Marketing Insights

Archive for ‘Attribution’

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.

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.

IBC Hotels – Improved Tracking, Reach, and Attribution

By March 10th, 2016

“It makes my job a lot easier, and now I don’t have to spend all day combing through spreadsheet after spreadsheet, trying to figure out where a booking value came from because it’s nowhere in
my system.”

– Kevin High / Digital Marketing Manager, IBC Hotels

IBC Hotels had a retargeting problem. Not only were they unable to easily attribute conversions – they were having a hard time even implementing their existing solution’s dynamic tracking code, and considered their vendor’s service team “unknowledgeable and nonexistent.”

IBC Hotels prides itself in introducing travelers to unique, locally owned hotels all over the world. Since IBC makes commission on each acquired booking, it’s crucial for them to accurately attribute the source of their conversions and revenue.

If they were going to lower cost and increase ROI, they needed a platform that would make their jobs easier, not more burdensome and clunky.

Enter Marin Display

IBC implemented Marin Display – with its Site Tracking Tag – to build audiences for retargeting across channels and devices. IBC found Marin Display’s tracking solution worked flawlessly and was easier to implement than their previous retargeting solution.

The Site Tracking Tag allowed IBC to automatically collect important information such as order ID and revenue, and to easily attribute conversions. IBC could then effortlessly access this data and
export it.

From here, they were able to optimize their retargeting funnel, attribute conversions accurately back to their own internal reporting, and ultimately lower CPM and improve ROI.

Learn more and see full results in our IBC Hotels case study.

4 Spring Cleaning Tips for a Spotless Annual Account Audit

By March 3rd, 2016

With spring rapidly approaching, this is a great time for search marketers to start preparing for an annual account audit. What are some of the top areas of focus for spring cleaning your account? Marin’s Center of Excellence has created a process for identifying key ways accounts can be improved through structural and performance-based changes.

Step 1: Identify pain points in the account to narrow
your focus

Before you dive into cleaning up your account, identify the main areas where you’d like to focus your time. Chances are you don’t have a lot of bandwidth to dedicate to anything but day to day management tasks — so to save time, start by asking yourself some questions to help narrow the focus of your audit and cleanup.

Some of these questions might include:

  • Where does the account fall short of meeting its goals?
  • Does the account have unutilized objects (things like past promotional creatives)?
  • Do you regularly perform A/B tests?
  • Have you had issues with revenue attribution?

Step 2: Perform an audit

The second step is to perform an audit of your account. You should focus your time on two major areas of opportunity: account structure and performance.

Tip: When performing the account audit, pull data in a format that allows you to make bulk changes. This way, once you’ve identified issues, you can easily take action and save time.

First, take a look at your account structure to make sure it follows search marketing best practices. This’ll make your account easier to navigate and ease day to day management. Second, analyze your account for performance issues that require action. The Center of Excellence recommends looking for the following:

Account Structure

  • Duplicate keywords
  • Conflicting negatives
  • Past promotional creatives
  • Missing active keywords/creatives
  • Misspelled creatives
  • Campaign setting alignment
  • URL tracking issues

Performance

  • Underperforming objects
  • Optimal use of negative keywords
  • Quality Score analysis
    • Landing page content
    • Keywords
    • Ad copy

Step 3: Implement changes

The third step is to take corrective action based on insights you discover during the audit.

Be sure to keep track of any changes you make and a record of the audit — this is essential, since it’ll allow you to effectively measure future performance.

Step 4: Measure

Use your record of changes to measure the impact of your spring cleaning efforts. Compile this information into a visual representation of the improvements to share with your colleagues or clients.

If you’re a Marin customer interested in partnering with the Center of Excellence on an account audit, contact your account representative, who’ll connect you with a Center of Excellence consultant today! Or, if you’re new to Marin, request a demo.

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 :)

The Real Meaning of “Data-Driven” Attribution

By June 5th, 2014

This is a guest post from Casey Carey – Head of Marketing, Adometry by Google.

Over the past few weeks, there has been a significant amount of discussion regarding attribution models. At this point, you may be curious about how data-driven attribution, or any attribution model for that matter, fits into your marketing organization’s priorities.

Score Keeping without the Blinders

If you watched the Preakness or Kentucky Derby recently, you may have noticed many of the horses wearing blinders, a marketing measurement metaphor if there ever was one. In a sport with such a small margin for error, these eye covers play a vital role in helping the horses maintain focus on the path ahead rather than what is taking place on either side. Unfortunately, for years many marketing organizations made decisions with a similarly narrow viewpoint with the idea being, let’s look at each of these things individually and then compare results at the end. Often this was done out of necessity more than desire, but the byproduct was typically a combination of poorly-optimized campaigns followed by disappointing results and difficult questions from stakeholders across the company.

Marketers are rethinking how to best engage audiences during a period of rapidly shifting consumer behavior. By now it should be clear that the “customer journey” is no longer a straight line or predictable path to purchase. In fact, roughly 65 percent of all revenues come from multi-touch conversion paths, the majority of which involve impressions across multiple channels. Intuitively, marketers know customers are engaging with the brand across channels, but the vast majority still lack the ability to monitor and measure the impact of these interactions holistically. This causes a disconnect between what channel-specific reports say they contributed to revenue versus what actually occurred.

Learning to Trust the Data Begins with Openness

One common barrier for many organizations when attempting to adopt data-driven attribution methodologies is a feeling they are trapped by existing investments. Sometimes this takes the form of data trapped inside vendors’ proprietary reporting systems, other times it might be internal processes or change management issues obstructing anything from rocking the proverbial measurement boat. In either case, the result is marketers receiving multiple versions of the “truth” instead of a united picture that allows them to analyze and optimize their marketing mix using data-driven methodologies that take these variables into consideration.

Luckily, platform providers, like Marin,  are opting to build an open ecosystem in which data can be incorporated from a variety of sources—including site and ad analytics as well as e-commerce data—to enable customers to make informed decision based on the entirety of data available.

From a measurement standpoint, this is invaluable and allows marketers adopting data-driven attribution methodologies, such as Adometry’s, to seamlessly incorporate or “operationalize” attribution insights into day-to-day decision-making workflows. This not only solves the a major data consolidation challenge but also completes the promise of data-driven attribution—trusted measurement that provides not just feedback on how you’ve done but also offers guidance on how you can improve moving forward.

No one is saying this is easy. Marketers faced with consolidating data from a non-trivial number of channel-specific sources and analytics tools know that this takes time and commitment. If you’re struggling with where to get started, these 10 Tactics for Building an Effective Attribution Management Program will help. Attribution is a marathon, not a sprint. But there’s no time like the present to get started.

Adometry

Marketing Attribution 101

By March 13th, 2014

Did you know? Only about half of businesses carry out some sort of attribution.

Marketing attribution is the practice of determining the role that different channels play in informing and influencing the customer journey, and subsequently allocating partial value to different touch points which have influenced a sale or another desired outcome.

There are many different attribution models, each with their own merits – the most important thing is picking a model that fits your business. Consider:

  • First-click – Credit is given to the first click in the path to conversion.
  • Last-click – Credit is given to the last click in the path to conversion.
  • Linear – Credit is spread equally across all clicks in the path to conversion.
  • Time decay – More credit is given to clicks that occur closest to the time of conversion.
  • Position-based – Credit is given based on the position of the click in the path to conversion, with the first and last click receiving more value.
  • Regression or algorithmic – Credit is given based on regression analysis of historical performance.

While it can be complicated to make attribution a part of your marketing process, the business motivation is very clear: to justify marketing spend, to build an understanding of the customer journey and audience behavior, and to use this understanding to optimize the media mix.

When marketers implement attribution, they often get immediate insights that allow them to better adjust their budgets, moving money away from poorly performing channels and toward better ones. This allows for a better strategy across the entire path-to-conversion.

To learn the basics of marketing attribution, download our guide.

Marin + Adometry: Connecting the Dots for Online Marketers

By May 6th, 2013

Although paid search still commands the majority of digital advertising spend, online marketers find themselves having to follow consumers through an always-on, multi-channel world. In this highly competitive landscape, the path-to-conversion is anything but linear, and the ways in which consumers engage with brands is gaining complexity. For instance, a customer may have viewed a display banner, clicked on a paid search ad, and was retargeted on Facebook prior to converting on an iPad.

Keep in mind that the click-path above wasn’t even possible three years ago. The degree to which media is fragmented today makes attribution incredibly challenging. So how would an online marketer value each of these touch-points and subsequently develop an effective bidding strategy to maximize performance across their entire marketing program?

This is exactly the problem that Marin Software has solved. Today, we’re excited to announce a partnership with Adometry, a leading attribution company. Through conversion and revenue data integrations, advertisers using this joint solution will be able to:

  1. Assess the value (revenue) associated with each ad-unit using a consistent attribution model across multiple channels and revenue sources
  2. Calculate precise bids at the keyword and ad-unit level by leveraging de-duplicated and post-attributed conversion data
  3. Have a single source of truth that mitigates discrepancies or double-counting across channels and devices

And because Marin has certified the integration process with Adometry, our mutual clients will be able to take advantage of these industry leading capabilities without incurring any additional costs or disruptions to service.

So there you have it, Adometry + Marin = A win for online marketers.

Adometry and Marin Software

People Love to Search on their Smartphones and Tablets

By March 30th, 2012

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?

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