For many search marketers, identifying opportunities for optimization within paid search campaigns is challenging. Monitoring and maintaining top performing ad groups, keywords, and ads is a standard best practice; but as campaigns grow, keyword lists expand, and creative tests multiply, this approach fails to scale and provide incremental improvements in paid search performance. With so many optimization opportunities hidden in an ocean of data, how can search marketers give the required attention each campaign deserves? Where do you even start?
To help search marketers answer these questions, Marin Software is thrilled to announce our partnership with BoostCTR to offer a free paid search diagnostics tool that not only provides insight into account performance, but also opportunities for optimization. The Account Performance Grader is designed to analyze historical performance across keywords, ads, quality scores, and ad groups for AdWords and Bing Ads campaigns. Simply sign up and enter the required information to receive your customized report.
Among other best practice recommendations, this report will provide actionable insights for pausing poor performing keywords and ads, as well as reveal quality score trends that identify areas where keyword relevance can be improved. With the Account Performance Grader, search marketers can remove the guesswork out of campaign optimization and focus their time on more strategic, high impact tasks.
Sign up here and start optimizing your campaigns today!
I began my love of data-driven marketing nearly a decade ago when I started at The Nielsen Company. While my time there was limited to the Consumer Packaged Goods and Telecommunications industries, I was hard pressed to get away from the heart of the Nielsen business—or at least what they were best known for—their television ratings. That’s where I started to become familiar with terms like Gross Rating Point (GRP), which is:
“A unit of measurement of audience size. It is used to measure the exposure to one or more programs or commercials, without regard to multiple exposures of the same advertising to individuals. One GRP = 1% of TV households.” (Source: Nielsen Media Research)
GRP is the foundation by which media buyers compare the advertising strength of various media vehicles. So why should digital marketers care? Nielsen, in addition to other companies like Comscore, wants to give marketers new GRP-like metrics by which to measure the effectiveness of their advertising efforts across channels (TV and online).
Aside from providing a single lens for viewing performance across platforms, a GRP-type metric would also lend itself to informing advertisers on how much they would be willing to pay for certain digital media impressions. This could change the way advertisers currently manage their online bidding—only paying for those impressions that they feel will be most valuable to their business. The end goal would be to obtain the highest possible GRPs at the lowest possible cost, while remaining focused on the target market—all of this now being done across both TV and online channels.
As with any foray into new metrics and crossing the chasm of advertising channels, there are pros and cons to the idea of using GRPs. Critics have argued that GRPs are not a guarantee, but rather an estimation of the audience that could be reached and, therefore, aren’t the best gauge for what media channels are the most effective. On the other hand, this is one of the first efforts to bring TV and online channels together and I applaud the effort. I believe this is an inevitable step in the evolution of advertising and will continue to be a focus for marketers as they continue to maximize budgets, refine their advertising and hone in on high-value customers.
While these digital GRP metrics are relegated to mostly display advertising channels at this time, who’s to say search isn’t far behind? With search retargeting now becoming a reality, a search GRP system could be on the horizon as well.
Marin is proud to announce the release of our 2012 Q1 online advertising report. This report, which identifies significant year-over-year paid search trends, was compiled using data from over 1,500 advertisers and agencies who invest over $3.5 billion annually in online advertising through Marin.
At a glance, our study revealed an increase in click-through-rate (CTR), with cost-per-click (CPC) remained relatively steady. More specifically, we found a significant increase in CTR and a drop in CPC on Google. Some of our key findings include:
So what does all this mean? The increase in CTR coupled with a 12% lower CPC points to Marin users increasing their efficiency on Google. This finding is further validated by the increased usage of exact and phrase match type keywords, as users continue to identify and fill gaps using Marin’s keyword expansion tools.
Device targeting, specifically smart phones and tablets, continues to soar in popularity. Increases in click volume give evidence of the growth in consumer adoption. With smart phones and tablets showing higher CTRs and lower CPCs compared to desktops, mobile search should continue to be top of mind for advertisers.
Want to see other Q1 industry trends from 2012 with our recommendations? Download the full report here.
We love our mobile devices, and according to our recent study of mobile paid search, we love searching on them. In looking across our client base the trend was unanimous, mobile search is up, way up.
In the U.S., we saw ad clicks from mobile devices increase 132% during 2011, and by the end of this year mobile will comprise 25% of all paid search clicks. Similarly, in the UK mobile ended the year with 15% of all clicks in the UK. And, even though it’s not as significant a percentage, mobile clicks in the Eurozone more than doubled in 2011.
Things get even more interesting for marketers when looking at the differences between smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Generally (UK was the sole exception), smartphones carry higher CTRs and lower CPCs, but the lowest conversion rates. Tablets beat desktops in CTR and CPC, come close to trumping desktops in conversion rate, and edge all devices out in cost per conversion.
So, what’s this all mean?
Mobile devices are not only changing the way consumers search and shop, but how marketers advertise. The immediate response by advertisers is to devote more budget to mobile search (we project ad budgets will fall just a bit short of click volume in 2012). However, down the road as savvy marketers adapt to mobile search scenarios, click to call, location-based promos, and integration with social will all become common place. Furthermore, attribution becomes a much larger issue, particularly in a scenario where a mobile search directly leads to an in-store sale. Who gets the credit?
How do you foresee search marketing changing with the increased adoption and use of smartphones and tablets?
Whether you’re just starting out in paid search or have fully built out search campaigns, in order to be successful, you’ll want to know how to implement negative-keywords within your campaigns. Why? Actively managing negatives is possibly the single most impactful tool marketers have to increase revenues and lower costs. The virtuous circle of lowering costs while simultaneously increasing quality and position results in a win-win for the advertiser: increased revenue and ROI. Given the benefits, negative keywords should always be a top consideration for advertisers looking to optimize paid search.
In a recent white paper, Marin Software reviews the benefits of successful negatives strategies and presents a variety of best practices for deploying and managing negatives. Some of these best practices include:
Gain a complete understanding of how to leverage negatives to maximize revenue and performance for online advertising programs. More importantly, become equipped with the techniques necessary to make a strategic implementation of negatives a reality.
Download the free white paper here.
And, join our free webcast on Thursday, March 15 at 10am PST (1pm EST).
The Giants may have won this year’s Vince Lombardi Trophy, but auto advertisers won the online advertising wars on Super Bowl Sunday.
The list of car companies vying for consumer attention was a who’s who of the industry, and included such household names as Acura, Cadillac, Toyota, GM and Volkswagen. Ads were priced at $3.5 Million for 30 seconds and averaged around a minute.
So was the $7 Million worth it?
To try and answer this question, we looked at click volumes and paid-search spend for the auto sector on Super Bowl Sunday and compared it to the rest of our US clients. Here’s what we saw:
Compared to Sunday the previous week, automotive advertisers saw a 28% jump in clicks, a 34% increase in impressions, and a staggering 122% increase in spend on Super Bowl Sunday. As advertisers competed for the same users, the auto segment’s cost-per-click (CPC) increased 73% on Super Bowl Sunday. In comparison, we saw a modest 6% increase in paid-search spend across our overall US clients, coupled with a 9% increase in CPC.
By getting the largest increase in click volume this Super Bowl, car companies clearly won the battle for the digital consumer’s mindshare. And in the process, they showed us how TV advertising and Search advertising can be used in concert to drive brand lift and deliver performance.
We just released our Q4 online advertising report, identifying important trends year over year in online advertising. We sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, which includes over 1,000 advertisers and agencies that invest over $2.7 billion annually in online advertising.
Overall, our advertisers saw an increase in click-through-rate (CTR) and a decrease in cost-per-click (CPC). But more importantly, we found significant changes in clicks and impressions compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. Key findings include:
So, what does all this mean? The big jump in clicks and click through rates in the last year suggests that advertisers are continuing to increase investment in paid-search and consumers are even more engaged with paid search results.
Device targeting is also showing promise as smart phone and tablets become increasingly popular around the world. Based on the growing click share of smart phones and tablets, it seems evident that more and more people are conducting searches on these newer devices. And, these new devices are actually delivering solid performance for search marketers! The chart below compares CTR across devices in Q4 of 2011.
As this trend is growing rapidly, keep device targeting top of mind when planning your 2012 campaigns.
Want to see other Q4 industry trends from 2011 with our recommendations? Download the full report here.
(Note: You will be asked to fill out a short registration form to gain access to the full report.)
As a very tech-savvy customer acquisition agency, we learned a long time ago the extraordinary value of having extremely close relationships with technology providers. Being a user of Marin Enterprise Edition for years, the resources and time we’ve put into this relationship has paid off in spades, giving us the capability to get the greatest value from Marin and therefore be the most effective for our clients.
For very basic tools that have limited functionality, mastering them is easy, but there’s very little you can do with them and you get minimal benefits. For extremely sophisticated and function-laden tools like Marin, taking advantage of their breadth and depth of training, onboarding options, contextual help and other services was something we eagerly embraced in a big way. Doing so has paid off: we’ve seen a quantum leap in terms of results.
That’s the tip of the iceberg, as there are many other reasons that we chose to have a very close working relationship with Marin. Because acquirgy has a wide variety of direct response clients, with different business models, different metrics and different ROI goals, Marin’s desire to listen to our recommendations has led to numerous enhancements that we can confidently say has improved our ability to serve our clients. For example, using Marin’s Ad Testing feature, we were able to see dramatic differences between creative in a manner that was prudent and statistically significant.
It’s a win-win for Marin and acquirgy: Marin gets valuable feedback, leading to new features that benefits all their users; acquirgy gets new features that were developed based on our knowledge of our clients’ businesses.
Another example of the benefits of working closely with Marin is their close ties with Google. As clients we are among the first to learn about upcoming releases. This helps us plan for them so that we can take full advantage of them upon release. Marin’s ability to customize reporting and be a sounding board are two more reasons why our agency is proud to have developed such a close relationship with Marin.
Want to learn how we chose Marin from among all their competitors? Drop me a line (email@example.com).
In the wake of another historical early holiday shopping weekend, we thought it interesting to take a look at how search marketers faired from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. Here’s what we found compared to 2010:
So what’s it all mean? The dramatic increase in clicks and click-through rate compared to the more moderate increases in impressions suggest a significant change in consumer behavior. Either advertisers have managed to make their ads more relevant and appealing, or the search engines have come a long way in improving their matching algorithms. Most likely, it’s a little bit of both.
In our Q3 benchmarking report, we detailed a trend of rising click-through rates for large-scale advertisers over the past couple of quarters. This shift has occurred in large part as advertisers expand their use of phrase and exact match keywords – improving relevance and click-through. This shift in match types would also explain why click volumes rose faster than spend, resulting in lower costs-per-click for search marketers. If that trend continues throughout the remainder of the season, it will be a happy holiday indeed for advertisers and shoppers alike!
Pumpkin and pecan pie certainly reign as the Thanksgiving desserts of choice, but with the holiday around the corner we thought we’d take a look at what other holiday treats you might expect at the dessert table. Looking across our database, we identified the most popular dessert recipes searched for in the last two weeks. Sadly, pumpkin pie doesn’t crack the top 9, but we assume that’s because Mom already has that recipe down pat; so, no need to panic.
However, based on our findings there’s a good chance next to the pumpkin and pecan pies there will be an Apple Crisp (32%), and there is a decent possibility of a Pineapple Upside Down Cake (13%) making an appearance. For cookies, looks like Peanut Butter (10%), Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (9%), Chocolate Chip (8%), and Snickerdoodles (5%) will garnish the dessert platter.
Let us know after Thanksgiving if we came close to predicting your dessert table. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!