, especially for larger ticket items. Many consumers do a lot of research on items such as backpacks prior to making a decision, and may choose to purchase these items online in order to get exactly what they want.

Stay top of mind using retargeting.


Retargeting is another area where you may be able to better keep the attention of consumers who do a lot of price comparison shopping before making a purchase. Create a separate retargeting campaign specific to, again, higher-dollar items such as backpacks and athletic shoes, targeting users for several days after viewing your product.

When creating these retargeting ads, we recommend showing the products viewed previously in the ad, and potentially offering a coupon code to incentivize the consumer to purchase this product from your business specifically.

Remember mobile!


Parent and student purchase decisions are heavily influenced by mobile. According to Google, in 2014 over 40% of back-to-school searches were done via mobile devices. These searches are typically performed on the go by busy parents and students trying to get back-to-school shopping done in between all the other things they need to do.

What are these roving shoppers doing? They're performing price comparisons, checking product availability, and searching for the closest store to their current location to sneak in a quick trip and check items off their list. You can capitalize on this by using location extensions and prominently displaying inventory availability for products at nearby stores on their easy-to-navigate mobile site.

If you’re strapped for time and can’t roll out a new back-to-school strategy, keep this checklist on hand, since these best practices are also applicable during the holiday shopping season. Want to learn more? Join the Center of Excellence for our back-to-school webinar on Thursday, July 21st!

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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

As you search online for the cheapest flights, the top island destinations, or where a solo traveler can find the best international cuisine, remember—no matter where you are, the mind of the digital marketer always craves useful information to stay competitive.

Whether you end up flying high across multiple time zones or enjoying a staycation this summer, here are a few time-friendly reads from the Marin Software vault to bring along for the ride.

White papers:


Blog posts:


Bonus: This is actually 55 minutes worth of reading, not an hour. Use those extra five minutes to schedule a demo, and learn how we can help you with any and all of the above. Bon voyage!

This is a guest post from Brionna Lewis, Marketing and Public Relations Assistant at Kiip.

All trends are leaning towards mobile first. Americans are spending 51% of their time consuming online media through a mobile device. In the years to come, everything will have to be mobile first, including your marketing strategy.

Chances are you’ve at least started thinking about how your brand is going to leverage the mobile space, if you’re not already doing so. But are you doing it right? Here are 5 telltale signs you’re not and, in fact, dropping the ball completely.

1. You think all impressions are created equal.


This is the key to mobile advertising placements. Too many brands are striving for mass brand awareness instead of focusing on strategic ways to reach their target audience. It’ll always be quality over quantity in mobile. One thousand impressions from your target demographic are better than one million from an audience that isn’t interested in your brand at all.

A 2013 study showed that only 2.8% of mobile users thought the ads in apps and mobile websites ads were relevant to them. So, if you’re still investing in mass display advertising, stop. Contextual advertising, based on relevance to the content of the app or web page, location, or time of day and are much more effective.

The Brand Aid survey found that when people view brand ads alongside relevant content, they’re 10% more likely to pick up new information, nearly 20% more likely to feel more positive about the advertiser and, crucially, 23% more likely to think that the ad is relevant to them.

An excellent example is a mobile campaign ran by Samsung on the mobile site for TV.com. TV.com is a website people visit to see what’s on TV, read up on television industry news, and catch up on what’s happening on their favorite shows. An oh-so-fitting place for a Samsung TV ad.

admob_example-1


2. You’re marketing to “millennials”.


If you’re claiming “millennials” as your target audience, you’re effectively saying “everyone.” Using stereotypes to target 80 million Americans is not an effective marketing strategy. It’s like saying everything living in the ocean is a fish—it’s entirely false.

Millennials are a large group of people within a 20-year age range of varying genders, ethnicities, nationalities, interests, and lifestyles. Instead of looking for easy ways to clump people together, focus on the ways that separate them. The more specific you can be about who your target audience is, the more tailored and effective your brand strategy can be.

3. You’re not reaching email inboxes.


Even in 2016, email is still king when it comes to effective marketing. A study found that 91% of consumers check their email every day, and 48% say it’s their preferred channel of communication with brands.

So, if you don’t have a means of collecting email addresses from your potential customers and a strategy for maintaining contact through email, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.

The trouble with collecting emails is that most consumers try to avoid giving their email out, so that they don’t have an inbox full of spam. The only way to combat this is to offer your customers something in return for access to their inbox. Many companies offer discounts and other member perks to customers who provide their email address.

An example of this is The Barista Bar’s Coffee Club, which they promoted through a Twitter ad placement.

Twitter_Lead_Generation_Card


4. You’re not offering value to your customer.


No one loves banner ads and intrusive pop-up videos, but you know what people do love? Free stuff—discounts, trials, and useful content. If you’re going to ask for someone’s time, attention and ultimately, money, be prepared to offer them something of value in return. The key to both customer acquisition and retention is to offer something that people actually want when advertising.

Through Kiip, Smartwater was able to give Runkeeper, a fitness app, users a coupon for a free bottle of Smartwater for after they complete their workout. This is an excellent way for brands to surprise and delight their potential customers by letting them try their product for free.

smartwater


5. You’re not establishing loyalty.


Loyalty is more than complicated point systems and exclusive sales. Loyalty is building a relationship with your customers. The best ways to establish that relationship is to hear them out and respond. Social media is a great opportunity to do that. If you’re not responding to comments and tweets, you’re missing out on the opportunity to build a relationship.

rs-jetblue-tweet



Another way to establish loyalty is to offer customers something for their mobile wallets. Apple Pay and Google Wallets are a place where consumers store virtual coupons that they can redeem IRL (in real life). A coupon from your brand in their mobile wallet keeps you front of mind and with them as often as their phone is (all the time).

You can also build loyalty with mobile customers by creating an app where users can get more perks, find out about sales, and interact with your brand seamlessly. One company that executes this amazingly is Target, through their app Cartwheel. Customers can check for sales, clip virtual coupons, scan items to see if they are on sale and simply scan their barcode at check-out to get all the saving. Target killed it.

target



So, if you’re currently dropping the ball on mobile, it’s not too late to turn it around. With this new insight, you can develop a winning mobile marketing strategy in no time.

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

What Are Expanded Text Ads?


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

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

What’s Changing, Exactly?


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

ETAs



Here are the nitty-gritty details:

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


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

A Positive Change, for Multiple Reasons


Why is this change a net-positive for advertisers?

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


Why is Google Making This Change?


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

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

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

How Can I Automatically Make My Ads ETA-Compatible?



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

According to eMarketer, over 70% of U.S. paid search spend will be mobile by 2017. And yet, optimizing mobile advertising and seeing significant ROI on it remains a crucible for many in the digital advertising world.

We joined our technology partner DialogTech at the end of April for
a webinar about how search marketers can adopt new mobile-first optimization strategies to drive PPC conversions and customers.

One of Marin’s very own search marketing experts, Patrick Hutchison, teamed up with Kelley Schultz, Digital Marketing Lead at DialogTech, to share proven mobile optimization and attribution tactics digital marketers can use to drive more clicks, calls, and customers from Google AdWords, Yahoo, and Bing.

In order to achieve their mobile advertising goals, digital marketers need to understand the customer journey and all of the touch points prior to sale. To that end, here are five strategies for optimizing your mobile game plan that we learned from this webinar.

1. If your business gets mobile traffic, then you need to be      setting a bid adjustment



You want to get into a top (1-2) position for mobile devices to ensure visibility, so set up campaigns with an initial +25-30% bid modifier. You can adjust and optimize based on the types of conversions and traffic you see.

2. Optimize for calls



Incorporate call conversion tracking to ensure you’re optimizing for all conversions. Without measuring call leads, you miss out on a significant piece of the puzzle when it comes to tracking and understanding the source of your leads.

3. Segment search query reports by device



When you perform search query reports, add a device segment. This will allow you to see what keywords are getting the most mobile conversions and traffic. Within your reports, sort by conversions and then adjust your bids for your highest performing keywords to ensure top position.

Next, sort your report by clicks that don’t drive conversions, and adjust bids or add negatives as necessary for these keywords that are driving up both clicks and spend.

4. Remember that mobile-targeted ad copy is key



Create mobile-preferred search ads with mobile ad extensions and CTAs. Remember to take advantage of call extensions, since as Google reports, 70% of mobile searchers use call extensions to call businesses.

5. Incorporate remarketing bidding strategies



Set up remarketing lists into your campaigns, so that you can adjust mobile bids for the top position.

Remember the importance of not only bidding up for mobile traffic, but also increasing bidding for your custom audience lists. If users showed interest once, capture them again on their next query with a different message in the top position.

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

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

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


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

This is a guest post from Garrett Mehrguth, CEO of Directive Consulting, a Google Partner and MozLocal Recommended Agency serving small to enterprise level firms.

Thumbs and tiny screens can be tricky. Users have unique needs when they’re on a mobile device, and as advertisers, it’s critical that we create a conversion-friendly mobile experience. By the end of this post, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to take your mobile campaign conversions to the next level.

Change #1: Install Conversion Tracking Software


You can never assume that you know why your users are on a mobile page. And, throughout the mobile user’s conversion journey, there are countless screen sizes and roadblocks. Finding a tool that allows you to record visitors, analyze form drop-offs, create heat maps, and measure funnels is crucial for improving your Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

It’s possible to drastically improve ROI with elements like average fold analysis on mobile and other tools included in a conversion tracking software suite. In general, you don’t want your call to action below the fold on a mobile page. Remember, thumbs are powerful extremities and they shouldn’t be forced to scroll.

Change #2: Install a Sticky Menu


It would be a total shame if you lost all of your calls to action when someone scrolls! A great way to prevent your call to actions from going unnoticed is to install a sticky menu on your landing pages.

With a sticky menu, you can improve conversions and keep your CTA within a thumb’s distance at all times.

Change #3: Underline Your Phone #


01-UnderlinePhone



Users on mobile know that underlined items are hyperlinked. Not only do we want to make our number clickable, we want the user to inherently know that it’s clickable. Ideally, this number is a part of a sticky menu as mentioned in change #2.

Furthermore, if you really want the number to pop, take advantage of a secondary color from your brand playbook and go bold. The goal here is to make sure that the user knows they can call you.

Change #4: Fix Your Form Presets to Be for Mobile


02-FormPresets



In a great presentation, @BryantGarvin touches on a very valuable aspect of mobile CRO – keyboards. After using your conversion tracking software, dive into your mobile sessions. When users enter their number on mobile forms, are you using the right keyboard? Make sure you’re leveraging <input type=”tel”>.

Furthermore, if you’re using a checkout, make sure you set your credit card fields to <input type=”tel”> as well. Full details from the presentation here!

Change #5: Use Copy That’s Unique to the Situation


03-UniqueCopy



When your user comes to your mobile landing page, they’re often in a very unique situation. Occasionally, it could be an emergency. It’s critical that your copy speaks to this urgency and highlights your unique selling point while answering their #1 question.

Take the example above. Notice that “Available 24/7” is the first information a user sees. If you’re available to answer the phone 24/7, make sure your user knows! Also, notice “Tap # To Call: 949-362-5388” – here, the action we want the user to take is clear. Lastly, the user’s top questions are answered: Where do you service? How much will it cost?

When designing copy for mobile landing pages, leave nothing assumed, and guide the user as much as possible.

BONUS: Call-Only Ads


04-CallOnly



For certain industries, call-only ads present a terrific opportunity for your mobile campaigns. Frankly, if you’re in an industry where the end goal is phone calls, why not just have the user call you?

If you can take out a step in the funnel, you’ll be able to drastically increase conversions and compete at a higher level by allowing a user to complete their desired actions. Here are some key steps to keep in mind:

  • Understand the market. Would a user prefer to call for the keywords in that ad group?
  • Select your keywords. Analyze the intent behind the keywords and run on local modifiers like +city, +near, and +local.
  • Craft killer ad copy. Space is limited, so you need to catch and convert in the SERP. Think about including cost, trust, distance, and contact person.
  • Record calls. Nothing gives you data feedback like recording calls.


Regardless of where you are today, make these changes and monitor for growth. As always, test and improve, but this should give you a running start.

2015 was a banner year for mobile.

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

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

We uncovered three key findings:

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


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

2016-mobile-report_cover

Google AdWords now lets you upload both Identifiers for Advertising (IDFAs) and advertising IDs in bulk so that you can target your mobile app users using the Google Display Network. Although you can use this feature to solicit new users under the right circumstances, its chief use is re-engaging your mobile app users.

After all, your current mobile app users are your easiest source of IDFAs and advertising IDs, meaning you’re going to struggle making the most of this feature if you don't already have a user base.

Regardless, you shouldn’t see this as a limitation but rather a reminder of the importance of re-engaging your mobile app users.

This is mainly because re-engaging your mobile app users can boost the success rates of your mobile advertising – though it’s important to note that there are a number of reasons why Google AdWords is now particularly useful for this purpose. And, successfully re-engaging those users will contribute to creating a “consumable experience” that makes them want to keep coming back for more.

Existing vs. Potential Users


Generally speaking, you can convince your existing users with much greater ease than your potential users. In part, this is because you’ve accumulated goodwill with your existing users, meaning you’ll have a much easier time convincing them you’re trustworthy, likable, and reliable.

However, it’s also important to note that you have existing data on their purchasing patterns, meaning you can tailor your mobile advertising for the best results. Summed up, you should focus on existing rather than potential users because it costs you less time, effort, and other resources to convince them on average.

Lasting Usefulness


Re-engagement can be useful throughout an app's lifecycle, meaning that the resources spent on such mobile advertising can prove useful longer than otherwise possible.

For example, you can use it to solicit new users for a similar app, build loyalty in existing users by making them more invested in an app they’re already using, and even bring back past users by reminding them of the app's existence at an opportune time.

Simply put, re-engagement is so versatile that it can be used for all stages of an app’s promotion.

Expanding User Base


Finally, mobile advertising has become more important, with no signs of stopping in the foreseeable future. This is because the number of mobile app users is continuing to rise as mobile devices become more convenient and more powerful. As a result, you can expect a better rate of return by spending your dollars on mobile advertising rather than the other options out there.

Re-engaging Your Mobile App Users


With that said, just because you can count on this latest Google AdWords feature to be useful, it doesn’t mean you can slack off when it comes to creating your mobile advertising for re-engaging your mobile app users.

As always, if you want to convince your mobile app users to pay attention – and consider your brand a consumable experience – your advertising needs to show your app as useful and interesting. Furthermore, you need to use your existing data to figure out what will appeal the most to them before sending it out at the right times, which is where the rest of Google AdWords features will prove to be beneficial.

Every year, Q4 is huge for retail advertisers and other verticals looking to capitalize on holiday shopping sprees. In 2015, even more ad spend was devoted to capturing people’s attention at the moment they’re most likely to buy the perfect gift.

We sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, which looks at over $7 billion worth of spend in the Marin platform, and one thing was clear: people are wedded to their mobile devices.

Time and again, the Q4 2015 data played this out, with across-the-board increases in mobile spend, ad clicks, and impressions. When it came to search, however, consumers still preferred powering up their desktop computers and doing a deeper dive on a larger screen.

For detailed information on how the 2015 shopping season played out across devices for search, social, and display – and what you should do to stay ahead of the game – download The Q4 2015 Performance Marketer’s Benchmark Report.

2016-Q4-benchmark-report_cover

The world of social advertising changes every day, and it can be a lot to keep up with! There are new ad types, forming partnerships, emerging tech, financial announcements, and the list goes on.

If you’re feeling a little behind on the latest, need-to-know news, grab a cup of coffee and take five minutes to catch up with this
quick recap.

1. Twitter Launches Algorithmically Sorted Timeline


https://blog.twitter.com/2016/never-miss-important-tweets-from-people-you-follow

Quick recap: Twitter announced a new algorithmically sorted way to view the timeline, although it’s not yet turned on by default. Consider it the “while you were away” feature on steroids.

What it means for advertisers: Advertisers have come to expect lower Facebook engagement on organic content, so the same fears may come into play here. Twitter representatives have said that ads will appear in the newly sorted timeline, but that the best content will rise to the top regardless of whether or not it’s paid. Expect Twitter to continue evolving in its quest to revive shareholder value.

2. Instagram Rolls Out 60-Second Video Ads


https://www.instagram.com/p/BBVMFOsS0Dc/

Quick recap: Instagram rolled out support for 60-second video ads, a big change from the previous limit of 30 seconds. T-Mobile (did you catch the Drake commercial?) and Warner Bros. were among the first brands to test the extended video ad type.

What it means for advertisers: Instagram video ads can now be anywhere from three to 60 seconds, giving advertisers lots of room to creatively tell a story. Support is already available on Marin Social for advertisers who want to get started right away.

3. Facebook Soars in Q4 2015 Earnings Report


http://investor.fb.com/results.cfm

Quick recap: It was a great quarter for Facebook! The network beat estimates, announced $5.8 billion in revenue, and revealed it now has more than 1.59 billion monthly active users.

What it means for advertisers: The earnings call results are worth a read. To align with Facebook, advertisers should place extra focus on their mobile, video, and Instagram strategies.

4. Snapchat Teams Up with Viacom


http://www.viacom.com/news/Pages/newsdetails.aspx?RID=953935

Quick recap: Viacom and Snapchat announced a major partnership deal, which will give Viacom exclusive rights to sell Snapchat advertising.

What it means for advertisers: Viacom’s core investment in broadcasting and cable, combined with this new focus on social, hints at just how important cross-channel advertising is becoming. If Snapchat’s not your cup of tea, consider other tactics such as triggering social ads based on TV commercials, or running similar video content across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TV.

5. Facebook Shuts Down Free Basics in India


http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/8/10913398/free-basics-india-regulator-ruling


Quick recap: Free Basics by Facebook is a free, zero-rated platform that provides access to basic Internet services (news, health, education, sports, etc.) in developing parts of the world. Net neutrality concerns have made it controversial, and India recently passed legislation that caused Facebook to shutter Free Basics in the country.

What it means for advertisers: Free Basics will still exist in over 30 other countries, and Facebook plans to continue efforts to connect people in India. There are no ads in the Free Basics version of Facebook. However, international advertisers should consider taking advantage of new Facebook ad types (like Slideshow Ads) to reach users with slow connections in high-growth areas.

6. Facebook Adds Caption Tool for Video Ads


https://www.facebook.com/business/news/updated-features-for-video-ads

Quick recap: Facebook announced plans to roll out an automated video caption tool, coming soon.

What it means for advertisers: Once the feature is rolled out, advertisers will no longer need to embed captions or upload their own caption files. Facebook’s internal tests show that video ads with captions increase video view times by about 12%!

7. Twitter Introduces First View Video Ads


https://blog.twitter.com/2016/introducing-first-view

Quick recap: Twitter announced a new ad product called First View. It will allow advertisers to do a 24-hour takeover of the top ad slot in the timeline with a Promoted Video ad.

What it means for advertisers: Brand advertisers, rejoice! First View will offer a high-impact way to drive awareness at scale and gain maximum exposure for your brand.

8. Account Switching Now Available for Instagram


http://blog.instagram.com/post/138938416772/160208-accountswitching

Quick recap: Instagram users will now be able to quickly switch between multiple accounts, without having to log out.

What it means for advertisers: This is an exciting change for social media managers who run multiple Instagram accounts. However, larger advertisers who use a tool to manage their accounts won’t see much of an impact.

The year is 2016, and Facebook will soon be 12 years old. As Facebook hits puberty, it’s no longer just an influencer platform – now, it delivers actual (and many) conversions to social advertisers.

We took a look at Facebook’s growth and development over the last year, and three main trends stood out as being the most significant for the platform: clicks, video, and geotargeting.

People are clicking Facebook ads


Social media targeting in general is the most precise it’s ever been, and it’ll only get better this year. In 2015, Facebook click-through rates (CTR) more than doubled. Why is this?

  • Ad quality is better
  • Ad serving is much more selective and targeted
  • People are more willing to view and click Facebook ads


For Facebook advertisers, this translated to a sharp increase in CTR and lower cost-per-click.

Social video is growing fast


In 2015, video was one of the fastest growing sectors of online advertising, and Facebook quickly picked up on this trend. We’re now used to seeing video ad formats in our news feeds.

According to Facebook, by the end of 2015 there were eight billion average daily video views, or 100% growth in a seven-month time period.[1]

This incredible growth is part of the reason Facebook is investing so much attention on improving and refining video ad formats to increase user engagement and relevance. And, there’s a lot of potential for Facebook video ad sales to take off in 2016. The future looks bright for this ad format.

Local ads are more precise and effective than ever


During 2015, geotargeted ads gained major steam on Facebook, due in no small part to Facebook’s improvements to their local ad type. Hyper-local ad targeting on social media has allowed marketers to reach very specific audiences to within a mile of particular locales.

This hyper-local targeting easily synergizes with mobile ad formats, such as click- for-directions or click-to-call to reach nearby audiences that have high engagement rates for local brick-and-mortar businesses. Since 2010, locally targeted social media ads have grown a compounded 33% every year, with $8.3 billion worth of ads in 2015.[2]

For more information on current trends in Facebook advertising – including year-over-year trend charts and the latest intelligence on mobile – download our report, The State of Facebook Advertising: Clicks, Videos, and Geotargeting.

Super Bowl 50 is here, and the cost to advertise is heating up faster than the Broncos/Panthers rivalry. In fact, CBS is charging up to
$5 million for a 30-second ad spot during the big game. According to eMarketer, the top five Super Bowl advertisers have spent a total of $745.1 million for the privilege over the past 10 years.

While the Super Bowl is a great time to drive awareness with cute Budweiser puppies and ridiculous Doritos commercials, most advertisers can’t afford to shell out that kind of money. Here are four strategies to help marketers of all sizes take advantage of the Super Bowl without breaking the bank.

1. Start with a good content strategy



Make sure you have a cohesive plan in advance of the big day that includes organic and paid teams, and all marketing channels where you have a presence (search, social, display, etc.). With a solid strategy in place, you’ll have a good foundation to help you capitalize on any spontaneous moments that may occur, such as Oreo’s quick “dunk in the dark” reaction in 2013.

Here are a few recommended tactics:

  • Plan your gameday creative and messaging in advance
  • Use a tool like Marin Social’s Message Booster to improve coordination between organic and paid teams, and to ease the workload by automatically promoting top-performing content according to pre-defined rules
  • Make sure your social media team is at the ready with immediate, relevant, branded content, in case a big and unexpected moment occurs



2. Take a mobile-first approach



During the Super Bowl, millions of Americans are watching more than just the TV screen. They’re grabbing recipes from Pinterest, posting photos of their gameday garb on Facebook, and sharing their real-time reactions on Twitter. Advertisers who understand this second-screen behavior are in the best position to take advantage using a mobile-first approach.

  • Use mobile device and carrier targeting to maximize ad relevance
  • Make sure your website or landing page is optimized for mobile viewing
  • Consider extending your ads beyond the publishers and into mobile apps, via the Facebook Audience Network and the Twitter Audience Platform



3. Run your commercial without the hefty price tag



Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all offer top-notch video advertising formats, so you can run your commercial without dropping $5 million. Captivating video formats provide an exciting way to engage with users who skim through their phones while watching the game. Other things to consider:

  • Use Reach & Frequency targeting with your Facebook video ads to generate awareness at scale
  • Make sure your creative attracts attention with autoplay and no sound
  • Run video that’s specifically relevant to Super Bowl viewers, and consider unveiling fresh, never-seen-before content



4. Up the ante with TV Sync technology



If you already have a good baseline social advertising strategy, take things to the next level using TV Sync technology. 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.

TV Sync allows you to:

  • Trigger your social ads whenever your competitor’s commercial airs
  • Launch social ads automatically based on weather status or key sporting events such as touchdowns and timing
  • Push social ads live during other related TV events (Pro Bowl, Puppy Bowl, etc.)



Last but not least, consider using these strategies beyond Super Bowl Sunday. Every day is a great chance to extend your advertising beyond TV, onto the second screen and into the virtual living room.

Consider applying these ideas during primetime TV shows, live awards events, college or national sporting events, the World Cup, the Lumberjack World Championships, or any time at all.

December has always been a frenzy of retailer activity, and the biggest month of the year for most, if not all, of them. Many retailers rely on a strong end of the year to buoy profits and plan accordingly for the new year.

We took a look at retail search advertiser behavior last month to see how the dust settled.

There Was Growth, But Less Than 2014



Compared to November and December 2014, this year’s holiday season actually saw less search growth. Ad spend in 2014 grew 27% in December when compared to October, while it only grew 16% in 2015.

However, clicks grew comparably, at 22% vs 19%, respectively, and ad efficiency also went up year-over-year. While CTR was only 6% higher in 2014, it was 18% higher in 2015, largely due to the growing adoption of PLAs and mobile.

December2015Performance



Holidays, Mobile, and PLAs



December 2015, in particular, saw large, predictable spikes during the month that coincided with holiday sales. In the week leading up to the 25th, clicks and spend spiked over 250%, peaking during Christmas day itself when compared to the December average. This is very similar to 2014 behavior, and again, there were higher CTRs, largely through mobile and PLA growth in proportion to text ads.

Overall, this holiday season was very successful for retailers, who embraced newer ad formats to great effect.

By now, you’ve likely seen or heard about buy buttons, which are a quick way for customers to purchase directly from search, social, and video platforms. How should digital marketers work with buy buttons this holiday season?

First, let’s review the statistics.

202%. The year-over-year lift in social media-referred orders that Shopify reported.

60 million. The number of shoppable pins on Pinterest.

84%. The percent of Pinterest buyable pin-referred orders coming from new customers, according to one advertiser case study.

What it means for you


These data points indicate a growing trend toward social as a shopping discovery tool. One thing missing from the statistics is the success of buy buttons from a revenue standpoint. Since buy buttons are relatively new, it’s still too early to tell how successful they’ll be in generating sales, making it uncertain whether to prioritize them over other tests this holiday season.

Still, it’s worth it for brands to begin preparing now, given the investment being made in buy buttons across the digital ecosystem. It’s easy to imagine that customers will quickly become accustomed to social discovery-fueled shopping, facilitated by buy buttons.

Let’s take a moment to recap some of the major networks with buy buttons, many of which still have the ad units in beta, with a select group of advertisers:

Instagram

As part of its action-oriented suite of ads released in June, Instagram has an ad unit with several call-to-action options including “shop now,” which allows users to make a purchase while staying within Instagram.

Pinterest

Pinterest has made Buyable Pins available to advertisers on select e-commerce platforms since late June.

Google

In mid-July, Google announced it’s beta testing its own version of the buy button in mobile paid search results.

YouTube

In late September, YouTube launched Shopping Ads, which include a click-to-buy option within partner videos.

Twitter

In late September, Twitter announced U.S. advertisers on select e-commerce platforms have access to buy buttons in tweets.

Facebook

Facebook, which has tested a buy button for over a year, in October announced it’s testing a shopping tab, enabling users to shop directly in the platform without visiting a brand’s site.

Where to go from here


With so many major networks supplying buy button-infused ad inventory, customer shopping behavior will be influenced—it’s just not clear yet how and to what extent. At this phase, it’s worth testing buy buttons on a small scale to establish a benchmark and to begin collecting intelligence to inform next year’s holiday buy button strategy.

About the Author


sarah

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

About Boost Media


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

In just a year, display has gone from a desktop-based ad channel to a mobile one, showing a dramatically faster shift than either search or social. Not only has the display advertising world seen huge changes this year, but even more changes are anticipated in 2016.

This is indicative of a larger trend in digital advertising as a whole, where consumers are spending more time and attention on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets instead of desktops. In response, advertisers are allocating more and more of their display budget to targeting mobile consumers.

During Q3 2015, consumer engagement with display ads moved very decidedly towards smartphones. Over half of all display ad clicks came from a smartphone, and these ad clicks resulted in the majority of conversions.

eMarketer predicts that, by end of year, 60.5% of display ad budgets will be on a mobile device, and we’re seeing the same trends within Marin. This added consumer attention has translated to heightened innovation in the mobile display ad space. New formats for display ads are coming out on a regular basis, replacing the old banner ads to help encourage more click-through and conversion on mobile display ads.

For more information about the current state of display advertising and forecasts for 2016, download our report, The Q3 2015 Performance Marketer's Benchmark Report, and check out our industry infographic below.

Infographic_3Q2015-Rise-of-Mobile_v7

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

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

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

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

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

Extend your advertising message across screens



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

Counter your competitor’s TV commercials



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

Improve targeting and relevance with weather and sports



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

Drive engagement during live or scheduled TV programs



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

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

The next step beyond the app install


Once you’ve driven the app install, what happens next? Retention is a significant challenge for mobile app developers. Reports have shown that over 80% of mobile apps are abandoned within the first week of install.

Reaching those abandoners quickly is essential if you want them to return to your app and give you a second chance. The longer a user is away from your app, the less likely they are to return. Localytics released data showing that 40% of users who don’t return to your app within the first day will never return, and that number increases to 60% if they don’t re-engage within a week.

Faster audience onboarding with AppsFlyer, Tune, and adjust


To help marketers quickly onboard their existing mobile audiences onto the Marin Display platform, we’re excited to add mobile measurement solutions AppsFlyer, Tune, and adjust to our Audience Connect platform. Specifically, customers who’ve integrated either the AppsFlyer, Tune, or adjust SDKs into their mobile apps will be able to sync event data – like first time opens, reaching a certain level, viewing certain screens, etc. – into Marin Display. Then, they’ll be able to instantly build mobile audiences, and retarget those audiences with in-app banner and interstitial ads.

One of the key benefits of these partnerships is it enables you to get in front of your app abandoners immediately, without having to install additional SDKs and waiting to go through the app store review process where you can lose valuable days and weeks.

The Marin Device Graph also automatically matches audiences captured through these third-party SDKs cross-device, allowing you to expand your reach and target your visitors across more channels, devices, and apps.

For more information and documentation about each integration, check out the resources below:

After several months of testing and refining, Instagram advertising is now open to businesses of all sizes around the world! To make the most of the opportunity, follow this spotlight blog series for helpful tips specific to your industry or vertical.



The US consumer packaged goods industry (CPG) is expected to increase digital ad spend to $7.04 billion by 2018. With most of this spend directed toward branding efforts, marketers are always on the lookout for new ways to reach and inform their audience. Instagram presents an excellent opportunity to do just that.

Here are a few tips to help CPG advertisers reach the fastest-growing and most engaged community on any major mobile property today.

1. Start with a clear objective


As you get started with Instagram, it’s important to have clear campaign objectives. Are you trying to tell a story? Do you want to boost awareness? How about driving people to your website, or getting them to install your app? Once you have a clear goal in mind, it’s much easier to align your concepts and creatives accordingly.

2. Drive brand awareness with video


Instagram offers a powerful visual experience with still photos, but you can take your advertising to the next level by adding video. Use it to depict your products in action, highlight the problems they solve, and bring your brand to life. A recent eMarketer study shows CPG brands rank highest for share of digital video ads, and early advertisers on Instagram have seen significant lift in ad recall using this strategy.

3. Offer a fresh perspective on your product


Consumers often have strongly held opinions of CPG brands, which can be tricky to alter. However, Instagram offers a great way to remain true to your brand’s voice while also opening users up to new ideas. Consider yogurt-brand Chobani. To break out of the breakfast rut and encourage users to think of them all day long, they ran ads showcasing their products at snack time and for dessert. Similarly, Philadelphia Cream Cheese found consumers only thought of them around the holidays, so they changed the conversation to highlight how their products can fit in at occasions of all kinds.

Chobani
PhillyCreamCheese



Chobani for snack time, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese for all occasions.

4. Think about timing.


Do you offer a product designed to help consumers make dinners fast? Advertise as people are leaving work and wondering what they’re going to cook. Sell a laundry or cleaning product? Reach people on Saturday morning as they head to the grocery store and start their household chores.

5. Don’t hesitate to interact with users


Most people actually feel flattered if a brand interacts with them on Instagram, so monitor your hashtags and respond to the comments. Doing so can help increase engagement and further reinforce your brand personality.

6. Make it worth their while


To add value to your posts or ads, include something extra that consumers will appreciate. This could be a recipe, DIY idea, coupon link, or some other bonus that relates to your product. Nestle Toll House does a great job by providing handy baking guides, lots of recipes, and fun seasonal ideas.

Nestle1
Nestle2



Nestle3



As a relatively new avenue for social advertising, Instagram leaves lots of room for creativity and innovation to surprise and delight users. If you’d like to learn how Marin Software can help advance your Instagram strategy, feel free to get in touch.

Programmatic is hot right now. eMarketer predicts that by 2020, programmatic spending will top $65 billion, making up over 82% of all US display ad spending in 2018 alone. As quickly as it’s growing, though, programmatic has some serious terminology and conventions you have to learn if you want to consider yourself an expert. And once you get started, you may feel like you’re drowning in a sea of programmatic jargon, lingo, and acronyms.

The programmatic ecosystem is large and wide – but not impassable. A good way to start the journey is getting to know the 8 major players in the ecosystem, as well as their main functions.

1. The Advertiser

If you’re reading this, this is probably you. The advertising world wouldn’t exist without the companies that buy the ads.

2. The Publisher

Publishers are all the publications, web sites, and mobile apps that create and deliver the real value – the content – as well as the ad space that advertisers buy.

3. Ad Exchanges

Ad exchanges are the backbone of programmatic ad buying, and a major driving force for the display advertising renaissance over the past few years. Ad exchanges are essentially marketplaces where advertisers and publishers buy and sell ad space programmatically. Publishers make their inventory available and advertisers then bid for those ads, often in real-time, based on how much a particular visitor is worth to them.

4. Ad Networks

Ad networks are like the older, less capable big brother of the ad exchange. Like ad exchanges, ad networks aggregate inventory across multiple publishers and package it up, helping advertisers buy ads at scale more efficiently. Because they can still be a simple, efficient way to scale your media buy across a large number of publishers, they’re still relevant in this age of programmatic. Still, ad networks don’t offer the same targeting sophistication that ad exchanges do.

5. Data Management Platforms (DMPs)

Advertisers use DMPs to collect, store, and leverage their first-party audience data. DMPs also aggregate data from third parties and make it available to clients to use in their advertising.

6. Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs)

A demand-side platform is a tool that enables marketers to bid on and buy ads from ad exchanges. There are some big differences between the different platforms out there, so be sure to determine what’s most important to your business before investing in one – for example, access to data, quality of reach, transparency, etc.

7. Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs)

Advertisers use DSPs to buy ads on ad exchanges. Publishers use SSPs to sell their ads on ad exchanges. It’s basically the mirror opposite.

8. Agency Trading Desk

Agency Trading Desks (ATDs) are essentially the media buying and reselling arms of major advertising agency holding companies like WPP, Publicis, and Interpublic. ATDs reflect a mix of people and technology. While media is often bought programmatically using technology like DSPs and DMPs, it’s then resold to advertisers as a managed service.

These eight players are just one piece of the programmatic puzzle. For a more complete discussion – including how data, targeting, and retargeting figure in – download our full white paper, The ABCs of Programmatic.

Each year, the US Search Awards recognizes the best and brightest brands among the world’s leading search and digital agencies and professionals. We compiled advice from eight of this year’s judges on what every brand should do to optimize their PPC campaigns.

This year’s awards will take place at Paris Las Vegas on Wednesday, October 7th. For more information and to enter, visit the US Search Awards website.



Diane Pease

Inbound Marketing Manager, Cisco Systems | @DPease

Monitor Your Extension Performance

With all the hype around ad extensions, we can sometimes get caught up in “extension excitement” – putting site links, callouts, and location extensions on our ads to provide a better user experience. But it’s important to monitor the performance of your extensions, to ensure they’re really working for you in the way you want them to. Create a reminder – and check on a bi-weekly basis. If you have an extension that’s not performing, make adjustments or try removing it. Extensions are a great way to expand your ad, but they need to be monitored.



Matt McGowan

Head of Strategy for America’s Advertising, Google | @Matt_Mcgowan

RLSA. Do it. It amazes me how many clients don't add the tag to their sites. For free, you can bring together intent, context, and audience to help your business drive sales and leads with great ROI. With remarketing lists for search ads, you can modify bids, ads, and keywords for past site visitors. For example, people visit your sports apparel site to check out available styles, and look at the shoe section of the site. You could add these shoppers to a "Shoe category" list. Then, the next time they search for running shoes on Google you could bid more for them. More here.



Richard Gregory

UK Industry Expert | @Smartrich

You absolutely have to be leveraging Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) these days. At a recent SAScon event, Larry Kim highlighted the low CPCs that early adopters of the format have benefited from. One great tip is to run a campaign targeting Gmail accounts containing newsletters from your competitors, remembering to negative your own keywords to avoid upsetting existing customers.



Jim Banks

Global Head of Biddable Media | @Jimbanks

Anticipate the device your users will be on and have ads that reflect that context. If someone is on mobile, then having the CTA as "Call" or "Tap" will get higher CTR (TTR - Tap Through Rate) than "Click". Dayparting is now a 168-hour a week function, and device, location, and time of day/day of week will help or hurt more than keyword, bid, or ad.



Lisa Williams

Digital Marketing Strategist, Author, Speaker, Networker, and Columnist; Sustainable Digital Marketing | @SEOPllyAnna

Look at the performance of high-volume, general PPC ads and test the content for titles and meta descriptions. For example, the shipping message "same day shipping" performed better in Paid than the message "fast shipping". Test the better performing message CTR and conversion to see if you get lift in Organic Search the same way you did in Paid Search.



Matt Umbro

Senior Account Manager, Hanapin Marketing; Founder of #PPCChat | @Matt_Umbro

In order to quickly find keywords that are costing too much and not providing enough (or any) conversions, create an automated rule. I'll generally create a rule that runs weekly and looks at the last 30 days’ worth of data. I'll set the rule to identify all keywords that have seen at least 50 clicks and zero conversions. I'll have these keywords emailed to me so I can choose whether to change my bids, pay particularly close attention to the search queries, and/or pause the keywords all together. You can adjust the filter as you see fit, but this rule helps to easily find poor performing keywords.



John Gagnon

Bing Ads Evangelist | @Jmgagnon

To bid or not to bid? Bid. And, there’s finally concrete data. Bing Ads completed a study measuring the number of clicks a brand received when they were the top organic spot alone, versus the top organic spot plus the top paid ad.

After looking at three million impressions on brand searches for retail during 2014, the study found advertisers saw an incremental 31 clicks for every 100 brand searches when a paid search ad was used in combination with the top organic result. That’s huge!

Only 11 of those clicks would have been received anyways. Adjust your CPA lower by about 18% to account for the overlap – and you have a concrete strategy for bidding on your brand terms.



Jonathan Beeston

Owner, Beetsonomics | @Beeston

If you're a retailer, then of course you're running Shopping campaigns. But your campaigns will only be as good as the product or inventory feed that powers them. Spend as much time optimizing your feed as you would any other part of the campaign, making sure you have the right imagery and search-friendly titles. As you can use the feed with Bing Shopping Campaigns (now in beta), Facebook Product Ads, and Google Shopping, the optimization will pay off more than once.

The deadline for submitting an entry to one of the 22 categories in the US Search Awards is the 17th of July, so download the entry form today and you could be a worthy winner at the glittering Las Vegas event in October during Pubcon!

Did you know that nearly 87% of Facebook’s monthly active users visited from mobile devices last quarter? That’s 1.25 billion people. Unsurprisingly, mobile now accounts for 73% of Facebook ad revenue.

As consumers continue their shift to mobile, savvy advertisers are upping their game with captivating mobile Page Post ads. However, there’s always room for improvement, and we’re here with six creative best practices to help you make the most out of this mobile ad type.

1. Limit your ad copy message to a maximum of two lines. This makes your ads easier to read, and improves their effectiveness.

jen 1


2. Say more with less. Keep your link names concise. If they get too long, they’ll be truncated and could potentially look sloppy.

jen 2


3. Test ads without descriptions or CTA buttons. Mobile means smaller screens and smaller ads, so there’s not a ton of room for copy. Play around with eliminating the CTA or description to get more real estate and achieve a very clean look.

Jen 3


4. Test out text overlay on your images. According to Facebook’s policies, your ad images can’t include more than 20% text. So don’t go overboard! Instead, opt for brief but larger text to catch more eyeballs as users swipe through their News Feed.

jen 4


5. Use camera-aware subjects in your photos. Photos of people looking into the camera make users stop and take notice. Notice the difference between the two ads below. In addition, avoid photos that look too staged or like generic stock photography, as these can come off as corny or inauthentic.

jen 5


6. Put it all together. The ad below takes advantages of almost all our tips so far. In addition, it provides a preview of the app so users know what to expect and how the UI will look. If you use this tactic, make sure the type of phone shown matches the type you’re targeting on your ads.

jen 6


Bonus tip: Try mobile video ads. More than 75% of global video views on Facebook occur on mobile. Advertisers are already reporting strong results; so, video ad types are definitely worth a try.

jen 7

Advertisers are investing heavily in mobile, and the massive 4.5 billion global mobile users may have something to do with it. Smartphone adoption has reached an all-time high with one-in-four people owning and using a smartphone on a regular basis. Since consumers are spending more time online via mobile devices than desktop, marketers must learn to effectively reach and engage these audiences. Across all channels, smartphones and tablets are playing an ever-more important role in a marketer’s strategy to effectively reach and engage audiences.

In Q1, we looked at three verticals that were particularly affected by shifts in technology and user behaviors causing acceleration in their mobile investments: healthcare, finance, and automotive. There were a few key shifts in advertiser and consumer behavior that led to this increase in mobile spending and attention that is not seen within other verticals.

Healthcare


In the healthcare sector, there were a few key occurrences in 2014 that lead to increased consumer attention towards mobile. Consumer adoption of mobile-connected wearable technology such as fitness trackers or mobile-connected glucose monitors grew as an explosion of fitness and health-related apps entered the market. This inflation was in response to increased consumer demand for always-on health and fitness tracking. Mobile connectivity has also become the norm, with patient-recorded data continuing to gain acceptance among doctors in diagnoses. mHealth (mobile healthcare) is booming. On the industry side, digitization of health records and online cloud-based patient tracking is growing in usage across the industry, with records access via tablet or smartphone, or mobile communication with patients via texts or mobile video. All this marks an increase in consumer usage on their mobile devices to look up and browse healthcare related media. And advertisers have followed suit.

Finance


Mobile banking and payment is a key consumer trend within the financial industry. Today, consumers want fast and accessible banking, all done via smartphone. 82% of all financial institutions now offer some form of mobile banking through mobile web or app, and the number of consumers using mobile banking is expected to grow to 1.75 billion within the next 5 years. With many consumers moving away from traditional forms of payment like cash, mobile payment apps have become more attractive options for many mobile users, especially with functions like bill-splitting and tap-to-pay. As consumer adoption of mobile banking and payment continues to increase, marketers can expect greater demand for fast and easy mobile services from financial institutions. Two-thirds of all mobile users have already clicked on an ad for mobile finance or banking at some point, and demand is only growing.

Automotive


In the automotive industry, mobile adoption has changed the way consumers shop for cars. The ability to easily look up and compare information on a desired vehicle has created a more savvy shopper, using their smartphones at the dealership to compare and research vehicles before they make a purchase decision. With consumers increased usage of smartphones to vehicle-shop, automotive advertisers are competing to capture their attention and expanding their focus on mobile advertising to seize this audience at a time when they are most likely to engage. Additionally, mobile experience has become more important than ever for these companies, with 71% of users having used a mobile app or web to click to enter an automotive website.

While mobile growth is slowing year-over-year, adoption is still increasing. As smartphones become more and more a part of our consumer-based lives, mobile experience and advertising importance will continue to increase. To read more on trends in mobile advertising, check out Marin’s Annual Mobile Report, which is filled with insights on the state of smartphone and tablet advertising over the past year and check out our industry infographic below.

While there are challenges in adjusting priorities and budgets as users shift from desktop to mobile, one of the benefits is being able to engage users in new environments using new information. One of the most exciting possibilities is the chance to use a mobile device to cross the divide between online advertising and offline action. In our recent Marin Hackathon, one of our teams successfully built a prototype of one fascinating way to bridge online and offline using iBeacons.

If you are not familiar, iBeacons are small bluetooth powered devices that can trigger very precise location information for iOS devices. A typical use case would include placing them around a department store or a car dealership to send alerts to phones giving customers deals or other context about their shopping experience.

We wanted to take this same real world information and use it for advertising. Imagine being able to count someone sidling up to the checkout counter as a conversion. Or we can target someone who strolled by a specific model of car at the dealership with an ad talking about the exact model and this months rebates, encouraging them to purchase today.

In order to make this work, we combined three core pieces of technology. Our Beta Mobile SDK for event tracking, our Cross-Device Targeting, and the Marin Display Real Time Bidding engine, giving us the ability to show a customer an ad on their phone and their desktop - as quickly as 5 seconds after we have seen them in store.

With some hard work on these tools and one very late coffee-fueled night, the team was able to get it working. We brought some iBeacons online and demo'ed the technology, showing live ads based off iBeacon signals on both a users phone and on their desktop. While the iBeacon feature isn't quite ready for prime time, we continue to work on it and the underlying tech for our Mobile SDK and our Cross Device match so we will be ready when a customer wants to roll this out to hundreds of their stores.

Is that customer you? Get in touch with us at info@marinsoftware.com

About the Author


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Jordan is the Director of Programmatic Technology here at Marin Software. He has been working in the digital marketing space for several years, having co-founded Perfect Audience before its acquisition by Marin Software. He cares most about using interesting technology to build tools that solve problems for users and customers.

In our first post, Going Mobile, we broke down cross-device targeting into two separate components – cross device matching and targeting – and explained how cross-device matching works. In this post, we’ll take a deeper dive into the targeting and ad delivery part of the story.

Let’s go back to a scenario we presented in our previous post. You’ve successfully identified that the user who visited your website from her laptop in a Manhattan office is the same user that played Crossy Road on her phone from a Hoboken coffee shop. Great!

But now what? How do you actually reach her across her different devices with your message? This is where ad exchanges play an essential role in ad delivery once you’ve found that user and the devices they’re on.

If you’re a search marketer, cross-device targeting is probably something you’ve been using for a while now. Google’s Enhanced Campaigns unifies targeting and ad delivery for desktop and mobile devices across Google’s search and display network. It’s just that when you’re trying to target a particular customer across hundreds of thousands of distinct websites and mobile apps, it can feel much more intimidating when you have to go beyond the tidy confines of Google’s ecosystem.

To solve this problem, ad exchanges emerged bringing order and centralization to marketers buying ad inventory across web sites and ad networks. Exchanges fundamentally changed ad buying by enabling display advertisers to target visitors based on audience data and then bid on each ad impression individually in real-time based on what that visitor was worth to them (thus, the “searchification” of display that you’ll often hear referred).

So how exactly do mobile ad exchanges like MoPub and Nexage fit into the story? The mobile advertising opportunity has been exploding recently and already accounts for over 27% of digital ad spend. With the plethora of mobile advertising options – including mobile and tablet apps, as well as mobile website inventory – a number of different mobile-specific ad exchanges like MoPub and Nexage emerged, aggregating the billions of available mobile ad impressions. But not only do mobile exchanges aggregate inventory, they also provide the marketplace for effective targeting and bidding, enabling advertisers, and using a demand-side platform to leverage their existing audience data to find, reach, and deliver ads to the potential customers they’re most interested in reaching.

In our next and final post in this series, we’ll provide some tips and strategies for getting the most from your cross-device campaigns.

This is a guest post from Jonathan Kagan and Jennie Choi of Results Digital/MARC USA

When one thinks of an “integrated media plan,” search and TV both come to mind (as they should). But all too often, no one remembers to think beyond the surface and realize the impact TV has on search by device.

Television is a quick way to either bump up your brands search traffic or kick it off for the first time (non-brand will be impacted as well, but the growth is rarely at the same level). With a few exceptions, the vast majority of your consumers will first see your TV commercial while sitting on their couch after work/school in the evening, and more than likely, they will have a smartphone – or even a tablet – within arm’s reach. This in turn begins the multi-screen integrated media approach.

Consumer sees TV commercial and is intrigued. Odds are consumer is to tired or lazy to get out their trusty computer, so they will turn to their trusty mobile device, launching an information gathering session based off just two impressions (one from TV and one from search).

Not believing this concept? Well let me enlighten you to a client who launched a branded TV campaign, after having no TV in market at all (comparison of branded search traffic: three before TV launched vs. three with TV):

  • Desktop: +70% visits and +78% unique visitors
  • Tablet: +252% visits and +279% unique visitors
  • Smartphone: +163% visits and 167% unique visitors
  • There was no adjustment made to bidding or budget caps between the two timeframes


Based on data like this, any search marketers must ask themselves, “Have I done everything possible to prep my search program for the onslaught of TV?” If the answer is anything less than “Yes,” then it’s time to rethink your strategy, ASAP.

But have no fear; here are four simple steps you can take to prepare your program for the incremental brand traffic you are likely going to get. Note: If you don’t get any incremental brand traffic, there may be an issue with the TV commercial itself:

  • Coordinated media calendar: Search should know when all TV is flighting; brownie points for time of day and channels.
  • Screen-to-screen consistency: Use taglines or language from the TV commercials in adcopy and on the landing pages; brownie points if you can fit “phone” in the ad (often see higher CTR when “phone” is present in mobile ads).
  • Be mobile ready: Have a mobile friendly website experience, and if not, drive them to do a phone call with click-to-call functionality (i.e. don’t let them see your website).
  • Be visible: TV flights are not the time to scale back on your branded mobile bid modifiers. Prime real estate is limited. All your competitors need to see is that you’re slacking, and next thing you know, you’re losing brand traffic to the competition.


After all is said and done, don’t be surprised if your post-click activity is less than ideal. Mobile is not meant to convert, it is meant to continue an engagement to a point that the consumer is willing to get up and finish the conversion process in a more comfortable environment – like a desktop or in-store.


About the Authors


Jonathan Kagan is the Sr Director of Search and Biddable Media at Results Digital/MARC USA. He is a veteran of the search marketing industry for nearly 10 years and was a 2013 winner of Google’s Search Excellence Award. In his time, he has run numerous Fortune 500 clients, as well as built teams with Digitas, Digitas Costa Rica, Mediacom, and Publicis Healthcare. You can often find him speaking at industry conferences or read his articles in the various industry trades. You can follow him on Twitter at: @JonKagan



Jennie Choi is the Paid Search Manager at Results Digital/MARC USA. She has 4 years of experience in paid search and social media, including: financial, consumer packaged goods, pharmaceutical, and telecommunications verticals. Jennie brings a diverse portfolio of experiences and skills to her role. When she has spare time, Jennie loves exploring good food and wine. You can follow her on Twitter at: @_JennieChoi

Mobile advertising is a hot topic these days, but many advertisers are still figuring out how to get the most out of their mobile search ads. As there are many reasons why mobile is the way to go – lower CPCs, growing advertising spend by retailers on mobile, and consumers spending more time than ever on their mobile devices – publishers like Google are taking note and are optimizing their products to help advertisers succeed with their mobile advertising.

On October 15, Google will be rolling out a change to their mobile search ads to improve consumer experience by making it even easier and faster for consumers to find exactly what they’re looking for on the small screen. Instead of showing two lines of text on mobile ads, Google may opt to show only one line of description text and ad extensions in the second line instead. This way, your ads are optimized to present consumers on the go with useful and timely local information that will help to increase engagement and clicks to relevant pages to your site.

In general, here are a few tips to making the most of your mobile ads:

  • Make your ads mobile friendly: As the mobile screen is a smaller screen, make sure you’re dedicating space to relevant messaging that the consumer needs. The same goes for your web site - you don’t want to lose consumers once they’ve clicked on a link to a mobile unfriendly website.
  • Changing consumer search intentions: Consumers that are searching on the go will most likely have different goals than those searching at home. While consumers at home may be comparison-shopping, many times consumers on the go are looking for more local information such as addresses and phone numbers.
  • Incentives are good: Studies have shown that consumers searching on their phones are more likely to act than those browsing on their desktop. Give consumers more reasons to convert with promotions and offers targeted at mobile users.


Anything to add? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

Mobile performance has been on everyone’s minds the past few years, and everyone knows that smartphone click-through rates have been trumping desktop and tablet click-through rates for some time. But just how important is ad position for marketers looking to capture the attention of their audience? We took a look at click-through rates by ad position to examine just how important this is. The data we examined consists of a large sample set of all Marin US clients.



By examining click-through rates, we can already see that position #1 for smartphones is much more important than that of desktops. Surprisingly, tablets show a similar trend to smartphones, even though they use the same SERP format as desktops. Upon closer examination, however, we see that smartphone CTR drops off much more rapidly than either desktops or tablets, at an average of 30% per position, versus 22% and 28% respectively.




By looking at the CTR-share by ad position, we can see that almost 40% of click-throughs are made in the first position. This is a third more than on desktop, and 10% more than on tablet. Why does this happen? If we take a look at the differences between the desktop and smartphone format, we find that many times on mobile, only a single ad is displayed on the top of a SERP. Meanwhile, on a desktop SERP, we see three or more ads on the exact same search. Naturally, this means that smartphones will see a much larger percentage of clicks go towards the first result.

Anything to add? Be sure to leave a comment in the comments section below!

In the US, more than 166 million people – 53% of the population – own a smartphone. We carry them with us wherever we go. So, it’s no surprise smartphones are a key target of advertisers and e-commerce providers. The vision of smartphones replacing wallets is just too good to pass up. Case in point, Apple just announced Apple Pay payment solution in conjunction with the iPhone 6 launch.

But just how likely are consumers to use their phones to make purchases outside of a new app or scheduling an Uber pickup? To gauge consumer interest in using smartphones to complete transactions, we thought we’d take a look at the performance of Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) on smartphones and desktops.

PLAs are unique in that they are predominantly used by retailers to showcase a product; so, we aren’t seeing consumers react to ads for services or information. Also, unless you’re in the market for a new Razor Scooter, odds are you aren’t going to search and click on an ad for one. Consequently, PLAs are a good barometer for getting a pulse on consumer online shopping behavior.

First off, the click-through rate (CTR) of PLAs on smartphones is higher. The gap varies, but more recently in June, 2014 the CTR of smartphones was 33% higher than desktops. This would indicate consumers seem to favor their smartphones for browsing and researching products. Makes sense. For the last few years, the story has been that smartphones are used to research but when it comes time to pulling the trigger, the transaction either takes place on a desktop or in a store. A smartphone is rarely used to complete the transaction.



To answer that question, we looked at the conversion rate of PLAs for smartphones versus desktops. Since these are ads for specific products, the likelihood of a conversion rate for a PLA being a transaction is very high. Desktops still rein king when it comes to completing transactions with a conversion rate 135% higher than smartphones in June; however, what’s interesting is the growth in conversion rate on smartphones.

Year over year, the conversion rate for PLAs on smartphones has increased 120%. But what does this mean? It means consumers are completing more transactions on their smartphones. This is likely due to not only familiarity and comfort with doing so but also retailers and technology providers like Google making the transaction process easier and much more mobile friendly.

Get ready to ditch your wallets.

Back in March of this year, we predicted that mobile was on pace to surpass desktop paid search on Google by the end of 2015. Tablet conversion rate has already exceeded that of desktop, and mobile adoption and engagement continues to grow.

The pie charts above, taken from the Marin Global Online Advertising Index at the conclusion of Q1, show that marketers have yet to catch up to the growth of this increasingly important medium. Take the US for example - click share on desktop was only 64%, yet spend share was significantly higher at 73%.

Still trying to get buy-in for greater investment in your mobile programs? Here are some stats you'll want to know:

  • 93% of people who use mobile research go on to complete a purchase of a product or service. Most of these purchases happen in physical stores. (Source: Google)
  • 55% of consumers using mobile to research want to purchase within the hour. (Source: Nielsen & Google)
  • 86% of US smartphone users say they use their devices as second-screens while watching TV. (Source: Nielsen)
  • The average US consumer spends 34 hours and 17 minutes using browsers/apps on a smartphone per month. (Source: Nielsen)
  • eMarketer predicts that by the end of 2014, 1.76 billion people will own and use smartphones monthly, up more than 25% over 2013. (Source: eMarketer)
  • Facebook ranks as the top mobile app, reaching 74.1% of the app audience in April 2014. (Source: comScore)


As marketers catch on to mobile, there is still some low-hanging fruit. For example, be sure to provide your customers with a good mobile experience. Don't send them to a brick-and-mortar store if there's no inventory for the product they're searching for. Consider whether you'd be better off providing a mobile browser or an in-app experience. And always provide immediately helpful sitelinks.

Looking for more mobile data or best practices? Check out our previous blog post 3 Tips Every Mobile Marketer Should Know, or click over to our Benchmark Report: Mobile Search Advertising Around the Globe.

Now that you’ve had a chance to check out our mobile benchmark report (download here!), it’s time to think about how to use this data to most effectively reach your audience. Best practices for mobile devices differ from those of desktops in a few important ways, so keep that in mind while crafting your strategy. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Pay attention to ad position. While click-through rates for smartphones are higher than click-through rates for desktops, this may be due to how ads are displayed on smartphones. The limited real estate on a smartphone screen allows only a few ads on SERPs, relative to tablet and desktop. This underlines how important ad position is, with click-through rates dropping off sharply after position 2.
  • Create a cohesive mobile experience. In addition to improving conversion and return rates, a cohesive mobile experience can also affect ad cost and ad position - crucial metrics for online marketers. To create a positive mobile experience, make sure you have mobile-optimized landing pages and conversion paths that work well on smartphones and tablets. This means formatting the page to fit and read properly on a small screen, and addressing the difference in input.
  • Make it easy for people to convert. It's also important to take conversion paths into account when developing mobile advertising. Ideally, you should make it as easy to convert as possible. For example, consider discarding long-form fills on your mobile site, and replacing them with click-to-call buttons or a store-locator option.


With mobile adoption growing by the day across the globe, it has become critical for marketers to keep pace and leverage this consumer behavior. The potential gains are huge, and the market is only getting bigger.

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mobile search advertising in the us

Download the full report for more detail.[/caption]

Our much anticipated mobile benchmark report is here, packed full of data and graphs that illuminate the mobile search landscape. Make sure to download your full copy of Mobile Search Advertising Across the Globe: 2014 Annual Report.

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mobile search advertising by country

Download the full report to see data for 13 countries/regions.[/caption]

The report show that as consumer adoption of mobile devices has been increasing at a blistering speed, digital advertisers have matched the momentum, moving ad spend onto mobile devices to take advantage of this new channel. With mobile devices already accounting for over one third of all paid-search clicks, it’s clear why everyone has their eye on smartphone and tablet advertising. Smart allocation of ad spend on mobile will help advertisers stay ahead of the competition, as the landscape morphs into a more interconnected, mobile consumer-base.

In 2013, we saw US mobile click share break the one third mark with spend share close behind. Smartphones make up the majority of the mobile clicks and spend, emphasizing the widespread adoption of smartphones and increased ad integration within these devices. In addition, smartphones and tablets have comparable click-through rates compared to desktops, while mobile cost per click remains lower than that of desktops. This means that performance has caught up, but competition on mobile isn’t full-blown yet.

Our data shows similar trends across the world, with mobile click and spend share growing at a remarkable pace. In some regions, mobile advertising is growing even faster than in the US. Across Europe, mobile device adoption has led spend share to nearly double in the last year, and click-through rates have shot above that of desktops. This is a strong indicator of the emerging value mobile devices hold for performance advertisers.

The pace of worldwide mobile adoption has changed the digital marketing paradigm on a global scale. With smartphones and desktops adding another layer of complexity on top of the conventional desktop model, advertisers have more opportunity to reach their audience than ever before. To learn about the opportunity to expand into new markets, or simply to benchmark your own campaigns, make sure to download the full report here.

Marin Software, mobile, SEM, PPC, online advertising, paid search


Based on our analysis of retailers’ search ad performance on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, ad spend, impressions and clicks reached all-time highs, signaling consumers were quite active this last week hunting for the perfect gift at the perfect price

Lasting Impressions

While desktops still captured the lion’s share of impressions, smartphone impressions increased 140% and tablet impressions rose 84%. Smartphones grabbed their highest share of impressions on Thanksgiving Day, hinting that indeed consumers were likely sneaking a peak at their phones while waiting for pumpkin pie or waiting in line for early deals.

Impressions on desktops hit a high on Cyber Monday, probably as consumers returned to work and “multi-tasked.”


Mobile Clicking with Consumers

Click share across devices tell a similar story. Clicks on smartphones increased 68% and tablets 42%, with smartphones capturing 10% more clicks than their tablet counterparts. On Thanksgiving Day, smartphones grabbed 20% of clicks, tablets 17% and desktops 63%. When consumers returned to work on Cyber Monday, the share of clicks on desktops increased, capturing 74% of total clicks. Tablets and smartphones were split at 13% apiece on Cyber Monday.


Retailers Spending to Win

Spend overall was up 27%, but with mobile usage on the rise, especially when shopping in-store and on-the-go, retailers increased their investment in mobile-based ads compared to last year. For the three shopping days, spend on smartphones was up 93% and on tablets 64%. Cyber Monday saw the biggest bump in spend across devices, with retailers increasing spend on smartphones 123%, tablets 77% and desktops 24% compared to Cyber Monday 2012.

The fluctuation in performance across devices and each holiday underscores the impact of a multi-device world on retail advertisers. As consumers take their shopping sessions across devices, advertiser need to ensure they have a presence on each, take into account the differences in consumer behavior on each device, and optimize their campaigns for each form factor to drive more revenue throughout the busy holiday season.

The Marin Global Online Advertising Index is comprised of data from hundreds of large-scale advertisers and agencies that collectively invest more than $5 billion in annualized spend through the Marin platform. The data analyzed by Marin for this snapshot reflects a subset of Marin's direct and agency clients managing active advertising programs for the retail vertical from 11/26/13 through 12/02/13. All data is accurate as of December 2nd, 2013, but subject to change.

The growth in mobile adoption and incorporation of mobile search into daily consumer activities continues to drive innovation in paid search, most noticeably with Google enhanced campaigns. Though the impact of enhanced campaigns has been mixed, capitalizing on new revenue opportunities in this multi-device world requires search marketers to remain agile and efficient—focusing their efforts on optimizing for the mobile experience. The following best practices will help advertisers engage their mobile users and acquire more revenue with enhanced campaigns:

  1. Optimize the mobile experience: Ensure that your text-based creative for high-volume groups are optimized for both desktop and mobile devices. For example, your mobile creative text might include geographic modifiers like “New York” or “San Francisco” depending on your location targets. Mobile-specific call-to-actions such as “Call now” or “Visit a local branch” are also effective in increasing customer engagement.Most importantly, your website should also be optimized to provide specific content for smartphone versus desktop and tablet users. This can be a large project and has important implications for how you present your brand, products, and services. Leveraging responsive web design and being concise with content throughout your site is essential. Making the store locator and other popular landing pages more prominent for smartphone users can reduce bounce rate while facilitating a positive mobile experience.
  2. Establish mobile-specific key performance indicators: Smartphone users may not interact with your website in the same way as desktop and tablet users, but their visits are still valuable. Brand-related searches or interest in pricing, availability, or product information may be part of an in-store or near-store purchase process and should be considered intermediate conversion events. Assigning proxy values to these events is critical to understanding engagement and true keyword and device-level ROI, especially when it comes time to calculate optimal bids.
  3. Report on performance by device: Leverage the {device} ValueTrack parameter to ensure that conversions and revenue can be accurately attributed to the device the user clicked and converted from. Depending on your tracking solution and revenue integration, make sure {device} is properly accounted for or tracking issues may occur.
  4. Leverage single-keyword ad groups: By splitting out keywords with significantly different desktop versus mobile performance into separate ad groups, you can calculate group-level mobile bid adjustments that function as keyword-level mobile bid adjustments. When identifying keywords to split out, focus specifically on high volume keywords (thousands of clicks per month) that also vary significantly in desktop versus mobile performance.
  5. Automate mobile bid adjustment calculations: Deploy a bidding solution that automatically calculates optimal group-level mobile bid adjustments based on business goals and requirements. When combined with keyword level bid calculations, this enables you to maximize conversions or revenue across all devices.
  6. Deploy upgraded ad extensions: Google sitelinks provide advertisers with richer, more relevant ads that engage users and enhance brand value and targeted keywords. Leverage campaign and ad group-level sitelinks to enable users to reach deeper and more targeted content on your website. Sitelinks can also dramatically improve click-through rates and conversion rates.


With mobile adoption increasing, it’s no surprise that 70% of mobile searchers use click-to-call. To help facilitate this behavior and increase on-the-go engagement, implement call extensions across your campaigns. Creating a direct way for mobile users to quickly and easily contact your business is an effective strategy for driving customers to your brick-and-mortar locations or guiding them through the conversion funnel. As with all ad extensions, be sure to implement an appropriate call tracking solution to tie back ROI.

Last but not least, Google made a recent update to Ad Rank which now takes into account the expected impact from ad extensions and formats. In other words, ad extensions can now have a positive impact on the position of your ad on the search results page.

Capitalizing on additional revenue opportunities in a new and somewhat untested search landscape will require a comprehensive approach to enhanced campaigns. Continued investment in ad technology and efficient execution of the above best practices will ultimately drive success and win the battle for revenue in this multi-device world.

matrix meme marin software mobile bid adjustments

When Google introduced campaign-level mobile bid adjustments with enhanced campaigns in February, advertisers were concerned with the potential loss of control and precision over mobile bids. To address this, Google announced in April the addition of group-level mobile bid adjustments. For advertisers with large-scale campaigns, this added functionality allows search marketers to set granular, group-level mobile bid adjustments based on varying performance by device.

Since Google’s update became available in May, Marin has been working to fully integrate this functionality into our patented bidding algorithm. Today, we’re excited to announce that Marin’s bid optimization solution will now calculate and recommend group-level mobile bid adjustments for enhanced campaigns. In addition to calculating keyword-level bids for desktop and tablet devices, Marin will also automatically calculate optimal mobile bid adjustments to maximize mobile performance based on user-defined key performance indicators (KPI). These recommendations are calculated on a nightly basis, where significant performance data is available. For advertisers looking to optimize their enhanced campaigns in a multi-device world, Marin provides you with the control and precision required to maximize mobile clicks, conversions, and revenue.

For more information on optimizing enhanced campaigns with Marin Software, please contact your Client Services representative or email us at info@marinsoftware.com.

marin software mobile ads



Unless you’ve been living on another planet for the last 6 months, you’re no doubt familiar with what is arguably the biggest change in search advertising since the launch of AdWords – Google’s Enhanced Campaigns. The invention and launch of Enhanced Campaigns from the search engine giant has made it easier for advertisers to scale their campaigns to take advantage of the, now significantly sized, mobile audience.

In the US, mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) now account for 25% of overall clicks from search [1]. More than 50% of the UK population now owns a smartphone and some sites receive more than 30% of traffic from mobile devices, so the importance of mobile commerce cannot be ignored [2].

We’re often asked by advertisers of all different sizes, from different verticals, how to make the most of the opportunity. Today’s blog post outlines four ways for advertisers to embrace mobile search and ensure that you do not miss out on engaging with the growing mobile search audience.



Mobile e-commerce (Mobile Site Links)

Web users all around the world are using smartphones and tablet devices throughout the purchase cycle. Retailer and service providers are benefiting from increasing levels of user-confidence in mobile devices; a study by eMarketer showed that 61% of respondents had purchased a product online using a PC, with smartphone and tablet users less than 10% behind, at 52%. During the research phase, the results are even closer, with 50% of worldwide internet users reporting using a PC to review a brand or product online, the same percentage report using a smartphone and 52% have used a tablet [3].

Retailers and service providers are ahead of the pack with the majority now offering a fully-functional mobile website. The next step is to make it easy for potential customers to find your website: ensure maximum keyword coverage through correct migration to enhanced campaigns and calculate mobile bid adjustments to reflect any differences in performance you see across different devices (for more information, please read our white paper, "The Search Marketers’ Guide to Enhanced Campaigns").



Click to call ads

For brands whose products or services are often bought over the phone rather than online or for those who do not yet have a mobile ready website, click to call ads are a great solution. These ads work in much the same way as traditional mobile search ads; the fundamental difference is that instead of clicking through to a website, the click on the ad triggers a call. The resulting sales and revenue from these calls can be tracked and attributed back to the keyword search so that bids are optimised correctly.



App download ads

New research from eBay shows that mobile apps involving retail products or services had a 42% success rate for reaching launch stage, with just shy of 73,000 retail apps made available in app stores last year. Both online retailers and traditional bricks and mortar stores have embraced the world where there is always “an app for that” by creating user-friendly apps that provide mobile users with an alternative to visiting the full mobile website. Small screen size inhibits use of mobile websites on smartphones as it is simply too fiddly to input strings of information and smartphone users are often in public places where they may not feel comfortable typing out payment information. Apps are particularly attractive to users on smartphone devices as they facilitate the storage of personal information, such as credit card details, so that they do not have to be manually entered on a small screen in a public space.



Joining online and offline

One of the emerging tactics used by high street retailers is to offer vouchers that are redeemed by simply showing a code on your smartphone at the point of sale. This is a highly innovative, trackable use of mobile which should not be missed out on. Geo-target mobile ads to the areas close to stores or restaurants, promote the voucher in the ad copy to foster click-through and make the voucher accessible within one or two clicks of the landing page. When users redeem the voucher in store, you have a reliable way of quantifying the footfall driven through mobile advertising. This strategy can be taken further by using a technology such as Revtrax who can pass keyword information via the voucher code so that in store redemptions can be attributed to individual keyword clicks for powerful optimisation.



References

  1. Marin Software Q1 2013 Global Advertising Benchmark Report
  2. Econsultancy Mobile Commerce Compendium June 2013
  3. eMarketer How Mobile Is Shaping Global Digital Behavior
Facebook Home

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

What Does Home Do For The Consumer Experience?

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

How Does Home Impact Advertisers?

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

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


What Risks Does Home Face?

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

Tablet Devices Marin Software

Over the last three years, the rapid proliferation of tablet devices has changed the way consumers and advertisers interact across the search landscape. Consumers now rely on their tablets more than ever before to gain access to local business information, product details, reviews, coupons, and competitors. And advertisers responded with relevant ads targeted towards these tablet users.

However, the way these devices are used by consumers today has resulted in a seismic shift in thinking by Google. In an effort to simplify the management of paid search campaigns across devices, location, and time of day, Google upgraded AdWords with enhanced campaigns in early February. According to Google and their data, the line between desktops and tablets is blurring, with search behavior and engagement on the two devices aligning.

A recent 2013 mobile report: The State of Mobile Search Advertising – How Smartphones and Tablets are Changing Paid Search released by Marin Software supports Google’s claim that consumer behavior on tablets and desktops share increasing similarities. However, the data also validates the perception that desktops and tablets are inherently different and perform accordingly so. Regardless, to remain successful in a multi-device world, search marketers must embrace enhanced campaigns and continue delivering a relevant and engaging ad experience.

What Does the Data Say?

Over the last two years, tablets have become a device segment that search marketers can’t ignore. In fact, the share of overall paid search clicks served by Google on tablets increased from 6% to 10.7% in 2012. Consumers are increasingly using tablet devices to research and make purchases on-the-go and, more importantly, in the comfort of their home where desktop devices have traditionally reigned. Marin projects that by the end of 2013, the share of tablet clicks will double in the US, accounting for 20% of Google’s paid search clicks.

Marin Mobile Report Conversion Rate by Device
Marin Mobile Report CTR by Device


In 2012, paid search conversion rates for tablet devices increased by 31%, while smartphone and desktop conversion rates increased by 9% and 7%, respectively. By December 2013, Marin estimates that tablet conversion rates will surpass those of desktops. In addition to this rapid rise in conversion rate, Marin also found that tablet ads are continuing to outperform desktop ads. Click-through rates (CTR) for search ads on tablets were 37% higher than ads delivered on desktops, with the average cost-per-click (CPC) on tablets 17% lower than on desktops. As a result, advertisers increased paid search spend on tablets to capitalize on this opportunity; and by the end of 2012, the share of spend on these devices had increased to 10%, eclipsing the share of spend on smartphones for the first time in history.


Marin Mobile Report CPC by Device
Marin Mobile Report CPC Change by Device



Different, But Equal

Tablets will certainly play a crucial role in the future of paid search, but whether the line between desktops and tablets will continue to converge and blur, or diverge and remain distinct, has yet to be seen. Even though these two devices share similarities in search behavior, they continue to perform differently. Perhaps this is a result of their unique user experiences—desktops with their large screens, mouses, and primarily fixed locations; versus tablets and their touchscreens, smaller search real-estate, and portability. Marin’s mobile report appears to support the notion that different user experiences result in varying ad performance. As a result, we expect Google’s enhanced campaigns to evolve as the market demand for additional functionality becomes evident.

The New Multi-Device World

With the migration to enhanced campaigns underway, search marketers must now prepare for a desktop-and-tablet-combined world. Gone are the days of separating campaigns to target these devices individually. Campaigns and landing pages must now be optimized with both the desktop and tablet user in mind. Two strategies that marketers are implementing today include: limiting the amount of Flash-based content on websites, as iPads don’t support Adobe Flash, and using finger-friendly buttons and links.

In an already highly competitive search landscape, enhanced campaigns will change the way advertisers engage with consumers. Sophisticated search marketers will need to continue investing in technology and reestablish best practices in order to successfully drive media and acquire revenue in the new multi-device world.



Tablet Versus Desktop

Last week, our mobile report caught the eyes of many journalists, including the Wall Street Journal. However, Wired’s interpretation of the data gave me pause to think further on the trend of consumers ditching their desktops and laptops in favor of tablets. As Michael Copeland points out, tablets are no longer just for watching movies while on the train home, checking emails, or passing the time with Angry Birds. As the power and performance of tablets increases and bandwidth becomes more available, firing up the ‘ol tower computer is becoming a thing of the past. Our data certainly supports the notion.

Tablets are the future that much seems certain, but in a post Google enhanced campaigns world where tablets and desktops are “equal”, which one drives the innovation? Prior to enhanced campaigns, the two devices were treated as separate. Ad innovation for desktops progressed along its own path while tablets were busy carving out one of their own. Now that both are AdWords roomies, will future ad innovation be of a desktop lineage or part of the tablet revolution? The two devices and their user experiences certainly aren’t the same; computers with their large screens, mouses, and primarily fixed locations versus tablets and their touch screens, smaller search real-estate, and portability. Does Google continue to favor market share? If so, for how long? Or, do Google and tablets become BFFs?

Only time will tell.

The rapid adoption of mobile devices over the last two years is changing not only how customers engage with advertising channels, but also how online marketers are allocating their advertising budgets. As online marketers are pushing more discretionary spend towards mobile advertising on smartphones and tablets, they need to think more about how they’re optimizing the mobile experience for their on-the-go customers. To help tee up this discussion, Gagan Kanwar, Marin’s Director of Research, sat down and shared three tips on mobile paid search advertising.

The Marin Customer Spotlight series profiles industry leaders and provides an informed perspective on current topics and trends. Last week, Katie Kieft, Search and Analytics Specialist at Fuor Digital, sat down with us (virtually) to discuss the state of mobile advertising and share a few industry best practices.

Fuor Digital











Marin: What are your thoughts on the current state of mobile advertising? Do you feel this growing segment of consumers is only available or profitable to a specific set of industries/verticals? What are your thoughts on the disparity between smart phone and tablet performance within the mobile segment? Do they require separate strategies?

Katie: In short, mobile advertising today is nowhere near where it is going to be in 5, even 2, years. One thing for certain, however, is that the slow progression mobile advertising has seen is certainly not from lack of effort. Advertisers continue to innovate, test, explore, measure the new technologies and advertising opportunities that come with this exponentially growing mobile segment. Currently, mobile search seems to have been adopted and proven successful faster than newer mobile advertising channels, possibly due to the ability to apply knowledge and best practices from desktop search to mobile search. The growing mobile segment—smart phones making up over 50% of the US cell phone population and tablets continuing to grow exponentially—is certainly large enough to offer availability/profitability to all industries. In my opinion, what’s more important than industry or vertical when predicting mobile advertising availability/profitability is how well developed a company’s mobile infrastructure is. For instance, a restaurant with a well-designed mobile site will most likely be much more successful with mobile advertising than its counterpart who does not have a mobile site. The user experiences and user behaviors between smart phones and tablets are just as different as they are between desktop and smart phones, so it is no shock that performance is different as well. Just as mobile and desktop strategies should be customized, having separate strategies for smart phone and tablets is definitely something that should be considered, if not done automatically.



Marin: Mobile device (smart phones and tablets) adoption and usage continues to grow with performance comparable to and sometimes surpassing that of desktops. What paid search strategies are you putting in motion to capitalize on this growing opportunity? How has Marin helped you in executing on these strategies?

Katie: The copy feature in Marin has really made duplicating desktop campaign structures to run on smart phone or tablet devices very easy and has been a big time saver. In regards to smart phone advertising specifically, we understand how much more important being in 1st position is, and with Marin’s bid override feature it is possible to bid to position automatically. This feature not only saves time but also has proven effective in improving performance.



Marin: If you could only recommend one mobile paid search best practice, what would it be and why?

Katie: Always separate smart phone and tablet device campaigns. As previously stated, smart phone, tablet, and desktop usage and experience are all unique and require separate strategies. In order to successfully run separate strategies, the campaigns must first be physically separated in the search account by targeted device. Without proper account structure, other mobile best practices will be harder to implement and campaign management will become more difficult, hence the reason I would recommend this best practice over others.

Earlier this week, Facebook announced the ability for direct advertisers and agencies to buy sponsored stories* on mobile devices, exclusively. Prior to this, Facebook controlled whether or not an advertiser’s sponsored story would appear in a user’s news feed for mobile devices. Furthermore, marketers had no choice in when their sponsored stories were shown and no means of segmenting out the performance by desktop and mobile. For those familiar with Google AdWords advertising, this new Facebook functionality is equivalent to desktop and/or mobile device targeting for paid search campaigns.

The sponsored stories targeting options now available through the ads API and Power Editor are:

  • All placements: this option includes right-hand side, News Feed desktop and News Feed mobile
  • All desktop placements: this option includes right-hand side and News Feed desktop
  • News Feed (desktop and mobile): this option includes News Feed desktop and News Feed mobile
  • News Feed desktop: this option includes News Feed desktop only
  • News Feed mobile: this option includes News Feed mobile only


What does this mean for Facebook and their advertisers? This change certainly provides marketers with more control over their ads and visibility into their data for optimizing campaigns. But to anyone familiar with advertising, this also means more ad revenue for Facebook. Consider these figures: Facebook made $3.2 billion in ad revenue last year, primarily from desktop advertising. And as of December, there were 901 million monthly active users, with 500 million of those being mobile. With the flood gates now open for sponsored stories on mobile devices and the continued growth of monthly active mobile users, it’s clear that Facebook is set to generate hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in revenue from this untapped mobile ad market.

Though this announcement appears to be a win-win for Facebook and their advertisers, it remains unclear as to how mobile users will react to seeing these new ads in their news feeds. As a thought, Facebook may want to consider providing more visibility into the algorithm that influences the ads appearing in a user’s news feed, such as click-through-rate. This algorithm might be similar to Facebook’s existing EdgeRank, which factors Affinity, Weight and Decay into the ranking of social content appearing in news feeds. Developing a transparent and effective metric to promote ad relevancy would benefit marketers and Facebook users in a landscape of dynamically changing content and consumer intent.

Share your thoughts with us on this announcement in the comments section below.



*Sponsored stories allow Facebook advertisers to surface word-of-mouth recommendations about their brand that exists organically in the Facebook News Feed. Sponsored stories are different from ads and can amplify the brand engagement of the target audience. For example, if a person’s friends like a Page, in addition to seeing that news story in their News Feed, they can also see the same story on the right-hand column. Sponsored stories are available for ads that promote a Page, Place, Application or Domain.

Consumers are increasingly using their mobile and tablet devices to perform searches. According to Marin’s most recent research, mobile devices accounted for 15% of all UK paid search clicks in December 2011. As mobile devices become more proliferated, tablets, smartphones, and desktops are requiring separate targeting and optimisation strategies to be successful. The first step is to separate the campaigns. Separate campaigns will allow you to bid, target and optimise to the nuances of mobile ad formats, such as higher click-through-rates (CTR), different time of day trends and lower cost-per-clicks (CPC). This gives marketers more control over search campaigns and ultimately drives higher overall performance.

Separate device targeting will also allow you to optimise bids based on when your consumers browse on different devices. For example, a consumer may use his or her smartphone to search in the morning on his or her way to work, research further on a desktop at lunchtime and convert on a tablet device while watching TV in the evening. Consumers in your vertical may behave differently across devices. To optimise paid search activity for your consumers’ device behaviour, follow these two steps:

  1. Analyse device clicks and conversion throughout the day and week
  2. Implement a separate “Ad Scheduling” strategy for each device


Marin Enterprise Ad Scheduling UI



Analyse your data for varying volume and conversions through the day on the separate devices. For times/hours where you experience higher conversion rates on certain devices boost your position and drive more traffic for those devices. Reduce position for time periods with lower conversion rates. Each advertiser will have slightly different business goals, so you need to look at the times where a boost or de-boost will improve the performance of your key performance indicators (KPIs).

By looking at the average time to purchase and testing how different boost timetables work on certain devices--such as boosting when consumers are in the research phase--you can improve your hourly strategy to maximise performance. Device path-to-conversion information will help towards achieving this. Moreover, it’s worth looking at your day-of-week trends to find more signals to optimise to.

In the UK, the average CPC on a smartphone is roughly half that of a corresponding desktop click, while tablet CPCs are just over two-thirds the cost of a desktop click. With these favorable advertising conditions, following these simple steps will put you ahead of the curve and provide significant improvements to your paid search program.

Last week Marin hosted a webcast to review our recent study of mobile paid search. Speakers for this event included Gagan Kanwar of Marin Software and Josh Dreller of Fuor Digital, an online advertising agency. To shed light on the current state of mobile search, Gagan presented on several key findings from our study, including:

  • Mobile clicks increased 132% in 2011
  • Smartphones carry higher CTRs and lower CPCs when compared to tablets and desktops
  • Mobile will comprise 25% of all paid search clicks by the end of 2012


To put these mobile trends in perspective, Josh presented two case studies on recent mobile performance across Fuor Digital’s customer base. He also examined several compelling statistics on mobile user behavior, including:

  • Where smartphone users are browsing
  • How shoppers leverage smartphones
  • How smartphone users respond to ads


To view the recording of this webcast and hear more on the state of mobile search, click here.

We love our mobile devices, and according to our recent study of mobile paid search, we love searching on them. In looking across our client base the trend was unanimous, mobile search is up, way up.

In the U.S., we saw ad clicks from mobile devices increase 132% during 2011, and by the end of this year mobile will comprise 25% of all paid search clicks. Similarly, in the UK mobile ended the year with 15% of all clicks in the UK. And, even though it’s not as significant a percentage, mobile clicks in the Eurozone more than doubled in 2011.

Things get even more interesting for marketers when looking at the differences between smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Generally (UK was the sole exception), smartphones carry higher CTRs and lower CPCs, but the lowest conversion rates. Tablets beat desktops in CTR and CPC, come close to trumping desktops in conversion rate, and edge all devices out in cost per conversion.


So, what’s this all mean?

Mobile devices are not only changing the way consumers search and shop, but how marketers advertise. The immediate response by advertisers is to devote more budget to mobile search (we project ad budgets will fall just a bit short of click volume in 2012). However, down the road as savvy marketers adapt to mobile search scenarios, click to call, location-based promos, and integration with social will all become common place. Furthermore, attribution becomes a much larger issue, particularly in a scenario where a mobile search directly leads to an in-store sale. Who gets the credit?

How do you foresee search marketing changing with the increased adoption and use of smartphones and tablets?

Yesterday, Google released its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2011. On the whole, it was a strong quarter for the digital advertising giant. But Wall Street reacted in a way that seems counterintuitive. Since the earnings' call, $18 billion has evaporated from Google's market cap as share prices fell ~8%. So, what’s happening here? Is there really cause for concern? Or are Wall Street's concerns overblown?

Google Earnings





To get a more complete picture, let's look at the relevant pieces of Google's business and performance.

The Big Picture


Google's revenue for the fourth quarter was $10.6 billion, representing a year-over-year (y/y) top line growth of 25%, and marking their first $10 billion plus quarter. Though I usually don't wax poetic over corporate financials, there is something strongly significant and symbolic about having hit the rarefied $10 billion quarter club. Way to go, Googlers!

Google’s Core Search Business


Click Volume - Paid clicks were up 34% annually (y/y), implying more users are more engaged with Google.

CPC - Cost per Click declined 8% on a y/y basis, implying customers are getting more volume (clicks) for their advertising spend. This dynamic is important to keep in mind as cheaper clicks are better for advertisers, and assuming click quality doesn't decline, will lead to increased investment in Google.

Wall Street’s Reaction


There's probably more to dissect in these earnings, but this is probably a good place to pause and examine Wall Street's reaction.

To put it plainly, Wall Street didn't like any of the above. Shares plummeted ~8%. The big issue for Wall Street (based on the nature and frequency of analyst questions) was around the decline in Google's average cost per click.

But this shouldn't really be a factor because the marginal cost of a click (for Google) is zero. And assuming that click volumes are rising faster than changes in the cost per click, which they are in this case, Google's top line revenue shouldn't really see an impact.Net net, if cheaper clicks brings more advertisers on-board, than Google will more than make up on volume.

To be fair, I'm not looking at the slowdown in Europe or issues around currency (F/X) hedging in this blog post. (I'm also not looking at the positive impacts of mobile, social and display) But, those issues are a) extrinsic and b) volatile, and in retrospect, Wall Street may have over-reacted to Google's numbers.

Implementing a mobile marketing strategy for paid search may pay large dividends to your web business. This article outlines the basic steps from evaluating the opportunity to building and optimizing a mobile-targeted search campaign.

The number of smartphone subscribers using the mobile Internet has grown 45% since 2010, and the majority of 25-34 and 18-24 year olds now own smartphones (64% and 53% respectively)[1]. 79% of smartphone consumers use their phones to help with shopping, from comparing prices, to finding more information on a product or service, to locating a retailer[2]. Also, mobile and tablet usage has proven to be complimentary to desktop computer usage[3]. The time for Mobile paid search marketing is now, and the following ideas will help your business capitalize on the opportunity.

Measure Overall Mobile Demand


The first step in defining a mobile marketing strategy is to estimate the number of monthly search queries your current keywords generate from mobile devices. This can be accomplished by using the Google Keyword Tool’s “Advanced Options and Filters” feature. If demand is significant, it is critical to develop a comprehensive mobile strategy.

Brand Penetration


Next, investigate what percent of your current traffic comes from mobile devices. This can be tested by opting select campaigns into both mobile and desktop targeting for a limited period of time. After the test period, use the “Segment” button in Adwords to view campaign data segmented by device type. Mobile is estimated to represent 15-17% of all SEM traffic for the Finance, Automotive, Tech, Travel and Entertainment industries. What percent of your brand’s search volume comes from mobile?

Evaluate Current Assets


If there is significant mobile search volume and brand penetration, evaluate your current assets. Does your brand have mobile-optimized web content or SEM-specific landing pages? If not, plan to invest budget here. Also, be sure your current tracking solution is compatible with mobile in order to attribute conversions and revenue back to the keyword that generated the sale.

Account Structure


One paid search best practice is to create separate campaigns targeting only mobile devices (not desktop). The benefits of doing so are budget control, bid control (see “Bidding” section below), ad copy optimization and mobile-specific landing page targeting. If you already have campaigns targeting desktop, either copy the entire campaign or simply migrate your head terms and other high-traffic keywords.

Building Search Objects


The mobile customer is unique. When building a mobile keyword set, remember, mobile screens are small. Therefore, mobile search queries tend to be shorter than desktop queries, typically one to three words. Mobile search queries also contain more local information, such as zip codes and city names. In your ad copy, be sure to include a relevant call-to-action, such as “Receive a Quote on Your Phone”. Also, consider using advanced ad features such as click-to-call and click-to-download if you have the means to track conversions from these sources.

Bid Optimization


There is limited real estate on mobile search engine results pages, five on Google, only two of which are positioned above organic search results. Consider bidding important keywords to position two or better, and leverage your SEM management tool to build an alert to notify you if mobile keywords drop below your target average position. For keywords targeted to ROI or CPL goals, consider targeting separate performance goals based on historical conversion rate and value per conversion, as mobile traffic converts differently than desktop.

If your keywords generate a significant amount of searches from mobile phones, implementing a mobile marketing strategy for paid search should be a priority. After growing by 45% since 2010, mobile internet usage is not expected to slow, so act now.

Google recently projected 44% of searches for last minute gifts this holiday season will be from mobile devices. We do realize summer just ended and it may be a tad early for some to be thinking about the holidays; however, the stat did get us thinking about best practices when running successful mobile advertising campaigns. Here are three things we’ve noticed that you may want to consider:

1) Position More Important – A smaller screen equates to less ad real-estate on mobile devices. Typically only 1 or 2 paid search ads appear at the top of a mobile search. Consequently, it’s important to closely monitor the position of your mobile ads and adjust accordingly.

2) Tailor Mobile Ad Content – Although tempting, copying existing creative over to mobile campaigns tends not to work as well. We’ve seen short and sweet works the best with mobile ads creative. Certainly leverage all the characters you can, but be conscious about clarity so mobile users on the go accurately know what they’re in for.

3) Focus on Local Results – Often when searching on mobile devices users are trying to find an answer to an immediate concern whether it’s directions, nearest restaurant, or nearest store that sells a particular item. Advertisers that focus on taking advantage of locality tend to see better results. Local offers and coupons, particularly in-store coupons, within mobile ads improve click-through rates and conversions.

What have you found to work when running mobile ads?

With the recent news that Android’s share of market has passed Blackberry and taken a larger lead against Apple, it makes us all wonder how large mobile can grow and when we should all jump into the mobile game as well. There are many ways to get into the mobile space as an advertiser whether it is running ads on the search engine mobile sites, banners in apps, optimizing your own website for mobile, or even creating your own brand app.

Most advertisers pay to drive users to their mobile website through banners and ads in search engine mobile sites, but place minimal attention to using the same medium to drive traffic to their own brand apps. Sure, the app market is still young and you might think that there is nothing for you to gain by sending traffic to your own application or even in justifying that you should build one to begin with. Recent studies suggest that my previous statement could soon be false. IHS Screen Digest reported that the app market (run by Apple, Google, Nokia, and Palm) is going to be worth over $8 billion by 2014, with a predicted 78% growth in 2011. If you have your own app, Google Adwords allows you to drive traffic to the Apple App Store or Android Market and claim your piece of the pie. Currently Apple is expected to retain 60% of the paid apps market but with the increased use of Android smartphones, the Android market is only expected to increase its market share to close in on Apple.


Graph1


With constant reports and studies showing that the mobile market is quickly growing and new mobile web strategies developed, it may be time to think of mobile advertising as an entirely new branch to your online campaigns. The internet is changing daily and with these types of new developments, it would be smart to forget about the internet we grew up with and view this as a new world with the app market as your playground. With your own application, you have the opportunity to reach an increasing number of consumers. By 2014, downloaded applications (paid and free) is expected to top 33 billion.

A recent study from Google and conducted by Ipsos OTX revealed that “Consumers use smartphones as an extension of their desktop computers and use it as they multi-task and consume other media.” The study showed that 81% of smartphone users browse the Internet, 77% search, 68% use an app, and 48% watch videos on their smartphone. Also, 93% of smartphone owners use their smartphones while at home, which shows the transition of people moving away from their desktop and on to their mobile device. With such a large of smartphone owners using apps, this can be an untapped resource for addition revenue and traffic to the rest of your mobile efforts.

If you were still thinking of developing your own branded application, you may want to think about the traffic that you are missing without the application.

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