Rich Ads

You may have noticed the trend towards Facebook flexible placements (i.e., placement optimization). Are these worth incorporating into your account?

In this article, we cover the main advantages of placement optimization and why you should include it in your marketing strategy. The benefits sound a lot like common business goals: timesaving, efficiency, and expanded reach.


Saving Time Through Predictable Performance

When you run your campaigns only on what you consider to be the best-performing placement or split individual placements, you’ll most likely see fluctuating performance. And, it may be challenging to achieve low CPA or delivery in a specific placement. Manual adjustments become an ongoing struggle as you try to get the most out of your campaigns.

Optimizing for more placements, on the other hand, will save you some time when you create and refine your campaigns. This produces better delivery, enhanced performance, and expanded reach.

Saving Time Through Robust Tools

There are duplication and mass-editing tools that allow you to clone ad sets or campaigns, automatically make changes to placements, and run Facebook and Instagram campaigns independently. With these tools, there’s no need to create everything from scratch or reinvent the wheel.

However, what if you’re running full-funnel activities, from branding to retention? What if you’re also advertising in multiple markets, plus variations for those audiences?

Here, placement optimization can help save you tons of time. Instead of targeting and setting up every placement, you can let Facebook do it for you, clearing more time for strategic planning, optimization, and further testing.

Saving Time Through Insightful Reporting

As for reporting, Facebook provides the option of seeing the placement breakdown, allowing you to determine which placement drives the best performance. But, don’t rush to divert all of your budget to the best-performing placement by separating placements again, as Facebook will optimize for the best performer, anyway. Which leads us to efficiency.


When you’re developing your strategy and creating your Facebook ad campaigns, one aim is to provide as much information as possible so that Facebook algorithms know your goal and optimize for it. This includes indicators like objective, promoted object, and bidding type.

Why should you let the algorithms deliver ads in placements that bring low CPAs? Because they’re flexible, serving your ads on Facebook, Instagram, or Facebook Audience Network (FAN) when there’s the greatest likelihood of the cheapest CPA and highest volume.

[caption id="attachment_9878" align="alignnone" width="500"]


How placement optimization works (Source: Facebook)[/caption]

Expanded Reach

Audience size plays a key role in achieving the cheapest CPA, meaning that if there’s a possibility to increase reach, it’s always a good idea to do it.

With placement optimization, you have the opportunity to reach more users with the same budget, which can solve cost effectiveness and single-placement delivery issues.

How does placement optimization work? Easy—it takes advantage of Facebook’s algorithms that dynamically search and serve your ad to the placement that’s most cost effective at any given time, whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, or FAN.


More time, better use of resources, more brand awareness and revenue. Placement optimization is one of the best strategies for putting your marketing dollars to effective use.

At Marin, we know that the most powerful marketing programs are ones that combine the best of search and social advertising. Marketers who unify their programs gain the opportunity to deliver incremental ROI. To actually accomplish this, however, digital marketing teams need to think less about the channel and more about locating where people are in the customer journey.

We created a cheat sheet that outlines ad formats and objectives that Google and Facebook provide for each step in this journey. Follow the guidelines so that you have the best possible chance of reaching your target audience—and clinching the sale. Click the image to enlarge it.

customer journey

To discuss Marin solutions that help you stand out online and win the battle for revenue, schedule a demo.

This is the first in a series of posts on the nuts and bolts of Facebook Dynamic Ads. Today, we teach you techniques you can use to entice customers to make additional purchases from your product catalog.

If you’re a direct response advertiser on Facebook, by now you’ve probably heard of—or you’re already running—Dynamic Ads campaigns. We’ve put together these expert tips and real-world examples to ensure you’re maximizing the effectiveness of your campaigns.

A Quick Refresher

Dynamic Ads automatically generate creative from a product feed, and you can target to people based on their actual intent. A lot of advertisers would call this practice Website Custom Audience remarketing.

However, with Dynamic Ads, you can automatically trigger upsell and cross-sell campaigns—to people who’ve converted on your website or app—with personalized creative from your feed. This is a great way to increase the lifetime value of your customer base with relevant product creative based on their purchase and browse behavior.

Now, onto the tips….

Dynamic Ads Upsell Techniques

Gear your upsell campaigns to offering a higher margin product or service based on someone’s browse or purchase behavior. For example:

  • Visitors viewed and purchased fitness shoes -> upsell smart fitness watches
  • Visitors viewed fitness shoes, but didn’t buy -> upsell with higher-margin shoes
  • Visitors viewed hotels in San Francisco -> upsell hotels with great reviews and amenities

Dynamic Ads Cross-Sell Techniques

For your cross-sell campaigns, offer a complementary product or service based on someone’s browse or purchase behavior. For example:

  • Visitors viewed and purchased fitness shoes -> cross-sell complementary socks
  • Visitors purchased an airline ticket to vacation in Hawaii -> cross-sell hotels within that destination
  • Visitors bought a hotel room for a weekend stay in New York -> cross-sell a discount on drinks in the lobby bar

Follow these suggestions, and you should see more engagement and more clicks from your Dynamic Ads. If you’d like to hear how Marin can help you implement a robust, click-generating Dynamic Ads strategy, just get in touch. Also be sure to check out our Dynamic Ads webinar with Facebook.

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

1. Establish the Messaging

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

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

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

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


2. Get the Specs Right

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

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

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

3. Hone Your Ad Creative and Copy

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

Think Brand

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

Tell a Story

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

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

Make it Interactive

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




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

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

4. Experiment with Ad Types and Formats

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

Video Ads

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

TipHow to Nail ItConsider the Mobile Feed

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

Go deeper into the silence

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

Frame it

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


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

Carousel Ads

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

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

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

Everything a Channel Has to Offer

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

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

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

Best Practices

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

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

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

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

Continued Flow from Ad to Website

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

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

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

Mobile Versus Desktop

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

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

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

Retargeting Campaigns

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

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

Supporting Lead Ads

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

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

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

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

Take the Lead

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

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

The Most Engaging Ad Format on Facebook

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

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

New Ways to Get Your Customers’ Attention

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

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

Generating Facebook Creative Concepts

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

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

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

About the Author


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

About Boost Media

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

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 the Association of National Advertisers, 63% of advertisers planned to increase their budgets for native advertising in 2015, expanding spend to $10.7 billion, an impressive 150% increase over 2013. The concept of native ads has been around for decades in print, but the advent of digital advertising has seen them become even more pervasive. As native continues to rise, there’s no better time than now to take advantage of its ability to connect and attract the attention of your target audience.

To get the most out of native ads, follow these best practices.

1. Select the Right Platform

In order to get the right message to the right audience, marketers must select the most appropriate channels. The commercial content must be fully immersed in the look, feel, and emotional tone of the site; it’s a simple but critical concept. Aesthetic and tonal cohesion is vital for you to consider when you decide where to communicate your brand message via native ads.

2. Engage with Valuable Content

The content you share needs to add value to the lives of the consumers that view it. In one Yahoo Food case study, users were appreciative that sponsored articles helped them do exactly what they came to Yahoo Food to do: learn how to cook, learn about new types of food, and create variety in their culinary chops.

3. Be Transparent

Within a content environment, lead with content, not the hard sell.

Yahoo recently had a brand sponsor highly engaged sports content during a large sporting event. When a more prominent brand logo was included in the ad, this mobile native advertising campaign yielded better results. Additionally, consumers shared that they appreciated the transparency and clarity. They were also significantly less likely to feel duped versus the original ad, which only contained minimal branding.

If you missed it, we suggest you check out the recording of our joint webinar with Yahoo to learn more about how to get the most out of native advertising. You can also download our white paper, The Essential Guide to Native Advertising: The Rise of a Digital Ad Format and Best Practices for Commanding Audience Attention.

There’s been a lot of debate as to the exact definition of native advertising. Still, there is general consensus in the industry that the definition from the IAB Native Playbook is on point: “[Native advertising refers to] paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.”

Despite the debate around native advertising’s definition, one thing’s certain: there are many great ways for advertisers to incorporate native into their advertising mix.

Here’s a brief summary of some of the most popular native formats and the leaders in each, according to the IAB Native Playbook.

In-Feed Units

In-Feed Units

In-feed ads are the most popular form of digital native ads. These are ads that generally have content that’s related to the surrounding content and is contextual. They can either link to other sponsored pages on a publisher’s site or may link to a brand page, video, or other content. Publishers most commonly sell these types of ads either through guaranteed placement on a certain page or through a broad category, such as “sports” in Yahoo. Ad performance is most often measured through brand lift, CTR, and conversions.

Paid Search Units

Paid Search Units

Paid search native ads blend into the native search results on the publisher SERP. They are generally located before the actual search results, and the format depends on the individual publisher, as each one has their own style and layout. These ads link to the advertiser’s landing page and are typically sold with guaranteed placement. Performance for paid search native ads is measured by conversions.

Recommendation Widgets

Recommendation Widgets

Recommendation widgets are the most similar to traditional display ads. The format of the ad does not necessarily match the native of the page that it’s on, and the ad is delivered through a “widget.” As the name suggests, these ads are presented to consumers as content they may be interested in and links to separate pages. The performance of these ads is usually measured through brand lift and interaction.

Custom /”Can’t Be Contained”


There are many other native formats that are not easily bucketed and unique in their own way. However, just because these ads don’t fall under one of the more recognizable formats doesn’t mean they’re not effective. A prime example of this is Pandora. With radio station ads displayed across devices and even in ads on connected cars, they’ve reached the number two spot in terms of total digital unique visitors, second only to Facebook.

To learn more about native advertising and how you can use it to attract audiences, check out our latest white paper, created jointly with Yahoo, The Essential Guide to Native Advertising: The Rise of a Digital Ad Format and Best Practices for Commanding Audience Attention. Also be sure to register for our 9/24 webinar, Your Guide to Native Advertising: Best Practices for Commanding Audience Attention.

Rich Media advertising is a form of advertising that utilises an array of interactive digital media, including streaming, video and audio. It represents a powerful creative opportunity, allowing campaigns to deliver far greater impact. This blog aims to understand the differences between more familiar ad types and to highlight the benefits of Rich Media ads.

Familiar ad formats include text ads and standard display ads, either static or animated using tools like Flash, typically having only one interaction. Rich Media ads are more complex and allow for greater creative freedom.


Rich Media is the use of interactivity or multimedia to give an enhanced experience to a web user. When it’s used in advertising, it’s done so to attract attention and/or to stand out amongst the huge volumes of ads and copy. Because of the advancement of creative technology, Rich Media advertising continues to improve rapidly; the need for these types of ads has become a demand for brand awareness.

Common types of Rich Media advertising will generally be in-page ads, out-of page ads and even in-stream ads.

  • In-Page Ads – These types of in-page ads usually show up in various areas of a web page in the form of a rectangle or preset banner.
  • Out-Of Page Ads – Examples include Floating Ads, Pop-Up Ads and Expandable Ads.
  • In-Stream Ads – These are ads that involve either pre or post roll videos.

Rich Ads tend to be larger in file size and costs to create are generally higher, however the many advantages, which are outlined below, make for a much more cost-effective online ad campaign:

  1. Higher interaction rate: Interactivity delivers significant uplifts in brand awareness, message association and purchase intent, and can also allow for instant data capture. Advertisers can more effectively capture the attention of potential customers by prompting them to interact with the online ad and provide a more engaging experience.
  2. Rich Media ads are measurable and scalable: Typical banner ads allow advertisers to measure only impressions and click-throughs. Rich Media ads, on the other hand, can empower advertisers to track and measure a variety of important and often subtle browsing behaviours (for example, the number of users who viewed an embedded video, percentage of video viewed).
  3. Higher performance levels: Rich Media ads outperform standard and animated counterparts with increased conversion rates, click through rates and view through rates. Research has shown that Rich Media advertising average click-through rates for Rich Media ads were approximately five times higher than click-through rates for non-Rich Media ads. Thus consumers are more likely to take some kind of action after viewing a Rich Media ad compared to standard display ads.
  4. Brand awareness: Rich Media ads, including Flash and streaming ads, increase brand awareness for online advertisers better than other online ad formats.
  5. User experience: Rich Media ads do not force the user to leave the site, which means not having to interrupt what might be a pleasant online experience only to be taken elsewhere (a big reason why users are not clicking on ads). For site owners this is a positive since it keeps their site traffic around for a longer period of time.

With the ability to track numerous actions, managing Rich Ads falls in the realm of traditional metric based Search Marketing. Similar behaviour can be seen with Facebook advertising, which has expanded the scope of a Search Marketer’s role.

Not to be confused with Sitelinks for natural search, when enabled in an AdWords campaign, Google Adwords Sitelinks will display additional links underneath a standard text ad, and are used to drive clicks to deep content on your website. Typically Ad Sitelinks will only be served below text ads with higher-than-average CTR, position and quality score such as a creative served when a user searches one of your trademarked brand terms or a domain name that you own. Sitelinks are useful for messaging new promotions, driving traffic to high-converting content, and creating exposure for areas of your site that do not rank high in natural search.


Optimization strategy

Sitelinks do an excellent job of increasing your ad's real estate while in top position, and this additional attention can increase a creative's CTR drastically, Google claims 30%. However, increasing CTR significantly without generating extra conversions may not be a smart business goal, especially if you already own the top positions in natural search. The key to an effective Sitelink strategy is generating an incremental lift in conversion rate in addition to the increase in CTR, especially if the increase in conversion rate causes your paid search creatives to become more effective than natural search results. Let's discuss how to achieve this.

Selecting your creatives

Since text ads must have higher-than-average CTR, quality score and position to display an Ad Sitelink, branded campaigns make excellent candidates for your first test. Note: Ad Sitelink settings must be done at the campaign level, meaning all creatives in your enabled campaign will be eligible to serve Sitelinks.

Once you select a campaign, drill in and navigate to the campaign's Ad Extensions tab in AdWords and select "Sitelinks Extensions" from the drop down menu. Google claims to randomly rotate up to 8 Sitelinks, but this is rarely done, so make it a best practice to use up to 4 Sitelinks per campaign. Here is where the magic happens:

Sitelink Extention

Creating themes based on user behavior

Once you have selected a campaign, you need to determine our Sitelink themes. Some key questions to ask:

  1. What is the second click in this segment's click path?
  2. What are the top categories browsed in a session?
  3. What are your top converting pages sitewide?
  4. What are the top onsite search terms for this segment?

These questions will give you insight into which Sitelink themes may be effective. For example, if you have selected the branded campaign for this Sitelink test and 60% of all users in this segment navigate to your top converting category called "Discount Football Jerseys", you may want to consider this category as a Sitelink theme to shorten the click path and encourage other users to browse this winning content. Using promotional copy may perform better from a conversion perspective than a generic category such as "Men's Apparel".

Choosing effective Sitelink text

A simple creative test will tell you how to message your theme in a given Sitelink. Create a test adgroup using keywords relevant to your Sitelink's theme, and test different headlines for CTR and conversion rate. If your first Sitelink theme is "Discount Football Jerseys", experiment with different ways to message your value to the user. You may be surprised which headline generates the most conversions. Once your test creatives have generated a statistically significant number of conversions, select the headline which satisfied your thirst for high CTR and exceptional conversion rate, then use it to represent that theme as a Sitelink.

Sitelink Creative

Tracking Sitelink performance

Tracking Sitelink performance is a crucial step in optimizing for conversion rate due to Google's limited reporting on this feature, but in many cases you must get creative with your approach. It is important to note that you must track CTR performance at the campaign level, so it may be beneficial to split your Sitelink ad into a separate campaign. Conversions can be tracked at the Sitelink level, and the most common application is to add a unique tracking parameter to your Sitelink URL. For example, in Google Analytics, appending "&utm_content=sitelink1" to your Sitelink's URL will allow you to report on conversions generated by the corresponding Sitelink.

Workflow checklist

  1. Select An Ideal Campaign
  2. Research User Behavior
  3. Test Themes As Headlines
  4. Use Winning Headlines As Sitelinks
  5. Tag Sitelink Urls With Tracking Code
  6. Report Ctr & Conversion Results
  7. Test Additional Themes

Sitelinks can be optimized for conversion by researching customer behavior, creating relevant promotional themes, and using your best performing creative headlines to drive users to winning content. According to Google, Sitelinks can increase CTR up to 30%, and while large increases in click volume are significant, the real high-fiving begins when marketers are able to sustain or increase conversion rate as well to increase revenue and profit.

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