Protecting yourself and your company in a world of remote work
This is a story about people doing bad things on the internet. It’s not the first and certainly won’t be the last. We decided to tell our story to help prevent others from becoming victims. Of course we don’t want people misusing our brand, but the people who have spent their precious time and lost money in this are the real victims and are the ones we are looking to protect.
It started with a DM
We started getting strange messages to our social media accounts and various company email addresses asking “is this project real?” The project: Translation work from somebody who is using a name very similar to ours and our company logo.
This has nothing to do with our company (if you look closely, you can see the misspelled name). We responded to these inquiries letting the email senders know the project was not real and that they should not communicate with these Scammers (I’d really prefer to use a stronger term here, but my editor would not allow it). We also let the platforms where these conversations originated know what was happening.
As we received more messages, some of them became more urgent. Some of these new Victims were panicked because they had done the work and then sent money to the Scammers. One of them had sent $1,500.
How does this work?
We believe that these scams start with a job posting on sites like Freelancer.com and Upwork. The Scammer then asks the Victim to move their communications off the original platform and to communicate directly through Telegram or another messaging platform, including email.
The Victim is given work that seems legitimate, and completes the task. When the Victim seeks payment, the Scammer then requires the Victim to establish an account for payment, which requires the Victim to send an “account registration fee” to the Scammer. This advance-fee scam is not new. Similar scams have been around in various forms for decades or longer, including the Spanish Prisoner and Nigerian Prince scams.
The Scammer promises that the account registration fee will be refunded upon the Scammer’s payment for the Victim’s work. At this point, many of the Victims realize that they have fallen for a scam. But some Victims, having already done some work and not wanting to walk away from a potential payment, go ahead and pay the account registration fee. A behavioral psychologist might refer to this as an escalation of commitment or sunk-cost fallacy.
In a few cases, the Scammer further escalates the commitment by asking the Victim to make an additional payment to link their account.
How can freelancers protect themselves?
According to HR statistics, freelance work in the US has been on the rise, with 53 million registered freelancers in 2014 versus 59 million in 2020. So how can these freelancers protect themselves? The first thing that people can do when working on freelance projects is to always work through the platforms. They have established policies in place to ensure that payment happens once the job is completed and that payment should happen directly through the platform. Being asked to move communication to email or another platform should be a red flag.
Secondly, there is absolutely no reason that we can think of where a legitimate company would ask you to provide payment in order to get paid. If it sounds like it doesn't make sense, it probably doesn't.
Third: watch out for projects that look too good to be true. The pay for the projects that we've seen were quite generous and this of course gets people more interested. If it seems like you are being overpaid for the amount of work involved, keep your guard up.
There are many articles and videos with additional advice on what to watch for.
What are you doing to stop this? What can other companies do?
We aim to work with the freelance platforms and relevant law enforcement to try to prevent these types of scams from happening. Below are some contacts and links that we used so you can use them if needed. If you become aware of a scam online posting, please report the posting and/or the user to the relevant platform.
Also, provide a way for people to contact you. People who have lost money are very resourceful about getting in touch with someone who can help. We have seen direct messages on social networks, emails to every alias listed on our website, and well as personal telephone outreach to team members and their families. By posting a link on our Contact Us page, we have made it easier for people to connect with our legal team and get additional information.
Open request to freelancing platforms
As we discussed how to handle this internally, one of the things that we think could provide a significant Improvement in the freelance ecosystem would be to allow companies to become certified. This would be similar to the blue check on Twitter. This way, a freelancer would know that the job is legitimate and coming from the official company account. It seems like a step in the right direction. It appears there is something similar for individuals, but we couldn’t find anything for companies.
We are not experts in this area, so there may be other things in place or better ways to solve this problem. We'd love to start a discussion about how we can do that. For now, know that Marin's cyber security practices are strong. If we need any freelance assistance, we will not be contacting anyone through Telegram or Whatsapp.
As we live in a world with increasingly remote employees, we expect that we will all face more of these types of threats. We all should keep our guards up.
MarinOne’s powerful optimization tools deliver performance for LinkedIn advertisers
Looking for growth? Interested in a channel where you can generate leads, drive website traffic, and build brand awareness?
How about LinkedIn?
You can now manage LinkedIn Marketing Solutions campaigns from Marin Software’s flagship MarinOne platform. The MarinOne integration with LinkedIn’s Campaign Management and Reporting & ROI APIs gives advertisers better insights and improves the performance of their LinkedIn campaigns.
With nearly 800 million professionals and 4 out of 5 members driving business decisions based on information they find on the platform, LinkedIn is an important lead generation destination for B2B marketers and others with longer consideration cycles.
Our self-serve MarinOne platform unifies industry leading optimization tools with flexible reporting and bidding to help advertisers maximize the impact and reach of their LinkedIn marketing investment.
Blast Analytics, an innovative agency helping advertisers with LinkedIn ads has been using MarinOne to optimize their campaigns.
“Marin Software continues to innovate and improve its technology to drive better performance for our clients,” said Brian Lange, Senior Marketing Manager at Blast Analytics. “The MarinOne solution has saved us time reporting on our LinkedIn campaigns and also provided a significant performance uplift leveraging its bidding technology." (Click here for the full case study.)
MarinOne serves a hub that links marketing activity with true business impact from an advertiser’s CRM, allowing optimization to revenue, not just form fills.
“By connecting downstream customer data to our advanced automated bidding, MarinOne can significantly improve the performance of your campaigns,” said Chris Lien, Marin’s Chairman and CEO. “LinkedIn is an untapped opportunity for many advertisers and we are excited to help advertisers drive growth on this fast-growing channel.”
Advertisers can manage their LinkedIn campaigns alongside paid search, paid social and display campaigns to help generate additional demand. Marketers can align their efforts across channels to ensure they are working seamlessly across the customer journey.
Click here to learn more about support for the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions integration with MarinOne.
Ensure that the 2021 holiday season will be even more successful with these last minute tips!
Managing Bidding during a Sales Event
Before the sale:
- Find out Revenue-Per-Click or Conversion-Rate uplift from historic sales as a percentage.
On the day of the sale:
- Apply your historical percentage uplift calculated as a boost on day of sale.
- Remove all bid change limits. Preserving bid change limits only allows your bids to change up to the limited amount, possibly restricting a number of keywords.
- Ensure campaign budgets are set appropriately and will not be overly restrictive.
- Once the sale has begun, check hourly spend rates in the publisher accounts. Compare your spend trend in the current sale with previous sales to confirm bidding configuration is not over or under-spending.
- Assess the number of terms hitting bid caps
After the sale:
- Add previous and latest sales periods to Excluded Dates.
- Set bid change limits to pre-sale setting.
- Revert Boost to historic level.
Effective Tips and Tools
Flighting is a technique where you schedule your ads to run for a period of time (called a flight) followed by a period where you pause all ads for the advertised product or service. A smart way to leverage flighting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday is by offering progressive promotions. This means, you can start your campaign offering a promotion with low percentages off, and as the days/weeks go by, increase the percentage off.
To increase relevance, CTR and Conversion Rate, consider including in your ad creatives words such as: Discount, Deals, Promotions, Savings, Offers, Free, Black Friday, Cyber Monday.
Sitelinks / Promotion Extensions
Include these special sales and offers with your ads to make your promotion stand out so potential customers can spot great deals and generate new sales for your business.
Let potential customers know about sales or special events by adding a countdown timer to your ad text to create a sense of urgency.
Increase Budget Caps
To cover the increase in traffic, you must consider increasing the budget of your campaigns to capitalise on the increase of impressions and clicks.
Good luck! Marin Software has got you covered. We’ve put everything in place to provide above-and-beyond customer service, particularly during the critical Black Friday and Cyber Monday events, for our retail customers in the midst of their busiest time of the year. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your account manager or our sales team today.
The 2021 holiday rush is upon us and advertisers are feeling pressure from the perfect storm of uncertain expectations, impacts of reduced tracking capabilities, inventory challenges, and rising costs of advertising.
McKinsey’s 2021 Holiday Report reveals that Facebook (67%) and Instagram (52%) are among the top platforms influencing holiday decision making. A whopping 87% of Gen Z shoppers surveyed derive shopping inspiration from social media, with YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram holding the top spots for platform inspiration. Social marketers will need a strategy that capitalizes on this intent while making the most of holiday marketing dollars.
If you’re still looking for inspiration to create a winning holiday strategy, we’ve prepared a few ideas to get you started. You can integrate these into your strategy with or without Marin Social, but the smart, time-saving features are a holiday gift that keeps on giving!
Boost Engagement with your Organic Content (Marin Social’s Message Booster makes this easy!)
- Organic content is key in brand awareness, gaining new customers, and nurturing relationships with current customers. Promoting posts makes it more likely that they’ll reach your intended audiences, which is especially important for advertisers who want to spread the word about upcoming holiday promotions, new products, and new initiatives.
- Though post promotions may not directly attribute revenue, they can be used to segment your audience to then target with direct response ads. Also not to be ignored is the long term business impact of nurturing customer relationships!
- If you already have organic content, put it to work without lifting a finger using Message Booster for Facebook and Instagram in Marin Social. In Message Booster, you can create rules to automatically promote specific ads according to a variety of parameters.
Test Innovative Creative (Marin Social makes insights a breeze)
- If your customers are posting content, use it! Facebook recommends testing lo-fi, customer generated content this holiday season. This means less work for your creative team and forging stronger relationships with your customers. We call this a win-win.
- Marin Social allows you to easily spot creative winners in the “Charts” tool and create custom dimensions for creative analysis in MarinOne, giving you more time to put creative insights to work.
Dedicate Time to your Audience Strategy
- Customers are expected to be less brand loyal than ever this year per the McKinsey Report. 62% of customers surveyed over the past 3 months were unable to purchase the item they wanted due to availability. Of this number, 39% switched brands, 32% went to another retailer, and only 13% waited for the item to be back in stock. If you expect inventory impacts, it’s especially important to invest time in your audience strategy and customer loyalty programming to retain customers.
- Audience segmentation can help you better address your core customers and lower costs during the Black Friday - Cyber Monday time period. Marin Social’s Audience Manager provides a streamlined space to create and manage complex audience segments from multiple sources.
Ready to get started with Message Booster and MarinOne? Talk to your account manager or click here and we’ll be in touch soon.
In the few short years since it launched in 2017, CitrusAd has become the fastest growing ecommerce ad network in the US and established itself as a preferred retail media platform for both brands and retailers like Lowes, Shipt, and Petco.
In fact, CitrusAd was ranked in the highest category in Forrester’s recent report on Sell-Side Retail Media Solutions, receiving some of the highest scores possible. It’s easy to see why brands choose to spend their Retail Media dollars with CitrusAd and their network of retailers.
CitrusAd’s unique benefits
CitrusAd makes it easy for brands and retailers to work together to increase sales by launching targeted and cost-effective digital campaigns with access to sponsored products, display media, landing pages, and fixed tenancy for the best placement. Advertisers can streamline inventory across top retailers from all verticals and 25 different countries to deliver greater ROI on their Retail Media campaigns. CitrusAd provides brands with unique benefits including:
- access to high-intent audiences: consumers shopping on these sites are browsing for specific products and ready to purchase, so placement on is low-funnel and likely to convert to sales.
- personalization: Retailers know what their customers like to buy and by leveraging this first party data, brands can promote relevant products to the right audiences, right at the point of purchase.
- native advertising formats: sponsored ads feel natural and unobtrusive to shoppers, helping brands make smooth connections with audiences through in-feed advertisements that are more likely to drive engagement and conversions.
- closed-loop analytics: it’s easy to attribute ad engagement to sales with Retail Media, because Retailers are running the ad and selling the products and can make direct connections within their own platforms.
CitrusAd and MarinOne
CitrusAd’s full suite of products is now available in MarinOne. Marin has been helping advertisers advance their digital advertising campaigns for almost 15 years and has managed over $40 billion in advertising spend.
MarinOne unifies eCommerce advertising with paid search, display and social campaigns, while simplifying reporting and management of advertising campaigns across channels. Automated insights help advertisers identify opportunities to deliver growth and improve their return on the investment, and sophisticated bidding tools help advertisers plan, pace and optimize their campaigns to hit their targets.
With CitrusAd and MarinOne, advertisers always have accurate and transparent real-time campaign performance available at their fingertips and have the flexibility to make adjustments and improvements based on robust analytics. Click here for more on CitrusAd’s integration with MarinOne.
It is that time of the year again! For many people, November means shorter days, colder weather, and a countdown to the holidays - but for marketers and retailers, it's the busiest time of the year and there's a lot to do between now and the New Year. In this blog, we're looking back at last year's holiday shopping season and sharing our predictions for what's to come in the weeks ahead.
Looking back at 2020
Despite unprecedented challenges, consumers and retailers demonstrated incredible resilience throughout the 2020 holiday season. Faced with rising transmission of the virus, restrictions on retailers and heightened political and economic uncertainty, consumers chose to spend on gifts that lifted the spirits of their families and friends and provided a sense of normalcy.
Black Friday and Saturday 2020 saw tremendous growth in online activity. For the first time, the number of online Black Friday shoppers passed the 100 million mark, up 8 percent over last year. Overall, online-only shoppers increased by 44 percent for the entire weekend, spending a total of $95.7 million*.
Over 40 percent of holiday shoppers said they started earlier than they normally would in 2020, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
So what were people buying? Last holiday season saw year-over-year gains in six out of nine retail categories, led by double-digit increases for building materials, sporting goods stores and furniture. Let’s take a look at how 2021 may compare...
From rethinking the holiday shopping timeline to reimagining traditional sales events, retailers are actively planning ahead to ensure they are ready to meet consumers’ 2021 holiday shopping needs - despite the supply chain issues impacting the industry.
According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales for 2021 are expected to increase by 8.5-10.5% compared to 2020, generating between $843.4 billion and $859 billion.
Last year saw extraordinary growth in digital channels as consumers turned to online shopping to meet their holiday needs during the pandemic. While ecommerce will remain important, households are also expected to shift back to in-store shopping and a more traditional holiday shopping experience. Plans to shop online are down 3% from 2020, up 1% from 2019 (pre-pandemic) and it’s still the largest destination for consumers to make purchases this holiday season.
Over the last decade, consumers have been kicking off their holiday shopping early in order to spread out their budgets and avoid the stress of holiday shopping. This year, shoppers started earlier than ever, with half (49%) beginning to browse or buy before we even hit November. With the prospect of consumers seeking to shop early, inventories may be pulled down sooner and shortages may develop in the later weeks of the shopping season. However, if retailers can keep merchandise on the shelves until Christmas, this season could potentially shatter previous records.
To understand how MarinOne can help you scale your effort during key retail periods, reach out to your account manager or our sales team today.
*Source: National Retail Federation calculations based on U.S. Census Bureau data as of April 2021
NRF holiday spending is defined as the months of November and December.
Marin and Google Renew Revenue Share Agreement to Drive Innovation in Paid Search
This week, we disclosed that Google and Marin have entered into a new 3-year revenue share agreement. The agreement supports innovation and choice in paid search management and optimization. Google has agreed to make revenue payments to Marin based on the total paid search spend Marin’s customers are managing on our platform across Google and other search publishers.
Independent solution providers like Marin improve the ecosystem and help advertisers succeed. With the revenue share payments, Marin will further develop and enhance our MarinOne platform to serve the needs of the world’s leading search advertisers.
Our goal with MarinOne is to complement the tools built by the publishers, expanding advertising abilities to analyze, automate and optimize their digital marketing campaigns. As an independent third-party, we help advertisers leverage their data and make better budget allocation decisions and deliver better results across all publishers.
This agreement provides an additional source of revenue and will support Marin’s investments in innovation and delivering value to our customers.
Digital marketing is an ever changing industry and we are in a great position to help our customers deliver more growth and maximize the return on their digital marketing investments.
Amazon is, of course, the leading online sales marketplace, with more than half of all eCommerce sales completed on their site and app. It’s no surprise that many Amazon sellers take advantage of Amazon’s Sponsored Products, Brands and Display formats to lead customers shopping on Amazon to the buy box. But Amazon has a large offering of advertising opportunities on the open web as well.
What is Amazon DSP?
Amazon’s Demand Side Platform (Amazon DSP) is software that provides automated, centralized media buying from multiple sources including thousands of publisher partners and data exchanges in addition to Amazon’s own sites, apps, and devices.
Amazon leverages billions of first-party consumer insights to help advertisers reach consumers who are in-market for specific products. With this data, brands can deliver customers relevant ads in display, video and audio formats. And you don’t need to sell on Amazon to benefit from DSP ad placements. These ads can link to product detail pages on Amazon or on a brand’s own website.
Amazon DSP + MarinOne Reporting
With the addition of Amazon DSP, MarinOne customers now have a comprehensive suite of tools to activate and amplify their entire Amazon Advertising campaign portfolio. MarinOne’s advanced analytics tools provide advertisers with intelligent dashboards and customizable reports. Automated insights identify opportunities to improve performance, and alerts provide real-time updates on changes in activity.
MarinOne supports 140 DSP metrics including detailed page views and new to brand metrics. Advertisers can use marketplace signals to tie their DSP performance to reviews, ratings, inventory status, and price. And MarinOne never deletes data, allowing for simple year-over-year or quarter-over-quarter analysis.
Holistic View of Advertising Performance
In addition to viewing Amazon DSP results alongside Amazon Sponsored Products, Brands and Display Ads, MarinOne customers can also analyze paid search and social advertising as well as other marketplaces, retail media, and shopping campaigns, delivering a cross-publisher and cross-channel view of performance.
To start gaining the benefits of MarinOne reporting on your Amazon DSP account, reach out to your account manager or our sales team today.
Did you know that 2 out of 3 online product searches start on retailers’ sites? Are you reaching high-intent shoppers at the point of sale?
Brands now have the unique opportunity to promote their products directly on leading retailer websites and apps. Don’t miss our upcoming webinar on Thursday, September 23rd | 10am PT - 1pm ET for a chance to listen to a panel of industry experts shed light on how to expand your eCommerce advertising reach this holiday season.
We’ll be joined by three fantastic panelists:
- Morgan O’Hara, Director, Brand Partnerships at Instacart
- Michael Greene, VP, Growth Portfolio at Criteo
- Jeremy Brown, Customer Success Manager at Marin Software
In this panel, our three experts will discuss and debate:
- Tips for advertisers getting started with Retail Media
- What types of products is Retail Media most effective for
- How can Retail Media complement your cross-channel ad spend with search, social and other eCommerce
- Will consumer privacy concerns have a negative effect on retail media as well
- What are some things you can do to prepare for Retail Media campaigns for the upcoming holiday season
This webinar is a “must-attend” for every digital marketer interested in Retail Media, Sign-up now!
With the unprecedented growth of eCommerce in the last few years, it’s no surprise that advertisers are rapidly increasing their digital marketing allocations towards this channel. Some estimates predict global retail ecommerce sales will exceed $6 trillion in 2023, an 84% increase over just 4 years. It’s clear that you must be able to navigate eCommerce in order to stay competitive going forward.
Marin Software customers now have another tool to drive eCommerce performance with the recent integration of Criteo’s Commerce Media Platform. Criteo leverages commerce data and intelligence so advertisers can deliver relevant ads to the right audience at the right time. With a full product suite including Marketing Solutions and Retail Media, Criteo helps brands connect with customers at the top of the funnel and leverage signals of intent to stay with them through conversion.
Increase Conversions with Marketing Solutions
Criteo’s Marketing Solutions enable display ads across thousands of the best publishers on the open web. Using data insights, brands can leverage dynamic retargeting to engage shoppers across publishers, deliver tailored video and display ads, and bring shoppers back to your site to purchase. All this adds up to better performance and more sales and profitability.
Own the Digital Shelf with Retail Media
Criteo’s Retail Media solutions give brands the ability to execute retail advertising campaigns at scale, promoting your products on hundreds of the world’s leading retailer websites and connecting with customers at the digital point of sale. With first-party data behind your campaigns, you’ll be reaching high-intent shoppers with relevant ads to boost product sales.
MarinOne + Criteo
It can be tough managing your commerce media spend across multiple products and retailers. MarinOne makes it easy for digital advertisers to manage, measure and optimize eCommerce campaigns with a comprehensive view across publishers and simplified reporting to view overall performance. Automated Insights help identify opportunities to deliver growth and improve return on investment, and sophisticated bidding tools help plan, pace and optimize campaigns to hit targets.
With access to Criteo’s suite of Commerce Media products, MarinOne helps you run campaigns against the world’s latest set of commerce data. And the MarinOne platform unifies commerce advertising with paid search and paid social campaigns to measure holistic, cross-channel performance all in one place.
Ready to get started with MarinOne and Criteo? Talk to your account manager or reach out to our sales team today.
With increasing data privacy restrictions, it is becoming more difficult to reach your intended audience on Facebook. These updates have included the removal for Partner Categories, iOS14, and in 2023, the removal of cookies from Google Chrome. With each piece of the Facebook marketing funnel likely to see an increase in cost, finding a solution and ensuring the right eyes are seeing your ads has never been more important.
MarinOne Enhanced Social Audiences can help by increasing the size of your prospecting net and strengthening retargeting audiences during. Through a partnership with Experian, Marin Software can enable Partner Categories and pair it with our easy to use, large scale campaign management platform; allowing you to build campaigns rapidly and assure those most likely to convert are seeing your content.
How will this help me in navigating iOS14?
By asking users to opt in to data targeting from Facebook, this could drastically decrease audience sizes. Data file uploads (either customer lists or 3rd party options) are necessary to assure your entire Facebook marketing funnel is working as efficiently as possible. The MarinOne Enhanced Social Audiences available are a direct file upload to Facebook and will not be impacted by iOS14 and will provide another avenue to target customers.
How can this help in the cookieless world?
Similar to iOS14, this will disproportionately hurt Website Custom Audiences more than any other targeting method. Data file uploads are not reliant on cookies or pixels and can help combat audience degradation.
Will this save me time?
Yes, in a couple ways. First, by working with the Experian and Marin Social teams you will be able to combine efforts in determining the best audiences to target (or exclude) for campaigns and brainstorm the best mix for your needs. Secondly, there is no need for a separate contract with Experian. Audience costs will be included as a line item within your Marin Software bill, limiting the number of internal approvals necessary to begin running campaigns against these audiences.
How can I sign up?
If you are interested in learning more, click here to connect with a sales representative - Marin Software Social clients will have terms included within your current agreement. For existing Marin Social clients, reach out to your Account Representative to set up a call today!
Raise your hands if you shopped on Instacart in the last year? Keep your hands up if you advertised with Instacart last year? Well, if you’re a CPG brand I’m sure you’ve still got your hand up.
Instacart is the leading online grocery platform in North America. The company has partnered with more than 600 beloved national, regional and local retailers, including unique brand names, to deliver from nearly 55,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America. Instacart offers self-service and managed ad services for more than 2,500 CPG brands, including 100% of the Top 25 CPG companies.
Instacart launched self-service advertising in May 2020 allowing advertisers to promote products to appear at the top of their search results and throughout their buying journey. And now MarinOne is here to help.
Our self-serve MarinOne platform unifies lower-funnel Instacart advertising with paid search and paid social campaigns to help generate additional demand. Marketers can align their efforts across channels to ensure they are working seamlessly across the customer journey.
The flagship Instacart Ads offering, Sponsored Product, helps advertisers secure premium digital shelf space across several discovery surfaces throughout the online grocery shopping journey. Consumers discover sponsored items, much like they would in store by being on the right shelf, on an end cap or in the checkout lane.
Sponsored Product placements mirror these in store opportunities and more – whether consumers search, browse and discover, or buy again, Sponsored Products puts relevant products in their sightlines.
One notable difference with Instacart is the geographic considerations: your ads will only be shown to users if there are stores selling your product in that user’s area.
MarinOne is Here to Help
Starting a new ad platform is a big task and it takes a while for the tools to manage and optimize campaigns to mature, especially for larger advertisers with lots of products. That’s where MarinOne comes in.
With Instacart supported in MarinOne, advertisers have the advanced reporting, automation and optimization capabilities we have been refining over the last 15 years. Interactive analytics let you ask questions of your data, flexible charting helps you spot trends or change in your account.
MarinOne’s Insight module automatically identifies opportunities such as Product A/B Testing in your account with estimates of potential value and easy implementation.
The automation tools in Marin make it easy and efficient to manage Instacart Ads campaigns. The optimization tools help identify optimal levels of spend while MarinOne bidding delivers the best possible performance.
Talk to your account manager today to get your Instacart Ads account linked to MarinOne or reach out to our sales team with any further questions.
Welcome to part three of our Amazon Prime Day 2021 three-part series.
In part one, Are you ready for Prime Day 2021?, we took a look at last year's performance, noted key deadlines for retailers, and highlighted some top-level levers to get the most out of Prime Day, before, during and after the event.
In part two, Top tactics for a successful Prime Day 2021, we expanded upon the key levers and focused more on best practices and optimization techniques for promotional periods such as Prime Day
Prime Day starts today, so in part three we’ll talk through some of the strategies to keep the momentum going during the period after Prime Day (2+ weeks):
For at least 2 weeks after the 2 day Prime event, you should focus on reengaging with your Prime Day audiences that continue to visit Amazon to browse and shop products. During this time, consider promoting complementary products to your existing audiences and even reach new audiences who viewed your products but didn’t purchase them during Prime Day.
A lot of Brands decide to cut their spend significantly right after Prime Day has ended or even pause campaigns entirely, which is an oversight. Continuing to invest in a strategic approach is crucial. According to Amazon, it takes on average between 6 and 7 days before a shoppers initial browse on Amazon and making a purchase. In addition, a shopper makes 14 average detail page views before making a purchase. Because of this it's very likely that a shopper is still considering your brand/products, even after Prime Day, but has yet to convert - making the period after Prime Day the perfect time to re-engage with those audiences. Brands that continue to advertise after prime Day will remain at the forefront of shoppers’ minds, while those that don’t could lose the brand awareness that has been built during the lead up to Prime Day and the event itself.
Below we’ve put together some strategic opportunities to help Brand reap the rewards during the period after Prime Day;
Review Prime Day sales performance
- Some of your products may have sold better than others during Prime Day. The differences between them may be as transparent as budget issues but it could also be as small as targeting the wrong keyword. Use this data to refine your ASINs and hopefully improve impressions and conversion rate during the period after Prime Day.
- It is highly likely that shoppers saw your brand during Prime day via your Sponsored Ads campaigns and may be considering your products but have yet to convert. They need to be reengaged.
Focus on top selling products
- Focus on increasing visibility in all stages of the funnel, especially on branded terms to help upsell your products
- Increase budgets for your top-selling products to maintain higher spend levels and engage with shoppers looking for deals
- Keep increased top of page bids for ASINs that helped to drive Prime Day sales
Re engage with new-to-brand shoppers
- Review your new-to-brand performance. You might discover that a high number of new-to-brand shoppers ended up purchasing a particular product
- Boost bids on Sponsored Brands ASINs that have the highest new-to-brand sales to drive loyalty
- Create custom-built remarketing audiences in Sponsored Display based on new-to-brand engagement.
- Create new Amazon audience campaign with top selling new-to-brand products and assign higher bids to help increase scale
- Consider adding views remarketing segments to your ad groups in your new campaign(s) to manage efficiency in your NTB efforts. For example, you could create a custom-built category audience to remarket a top selling product to audiences who have previously viewed related detail pages of highly rated or Prime-eligible detail pages
Continue to offer deals
- Following Prime Day, shoppers are still budget-conscious and want to find the best deals. Because of this, consider continuing to run deals, coupons, and promotions during the Prime Day lead out.
- Products don’t have to be discounted as steeply as they were during Prime Day. But even smaller discounts could make a product more tempting to a shopper and will help to combat the slower nature of the first few weeks after Prime Day has ended.
- Coupons are a great way to entice a shopper to purchase, as the coupons badge will appear on the ad in search results and product pages. These badges signal a good deal to shoppers and will help to improve your click-through-rate (CTR) and conversion rates.
- If using coupons you have the choice of selecting a percent or monetary value coupon. Our recommendation is to use a monetary value. There’s nothing wrong with percent coupons, but how much is the actual discount? People don’t want to do this kind of math when they’re trying to decide if they even like the product or not.
Remarket to existing audiences
- Re-engage customers who viewed your products but didn’t purchase your products during Prime Day
- By adding audiences to your Sponsored Display ads, you can prioritise customers more likely to add your product to their cart
- Use audience controls to customise campaigns based on key detail page attributes, such as product category and price range.
Co-sell and upsell with product targeting
- Use Sponsored Display Product targeting to reach new or existing customers on any product detail page or category on Amazon – even outside of your own category. Reaching new customers outside of your category allows you to help inspire shoppers to consider products that might be relevant to them
- Review Amazon’s Market Basket report, which shows the top 3 products most frequently purchased at the same time as the Brand Owner’s products - Use this data to create ads that show up in the “Sponsored Products Related to this Item” carousel on Amazon
- Target detail pages for top selling competitor products that relate to your products. Review the Item Comparison Report which shows all the different ASINs that were viewed and compared against your ASIN. These are your competitors and provides you with an indication of which products you should target.
- Play defensive and target closely related / complementary products in your own catalog to make sure shoppers who land on your product detail pages do not see competitor products
If you are interested in learning more, click here to connect with a sales representative or, if you’re an existing Marin customer, reach out to your Marin Customer Success Manager for more information.
Welcome to part two of our Amazon Prime Day 2021 three-part series. In part one, Are you ready for Prime Day 2021?, we took a look at last year's performance, noted key deadlines for retailers, and highlighted some top-level levers to get the most out of Prime Day, before, during and after the event.
Since our last blog, Amazon announced that Prime Day 2021 will kick off at midnight PDT (3 AM EDT) on June 21 and run through to the end of June 22.
There’s still some lead up time to the event, so in this blog we’ll expand upon the key levers and focus more on best practices and optimization techniques for promotional periods such as Prime Day:
Experiment with Sponsored Brands creatives
- Create ads that showcase your top products and also products featuring deals.
- Forgo generic ad copy and use custom headlines that relate to the products you are featuring and your audience strategy.
- Try out new headlines and different collections of products to see which outperform the others.
- Review new-to-brand metrics, which can help you to measure the number of first-time customers or total first-time sales your brand acquired.
Use Sponsored Display for the the lead up to Prime Day
- Product targeting and audiences for Sponsored Display can help you to reach more audiences before the Prime Day event, and it will also help with brand awareness during the lead-up too.
- Review new-to-brand metrics to help determine whether an ad-attributed purchase was made from an existing customer or one buying your brand’s product on Amazon for the first time.
- Adjust budgets, add more ASINs, and broaden your reach prior to the Prime Day week. These three steps, according to Amazon, drove an average 3x sales lift and +45% better ROAS during Prime Day 2020.
- Sponsored Display is a great way to reach shoppers at every stage of the shopping journey:
- Awareness - Utilize category targeting, Amazon Audiences, and Views remarketing to grow the total audience of Amazon shoppers who are aware of your products.
- Consideration - Utilize Views remarketing, Amazon Audiences, and product and category targeting to help maximize purchase intent by telling your brand's story.
- Purchase - Utilize Views remarketing and Product targeting to help stay visible when shoppers are ready to buy.
- Loyalty - Utilize Views remarketing and product targeting to drive repeat orders and engagement with your Amazon Stores.
Drive shoppers to your Amazon Store
- Engage shoppers with curated pages that showcase your deals and top products
- Use product detail page placements to showcase your brand to shoppers viewing related categories, and direct them to your store.
- Sponsored Brands Store Spotlights let you feature Store pages in your creative, along with a customizable headline, sub-page image, and label (US Only).
- If your SB campaign is targeting product keywords around products that are found in a specific page in your store, you should link directly to that specific page.
- Creating separate campaigns for each keyword strategy will give you visibility into how each strategy performs. For example, if you’re targeting keywords that contain a competitor’s brand name, separate them into their own campaign to see how well you’re able to drive a competitor-related search to your Store.
- According to Amazon, linking Sponsored Brand campaigns to a Store delivers +29% better return on ad spend when compared to linking to a product list page.
Schedule your Store updates
- Scheduling enables you to build out Prime Day updates for your Store to showcase your promotions and offers ahead of the Prime Day event. Aim to have a Prime Day version of your store created by June 14.
- Showcase deal ASINs in your Store, including on special deal pages. Leverage the Featured Deals Widget within Stores to showcase Prime Day-specific deals and discounted items or promotions - and choose between Lightning Deals (when available) and Deals by Category.
Drive discovery and engagement with Sponsored Brands video
- Use Sponsored Brands video to stand out in desktop and mobile shopping results and help shoppers discover your brand and products as they shop on Amazon during the leadup to Prime Day.
- Review our earlier blog post, Video Ads on Amazon, Do I Need to Get Involved?, for Marin’s top tips and insights on running Sponsored Brands Video ads.
- According to Amazon, Sponsored Brands video campaigns have, on average, shown 127-267% higher CTR compared to product collection campaigns.
Keep your ads discoverable to shoppers
- Boost your daily budget to help ensure that your ads serve throughout the Prime Day event. Amazon recommends a 200% increase on your average daily spend.
- For the budget-conscious retailers, consider using Marin’s Amazon dayparting / ad scheduling solution where you'll be able to increase or decrease your keyword bids not just on a certain day, but also by a specific hour – as precisely as 15-minute increments. For example, if you know historically you saw a 20% increase in revenue/clicks between 1PM and 3PM, you can set a 20% boost to increase your bids during those specific hours.
Improve campaign performance
- Pause low-performing campaigns, and consider moving the budget to high-performing campaigns
- Use negative targeting to restrict how your ads appear, which is especially important for broad match keywords.
- Consider using Marin’s machine learning bidding algorithm to help raise ACOS and improve ROAS Marin was able to increase exposure by 79% for Buyagift (a leading provider of gift experiences in the UK) by optimizing bids with our leading ad management platform. We were also able to increase click volume by 36%, with a 7.4% lower cost-per-click than before. The campaign grew awareness and engagement, and ultimately helped Buyagift boost revenue on Amazon by 17%. See the Amazon case study for more information.
- Use Amazon Budget rules to automatically adjust budgets based upon performance or seasonality.
Use Product Targeting to increase your market share, defend your brand and drive more sales
- Hijack the detail pages of competing high-performing products to increase your impression volume if you are trying to launch a product in a competitive space.
- When targeting competitor products, make sure the product is a similar product to the one you are selling to make sure you have the best chance of a conversion to take place.
- Consider targeting complementary products that go well with yours. For example, if you are selling a foundation makeup brush, place your product on the detail page of a liquid foundation for the face.
- Defend your branded space by targeting your own products to combat the risk of a consumer navigating to your detail page and then clicking on a competitor’s ad.
Get on board with Amazon Attribution
Amazon Attribution provides visibility and insights into how non-Amazon digital marketing (search, social, display, video and email) impact shopping activity and sales on Amazon. Without the Marin + Amazon Attribution integration, you will not be able to connect the cost from a paid search or paid social click to a resulting Amazon conversion metric (such as page views, add to carts, and purchases).
- Gain an accurate measure of your ROI by seeing cost and revenue data together.
- Utilize Marin’s automated bidding against total revenue, including Amazon Attribution revenue data and event metrics.
- According to a survey, 52% of shoppers are more likely to buy an unfamiliar brand on Amazon vs any other store.
- Create Google Sitelinks with the messaging “Buy Now on Amazon” that take visitors directly to your Amazon Store, or an Instagram ad that takes visitors directly to the Amazon product detail page with an “Add to Cart” button.
- AccuQuilt was able to increase revenue +213% while improving ad clicks by 154% and average order value by 17% using the Marin + Amazon Attribution Integration. See the case study for more information.
Bidding for success
Make sure that your bids are competitive, even after Prime Day has ended. Amazon’s research shows that it’s between 6 and 7 days from when a shopper browses to when they actually make a purchase, and an average shopper makes 14 detailed page views before making a purchase. With that in mind, there's ample opportunity to improve performance for the period after Prime Day has ended.
- Take the strain out of manual bidding by using Marin’s machine learning bidding algorithm to automatically calculate bids based upon your targets and goals.
- Use Marin’s automated bidding in conjunction with our Promotional Bid Modifier optimization. This automatically draws on your historic Prime Day performance data to optimize bids based on your promotional calendar. The algorithm uses your historic data to generate keyword-level boosts based on each keyword's performance during previous Prime Day promotions.
- Use Amazon Dynamic Bids “up and down” - If a click is likely to convert, Amazon will raise your bid up to 100% for placements at the top of the first page of search results and up to 50% for all other placements. This is fully compatible and works in conjunction with Marin’s bidding algorithms.
It may seem like that’s a lot to take in, but as with any digital marketing activity there are numerous optimization strategies to help improve performance. The ones mentioned above are some of the key levers available to get you the best out of Prime Day 2021.
Look out for part three in our series, which highlights some of the strategies to keep the momentum going during the period after Prime Day. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more, click here to connect with a sales representative or, if you’re an existing Marin customer, reach out to your Marin Customer Success Manager for more information.
Marin Software has been recognized as an Apple Search Ads Partner specializing in campaign management. Apple Search Ads Partners are leading companies skilled in helping Apple Search Ads Advanced customers manage, measure and optimize their campaigns. Marin has been helping digital advertisers get the best performance from their advertising campaigns for almost 15 years and has helped manage and optimize over $40 billion in advertising spend.
Our self-serve MarinOne platform has been helping advertisers manage and optimize their Apple Search Ads campaigns since 2019. In the first quarter of 2020, our client’s Apple Search Ads spend grew by 200% year-over-year, a sign of their success with this advertising channel.
As an Apple Search Ads Partner, Marin will work closely with Apple Search Ads to provide our joint customers with the highest level of support and expertise, including sharing best practices and implementing the latest Apple Search Ads features.
“Apps represent an increasingly important part of the marketing mix for many advertisers, not just for app and game developers,” said Chris Lien, Marin’s Chairman and CEO. “Our customers have seen fantastic results using MarinOne to optimize their Apple Search Ads while coordinating with their other search, social and eCommerce campaigns.”
Paddy Power, one of the most popular betting brands in the UK and Ireland, tested Marin Bidding on their Apple Search Ads campaigns to see if they could improve efficiency and lower CPCs and CPAs while maintaining steady app installs and revenue.
“We tested Marin Bidding on Apple Search Ads and our CPAs came down by 30%. Our CPCs became more manageable and we were able to free up budget to re-invest in additional growth opportunities. We’re thrilled with the results, and we plan to keep using MarinOne Bidding for Apple Search Ads on other lines of business in the future,” noted Anthony Elders, Head of Search, Paddy Power Betfair.
The powerful MarinOne platform integrates with leading mobile measurement solutions including Kochava, Appsflyer, Branch and Singular, as well as traditional measurement solutions like Google Analytics to give advertisers a complete view of their return on investment.
Our optimization tools help identify optimal levels of spend while MarinOne bidding delivers the best possible performance. MarinOne’s Insight module automatically identifies opportunities in your account with estimates of potential value and easy implementation.
Automation tools make it easier and more efficient to manage Apple Search Ads campaigns. Advertisers can manage their Apple Search Ads alongside their Google Universal App Campaigns, making it easy to share insights across publishers.
Click here to get started with Apple Search Ads today.
It’s that time again. Over the past few years - typically around mid-July - Amazon has launched Prime Day for its Prime members to shop new deals and discounts. Although last year’s shopping event was delayed to October due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Amazon’s first quarter results call, the company announced that Prime Day will “take place later in the second quarter” of 2021, which means we’re likely to see Prime Day hit sometime in June.
The Prime Day page is up and reads “Prime Day is coming,” although as of this publication no “official” announcement has been made to confirm when Prime Day will actually take place in Q2. However, as the last shipping cut-off date and FBA inventory cut-off date is June 13th (shown below), we’re betting that Prime Day will take place sometime between June 14th and 27th.
Looking Back: Prime Day 2020
According to Amazon’s press release, and SimilarWeb’s research, Prime Day 2020 was a record-breaking event worldwide with an increase in sales of nearly 60% from the prior year and amazing deals across a variety of categories from small businesses to top brands. Some of the key takeaways from 2020 Prime Day are shown below:
These results represent a staggering growth opportunity for any retail company. So if the numbers above aren’t enough to persuade you to take part in Prime Day 2021, bringing with it the potential to reach a colossal number of shoppers, then what will?
Getting the most out of Prime Day
Although Prime Day is officially a one- to two-day event, retailers should consider the lead up to the event and also the period after to be just as important. You should consider separating your activity into three phases: before, during and after.
Prep for Prime Day - Key dates for retailers
MAY 20 - JUNE 13: Inbound shipping cutoff for vendors. Deal inventory must be in transit:
- May 20: the United States and Canada
- May 30: India
- June 1: Australia and Mexico
- June 6: the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- June 13: Japan
MAY 28 - Deadline to submit coupons in the United States, Canada, Mexico, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Australia.
MAY 30 - JUNE 13: FBA inventory cut-off date for sellers. Make sure your shipments arrive at Amazon well in advance of key shopping dates. Inventory should arrive at Amazon’s fulfillment centers by this date to ensure your products are available for customers during Prime Day:
- May 30: India
- May 31: the United States and Canada
- June 1: Australia and Mexico
- June 6: the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Turkey
- June 7: the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- June 13: Japan
In part two of our Amazon Prime Day 2021 blog series, we’ll go into greater detail about our recommendations and techniques to boost your Prime Day performance with key strategies to maximize returns.
In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more, click here to connect with a sales representative or, if you’re an existing Marin Software customer, reach out to your Marin Customer Success Manager for additional information.
Marketers know the importance of an optimized conversion funnel and its impact on a business's profit. However, complex conversion funnels with long sales cycles are typical in many industries.
Buying a car, finding the right university or procuring a new piece of software can often take months (and sometimes years) from initial research to completion.
When it comes to paid media optimization for a business with these complex and often lengthy conversion funnels, marketers often face a crucial question: Which stage of the funnel should I use for my bid optimization?
Well, what if you didn't have to pick and you could factor in multiple stages of a conversion funnel into one bid calculation? This concept is known as full funnel bidding.
This blog will explore full funnel bidding and why it is so important.
Let's start with the basics: good bid optimization requires useful data, so tracking each stage of the conversion fully is key for funnel optimization.
Sometimes an ad doesn't lead directly to a sale but instead starts a customer down a path that leads to purchase later on. The aim here is to measure each action (stage of the funnel) a user took in both an online and offline world and then tie it back to advertising spend. Although it can be a challenge, fortunately, there are numerous methods of connecting data from the offline world back to online activity. Connecting CRM actions through a unique identifier, matching order ID data or leveraging dynamic phone numbers are a few methods for measuring offline conversions and/or lifetime value.
This data will help advertisers better understand their conversion funnel to target and optimize their marketing campaigns for increased profit.
Why Not Just Optimize to the Final Sale?
So once tracking is in place for each stage of our conversion funnel, shouldn’t we optimize our marketing campaigns to our final sale or LTV?
Well, there are several reasons why this might not be the best solution:
Data sparsity – Due to the nature of conversion funnels, downstream conversion events will have fewer data points than upper funnel conversion events. Data sparsity can make it more challenging to optimize your bids.
Data accuracy - For many sales cycles, there are weeks, months or even years between a click on an ad and the final conversion. Latency can lead to situations where you have advertising cost, but you won't know if it will lead to a conversion.
Reactivity – Advertisers want their bids to stay reactive to market changes. Due to latency, this is not always possible if you are optimizing for your final sale.
So how do we solve these issues? That’s where full funnel bidding comes in.
Full Funnel Optimization – Getting the Best of Both Worlds
Full funnel bidding allows advertisers to use a top-of-the-funnel conversion type for bidding while also factoring in final sales values as a second bid factor. This approach enables advertisers to grow efficiency and revenue from the sales funnel's final stage while maintaining reactivity to the recent market changes in upper funnel conversion points. Bids stay reactive to market changes, while efficiency targets are based on latent conversion metrics, giving the ability to optimize simultaneously to upper funnel leads and to lower funnel value defined as revenue or customer lifetime value.
Take the below example:
We're looking at two high-volume keywords with the same number of clicks.
You can see that keyword one drives a lot more leads than keyword two. Given it has a higher conversion rate, it makes sense to reward the first keyword with a higher bid.
However, as we moved down the conversion funnel, keyword two, with fewer leads, drove significantly more revenue than keyword one. Keyword two, with better lead quality than keyword one, is boosted with a 2x bid adjustment, while keyword one, the driver of a large number of leads but with low quality, is adjusted downward. This adjustment results in very different bids than were previously calculated, focusing strictly on leads.
Marin Software provides an automated full funnel bidding solution - called Marin Full-Funnel Bidding - as part of our new industry-leading bidding algorithm, and which also works with the publishers’ own bidding solutions. If you would like to find out how this could work for your business, get in contact and one of our account team members will be in touch shortly.
Apple’s latest iOS update has now launched and users are now updating their software to version 14.5.
Apple has also announced dates for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which should include announcements for iOS 15, and will take place from June 7th through 11th.
How will this affect me?
Starting with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, you’ll be required to ask users for their permission to track them across apps and websites owned by other companies. Unless you receive permission from the user to enable tracking, the device’s advertising identifier value will be all zeros and you will not be able to track them.
When a user opens an app, such as Facebook, they will be asked whether they consent to having their activity tracked across apps and websites they use, which if they decline will have an impact on businesses being able to monetize through ads. Given Facebook’s heavy dependence on app advertising, this will negatively impact their Audience Network, resulting in the loss of accurately targeting and measuring campaigns and making it much harder for small businesses to reach their target audiences. According to Facebook, when testing using constrained delivery, more than a 50% drop in revenue occurred when personalization was removed from mobile app ad install campaigns.
Ultimately, despite their best efforts, Facebook and other apps have no choice in the matter but to comply with Apple’s new rules and regulations or otherwise have their apps blocked on the Apple App Store.
What’s next on Apple’s agenda?
Apple announced back in February that in early spring 2021, they would add support for Private Click Measurement (PCM) for iOS and iPadOS apps, in addition to websites. Developed by Apple’s browser engine WebKit to support measurement of online advertising, PCM will allow you to measure the effectiveness of advertisement clicks within iOS or iPadOS apps that navigate to a website. According to Apple, “This information can be used to understand which advertisements drive conversions (such as purchases or signups) — while maintaining user privacy”.
While this is a step in the right direction toward heightened privacy, we’re yet to see how this will impact customers and whether PCM is viable in the long run. PCM attribution reports will contain limited data in addition to being delayed randomly between 24- and 48-hours to disassociate events in time. This change is very interesting for Safari users, but other browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Edge would need to implement PCM for it to become a web standard. What is promising, however, is that WebKit states “We are working with them to get there” so who knows, maybe sometime in the future PCM will become “the norm” to measure advertising.
Is there a silver lining?
Make sure that your measurement system is using a first-party approach and, if possible, combat conversion attribution restrictions further using a server-to-server approach.
As mentioned in our earlier blog post about browser cookies, for advertisers relying on third party cookies for ad targeting, you should look to diversify your ad buys to account for potential lost opportunities as these options go away.
For Marin customers, you can leverage our cross-channel conversion tracking pixel – Marin Tracker – which complies with GDPR and CCPA regulations and meets Apple iOS requirements. Our proprietary Marin Tracker dashboards include de-duplicated, click-based conversions with transaction IDs for an unlimited amount of conversion events. As advertisers prepare to sunset ad tracking via cookies, Marin is doubling down on our privacy-first ad tracking and measurement solutions.
Feel free to download our latest Marin Tracker overview, which showcases our solution to privacy-safe measurement for a post-cookie world, the challenges that marketers face, and how using Marin Tracker can combat these obstacles.
If you are a Marin Social customer and have questions about the impact of the iOS 14 updates, read our blog post on the Five Fundamental Changes After the Apple’s iOS 14 Release or, alternatively, reach out to your Marin Customer Success Manager for more information.
4 New Insights Available: Bid Strategies, Landing Page Errors, and More
MarinOne Insights generates over 5,000 recommendations for our customers daly, identifying millions of dollars in potential performance improvements from their digital marketing programs.
Insights are automatic, tailored recommendations that help advertisers get more out of digital marketing campaigns and provide them with the tools needed to quickly implement those recommendations.
This week, we have added these four new Insights to MarinOne:
Landing Page Errors
Sending traffic to a broken web page is a waste of spend and a terrible experience for your customers. MarinOne automatically crawls your top landing pages by spend, and surfaces issues such as a 404 error codes.
Marketers should either fix the landing page or pause the keyword until the landing page issue is resolved.
Bid Strategy Performance
The bidding tools in MarinOne help you get the best performance for a given target (e.g. ROAS or CPA) but did you know they can also help you understand what your performance would look like at a different target.
This Insight identifies MarinOne Bid Strategies where adjusting your target would yield improved performance. In other words, we look for situations where a different target would increase the overall profitability of your campaigns. Marketers can then adjust the Bid Strategy targets if the forecasted outcome aligns with their campaign goals.
With the publisher’s rules for what is permitted in ad constantly evolving, it’s easy to lose track of policy violations that can result in ad groups not serving. This Insight identifies ads that have been disapproved within the last 2 weeks.
Marketers should then either submit a policy exemption request to the publisher or add a new creative to the group that is within policy.
On a large account, it’s inevitable that you will have duplicate keywords creating clutter and complexity in your accounts that should be avoided. This Insight identifies duplicate active keywords.
The marketer can easily pause the keyword with a lower quality score. If the Quality Score is the same, pause the keyword with less spend in order to preserve the keyword with more historical data that can be leveraged by an automated bidding solution.
Marin customers can check out their Insights today, or if you are interested in learning more, click here to connect with a sales representative.
Sponsored Brands video is a relatively new ad format from Amazon that can display an eye-catching video alongside the ad on the Home Page, Detail Page and Search Results Page on Amazon, across desktop, mobile and tablet devices. What’s great is that these ads will automatically play when the video is at least 50% visible on screen then pause if the video is scrolled out of view.
How difficult are they to set up?
Sponsored Brands video ads include the advertiser’s brand logo, a text headline, and a call-to-action link alongside the video player as default and do not require creative design support from Amazon Advertising. Plus, thanks to the standardized mute function, the annoyance level of Sponsored Brands video ads is very low.
The product image and associated information (title, price, review count, star rating and Prime eligibility) are automatically displayed, so the only step to be taken is having the video content created for the brand or product in question. However, once the video is available, the process is simple and the ad can be created in a matter of minutes. As with any video ad, certain guidelines must be met, which can be found on Amazon’s website here.
Why should I put in the effort?
Ask yourself the following questions;
- Do I want to reach incremental shoppers and boost sales?
- Would I be more likely to stop and take notice of a moving image rather than a static one?
- Do I want to increase my brand’s exposure on the world’s #1 most visited internet marketplace?
- Do I want to show off a new product or strengthen a top seller with impactful visuals that tell a story?
If you answered yes to any or all of the above then it's a no-brainer--you should unquestionably take advantage of this valuable opportunity to increase your exposure on Amazon.
Top tips for your Sponsored Brands video ads
- Don’t start the video with an empty frame, feature the product prominently within the first second
- Keep it brief - Aim to have a video length of 15-30 seconds to relay your message
- Videos should work without sound - Remember, the majority of viewers won’t have their sound turned on, so make use of subtitles
- If appropriate, ensure that on-screen text / subtitles / captions can easily be seen and read across all devices. Amazon recommends “using Helvetica or a similar san-serif font at a minimum size of 80 px”
- Add a logo at the beginning and end of your video to remind the viewer who you are
- Consider using a custom background image behind the video player to stand out even more
- Include a call to action (CTA) within your video that’s punchy and precise, i.e. ‘Learn More’ or ‘See Details’
- A/B test your landing pages to understand your best performers. Customers can be sent to an Amazon Store Page, Product Listing Page or Category Page
- Time is of the essence, so forgo the whimsy fade-ins and lengthy introductions, and keep the video brief and straight to the point. Customers need to know what you’re selling straight off the bat
- If using music in your video, keep in mind your audience and don’t use a soundtrack that's annoying or loud
- If your goal is consideration or purchase, focus on what makes your product unique and why customers should buy it over your competitors
- If your goal is brand awareness, focus on building a connection between your potential customer and the product you’re trying to sell
How can Marin help?
Marin is here to support our eCommerce customers in any way possible. Amazon Sponsored Brands video is just one of the many ad types supported in MarinOne, giving our customers the opportunity to use our award winning, robust AI-powered bidding solution for Amazon video ads. Below are some additional advantages of using Marin to manage your Amazon sponsored ads:
- Complete visibility of all settings and performance metrics across all levels: Campaign, Group, Keyword and Ad
- Marin keeps all historical performance data whereas the Amazon console makes only the most recent 90 days available
- Use Marin’s Bidding for enhanced long-tail keyword targeting results with progressive lookback modeling
- Combine AI with inventory signals and contextual modifiers
- Have visibility into attributes, including Image, Price, Rating, Reviews and Availability
- Marin’s Keyword Expansion tool allows you to quickly and easily add search terms as new keywords or negative keywords for your Amazon activity, as well as the ability to see conversion and revenue data for each search rerm
- Link conversions and revenue driven on Amazon with your Google, Bing, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Verizon Media and Facebook spend using Marin’s Amazon Attribution solution
- Improve performance and combat wasted spend by adjusting bids by day-of-week and hour-of-day using Marin’s Ad Scheduling (Day-Parting) Tool
- Isolate underperforming keywords and ASINs using advanced filters
- Maximize growth opportunities with budget planning and predictive intelligence
To learn more about Amazon Sponsored Brands video and beyond, reach out to your Marin Customer Success Manager or click here to schedule a conversation.
Everyone in search advertising is aware it’s coming, and trying to figure out where the pieces will fall. How will it impact the industry and more importantly, you and your business ?
As tracking is a complex, granular topic, I’ve asked Aleks Nikitina, Senior Solutions Architect here at Marin Software, to go through this topic in more detail and provide suggestions on what to do next.
Can you tell us what the latest Google announcement is all about?
Aleks Nikitina (AN): Google is no longer going to use individual browser history on Chrome to target ads to users. Instead it will use what it calls and I quote “privacy preserving APIs, like the "Federated Learning of Cohorts API" (FloC), to deliver relevant ads.”. In a nutshell, Google will group users by interests instead of identifying them individually.
How does this link to cookies?
AN: Historically, Google used third-party cookies to target ads across websites. Now, they are moving from this cookie-based approach of targeting to instead target wider audiences and provide more privacy to individual users. Google moving away from third-party cookies is the next step in the trend the industry has been following over the last few years. Similar to Apple’s Safari ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention), Google is moving to what they call, the Sandbox approach.
Browsers are shifting the industry tracking to a new path that is all about user privacy. However first party tracking will be allowed. In itself, the cookie remains very much alive.
First party data is the data that is tracked directly on brands’ domains. Some of our clients have their own internal tracking solution or use tracking vendors as a first party tracking solution, which will continue to work, however there are restrictions on the conversion window available to cookies in Safari.
What should the search marketer add to their to do list or goals beyond 2021 as a result?
AN: The first step is to make sure that your measurement system is using a first-party approach. The latest version of the publisher tracking pixels and Google Analytics are all first party. Even better is to consider a server-to-server approach that avoids some of the conversion window restrictions.
For advertisers relying on third party cookies for ad targeting, you should look to diversify your ad buys to account for potential lost opportunities as these options go away.
Do we know when this change will happen?
AN: It looks like Chrome will turn off third party cookies in some time in 2022, but the Privacy Sandbox will make its way into Chrome in April 2021. And of course Safari already blocks third party cookies, so I would recommend looking into alternative solutions as soon as you can.
What about our users at Marin, how can we help them in this transition?
AN: Marin Software users should reach out to their platform representative to start the conversation, who will bring in the help of the Professional Services Team where I work.
To give you an idea of how the different integrations will be affected, I cover below the main 3 tracking setups:
- Marin Tracker: The main Marin Tracker solution is used by clients’ placing Marin conversion and click tags directly on their websites or via tag managers. This serves as a first party solution, which will continue working in today’s world. Marin also offers a server-to-server integration for our clients, where the clients’ server is making a call to Marin’s server to pass on details about the conversion event that took place on the client's website. Server-to-server solution is the way forward with the industry’s path change. Here, clients fully control what their partners (third parties) have visibility on.
- Google Analytics: Similar to Marin Tracker option, clients are setting up GA tags on their website as a first party solution, which will continue working across browsers after this update, as it does today.
- Revenue Upload: This will depend on where the data is coming from. If the client is sending Marin data from a third party, then they need to connect with their selected data vendor to identify next steps. However if the client is already sending Marin data from their own cookies, then there is nothing for them to do here.
These industry breaking changes are right around the corner, are you ready? Get a deeper understanding of these changes and learn about Marin’s privacy focused solutions here.
Apple has been busy adding privacy-related features in iOS14. In December, with iOS 14.3, Apple added “Privacy Nutrition Labels” to the app store, clearly summarizing the applications privacy practices, including what information is collected and how it is used. App Tracking Transparency will be required with iOS 14.5 later this spring. Developers must ask users to opt in to tracking for advertising and other purposes.
In this blog, we give you a perspective on how marketers should be thinking about these changes. To learn more, don't miss our webinar Find Your Way in the Cookieless World on Thursday, March 25th | 10am PT - 1pm EST - 5pm GMT.
Apple’s iOS 14 updates are great for users’ privacy and Facebook is rolling with Apple updates by introducing breaking changes that facilitate enhanced privacy options. Since many of our Marin Social customers have questions about the impact of the iOS 14 updates, we want to assure customers that Marin is well positioned for iOS 14 updates along with providing a recap on the impact of iOS 14, especially for Facebook users and advertisers.
In terms of impact on Facebook users, Facebook is introducing a screen to prompt iOS 14 users to opt in to Facebook ad tracking. The carrot is better ad personalization. If users opt out, limited information about conversions, generated by FB ads to that user, will be available to advertisers.
In terms of impact on Facebook advertisers, Ads Manager contains detailed, account specific, action items for advertisers ex. selecting only eight conversion events for optimization efforts across an account. However, after the iOS 14 updates go into effect, advertisers can expect five fundamental changes:
Facebook will have limited conversion tracking for iOS 14 users that opt out. And many will opt out.
- Facebook pixel Cookie Window is limited to 7 days for clicks and same day for views; this may lower reported conversions. In terms of impact scope, a majority of Marin Social advertisers attribute Facebook conversions to clicks that occurred up to 28 days before the Sale/Form Fill. As such, we expect a majority of Facebook advertisers to be impacted by this change and we recommend proactively updating Attribution Settings.
- Advertisers with multiple domains can no longer attribute conversions from paid traffic across multiple domains. Customers that drive paid traffic to Domain A and convert the same visitors on Domain B will be directly impacted by Apple’s Private Click Measurement (PCM).
Audiences based on website interactions and mobile app engagements will decrease in Size and Reach.
- App advertisers will no longer be able to use ‘app connections targeting’ e.g. they cannot target people that are connected to App fans/followers.
- Facebook Audiences for retargeting (WCA and MACA) will contract in size due to iOS users opting out when the Facebook prompt is shown. Ideal audience size for retargeting and lookalike audience creation is 10,000 people; smaller audiences may yield relatively lower performance.
Publisher reported conversions should not be expected to reconcile with internal systems.
While both Google and Facebook are preparing for a cookie-less future, neither publisher has announced plans for cross-channel ad tracking.
- each Publisher only includes their view through conversions, but not the others
- Google includes ‘Modeled’ conversions and Facebook may include estimated metrics for iOS 14 ad campaigns at the ad and ad set level.
- Each Publisher has different attribution windows for paid clicks.
Advertisers will need to upgrade their tracking.
Facebook is offering a robust server-to-server solution to provide advertisers with more transaction (not user) level details. Cross-Channel advertisers should plan on deploying Search and Social publishers’ enhanced ad tracking solutions alongside a third party’s server-to-server solution like Marin Tracker. This way, advertisers can analyze paid channels performance under the publishers lens and via conversion metrics that are click based, de-duplicated, and measured under the same attribution window.
Facebook Ads will no longer offer demographic breakdowns for conversion events.
Facebook Advertisers should plan on running A/B tests to determine if there's a statistically significant difference in performance between demographic segments.
If you need more information about the impact of iOS14 changes on Facebook ads, sign up to our webinar Find Your Way in the Cookieless World on Thursday, March 25th | 10am PT - 1pm EST - 5pm GMT.
Here are some helpful resources:
- Checklist to Prepare for iOS14 Changes for App Event
- Facebook Webinar Recording
- Learn more about Apple’s iOS 14 Policy
- Documentation provided by Apple related to the SKAdNetwork (Primarily for App advertisers)
The search for better performance never stops. To help our customers get the most out their digital marketing dollar we have upgraded our optimization tools. MarinOne Bidding is our newest bidding solution that delivers peak performance, improved accuracy, faster bid calculations and increased scale.
Customers upgrading to MarinOne bidding from the previous version saw a 10-20% performance improvement and bidding times reduced by up to 95%.
MarinOne bidding automatically incorporates over 75+ signals for incredible responsiveness and accuracy across audiences, devices, geos and more. MarinOne Bidding is simple to set up but flexible enough to meet the needs of your business. It is especially well suited for advertisers with third-party revenue tracking and longer sales cycles.
Accuracy, Speed and Scale
No need to choose, with MarinOne bidding you get all three:
- Faster Run Times: The bid calculation job for large clients can be up to 90% faster than Marin search.
- Increased Scale: MarinOne bidding can effortlessly handle accounts with 10M keywords.
- Improved Accuracy: Dynamic Clustering algorithms improves predictions on lower-volume terms by strategically sharing across similar keywords via a decision tree clustering technique. The result: an average 28% lift in performance vs. Marin Search.
- More Reactive: Flexible lookback periods efficiently use the right amount of historical data to improve reactions to changing market conditions.
- Powerful Forecasts: In MarinOne’s Optimization page, users can forecast time into the future and explore trade-offs between volume and efficiency for each bid strategy.
- Better Control: Advertisers can specify separate targets by device and MarinOne bidding will optimize based on device-specific performance.
- Better Guardrails: In addition to max Users can set either a Top, Absolute Top, or Search Impression Share Cap.
- Automation of Bidding Target Changes: Scheduled boosts simplify management of changes in bidding targets and can be set globally or segmented by device and publisher, MarinOne bidding can automatically exclude data from data from boosted sale periods. bidding.
Our existing customers using bidding are being upgraded to MarinOne bidding. If you are a Marin Customer looking to get started with bidding, please connect with your account manager.
If you are interested in learning more about MarinOne bidding getting started with Marin, click here to schedule a conversation.
We’ve talked about reporting in previous blog posts and how MarinOne has powerful reporting tools, allowing your marketing team to build personalized dashboards that are shareable and mobile-friendly, customize recurring reports, performance alerts, and automate their Excel or Google Sheet analysis.
However, many marketers are leveraging Business Intelligence (BI) tools to visualize their data.
We built BI Connect to give our customers a powerful and flexible option to integrate all their Marin data directly to their BI tools, such as Google Data Studios, Tableau, or Power BI.
BI Connect provides advertisers an easy and scalable solution to pull data from Marin into your BI tool with unparalleled flexibility, data accessibility, and simplicity:
BI Connect can be used as a data source, allowing you to create custom dashboards and reports in the BI tool of your choice, or accessed directly for integration with your own-in-house data warehouse. Data hosting can be done on your cloud or Marin’s and is backed with enterprise-level data security.
- MarinOne integrates data from any analytics or attribution source, and can see deep into your purchase funnels by connecting offline sales to online advertising. BI Connect extends the benefits of Marin’s open platform by giving you third-party revenue data, such as customer LTV and Amazon Attribution data, already stitched together across publishers and channels.
- MarinOne consolidates Search, Social, and eCommerce publishers, giving you a single source to connect your BI tool with all paid media channels, including smaller publishers like LinkedIn, Snap, and Reddit.
- BI Connect enables access to all levels of data, including placements, sitelinks, audiences, product groups, SKUs, Amazon ASINs, and exposure of key metrics in additive form, such as quality score, bid, available impressions, etc.
- Marin-exclusive data, such as Dimensions, Custom Columns, Bid Strategies, and Marin Tracker attribution.
Last but not least, onboarding BI Connect is simple. We do the heavy-lifting, so you can minimize dependency on your internal teams. There’s no need to aggregate or map data because your publishers, revenue, and saved views are already organized and loaded by Marin. Simply connect a query to the BI tool of your choice and hit the ground running!
If you’d like to learn more about BI Connect, please reach out to your account rep. Or, if you’re new to Marin and would like to start getting the most out of your BI tool, schedule a demo today.
What are Automated Insights?
There are a lot of moving parts to a digital marketing campaign. So many that it’s hard for even an experienced marketer to know what they need to do to get the best results from their campaign. Collecting data, recognizing the trends for optimization and other paid search strategy efforts often do not come as quickly as advertisers would like. That’s where we come in.
Marin has been providing account insight to our customers for over 10 years and now we are delivering these powerful, actionable recommendations directly in the MarinOne platform.
Insights are automatic, tailored recommendations that help advertisers get more out of digital marketing campaigns and provide them with the tools needed to quickly implement those recommendations.
Automated Insights in MarinOne are designed to
- uncover opportunities to reduce wasteful spending
- capitalize on additional volume in high-performing areas
- Implement learnings from one channel to another
How Insights Work
Each Marin Insight is a customized, cross-channel recommendation designed to increase your campaign’ performance. Unlike recommendations from the publishers, Marin Insights look across channels to identify the most efficient areas of improvement or to highlight where a learning in one publisher can be implemented in another. We also focus on recommendations that align with your business goals, not just increasing spend.
To help you prioritize your work, Marin Insights are always presented with a corresponding performance change. With this information you can easily tell how your account may change as a result of implementing and insight. These performance forecasts are built by analysing recent performance of campaigns, ads, keywords, and products and benchmarking that against the overall account performance.
If your account is tracking revenue data the forecasts will be reflected in terms of predicted change in Revenue and Spend. If your account does not currently track revenue, the prediction is in terms of Conversions and Spend.
Insights are updated daily based on performance data over the most recent four weeks so you never have to worry about wading through old materials.
What Insights Help You Do
Each Marin Insight is presented along with a downloadable report that enables you to go from insight to action. Each report can be uploaded back into MarinOne to apply the recommendation. This workflow gives you flexibility and the ability to accept or reject each recommendation at the most granular level.
Examples of our Insights Include:
Ad Copy Optimization - Identifies the individual word with the most clicks across an ad group's keyword set and determines if that word is included in the highest-traffic creative.
Ad Optimization - Identifies underperforming ads using the KPI and statistical confidence in your A/B test settings.
Budget Capped Campaigns - Identifies high performing campaigns limited by their daily budget.
Keyword Expansion - Identifies non-exact match search terms performing at a lower cost-per-conversion than their parent campaign based on Google conversion tracking.
Keyword Match Type Expansion- Identifies high performing keywords that do not exist on more specific match types.
Keyword Publisher Expansion - Identifies top-performing keywords that are not being leveraged in Bing.
Negative Keyword Expansion - Identifies non-converting search terms based on Google conversion tracking with a statistically significant amount of clicks.
Single Keyword Ad Groups - Showcases which keywords have significant mobile performance to move each into their own ad group so it can get its own mobile bid.
Top Performing Products - Identifies shopping products performing above average within their product group and should be moved to a dedicated product group for additional control.
Highly Qualified Recommendations - Volume and performance criteria result in recommendations that are expected to provide meaningful impact to your bottom-line performance.
Performance Predictions - Incremental spend, conversion, and revenue estimates allow you to prioritize your time on recommendations that will have the most impact.
Platform-Ready Exports - Downloadable reports allow you to review Insights at the most granular level. We've also made it easy to implement the recommended changes using a bulk upload.
Click on the Insights tab in MarinOne to see your personalized recommendations today!
If you aren’t yet a Marin customer, reach out today to learn about everything Marin has to offer.
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.
- 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.