Trends

We recently wrote a blog on The Power of Web Queries, a type of scheduled report in MarinOne that is hosted on a URL and automatically updated with the most recent data. These are fully customizable reports, right down to the date range, activity type and even how often the data is refreshed.

The flexible nature of Web Queries means that marketers can automatically import their data directly into Microsoft Excel instead of having to manually download their data and then import into Excel, saving you endless hours of time spent generating reports manually. You can even create dashboards and templates in Excel, which get updated with the most recent data at the click of a button.

The New and Improved Web Query Reports


Since our earlier blog post, we’ve made further enhancements to our Web Query reporting capabilities to not only allow data to be automatically imported into Excel, but now into Google Sheets too.

You’re probably asking why use Google Sheets? What’s the benefit? Well, here’s a few…

  • Due to the cloud-based nature of Google Sheets, collaboration between multiple users makes a marketers workflow easier and faster
  • Built-in revision history
  • No need to constantly press “Save” due to Google Sheets’ auto-save functionality
  • Real-time chat window with colleagues
  • Access to your Google Sheet and data from any computer/device
  • Refreshing of data is automatic on an hourly cadence - no manual intervention needed
  • Ability to control access levels to the data, i.e. Read-Only, Edit or Comment access
  • Share the data easily with management and stakeholders
  • The data can also be synced into big data tools from Google Sheets for enhanced customization and reporting i.e. Google Data Studio
  • Pricing – Google Sheets is completely free to use


Setting Up Web Query Reports for Google Sheets


Once you’ve generated your Web Query report from MarinOne, copy the URL and open up a Google Sheet then follow the steps below.

Click into a cell and type =IMPORTHTML(

  • This function / formula imports data into a Google Sheet from a table within a HTML page such as Marin’s Web Query reports that are hosted on a URL


The syntax format is =IMPORTHTML("url", "query", index)

  • url – The URL of the page to be examined, including protocol (e.g. https://).
    This is where you paste the Web Query report URL that you generated in MarinOne

  • The URL must be enclosed in quotation marks


  • query – Either "table" or "list" can be used, depending on what type of structure contains the data
    For Marin’s Web Query reports, it will be the query "table", and make sure to also enclose it in quotation marks


  • index – The index, starting at 1, which identifies which table or list (as defined in the HTML source) should be returned
    For Marin’s Web Query reports, there are three tables to choose from (as shown in the image below)




Your formula should look like the example below. Make sure that each syntax is separated with a comma.

=importhtml("https://one.marinsoftware.com","table",3)

  • Once you hit enter, the data will be imported into the Google Sheet from the Web Query report
  • Once you have the data into the spreadsheet, you’ll need to set the criteria for the data to be refreshed;Click File >> Spreadsheet settings >> in the pop up, click Calculation >> change the recalculation to ‘On change and every hour’ >> click Save Settings




Google will now automatically refresh the data on an hourly cadence, so you can be sure that the most recent data is up-to-date - There’s no need to manually refresh like you have to in Excel

Why not give it a try and enhance your workflow with our latest update? And if you haven’t already, check our earlier blog on Web Query reports: The Power of Web Queries.



Reporting is often a mundane and repetitive task. How much time do you spend on reporting? If that answer is too much, then keep on reading.

Every marketer's dream is to spend as little time on reporting as possible. The fact is that the less time you spend on reporting, the more time you have to spend on your marketing strategy, campaign optimization or perhaps testing something completely new.

One of the key benefits of using MarinOne is its web query functionality.

In a nutshell, web queries enable you to pull data from a website's URL straight into Microsoft Excel. The web query format creates an automated report that is posted to a static URL every time the report is processed.

Web query reports in MarinOne are designed to let users take advantage of their existing reports and have the application update the data on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, saving you literally hours a week by not having to pull reports manually.

As you can imagine, the possibilities with web queries are endless. Below we have outlined a few examples of the web query alerts and reports that we tend to recommend.

Performance-based alerts and reports:


  • Poor performing campaigns, groups, creatives or keywords
  • Strong performing campaigns, groups, creatives or keywords
  • High potential keywords and search queries
  • Campaign, group, keyword coverage change
  • Low CTR/conversion rate creatives, keywords
  • Performance by match type
  • KPIs that have been achieved by certain objects in a given timeframe
  • Mobile vs. desktop performance


QA-based alerts and reports:


  • Disapproved creatives
  • Missing Google Analytics parameters
  • Active groups with less than two creatives



Example: Cross channel Dashboard build by using Web Queries



Setting Up Web Query Reports


Now that you know when to use web queries, how can you create one?

If you are using Windows, you can follow the below steps:

  1. Create a recurring report in MarinOne and select Excel Web Query as the format
  2. You can then run your report and click save.
  3. Right-click on the URL for the Excel link and select Copy Shortcut.
  4. In Excel, open the workbook where you wish to import the data. From the Data menu, select From Web under Get External Data.
  5. Paste the link you copied into the address bar and your report will be loaded into the window.
  6. You can choose which section of your report to import by checking boxes placed next to each table in the report.
  7. Click Import and you will be asked to specify the location for the report and you will have to enter your Marin credentials when prompted. If you wish to have the data in the report, refresh automatically when the file is opened, click Properties and select the Refresh Data When Opening File option.
  8. Click OK and your data will be imported into the workbook at the location you specified. This data range will be refreshed whenever you select Refresh All from the Data menu (or automatically, if you choose that option). Simply link your existing output report to this data section and your report will be updated.


As mentioned, web queries will help you save time and hopefully enhance your day-to-day workflow. If there are any questions or you would like to know more, don't hesitate to contact us.

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

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

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

A boycott is a boycott. Not a test.


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

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


For some organizations, measuring impact is down the road


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

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


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

Conclusion


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

“How can I improve the quality of leads for my sales team?” It’s a question I hear in nearly every conversation with a lead-focused marketer. Coupled with measuring ROI and longer sales cycles, difficulty obtaining enough quality leads is an ongoing battle for marketers in the automotive, real estate, B2B, insurance, and finance industries.

The balancing act between lead volume, lead quality, and lead cost is the triad we’re all trying to solve for. Each business is unique and needs to figure out the optimal equilibrium for these crucial metrics while, at the same time, focusing on optimizing them.

Whether your business is predominantly focused on Volume, Quality or Cost, Marin Software is equipped with solutions that can increase the performance of your B2B Lead Gen activities in each of these areas, so that you can generate a higher ROI and reduce wasted time and financial cost

Solving for Long Sales Cycles & Multiple Touchpoints


A study by Miller Heiman Group, leveraging data stretching back to 2014, comments on how three-quarters of B2B sales to new customers take at least 4 months to close, with almost half taking seven months or more. This timeline of course varies on industry, product, price and on-boarding cost for the product or service; however, the sentiment is there: the challenges with a longer decision-making process are much higher.

As a marketer, you are likely familiar with a purchase funnel and the various touchpoints in a customer journey. The stages vary per business, but typically include awareness, interest, desire, and action. So whether it’s the initial Contact Us or White Paper Download, the single or many phone conversations for additional information, or the final purchase, it can be challenging for marketers to combine these touchpoints into a holistic strategy.

Marin’s Full Funnel Bidding addresses this challenge. Marin’s full funnel approach allows for a bespoke bid strategy to accommodate the latency and multiple touchpoints we often see in the purchase cycle. This allows advertisers to dynamically set more aggressive CPA targets for leads that have higher propensity to convert to a sale.

Marketers are tasked with optimizing to the volume of leads coming into the top of the funnel while also managing the revenue or value of the lead. With MarinOne’s Full Funnel Optimization, touchpoints can receive revenue credit no matter where in the funnel.

Analytics to Action


If your business is not already capturing a Lead Score, I highly encourage you to start leveraging this methodology. This means ranking leads in order to determine their sales-readiness. You score leads based on the interest they show in your business, their current place in the buying cycle, and their fit in regard to your business. Understanding the quality of your leads by working on your internal metrics is pivotal.

In addition to that, it’s often the case that some PPC keywords or certain social creatives will drive a higher quality lead. Advertisers should be capturing this level of granularity, and then passing it into their optimization engine to capitalize on incremental lift and performance.

For example, an enterprise-level SaaS business may be leveraging two keywords: “ERP Software,” and “ERP Enterprise Solutions.” In this instance, both keywords are upper-funnel, and in many ways very similar. However, let’s imagine the term “ERP Enterprise Solutions” drives a higher revenue value per subscription and a higher renewal rate, thus increasing its Lead Score. Advertisers should be capitalizing on this granularity by applying agile modifiers. In this example, we recommend applying a Bid Boost Modifier to increase the bid value by 10%.

The lead generation game is fluid. The campaign structure we take today may not be successful tomorrow. Thus we need to be agile and flexible with the ability to automate optimization modifiers on the fly.

Marin Software can layer bid modifiers across any data point or signals, including Lead Score.

Budget Allocation & Forecasting


As marketers, we may often be tasked with “driving more calls” or “generating more downloads for the whitepaper.” Our partners in Sales & Operations often don’t understand the intricacies of simply driving more of a certain touchpoint.

On top of optimization modifiers, we at Marin Software have developed Budget & Forecasting techniques to support you during these demands for shifts. They help you evaluate new optimization opportunities before testing them out in the real world, and help you invest more of your marketing spend into campaigns and channels with increased upside potential. No more over-allocating to the wrong channels or tactics that don't produce qualified results. This information is not only helpful to us as marketers, but can also support advertisers’ conversations with internal stakeholders.

Conclusion


Understanding how to improve lead quality for your PPC campaign isn’t always obvious. Yet, there are simple ways in which Marin Software can provide support:

  • Consulting on your internal Lead Scoring process and ingesting that into your Bid Calculations.
  • Evaluating your consumer journey and feeding any latency expectations into the algorithmic engine to ensure total efficiencies across channels.
  • Layering agile and bespoke modifiers across channels to optimize toward the areas of your campaigns that drive higher quality engagements.
  • Leveraging advanced forecasting and scenario-planning tools to help you respond quickly to changing market conditions.


Ready to take action on generating higher quality leads? Schedule a demo with one of our account representatives today!

In recent months, brands and retailers have had to adapt to a pandemic that no one saw coming, and one thing is for certain: engagement on sponsored content is increasing with more people at home and on social media. And while the pros of influencer marketing were prevalent to brands prior to COVID-19 (building trust and credibility, expanding your brand’s reach, etc), this new landscape requires both brands and influencers to adapt quickly to a market where priorities have shifted, consumers may be more sensitive, and actions may be more highly scrutinized.

Let’s take a look at how influencer marketing has evolved in recent years, what has changed during the COVID-19 crisis, and what brands can do now to stay impactful and relevant.

The Old and the New


In a 2019 benchmark report by Influencer Marketing Hub, 92% of consumers believed that influencer marketing was an effective form of marketing. Due in part to features like Checkout on Instagram, which allows consumers to select from various options such as size or color and proceed to payment without leaving Instagram, 83% of consumers surveyed claimed to purchase items that are advertised by influencers.

The influencer marketing platform market is also growing at incredible scale as brands and agencies look to foster deeper connections with consumers being “influenced.”. With over 300 new influencer marketing-focused platforms and agencies entering the market in 2019, brands can now easily discover potential influencers, develop relationships with influencers, and run campaigns.

And while Instagram continues to dominate influencer marketing, other digital platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn increasingly play a pivotal role in extending a brand’s reach to engaged audiences.

Upon the introduction of COVID-19, the average screen time has increased and consumer habits have shifted, meaning that brands need to be vigilant about hitting all digital platforms more than ever. During this unprecedented event, trusted social media influencers continue to be a reliable source of information and an effective, authentic way to communicate with target audiences.



Here are some best practices for influencer marketing in the wake of COVID-19.

Best Practices


  • Understanding Data Trends: How have social mentions of your brand or category (i.e. skincare, cereal, workout clothes) changed? Make sure to keep track of your website traffic, likes, and consumer engagement with videos, etc. across all social platforms. This information can help determine your content strategy, so you can continue building strong relationships with your followers.
  • Adjusting the Distribution of Content: In the past two months, brands have transitioned to more video and live stream campaigns than pictures. With everyone working from home, brands should take advantage of the time people spend on their computers, TV’s and smart phones during the day with these more dynamic forms of content.
  • Staying Adaptable and Sensitive: The term “home-influencer” is making its mark, as brands adapt their products and messaging to fit the needs of the “stay-at-home” consumer. Consider hosting virtual events with your influencer of choice, and co-host a cooking class, a make-up tutorial, or a live Q&A. Many brands are also showing their solidarity by including messaging pertaining to “stay-at-home” orders, highlighting their commitment to employees, shipping policies, and customer experience. At the end of the day, you always want to ask yourself, “How can I continue helping our employees and customers?” and make sure that notion is conveyed in the co-marketing efforts with influencers.


A good example of a brand effectively using influencer marketing is Alo Yoga. With spin classes, weight rooms and other fitness venues closed temporarily, health & wellness brands are creating unique ways for people to continue their daily workout routines during COVID-19 to stay active at home. The team at Alo Yoga entered into a partnership with influencer Callie Gullickson, who helped promote a workout series called Sweat & Tone (hosted on Instagram Live). Not only did Callie help increase awareness of the brand with her extensive following, but Alo Yoga also increased customer engagement with highly intensive workouts, which resulted in more traffic to its website, and better brand recognition and loyalty in a highly competitive space.


What to Expect in 2020 and Beyond


With demands shifting, and as both brands and influencers need to output the right kind of content in order to strive in a post-COVID climate, we can expect a lot more storytelling, with influencers showing their followers how they adapt to life at home and how different brands play into their new routines. Live content will also continue to become more popular, as professionals from all industries look for safe ways to stay connected, from athletic trainers to business consultants to live performers. Not to mention the element of authenticity and humanity Instagram Live brings to users.

The most human brands will continue to come out on top, especially the ones that invest in building long-lasting connections with their customers and partake in cultural conversations that are considered important to their target demographic. And, as the near-term effects of the coronavirus outbreak continue to be felt across the global economy, businesses and creators in the influencer marketing industry will continue to adapt to the new “consumer state of mind” by developing strategies with active listening of their consumers’ needs and determining how their brand fits into people’s new routines under #socialdistancing.

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