This year’s holiday season will beat 2017 in every major online retail category—the duration of the season, the amount spent, and the number of shoppers who engage. We’ve put together a list of tips to boost your retargeting click-through rate and conversions during this critical quarter and holiday season. We’ll also highlight a bunch of new Perfect Audience features we’ve pushed out this year that can help you achieve your goals.
Get an early start. Cyber Monday (November 26, 2018) is not the day to launch your holiday campaigns for the first time—there’s a lot of down time over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and people spend some of it online. Have your Perfect Audience Site Tracking Tag installed, your audience segments defined, and your creatives ready to go at least 30 days in advance.
It’s a good idea to run some campaigns in October, too. There’s less competition for ad space than in November and December—you may attract early bird shoppers while planting seeds for future conversions.
There’s inventory to be won using some less popular but still useful ad sizes (970×250 headers for desktop, 300×250 and 320×100 for mobile web). This is in addition to the sizes we recommend for all web campaigns.
Cross-device retargeting means Perfect Audience will follow your shoppers from desktop to mobile device. Are they browsing your store at work, then using their phone on the train home? That’s where we’ll get them. Desktop is still king in terms of revenue, but mobile’s share rises every year and can’t be ignored. Make sure you run mobile campaigns in addition to everything else you’re doing.
In Q4, you’ll probably see a lift in site traffic. This means your audiences will grow and you can serve more impressions. Our team recommends a 25-50% weekly budget increase for the months of November to December. If your traffic usually goes up by a certain amount, increase the budget by that percentage.
To change your weekly campaign budget in Perfect Audience, go to Manage -> Campaigns and Edit your campaign. In Step 3, change your budget amount. When you’re done, click Save at the bottom of the page.
Increase Your Bids
Just about every eCommerce store bumps up its advertising budget for Q4, making ad impressions harder to win.
With so many advertisers fighting for ad space, it’s not uncommon to see your CPM costs rise during this time of year. Prepare for the surge by increasing your CPM bids across your campaigns. Bidding higher will make your campaigns more competitive and will give you a better chance of serving more ads. We suggest increasing your CPM bid by 50-100% of the current average CPM cost for the campaign.
Go to Manage -> Campaigns and edit a campaign. In step 3, find Bid Type and change the setting to Manual Bidding. Then enter your CPM bid.
You’ve also got CPC bidding options for Facebook campaigns in Perfect Audience.
Save when you’re finished editing your bidding.
Facebook Marketplace and Messenger
Perfect Audience supports ad placements in Facebook Marketplace and Messenger. These are two of Facebook’s newest placements, representing new avenues to reach Facebook users. It’s turned on by default if you run Facebook campaigns in Perfect Audience. Learn more and check it out.
Take Advantage of Instagram
Mobile shopping continues to rise, as does engagement with Instagram. Instagram is approaching the one billion user milestone, and 80% of those users follow at least one business. If it looks good on the ‘Gram, your customers are thinking about how it’ll look in their homes.
Perfect Audience now has an integration with Shopify that automatically imports your product feed and builds dynamic (that is, product-specific) ads for your catalog. Set your own budgets and keep total control over your campaigns. Detailed reporting ensures you have a clear picture of your return on ad spend. If you’re already a Perfect Audience and Shopify user, setup is quick and easy.
Dynamic Ads: Stuff Your Ads Like Stockings
It’s better to have more gifts under the tree, more cookies on your plate, and more products visible in one ad. If you’re an eCommerce retailer and you have a Google Merchant Center product feed, try our multi-product dynamic ads. If you’ve got a feed imported, it takes just a few seconds to build your ads. It’s like four impressions for the price of one.
Create Holiday-themed Ads and Landing Pages
Holiday ads and landing pages get attention, create urgency, and show you’re not running the exact same campaigns as the rest of the year. Send a happy holiday message, mention the buy deadline to ensure holiday delivery, and give them a reason to click your ads.
It takes just two quick steps:
Create landing pages and content on your site for these holiday events, then create audiences that capture visitors of these pages. (Read up on audiences.)
Run campaigns to serve your holiday ads to your holiday page visitors. If they’re coming to your site looking for holiday deals, they’re more likely to respond to holiday-themed ads.
The season extends beyond December 31st—returns and gift cards mean another wave of shoppers arrives in January. You can lower your bids and budgets a little, but don’t turn all your ads off—there are still plenty of sales to be made.
This is a guest post from Charlotte Haab, Account Manager at 3Q Digital.
Summer’s finally here. For most of our weekends that means one thing—weddings.
Spring through summer is well known as wedding season in the US, and for digital advertisers, the industry can be a lucrative one. But how about for those of us who aren’t peddling save the dates or bridesmaid dresses?
The average wedding has about 100 guests, each tasked with getting a gift to celebrate the new couple. If the average person spends $116 on a wedding gift, that’s a lot of revenue to be had! The question then becomes: How do we tap into those fringe markets—like gifts—during the peak of nuptial season?
Here are seven things to keep in mind to get the most out of your marketing this wedding season.
1. Be on the right channels
If you want to capitalize on the summer wedding eCommerce runoff, being on the right channels is key. It’s no lie that weddings are all about aesthetic. As such, having a presence on visual wedding-oriented channels like Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram is extremely important. Seventy-two percent of people getting married start on Pinterest, and 33% connect with brands through Instagram. Those numbers grow each year.
As a new wedding-goer myself I know I’ve turned to Pinterest for gift-giving etiquette. Have fun with it! Create a “gift guide” pin featuring your top giftable products, and use keyword targeting to hit people like me, perusing Pinterest for wedding gift cost guidance or trending items. Or, target users with marriage-aged friends on Instagram with romantic product shots of this season’s latest gifts—bonus if they’re shoppable!
2. Hit the right demographic
Considering who will be buying wedding gifts is important. You’ll want to apply age targeting segments wherever possible. The average newlywed couple is 25-34, which means their friends are, too, so be sure to target that segment the most aggressively.
Also target ages 45-64 to hit parents and family members of the new couple. The older the demographic the more money they tend to have—making the higher age ranges ideal targeting for bigger ticket items.
Lastly, while it may be archaic, most people actually buying wedding gifts are women. So consider gender-specific targeting to better get at this key group of buyers. Similarly, if you’re selling a bigger ticket item—like appliances or furniture—think about applying some household income targeting to exclude the users who can’t afford your products.
3. Get creative with customer segments
In SEM there are a lot of targeting options that lend themselves perfectly to gifting. You can play around with the best combinations of In-Market or Affinity audiences to expand your reach. Some are even specific to weddings, such as In Market for Gift Baskets or Personalized Gifts, or even an affinity for Luxury Shoppers or Home Decor Enthusiasts.
You could even craft your own custom affinity audience and target people interested in specific topics or domains, like theknot.com, Zola, or just straight up “wedding gifts.” They sky's the limit.
Beyond this, you could also try your hand at some customer list targeting. Create a list based off of users who purchased your gifts around the holidays, and remind them of their pleasant past purchasing experience this time around!
4. Whittle down your keyword targeting
I would also recommend implementing an RLSA keyword strategy. Keywords like “wedding gifts” or “gifts for couples” might get you where you want to be, but they’ll be incredibly competitive and likely carry some pretty high CPCs.
To get around this, create a campaign of those top of funnel keywords you wish you could afford, and slap some audience lists on top of them to narrow their reach to your existing customers! This is another place creative customer lists can come in handy. If someone who purchased with you last year is now looking for a wedding gift, they’ll likely recall your brand, and may even be willing to purchase from you again. The stronger the intent of your customer lists, the higher you should bid up.
5. Use the right creative
Like I said earlier, weddings are all about aesthetic. In order to inspire the right people you need to have proper creative. For events like weddings people respond well to notions of sentimentality. Include language around getting your loved one the “perfect gift.”
When using image creative, it’s important to stay on trend, and tell a story as much as possible. Weddings are about friends and families coming together to celebrate—if you can capture that in your imagery, you'll have a winning ad, like this great Zola example!
6. Update your site to match
If it’s within your means, update your website during wedding season to encourage new users to purchase. I would suggest an on-site “countdown” to wedding season, or even better a dedicated “gift guide” to steer users to your top selling or biggest ticket items. At the very least there should be a clear path from your homepage to the items you consider gifts.
7. Consider lesser-known wedding expenses
Lastly, if you’re not a home goods or traditional gift retailer, fret not—there is still plenty of the wedding cash cow to go around. If you’re marketing formalwear, hotels, transportation, beauty, or entertainment services, you can still capitalize on all those bells and whistles that come with a wedding.
Lookalike audiences are the Facebook feature when it comes to audience targeting. If you’re looking to scale your campaigns and more, it’s a must-consider option.
The Basics: What Is It and How Does It Work?
You can use lookalike targeting to find similar users to your core audience based on interests, click behavior, and conversion habits. The smaller the percentage of your core audience, the more similar your lookalike audience will be.
A lookalike percentage says, “Give me x% of the selected country users who are most similar to my seed audience.” For example, if you create a 1% lookalike in the US, the output will always be around 2.1 million profiles, since this is more or less 1% of the total number of Facebook users in the US.
However, depending on the seed audience, the profiles may greatly differ—for example, a 1% lookalike of your most valuable lifetime users will be different from a 1% lookalike of all website visitors. Therefore, seed quality is the most important factor for success.
You have several options from which to generate lookalike audiences:
Your custom audience (email lists, phone numbers, etc.)
Website Custom Audience
Campaign data (API-only feature)
A Few Size Guidelines
When segmenting/choosing seed audiences, think quality over quantity. Although quality can be subjective, there are a few generic size benchmarks (guidelines) for your seed audience.
Keep it under 50,000, since anything above this may see a drop in performance.
Keep it above 1,000.
For example, let’s take our previous 1% US lookalike. Our audience has 2.1 million people. When we create our lookalike audience, Facebook compares the people in this audience against how similar they are to our seed audience of less than 50,000. In other words, we’re magnifying the seed 40 times. If the seed isn’t high quality, then the magnification won’t produce the best audience.
As you can see, you have a lot of choices to test different audience types and associated performance. The key challenge is to segment and structure the audiences to avoid overlaps and achieve the best delivery.
Something to note: Since frequency caps limit the daily number of times you can deliver an ad to a user, lookalike audiences won’t increase your overall reach. And, you’ll have less predictability when it comes to which ad wins each auction.
There’s a way to overcome these challenges, however. Make sure your strategy includes nested lookalikes and smart exclusions. Let’s go into more detail.
Using Nested Lookalikes and Smart Exclusions
Let’s start with an example, where we exclude the next-highest percentage audience from our targeted lookalike audience. So, if you’re targeting lookalike 3% and lookalike 5%, then exclude the 3% audience from the campaign that’s targeting the 5% one.
With smart exclusions, we exclude the targeted audiences that we’re already using in other live campaigns. For example, if you’re running campaigns with 1% lookalike and 3% lookalike and want to launch a broader targeting campaign, then exclude the 3% lookalike.
Avoiding Campaign Redundancies and Fine-Tuning
When you’re planning your targeting strategy, make sure you’re segmenting your lookalike thresholds according to the value of the user, and excluding the targeted audiences from campaigns to avoid overlap. This’ll allow you to use lookalike audiences from different sources, increasing the overall reach and scalability of your campaigns.
For example, if you’re running a retargeting campaign based on a Website Custom Audience of all your site visitors, exclude this campaign from all of your acquisition initiatives, along with the associated lookalike audiences.
Here’s another scenario. Suppose you’re a travel website and the user funnel includes two conversions—registration and booking. You would segment the audiences based on your goals—perhaps based on the custom audience of the previous month's bookers, conversion pixel data, and Website Custom Audience of people who registered but didn’t book. Your segmentation would look like this:
Custom audience segmentation:
You can use all of these audiences for your acquisition campaigns, along with interest-based and other targeting options.
Here’s the final campaign planning structure for this example. This takes into account that retargeting campaigns are running based on your Website Custom Audiences.
Fine-tuned campaign planning structure:
Putting It All Together
Creating effective lookalike audiences takes a bit of cunning and patience, but it’s not rocket science. With continued practice, refinement, and measurement, you can scale your campaigns to ensure you’re targeting audiences with the most relevant ads at the most relevant time, in a way that works the best for your business. If you haven’t yet implemented this feature, we strongly recommend you get started today!
If their advertising revenue is any sign, Facebook and Google will be the dominant players in the digital ad space for years to come. How can marketers continue to compete? Including videos in your advertising campaigns is the new winning strategy, especially on YouTube and Facebook.
The Shape-Shifting Digital Marketer
How can advertisers do this with people constantly shuffling their attention between channels and devices? Video is a great way to stand out and get noticed in a sea of content. It’s a booming category for digital advertisers, with Cisco predicting that video will represent 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2019.
Marketers must change their game plans to adapt. And, since your video is competing with many other forms of content, simply creating a basic video ad isn’t enough. Brands must build high-quality, engaging videos (in mobile-friendly formats) that are more likely to catch the attention of their specific target audience.
Your site visitors are more likely to convert after being exposed to your brand on both Facebook and Google than those only exposed to one or the other. Ideally you’re already advertising across both channels, but what can you do to most effectively combine the targeting prowess and visual appeal of social marketing with the advantages of search intent?
In this post, we highlight how you can use Google Analytics UTM tagging in your Facebook advertising to go after specific audiences on Google.
Find potential customers through Facebook to target on Google
Facebook advertising is great for reaching new potential customers who aren’t actively searching for your product, but when they are, you’ll want to ensure ad visibility in those search results now that they’re aware of your brand.
One way to do this is to first create a campaign specifically designed for new user acquisition and tag their URLs accordingly (remember to exclude previous visitors). Then, create a remarketing list in Google Analytics making sure the traffic source matches that label. Finally, apply this list as a Remarketing List for Search Ads (RLSA) in AdWords, using the target and bid option, for campaigns and/or ad groups comprised of broad, top-of-funnel keywords.
This tactic not only helps to ensure search ad visibility to users who’ve already been exposed to your brand through Facebook—by applying the RLSA specifically to upper-funnel keywords, it also serves your broad match keyword strategy by adding that layer of qualification criteria to improve their chances for success.
Get Facebook converters back into the funnel through Google
A previous purchaser is usually easier to convert than a new customer. Here again, cross-channel advertisers can take advantage of this fact by employing UTM tagging to distinguish likely converters from their most successful Facebook ads, and target them more aggressively on search using RLSA.
The steps here are similar: After running ads on Facebook, identify your top converting ad set and tag its URLs with UTM tracking parameters to label them accordingly. Then, create a remarketing list in Google Analytics based on the traffic source matching that label. From there, you can use this list as an RLSA across your relevant Google campaigns to modify the bids for those users when they search for your product, to increase the likelihood of getting these highly qualified users to your site—especially now that they’re demonstrating intent.
Of course, these approaches offer just a glimpse into the capabilities that URL tagging and search retargeting provide that will hopefully inspire you in your cross-channel advertising efforts. Good luck and happy converting!
The shopping season didn’t end with 2017. Take advantage of continued online purchase activity by giving your retargeting campaigns a boost, and set the stage for 2018 with our helpful tips.
Boost your budgets, serve more impressions
Because of the December 2017 web traffic boost, especially for those of you in e-commerce, additional traffic likely made you serve additional impressions and may have maxed out your budget. Hopefully, that didn’t happen and you didn’t miss out due to a limited budget.
Now, look at how your traffic historically performs over the first few months of the year, and increase the budget by that amount for each month. Note that January shoppers may have maxed out their credit cards in December, so look for ways to entice them with February and March deals.
Adjust your campaign bids
Nearly every advertiser, particularly those in business-to-consumer, increases their spend for the holiday season, so the competition is always fierce.
As the New Year settles in, this competition means it’s not uncommon to see your CPM costs go up during this time of year. To prepare, increase your CPM bids across your campaigns by 50-100% of the current average CPM cost for the campaign.
Bidding higher will give you a better chance of serving more ads by winning more auctions and therefore winning more impressions.
Stay ahead of the game by preparing at least 30 days in advance for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation season, wedding season, and summer holidays. Have your audiences built, your creative uploaded and approved, and schedule a quick call with your Customer Success Manager.
Holiday-themed content and landing pages
With every New Year comes new holidays! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, one of the biggest first-quarter celebrations each year.
If you’ve got a big sale, free shipping, or you’re running Valentine’s Day (or even President’s Day) promotions—or whatever your very best offer is—put it front and center. Your shoppers are always hungry for deals so be sure to highlight your most enticing products, specials, sales, and content.
You may want to create an audience of only the people who visited your holiday landing pages. You can then target them with shorter lookback windows to cash in on their instinct to impulse-buy. If your creative looks like your landing pages, give yourself some extra Valentine’s Day heart candies because that’s a best practice.
After the first three months in the cold, the next three bring April showers, May flowers, and June vacations. From spring cleaning to Easter to the great outdoors, start planning now for expected activity in the CPG, sporting goods, and other retail spaces.
A key way to drive better performance than your competitors as you vie for consumer attention is by incorporating search intent signals.
In our Marin Software Holiday Guide, we detail things you can do to create powerful cross-channel campaigns using search intent audiences—and find new growth during the holidays and beyond.
Here’s a preview of just a few tactics the guide includes:
Dimensions to Audiences: Roll up multiple similarly themed keywords and categories into one dimension, in order to avoid fragmenting audiences into very small sub-segments that deliver minimal reach on Facebook.
Make creatives consistent: Make sure your landing pages align with specific keywords, categories, or any other criteria.
Add the right optimization layers: Automatically increase or decrease your manual Facebook bids by a set percentage, based on ad performance versus your expressed CPA or ROI goal. Also, automatically allocate the right budget to the right ad sets.
Experiment with different ad formats and objectives: Use search intent to build new campaigns and expand to more specialized ad types and objectives; for example, you could combine search intent with Facebook Leads Ads to reduce CPA and increase lead quality.
Measure and refine: Use multi-touch attribution to measure across devices and channels and to deduplicate for accurate data.
As many as 98% of website visitors don’t convert on their first visit. There are many ways that online marketers work to improve these initial conversion rates—employing effective ways to interact with your visitors to eventually convert them into customers is a crucial component of a comprehensive strategy.
One of these ways is to take advantage of remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), which is a great way to re-engage potential customers with the added benefit of search intent signals. This post highlights some of the best ways to incorporate them into your search strategy.
Understand and Utilize the Different RLSA Options to Their Strengths
Before you get started, it’s important to understand the differences and the two basic options for RLSA and how to use them appropriately.
Target and Bid
The first is Target and Bid. This option allows you to set a defined audience that your ads will be delivered to, with the ability to set individual bids on specific keywords with that audience in mind. The main benefit of this approach is that it allows you to spend your budget more efficiently in generic, top-of-funnel campaigns without requiring as much investment as it otherwise would to find success in them.
Suppose you’ve homed in on a specific audience segment that you know has a high propensity to convert. Now, you can bid on that audience for broader keywords without having to rely as much on the level of intent of those terms. This will also serve as a hedge against the fact that these keywords tend to be more competitive to rank for. It also, of course, allows you to tailor your ads more uniquely to that audience.
The other option is Bid Only. Unlike Target and Bid, this setting doesn’t restrict the audience for your ads. Instead, it allows you to use remarketing lists as an additional layer of bidding criteria—making it ideal for advertisers who want to keep their reach wide while being able to vary the degree of aggressiveness with bid modifiers, depending on the audience. This strategy is preferable for campaigns that are still in the process of building those remarketing lists.
Whichever setting makes the most sense depends on the campaign and goal. In general, the Target and Bid setting is the more conservative option when you’re evaluating the performance of generic queries. The Bid Only setting is generally better as an added degree of optimization for campaigns that are already performing well.
Use RLSA for Shopping Campaigns
If you’re not doing so already, consider this standard practice moving forward, as it’s a powerful way to get previous site visitors into your funnel. If they viewed products and left before purchasing, use product listing ads when they perform a relevant search later on. This serves as a visual reminder that can nudge them toward conversion. (And, make sure your PLAs are optimized for when they do.)
To create a tiered strategy based on likeliness to convert, set up audience lists to correspond to each point in your purchase funnel (e.g., All Visitors, Product Viewers, Cart Abandoners, etc.) and modify bids increasingly towards the bottom of the funnel.
Combine RLSA Targeting with Demographic Bidding
In case you missed it, Google AdWords now supports demographic bidding on the search network as of late 2016 (although Bing beat them to the punch). With the ability to set bid modifiers on gender and age ranges—which can be used to enhance your standard search campaigns—you can now combine the powers of remarketing, search intent, and demographic targeting. This of course allows you to narrow down your best-converting visitor profile even further based on your campaign and site analytics. (Pro tip: You can also use Facebook Insights to help identify demographic segments that perform the best and set bid modifiers accordingly.)
Google research shows that if you’re a search advertiser, you may be missing over 70% of potential mobile shoppers by relying on demographic targeting alone. On the other hand, if users are already familiar with your brand, they’re 20% more likely to convert.
How do you get people to discover you in the first place? And, how can you move beyond demographics to reach existing and potential customers more precisely and efficiently?
To ensure the success of your search ad campaigns, it makes sense to adopt a combination of audience targeting and smart bidding.
Tools of an Evolving Trade
There are a number of search ad formats designed to deliver specific results based on your business goals and objectives. The key is knowing how to mix and match. For instance, according to Google, advertisers using Similar Audiences in conjunction with remarketing are seeing some pretty amazing results:
60% more impressions
48% more clicks
41% more conversions
Think of audience targeting as a toolkit—a set of ad types you can choose from to build performance-boosting campaigns. Audience targeting allows you to achieve several great benefits and capabilities:
Identify people interested in your products at scale
Reach new and existing customers across devices
Set the right bidding rules for maximum ad exposure
Use search intent to deliver ads to highly receptive target audiences
Deliver the right message to build relationships and drive action
The name of the game is accuracy—building the right audiences, choosing who sees your ads, and optimizing based on performance.
Join Our Audiences Webinar
Sign up for our upcoming webinar, Finding Your Ideal Audience: Targeted Ads for Customer Acquisition, to learn how to effectively use your first-party data and insights on consumer behavior to drive profitable search ad campaigns. Mike Lerra from Google and Marin’s Patrick Hutchison will share practical insights, tips, and tactics for your advertising efforts.
To make it convenient for global teams, we’ve scheduled three different times:
Mike Lerra is a lifelong Massachusetts native and the Global Product Lead for Search Audiences out of Google’s Cambridge office. Prior to this role, he was an Analytical Lead for Google’s sales teams in the Retail and B2B verticals. Mike came to Google from TripAdvisor, where he managed search engine marketing. Outside of work, Mike is an avid sabermetrician, always looking for the next great baseball statistic or analysis.
Patrick Hutchison has been on the Marin team for 10 years, filling roles as diverse as Search Manager, Solutions Architect, and Sales Engineer. In 2015 he became a Product Marketing Manager, and now helps create effective customer success stories and evangelize the Marin Brand. Patrick graduated from University of California, Davis, with a BS in Managerial Economics.
This is a guest post from Ashley Aptt, Account Director at 3Q Digital.
Influencer marketing is a powerful tactic for increasing brand awareness. Influencers typically have a loyal following and their audience base trusts what they say. When influencers promote or endorse a brand’s product, that brand can expect an increase not only in exposure, but also in conversion rates.
By coordinating your influencer marketing strategy across other channels, you’ll be able to further capitalize on the increased brand awareness. Here are four practical and effective strategies to help you support an influencer campaign via paid search.
1. Adjust Bids and Budgets
When you run an influencer campaign, prepare for instant results. It’s typical to see a large spike in branded search queries as new users become aware of your brand and begin searching to learn more about your products.
If this is your first time running an influencer campaign, you may be surprised to see how much branded search volume can increase after the campaign. Avoid missing out on this traffic by expanding your campaign budgets to account for higher search volume, and set up automated alerts to send an email if you’re nearing budget caps. It’s important to make sure you own top placement for brand terms throughout the duration of the campaign.
2. Tailor Ad Copy and Extensions
Incorporating the influencer into your branded ad copy is a great way to reiterate that a respected personage has endorsed your product. If a user didn’t see the campaign (or doesn’t know who the influencer is), then this is still a great strategy to make your ad stand out and create intrigue. If the influencer is widely known, then it could be worthwhile to test new ad copy for non-brand or competitor search queries, too.
Promoting the influencer campaign in your ad extensions is another great way to maximize exposure of the influencer via paid search. To entice these site visitors to convert, consider offering a discount or promotion. And before creating new ads and ad extensions, keep in mind that you may need permission from the influencer to use their name in your ad copy.
Since an influencer campaign can take off quickly, be sure to create the ad copy and extensions in advance and schedule them to go live immediately after the influencer makes their announcement. It’s extremely important that you coordinate strategy and timing across channels.
3. Expand Keyword Coverage
Influencer campaigns are a great way to increase brand awareness, but users don’t always remember the name of the brand that was promoted. If your brand or product was promoted on TV or radio, then you could be at a greater disadvantage because these users may not be near a computer during the moment they hear the endorsement. The good news is that if the user was really intrigued, they may turn to search engines to find the product that was mentioned by the influencer. So, you’ll need to make sure you expand keyword coverage to account for search queries they may perform.
For instance, if a well-known home designer named Jane Jones promotes a line of bedding for Brand XYZ, the user may only remember that Jane promoted a line of bedding. In this case, you would want to add keywords related to “Jane Jones bedding.”
Put yourself in the shoes of the audience and think about the search queries they may perform to find your brand. Use this as a guide when creating new keywords.
4. Implement Complimentary Ads on the Display Network and YouTube
Influencer campaigns can drive increased traffic to your site, so you’ll need to incorporate a strong remarketing strategy to maximize conversions. Before getting started, you should decide if you’re going to create a unique landing page for these visitors or if you’ll use URL tracking parameters.
Whatever you do, it’s just important that you’re able to segment the users who visited your site via the influencer campaign. Create a remarketing audience for this specific segment and remarket them with tailored banner ads that feature the influencer (if you have permission to do so). This is a great way to keep your new audience engaged and convert them to customers. If you have video assets, consider remarketing these users on YouTube, too.
To take further advantage of the increased brand exposure, consider allocating a portion of your budget towards an acquisition campaign on the Google Display Network. The network has many targeting options, but one method that may work well in this situation is to target users who are similar to the influencer’s audience (using Google’s Similar Audiences feature). You can also target ads specifically to show on the influencer’s website, blog, or YouTube channel.
Influencer campaigns have the power to reach a niche, targeted audience and drive new site visitors. Take necessary steps to ensure your ad copy’s relevant, you’ve added the proper keywords, and you’ve adjusted bids and budgets. Once these visitors come to your site, keep them engaged with related remarketing ads to drive conversion rates. Boost the likelihood of a conversion by planning ahead and coordinating your strategy across all channels.
This is a guest post from Ashley Aptt, Account Director at 3Q Digital.
With Q4 right around the corner, the big question is, “How can I drive more sales this holiday season?” Everyone wants to increase revenue, plus look for new and efficient ways to do so. Today we’ll focus on how you can leverage AdWords Customer Match and Similar Audiences to meet your holiday goals.
Customer Match is an AdWords advertising tool that utilizes your customer email file. By uploading a file with your customer emails, you can target these users when they’re signed into their Google account.
If your Customer Match audience meets eligibility criteria, Google automatically creates Similar Audiences. Similar Audiences allow you to reach people who share characteristics with the users in your Customer Match file.
Customer Match is currently available for Search, Shopping, YouTube, and Gmail campaigns (not the Google Display Network). Similar Audiences for Customer Match is available for YouTube and Gmail only.
There are several strategies and use cases for Customer Match and Similar Audiences to boost brand awareness and increase revenue. Here are several things you can do to get started.
Create Customer Segments
To maximize the benefits of Customer Match, create customer segments based on user behaviors. Depending on how much information you collect from users when they provide their email address, the segmenting possibilities are endless. A few list segmentation examples include:
Prospects versus customers
Customer purchase frequency
Product or category affinities
Increase Bids for Past Purchasers
Use Customer Match as a remarketing list for search ads (RLSA) audience in search campaigns to adjust bids for users who’ve previously purchased from your site. Experiment with higher bids when your customers perform non-brand or competitor searches to stay top of mind and drive more sales during the holiday season.
Since past purchasers are familiar with your brand, it’s less risky to aggressively bid on non-brand search queries, because these users are more likely to convert compared to users who haven’t previously visited your site.
Target Broad/General Keywords
Explore targeting very broad or general non-brand keywords with your Customer Match list. This can be done with the RLSA Target and bid feature.
For example, a department store could test targeting general keywords such as ‘shoes’. This may be a risky move under normal situations, but using Target and bid limits the reach to people familiar with your brand. This lets you get in front of your customers again (when they may not be thinking of your brand) and potentially drive more revenue.
Use Customer Match to implement unique ad copy that makes use of what you know about the people on your email list via RLSA Target and bid, Gmail Sponsored Promotions, or YouTube. Test different ad copy for frequent purchasers versus customers who haven’t made a purchase in over a year. A steeper promotional discount could entice old customers to come back and make another purchase.
Cross-Sell or Upsell
You can use Customer Match to cross-sell or upsell to existing customers to drive incremental revenue. For example, if a department store has a customer file segmented with a list of people who frequently buy children’s clothing, you can target that list of users with ad copy relevant to holiday gifts specifically for children. This could encourage customers to make another purchase to buy children’s shoes, backpacks, toys, etc.
Expand Acquisition Efforts
Similar Audiences is a great tool to expand your acquisition efforts with Gmail Sponsored Promotions or YouTube. When looking to acquire new customers, Similar Audiences is a great place to start, as it allows you to target users who share similar characteristics and traits with your most loyal customers. Google has a lot of back-end knowledge about users, and leveraging this feature can help advertisers get in front of a new audience and drive more sales.
Customer Match and Similar Audiences present advertisers with many great targeting strategies. Get started on creating and segmenting your customer lists now. Then, build your strategy and get ready to drive more revenue this holiday season!
Facebook recently worked with Kantar Worldpanel to test the hypothesis: is someone exposed to an ad on both TV and Facebook more likely to buy? Specifically, would there be at least a 22% lift in sales from this “double exposure” on both channels?
The short answer: yes. The amazing answer: the lift was actually 29%—1.3 times higher than expected.
What can digital advertisers do to capitalize on these numbers?
Get in the Game with TV Sync Technology
If you already have a good baseline social advertising strategy, use TV Sync technology to take things to the next level. TV Sync allows you to automatically activate your social ads based on customizable offline events like television flight schedules, live programming, weather changes, or sporting events—all in real time. It’s a powerful way to amplify your reach and drive engagement across screens.
And, as the Kantar Worldpanel study indicates, it’s a great way to increase revenue across a host of CPG industries.
TV Sync allows you to:
Trigger your social ads when your competitor’s commercial airs
Launch social ads automatically based on weather status or key sporting events such as touchdowns and timing
Extend your advertising beyond TV, onto the second screen and into the virtual shopping space
Consider a few other examples of how you can use Marin’s TV Sync to amplify your advertising efforts.
Extend Your Advertising Message Across Screens
Running TV commercials? Use TV Sync to trigger your social ads immediately as your commercials air, reinforcing the message and increasing your impact with a multi-screen presence.
Counter Your Competitor’s TV Commercials
As soon as your competitor’s commercials appear on TV, counter them by launching social ads in real-time. This is a great way to stay top of mind and boost mindshare.
Improve Targeting and Relevance with Weather and Sports
Trigger your social ads according to weather status or key sporting events for a timely, optimized, and personalized campaign that strikes a chord with your audience. For example, during snow-filled winters, travel advertisers can target users with ads to tropical locations.
Drive Engagement During Live or Scheduled TV Programs
TV Sync can help you advertise your auto brand during an episode of Top Gear, or launch social ads for your beauty brand during the red carpet at the Oscars. Aligning your ads with specific programming in this way creates a highly targeted and relevant ad experience.
Make TV + Social a Default Part of Your Advertising Strategy
As more and more brands see positive results from this dual advertising approach—and as premium TV and Facebook continue to domineer viewers’ leisure time—make the double exposure a given. Measure and optimize, and see if you can top Facebook’s and Kantar’s 29% sales lift figure.
TV Sync is available for Marin Social customers, and clients like Danone Actimel have already seen great results—nearly 40% increase in CTR, helping drive down video view costs by over 60%. Be sure to check out the full case study.
If you’re interested in learning how Marin can help you expand your ad exposure and reach, contact us today.
Over 1,300 people and 60 exhibitors traveled to Seattle from June 12-14 to attend SMX Advanced. This year’s event kicked off with a rooftop networking reception for SEO and SEM professionals. An overcast sky and arctic winds couldn’t dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm for topics like bidding strategies, attribution models, and audience targeting.
Search and social combined
You can tell a lot about a conference by its premier sponsors—Google and Bing had a big presence at SMX, but the absence of social media sponsors was notable. While SMX is largely billed as a search marketing show, the lines between search and social are blurring across the industry. Multi-channel marketing is poised to emerge as a winning proposition, as industry leaders like Marin Software demonstrate the value of managing and optimizing both search and social advertising in tandem.
Tales of the expo hall
Like most expo halls, SMX had a mix of established companies like Moz in slick and spacious booths alongside scrappy startups like OnCrawl (visiting from Bordeaux). I did notice a cohort of vendors focusing on inbound call tracking, including Invoca, CallTrackingMetrics, LeadGiant, and Marchex. These click-to-call advertising solutions promised motivated prospects dialing into your business with clear purchase intent, which could make your white paper campaigns turn green with envy!
Google talks mobile at the keynote
Danny Sullivan led the SMX Advanced keynote, and interviewed Gary Illyes from Google. While somewhat light on product announcements, their discussion delved into topics like Google’s expanding mobile index, long awaited improvements to featured snippets, and the potential of combining Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) with Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Gary noted that the PWAs could overcome the install hurdle for native apps, which he described as “freakishly difficult” for most companies.
Bringing out the mad scientists
An SEM track called “The Mad Scientists of Paid Search” lived up to its promising title by offering good content depth and entertaining conclusions. Andreas Reiffen from Crealytics presented some keenly observed Google Shopping data.
In one hypothetical test, Andreas used controlled experiments to prove that a more granular account structure actually improves campaign performance. His data showed that splitting products into separate product groups increases the total number of impressions received. This finding is at odds with Google’s recommendation not to split products too soon so that the algorithm has time to fine-tune performance.
In another experiment, Andreas showed that impressions and clicks are highly sensitive to price changes in Google Shopping campaigns. Using an Asics sneaker example, he demonstrated how a 5% increase in price can trigger a 60% decrease in clicks. His findings also demonstrated that products priced “cheaper than the competition” generate far more traffic than more expensive products. The art and science of pricing is alive and well, clearly!
Thoughts for SMX 2018
If I learned one thing at SMX, it’s that the future of paid advertising is shifting towards combining search and social channels—and everyone at Marin is thrilled to be part of it. Let’s see how the industry evolves over the coming year, and I expect we’ll see new sponsors and an increasingly multi-channel agenda at SMX 2018.
We’re excited about the new rollout of Broad Audiences for Dynamic Ads! Up until now, we’ve been in closed beta for this feature.
As we discussed in a previous blog post, Broad Audiences helps you expand the reach of your Dynamic Ad campaigns, by serving more relevant ads to people who haven’t visited your website. Use Broad Audiences as a top-of-funnel tactic to expand reach and improve quality, as shown here:
Fine-Tuning Your Broad Audiences
You can tweak your Dynamic Ads campaigns until they’re a perfect fit for your business goals and campaign objectives. We’ve identified a few ways to fine-tune your Dynamic Ads campaigns with Broad Audiences.
Organize campaigns by existing customers and new customers with a budget that’s spread out based on projected reach of your dynamic audiences.
Use exclusion audiences to block out people who’ve recently made a purchase on your website from seeing your ads.
Keep your Broad Audiences as broad as possible with only location, gender, and age targeting inputs selected.
Don’t layer in lookalikes or any detailed interest targeting to your ad sets with Broad Audiences, as doing so will limit delivery.
Use ad creative that’s tailored to folks unfamiliar with your brand, to entice new customers.
Set your bids to be optimized towards actual conversion events such as add-to-cart, purchase, and registration. You’ll need to have the Facebook pixel configured for these events in order to run Dynamic Ads, so an ideal scenario is to optimize for registration events.
Specify new vs. existing within your URL parameters to better understand the full path to conversion in your analytics tool—specifically, whether a conversion’s tied to in-store or online purchase events.
If you’re interested in implementing Broad Audiences for Dynamic Ads, contact your CS representative today or request a demo.
In the old days of marketing, only the biggest brands could afford to get their messages out to big audiences via mass media vehicles like TV and radio. These days, increased media fragmentation and new tools like retargeting have evened the playing field, allowing mom-and-pop-shops to drive awareness among their target audience even faster than many large brands.
Retargeting provides a huge opportunity to small- and medium-sized businesses, but many marketers aren’t aware of how it works. How do you get started? How do you ensure you’re getting the biggest possible return on your investment? Outdated information about retargeting online can confuse good marketers and keep them unnecessarily sidelined.
We’re here to help. We’ve teamed up with HubSpot to bring you a guide to getting started with retargeting. You’ll get a full overview of all the major types of retargeting, plus insights on how to run your campaigns, create compelling ads, and measure your performance.
How do you measure the impact of influence? More importantly, what’s the best way to measure such a fuzzy concept using an analytical approach?
As marketers have been complementing their bread-and-butter search advertising efforts by adding new tactics into the marketing mix—whether it’s social media native ads, rich media banners, mobile in-app interstitials, or desktop and mobile video ads—it’s increased the spotlight on the sticky issue of attributing conversions properly across different channels. It’s especially relevant for the aforementioned tactics, because none of them are particularly well suited for measuring via click-through conversions alone.
Measuring view-through conversions has quantifiable benefits on the bottom line
There are three powerful reasons for making a proper view-through attribution model a high priority:
View-through conversions are a better representation for upper- and middle-funnel performance than click-through conversions. Display ads are renowned for their epically terrible click-through rates. But rather than dismiss the medium as a poor performer, it’s important to understand that most display ads are typically served further up the conversion funnel to help move the customer closer towards making a decision. Measuring them on click-through conversions alone is akin to measuring search ads solely on how many customers it drives to the store. It’s important to use the right metric for the right situation.
Proper view-through attribution can lead to increased search lift. The positive impact of display and social advertising on search activity and conversions is undeniable. It’s been proven by a number of different studies over the past several years. Accordingly, if we understand the assistive impact of display and social on search, then it’s important to properly measure their impact in order to make the right investment across the different channels. If $1 spent on a Facebook ad leads to an extra $5 within the search channel, that’s something you’d definitely want to know.
Measuring view-through conversions improves optimization efforts. What if the very small percentage of people clicking on your display ads didn’t represent your very best customers? What if half the clicks on a mobile ad were from people with fat finger syndrome? And what if you optimized all your future spend on trying to acquire all these wrong types of people? Advertisers who optimize based on click-through conversions alone find themselves in this conundrum.
This is just the beginning. While view-through attribution doesn’t have to be complex (on the contrary, it’s actually quite straightforward to set up properly!), it does require an understanding of its business rationale and some of its limitations. To learn more about view-through attribution, including the two-step process for how you can set them up for maximum success, download the white paper or view the webinar archive.
Easter spending is on the rise. Is your 2017 Google Shopping campaign ready?
If you’re a Marin customer, here are some advanced tips to help you get the most bang for your buck with your Shopping budgets.
1. Dimension Synergy Across Shopping and Search
Ever wonder how your Shopping campaigns are performing compared to search? With a solid understanding of how your account is structured, you can readily implement this reporting with Marin Dimensions.
Create a dimension for All Networks, and then tag corresponding ad groups with respective products. For example…
Campaign: Shoes (Search) > Ad Group: Running Shoes and Campaign: Footwear (Shopping) > Ad Group: Shoes > Product Group: Product Type = Running Shoes
…would get the same tag Running Shoes. This allows you to see how Running Shoes are performing in aggregate, and also to pivot the two against each other (campaign vs. campaign).
Consider ways you can apply these to identify opportunities. Is a product category performing exceptionally well on Shopping but not search, or vice versa? Identify and rectify this by adding objects or tweaking bids. The flexibility of Marin Dimensions makes this an easy project.
2. Remarketing with Shopping
You can use Google remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) in combination with Shopping. Plus, it’s supported to the same extent as RLSA for search.
Create lists in Google, and then use campaign management functionalities in Marin to link them to campaigns or groups to manage the audience boost.
There are some neat ways to remarket with Shopping. For instance, if you have a list for Returning or Existing Customers, you could define your product groups so that you’re only showing these customers a preset list of products. Similarly, if you have a list for Shoe Buyers, you could set up product groups for socks or shoelaces for customers to re-engage with.
3. Clone to Facebook Dynamic Ads
If you’re comfortable using Google Shopping campaigns and want to increase your reach, check out Facebook’s Dynamic Ads (DAs). Facebook is growing rapidly, with 61% of advertisers planning to increase their Facebook spend over the next 12 months. Marin has a tool to clone existing Google Shopping campaigns to Facebook DAs, and we can help you set the program up for success.
If you’re interested in further details on any of the above, we’re happy to discuss. Just get in touch. Here’s to a nice spring and happy Easter.
In midsummer 2016, Facebook rolled out the ability to add an advanced extra layer onto their Website Custom Audiences. This additional layer now means you can capture users by the number of times they visited a certain web page, or the amount of time spent on your website or web page.
This has given advertisers the ability to capture those actually interested in their products. For example, setting up a retargeting audience based on people in the top percentile of time spent on a website indicates a certain level of interest and intent with those customers.
The setup is similar to any Website Custom Audience. From your Business Manager:
Click the Audiences tab.
Click Create Audience.
Choose Custom Audience.
Choose Website Traffic.
Click the drop-down to reveal the Website traffic options.
Facebook allows you to create an audience based on the amount of time spent on your website, Top 5%, 10% or 25%.
Marin Tip: Marin Social lets you capture audiences by minutes. For example, you can capture those who spend one minute on a page.
Custom Combination | Number of Visits and Device Specification
Facebook also allows you to create an audience based on the number of times someone has visited your website. For example, if somebody visited your website at least three times in the last seven days, we know there’s a certain level of intent. You can act on this, offering a slight discount or up-selling an alternative product.
Putting It to Use
I call these custom audiences Qualified Audiences. There is a natural level of high intent in these audiences. To date, I’ve used them on three accounts, across three verticals, and the results have been excellent!
Each time, I’ve created a custom audience containing those who’ve spent more than 50 seconds on a product category page within the last seven days. (Note: This was done within the Marin Social app. If you’re using the Facebook UI you can only choose the top percentile of visitors.) I used a carousel creative type, showcasing a handful of products within the named category. This audience is naturally quite small and similar to that of a DPA audience.
I started with a small daily budget, around €25, and bid CPC. Every second day I reviewed the CPA, CTR, and CPC. The results were amazing. I increased the budget by €10 on each review until I saw ad fatigue. (Once you see ad fatigue, you know you’re overloading it with budget!)
When you find the ‘sweet spot’ budget allocation for a campaign of this nature, it can act as an ‘always-on’ retargeting campaign that needs little optimization. Because you’ve chosen a small retention window, your audience should consistently refresh. A good tip to keep things on track is to check the frequency—if the campaign accrues a high frequency score, you’re over-showing your ad. In this case you may need to lower your budget, increase your retention days, or decrease the time specification.
The results across three accounts were amazing, and needed little optimization and management. Across three accounts, I observed an average CPA decrease of 40%, and an average CVR of 26%.
Give It a Try
I recommend that every social advertiser test this type of campaign. It’s important, however, to remember that this style of targeting can only be done on a small scale, due to the nature of the narrow retention window and criteria specifications. However, it acts as an extra net to catch conversions. Happy retargeting!
Without conversion measurement and continual improvement, your Facebook campaigns won’t realize their highest potential. Read these tips to make sure your Facebook ad campaigns are working their hardest for your bottom line.
7. Implement the Facebook Pixel
The Facebook Pixel tracks conversions, automatically bids for conversions, and enables remarketing. Be sure to implement the pageview event of the Facebook Pixel on all the pages of your website so that you can populate your Custom Audiences and Custom Conversions. You’ll also need the Facebook Pixel to implement each standard event on a single page of your website.
Lastly, follow the user’s journey down the conversion funnel. This will help you identify exactly where your customers are dropping off in the journey.
Marin Tip For an extra layer of reporting in Google Analytics, apply dynamic tags at the Media Plan level.
8. Optimize on a Daily Basis
As a Facebook best practice, you should optimize your campaigns daily, but no more than two times a day. For oCPM bidding, it's even recommended to optimize only once a day, as the algorithm needs stability to learn from and to find conversions for you.
To understand the optimization that’s working best for your campaigns, do one at a time and assess the results.
Another rule of thumb—avoid making any drastic changes to bids, since reducing your bid by more than 5% could damage the delivery. If you change the bid type of your campaign due to bad performance, duplicate the campaign so that the algorithm refreshes.
Be sure to refresh your creative every few weeks to fight audience fatigue and ad blindness.
Marin Tip Use the Refresh button so that the campaign can start from scratch with the new bid type. Set up Rules to automate daily optimizations. For example, you could set a rule that if your CPA is greater than $10, or the frequency is greater than four, or the CTR is lower than 0.4%, then pause the ad.
9. Keep an Eye on the Relevance Score
Facebook wants to make sure the paid advertising campaigns that appear on its platform don’t damage the user experience. To that end, it has the Relevance Score.
The Relevance Score is an algorithmic calculation that takes into account your targeting’s relevancy and your ads’ engagement. The important metrics to look at here are CTR, engagements, feedback, and conversions.
When your audience begins showing less interest, your Relevance Score will decrease. As a result, Facebook lets your ad participate in fewer auctions. Moreover, if your Relevance Score is lower than the other advertisers competing on the exact same targeting, they’ll win the auction, no matter how high your bid is. Consequently, your reach and impressions will drop.
To fight against a bad Relevance Score:
Always make sure your targeting is relevant and specific by using custom audiences, lookalikes, and high-intent interests.
Make sure your creative is relevant and engaging.
As soon as you see any sign of ad fatigue, refresh the ad or the targeting. Sure-fire signs of fatigue include a CTR drop, a CPC increase, or an impressions decrease.
Essentially Strong Foundations
Social advertising isn’t quite rocket science, but it’s indeed an art. But, with a strong foundation that takes advantage of all the great and evolving features Facebook has to offer, you can maximize positive user experiences and see positive results for the KPIs that matter most to your organization. As always, if you’d like to find out how Marin Software can help with all of the above, just reach out.
This is a three-part series that explores all the things social marketers should do when setting up their social ad campaigns. In our second post, we look at best practices to target effectively and bid for the greatest ROI. For the first three tips see our previous article on account structure and creative.
One of the main goals of the social marketer is to consistently target wider and more precise audience segments, while making smart bids based on a solid bidding model. Follow these best practices to ensure your social advertising campaigns are fine-tuned for the highest performance possible.
4. Target Wisely
When it comes right down to it, Facebook is mass media, and its algorithm performs better with large audiences. A best practice is to keep the target size above 100,000, especially for your prospecting campaigns. A few other rules of thumb:
Always keep an eye on your reach.
Avoid campaign overlap—competing against yourself will lower your relevance score and obstruct spend. Use the detailed targeting feature to refine your audience.
Make use of email-based targeting and Website Custom Audiences.
Use lookalike audiences, the Facebook conversion pixel, and Fan Page.
You may also want to use split targeting, depending on:
How recently users have shown intent using the inclusion and exclusion feature
The level of intent (beginning of the sales funnel vs. the end)
The purchase value
Marin Tip Thanks to Marin's Lookalike feature, you can create high-intent lookalike audiences based on conversions from your best performing campaigns or ad sets.
5. Choose the Appropriate Conversion Window
The conversion window tells Facebook how far back in time to look at conversion data, so that it can optimize appropriately and find the right people to deliver your ad to.
You can use the conversion window for Website Conversions, App Installs, and App Events objectives. You can break them into 1-day, 7-day, and 28-day post-click windows.
In order for Facebook’s algorithm to have enough conversion data to learn from, set up your conversion window to get at least 15-25 conversions per ad set and per week. If you use the longest conversion window but don't get enough conversions, change the promoted object to a step higher in the conversion funnel (for example, add-to-cart rather than purchase).
6. Let the Audience Size Determine Bid Type
When the target size is above 100,000, bid oCPM. This’ll allow the algorithm to look for the users more likely to convert. Optimize for clicks and pay for impressions when your audience is between 80,000 and 100,000. For target sizes below 80,000, use the CPC bidding type.
On small and highly qualified audiences—for example, Website Custom Audiences of lower-funnel stages—you can even bid CPM (optimize and pay for impressions), since your aim here is to make sure that everyone in your audience sees your ads.
Marin Tip Bid as granular as possible at the ad level in order to push the best performing ads within an ad set.Change bids across ad sets and campaigns in two clicks by clicking the Selected or All buttons.
Advertisers have much to gain from an integrated search and social advertising approach. But exactly how much?
To answer this question, we conducted a study of more than 200 enterprise advertisers managing Google, Bing, and Facebook campaigns. With billions of dollars in annualized ad spend managed on the Marin platform, we work with many of the world’s largest and most sophisticated advertisers.
Here’s what we found:
Customers who click search and social ads are more likely to buy. Users who click both an advertiser’s search and social ads had an approximately two times greater conversion rate than users who click the search ad only. Users who click both the search and social ads have a click-through rate approximately four and a half times higher than users who only click social ads.
Customers who click search and social ads spend more. Users who click both a search and social ad contribute approximately two times more revenue per click than users who click search ads only. Users who click both a search and social ad contribute six times more revenue per click than users who click a social ad only.
Search campaigns perform better when managed alongside social campaigns. Search campaigns managed alongside social advertising campaigns have two times more revenue per click than search campaigns managed in isolation. An integrated search and social management strategy also benefits an advertiser’s revenue per conversion—advertisers have almost 10% higher revenue per conversion from their search campaigns when managed together with social advertising campaigns.
If you’re a social advertiser, you have your work cut out for you. Along with your industry peers, you likely face a few key audience-related problems on a daily basis:
This article aims to provide some relief, bringing these three issues together and offering a simple but broad solution. By using lookalike audiences and certain ad creative types, social marketers can tackle these daily frustrations and bring some peace to a challenging workday in the world of digital advertising.
Coffee break after reading this article optional.
The Audience Struggle Is Real
Every audience has a life cycle. Depending on its size, budget, and campaign length, an audience will eventually grow tired of the campaign’s ads (i.e., fatigue). Naturally, a smaller audience (< 80,000) will naturally fatigue quicker than a larger one. The most efficient way to avoid audience fatigue is to keep things fresh and strategize for new audiences every seven to 14 days.
This begs the question: “Where the *&%! am I going to get a new audience every week??” Answer to follow shortly…
Overlap and Relevance
Audience overlap is an another issue that social marketers face on a regular basis. This is a result of ad sets from the same advertiser ending up in the same auction, bidding against each other, and inevitably damaging performance. Having overlapping audiences can lead to poor delivery of your ad sets.
Additionally, averaging a high Ad Relevance Score can often be difficult, especially if you’re constantly trying to avoid overlap and fatigue. Facebook calculates the Ad Relevance Score based on the positive and negative feedback an ad receives from its target audience. In short, if you’re Relevance Score is high, your audience wants to see it, and if not—well something’s wrong.
Making the Best Use of Ad Creative for Your Audience Strategy
Facebook allows you to create Engagement Custom Audiences from four ad types:
An Engagement Custom Audience is a Custom Audience made up of people who’ve interacted with your content on Facebook. "Engagement" refers to actions like viewing your video or opening your lead form on Canvas.
These four variations of ad creative are also the most customer-friendly and engaging ad types. Where it’s relevant to your campaigns, use these ad types as much as possible.
Retarget and Prospect
Using Engagement Custom Audiences (ECAs), you can retarget ads to people who’ve shown intent by interacting with your video, canvas or lead gen form. You can also use Engagement Custom Audiences as a source for a Lookalike Audience, which will let you find people similar to those who've engaged with content on Facebook.
Bringing It All Together
Marin Tip: Always try and track high-intent ECAs, capturing those who watched 95% of your video, or who opened and submitted a Lead Gen ad.
By thinking of Canvas, Video, Slideshow, & Lead Gen ad types not only as creative types, but also ‘audience making machines’, advertisers can very quickly begin to tackle fatigue, overlap, and relevance.
We all know who our target audience is. Still, we often struggle to reach them while we address the issues. The solution—combining Engagement Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences to consistently retarget while prospecting fresh audiences.
For example, suppose a 1% Lookalike of your website performs very well. However, if we use it too often, it may fatigue. If we make it any larger, it may be irrelevant. And, if we attempt to try different website pages, we’ll more than likely spend too much time analyzing potential overlapping instead of gaining new customers.
If your target your performing audience with a Video, Canvas, or Lead Gen ad, you enable two things:
Retargeting: Lead consumers down the conversion funnel by retargeting those who’ve engaged in your creative, which inevitably indicates brand intent.
Prospecting: Continue to prospect to a similar audience by creating a Lookalike Audience from your Engagement Custom Audience.
Marin Tip: Remember Marin Social's exclusive ability to create a Campaign Lookalike. Build a prospecting audience from those who've converted from an older, successful campaign.
It’s that simple—Video, Canvas, and Lead Generation. With a little planning and a lot of determination, you can use this 1-2-3 strategy to easily create Lookalikes to retarget and prospect.
Facebook Dynamic Product Ads, if we must say so, are pretty badass. In the not-so-distant future, dynamic product ads are the way all digital advertising on social and display will be delivered, regardless of industry or vertical.
Dynamic Ads for Travel (DAT) allows advertisers in the travel industry to automatically deliver personalized ads based on the interest people have shown on their travel site or app. Part of the Marin Social platform, DAT lets you seamlessly create dynamic audience and product sets across each phase of the buyer journey—from retargeting to cross-sell and up-sell.
You’re beaming, proud, and ready to rake in a massive amount of leads. Why? Because—you’ve got two brilliantly designed sets of ad creative and you’re ready to set ‘em loose to the hungry, scrolling consumer masses.
How do you know if your campaign will be a boom or bust? Can you even test such a thing in an easy and straightforward way?
Time for some split testing....
For those who haven’t yet implemented split testing to increase conversions, an explanation is in order. Simply put, split testing (also known as A/B testing) allows you to test different advertising strategies on commonly divided audiences to see what works and what doesn’t.
Want to see which bidding option, creative, or ad placements perform best? Split testing is the answer.
How Does It Work?
The Facebook split testing API does several great things:
Automates audience segmentation
Ensures there’s no overlap between segments
Allows you to test variables like bidding type, ad placement, different ad creative, and more
Takes away the hassle of manually building unique audiences and running your test campaigns independently
Where to Start and How to Run with It
First, let’s start with a simple example. Let’s go back to those two stellar ad creatives. At this point, of course, you don't know which one’s going to perform better. The first thing you should do is set up your two ad sets, with each one of your creatives in each ad set (in other words, one ad in each set for a total of two ads). Keep the copy the same for each ad.
For the purposes of this example, then, our plan is straightforward:
Create our two ad sets
Target the same audience
Split test to see which one performs best
To run the split test, you’ll need to set it up in Facebook. (If you’re a Marin customer, contact your account manager for help with this.) The test can be 50/50 or 33/33/33, etc., depending on the testing variables, but note that 50/50 is the most commonly used model. So, if an audience has 10 million people, the ad sets will have 5 million people in each audience.
From here, we select the image as the variable to test. Our main KPI is conversions (downloads), and we’re allocating $5,000 per ad set. As we mentioned above, our audience is 5 million per ad set. We’ll run the campaign for two weeks to ensure we have a broad reach, high budget, and long duration.
Since we want to see positive results before we extend our campaign to other markets, we’ll start only in the UK first.
Ready, set, test, measure.
How to Scope a Test That’s Right for You
When scoping your own split test, make sure that the test will have value for you, and that you’ll see clear results that you can use to refine and improve your campaigns.
The first questions you should answer include:
Which ad account are you planning to use?
What are the campaign timelines, including start and end dates?
What’s the budget, broken down by test group?
What variables would you like to test?
What’s the campaign objective and the main KPI?
Back to that riddle—is it a boom or a bust? To determine which test worked best, choose the variable that has the highest efficiency level based on your objective.
In our example, our objective is conversions and the main KPI is downloads. So, we can consider the ad set that has the lower CPA as the best performing.
And there you have it. Easy, right?
Best Practices and Recommendations for Maximum Success
If you’d like to dig deeper (and we recommend that you do), here are a few best practices.
Define an acceptable confidence level
Before you create a test, determine an acceptable confidence level. Test with larger reach, longer schedules, or higher budgets.
Choose one variable to test
This allows you to define the exact difference in ad creative that drove better performance.
Define main KPIs before the test
This will allow you to determine the best performing variable.
Ensure both test sizes are comparable
When testing for volume metrics such as number of conversions, scale to ensure both test sizes are comparable.
Start testing on one specific market or campaign
This will allow you to monitor and analyze the test results more efficiently, which will in turn allow you to draw better conclusions. If you find this useful, you can conduct further tests on different variables and expand to other markets.
Test based on one large audience
The audience should be big enough to be split and to allow you to gain sufficient insights.
Allocate the same budget to the test groups
If you’re running your splits at the campaign level, make sure both campaigns have the same lifetime budget. If you’re testing on the ad set level, both ad sets should have the same lifetime budget.
No changes to the test groups
Any changes could compromise the split testing and prevent you from seeing clear results.
Lead generation ads have many benefits, and are a great way of connecting with the people most likely to want your products. Looking to get even more qualified leads? Then lead gen ads are for you. Here a few things to keep in mind to get the best results and yes, “win big.”
A good way to maximize the effectiveness of your lead gen ads is to drive users to helpful content, such as....
A blog article. In the lead gen ad, provide a teaser to the content. Then, redirect the user to the actual article to continue reading and dive into the details.
A PDF: Have a piece of content you know your audience will love? Give them this gift by way of a lead gen ad. For example, if you run an online casino, provide them with a PDF guide on online gambling that includes useful advice to make them more confident in using your site.
A specific offer: Your existing clients might just love something tailored specifically to them. Think retention. Are you an e-commerce site with promo codes for customers? A lead gen ad could be the solution, as it has the sense of ‘unfolding’ something that’s just for the individual consumer.
Continued Flow from Ad to Website
It may take you some time to put continued flow into action on your website, but once you do this—and once you’re whitelisted by Facebook—then users will be able to simply fill in their details into the lead gen ad on Facebook and won’t need to complete them again when they’re redirected to your site. This greatly improves the user experience.
Some of the details, such as the user’s name, are pre-populated in the lead gen form. After the user fills in the form, they’ll be redirected to your website, where not only will their name already be filled in, but any other required fields will also be pre-filled to avoid any redundancies between Facebook and website forms.
This all works seamlessly because of Facebook’s Continued Flow. Note that you’ll need to implement the Continued Flow API to make sure the flow works, and to ensure a smooth user experience with no need for the user to repeat actions. (It’s kind of like being transferred during a phone call and not having to explain things all over again.)
Mobile Versus Desktop
Like most online channels these days, mobile’s winning. Lead gen ads are no exception, and mobile placement tends to have better delivery and results.
For desktop ads, be sure to keep in mind that most browsers have pop-up blockers, so desktop users may not be redirected to your website. In this case, there goes your lead. And, due to security upgrades in modern browsers on desktop, it’s hard to bypass these blockers.
Since Facebook must currently live with these blockers, Continued Flow won’t work on desktop. For best results for your lead gen ads, focus on mobile.
Make sure you’re taking the fullest advantage of your engaged lead ad audiences. Depending on traffic and results, run a retargeting campaign simultaneously.
Note that when you’re analyzing performance, look at blended CPAs to understand the real costs of your campaign.
Supporting Lead Ads
There are several complementary efforts you can launch to amplify the effectiveness of your lead gen ads.
Link the lead form data directly to your CRM system. Facebook integrates with several great providers, giving you the ability to send user data directly to your CRM system. From there, you can support your lead gen initiative with email or SMS campaigns. And, even if you decide not to launch a side campaign, you can still more easily download your new leads with a CRM integration.
Use email marketing. It’s a common practice for gambling companies to decrease their CPA by running email marketing campaigns to retarget users gained on Facebook. Why is this? These companies have a particular user funnel that involves a couple of conversions until they achieve the result of ‘getting the player’.
Other markets can greatly benefit from this, too. Consider running email marketing campaigns to support your lead gen ad efforts. Again, look at blended CPAs and the particular value this would have for you.
Take the Lead
All in all, there are plenty of opportunities to implement lead gen ads for your business and make your campaigns more successful. To find out how Marin can help you put lead gen ads into action, contact us today.
Holiday shopping’s in full swing. If you’re running retargeting campaigns, make sure they’re as prepared for the season as you are. Online sales are forecast to increase between seven and 10 percent over last year to as much as $117 billion.
We made your list, so check it twice, and take these steps to boost campaign performance during the holiday season.
Increase your budgets to win more impressions
You’re likely going to see a boost in site traffic (especially if you sell anything that can be given as a gift), which means you’ll see a boost in impressions served and in advertising funds spent. Make sure your campaigns have a proper budget set to guarantee you have enough ad money available for the day, so that you don’t miss out on these potential new customers.
We recommend a 25 to 50% budget increase for the holidays, but you know your site traffic best. Whatever percentage of traffic increase you’re expecting, boost your budget about that same percentage.
Raise your campaign bids
Almost all advertisers will increase their spend for the holidays, so you’re going to have serious competition.
With so many advertisers fighting for ad space, it’s not uncommon to see your CPM costs rise during this time of year. To prepare for this surge, make sure you increase your CPM bids across your campaigns. Bidding higher will make your campaigns more competitive and will give you a better chance of serving more ads by winning more impressions. We suggest increasing your CPM bid by 50-100% of the current average CPM cost for the campaign.
Use holiday-themed ads and landing pages
Holiday-themed advertising only gets people’s attention during one time of the year, and you should join the conversation your customers are having. Using ads that mention specific events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any of the major holidays can grab a visitor’s attention.
Send a happy holiday message, mention that there are only X number of shopping days left, and give them a reason to click your ads. Use the holidays as a chance to create urgency and you could see a boost in clicks and conversions.
Two Quick Steps You Can Take Right Now
Create landing pages and content on your site for these holiday events, then create audiences that capture visitors of these pages.
Run campaigns to serve your holiday ads to your holiday page visitors. If they’re coming to your site looking for seasonal deals, they’re more likely to respond to holiday-themed ads.
We hope these suggestions are helpful and lead to a profitable holiday season for you and your business. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.
Shopping doesn’t end after the holidays—according to a National Retail Federation survey, 65% of shoppers plan to keep shopping after Christmas. Use this time of year to convert them to loyal customers with new demand generation and cross-sell opportunities.
Demand Generation and Cross-Sell
Don’t let your holiday campaigns go to waste—keep aiming for more purchases. Post-holidays is a great time to re-engage to drive demand.
Audience: Identify recent purchasers to showcase new collections to them. You can achieve this by using Website Custom Audiences (or Tailored Audiences on Twitter) with an appropriate retention window.
Ad formats: Use Dynamic Ads to automatically cross-sell complementary products or upsell higher value products from your catalog.
Creative: Focus on creative that defines your brand beyond the holidays to avoid ad fatigue and expand into the New Year. Your brand message should seamlessly transition from the holidays to the post-holiday period to maintain interest and create new opportunities, such as additional gear and add-ons for holiday presents (video games, DSLR bag, etc.), post-holiday flash promotions, etc.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Optimization: Optimize for product sales or conversions to maximize the delivery of your ad campaigns to people likely to convert, once again making sure that your pixel is capturing enough conversions per week.
Dynamic Ads enable you to automatically promote your entire catalog across devices. With Dynamic Ads, you have full control over the products you advertise, ensuring you’re reaching audiences who’ve expressed high intent to purchase with the most relevant products. Advanced tactics are also available—cross-sell, upsell, and even prospecting.
Audience: Segment audiences based on past browsing behavior. For example, you can create audiences of people who viewed or added products to their cart but didn’t purchase, then retarget them with the same products to increase their purchase intent.
Targeting: Upload your product catalog to Facebook and make sure it’s regularly updated. Build product sets by category, best sellers, or high-margin products.
Ad formats: It’s best practice to use Carousel Ads rather than static image link ads.
Creative: Test different variations with macros such as price, brand, and description in your ad text and Carousel titles.
Optimization: Always bid your maximum value for one-day post-click conversions, and make sure bid values match with audience behavior. For instance, “add to cart” is a higher intent than a simple “product view” and may justify a higher bid. Make sure your audience pools are broad enough to get sufficient delivery.
Does your Facebook advertising strategy include video? Should you include video as part of your overall Facebook advertising strategy?
If you find yourself asking these questions, this article is for you. In this post you’ll discover essential tips for killer Facebook video campaigns and how you can improve on your existing strategy.
Facebook has seen phenomenal growth in video usage over the past year—it’s now serving a staggering 8 billion video views a day. Video usage has exploded astronomically, with no signs of slowing down. On average US adults spend 1 hour and 16 minutes each day watching videos on digital devices. In a split second, they’ll make a decision as to whether or not your post is worth engaging with.
If you have no idea where to start, you’re in luck. We’re here to help you create a powerful campaign that gets you noticed and achieve positive results.
1. Define your goal.
Before you start your campaign, it’s essential to understand what you want to achieve. Are you looking for brand awareness or to drive action? First and foremost, getting eyeballs on your videos should be your initial goal, but don’t stop there. You have a wealth of customer data itching to be used. Take these video viewers and turn them into actual customers (which we’ll chat about in a moment).
Drive brand awareness: Tracking video views and unique reach is important to you. Remember that Facebook considers a “view” someone who’s watched three or more seconds of your video.
Drive action: Clicks to your website or conversions are important to you. Be sure to add a clear call to action to your ad.
2. Decide on your target audience.
In general, Facebook recommends defining an audience of over 10,000 people for the best ad performance. You need to make people stop to view your video ad instead of scrolling past, so choose carefully. The more relevant your audience is the more video views you’re likely to get. We recommend creating buyer personas to identify who your ideal customers are, and then using these to define your campaign’s target audiences.
Be sure to tailor your creative for each respective persona. This also goes for separate target audiences and brand awareness versus re-engagement campaigns. Be creative and experiment with different targeting options to find the one that suits you best.
3. Go mobile.
Video ads are available across desktop/mobile news feeds and Instagram. Mobile drives the most effective video views, with 65% of Facebook users watching videos on their mobile device. With mobile effectively becoming the core of Facebook’s business—having grown 82% year-over-year and accounting for 80% of its total ad revenue—it continues to attract more and more people on mobile devices. This is only set to increase with its Instagram offering.
4. Don’t over-rely on autoplay.
Create engaging videos that make people want to hit that “play” button. If your ad receives high negative feedback, your video is less likely to autoplay. Have visually engaging content in the first few seconds of your video to catch a user’s attention. Sell without sound—85% of videos on Facebook are watched on silent mode, so use text overlays and a clear CTA to get your message across. Get creative with your content and cater for silent autoplay.
5. Optimize for video views for maximum reach.
Allow Facebook to identify users who are more likely to watch your video, which in turn will help increase the reach of your campaign. By choosing video views as your objective, Facebook will look for people who are more likely to watch your video in full. This will then let you generate much more effective custom audiences for your retargeting campaigns.
6. Re-engage users and drive conversions.
Video is the perfect mode for prospecting, but don’t let your strategy stop there. Take your viewers on a journey through your funnel and convert them into actual, paying customers. How, you ask? Create a list of people who’ve engaged with your video on Facebook and choose from several options:
People who viewed at least 3 seconds of your video
People who viewed at least 10 seconds of your video
People who viewed at least 25% of your video
People who viewed at least 50% of your video
People who viewed at least 75% of your video
People who viewed at least 95% of your video
Use these audiences to retarget highly engaged users of your brand. People who’ve completed your video will represent a more engaged audience and will be more likely to take your desired action. Get your messaging right, and as we mentioned above, take your viewers on a journey through the funnel.
If you’ve shown them generic messaging in your first touch point, be sure to follow up with specific product messaging followed by an incentive to purchase if they haven’t already done so. The goal of retargeting is to place your brand at top of mind while customers are still deep in their decision-making process.
Marin launched exactly this strategy with a leading technology brand and achieved a 30% lower CPA and 11% higher CTR, plus generated the highest number of sales for the campaign overall.
7. Monitor, adjust, and optimize.
You’ve followed all of the above steps and now you want to actually figure out what’s working for you. Test, test, and test some more! Ensure to test all the creative elements of your ads, including different video variations and text overlays. The number of ad variations will add up quite quickly, so it’s best to create these in bulk to save you time.
Narrow your targets based on your key objectives and buyer personas. You can break down your audiences by location, demographics, interests, and behavior specifics.
For example, if your audience size is large enough and you want to target multiple locations, run them in separate campaigns—making it easier to optimize—and see what’s working best for you. Are you targeting fans versus non-fans? Consider using different creative for each. You should always have different messaging for people who are already familiar with your brand, versus people who may have never come across you prior to your campaign.
Along with the above be sure to:
Include a clear CTA.
Use high-quality video content.
Include your branding and main messaging in the first few seconds of your video to take advantage of the autoplay feature (remember to use text overlay to cater for silent autoplay).
Combat ad fatigue by refreshing your creative every one to two weeks for best performance. When people have seen your ad multiple times, it can become more expensive to achieve your desired results.
Navigate to the reporting section and monitor key metrics such as clicks, impressions, reach, CTR, and conversions. Be sure to track follow-on activity in your Google Analytics account, and measure the lift of your campaigns based on key website stats such as bounce rate, average session duration, pages per session, and goal completion. Use the results of your testing to create a powerful, results-driven campaign.
With the continued growth of video across the platform, Facebook video ads are more likely to generate increased engagement for brands. By implementing the above, you’re sure to generate conversions from your efforts.
SEM has long been considered bottom-funnel advertising, but Facebook's new and improved direct-response features mean you can turn the platform into a revenue machine over the coming weeks. Here are five essential direct response (DR) features available on Facebook—and how to use them to your advantage.
With Q4 bringing a high saturation of ad demand—especially ecommerce and retail for the holiday season—carousel ads are a great way to stand out. With these ads, you have the ability to tell a story about your brand or product. You can also showcase the different benefits of a signature product, or a range of products or product lines. More real estate means more opportunity to grab attention and gain potential new customers.
Lead Gen Ads
If your focus is on lead gen, you should be using lead gen ads. The benefit here is that the user doesn’t need to leave Facebook to fill out your form. There are tons of fields to choose from—Facebook will try to fill them in automatically based on information from the user’s Facebook profile (which makes it a lot easier for someone to complete the form). You also have the option of putting up to three custom questions on the form that are specific to your company.
Wondering what creative works well? You can use carousel ads with this campaign objective to help tell your company’s story, list different benefits or services, etc. (Yes, we’re fond of carousel ads.)
If you’re worried about spending a ton during a highly competitive season (remember, with Facebook ads, you’re competing for space, not keywords), we recommend establishing a test budget to figure out which messaging works, then open the budget spigot in Q1.
App Install Ads
If your focus is on app installs, Facebook now has a great new type of bidding to use for app install ads. You can now bid on in-app events such as a registration or purchase. Your cost per install may rise with this, but you’ll be targeting people who are more likely to complete the in-app event that’s most important to you.
Trying to figure out who to target this season? Lookalike audiences should definitely be in the plan. With lookalike audiences, you can target from a 1% lookalike all the way to a 10% lookalike. A 1% lookalike will be the percentage most closely like your original seed audience, but once you find a seed audience that works, you can expand the percentage in order to scale more. Fee seed lists we see work well on Facebook are:
Last but not least, make sure you’re confident in your pixel implementation! Once the pixel is placed, make sure you go through the user flow on your site a few times and test the pixel. You can use the Facebook Pixel Helper Tool extension on Google Chrome. With this tool, you’re able to see if the right event is firing on the page you want it to. Since you’re likely bidding oCPM for conversions (in order to maximize the number of conversions you can get), you want to ensure you’re optimizing on a conversion that’s firing correctly.
Make sure you use all of the above features throughout the year, not just in Q4. But, to compete on Facebook and show some return for your dollar from now through mid-December, it’s imperative to use what’s available to you. These five features are a great start.
About a year ago, Facebook launched Dynamic Product Ads to attract mostly e-commerce advertisers looking for a more efficient way to launch remarketing campaigns, without having to manually create hundreds of link ads and custom audiences per SKU. Facebook now just refers to this solution as Dynamic Ads, with a unique offering available to travel advertisers called Dynamic Ads for Travel (DAT). With DAT, you can automatically deliver ads at a product level from your hotel and destination catalogs with unique creative based on a person's click events on your website.
For example, you could dynamically deliver ads across all hotel destinations with imagery specific to the location that people are searching for. People who searched for hotels in Maui on your website and didn’t convert would be delivered a very unique offer, compared to those who searched for, say, hotels in Minneapolis.
Dynamic Ads for Travel - Thousands of Relevant Ads in Seconds
As you can imagine, it’d be near-impossible to create all of the possible permutations of audience segments paired with unique creatives for each destination or hotel that people are searching for manually. Dynamic Ads for Travel improves campaign performance in several ways:
Relevancy: More intelligent ads that capture details such as price, check-in date, and destination relevant to what people are searching for and where they want to go. You can personalize landing pages with redirect URLs specific to these details.
Automated delivery: Ad creative is deployed automatically from your catalog feed, meaning you don’t have to manually create each individual ad.
Improved targeting for optimal ROI: Target people who are searching for a hotel in a certain place or flight on a specific date. Cross-sell people who’ve booked a flight with a complementary offer on a hotel.
Scale: Remarket to people across all placements including mobile news feed, the Audience Network, and Instagram.
So How Does Dynamic Ads for Travel Work?
There are two key components that enable Dynamic Ads for Travel to work:
The Facebook Pixel to enable “Website Custom Audiences” and track click events on your website
A feed that includes details on all items you sell, as well as creative (description, price, availability, etc.)
The click events that the Facebook Pixel captures allow travel advertisers to deliver more personalized ads to audiences based on a variety of user signals such as search activity, browsing history, and purchase behavior on your website. You can further enhance these audiences with a few parameters in both your exclusion and inclusion targeting:
Pixel Parameters For Travel Companies
HotelsFlightsDestinationsContent TypeContent TypeContent TypeDestinationOrigin and Destination AirportSuggested DestinationsCheck In and Out DateDeparture and Return DateTravel Start and End DateCurrencyCurrencyRegion, City, and Country
To determine which ad creative to trigger when a pixel event is fired, you need a travel feed with information from a catalog. You can either upload the catalog manually with a .CSV file or have the data retrieved programmatically from a feed in .XML format.
The good news is that many travel advertisers already have a feed that they use to deploy campaigns on Google, where the practice of retrieving this information for Facebook is very similar. Facebook currently supports the following catalogs with plans to roll out a flight specific-solution in the near future.
Hotel: A list of details specific to each hotel such as room availability, pricing, star rating, guest rating, and image URL with support for up to 20 images
Destination: A list of details specific to each destination such as longitude location, neighborhood, price, price change, and image URL with support for up to 20 images
If it seems a little hairy, not to worry—Dynamic Ads for Travel is one of the most advanced Facebook advertising features available on the platform today, so mastering it takes a bit of practice. The opportunities are truly endless, however, with all of the possible configurations that are available with this ad type.
Just note that some of these variables such as price and availability need to be updated in real-time, meaning to get your campaigns ahead of the curve, you should use a Facebook Marketing Partner platform—such as Marin Social—that’s developed this capability into its offering.
If you’re a retail advertiser, you have one, overarching goal each holiday season—drive sales. Every ad campaign launched, tracked, and optimized works holistically toward this goal.
Now that fall’s here, it’s time to gear your social campaigns to the rigors of Q4 and this quarter’s particular idiosyncrasies. The October to December timeframe is your most important business period of the year. You have your work cut out for you leveraging insights and audiences from your pre-holiday preparation to maximize sales. For optimal efficiency, retargeting users who’ve demonstrated interest is a key tactic.
Here are some tips to drive sales during the soon-to-be busiest, most competitive time of the year. To sum it all up in a single directive—focus on people familiar with your brand.
Audience: Build your campaigns around high-intent customer segments such as recent purchasers, loyalty members, and past holiday purchasers—and try to plan for a specific conversion path for each of them.
Targeting: Use Custom and Website Custom Audiences of people who’ve visited your website recently or purchased from you before.
Ad formats: Focus on ad formats that’ll allow you to showcase your products and services, such as Video Link Ads, Carousel Ads, and Canvas Ads.
Creative: Showcase your best-selling products to your audience segments and highlight USPs. Create urgency with limited-time offers, shipping deadlines, or discounts, and timely promotions such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday %-off.
Optimization: Optimize for conversions to maximize the delivery of your ads to people likely to purchase. Once again, make sure your conversion volume is enough for Facebook’s algorithm to be effective (especially if you're selling high-value products with costs above $200).
For more tips to stay ahead this holiday season—plus extra guidance designed specifically for Marin Software customers—download our Social Advertiser’s Holiday Guide.
Online gambling is one of the most profitable digital industries, and it's constantly expanding. Yet, it’s also one of the most challenging markets for digital advertisers. As technologies improve and strategies develop, the competition grows fiercer each day.
At the same time, the rise of social media forms a perfect marriage between a gaming industry that’s exploded and an advertising channel perfectly suited to what online gambling providers want to achieve—an even larger market and more players.
Advertising strategy for online gambling depends on many factors, differs according to specific brand requirements and goals, and requires a lot of testing to determine what works best. The key to success is to have a clear strategy and apply a few general best practices.
In this article, we look at an example of a robust gambling strategy, discuss challenges, and offer recommendations for campaign optimization.
A Four-Pronged Strategy for Online Gambling Providers
You should include four essential phases in your strategy:
To make sure you’re staying ahead of the competition, it’s important your strategy covers all phases of the typical online gambler journey, from the branding to retention, and that you use ads and targeting tactics that are the most useful in each phase. Any tweaks to the strategy will depend on your budget and resources, but having a clear structure makes planning easier and your ad campaigns more successful.
Further, there are a few things to note in order to maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns:
Facebook provides plenty of options for each step of the user journey. Determine what would be suitable for your core strategy, and consider others as appropriate. Make sure each option has a clear rationale.
Prepare the creative assets in advance for each ad type you’re launching and align it to the right steps in the user journey.
Define your preparation plan in great detail and always have a plan B. Build your targeting audiences and have a few additional ones built in case the core ones aren’t performing. Your preparation plan should include testing, and that plan should easily and efficiently allow you to determine the best performing demographics, ad types, placements, etc.
What are the Benefits of This Strategy?
Here are several great advantages from using this strategy, plus a few more tips for how to get the most out of it.
Facebook video ads: Facebook video ads are approximately 7x cheaper compared to YouTube, and open up an opportunity to reengage users who viewed your video.
Reach and frequency: Reach a significant number of people and control message frequency through reach and frequency campaigns, ideal for brand awareness.
Ad types and segmentation: Test different ad types to make sure you’re covering all available opportunities, and segment your audience to make sure you’re targeting high-value users. Audience segmentation and exclusion can significantly improve delivery and performance.
Instagram ads: Because of the image-driven nature of Instagram and the fact that users are more likely to connect with interactive content, these ads maximize the value of your creative and increase user engagement. This is a great option to leverage your content and increase the number of conversions.
Video reengagement: Use this to reengage with users who are familiar with and have shown interest in your brand. This is a good option for increasing the number of conversions and driving more high-value players.
Custom audiences: Make use of all ad types and optimize accordingly. Target audiences using Website Custom Audiences. Also create custom audiences of people who’ve registered but haven't made a purchase, and target with an alternative offer.
Search intent retargeting: This allows you to improve audience targeting and lower the CPA on your retargeting campaigns. Cross-channel retargeting ensures you’re reaching all of the most relevant, high-value users.
Dynamic Ads (DAs): Use Facebook DAs on different games to automate retargeting, and to show the most relevant game to your engaged users, driving them to convert.
Segmentation: Segment your custom audience and make use of ad types and messaging accordingly. Apply a “softer” method of engagement with these users by leveraging blog content, different offers, upgrades, and photo albums from user events. Also use Facebook’s immersive Canvas ads to get users more involved in the life of your brand.
Once your strategy’s clear and your campaigns are live, you’ll likely run into a few challenges. Here are a few common ones and how to handle them.
Your ad images, text, and targeting affects CTR—the lower the CTR, the higher the CPC: Stop any ads that aren’t meeting targets and have very low CTR.
Targeting or product affect CVR—the lower the CVR, the higher the CPA: Review your targeting strategy, your website, and your user funnel.
Campaigns have poor delivery: Check audience overlap and make sure to use exclusions. Also make sure you’ve allocated sufficient budget.
For a real-life example of how an online gambling site hit the jackpot with their CTR and saved big on CPAs, read our Leo Vegas case study.
Digital advertisers are worried about ad viewability. How worried are they? According to a survey that Mixpo conducted this year, 69% of them are “extremely concerned” or “very concerned.” That’s the bad.
As we mentioned in our post on programmatic buying transparency, the environmental transparency of an ad is as important as the campaign’s message or who’s being targeted. By “environmental,” we mean viewability, ad fraud, and brand safety.
We also stated that there’s no consensus on how viewability is even defined or how to determine the tradeoffs between measurement, accuracy, and associated costs.
Still, the debate continues. As viewability becomes a greater concern for digital advertisers and vital to the success of their campaigns, solutions and standards continue to be defined and refined. In this article, we look at guidelines, outline what to consider, and recommend a few tips for ensuring your ads are viewable.
Current Verdicts: What Determines if an Ad is “Viewable”?
The Media Rating Council (MRC) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) basically define viewability as who sees your ad, how much was seen, how long they saw it, and where the ad showed up. Further, the IAB states that viewability “is not about ad effectiveness nor ad engagement. It is simply the delivery of ads that render on the screen. In other words, the opportunity to be seen.”
What does that mean?
Specifically (according to MRC and IAB guidelines), a display ad is viewable if 50% or more of its pixels appear on-screen for at least one continuous second. On the other hand, GroupM believes 100% of pixels need to be in view for at least one second. Like GroupM, other large holding companies also have their own standards.
The reasons for these discrepancies often lie in creative technologies. For instance, moving from Flash to HTML5 can slow down page loads, making verification pixels time out, which can then prevent accurate measurement. And, according to the MRC, bandwidth and network speeds make load times even worse for mobile ads.
The various viewability definitions are a way to get around these speed bumps, allowing for a departure point to effectively measure viewable versus unviewable ads. Meaning, there are standards, but they depend on the governing body or other constituents determining the guidelines.
What About Brand Safety?
Brand safety is easier to define, but it’s just as important in ensuring your brand is creating a positive user experience and maintaining your brand image. Simply put, your brand is safe not only if your ads are showing up in the right context, but also when the right ads appear on your website. For instance, if not-quite-safe-for-work ads suddenly appear on your site, your brand image will likely suffer, causing buyer-seller trust to erode.
Once again, the IAB and its standards can help. Its Content Taxonomy identifies when companies are brand-safe based on a two-tier system:
Certified by an independent third party
Third-party certification providers offer a list of DSPs that filter bought inventory according to IAB’s taxonomy. In this way, programmatic guidelines and technologies can be established, automated to safeguard against risky ads and hazardous placements.
The Difference Between Viewability and Fraud
Remember there’s a difference between viewability and fraud. Integral Ad Science (IAS) defines ad fraud as “the deliberate practice of attempting to serve ads that have no potential to be viewed by a human user.” However, a positive trend that IAS reported reveals that overall programmatic ad fraud dipped by 20.9% between Q4 2015 and Q1 2016. Still, the U.S. has the worst rate of ad fraud when compared to Australia, France, Germany, and the U.K., the countries the IAS profiled.
This is part of why digital marketers in the U.S. are so worried.
Something to note, however, is that the same study showed that viewability is actually up, presumably because publishers and other players in the industry increasingly have stopped getting paid for inventory that’s fraudulent—so they’re more motivated to increase viewability and reduce fraud. An article in the Journal of Advertising Research, however, states that global advertisers are expected to waste roughly seven billion dollars in 2016 on unviewable ads. Whether the forecast is sunny or gloomy, all sides are working harder to reduce fraud and increase viewability.
Why is there as much fraud as there is? In a word—bots. Specifically, bots that mask as a user and click fraudulent ads, making it seem like your website’s getting more clicks and click-throughs than it actually is.
Marketers are right to be concerned. They must continue to be vigilant about and aware of both unviewable ads and bots’ calculated attempts to muddy the ad pool. To make matters (and your measurement efforts) worse, bots don’t use ad blocking software like humans do. So, if you’re trying to measure campaign effectiveness through the average ad blocking rate and optimize accordingly, you have your work cut out for you.
Why Is Viewability So Important, Anyway?
It’s obvious that you’d like people to actually see your ads. And, you’re no doubt interested in measuring the effectiveness of these ads and adjusting as needed.
A third angle to take into account—many new vendors are trying to monetize viewability, assigning costs to only those impressions that are viewable. Here, however, there’s a tradeoff between the page actually loading, the time it takes, and how these measurements will or should affect cost.
For brand awareness and to know your true cost of doing business, viewability is essential. As we mentioned in our post on the programmatic supply chain, if your impressions aren’t viewable, you should get a credit toward them. We’ll add here—if your impressions aren’t viewable, not only did a tree fall in the forest and no one heard it, no one has any idea what the tree looks like. So much for lifting your brand awareness.
Who Measures Viewability, and How?
First off, as far as measurement goes, who should bear the burden of proof? Publishers, vendors, and agencies are working together to measure and combat viewability issues. Each of these entities, however, has a unique motivation for ensuring viewability is maintained and measured:
Publishers: want to optimize yield and inventory management and ensure a positive user experience
Vendors: want to increase brand awareness, leads, clicks, CTR, and ROI
Agencies: want to increase viewable impressions and customer satisfaction
As mentioned earlier, there are issues gleaning accurate viewability metrics—such as latency and the creative technologies that cause it. Third-party measurement vendors can also be problematic, since they use tracking pixels that can, ironically, result in longer page loads and add to the murkiness of precise measurement.
The answer lies in adopting standards to level the playing field. In its Primer for Publishers on Improving Ad Viewability, IAB recommends that publishers establish performance benchmarks, and have a remediation plan in place to determine what happens should an ad placement miss the benchmark by more than 10%.
The landscape’s not perfect, but the outlook’s positive. That’s the good.
The Cost of Being Seen
What factors go into determining the cost of viewability? Viewability tracking, brand safety tracking, and brand lift studies are paid by either side in an effort to run cleaner campaigns. Ad verification and brand safety tools also come with a cost, and have their own issues, but they go a long way in creating environmental transparency. These all play a role in ensuring ads get seen, but marketers must determine how these weigh against their budget and how much are overkill.
What about the costs of the future? Will all ad formats be bought on a viewable impression basis, i.e., vCPM? Time will tell.
Tips for Making Sure Your Ads are Viewable
Now that we’ve gone over definitions, standards, and budgeting considerations, here are best practices you can use to combat viewability issues and maximize the likelihood of your ads getting seen:
Share information: As quality/ad fraud companies continue to work with the MRC, IAB, and other groups to develop standards, advertisers and publishers should rally around recommended guidelines, so that standardization can lead to equity and visibility.
Experiment: Bring on one vendor at a time, make sure they’re MRC-accredited, and measure the results.
Have frank discussions with verification partners. Ask them how they measure viewability or what they’re doing to control for fraud.
If you’re a publisher: Work out any discrepancies with your advertising partners. Make sure there’s agreement between what each side says about what was viewable and what wasn't.
If you’re a vendor: Regularly check your tags in order to determine whether an ad was in view or not. Note, however, that doing this chews up data and power—be careful not to degrade the user experience for the sake of viewability measurement.
Better Ad Viewability Is on the Horizon
If the virtual nail-biting is any indication, viewability will continue to occupy its high-anxiety, top-of-mind position until the major issues get smoothed over. Take heed, though, that help is not only on the way—the conversation has expanded to video and audio. In the long run, continued standardization will result in better guidelines and (more) common practices.
In the meantime, remember the tradeoffs between viewability, practicality, and the costs of measurement. Do what’s appropriate for your business and budget, with the understanding that better days await you.
Shopping has been a hot-button topic for some time now. While many customers have launched successful Shopping campaigns, there are some lesser-known features that may provide a quick additional boost or improvement to your current efforts.
Four such features are:
SKU-level reporting (Marin)
Campaign priority settings (Marin)
Automatic item updates (Google Merchant Center)
Promotions (Google Merchant Center)
Marin fully supports performance reporting at the SKU level. With this extremely valuable data, advertisers can review products on a regular basis to see where individual SKUs prove to be candidates for segmentation or exclusion. If the SKU data warrants it, you can indicate a more aggressive or conservative bid.
To see SKU-level reporting enabled in Marin, work with your platform representative to append the appropriate parameter to the product groups, and to have the new feature enabled and backfilled.
Campaign Priority Settings
Priority settings are extremely useful for advertisers who invest the time in building out multiple Shopping campaigns and want to maximize their effectiveness.
As Google describes the setting, “When you have the same product in multiple Shopping campaigns, you can determine which campaign should participate in the auction for that product with campaign priority. Your campaigns already have a priority: Low. But you can change this priority to Medium or High. These priorities determine the bid for any product that the campaigns share.”
The highest priority campaign will bid
If the highest priority campaign runs out of budget, the lower priority campaign bids
When multiple campaigns have the same priority, the highest bid is used
The right mix of priority assignments and bid strategies by campaign solve the tricky issue of being able to control products that exist across multiple campaigns.
Automatic Item Updates
If you have metadata enabled on your site, it may be prudent to enable Google’s Automatic Item Updates feature. This allows Google to crawl your site and update Shopping based on the site’s inherent microdata information. This is mostly valuable in reconciling price discrepancies and/or availability.
Enabled in Google Merchant Center, a Promotion is an excellent way to differentiate your product from the competition and advertise your sale. You can assign Promotions to a subset of products or across all products in the feed, as applicable.
Google manually reviews all promotions for accuracy, so be sure to schedule these well in advance of the actual promotion launch so that the approval process won’t cause any delay. Also be sure you know Google’s Merchant Promotions Program Policies.
Get ahead of the competition by testing out some of this readily available advanced functionality! If you’re interested in speaking with a Shopping Consultant from Marin, get in touch with your platform representative. Or, if you're new to Marin, get in touch with our team.
When Google released product listing ads, it dramatically changed the way retailers advertise online. Because of their huge success, retailers are constantly on the lookout for the next game-changing ad format.
If the results our retail clients have been seeing are any indication, the next frontier for product ads is harmonizing Google Shopping and Facebook Dynamic Ads (DA). Even though there’s been steady growth in the number of advertisers using Facebook DAs since their launch in 2015, many retailers are still managing their search and social channels in silo.
In this post, you’ll learn how to supercharge your shopping ads by combining the best of search and social. Using these techniques, our customers have seen a 68% higher revenue per conversion from their campaigns, when managed together with social advertising campaigns.
Seed Facebook with your best Google Shopping campaigns.
Savvy advertisers take advantage of their existing Google Shopping campaigns to optimize—or simply test—DAs for the first time. By identifying your best-performing products from Google Shopping campaigns, you can export high-ROI products to advertise using DAs.
Through Facebook’s new Google Shopping to DA product (available to Marin Software customers), advertisers using Google Shopping can take their best-performing campaigns and easily create Facebook DAs in a few easy steps, without the need for lengthy setup and extensive IT resources.
Build out the right types of campaigns.
To easily increase your average order value and/or customer lifetime value, be sure to offer products related to what a customer’s ordered. As you’re building out DA campaigns, you can create upsell, cross-sell, and prospecting campaigns using the same process.
Upsell and cross-sell: With these types of campaigns, you can increase the chances of selling complimentary, relevant products to your customers via upsell (higher profitability items) or cross-sell (similar product sets).
Prospecting: Take shopping on Facebook beyond retargeting through Facebook’s DA prospecting campaigns. Advertisers can now reach new customers within the Facebook universe who haven’t visited your website. Facebook allows you to automatically create the best ads and find the best users for prospecting, giving you an efficient, effective way to find new audiences for your products.
Use search intent data to power DA creative.
Search intent retargeting is the smartest way to maximize the ROAS of your search budget. As cross-channel marketing strategies become commonplace, digital advertisers have started using search intent data to power their social campaigns. This strategy can be extended to Facebook DAs.
One example: using search intent to optimize DA creative templates. If the right users see them, these dynamic changes to creative can lead to significant lifts in CTR, conversion rates, and ROI.
Let’s say you have three users who’ve reached your website using different levels of search intent.
Discount-driven (keyword: discount shoes)
Product brand (keyword: Buffalo Shoes)
Store name (keyword: PowPow Shoe Shop)
Through DA creative templates and search intent data, you can dynamically tailor your Facebook creatives based not only on the products users have seen on your website, but also on the keyword they used to get there in the first place. This allows you to show hyper-targeted ads, resulting in higher click-through and conversion rates.
In the above example, our users see different things depending on their keyword group:
Sales-driven user (keyword: discount shoes) sees an ad with a sales message.
The user who’s shown product brand infinity (keyword: Buffalo Shoes) sees a creative with a large product brand logo.
The user who’s shown brand affinity for the shop/advertiser (keyword: Marin Shoe Shop) sees a large advertiser logo.
Use cross-channel product reporting and optimization.
Once you start running Google Shopping and Facebook DAs, you should look at product performance and optimization in a more holistic way. The challenge with cross-channel tracking is normalizing conversions across multiple devices, ad buys, and other variables. However, with a third-party platform like Marin Software, the problem’s solved, so you can focus on the most important task—making sense of all that rich data and finding synergies.
With consistent third-party conversion tracking, you can also deduplicate conversions across search and social. And, through attribution modeling, you can gain deeper insights into how your Google Shopping and Facebook DAs are affecting the overall path to conversion.
Your future shoppers are spending an ever-increasing amount of time on Facebook and Google. In fact, 78% of all new ads were on either Facebook or Google last quarter. Now’s the time to think smarter about how you can cost-effectively engage and convert these users.
By combining search and social shopping strategies, not only do you break down channel silos—you gain a holistic view of product performance, and the ability to optimize across channels and improve overall product performance.
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
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.
Shopping season is here. To help retailers navigate the current terrain of shopping ads and digital marketing, Marin has developed new features to help retailers maximize revenues and efficiencies this back to school and holiday season.
In this post, we’ve asked Anil Channappa, Senior Director Product Management for Marin Social, to talk about these features and how they’ll benefit retail and ecommerce advertisers.
From the lens of your role, what is Marin's cross-channel shopping solution?
It’s the ability for marketers to maximize the sales and revenue of their products through advertising regardless of the publisher. Without such a solution, advertisers have to coordinate advertising campaigns across Google and Facebook (in the same or different tool), without a way to measure the effectiveness across publishers.
With a solution like Smart Sync for Shopping, advertisers can mirror a Google shopping campaign so that the same campaign is running on both Google and Facebook, without needing to know much about leveraging their product feed on Facebook. The cross-publisher reporting helps our advertisers make smarter bid and budget decisions to maximize ROI. And this is a unique and innovative solution in the market today.
Why is it important?
Customers and prospects are browsing freely across Google and Facebook. So, advertisers shouldn’t be bogged down by publisher-specific differences, and should be able to reach customers where they are. Being able to reach shoppers where they shop with one product feed and campaign flow, will improve campaign management efficiency and the effectiveness of their campaigns.
How does this solution enhance how retailers approach their ad campaigns, and impact their business needs?
Campaigns should be geared towards business objectives and needs. Does a customer want to run a promotion that aligns with events like 4th of July, Black Friday, or a major sale of specific products? In most cases today, customers have to replicate these campaigns manually across all publishers.
With Marin’s cross-channel solution, advertisers can rely on technology to create, measure, and scale campaigns across publishers, while spending their time on critical decisions and optimizations.
Why now? What motivated Marin Software to invest in this feature rollout?
Publishers are racing to offer innovative products to keep pace with emerging customer behaviors. Mobile technologies (tablets, smartphones) have been a huge disrupter. Publishers are forced to innovate rapidly to offer advertising products that fit this new paradigm.
Shopping Campaigns and Dynamic Ads are all visual ads that are easier for users to preview and click on mobile devices. Depending on your source, anywhere from 75-95% of mobile users click social ads. Marin’s research shows that during Q1 of this year, closer to 95% of all social ad clicks were on a mobile device.
In the past, we’ve invested heavily to streamline advertising within channels (search, social, and display), but we can only go so far in our value-add, because the channels themselves are very different. Given shifting user behaviors and publishers offering similar products, there is a huge convergence of ad products across publishers. This is a perfect opportunity to help marketers who are used to streamlining their channel-specific advertising and extend it across channels.
If you could describe how a company would use this cross-channel solution and come out with strong results, what would that scenario look like?
Google is the dominant player for most retailers to drive demand and new customers. This is the place where advertisers have gone back, time and time again, to drive their sales.
With Facebook stepping up their ad products, we’re hoping it’ll be a great source of new customers, and provide advertisers with increased scale and higher revenue across the board. As a secondary benefit, the streamlined solution could help advertisers save time, reduce cost, and balance their budgets more effectively.
What tips would you like to share with Marin customers who are gearing up for the upcoming back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons?
Think about people-based marketing rather than channel-specific marketing. From the outset, we suggest that customers set up cross-channel campaigns and measure the impact to net revenue and ROI. The channel-specific team should still focus on channel-specific optimizations (creative, audience and bid optimizations in Facebook and product group, bid optimization in Google), but share cross-publisher learnings from platforms like Marin.
You’re in a relay race and this is what you have to do—run with a bucket of water to your next team member, without spilling any of the water. The next player does the same, and so on, until the last player finishes the race.
The object of the contest is to not only preserve as much water as possible, but also to know exactly how much water you lost throughout the course of the game. Oh, and another thing—the buckets are different sizes, you’re playing at night, and you’re blindfolded, and so are your team members. And, you’re playing against a lot of other teams.
We call this race “the programmatic supply chain.”
The Role of Programmatic Intermediaries
As we mentioned in our first post in this series on programmatic transparency, the programmatic supply chain is made up of intermediaries that may or may not disclose their pricing model. We also mentioned that a recent ANA/Forrester study revealed that55 percent of marketers are concerned with the opaqueness of the intermediaries along the supply chain. This is up from 21 percent just two years ago.
Like our shot-in-the-dark relay race, advertisers often have to settle for hidden bid prices, secret media value, and even kickbacks. What if the increased concern was translated into clear, actual dollars? How do you get bottom-line clarity? If you haven’t asked your programmatic partners what they’re charging you, now’s the time.
Let’s look at the intermediaries, then assess the average take rates of each one.
Anatomy of the Supply Chain
Here’s roughly how the typical supply chain flows. Note that there’s lots of bi-directionality, and the model changes dramatically depending on the services included.
Ad serving (advertiser side, publisher side)
Exchanges and ad networks
Managed services fees through an agency or media buying partner (or lower fees if you’re accessing a SaaS platform)
We’ve estimated it would take you one to two hours to determine what you pay each of your supply chain intermediaries using IAB’s programmatic calculator. And, that’s if you already know what you’re spending with each partner.
Although it’s challenging to pin down exact cost amounts for each intermediary in the supply chain, it’s not impossible. Knowing the average take rates and ranges allows you to establish benchmarks you can use as a guide. We strongly recommend taking the time to measure what you really spend so you can improve your bottom line. (Click the image to enlarge it.)
Fine-Tuning the Fees
The various cost models you might encounter will alter your numbers, so here are some additional aspects to consider as you complete your appraisal.
CPM-based fees: Before you buy any media, make sure you understand the nature of any fixed fees charged for a thousand ad impressions. How are the fees determined?
Percent of media fees: If you’re working with an ad agency, ask them for access to their spending model. Find out how your money’s being allocated.
Flat fees: Figure in any fixed costs exchanges collect from you.
Arbitrage: After purchasing media, some agencies mark up the cost before they sell it back to you. If you’re working with an agency, make sure it discloses this amount.
Viewability: If any of your impressions aren’t viewable, you should get a credit toward those wasted impressions.
Gaining Clarity in Your Cost Model—ROAS to ROI
Digital marketers, and agencies that support them, are on chronic overwhelm with the choices of platforms, programs, vendors, and the consistent pressure to improve return on ad spend (ROAS). But with deeper understanding of the supply chain and an increasing availability of advanced attribution and offline measurement, closing the loop on profitability is a worthy and attainable goal.
True ROI is within reach, so long as media agencies and ad tech vendors evolve to become more transparent and focused on driving business performance, not just advertising performance.
We hope these tips make it easier to achieve greater transparency in your specific programmatic supply chain, and that the path becomes more of an easy route planner than a blind relay race.
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.
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.
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:
an additional X% off
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.
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!
Facebook offers several great options for retargeting, allowing you to segment and remarket to people who’ve engaged with your product. These tools include:
Website Custom Audiences
Dynamic Product Ads (DPA)
These features let you granularly segment your audiences, ensuring you’re targeting users with the right messaging and products.
Adding Search Intent to the Mix
What happens when search teams up with social? Combining search intent with Facebook retargeting allows you to segment and target users on Facebook, based on the search ads that drove them to your website.
How can you fit this tactic into your overall retargeting strategy, and how is it beneficial to your campaigns?
Let’s tackle that last question first.
It provides clear intent.
Since search is an intent-oriented channel, you can retarget users based on what they’re looking for. With this knowledge, you can drive them to a conversion by offering them exactly what they want.
It increases audience quality.
Once you know your audience’s intent, you can align this information with your goals to create high-value user segments, then target accordingly. This affords you the opportunity to target larger audiences using lookalikes, then scale even further from there. No matter the size of the audience, using precise, tailored segments ensures the highest audience quality.
And, if your goals change and you no longer want to target a specific audience, you can always exclude it from your campaigns.
It improves your optimization strategy.
Search intent allows you to adapt creative elements on Facebook—by knowing what the user wants, you can show more appealing images and messaging to increase CTR. You can also apply tiered bidding and budget, concentrating on higher-value audiences.
How to Incorporate It
There are an infinite numbers of ways you can segment audiences based on your overall strategy and goals, or even for a particular event. Here are a few use cases.
A TV Campaign
A large brand is planning to launch a massive TV campaign, and wants to engage with people, via search and social, who possibly saw its TV ad. Since users are most likely to search for the brand after seeing the ad, the brand splits its search campaigns into brand and generic segments. This way, the brand can understand its audience and target them with specific messaging, across channels.
An Ecommerce Site
An ecommerce site is trying to attract users based on search criteria for its fashion styles. It tags the keywords romantic and classic to reach those users on Facebook, showing them relevant content. The site complements this tactic with its Facebook DPA campaigns.
A direct advertiser is looking to improve its social optimization strategy based on search activity. It segments search campaigns according to users who search for high ROI and low ROI keywords, allowing it to target those users on Facebook, and adjusting bids and budgets accordingly.
A travel website wants to lower CPAs for search and social channels. It creates a 100% bid RLSA group for very expensive but high volume keywords, tags the users who’ve clicked these keywords, and excludes them from repeated searches. To achieve lower costs, the website targets those users in social.
This is a guest post from Dionte Pounds, Account Manager at 3Q Digital.
A few months ago, Google unveiled a new tool that allows advertisers to interact directly with an audience across the search, Gmail, and YouTube networks. That tool was Customer Match (See my previous post about setup tips).
With this feature, advertisers could submit a list of email addresses from past customers or email subscribers directly into the AdWords interface. Then, advertisers could target individuals who’d already expressed interest in their products, across channels, as long as they were signed in to Google.
With this update, Google strengthened the ability of advertisers to leverage 1st-party data. The move echoed Facebook’s Custom Audiences, which has been in the market for years and proven very effective. While it provides Google-focused marketers a great way to use 1st-party data, Google’s added another feature that uses that data to find and target new customers.
That tool is Similar Audiences.
Similar Audiences are made up of groups of people who have characteristics with a remarketing audience you’ve previously created. For example, if you have a remarketing audience created for people who’ve visited your website via a paid ad click within the last 30 days, Google will automatically generate a new pool of prospects you can target if the starting audience is large enough.
Because paid ad traffic is cookied, Google tracks the browsing habits of that cookied traffic over the last 30 days and uses that to find shared interests and behaviors. For a new Similar Audience to be created, at least 500 cookies with enough similarities and characteristics must be active. In theory, a larger remarketing list should yield a better Similar Audience in terms of relevancy, because it’s pulling from a larger set of data being sent back for Google to use.
So, a Similar Audience taken from a Customer Match list should be an extremely relevant pool of new users that you can target to grow a business. However, there are some features that are disabled for a Similar to Customer Match audience that must be taken into consideration when planning new advertising strategy.
The first is that, like all Similar Audiences, you can’t target a Similar to Customer Match audience across the Search Network. Because Similar Audiences are based on the webpage browsing history of the cookied user, you’re limited to targeting on the Display Network and YouTube Network.
The Display Network
Speaking of the Display Network, you can only target Similar to Customer Match audiences on the Google Display Network and YouTube. This is where the use of 1st-party data is somewhat limiting in Google. Because the uploaded customer lists lack the cookies needed to track browsing behavior, Google can’t use that data to find an audience with related interests on the Display Network.
Still, you can utilize a similar audience across Gmail and YouTube ads, because these are networks entirely owned by Google where the user is signed in to the network (at least most of the time for YouTube). Because the data Google receives from these channels are different from Display Network, where 3rd-party groups simply opt in to the network, the way Google finds these users and tracks characteristics greatly varies.
Even with these limitations, I still highly recommend testing all similar audiences, but especially a similar audience built from Customer Match. It’s a great way to engage a new audience of individuals similar to that of your past customers.
How do you get your product feed in front of as many eyes as possible? Are you using Facebook Dynamic Product Ads? Just Google Shopping? Do you have an effective social prospecting strategy? Do you know how to get your product ads in front of people who’ve never seen them before?
If your answer to any of these questions is “meh,” then this blog post is for you.
How to Get More People to See Your Product Feed
There are two ways to get your products in front of potential customers on the web today:
Paid placement (cost-per-click)
Marketplace (revenue share)
If you're a retailer, it's in your best interest to blast your product feed far and wide to make sure your product is available whether a potential customer is searching for it on Google or Amazon, or browsing the Yahoo News feed. Heck, maybe they just need a reminder that they didn’t complete their purchase of those cute red pumps.
The obvious next question is—how do I ensure my product is reaching all my potential customers across the many channels and publishers on the web? Full-blown shopping capabilities allow you to get your products in front of millions of customers through all the major paid avenues—and all the leading marketplaces like Amazon and eBay—from a single product feed. This is the easiest way to execute a true “omni-channel shopping campaign.” (Request a demo to find out how we can help you do this.)
Facebook DPA: The Value Proposition
Facebook Dynamic Product Ads (DPA) help you promote relevant products to shoppers browsing your product catalog. Once they’ve visited your website or mobile application, you can retarget them on Facebook with the specific products they showed interest in, dynamically displayed with information from your product feed (price, name, in stock or not, etc.).
There are several great things you can do with DPA:
Upsell or cross-sell campaigns to increase the chances of selling complimentary, relevant products to your customers.
Show your products to people who haven’t seen them.
Reach audiences no matter what channel, publisher, or device they’re on.
Here’s how this works.
Upsell and Cross-sell
Suppose a shopper buys a pair of designer shoes online, and then they see an ad for handbags from the same designer. By showing products related to what a customer orders, you increase your average order value and customer lifetime value. Upsell and cross-sell campaigns automatically extend the reach of your campaigns, and increase the chances of selling relevant incremental products.
With a prospecting campaign, you can offer products from your catalog to new audiences most likely to use your products (by way of a Facebook algorithm or dynamic ads across the web). This feature is meant to give you an optimal workflow—one that allows you to bulk-edit ads and duplicate DPA campaigns for retargeting, upsell, or cross-sell, all in one function.
So, for example, instead of having four separate campaigns and workflows, you can create just one workflow that handles everything you would’ve included in those disparate campaigns.
A small number of Facebook partners (including Marin) can edit product sets, add URL tags, choose creative templates, and see full previews as you make selections. These features have excellent workflow capabilities, so they deliver both fantastic targeting and ease of use. Contact us to learn more.
Having shopping campaigns on both Google and Facebook catapults the power and performance of your product feed. Do you have the time and resources, though, to manage your shopping campaigns on two different platforms?
If you do, you should definitely include your product feed on both channels to extend your reach. If you don’t, Marin’s Smart Sync for Shopping feature automatically clones and syncs your shopping campaigns from Google to Facebook, eliminating the need for lengthy IT support. With Marin Display, you can use your same product feed to run prospecting campaigns to those outside Google and Facebook.
About Those Omni-Channel Campaigns....
Even more powerful than Google Shopping or Facebook DPA alone, omni-channel distribution allows you to advertise across a wide array of channels and publishers—native, search, social, eBay, Amazon shopping...the list of both paid and non-paid platforms goes on.
To wring every last drop of value from your product feed, you should showcase it through as many online venues as you can. You should also make sure you’re constantly optimizing your feed for the greatest possible returns.
A Word on Cross-Channel Advertising
Retailers who combine all of the above functionality with display retargeting can boast of having a full cross-channel solution, one that automatically puts in overtime to expand your reach and boost revenue. Make sure you’re taking advantage of all channels, and heighten your brand effectiveness in time for back-to-school and the Q4 holiday season.
Digital advertising is a fast-evolving organism. For retailers, this means constantly looking for new ways to meet and exceed business goals. Promoting your product catalog across channels is a powerful way to upsell existing customers and for finding new ones. To learn more about how Marin can help, request a demo.
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.
Global mobile trends all point to the same conclusion – operating in channel-specific silos no longer works, and now’s the time for marketers to implement a strong cross-channel marketing strategy.
If you subscribe to this blog (and if you don’t, see that second little box on the right), you already know we’ve been evangelizing the message of “cross-device, cross-channel.” There’s a good reason for that.
Data Are Fundamental to Consumer Engagement
As we approach the halfway point of 2016, it’s more important than ever that marketers not only use data to understand customer behavior, but also to act on that behavior to deliver engaging, personalized experiences.
On May 25, Nitin Rabadia – our Director of Audience Marketing EMEA, APAC – will explain how to use data to win the online battle for attention and revenue. Gleaning insights from our 2016 Global Mobile Report (available with webinar registration), Nitin will field your questions and discuss:
How consumer behavior is affecting desktop and mobile spend
Recommendations for optimizing advertising across channels
Tactics to take advantage of customer signals
How to improve budgeting, bidding, and targeting decisions with full transparency
When we looked at performance marketing data from the first quarter of 2016, one thing became clear: cross-channel, cross-device targeting remains the most powerful differentiator for profitable marketing strategies.
To create our quarterly benchmark reports, we sample the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform. We analyze data from around the world to create our report. For Q1 2016, key findings include:
All mobile, all the time. Advertisers and consumers are continuing to shift towards a more mobile ecosystem.
Cross-channel and cross device remain important. It’s important for marketers to adopt and maintain a more holistic and complete approach to digital marketing that targets across all channels and devices.
Every channel has its strengths and weaknesses. Not only should marketers become adept at recognizing each channel’s weaknesses, but even more importantly, they should start using all three channels and devices to their best strengths.
Continuing its ascent into the status of omnipresent being, global smartphone adoption reached an all-time high last year and shows no signs of slowing down. Thanks to this rapid expansion of smartphone usage around the world, advertisers now have an opportunity to reach consumers even more easily.
We sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform, to analyze data from around the world to create our latest annual benchmark report.
We uncovered three key findings:
Clicks and spend have gone mobile. In 2015, mobile devices represented the majority of consumer online usage for the first time. Consumers are now spending more time and attention on mobile devices than desktop – as a result, advertisers have been shifting spend away from desktop towards smartphones and tablets to catch consumer attention and generate clicks. We predict this trend will continue.
Desktop is becoming more like mobile. As the mobile format gains traction with consumers and advertisers, publishers are innovating. While mobile ad formats formerly took cues from desktop, publishers are now swapping the formula, making desktop ad formats and pages more similar to mobile.
Mobile conversion is gaining traction. Desktops are still the primary conversion-driving device; however, within the past year, conversion rates have been growing on mobile devices. While mobile devices have historically been used for product research or upper-funnel activities, this is changing, as better mobile attribution and ad formats are released. Expect this trend to continue.
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.
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.
Advertisers have long relied on reach and frequency measures to buy media. In the Mad Men days, this involved running predictions on a room-sized computer and buying TV audiences during Gilligan’s Island or Bonanza. Targeting was extremely broad, and there was no way to follow up with individual consumers.
Fortunately, today’s marketers have access to that same scale, now combined with the ability to execute more targeted, measured, and relevant campaigns across channels – even reaching people 1:1. This is particularly true on Facebook, where reach and frequency campaigns allow for interactive and targeted storytelling to drive brand awareness.
Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Use reach and frequency for launches, market expansion, and more.
Facebook reach and frequency campaigns are best suited for situations where you want to drive brand awareness, affinity, and lift at scale. Keep in mind that the minimum allowable reach is 200,000 users, so these are sizable campaigns. In particular, consider reach and frequency in situations where you want to:
Launch a new product
Expand into new markets
Manage your brand image
Take action against competitive noise
Keep your products top-of-mind
2. Tell a story with ad sequencing.
With ad sequencing, you can specify the order in which your ads are delivered to users. This makes it possible to tell a story and build on previous messages. We recommend ordering your ads according to the purchase funnel. Here’s an example of what that could look like:
Ad #1 – Introduce your brand to increase overall awareness
Ad #2 – Provide specific product details to encourage consideration
Ad #3 – Include a strong call to action and encourage users to convert
3. Use the power of retargeting.
Unlike traditional TV advertising, Facebook allows you to reconnect with users on a 1:1 basis. Reap the benefits by booking a reach and frequency audience as the first step in a larger, multi-phase strategy.
Next, retarget the subset of users that demonstrated interest by engaging with your ad. Popular auto brand DS recently used a similar sequential advertising strategy to drive global awareness for the launch of their latest model, generating an impressive 20% engagement rate.
4. Remember Instagram!
When social marketers think of reach and frequency campaigns, they generally think of Facebook. But don’t forget that reach and frequency targeting is available on Instagram, too! With over 400 million monthly active users, 75% of which are located outside the US, Instagram is a great way to extend your reach and promote your brand beyond Facebook alone.
5. Combine with TV for 20% more reach.
Cross-channel campaigns are a powerful way to extend your advertising reach. In fact, a recent study revealed that advertising on Facebook extended the unique reach of the target audience of the TV plans of entertainment campaigns by an average of 20%, or an incremental 10 million people. So if budget allows, try advertising across Facebook, Instagram, and TV in combination for maximum reach.
We’ve definitely moved beyond the Mad Men age. Now that we live in a world of screens – both large and small – the modern marketer can use reach and frequency to connect with broader audiences across channels and around the globe.
General conversion metrics about your visitors only tell part of the story. In reality, there are many steps a visitor might have taken before converting on your site. How do you measure the value of your upper-funnel prospecting campaigns, and determine whether they’re providing incremental benefit and driving last-touch attribution and conversion?
What Are Assisted Conversions?
Assisted conversions help give you better insight for how other campaigns may have contributed to your final conversion. This insight is important, since it helps you make better decisions on your campaigns and immediately illustrates the value of your top-of-funnel marketing efforts.
How It Works
Suppose you’re running a campaign where you’re targeting people who visited your website. You have another campaign that targets people who looked at a specific product page on your website, a much more focused group. You’re probably measuring how well you’re targeting website visitors, but you may not be crediting this campaign with any conversions that come from your product page.
In other words, your website targeting campaign alone looks like it’s not providing any value, although it’s pushing customers along the funnel.
Here’s another example: Suppose your visitor sees or clicks a Facebook News Feed ad, and then clicks a web ad to convert. With general standard conversion metrics, the web ad gets the credit for the final conversion. But, in this scenario, your Facebook News Feed ad should get an assisted conversion credit, since it contributed to the “slam dunk,” as it were.
“It makes my job a lot easier, and now I don’t have to spend all day combing through spreadsheet after spreadsheet, trying to figure out where a booking value came from because it’s nowhere in my system.” – Kevin High / Digital Marketing Manager, IBC Hotels
IBC Hotels had a retargeting problem. Not only were they unable to easily attribute conversions – they were having a hard time even implementing their existing solution’s dynamic tracking code, and considered their vendor’s service team “unknowledgeable and nonexistent.”
IBC Hotels prides itself in introducing travelers to unique, locally owned hotels all over the world. Since IBC makes commission on each acquired booking, it’s crucial for them to accurately attribute the source of their conversions and revenue.
If they were going to lower cost and increase ROI, they needed a platform that would make their jobs easier, not more burdensome and clunky.
Enter Marin Display
IBC implemented Marin Display – with its Site Tracking Tag – to build audiences for retargeting across channels and devices. IBC found Marin Display’s tracking solution worked flawlessly and was easier to implement than their previous retargeting solution.
The Site Tracking Tag allowed IBC to automatically collect important information such as order ID and revenue, and to easily attribute conversions. IBC could then effortlessly access this data and export it.
From here, they were able to optimize their retargeting funnel, attribute conversions accurately back to their own internal reporting, and ultimately lower CPM and improve ROI.
This is a guest post from Dionte Pounds, Account Manager at 3Q Digital.
When you sign up to be a search account manager, you’re making the decision to test yourself to find new strategies for account growth. Whenever identifying growth opportunities becomes challenging, a strategy I rely on is launching Dynamic Search campaigns.
If you’re unfamiliar – Dynamic Search Ads match your ads to search queries based on the content of your website. This removes the need to manage lists of keywords or landing pages. AdWords automatically generates a headline most appropriate to the search query and sends traffic to relevant landing pages.
The benefits can be huge. Dynamic Search helps managers of mature and new accounts find new, profitable long tail keywords or new high volume terms.
The setup for this campaign type is simple, but it can really take some time to set up your dynamic targets to give you the optimum performance you’re looking for. To speed up the process, here are five optimization strategies to cut down on the trial and error and start things off on a high note.
Proper segmentation is critical to getting the best possible performance from Dynamic Search. When creating a new ad group in a Dynamic Search campaign, you have three options for how to define targets. The least appealing option is to target the entire website. This is less than ideal because of the lack of control you have over where traffic is sent and what search queries the campaign picks up.
For example, if you run a luxury jewelry website, it makes sense for visitors to go to a page where they can view products and start the sales process. Sending them to a part of the website where traffic can’t start a sale, like the website’s blog, isn’t as ideal. Poor targeting can result in a high bounce rate and wasted ad spend.
I recommend targeting specific topics or webpages instead. By doing this, you narrow the type of search queries that can be matched to your website targets, resulting in more qualified traffic and less wasted spend.
2. Website Coverage
When starting a campaign from scratch or adding in a new Dynamic Search target, pay attention to the target’s estimated website coverage. Simply put, website coverage is the percentage of a website covered by an individual target.
If you’re having a problem with your Dynamic Search campaign not generating high traffic volume, the problem could be that you have too small of a target. Try expanding and see if that opens things up. Or if the opposite is true, switch to a target with a smaller website coverage to cut down on the junk clicks.
3. Exclusion Targets
Dynamic targets can be excluded from your campaign to prevent traffic from reaching pages you don’t want to be used for ads. Much like the different targeting options available, dynamic exclusions gives you control over when Dynamic Search ads appear and where they send traffic.
Exclusions can be made at the campaign or the ad group level. When creating dynamic targets, try applying existing targets as exclusions for other dynamic targets. Sticking with the luxury jewelry website, let’s say you have a target set up for watches, but you want to create another target for Rolex watches in particular.
After creating the new Rolex target, exclude that from the larger, general watch target. Proper segmenting and exclusions should work to create a structured Dynamic Search campaign where there is little, if any, overlap between targets.
4. Negative Keywords
If you aren’t using negative keywords in either a shared list or attached to your Dynamic Search campaign, you need to take action immediately. Negative keywords should be applied just like any other search campaign.
Depending on the dynamic targets, you could make the argument that negative keywords are more crucial for Dynamic Search campaigns because queries are matched to website content and not keywords. When first launching, check your search queries report frequently to make sure you’re not burning budget on irrelevant queries.
5. Remarketing Lists
Like any other search campaign, remarketing lists can be attached to your dynamic search campaign with the option to just bid on these audiences or to target and bid. This is useful if you have a remarketing audience specifically interested in a dynamic target.
Let’s go back to our luxury jewelry example from earlier and imagine we have an audience of people that have previously purchased a Rolex watch. We can attach that Rolex audience to our Rolex dynamic target with a positive bid modifier to raise bids when members of this audience search Google for products we have in our inventory. This modifier will allow us to bid up, obtain better ad position, and ultimately put us in a better place to make a sale.
When applying remarketing lists, it’s important to remember the difference between settings. Bid Only allows you to apply a bid modifier only when members of our audience enter a query. It has no effect on bids for people not in the audience. Target and Bid finds members of that audience only. Non-audience member search queries will not be matched to your targets.
Dynamic Search campaigns have the ability to really blow the doors off performance by finding new, profitable search queries that you otherwise may have missed. But it’s important to regularly update and tweak targets and exclusions to get the most out of performance.
Also, don’t be afraid to step outside the box with your segmentation and test new things out. No matter the size or maturity of the account, Dynamic Search is an effective strategy that should bring success to whoever uses it.
With spring rapidly approaching, this is a great time for search marketers to start preparing for an annual account audit. What are some of the top areas of focus for spring cleaning your account? Marin's Center of Excellence has created a process for identifying key ways accounts can be improved through structural and performance-based changes.
Step 1: Identify pain points in the account to narrow your focus
Before you dive into cleaning up your account, identify the main areas where you’d like to focus your time. Chances are you don’t have a lot of bandwidth to dedicate to anything but day to day management tasks -- so to save time, start by asking yourself some questions to help narrow the focus of your audit and cleanup.
Some of these questions might include:
Where does the account fall short of meeting its goals?
Does the account have unutilized objects (things like past promotional creatives)?
Do you regularly perform A/B tests?
Have you had issues with revenue attribution?
Step 2: Perform an audit
The second step is to perform an audit of your account. You should focus your time on two major areas of opportunity: account structure and performance.
Tip: When performing the account audit, pull data in a format that allows you to make bulk changes. This way, once you’ve identified issues, you can easily take action and save time.
First, take a look at your account structure to make sure it follows search marketing best practices. This’ll make your account easier to navigate and ease day to day management. Second, analyze your account for performance issues that require action. The Center of Excellence recommends looking for the following:
Past promotional creatives
Missing active keywords/creatives
Campaign setting alignment
URL tracking issues
Optimal use of negative keywords
Quality Score analysis
Landing page content
Step 3: Implement changes
The third step is to take corrective action based on insights you discover during the audit.
Be sure to keep track of any changes you make and a record of the audit -- this is essential, since it’ll allow you to effectively measure future performance.
Step 4: Measure
Use your record of changes to measure the impact of your spring cleaning efforts. Compile this information into a visual representation of the improvements to share with your colleagues or clients.
If you’re a Marin customer interested in partnering with the Center of Excellence on an account audit, contact your account representative, who’ll connect you with a Center of Excellence consultant today! Or, if you’re new to Marin, request a demo.
With the steady rise in remarketing as a digital advertising strategy, audience segmentation and activation has become a key tactic for digital marketers. What are some things that display advertisers should take into account when defining and streamlining their strategy?
Understanding Audience Segmentation
Audience segmentation can be defined as a process of dividing people into homogeneous subgroups based on defined criteria such as product usage, demographics, psychographics, communication behaviours, and media use. Audience segmentation is now a major tool advertisers can use to tailor messages, improve targeting accuracy, and drive performance.
Defining the Strategy
For display remarketing, a sound audience strategy is the foundation for a successful campaign, and has three elements:
A meaningful audience segmentation approach
A clear feedback loop to validate this approach
The ability to activate the segmented audience
To create a truly meaningful audience segmentation strategy, advertisers need flexibility in the tools they use to segment their audience. Segmentation methods also offer increased flexibility in what an advertiser can count as a user conversion, creating an extra dimension to audience creation.
Streamlining the Strategy
Let’s explore four key segmentation methods that allow advisers to go beyond path-based segmentation or a one-size-fits-all remarketing vendor approach.
Query string is part of a URL that contains data that doesn’t fit conveniently into a hierarchical path structure. The query string commonly includes fields added to a base URL by a web browser or other application. This opens up a huge number of possibilities when it comes to audience segmentation. For example, here’s a query string generated after a user searched on a fictitious travel comparison website.
http://www.example.com/searchresults.html?checkin_monthday=13&&checkout_monthday=27& year_month= current -2&dest_id=United%20Kingdom& group_adults=2&group_children=2&no_rooms=1
Looking at this query string, we know the user is:
1. Looking for a two-week holiday from February 13to 27, 2016
For example, suppose a user filters to view products from high price to low. It’s normal for these users to have a higher average order value per product than a user who filters from low to high. This may affect not only the amount we’re willing to pay to acquire these users, but also the type of creative we want to show them and which publishers we might want to target.
Recency refers to how recently a user last left your website or app. Creating remarketing lists based on recency enables a range of remarketing tactics.
It’s common for conversion rates to be high when a user sees an ad in the first few minutes after they leave your website, so make sure you’re highly visible during this time. Recency segmentation also allows different creative, offers, or calls to action based on how long it’s been since someone last engaged with your website.
Recency also allows for interesting cross-sell tactics. Say a travel agent knows that certain users are most likely to purchase travel insurance 30 days after they’ve booked their flights. Advertisers could use recency targeting to show travel insurance ads around this time.
Regular expression (regex)
A regular expression is a special text string for describing a search pattern. This allows advertisers to set up complex audience lists, such as one that matches multiple web pages, query strings, or products. Regular expressions also allow you to set up complex conversions, for instance, ones that match multiple-goal pages.
Say for example you want to create a list for users that go to the Caribbean section of your website as long as the subdirectory is in the second position. You can’t use ends with, or starts with, or contains; however, you can create this list with a regular expression.
^ A caret in a regular expression forces the expression to match only strings that start exactly the same way your regular expression does.
.* The dot could match any letter or digit. The star right after it matches the ability of the dot to match any single character, and keep on going so that it ends up matching everything.
Combining segmentation methods allows you to create sophisticated audiences that matter. By combining numerous segmentation methods, you can create an almost endless number of audiences to activate through remarketing.
To run the most successful remarketing campaigns, advertisers need segmentation tools that allow them to slice their audience in an almost unlimited number of ways. Currently, the number of advertisers using simple, path-based audience segmentation or a remarketing vendor’s standard segmentation approach is surprising. With tools that create and activate a meaningful audience segmentation strategy, you can build the foundation of a truly successful remarketing campaign.
This is a guest post from Dionte Pounds, Account Manager at 3Q Digital.
When building out a fully functional PPC account, it’s important to utilize remarketing lists in addition to your standard campaigns. Remarketing lists allow you to target individuals with ads that are already familiar with your brand because of a past interaction, generally an ad click leading to a visit.
These visitors are valuable because they’re usually further down the sales funnel. Remarketing is a great way to retain these past visitors, capture incremental volume, and shorten the gap between time of click and time of purchase.
If you’re advertising on a pay-per-click network (Google, Bing, Facebook, etc.), you’ve more than likely utilized remarketing lists to improve account performance. You can also improve your remarketing lists, specifically your Google and Bing lists, by segmenting your audience based on time of last interaction.
Why Segment by Time?
There are a few benefits to segmenting your audience by time. The first is that it breaks apart a very large audience into multiple audiences of very manageable sizes. This then allows you to bid more or less aggressively depending on the audience.
For example, you may want to bid very aggressively to get an audience of users that last interacted with your website one to three days ago back to the website. You may not want to bid as high for the people that last touched the site 25-30 days ago.
Using this method, you can place a bid on each audience that’s most appropriate. However, be conscious of the size of the main audience you’re trying to split. This practice is usually a better fit for more general touchpoints that generate larger audience lists. It isn’t always the best to break apart a very small audience pool because at that point, the lists can become too small to employ.
How to Create Your Audiences
1. Create a new remarketing list
2. Select who to add to your list
Generally, I select page visitors. But there are options to select page visitors who did/did not visit another page, visitors of a page during specific dates, and visitors of a page with a specific tag.
If you’re more advanced, definitely utilize the custom combination option. I’ve used this capability to refine my segmented lists even further in the past and to block past converters from my lists.
3. Set the rule
Enter the page URL that you want to build your audience around.
4. Set the membership duration
Here’s where you can get creative. Go to the Tools drop down, then select Conversions and take a look at your attribution data. How long is the time lag from click to conversion? Use this information to set your membership duration for your audiences.
If you’re unsure, just use common sense to create reasonable durations. For this example, let’s assign the first audience a five-day membership duration.
After creating the first audience, repeat the process and extend the membership duration with each additional audience. Using the five-day example above as a starting reference, we can create three more audiences with membership durations of 10, 20, and 30 days.
In the end, instead of one very large audience, we have one broken up into chunks based on the account’s specific conversion history, which gives us more control over bidding and ultimately better performance. Using this method, we don’t bid the same amount for someone that last interacted with the website 30 days ago as a person who last interacted with the website one day ago. Try it out and see how it performs!
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.
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.
Take a look at your Automatic placements under your Dimensions tab[/caption]
To start the “performance pruning”, see which Automatic placements either have a cost per conversion that’s too high, or better yet, which placements are actually bringing in sales (not just conversions) by equipping your Google advertising Final URLs with ValueTrack parameters.
This will then help you get more conversion volume out of those specific placements when you extract and target them exclusively through a new campaign.
Search Term Extraction
Search term reports are such an important part of regular Google advertising maintenance that it’s not uncommon that some people do this more frequently than brushing their teeth.
When looking at your search term report, get as close as possible to making sure your search terms and keywords have no discrepancies between them.
In other words, your Added / Excluded column from your search term report should have the green “Added” label going down the list for as long as possible, just like this:
This gives you a much stronger control of what you’re paying for[/caption]
When that happens, you can make your ads specific to not your keywords, but your search terms and see higher click-through-rates from your efforts.
Let’s say you look at your search term report and find your search terms and keywords don’t match. The first thing you should do is extract your search terms with the most impressions and create what are called Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs).
Just like the name implies, SKAGs are ad groups that only allow one keyword per ad group, that then have corresponding ads that are extremely specific to that keyword.
Time Lag and Attribution Reports
Did you know that the last keyword and/or ad clicked always gets to lionshare of conversion credit?
What if there were seven other touchpoints (impression and ad clicks) that happened before the final conversion? Wouldn’t you want to know what helped assist that conversion?
I know I would.
If you don’t care, there’s a good chance you’ll pause keywords and placements that don’t get the conversion credit. But, when you do, you’re strangling your account at the same time, without even knowing it.
Let’s take a look at your Google advertising attribution.
Inside your account, go to the top of your Google advertising interface and click Tools > Attribution.
Once you’re there, take a look at the Time Lag report on the left side. Here, you can see how long it takes people to convert from either first impression, first click, or last click.
To see this report, go to your Dimensions tab, then View -> User locations[/caption]
As you can see above, the state of New York may be costing more per conversion than others. So, you may want to add in negative bid modifiers at the state level, like this screenshot shows.
You can then drill even deeper and create new campaigns with state level campaign targeting, and give bid modifiers to individual cities within that specific state to get your closer to your cost per conversion goals.
You can take it even further and start utilizing city specific ad copy and landing pages with area code specific phone numbers, to appear more local to visitors and increase your conversion rates.
As I’m sure you’re already aware of, Google advertising doesn’t allow you to separate devices in their own campaigns like they used to.
These days, you have to group desktop and tablets together in the same campaign. And while Google may say that both those devices perform similarly, there are thousands of Google advertising accounts out there that say something completely different.
Here’s the truth: Desktops and tablets will never perform the same way.
I’m not just speaking from a conversion rate standpoint, but also from a sales standpoint.
When Google told the world that devices don’t matter, but user context does, they certainly never thought of every single industry, but more so of a blanket band-aid that would apply to “most advertisers”.
Believe it or not, there are some workarounds you can use to get desktop, tablet, and mobile campaigns in their own campaigns and still target the search and/or display network.
But first, let’s look at how we find current device performance differences within your account.
In this case, Saturdays and Sundays are doing really well[/caption]
Having these kinds of numbers doesn’t mean that you should stop advertising on Thursdays (because it has the highest cost per conversions). But, it could mean that you should start considering “day of the week” bid modifiers like we did for our devices earlier.
Some industries tend to be very predictable in their weekly trends. If your company falls into a category like that, then take advantage of the control you have and get more aggressive with your bids on great performing days, and taper back on the not so great-performing ones.
Time of Day Targeting
Just like we saw how your days perform differently during the week, so do your hours within the day.
And, just as we can create bid modifiers for 24-hour day targeting, we can also take advantage of the same thing with bidding blocks of hours within a certain day of the week, to break it down even further.
In this screenshot, late mornings and afternoons tend to perform better than mornings[/caption]
If you already have the data and insight that allow you to use this type of granular bidding, then definitely do so.
You might even find that Google or other bidding platforms are restricting how many bid modifications you can make on a daily basis. If that’s the case, I suggest you try using Brainlab’s 24 hour bidding script that allows you to take it one step further, and then some.
Now before I let you go, please keep this in mind:
“With great control, comes great responsibility.”
Having access to all of this data is great, but only if you can be actionable with it to improve your performance.
I see time and time again that people spend countless hours trying to tweak and prune things with modifiers, rules, and even scripts that change bids depending on the weather.
While all of this is great, most of it becomes entirely obsolete as soon as you have a landing page test that improves your conversion rates by 50%. When that happens, all the things you’ve put into place need to be redone.
One thing that will always help you out, no matter your goals, is to extract and target things in a granular fashion that makes sense.
In the world of digital advertising, 2012 seems like eons ago. But here’s a stat you might remember – widely quoted surveys revealed that between 44% and 57% of users said they never clicked on a Facebook ad. Those numbers made a lot of sense at the time, because I too had never clicked a Facebook ad.
Back then, Custom Audiences were unheard of, Promoted Posts were still in testing, and News Feed ads had just hit the scene. I didn’t have a smartphone, so my only point of access was my college laptop. And since I didn’t go wild liking things and curating my interests, Facebook didn’t have nearly as much data on me.
Sponsored Stories began regularly appearing in News Feed in 2012[/caption]
Lots of Change in a Short Time
Fast forward a couple years, and I was still holding out even as Facebook ads were getting infinitely better. There were captivating images, personalized products (think of those New York Girl in a California World style t-shirts based on lives in/from settings), and videos all over the place.
Then I saw them. A beautiful pair of Warby Parker glasses regretfully abandoned in my cart the previous day, staring at me from the News Feed in the form of a savvy retargeting ad. And I finally clicked.
A sampling of Facebook ads from popular eyewear retailer Warby Parker[/caption]
What’s Changed, Exactly? And Where Do We Go from Here?
A few points come to mind here.
First, Facebook ads have become increasingly effective thanks to:
More and better data
Maturing business goals and objectives (remember all those campaigns just for likes?)
The ubiquitous nature of mobile matched with cross-device capabilities
A host of powerful ad types
For advertisers, this means greater flexibility and lots of opportunity.
Second, in the words of Spiderman’s Uncle Ben, with great power comes great responsibility. When it comes to advertising and the user experience, just because marketers can doesn’t mean we should. Loud or distracting pop-ups, impossible-to-find close buttons, and ads that slow pages to a halt, I’m looking at you. These are the things that drive users crazy and lead to ad blockers.
In fact, the IAB recently stated, “we messed up” following recent concerns about ad blocking, and issued new standard advertising principles to guide the next phase of online advertising. They’re worth a read.
Third, Facebook has largely evaded the trouble of painful user experiences and the resulting uptick in ad blocking. Why? I would argue that the best ads are often native to the user experience and genuinely helpful in nature. Facebook accomplishes this by integrating ads seamlessly into the overall experience, and by providing ad type and targeting options that allow marketers to deliver highly personalized and relevant content.
Fourth, the innovation that powers these high-quality ads has been evolving at a rapid clip, and we can expect it to continue in 2016. We’ve seen reach and frequency buying, a whole suite of Instagram advertising options, carousel ads, dynamic product ads, more ways to incorporate first- and third-party data, and more. These are the kinds of tools marketers can use to create ads that users actually want to click, à la that memorable Warby Parker ad.
Finally, if the goal is to deliver consistently helpful, high-quality, and integrated ad experiences – ones that don’t send users running for their ad blocking software – then we can safely conclude that Facebook is on the leading edge and there will be more exciting developments to come in the new year.
Price comparing and deal hunting can lead to a lot of work and stress for customers, and can rack up high media costs for advertisers as customers click during this high CPC time of year. Remarketing, which tends to have lower CPCs than SEM, is a great tool to help convert indecisive shoppers who are waiting for a better deal. Here are key use cases for holiday remarketing, including examples of ad creative tests you can use to move the needle.
Convert early shoppers
By now, you have sizable cookie pools of potential customers who have been to your site, and who may or may not have already made a purchase. This presents an opportunity to get those early shoppers to come back and purchase, especially during big promotional events.
Sample holiday remarketing test
Hypothesis: Customers have made their holiday shopping lists and are ready to buy, but are waiting to see if a better deal will come around.
Test: Create a sense of urgency and give customers a reason to convert now by creating messaging and promotional events with discounts, plus limited-time and lowest-price guarantee messaging to counteract procrastination.
Upsell big-ticket, non-gift items
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), over 50% of holiday shoppers plan to “splurge on non-gift items for themselves.” Shoppers looking to make big purchases are conducting premeditated research. Remarketing is the ideal vehicle to reach, engage, and convert these customers.
Sample holiday remarketing test
Hypothesis: By the time Black Friday rolls around, the only excuse shoppers need for a self-indulgent purchase is assurance that they’re getting the best combination of low prices, ease-of-purchase, and brand reputability.
Test: Test creative that combines Black Friday deal messaging with a call-to-action to indulge in big-ticket, non-gift purchases, before it’s too late to take advantage of holiday savings.
Share gift card options
Also according to the NRF, holiday shoppers spend more than $31 billion per season on gift cards. As the holiday season progresses and shoppers miss the deadline for ordering gifts with guaranteed delivery before Christmas, there’s a huge opportunity to sell gift cards.
Sample holiday remarketing test
Hypothesis: Customers who have already made a purchase inevitably forget someone on their shopping list until it’s too late to order a gift.
Test: In the days leading up to Christmas, test creative around concepts like, “it’s not too late” and “did you forget someone important on your list?” to remarket holiday gift cards to customers who have already made a purchase from your site.
The holiday shopping season is like a stocking overflowing with holiday remarketing opportunities. Take advantage by testing variations of ad creative that target the early shoppers, the big-ticket item seekers, and the last-minute gift card buyers.
About the Authors
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.
Formerly a Strategic Customer Success Manager for Boost Media’s top tier clients, Karen is the founder of Apiary Digital Media Collective which curates teams of experienced freelancers to deliver performance marketing solutions to growing brands. Karen has managed SEM accounts for Fortune 500 clients at Hearst Media’s digital agency, iCrossing. When she's not helping brands to improve ROI, Karen enjoys getting outside backpacking and mountain biking.
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.
Customer Match is an exciting new feature that Google recently unveiled that can greatly strengthen your ability to connect with an existing customer base. You now have the option to upload the email addresses of past customers or email subscribers directly to AdWords. You can then target that audience through Google Search, Gmail, or YouTube. Similar features are already available through AdRoll and Facebook. With Google’s newest addition, you can now leverage 1st-party data across yet another network.
This is fantastic news for all advertisers, particularly those in possession of large lists of customer emails who are looking for new ways to utilize that data to improve marketing efforts. Every marketer I know is looking for a better way to increase marketing efficiency, so this should really benefit all of us.
Google is allowing you to take what you know about your customers and use that to drive messaging across devices and platforms. This, in turn, allows you to build loyalty and repeat purchases among an existing customer base.
Three Main Methods for Leveraging Customer Match
1) The first, and most obvious, way to use Customer Match is to stay in front of your customers. If someone has made a purchase from your business, these audiences can be used to target existing customers and keep your brand fresh in their mind. This encourages repeat purchases and leads to incremental gains.
2) The second is to re-engage past buyers who haven’t interacted with your brand in an extended period of time. Imagine Jane Doe bought a stereo in January and hasn’t purchased from your brand since. You can now create an audience specifically to target her, and individuals like her, when they’re logged into the Google network.
3) The third method is to create a negative audience. This audience is made from a group of people whom you do not want to see your ads. (Maybe you don’t want to risk overexposure, or you wouldn’t benefit from re-engaging this audience.) Businesses focusing on generating leads fit into this category. Customer Match allows you to create and exclude that audience from your advertising campaigns. As a result, you only capture new leads.
There’s a Low Barrier of Entry
Setup for Customer Match is simple. Upload a .csv file containing hashed email addresses directly into AdWords. The larger the list the better, since audiences with fewer than 1,000 members won’t be targeted through any of Google’s networks for privacy reasons. Once processed, you have a new audience to target across devices and channels like any other remarketing audience.
The one exception here is the Display Network, since this feature is not yet compatible. For YouTube and Gmail, Google also creates a “Similar Audience” when eligible. This can increase overall lead volume by allowing you to target audiences made of new users who exhibit characteristics similar to your Customer Match lists.
Customers Come First
Google goes to great lengths to protect user privacy, and this feature is no different. All data uploaded to AdWords must be 1st-party data. All email addresses must be hashed before uploading. Once they’ve been processed and matched to Google users, all data is discarded. This process ensures that all user information remains safe and protected throughout the entire matching process.
To summarize, if you have a large amount of 1st-party data, Customer Match is a feature you should definitely test. It’s simple to implement and can be used in a variety of ways across Search, Gmail, and YouTube. Since Google makes privacy a top priority, you don’t need to worry about putting any of your customer base at risk. Overall, the AdWords team has made a great improvement that makes it easier for businesses to enhance consumer relationships and brand loyalty.
Pumpkin spice lattes. Cold weather. Football on TV. That can only mean one thing - the holidays are here!
While you’re busy planning your holiday vacation, family meals, or gift shopping plans, remember to schedule a few minutes for your retargeting campaigns. Consumers are ready to spend billions over the next six weeks (especially online!) so make sure you adjust your campaign settings to capitalize on the holiday rush.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to boost your campaign performance for the holidays:
Increase your budgets
With all that holiday shopping going on, you’re likely going to see a boost in site traffic, which means you’ll see an associated boost in impressions served and advertising funds spent. Make sure your campaigns have a proper budget set to guarantee you have enough ad money available for the day, so that you don’t miss out on these potential new customers.
We recommend a 25-50% budget increase for the holidays, but you know your site traffic best. Whatever % of traffic increase you’re expecting, boost your budget about that same %.
Raise your campaign bids
Consumers will be spending a lot of money on products, but that also means advertisers are spending a lot of money on ads. You’re going to have competition! With so many advertisers fighting for ad space, it’s not uncommon to see your CPM costs rise during this time of year. To be ready for this, make sure you increase your CPM bids across your campaigns. Allowing your campaigns to bid a higher amount will make them more competitive and give you a better chance of serving more ads. We suggest increasing your CPM bid by 50-100% of the current average CPM cost for the campaign.
Use holiday themed ads and landing pages
Your potential customers are thinking, talking, and singing about the holidays this time of year. Join that conversation! Using ads that mention specific events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday can grab a visitor’s attention. Send them holiday cheer, mention that there are X number of shopping days left, and give them a reason to click on your ads. Use the holidays as a call to action, and you could see a boost in clicks and conversions.
Create landing pages and content on your site for these holiday events, then create audiences that capture visitors of these pages. (Information about audiences is available here.)
Finally, create campaigns to serve your holiday ads to your holiday page visitors. If they’re coming to your site looking for holiday deals, they are more likely to respond to holiday themes ads.
We hope these suggestions are helpful and lead to a profitable holiday season for you and your business. As always, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.
With the recent release of Google’s Customer Match, the ability to target users through their email address has finally come to search advertising. This type of targeting has been available in social since Facebook announced Custom Audiences in 2013, and is accessible to display through data onboarding. Now, because of Google’s new feature, advertisers can target users using this data across search, social, and display, and across multiple devices.
This opens up many new possibilities for cross-channel, cross-device advertising. As it stands, a large percentage of marketing CRM emails are never opened. Advertisers can’t depend on email alone to connect with high-value customers in a CRM. We recommend using your CRM data to serve ads across search, social, and the web.
How do publishers match emails or user IDs to users across the web?
First, some background. The deterministic matching method relies on personally identifiable information commonly stored in CRM systems. With this method, a linkage is made when a user in your CRM uses the same email address or social media user IDs to log into an app and a website – across browsers and devices.
As long as a user is logged in across devices and targeting is set up across channels, advertisers and publishers can use this unique identifier to target those users cross-channel, on multiple devices.
Advantages over cookie-based remarketing
Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Display Networks already allow you to serve ads to previous site visitors with remarketing lists. This is traditionally done with cookie pools. Customer Match, Custom Audiences, and display customer targeting all allow you to advertise to recognized, signed-in users wherever they are – whether it’s mobile, tablet, laptop, or desktop.
This cross-channel path is difficult for cookies to traverse. It’s also hard for cookies to move across different browsers, and users can easily delete most cookies.
The other main advantage is that CRM data can be collected from multiple offline sources. For example, retailers can ask for a customer’s email address after an in-store purchase, or a travel agent can ask for an email address after a phone booking is made.
The Best Uses of CRM Data to Amplify Cross-Channel Reach
1. Do the Right Thing for the Right Channel
When it comes to matching CRM data with users for targeting, each online advertising channel has slightly different options. Be sure to make the most of each channel’s unique possibilities.
Search Email addresses
Google’s Customer Match is a new product designed to help you reach your highest-value customers on Google Search, YouTube, and Gmail. Customer Match allows you to upload of a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google in a secure and privacy-safe way. From there, you can build campaigns in Marin with highly relevant targeting and specifically tailored messaging for your audience.
Social Email lists, phone numbers, Facebook user IDs, Twitter IDs, mobile advertisers IDs
Custom Audiences (Facebook) and Tailored Audiences (Twitter) make it easy to target specific customers or prospects at scale. It allows you to match your customer list against Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter users in a secure and privacy-safe way. Advertisers can use Marin to target users across social platforms and devices.
Display Email addresses, CRM, point of sale, and mobile advertisers IDs
Through uploading emails, CRM data, point of sale, and mobile advertisers IDs, data onboarding technology (such as LiveRamp) can match your anonymized data to online devices and digital IDs, and segment audiences. These audience segments can then be sent to Marin for display targeting.
2. Be Sure to Segment
Segmentation is key to the success of CRM targeting for search, social, and display. Users can be segmented by value, actions, loyalty, recency, and satisfaction, among many other options – the segmenting possibilities of your customer database are virtually unlimited. You can use all of these segments for innovative advertising, such as enhancing your strategy, target audiences, and creative based on fresh and reliable data.
3. Go Cross-Channel
Using CRM data for targeting can produce fantastic results in single-channel siloes. However, when it’s used as part of a cross channel marketing strategy, the number of creative marketing tactics becomes almost limitless.
One common example of using CRM data across channels is targeting users with tailored messages across search, social, and display, depending on whether or not they’re existing customers.
Channel exclusion lists are just as important as positive targeting lists. In addition to reaching specific audiences with your ads, you can exclude unprofitable channels but still reach the same audiences.
For example, suppose an advertiser is in an industry where search keywords are particularly expensive. But, they want to update existing customers about a new product in a more cost-effective way. They could exclude the existing users from search targeting but still advertise to them on social and display.
CRM targeting strategies also open up new customer care and support avenues outside of phone, email, or direct mail. If a customer has a specific issue, it can be resolved at the level of a search query. Using CRM data, you could automatically deliver the most relevant information and links based on the products or services your customers are using, even if they use the exact same search query to search for information.
Using CRM data and user matching addresses a number of the challenges of cookie-based remarketing. It also helps bridge the gap between offline and online marketing activities. With Google’s new Customer Match, CRM data can now be used to actively target across search, social and display. This paves the way for innovative cross-channel, cross-device advertising strategies.
We held our sixth annual Marin Masters San Francisco on Thursday, October 15th. Marin Masters is unique in that it allows us to bring together our customers and partners in one room to share ideas, talk about the latest digital marketing trends, and network.
Beyond the food and drinks, there was a lot on offer. Here are my top three takeaways from the event and some of my favorite tweets.
1. Build audiences of new users who behave like your converted customers
One of the new features we were excited to preview at Masters is our version of lookalike targeting. For those of you unfamiliar with Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences, it allows advertisers to find new customers by uploading their own customer data, and having Facebook identify other people who might be similar to your customers.
Marin’s version of lookalike targeting will act much in the same way, but will let you develop these lookalikes using data across search, social, and display. Maximizing the data from your first-party audiences is key to expanding your audiences and, in turn, seeing a high ROI.
2. The forward thinking marketer is blending the old and new to drive results with audience- centric marketing
It’s easy enough to understand that not everyone is the same, but in this data-driven day and age the keyword has in many ways replaced the customer. Cameron Urry, a customer and speaker from Partner Fusion, suggested we continually ask ourselves the question, “Am I truly customer focused?” Though the days of Mad Men are long behind us, we still need copy and content to resonate at an individual level. Campaigns should be set appropriately to target or reengage, and the customer must be supported in their buying process across search, social, email, website optimization, content, and SEO.
3. In digital advertising, the biggest opportunities are in the smallest moments
Joseph Corral from Google shared five key moment types digital advertisers need to worry about when addressing consumers:
I-want-to-watch-what-I’m-into moments: the moment when someone is looking to explore their passions and be entertained through engaging content.
I-want-to-know-moments: this is the moment when someone is exploring or researching, but not yet in purchase mode.
I-want-to-go-moments: this is the moment when people are looking for a local business or are considering buying a product at a local store. Being a contender means getting your physical business into their consideration in that moment.
I-want-to-do-moments: These moments may come before or after the purchase. Either way, these are “how to” moments when people want help getting things done or trying something new. Making the right content available is key.
I-want-to-buy-moments: Someone is ready to make a purchase and may need help deciding what or how to buy. You can’t assume they’ll seek you out; you have to be there with the right information to seal the deal.
We had some great tweets happening during the event, and here are a few of my favorite.
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.
It’s good strategy to periodically review your retargeting campaigns to make sure you’re hitting your volume and performance goals. An important part of that is setting the right lookback window for each of your audiences.
This post discusses lookback windows, why they’re important, and how to set or change them in Marin Display.
What is a lookback window?
A lookback window tells Marin Display how far back in time to look in an audience to retarget users. When you create a new audience, Marin Display will automatically start adding visitors to it as soon as they start hitting the pages you’ve chosen. But what if you only want to retarget visitors in this audience for 30 days? Set your lookback window to 30 days and you’ll retarget them up to that number.
Why are lookback windows important?
Lookback windows play a substantial role in your campaign’s impression volume and spend, as well as performance metrics like click-through rates (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), and adjusted cost-per-acquisition (aCPA).
If you’d like to increase your campaign’s reach, consider lengthening your lookback windows. That’ll allow you to retarget your audience for greater lengths of time and increase your impression volume. However, keep in mind that your CTR may start to drop if you set too long of a window.
If your campaign’s reach is limited by your budget – or if you’d just like to give a boost to your CTR, CPC, or aCPA numbers – consider shortening your lookback windows. This will eliminate impressions you’re serving to your most distant visitors. As you free up budget to retarget your most recent and engaged visitors, you should begin to see more clicks and conversions in your campaigns.
How do I set my lookback windows?
When creating or editing a campaign, your first task is to select the audiences you’d like to retarget, and set your lookback windows for each audience. In the box labeled “Targeting”, look for the “Lookback Window” fields and enter a value for each audience you’d like to target or exclude:
You can set lookback windows for a specific number of hours, days, or months. If you’re new to retargeting, or have recently started retargeting a brand new audience, we recommend starting with a window between 30 and 60 days to get a feel for performance.
Lookback windows work for exclusions, too. In the example above, we’ve created a cart abandonment campaign that excludes customers who’ve made purchases. If you’d like to exclude your customers from your campaign for a specific amount of time before potentially retargeting them for repeat purchases, you can use a lookback window to achieve that goal.
For more information on lookback windows and campaign setup, check out our knowledge base.
We continue to get closer and closer to the busiest time of year for e-commerce businesses and the most festive for online consumer traffic. Our teams at Marin Software have even more tips and tricks for making sure you’re amply prepared.
To help you prepare your accounts for the holidays and top your competitors, we've put together five key action points you can start to implement today, directly in Marin.
1. Identify Your Target Audience and Determine Key Dates
There are several holidays between November and January. However, not every holiday is relevant to your customers – so, it’s important to focus and prepare for the dates and audiences that matter.
First, identify your customers. Are they discount shoppers looking for online bargains? Or shoppers looking for that special present for a loved one? Depending on what’s relevant to your business, bucket your strategy into interest-based audiences. For example:
Next, plot the dates that could influence them to search and purchase online. Here’s a short list of eight dates that have the most impact on consumer behavior, and who the holiday appeals to most. Be sure to add these dates to your calendar!
Black Friday, 27th Nov: Bargain hunters
Cyber Monday, 30th Nov: Bargain hunters
Hanukkah, 6th Dec – 14th Dec: Gift buyers
Christmas, 25th Dec: Gift buyers
Kwanzaa, 26 Dec – Jan 1: Cultural purchasers
Boxing Day, 26th Dec: Bargain hunters
New Year’s Day, 1st Jan: Event purchasers
January sales, 1st Jan – 31st Jan: Bargain hunters
Review your target audience - will any of these dates affect their purchasing decision? In some cases, people might be interested in a holiday just to benefit from the special promotions that come with it. Instead of including the holiday name in your copy, try organizing by interest. To increase CTRs, tailor your creatives to match the holiday that appeals to your customers.
2. Implement Scheduled Actions
Creating ad copy for every holiday can become difficult to manage. Having a Christmas creative active on New Year’s Day can reflect poorly on your company. It’s important that a mechanism is in place to prevent this from happening.
Scheduled Actions in Marin enables you to schedule campaigns, groups, and creatives at a specified date and time. So, if you’re planning on ringing in the New Year on a beach in Mauritania, you can schedule your seasonal campaigns in advance and let Marin pause and activate them while you’re out of the office.
3. Use Ad Extensions
The top positions for your main keywords are prime real estate. With your competitors throwing compelling ad copy and offers into the ring, competition can be fierce. Just your presence alone in the top spot is not always enough.
To expand the size of your creatives and improve visibility, add Ad Extensions to them. This can increase CTR and brand awareness.
Leverage from your existing creatives’ quality score and add Ad Extensions to:
Sitelinks: Drive customers to holiday promotion pages
Location Extensions: Show your holiday opening and closing times
Call Out Extensions: Add a non-clickable festive message or promote an offer like ‘Free Shipping’
4. Exclude Dates from Bidding
Excluding dates from bidding allows you to leave out cost and conversion data for specified dates and date ranges. This is useful during seasonal periods where accounts experience unusual performance, which can skew bid calculations.
If the data is not a true reflection of normal performance, bids will be calculated based on this inaccurate data. To prevent this, exclude the relevant dates.
Your additional holiday marketing efforts will very likely attract new visitors to your site. These new visitors may have gone to several sites before and after yours. With so many online holiday bright lights, it’s understandable how they could forget where they found that perfect product.
Use retargeting to help jog their memory, bringing them back to the original page where they first saw your offer. Whether you decide to use them or not, there’s no cost in building retargeting lists in AdWords and syncing them with Marin.
Each holiday attracts different search intent. Converting customers on Cyber Monday and Boxing Day could be listed as ‘Bargain hunters’, and customers converting on Christmas can be listed as ‘Gift Buyers’. Building retargeting lists around your target audience will enable you to promote offers across audiences through Display and Search.
We hope these tips get you well on your way to clinching the holiday gold. To learn more about how you can stand out this season, take a look at some of our recent content:
The countdown for the holiday season is on – which means now’s the perfect time to review your retargeting strategies and adjust accordingly. To ensure your retargeting campaigns are delivering the right message to the right audience, audience segmenting is essential.
This post covers audience segmentation and the types of audiences you should have in your holiday campaign. Identify Target Groups Using your visitor intent data, segment your visitors into several groups, depending on the page they’ve visited.
Add to cart
Add to wish list
Confirmation page (converted)
Sign-in / Login page
Set Up Campaigns Based on Intent
Once you’ve segmented your visitors this way, set up a number of high intent and low intent retargeting campaigns. Each campaign should have specific messaging and creative for the intended audience.
High Intent: Cart Abandonment
To set up a Cart Abandonment campaign, target users who’ve viewed the cart page but haven’t completed the checkout steps. With this campaign type, you can advertise a special holiday discount code or free shipping to get visitors to complete their purchase.
Low Intent: General Branding and Awareness
A General Branding campaign targets users who’ve visited your site but bounced off the home page. So, target the home page audience and exclude all other audiences.
Medium to High Intent: Add to wish list
This unique campaign type is one you can have during the holiday season to spread general brand awareness, or to target users with dynamic ads based on the products they’ve added to their wish list.
Important note: When setting up any of the above campaigns, always exclude users who’ve already converted. This’ll prevent you from spending your budget on users who’ve already made their purchase and may no longer be a good fit for the campaign.
Audience segmentation is key to having impactful campaigns and is the foundation to retargeting success. The above campaigns are just a few examples of what you can create with segmented audiences.
If you’re new to Marin Display, try it for free and get a $100 credit toward your first retargeting campaign.
In the old days of advertising, the name of the game was reach and frequency. Brands preferred mass media vehicles like television and radio, because they were the easiest means to reach large audiences and build brand awareness. Obviously, this meant the most effective advertising campaigns were dominated by the biggest brands with the largest marketing budgets.
If you’ve been reading our blog then you don’t need to be sold on the ways retargeting can help your business. However, putting everything together – building audiences, managing campaigns, optimizing performance, etc. – can sometimes feel overwhelming. This is especially true when retargeting is just one of the many marketing strategies that you focus on.
To help you out, we’ve teamed up with HubSpot, the world’s leading inbound and sales marketing platform, to bring you a free eBook, titled The Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting. In addition to providing context on the types of retargeting and the different ways it can help your business, we’ve collected some of our favorite tips and best practices for getting started, running your campaigns, creating good ads, and measuring and optimizing your performance.
Twitter continues to enable real-time, highly personalized information to the tune of 500 million tweets a day. But how can you use this information to target specific audience segments? Here are a few tips to help you better understand, identify, and target high-value audiences on Twitter.
1. Incorporate User-Based Signals
Twitter users provide a wealth of information based on the things they tweet about and the accounts they follow. So, whether you’re looking to target people who enjoy movies, or people who can’t get enough of Japanese horror films, Twitter will help you find and reach them. Consider these simple but effective options:
Interest targeting helps you reach people whose interests align with your business. Select from broad interest categories or custom segments.
Keyword targeting allows you to connect with users based on what they tweet about and search for on Twitter.
Follower targeting lets you target people who follow specific usernames. Consider targeting the followers of industry leaders or even your competition.
2. Adapt Your Strategy Throughout the Funnel
Regardless of where your customers are in the sales funnel, Twitter can help you find and reach them in a way that fits their current level of consideration. Mix and match these strategies for a full-funnel solution:
Top of the Funnel – Opt for interest, keyword, and follower targeting to reach a broad yet relevant audience. Showcase your business or brand and drive engagement.
Middle of the Funnel – Narrow your focus with tailored audiences to reach more high-value users. Also try partner audiences to reach users who’ve demonstrated high intent across other channels.
Bottom of the Funnel – Use retargeting strategies to reach users who are most likely to convert. Start by leveraging Twitter’s website tag to build high-value audience lists.
3. Make the Most of Your Data
Tailored Audiences help you make the most of your 1st-party data by targeting existing customers with highly relevant campaigns. Twitter provides a lot of flexibility so that you can use multiple sources and combinations:
Lists – Create audiences based on CRM data, newsletter distribution lists, people you’ve targeted in the past, etc.
Web Visits – Target users who’ve visited your website, and re-engage them with highly targeted and personalized campaigns.
Mobile App Data – Reach people who’ve downloaded or engaged with your mobile app, prompting them to use it again or adopt more features.
Do you have any targeting tips of your own? Share them using #TweetSmarter.
Over 65% of online revenue now comes from purchases made across more than one digital channel. With this in mind, it’s essential that marketers use cross-channel strategies, rather than just looking at each digital channel in a silo. Using the right technology, you can reach the same users across search, social, and display, engaging with audiences on one channel based on their profile and activities on another.
Here are three strategies to survive – and thrive – in a cross-channel world.
1. Cross-Channel Remarketing for High-Cost Search Keywords
Competitive search terms can be expensive. Using cross-channel remarketing for high-cost search keywords can save money while still serving ads to users who’ve shown search intent.Using remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs), you can make sure the same user doesn't click a search ad more than once, but still retarget them using social and display – where the CPC is a lot cheaper. For example, an insurance company may not want to have to pay for two expensive, generic insurance search clicks from the same user. Suppose that user visits the company’s website via a generic keyword. The company can use negative remarketing lists for search, but pass the search intent data to social and display channels and spend less on remarketing.
2. Expand Search Targeting Using Social Signals
You may want to use more generic keyword targeting on search for users that you know have visited your website through a social channel. Users visiting your website through social have shown some brand affinity, so there’s less risk with wider keyword targeting to this audience. For instance, the keyword "dresses" may be too generic for a retailer to target without any social signals from the user. But, if the retailer knows the user has some brand affinity, they may want to bid on these keywords for this audience. By creating an RLSA campaign with more generic keywords just for this audience, advertisers can expand targeting while maintaining performance.
3. Search Intent Social Lookalike Modeling
Lookalike audiences let you reach new prospects who are more likely to be interested in your business because they're similar to audiences who’ve visited your website or performed a desired action. Using search intent data for lookalike modeling allows you to build lookalike audiences based on how users have performed a specific search, or who have shown specific search intent. For example, a travel agent may want to reach potential travellers looking for luxury hotels. The agent could use their search intent data to build a Facebook Custom Audience website campaign for prospecting, based on people who searched for upmarket hotels and landed on the website.
Each digital advertising channel has its own unique benefits, data sets, and targeting options. By utilizing cross-channel advertising strategies, advertisers can take audience information from one channel and use it to optimize campaigns on another.
If you manage retargeting, frequency caps are something you should be familiar with. They’re often neglected and never tested because they’re not straightforward, but not knowing what optimal frequency cap to use can result in poor results. Like any of the other levers within retargeting, frequency caps should be measured and tested to understand the ideal number of times a unique visitor should see your ad – otherwise, you're wasting a lot of impressions.
The last thing you want to do is cause banner blindness by overexposure, or even worst – irritate or creep people out to the point where it tarnishes your brand. Having a frequency cap in place limits the number of times a visitor sees your ad over a period of time. It’s important to find that sweet spot; otherwise, you risk running a campaign that doesn’t generate enough impressions to keep your brand top of mind.
You’ll find unproven answers and "best practices", but the reality is there isn't one number that works for every single advertiser or industry. If it were really that simple, it would be pre-defined for you. The challenge is to figure out how much is too much and what frequency cap you should use. The best frequency cap is the one that works best to drive results for your business.
Let’s walk through how to test and analyze the initial frequency cap for your retargeting campaigns, then how to optimize to determine the best frequency cap.
The Test Method
If split-testing frequency caps were easy to do, there’d be numerous articles explaining how to do it. It's difficult to truly test it simultaneously, but here's one way to approach it:
Begin by setting up two retargeting lists that are similar to one another, but not overlapping.
Set your desired cookie duration, which should be identical for both lists.
Create two campaigns promoting the same assets, one for each retargeting list, and set the campaign to rotate the ads to serve evenly.
Input your desired frequency caps in the individual campaigns to test against, analyze, and continue playing around with the different frequency caps.
You could also try testing only one retargeting list, changing the frequency cap week over week over a period of time, and then evaluating the results. However, there are many factors that may affect the results, and it won't be as clean as the method above.
Performance Results Analysis
Let's analyze the results of the tests. For this part, you'll need to know your way around pivot tables and creating simple formulas.
Run and export an ad frequency report for the desired timeframe from your retargeting platform.
The data you should have in the report is: Impressions, Frequency, Clicks, Spend, and Conversions or Revenue, as well as any other important metrics to measure success.
The next step is to create a pivot table that sets Frequency as the row label. Sum up the rest of the data points mentioned in #2 under the values section of the pivot table.
If not present in the report, create the following calculated fields in the pivot table to calculate: CTR, Conversion Rate, and Cost Per Conversion or ROAS (whichever is relevant for you). You should have a table that looks like this dummy example:
There are two things important to monitor: click-through rate and conversion rate. If you click each frequency number and group them one by one, you'll be able to see where the majority of your conversions fall. It's clear from this table that the CTR starts to drop after the second cap, but the conversions are highest and most efficient in costs at one to two caps. Based on this example, I would set my frequency cap at two.
The online customer purchase path has become way more complex. If marketers want to develop a relevant and efficient online acquisition strategy, they have to fully understand this new online purchasing landscape.
The online advertising world is traditionally “ad centric” – campaign performance is measured for a given format and on a specific channel. Now, it’s evolving into a “customer-centric” model, where performance is measured and analyzed at the user level (i.e., its overall acquisition cost, regardless of the channel or formats being used). The move from a silo to a cross-channel vision allows advertisers to allocate ad investments more wisely, avoiding excessive spend on a single user. If you’re a marketer who’s willing to create a unified strategy for your ad campaigns – across Search, Social, and Display channels – then audience targeting and use of first-party data are vital necessities.
The Audience Is the Glue and Cement Between Channels
Did you know that 98% of website visitors don’t convert on their first visit? To send them back to your website and directly to the bottom of the celebrated conversion funnel, you have to retarget them one way or another. This is especially important for marketers who:
Invest heavily to acquire high levels of web traffic
Want to ensure the right use of their website across diverse channels
Are trying to take strategic advantage of these channels – whether it’s Search (Google AdWords, Bing, Yahoo Gemini), Social (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), or Display (network and banner publishers, video)
Because of the obvious link between search intent and the related click action, until recently, no channel was able to compete with Search. However, this is changing, due to technologies that focus on audiences and are able to leverage substantial volumes of data.
Now, advertisers no longer rely solely on what customers are searching for (queried keywords). They’re also leveraging multiple behavioral and demographic data from other channels. The marketers’ goal is to identify, segment, target, and retarget the audience with the highest customer lifetime value, across different channels and devices (smartphones, tablets, and desktop) in order to maximize conversion rates.
Leverage Customer Intent and Behavioral Signals – Building First-Party Data
Your website is still the best source of information on user behavior, since you can easily analyze browsing patterns (number of page views, shares on social media, cart abandon, etc.).
This information allows you to identify trends and define various profiles according to your performance goals. For example, a user who’s seen 10 different pages has a tendency to convert more frequently than someone who’s seen only one.
You can enrich these website profiles with other data (internal or external to the site) in order to build powerful data combinations. Two types of data that always seem to be inescapable: intent (via search engine) and demographic.
Combining the windfall of useful information from search campaigns with demographic targeting insights from social campaigns, you can refine your user profiles for more optimized retargeting campaigns.
By cross-checking this audience data, you can better understand your prospective customers while improving the efficiency of your online campaigns. And, you can more precisely target your most important user segments. Indeed, these audience lists can be used across your three ad campaign types:
1. Search – Google Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)
2. Social – Facebook Website Custom Audiences (WCA) and Twitter Tailored Audiences
3. Display – ad exchange platforms (programmatic), Facebook Exchange, and DoubleClick Ad Exchange
To provide a real-world example: Someone starts his purchase journey on a search engine with the term “cheap hotel in London”. Then, he clicks the text ad without converting. You could add him to the audience list that includes people interested in the “London” destination with an intent of “cheap”. You can then implement a targeting campaign for this list by bidding differently on each channel to optimize its cost of acquisition (for instance, Search at -20%, Social at +20%, and Display at +10%).
Improved Campaign Performance, Unified Management
Looking at the customer purchase path, it’s obvious that each channel has drastically different roles and impacts on final outcomes. For example, Search is more likely to generate direct sales, while Social and Display have more supporting roles. According to a Marin Software study, Search campaigns – when jointly managed with Social – generate 26% higher revenue per click compared to single-channel campaigns. This type of unified management strategy also improves revenue per conversion – Search campaign revenue per conversion was 68% higher when managed simultaneously with Social.
Marketers who successfully leverage unified Search, Social, and Display strategies experience better managed and optimized online acquisition spend. By firmly shifting focus to your audience, you can maximize lifetime value and overall ROI. Using a flexible and transparent platform that enables you to precisely segment and target users on all channels allows you to more effectively achieve your business goals, while evolving away from a single-channel approach.
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.
Advertisers cite data quality as one of their top concerns in creating complete customer profiles. Many advertisers are still looking for ways to expand the reach and effectiveness of their campaigns with strong, quality data. Being able to effectively synthesize different sources of data is a key step in this process. While first- and third-party data are most common and have their own, unique strengths, second-party data is making a big splash – and quickly becoming the life of the party.
First- and Third-Party Data Aren’t Enough
First-party data is your data, collected from your own audience and customers. It’s unique, cost-effective, and relevant. However, it has scalability issues since – by its very nature – it’s not designed to locate and target additional audiences.
Third-party data is data from an external source, aggregated and sold to advertisers for use in display campaigns and analytics. It has equal-but-opposite issues – it provides a good overall look at a segment or market, but is not unique and less relevant.
Second-party data allows advertisers to bridge the gap between the two.
Second-Party Data to the Rescue
Second-party data is data received from a trusted source that an advertiser has a direct relationship with. Not only is it scalable – unlike first-party data – it’s also more reliable than third-party data. Second-party data allows you to expand audience reach with accurate data from a trusted partner, whereas third-party data is unreliable due to how the audiences are compiled – information can quickly become outdated.
As a modern marketer, you need to use all the tools at your disposal to best reach and target your audience. Using a healthy mix of all three data types can help you optimize your campaigns and reduce costs, while reaching larger portions of your target audience.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are many nuances in B2B that make marketing fun, yet challenging. We all know how valuable retargeting is when it comes to re-engaging with site visitors and that it’s a great channel for building brand awareness and staying “top of mind” for the prospect, but where you’ll find the most value is through managing a strategic retargeting program that has the ability to move prospects further down the sales funnel.
If you missed my last retargeting post on audience segmentation, click here to catch up before reading further.
Here are two ways you can integrate retargeting into your marketing mix to improve conversions and turn your prospects into customers:
1. Freemium: Converting Users from Free to Paid
If your business offers a free trial of your product and you’re looking to convert users from free to paid, sequential retargeting and segmentation can help.
To do this, you'll need to create a segment that captures all the people that signed up for a free trial and target them with a highly targeted message, using ad sequencing through the entire duration of their free trial to move them further along the funnel. In the very beginning of their free trial, the ads should focus on introductory upgrade messages, followed by features of the premium version, and then a reminder that their trial is expiring soon to create a sense of urgency for them to take action.
2. Email and Retargeting Makes a Powerful Duo
Layering retargeting on top of your email program can be very powerful. The execution is very simple and consists of placing a code snippet in each email sent in order to cookie each user. By doing so, you can add these users to specific segments based on the topic of the emails and retarget them across the web with relevant ad messaging. It’s essential, especially for lead nurturing campaigns, to ensure you’re getting the most relevant message in front of your leads.
If your retargeting campaigns are not performing as you expect, there's a good chance that you need to improve your segmentation. The biggest mistake a marketer can make in retargeting is to assume that all visitors are alike and show every visitor the same ads. By being lazy and not segmenting your visitors into pools, your results will be poor and a lot of your impressions will simply be wasted, irrelevant spend. For instance, it doesn't make sense to target a user who has viewed a page about shampoo and show them a banner ad for cat litter.
The secret to successful retargeting is audience segmentation. By segmenting audiences, you will be able to identify and understand the different behaviors and intent of the users on your site. This is very important because it allows you to aggressively target users with relevant ad messages, making the retargeting experience personalized.
You can easily setup segments by URL within your retargeting platform once your pixels are setup. There is no right way to segment your users. It depends on what type of business you're in, what part of the funnel the visitor falls into, and what your goals are.
If you are a B2B marketer, you may want to consider the following segments and targeted messages:
People who visited a whitepaper page and didn't convert > Send them to whitepapers and webinars
People who visit the blog > Send them whitepapers and webinars
People who visit platform or service features > Send them to a free trial or demo
People who attended a webinar > Send them to a demo or customer case studies
If you're a retail marketer, you may want to consider the following segments and targeted messages:
People who abandon the cart > Send them a dynamic ad of the items in their cart and a free shipping offer
People who complete a purchase > Send them a thank you offer to incentivize their return
People who previously purchased in category > Send them an ad informing of new items in stock or informing them of a sale
People who viewed different product types > Send them a dynamic ad with the recent products they viewed in that category or back to the categories they browsed with an offer. The segmentation would look like this: /shop/womens-clothing /shop/womens-clothing/leggings /shop/womens-clothing/dresses /shop/womens-clothing/skirts
You also want to make sure that your audience segments do not overlap, so be sure to exclude people in other segments you may already be targeting in other campaigns, as well as irrelevant people, like those who may simply be looking for a job at your company.
It makes sense to only segment sections of your website with significant traffic. I would recommend 5k cookied visitors at the very least, otherwise you will be doing a lot of work for very little to no return.
There is one more thing to consider - recency. Users who have visited your site and viewed a product 5 hours ago are more likely to convert than a user who visited 15 days ago. The first step is to break your visitors into segments, but you will need to associate that with a lookback window. It is worth testing out different hours and days and it can make a huge difference in ROI.
Do keep in mind that too much segmentation may not make sense and will make your campaigns tedious to manage, so you should think strategically about which stage in the funnel your visitors fall into and segment accordingly.
Marketers are familiar with the yearly crush around the November and December shopping period. Although the holidays get the most attention, peak seasons come and go multiple times a year and the timing can vary by industry vertical and company. We've provided two tactics that will take less than 30 seconds to implement to help you maximize your ROI during ANY peak season just by optimizing your retargeting campaigns.
Tip #1: Bid Up To Increase Your CPM During Peak Seasons
This particular tactic will take less than 30-seconds! During peak seasons, competition increases and overall CPMs rise. Accordingly, you’ll want to increase your CPM across all of your retargeting campaigns to ensure you’re bidding enough to stay in front of your potential customers. As a rule of thumb, we would generally recommend advertisers increase their CPMs by 50-100% of their current average to maintain competitiveness during these times.
Adjusting CPMs in Perfect Audience is simple. Click to edit any of your campaigns and dive into your settings. In Step 3, Campaign Details, you’ll see an option to set the Bid Type as Optimized Bidding or Manual Bidding. Select the Manual Bidding radial button and set your new CPM. Try testing different CPMs to find the right balance between reach and ROI.
Tip #2: Drive In-Store Traffic with Geo-Targeting
It wasn’t too long ago when many considered showrooming, where customers in brick-and-mortar stores use their mobile phones to compare prices online, as the beginning of the end for real-world retailers. However, one of the more interesting trends that has since emerged is reverse showrooming, where customers research online but complete the purchase in-store. In fact, this practice has become even more prevalent than the original showrooming phenomenon.
Not only is this good news for physical retail stores, it also provides advertisers additional opportunities via geo-targeting. Perfect Audience provides marketers a simple way to geo-target potential visitors by country, DMA region, and even down to the zip code. Advertisers can leverage this, for example, by creating ads targeted to specific DMAs that guide potential customers to the nearest store locations.
Of course, one caveat with geo-targeting is that it greatly decreases reach. For this reason, you’ll want to limit geo-targeting to larger DMAs that ensure your retargeting lists have at least 5,000 unique users.
You can find the geo-targeting settings in Step One in any of your campaign settings:
Boosting your ROI during peak seasons can be challenging, especially as competition increases across your different marketing channels, but by making a few strategic tweaks and complementing your existing marketing efforts with the tactics above, you can maximize your reach and return for great overall performance.
To read more about these retargeting tactics and others that will help you maximize your ROI during peak seasons, check out our white paper.
Did you know that 1-in-4 advertisers have reported that they are concerned with the lack of transparency in retargeting? Or that 43% find attributing the performance of retargeting ads a major challenge?
These are just a few of the interesting findings that came out of a study we recently conducted of 233 enterprise marketers to learn more about current advertiser retargeting practices.
Using the data we gathered in our survey process about how prevalent retargeting is in the marketing mix and what concerns and challenges marketers are currently facing, we were able to develop some helpful key takeaways for fellow marketers to reference in future opportunities for retargeting.
Here are 3 out of the top 7 takeaways we shared in our report detailing the results of this study that you should keep in mind:
Takeaway #1: If you’re not retargeting yet… get started soon
Although we knew retargeting was a popular tactic, we were surprised by how commonplace it’s already become. Based on our survey results, 88% of enterprise marketers are already using retargeting to re-engage users when they haven’t converted or purchased on their initial visits. Of those that don’t currently retarget, poor past performance, poor fit with marketing goals, lack of budget, and privacy/regulatory constraints were listed as the main reasons for keeping it out of their marketing mix. However, over half of this group reported that they had plans to start retargeting within the following 12 months.
Takeaway #2: Google is the major catalyst for driving cross-channel retargeting
The most popular channel for retargeting was display, while search, somewhat surprisingly, ranked a close second. The popularity of retargeting on search and display aligns with Google’s AdWords retargeting offering through GDN and RLSA. 89% of marketers who were retargeting reported using a combination of Google’s retargeting tools, search retargeting through RLSA, and display retargeting through GDN.
Takeaway #3: Marketers are redefining what search retargeting is
Although marketers reported doing retargeting on display more so than any other channel, a higher percentage reported doing “search retargeting” than any other type of retargeting. This made us pause and ask, “What does search marketing mean to marketers?”
In the past, search retargeting has often been referred to as a prospecting tool, wherein an advertiser could retarget users based on a search query, even if the user hadn’t visited the advertiser’s website. However, with Google, Bing, and other major search engines moving to secure search, the opportunities to retarget search queries have dwindled. Additionally, the mechanics of Google RLSA, which requires a user to first visit an advertiser’s website to be added to a retargeting list, has likely changed how marketers think of “search retargeting.”
To download a copy of the report in its entirety, and read through the rest of these valuable best practices, please visit: http://bit.ly/1s4GceZ
As you may have noticed, turning products into personalized Facebook ads through dynamic retargeting campaigns is a great way for advertisers to get optimal airtime with their audiences, producing a more intimate, unique ad experience that inspires visitors to convert. When looking at a sample of Perfect Audience advertisers, we saw a 400% boost in CTR, a 10 to 20% boost in conversion rates and a 30 to 40% drop in CPA.
But like every other tool in your marketing funnel, these dynamic ads need to be tested, fine-tuned, and massaged to figure out just what piques your unique audience’s interest.
Here we’ve provided three simple tips to help you determine the right recipe to increase your click-through-rates and conversions while also decreasing your cost per lead.
1. Keep it simple. Don’t overpower the ad with too much text distracting from the personalized experience the visitor has from seeing the exact product they most recently viewed on your site.
2. Offers & promotions. Showing visitors the exact image certainly guides them farther along the path to purchase, but they can be pushed over the edge when there is a compelling reason to return to the website. A special sale or discount is a goldmine.
3. Maximize your real estate. Don’t miss out on valuable impressions. If you think that both Facebook Sidebar and Newsfeed ads are created equal, then reconsider your approach. What kind of information should you include the headline for Sidebar ads versus Newsfeed ads? In which part of the ad copy do you capture dynamic macros like the product name and price? For Sidebar ads? For Newsfeed ads?
The text limits with Sidebar ads are restrictive. We recommend dotting your headline with a short, sweet call-to-action while saving the dynamic variables like the name of the product for the body text.
When you’re customizing your Newsfeed template, you have more chances to be creative with your messaging. Macros like the name of the product, price or category can show up in three different fields: the headline, the message text and the body. Run tests to determine how you can make the slickest Newsfeed dynamic ad template.
Don’t leave money on the table by not serving hyper-targeted product ads to your website visitors. Create a product feed, put a pixel on your site, and perform A/B testing on your Facebook dynamic ads. If you’re getting the results you want, easily boost your budget to target more potential shoppers.
If you have an online store, you know it's difficult to bring back visitors to your website. With 67% of shoppers abandoning their shopping carts, retailers need to be creative and constantly remind their users to come back to complete their purchases. Web retargeting has helped solve some of these problems but with customers switching back and forth from desktop to mobile devices and spending time on various channels, it makes it even more complicated to retarget visitors effectively. In early June, Twitter Retargeting officially rolled out their first-party remarketing feature using a website pixel to allow the retargeting of your website visitors with customized ads when they are checking updates on Twitter. With 255 million monthly active users, there's a good chance that your customers may be on Twitter.
Here are four Twitter retargeting strategies you may want to consider for your online store:
1. Specific Promotions: Determine what pages you want to tag by thinking of your site taxonomy or structure. If you divide your shop into sections or categories, you can be more specific with the ad copy and tailor it to your visitor's interests. For example, if you are a retailer focused on apparel, you may want to create a separate tag on Twitter for shoes, jewelry, shirts, sweaters, and so on individually. By doing this, you will retarget to those who are most interested in the topic they browsed and offer them a related message to that category of interest, such as a year end blowout sale on shoes that you want to promote or a 20% off on all sweaters.
2. Loyalty Shopper Upsell: When a shopper completes a purchase, there is an opportunity to have them return to your store again. Tag the purchase confirmation page, the page that the user hits after they checkout, and retarget these customers who have made a purchase with an ad to incentivize them to come back. For example, if you have a new line of products they may be interested in checking out, or offer them an exclusive promotion code like "Thanks for shopping at Teddy's Candy Shop. Use code CANDYISCOOL for 15% off your next purchase. Expires 7/15".
3. Cart Abandoners: The ability to create a rule to retarget shoppers who have abandoned their carts is not currently possible because Twitter doesn't allow for rules-based retargeting. If you have a high shopping cart abandonment rate, it may be worth tagging the shopping cart page and marketing to them with a general message to get them to come back to your site in hopes of a lift in conversions and decrease in cart abandonment.
4. Expand Reach by Targeting Similar Users: Use your retargeting lists to find similar users aka lookalikes that shop at your store and market to them. This is a powerful tool to find new customers who will most likely be interested in your store. You can do this by selecting your web visitors list and clicking on the box that says "Expand reach by targeting similar users".
You can log into Twitter Ads or use Perfect Audience to kick off your campaigns with a free $100 credit! Is there another strategy that has worked well for you?If so, please share in the comments section below. Happy Retargeting!
This post originally appeared on the Perfect Audience blog. We welcomed Perfect Audience to the Marin Software team in June.
Whether you’re just getting started with retargeting or you’ve been at it for a while now, we all make mistakes from time to time. If you find yourself falling into any of these common traps, here are some suggestions to get yourself out!
Mistake #1 - Using one and only one ad
Perfect Audience allows you to create up to 5 ads for your free trial campaign, and as many as you’d like for paid campaigns - so why limit yourself to one ad? I see many campaigns only using one ad. Use more!
Whether you use Perfect Audience or not, make sure to set up multiple ads ads so you can do some A/B testing. You should use at least 2-3 ads for News Feed campaigns, and at least 4-5 for Facebook Sidebar and Web campaigns.
Mistake #2 - Letting underperforming ads continue to underperform
Keep an eye on what works and what doesn’t. It sounds like a minor detail but paying close attention to your ads can really make a difference in your campaign performance.
Keep your ads up to date. Review them every 7-10 days and replace the ads that aren’t performing.
Do audiences seem to click on this picture more than that one? Is this text performing better than that text? Make subtle changes in your ads so that over time you can keep rotating your ads with the better performing ones to keep the campaign healthy.
Mistake #3 - Sounding like an advertiser
Don’t run generic ads! Be creative with your headline and copy. For News Feed ads, keep your copy short and sweet. Try not to make a big block of text with your message. Make your News Feed content sound like something a Facebook user would post. Use your brand’s voice!
It’s also important that your ads are socially relevant. For example, special themed ads around holidays or events can give you a boost in performance if timed correctly. So keep things like Father’s Day, 4th of July, etc… in your mind when the timing is right. Make ads that follow along with these events!
Mistake #4 - Using less popular ad sizes (Web campaigns)
With web campaigns, you get a little more leeway with your banner resolutions. Perfect Audience has found that banner ads that are 300×250 and 729×98 perform best. Some visitors like square ads over the longer banner ad, so at the very least make sure you have both of these sizes in your campaign.
If you run only one or the other, you are limiting your reach. Make sure to have both sizes so you can serve the ad to the widest audience you can get. You’ll also learn which size works best for you and can make any appropriate adjustments to improve performance even more.
Mistake #5 - Using the same ad 4-5 times
It’s great if you’re using multiple ads in your campaign, but do they all say the same thing? Is it the same generic text with a subtle variation in the image? That’s not going to give you good A/B testing data! Make your ad images and text different so you can really determine what visitors like to click on.
Now that you’re armed with all this new great information, go apply it to your campaigns and see how it affects their performance! Do you have a great tip not mentioned here? We’d love to hear about it! Drop us a line in the comments. And finally, learn more about how Perfect Audience is joining forces with Marin Software here!
It’s an exciting day at Marin and for advertisers around the globe. Today we finalized our acquisition of Perfect Audience; an innovative San Francisco based retargeting company. We’re thrilled to have them join us and enhance our remarketing expertise and bolster our industry-leading search, social and display performance advertising platform.
With the acquisition of Perfect Audience, advertisers not only get powerful programmatic display capabilities across the web, but also direct access to Facebook Exchange (FBX), Google’s Doubleclick Ad Exchange, and Twitter. For marketers looking to move away from inefficient point solutions, Marin is the only platform that offers audience-based ad buying across devices and channels.
You know your first party data is your advantage to effectively measure, manage and optimize across channels to win more revenue. Your search data reveals purchase intent. Your social data shows valuable demographic info. Your retargeting offers a trove of behavioral data. Marin’s advertisers will be able to easily combine and analyze all three data streams in a single place to better inform and execute smarter audience buying across the vast search, display and social landscapes.
For example, Marin’s support of Google RLSA in conjunction with Perfect Audience enables advertisers to use their highly valuable first-party data to not only influence display retargeting but also improve search retargeting. Such a 360-degree approach to audience based retargeting in a single platform is a first for advertisers.
Marketers invest big $ to drive prospects to their websites, but generally less than five percent of this traffic becomes customers. Adding Perfect Audience’s retargeting capabilities enables Marin’s advertisers to target the 95% of their traffic that doesn’t convert, generating more revenue from their online advertising programs.
If you’re not familiar with Perfect Audience, we encourage you to check out their powerfully simple platform. In addition to integrating the Perfect Audience platform with Marin, Perfect Audience will also continue to be available as a standalone tool. So, it’s business as usual for current Perfect Audience customers.
Curious about more acquisition details, then check out the FAQ.
Google launched Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) in June 2013, giving advertisers the opportunity to remarket to potential lost conversions across the Google search and display networks. For the first time, search marketers could reap the retargeting campaign benefits that display advertisers had been employing for the past few years.
We previously shared some strategies for driving successful Google RLSA campaigns, such as increasing bids for searchers who’ve previously visited your site based on the assumption that they will be more likely to convert. However, the continuing unanswered question has been what your bid adjustment should be in order to engage your search audience. Is a +10% bid adjustment appropriate? +25%? +50%? Or if you were to take that question one step further, what is the optimal bid adjustment on your RLSA campaigns in order to maximize ROI?
Manage Your RLSA Campaigns within Marin Software
We can help answer that question now. We’re excited to announce that Marin Software is the first digital marketing management platform supporting Google RLSA. This means you’ll be able to take the remarketing audiences and campaigns that you’ve set up in Google AdWords, and then import and sync them with the Marin Platform to take advantage of our bid optimization features. So instead of arbitrarily deciding how to boost bids for your RLSA campaigns, you can set them up to be algorithmically optimized to drive increased ROI.
Set Your RLSA Campaigns Up For Success
When setting up your RLSA campaigns in Google AdWords, we recommend cloning your existing groups or campaigns and then adding your retargeting lists to those groups using a Target & Bid setting. This allows you to track performance and optimize these groups at the keyword level. It also enables you to customize your ad copy for your retargeting groups so you can drive them further down the conversion funnel.
To get started with Google RLSA on Marin, contact your Customer Engagement Manager to enable the feature for your account.
On Tuesday, Google announced that, after spending almost a year in beta, “Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)” will be rolling out to all enhanced campaign advertisers. RLSA will allow marketers to update and customize search keywords, bids, and ads based on a person’s previous visits to their websites.
I imagine there’s a sense of excitement among online marketers, with the ability to start utilizing RLSA soon if they have not started any campaigns previously.
Companies are spending a larger amount on display re-targeting efforts and RLSA can help supplement these campaigns and become another highly relevant, cost-effective way to win more business. The search landscape is competitive, and anytime you can get a second at-bat with a known potential customer it is a win-win opportunity. The key to success, the second time around, will have everything to do with how an online marketer strategically uses the full range of tools Google has to offer to get a customer back to their site and convert. If you lost on the potential lead/sale the first time around, banking on the status quo probably won’t work the second time around. Bid adjustments, creative messaging, and CTAs will all be important things to bear in mind based on what you know about a customer's first visit.
If you’ve been holding off on migrating to enhanced campaigns, now may be the best time to make the move and start playing around with RLSA. Its potential to increase conversion rates and overall conversions to your website is clear. Information you have about your customers can, more often than not, be leveraged for greater success. So the question is: how do you plan on using RLSA to your best advantage?
Innovation in retargeting technology has increased over the last few years. With new players, the simplification of tools, and an increase in platform integrations, retargeting has become a valuable channel for reacquiring leads and filling in the middle of the marketing funnel. Last week in part one of our two part series, we discussed why testing platforms, setting realistic call-to-actions (CTA), and segmenting visitors are all critical to a successful retargeting program. Today, we’ll conclude our discussion by reviewing the importance of refreshing ad creative, integrating geo-targeting strategies, and opting out employees from retargeting campaigns.
Refresh: Update Ad Creative Often
Ads that are used to retarget your visitors tend to follow them around as they surf the web. The constant bombardment of the same or similar ads can not only lead to ad blindness, but can also frustrate your audience. To increase the likelihood that your visitor pool will notice and engage with your retargeting campaign, consider refreshing your ad creative frequently—every week or month depending on your business needs. Consider testing new CTAs, promoting a different piece of collateral, or simply changing the look and feel of your ad creative. The more often you refresh your ads, the more opportunities there are to re-engage your audience.
Relocate: Integrate a Geo-Targeting Strategy
The scope of your business or the engagement of your audience might be isolated to a specific geography—shipping only within the United Kingdom or a contest that only includes Australian residents. If geography is a limitation or plays a significant factor for your business, it’s important to understand which retargeting vendors support geo-targeting functionality. Even if your campaigns are performing well, there are still opportunities to remove specific geographies and eliminate unwanted impression and clicks that result in wasted spend and unqualified leads. On the other hand, geo-targeting an emerging market and retargeting visitors to promote additional discover can help grow brand and lead generation efforts in strategic geographies.
Remove: Opt Out Employees
Employees who visit your company’s website often times become a bullseye for your retargeting campaigns. While the number of impressions may not make a huge impact on overall campaign performance, they still represent valuable impressions and spend that could’ve been directed towards a more qualified audience. Most platforms don’t really offer a simple solution for addressing this challenge (i.e. IP exclusion). However, you can build a segment, for example visitors to your website’s Careers page, and exclude it from your retargeting campaigns. Ask your colleagues to visit the Careers page once and they should be “opted out” of retargeting (depending on cookie settings). This is by far the most efficient and effective solution I’ve found to date (let me know if you leverage a different strategy).
Retargeting remains a critical marketing channel for reaching and re-engaging your potential customers. As you manage and optimize your retargeting program, keep the six strategies and best practices in mind. They’ll help you kick-start your program and optimize campaign performance for long-term success.
Retargeting has been a commonplace strategy for online marketers for quite some time. However, many companies, specifically non-retailers, overlook the value of this channel for reacquiring leads and filling in the middle of the marketing funnel. Over the last few years, the landscape for display retargeting has seen a sharp rise in innovation; new players, the simplification of tools, and an increase in platform integrations have made it easier for online marketers to kick-start and expand their retargeting strategies. In part one of this two part series, we’ll discuss why testing platforms, setting realistic call-to-actions (CTA), and segmenting visitors are all critical to a successful retargeting program.
Test Multiple Platforms
Don’t get complacent. Just because one retargeting campaign is performing well, doesn’t mean you should stop exploring other platforms. Many vendors offer very similar tools, however you may be able to amplify your message by reaching a broader audience on placements that your original platform may not have been working with. Due to the relatively low risk and ease of implementation, it doesn’t hurt to test additional platforms.
Set Realistic CTAs
With retargeting, especially in the B2B world, you often have one shot to drive a visitor back onto your website. In most cases, assume that you failed the first time in converting a visitor because they weren’t interested in what you were trying to sell. For example, I often leverage a demo or trial signup as a CTA in order to gauge if visitors are interested in learning more or trying out our software. If these visitors enter my retargeting pool, I have to assume that the original CTA was too direct the first time and that I didn’t provide them with the information needed to continue driving them down the conversion funnel. If it didn’t work the first time, it’s highly unlikely it’ll work now. In these scenarios, I try to push a more top of the funnel CTA like downloading one of our industry thought leadership whitepapers. Visitors get to learn more about Marin Software and our platform, and we get an introduction and second chance to show them our value proposition. It’s a win-win.
Segment your visitor pool into as many buckets that make sense for your business. The more buckets you create, the more targeted you can be with your remarketing efforts. If you lumped all your visitors into one bucket, you‘d miss out on opportunities to pitch different content or products based on what these visitors have indicated they’re interested in. Why promote socks when they’re looking for shoes? Why pitch a paid search white paper when they’re interested in retargeting? Many online retailers do a great job executing this strategy, and B2B companies are tuning in and following suit. By segmenting visitors, you’ll also be able to remove certain visitors from your retargeting pool. For example, if someone visited your site looking for a job, remove them from your retargeting list. Over the long run, strategies like this one will help increase cost efficiency and lead to higher click-through rates (CTR).
As you manage and optimize your retargeting program, keep these three strategies and their best practices in mind. Next week, we’ll continue our discussion and walk through the best practices for keeping ad creative fresh, leveraging geo-targeting, and opting out employees from retargeting.