Marketing Insights

Archive for ‘Analytics’

Digital Advertising in 2015 – Mobile Is Crushing It

By April 6th, 2016

2015 was a banner year for mobile.

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

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

We uncovered three key findings:

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

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

2016-mobile-report_cover

Google Analytics 360 Suite – Validating an Entire Industry

By March 25th, 2016

Thank you, Google! Your announcement of the Google Analytics 360 Suite is industry-wide confirmation that enterprise level marketing tools are necessary in order to get the most out of your advertising dollars. Of course, Marin Software has known this all along and believes marketers of all sizes can benefit from these tools.

All marketers want efficient ways to reach new and existing customers and to understand what works and what doesn’t. As Forrester Research reports: “Sophisticated marketers who use analytics platforms are 3X more likely to outperform their peers in achieving revenue goals.” Organizations need this kind of sophisticated software to enable marketing teams to align around goals that help them optimize, compete, and drive revenue.

Cross-publisher, Cross-channel, Cross-device

At Marin, our focus is providing the technology and data needed for demand and revenue generation based steadfastly on our customer’s goals. We enable customers to make holistic creative, bid and budget optimization decisions across their campaigns, all from the same integrated platform.

Besides integrating well with Google, we have extensive experience working with Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many other leading partners, including 10 of the largest global exchanges. Our commitment remains the same – helping marketers reach their goals across publishers, across channels (search, social and display) and devices (desktop, tablet, mobile).

Accomplish Your Goals with 100% Transparency

Purpose-built to provide customers with complete transparency of campaign data and results, our mission aligns with Peter Drucker’s adage, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” We provide digital marketers superlative cross-publisher data and measurement including:

  • Transparent reporting, bidding algorithms, and predictive modeling
  • Advertisers’ intent data for better targeting and ROAS
  • Cross-channel insights and metrics
  • The true cost of media
  • Data throughout the customer journey
  • Quality and viewability metrics
  • View-through or click-through attribution

Although Marin Software has had a legacy in search leadership, we’ve evolved our cross-publisher platform via industry-leading acquisitions to power digital marketing campaigns for the world’s biggest brands and agencies. We look forward to continuing to provide our customers with the tools and insights to profitably compete and reach their goals.

Plotting the Retail Success of March Madness

By March 17th, 2016

Every year, March Madness fever consumes millions of sports fans across America. Productivity plummets across workplaces, as employees catch a few minutes of the game on their computer or phone. In fact, it’s estimated that companies lose millions, if not billions, annually during the March Madness productivity dip.

For sports retailers, is there another story? How much does March Madness increase their sales, and can it offset losses in work output during this basketball-crazed month? To find out, we took a look at the retail vertical during 2015 and associated consumer behavior.

March Madness Means More Clicks and Spend

During March 2015, the retail industry saw a noticeable rise in clicks and advertising spend starting just before the 22nd – last year’s start of the regionals – through the end of the month and the finals.

During the regionals, there was a steady climb in clicks and spend, culminating and peaking near the end of March when the Final Four were decided. Click-through rates also almost doubled between the beginning of the month and the Final Four decision, showing that there was a strong correlation between US sports retailer and consumer activity, and when the games were decided.

In other words, the first small bump happened when the tournament began, and then rose and peaked close to the final four teams being decided, when consumers looked to buy products supporting their team of choice.

MarchGrowth

While these gains probably didn’t offset the productivity losses across employers nationwide, it’s clear that US sports retailers had a field day for interest in NCAA attire and merchandise.

Revealing the Value of Assisted Conversions

By March 15th, 2016

General conversion metrics about your visitors only tell part of the story. In reality, there are many steps a visitor might have taken before converting on your site. How do you measure the value of your upper-funnel prospecting campaigns, and determine whether they’re providing incremental benefit and driving last-touch attribution and conversion?

What Are Assisted Conversions?

Assisted conversions help give you better insight for how other campaigns may have contributed to your final conversion. This insight is important, since it helps you make better decisions on your campaigns and immediately illustrates the value of your top-of-funnel marketing efforts.

How It Works

Suppose you’re running a campaign where you’re targeting people who visited your website. You have another campaign that targets people who looked at a specific product page on your website, a much more focused group. You’re probably measuring how well you’re targeting website visitors, but you may not be crediting this campaign with any conversions that come from your product page.

In other words, your website targeting campaign alone looks like it’s not providing any value, although it’s pushing customers along
the funnel.

Here’s another example: Suppose your visitor sees or clicks a Facebook News Feed ad, and then clicks a web ad to convert. With general standard conversion metrics, the web ad gets the credit for the final conversion. But, in this scenario, your Facebook News Feed ad should get an assisted conversion credit, since it contributed to the “slam dunk,” as it were.

To read more about assisted conversions and how they contribute to accurate attribution, see Understanding Assisted Conversions.

Mobile Mania in the 2015 Shopping Season

By March 2nd, 2016

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

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

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

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

2016-Q4-benchmark-report_cover

How to Optimize Impression Share to Increase Brand Awareness

By February 16th, 2016

Impression share (IS) is one of the most misunderstood data points used in search. Metrics used to maximize revenue or conversion volume are pretty straightforward to understand, since the numbers speak for themselves.

You should periodically revisit the question, “What metrics should I maximize to increase brand awareness on my search campaigns?”

What’s IS, Anyway?

You can be forgiven for thinking that the most important metric to increase brand awareness is IS. In theory, the higher the IS, the more times your ads are served, potentially providing greater exposure.

In fact, IS is simply a measurement of how frequently your keywords appear in auctions for which they’re eligible. It’s easier to achieve a high IS when you target smaller audiences with little competition. The larger your target audience, the greater the competition, making it harder to achieve the desired 100% IS.

The IS Formula

IS is calculated by dividing served impressions by the estimated number of impressions that you’re eligible to receive. Google uses several factors to calculate which keywords should win an auction:

  • Targeting settings
  • Approval status
  • Bids
  • Daily budgets
  • Quality Score

Increasing IS doesn’t always mean you’ll increase the amount of people who’ll see and interact with your brand. It should be used to monitor the frequency of your keywords appearing in auctions for which they’re eligible. It’s a brilliant metric for identifying keywords that aren’t performing as well as they could.

If your keywords are eligible to receive the maximum impressions targeting your specified audience, a 100% IS means you’ve reached this limit. However, this can come at a cost, overinflating daily budgets. Achieving a 100% IS means your keywords will be entered into all eligible auctions regardless of the cost.

Optimize to Improve Clicks and Impressions

Optimizing a campaign for clicks disregarding IS can improve both the click and impression volumes while maintaining or reducing spend. This method involves bidding down on keywords with low-click volume that have high CPCs while increasing bids for keywords with high-click volume and low CPCs.

ClickVolume

It’s important to understand the relationship between aggregate IS and impression volume. Aggregate IS is weighted impressions, so there could be a scenario where there’s lower aggregate IS but higher impression volume. However, click volume, impression volume, and aggregate IS tend to be positively correlated, so maximizing clicks should be a sound strategy in most cases.

How are you using IS? Are you using it to monitor brand awareness, share of voice, or impression frequency? Whatever your optimization objective, it’s important to use the correct KPIs to monitor performance.

3 Facebook Advertising Trends You Need
to Know About

By February 4th, 2016

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

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

People are clicking Facebook ads

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

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

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

Social video is growing fast

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

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

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

Local ads are more precise and effective than ever

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

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

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

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[1] http://techcrunch.com/2015/11/04/facebook-video-views/ – .v4kfgk3:NzA1.

[2] http://www.biakelsey.com/Company/Press-Releases/111114-U.S.-Social-Local-Advertising- Revenues-to-Reach-$2.3-Billion-in-2015.asp.

Super Bowl Ads: Are They Worth It?

By February 3rd, 2016

When it comes to TV viewership, the Super Bowl is the most-watched sporting event in the United States. From advertising to merchandise, millions of dollars are invested each year in both the actual event and everything surrounding it.

For many Super Bowl fans, the advertising is almost as important, with 77.1% of consumers seeing the ads as a form of entertainment. A well-done Super Bowl video has a way of amassing millions of views, and brands often feel the impact for weeks or months after the end of the game.

Still, a 30-second spot costs millions of dollars. In the long run, does this really pan out for advertisers?

The Super Bowl Leaves Huge Impressions

We compared a group of advertisers who aired an ad during the 2015 Super Bowl (Group A) against a group who did not (Group B) to see how performance fared weeks after the event.

Group A, predictably, saw a massive spike in online search ad impressions during the Super Bowl, which trailed off to normal levels in the following weeks. This peaked during the Super Bowl when Group A saw 340% more conversions than the start of the year.

Conversely, Group B saw impressions drop 17% on Super Bowl Sunday. For Group A, this increase in impressions led to a similar increase in clicks, which peaked at 250% during and immediately after the Super Bowl.

While advertiser impressions and clicks increased, cost-per-click didn’t appreciably increase except for terms centered on the Super Bowl. Longer-term, Super Bowl advertisers got more clicks at a lower price.

More Ads, More Conversions

Not only did Super Bowl TV ads result in more impressions and clicks — they actually increased conversions over 400% on Super Bowl Sunday when compared to Group B. This increased engagement and conversion remained consistent throughout the entire month of February in 2015, representing a long-term return on investment.

With increased conversions and relatively stable costs, cost per lead actually decreased throughout February for Super Bowl advertisers, meaning that by mid-month, it cost Group A less per conversion than Group B.

SuperBowlConversions

Do What Works For You

While it may be tough to determine if buying a Super Bowl TV ad is worth it, it undoubtedly has a huge impact on online advertising campaigns for any company that chooses to buy a spot. Ultimately, a TV ad during the Super Bowl translates to increased search volume, which results in increased clicks at a similar cost and increased conversions at a lower CPL.

How Did Retailers Fare During the Crazy Holiday
Search Ad Season?

By January 21st, 2016

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

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

There Was Growth, But Less Than 2014

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

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

December2015Performance

Holidays, Mobile, and PLAs

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

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

Why PPC Granularity Will Be Your Best Friend

By January 7th, 2016

This is a guest post from Johnathan Dane, Founder of KlientBoost.

Have you ever thought your Google advertising account should be performing better?

You may be following the advice of many that say that the more time you spend in your account, the better.

But what if it’s all backwards?

What if it only takes you 10 minutes a week to improve your Google advertising performance?

If your Google campaign performance hasn’t been improving month over month like the table below, then keep reading.

01-GoogleCampaignImprovement

It’s about to get interesting. Let’s get started.

Automatic Placement Extraction

If you’re running any type of display or remarketing campaign, you might find that your display ads are showing up on websites, apps, or even video overlays that aren’t performing well.

Overall though, you might be decently happy with your display performance, but always wondered if it could do better.

02-DisplayPerformance

Take a look at your Automatic placements under your Dimensions tab

To start the “performance pruning”, see which Automatic placements either have a cost per conversion that’s too high, or better yet, which placements are actually bringing in sales (not just conversions) by equipping your Google advertising Final URLs with ValueTrack parameters.

This will then help you get more conversion volume out of those specific placements when you extract and target them exclusively through a new campaign.

Search Term Extraction

Search term reports are such an important part of regular Google advertising maintenance that it’s not uncommon that some people do this more frequently than brushing their teeth.

When looking at your search term report, get as close as possible to making sure your search terms and keywords have no discrepancies between them.

In other words, your Added / Excluded column from your search term report should have the green “Added” label going down the list for as long as possible, just like this:

03-SearchTermExtraction

This gives you a much stronger control of what you’re paying for

When that happens, you can make your ads specific to not your keywords, but your search terms and see higher click-through-rates from your efforts.

Let’s say you look at your search term report and find your search terms and keywords don’t match. The first thing you should do is extract your search terms with the most impressions and create what are called Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs).

Just like the name implies, SKAGs are ad groups that only allow one keyword per ad group, that then have corresponding ads that are extremely specific to that keyword.

Time Lag and Attribution Reports

Did you know that the last keyword and/or ad clicked always gets to lionshare of conversion credit?

What if there were seven other touchpoints (impression and ad clicks) that happened before the final conversion? Wouldn’t you want to know what helped assist that conversion?

I know I would.

If you don’t care, there’s a good chance you’ll pause keywords and placements that don’t get the conversion credit. But, when you do, you’re strangling your account at the same time, without even knowing it.

Let’s take a look at your Google advertising attribution.

Inside your account, go to the top of your Google advertising interface and click Tools > Attribution.

Once you’re there, take a look at the Time Lag report on the left side. Here, you can see how long it takes people to convert from either first impression, first click, or last click.

04-ImpressionConversionDelay

Here’s a look at first impression conversion delay of 6.19 days

This will help you make your nurture and/or retargeting campaigns more of a priority to test.

Geographic Granularity

Are you a local, statewide, nationwide, or even an international advertiser?

No matter how big an area you’re targeting, every geographic hill, slope, mountain, and valley performs differently. The same thing goes for individual states and cities.

And, because you can’t target people who live on just a hill (yet), the next best thing is to understand the performance of each state or city that sees your ads.

05-GeographicGranularity

To see this report, go to your Dimensions tab, then View -> User locations

As you can see above, the state of New York may be costing more per conversion than others. So, you may want to add in negative bid modifiers at the state level, like this screenshot shows.

06-States

You can then drill even deeper and create new campaigns with state level campaign targeting, and give bid modifiers to individual cities within that specific state to get your closer to your cost per conversion goals.

You can take it even further and start utilizing city specific ad copy and landing pages with area code specific phone numbers, to appear more local to visitors and increase your conversion rates.

Device Targeting

As I’m sure you’re already aware of, Google advertising doesn’t allow you to separate devices in their own campaigns like they used to.

These days, you have to group desktop and tablets together in the same campaign. And while Google may say that both those devices perform similarly, there are thousands of Google advertising accounts out there that say something completely different.

Here’s the truth: Desktops and tablets will never perform the same way.

I’m not just speaking from a conversion rate standpoint, but also from a sales standpoint.

When Google told the world that devices don’t matter, but user context does, they certainly never thought of every single industry, but more so of a blanket band-aid that would apply to “most advertisers”.

Believe it or not, there are some workarounds you can use to get desktop, tablet, and mobile campaigns in their own campaigns and still target the search and/or display network.

But first, let’s look at how we find current device performance differences within your account.

07-PerformanceDifferences

Here’s how you find that info

First, go to Segment then Device in the dropdown.

08-SegmentDevice

This will expand your view with three extra rows

As you can see in the screenshot above, our mobile devices are giving us the lowest cost per conversion while tablets are sucking it up and being the most expensive.

Now let’s say for a minute that your tablet performance is just as good as your desktop performance (like Google says it is), but your mobile performance sucks.

You can quickly add in what’s called a negative bid modifier between 1 and 100%.

09-NegativeBidModifier

Go to Settings -> Devices and increase or decrease in the red square

If you never want to target mobile devices, then you can set a negative bid modifier of 100%.

Day of Week Targeting

Just like keywords, ads, and landing pages perform differently, so does Monday compared to Thursday, and Saturday compared to Wednesday.

Inside your Google advertising account, you can see this day of the week granularity in a snap. Just head over to Dimensions -> View: Day of the week.

10-DayOfWeek

In this case, Saturdays and Sundays are doing really well

Having these kinds of numbers doesn’t mean that you should stop advertising on Thursdays (because it has the highest cost per conversions). But, it could mean that you should start considering “day of the week” bid modifiers like we did for our devices earlier.

Some industries tend to be very predictable in their weekly trends. If your company falls into a category like that, then take advantage of the control you have and get more aggressive with your bids on great performing days, and taper back on the not so great-performing ones.

Time of Day Targeting

Just like we saw how your days perform differently during the week, so do your hours within the day.

11-TimeOfDay

And, just as we can create bid modifiers for 24-hour day targeting, we can also take advantage of the same thing with bidding blocks of hours within a certain day of the week, to break it down even further.

12-BiddingBlocks

In this screenshot, late mornings and afternoons tend to perform better than mornings

If you already have the data and insight that allow you to use this type of granular bidding, then definitely do so.

You might even find that Google or other bidding platforms are restricting how many bid modifications you can make on a daily basis. If that’s the case, I suggest you try using Brainlab’s 24 hour bidding script that allows you to take it one step further, and then some.

In Closing

Now before I let you go, please keep this in mind:

“With great control, comes great responsibility.”

Having access to all of this data is great, but only if you can be actionable with it to improve your performance.

I see time and time again that people spend countless hours trying to tweak and prune things with modifiers, rules, and even scripts that change bids depending on the weather.

While all of this is great, most of it becomes entirely obsolete as soon as you have a landing page test that improves your conversion rates by 50%. When that happens, all the things you’ve put into place need to be redone.

One thing that will always help you out, no matter your goals, is to extract and target things in a granular fashion that makes sense.

Use the dimensions tab and its reports to your advantage and keep on making progress :)

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