In the obituary for Adobe Flash, September 1, 2015 will stand out as the day Google felled Adobe Flash with a mortal wound. As was originally reported in the Wall Street Journal, Google announced that its Chrome browser will block Internet ads that use Adobe Flash technology. With Chrome holding 60%+ market share, this essentially means Flash has become exceedingly irrelevant for advertisers.
The move to a Flashless future shouldn’t come as a surprise to advertisers. The increasing focus on mobile – and Flash’s non-existence on that platform – means that many advertisers are already migrating their rich media creative to be built using HTML5, in order to maximize efficiency and reuse creative assets across their desktop and mobile ad campaigns. Other trends like YouTube ditching Flash for an HTML5 player also helped marshal that change along for desktop rich media advertisers.
However, not everyone’s updated all their creative assets, so this switch will have an impact for some advertisers, at least in the short-term. Here are a few immediate recommendations for how to reduce the short-term impact while you rebuild new HTML5 rich media creative:
Odds are the demise of Flash hasn’t impacted you as much as you’d expect, with all the headlines raised in the past couple days (incrementally so if you’re a Marin Display or Perfect Audience customer, as we’ve never been Flash ad proponents). But, hopefully these recommendations will help you minimize the repercussions while you update your ads.
Over 65% of online revenue now comes from purchases made across more than one digital channel. With this in mind, it’s essential that marketers use cross-channel strategies, rather than just looking at each digital channel in a silo. Using the right technology, you can reach the same users across search, social, and display, engaging with audiences on one channel based on their profile and activities on another.
Here are three strategies to survive – and thrive – in a cross-channel world.
Competitive search terms can be expensive. Using cross-channel remarketing for high-cost search keywords can save money while still serving ads to users who’ve shown search intent. Using remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs), you can make sure the same user doesn’t click a search ad more than once, but still retarget them using social and display – where the CPC is a lot cheaper. For example, an insurance company may not want to have to pay for two expensive, generic insurance search clicks from the same user. Suppose that user visits the company’s website via a generic keyword. The company can use negative remarketing lists for search, but pass the search intent data to social and display channels and spend less on remarketing.
You may want to use more generic keyword targeting on search for users that you know have visited your website through a social channel. Users visiting your website through social have shown some brand affinity, so there’s less risk with wider keyword targeting to this audience. For instance, the keyword “dresses” may be too generic for a retailer to target without any social signals from the user. But, if the retailer knows the user has some brand affinity, they may want to bid on these keywords for this audience. By creating an RLSA campaign with more generic keywords just for this audience, advertisers can expand targeting while maintaining performance.
Lookalike audiences let you reach new prospects who are more likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to audiences who’ve visited your website or performed a desired action. Using search intent data for lookalike modeling allows you to build lookalike audiences based on how users have performed a specific search, or who have shown specific search intent. For example, a travel agent may want to reach potential travellers looking for luxury hotels. The agent could use their search intent data to build a Facebook Custom Audience website campaign for prospecting, based on people who searched for upmarket hotels and landed on the website.
Each digital advertising channel has its own unique benefits, data sets, and targeting options. By utilizing cross-channel advertising strategies, advertisers can take audience information from one channel and use it to optimize campaigns on another.
Programmatic is hot right now. eMarketer predicts that by 2016, programmatic spending will top $20 billion, making up 63% of all US display ad spending. As quickly as it’s growing, though, programmatic has some serious terminology and conventions you have to learn if you want to consider yourself an expert. And once you get started, you may feel like you’re drowning in a sea of programmatic jargon, lingo, and acronyms.
The programmatic ecosystem is large and wide – but not impassable. A good way to start the journey is getting to know the 8 major players in the ecosystem, as well as their main functions.
1. The Advertiser
If you’re reading this, this is probably you. The advertising world wouldn’t exist without the companies that buy the ads.
2. The Publisher
Publishers are all the publications, web sites, and mobile apps that create and deliver the real value – the content – as well as the ad space that advertisers buy.
3. Ad Exchanges
Ad exchanges are the backbone of programmatic ad buying, and a major driving force for the display advertising renaissance over the past few years. Ad exchanges are essentially marketplaces where advertisers and publishers buy and sell ad space programmatically. Publishers make their inventory available and advertisers then bid for those ads, often in real-time, based on how much a particular visitor is worth to them.
4. Ad Networks
Ad networks are like the older, less capable big brother of the ad exchange. Like ad exchanges, ad networks aggregate inventory across multiple publishers and package it up, helping advertisers buy ads at scale more efficiently. Because they can still be a simple, efficient way to scale your media buy across a large number of publishers, they’re still relevant in this age of programmatic. Still, ad networks don’t offer the same targeting sophistication that ad exchanges do.
5. Data Management Platforms (DMPs)
Advertisers use DMPs to collect, store, and leverage their first-party audience data. DMPs also aggregate data from third parties and make it available to clients to use in their advertising.
6. Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs)
A demand-side platform is a tool that enables marketers to bid on and buy ads from ad exchanges. There are some big differences between the different platforms out there, so be sure to determine what’s most important to your business before investing in one – for example, access to data, quality of reach, transparency, etc.
7. Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs)
Advertisers use DSPs to buy ads on ad exchanges. Publishers use SSPs to sell their ads on ad exchanges. It’s basically the mirror opposite.
8. Agency Trading Desk
Agency Trading Desks (ATDs) are essentially the media buying and reselling arms of major advertising agency holding companies like WPP, Publicis, and Interpublic. ATDs reflect a mix of people and technology. While media is often bought programmatically using technology like DSPs and DMPs, it’s then resold to advertisers as a managed service.
These eight players are just one piece of the programmatic puzzle. For a more complete discussion – including how data, targeting, and retargeting figure in – download our full white paper, The ABCs of Programmatic.
Each year, the US Search Awards recognizes the best and brightest brands among the world’s leading search and digital agencies and professionals. We compiled advice from eight of this year’s judges on what every brand should do to optimize their PPC campaigns.
This year’s awards will take place at Paris Las Vegas on Wednesday, October 7th. For more information and to enter, visit the US Search Awards website.
Inbound Marketing Manager, Cisco Systems | @DPease
Monitor Your Extension Performance
With all the hype around ad extensions, we can sometimes get caught up in “extension excitement” – putting site links, callouts, and location extensions on our ads to provide a better user experience. But it’s important to monitor the performance of your extensions, to ensure they’re really working for you in the way you want them to. Create a reminder – and check on a bi-weekly basis. If you have an extension that’s not performing, make adjustments or try removing it. Extensions are a great way to expand your ad, but they need to be monitored.
Head of Strategy for America’s Advertising, Google | @Matt_Mcgowan
RLSA. Do it. It amazes me how many clients don’t add the tag to their sites. For free, you can bring together intent, context, and audience to help your business drive sales and leads with great ROI. With remarketing lists for search ads, you can modify bids, ads, and keywords for past site visitors. For example, people visit your sports apparel site to check out available styles, and look at the shoe section of the site. You could add these shoppers to a “Shoe category” list. Then, the next time they search for running shoes on Google you could bid more for them. More here.
UK Industry Expert | @Smartrich
You absolutely have to be leveraging Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) these days. At a recent SAScon event, Larry Kim highlighted the low CPCs that early adopters of the format have benefited from. One great tip is to run a campaign targeting Gmail accounts containing newsletters from your competitors, remembering to negative your own keywords to avoid upsetting existing customers.
Global Head of Biddable Media | @Jimbanks
Anticipate the device your users will be on and have ads that reflect that context. If someone is on mobile, then having the CTA as “Call” or “Tap” will get higher CTR (TTR – Tap Through Rate) than “Click”. Dayparting is now a 168-hour a week function, and device, location, and time of day/day of week will help or hurt more than keyword, bid, or ad.
Digital Marketing Strategist, Author, Speaker, Networker, and Columnist; Sustainable Digital Marketing | @SEOPllyAnna
Look at the performance of high-volume, general PPC ads and test the content for titles and meta descriptions. For example, the shipping message “same day shipping” performed better in Paid than the message “fast shipping”. Test the better performing message CTR and conversion to see if you get lift in Organic Search the same way you did in Paid Search.
Senior Account Manager, Hanapin Marketing; Founder of #PPCChat | @Matt_Umbro
In order to quickly find keywords that are costing too much and not providing enough (or any) conversions, create an automated rule. I’ll generally create a rule that runs weekly and looks at the last 30 days’ worth of data. I’ll set the rule to identify all keywords that have seen at least 50 clicks and zero conversions. I’ll have these keywords emailed to me so I can choose whether to change my bids, pay particularly close attention to the search queries, and/or pause the keywords all together. You can adjust the filter as you see fit, but this rule helps to easily find poor performing keywords.
Bing Ads Evangelist | @Jmgagnon
To bid or not to bid? Bid. And, there’s finally concrete data. Bing Ads completed a study measuring the number of clicks a brand received when they were the top organic spot alone, versus the top organic spot plus the top paid ad.
After looking at three million impressions on brand searches for retail during 2014, the study found advertisers saw an incremental 31 clicks for every 100 brand searches when a paid search ad was used in combination with the top organic result. That’s huge!
Only 11 of those clicks would have been received anyways. Adjust your CPA lower by about 18% to account for the overlap – and you have a concrete strategy for bidding on your brand terms.
Owner, Beetsonomics | @Beeston
If you’re a retailer, then of course you’re running Shopping campaigns. But your campaigns will only be as good as the product or inventory feed that powers them. Spend as much time optimizing your feed as you would any other part of the campaign, making sure you have the right imagery and search-friendly titles. As you can use the feed with Bing Shopping Campaigns (now in beta), Facebook Product Ads, and Google Shopping, the optimization will pay off more than once.
The deadline for submitting an entry to one of the 22 categories in the US Search Awards is the 17th of July, so download the entry form today and you could be a worthy winner at the glittering Las Vegas event in October during Pubcon!
In search marketing, the bidding and optimization are fairly standardized across different marketers and agencies. Most search engines and bidding platforms enable users to conduct sophisticated optimizations. But for traffic forecasting, there isn’t an industry standard process. During my 7 years in search, this is the one subject no two marketers can consistently agree on.
Traffic forecasting is important, because accurately assessing the investment and performance potential could help set the appropriate expectation between different stakeholders. Secondly, it almost always needs to be determined weeks if not months ahead of the activity, in order for the clients or other budget providers to procure. Lastly, in a large agency environment with multi-channel campaigns, having an accurate SEM budget forecast allows different media teams to allocate the right relative investment and create the most optimal media mix.
In addition, most marketers have the resources to do it. But sometimes, important factors are left out of the process. In a large multi-million dollar per quarter campaign, missing a key factor during forecasting could lead to a large absolute deviation.
For me, the forecasting process should include two steps. The first is to project what you could spend, by estimating the full market capacity. The second is to define what you should spend.
To estimate market capacity, you need three factors: historical performance, historical Share of Impressions, and the projected change in search volume.
Now we have estimated the 2014 traffic at full capacity, we move onto the question of how much we should spend. In this step, we need two new factors: Internal KPI/goal.
Using this methodology, you’ll be able to forecast accurately and set the appropriate expectations across all stakeholders!
Cong is a Paid Search & Paid Social Director at GroupM, leading the efforts across multiple clients and publishers. She’s responsible for driving market and performance analysis, SEM strategy, digital best practices and processes. Her industry experience spans across consumer electronics, pharmaceutical, consumer logistics, B2B technology, auto, finance, travel, and education.
Cong graduated from Swarthmore College, where she studied economics, statistics, and philosophy, after a short stint in Engineering. Before SEM took over her life, she sang in an Acapella group and enjoyed flamenco dancing. In August 2013 she climbed Indonesia’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi, and fortunately, it did not erupt that day.
It’s an exciting day at Marin and for advertisers around the globe. Today we finalized our acquisition of Perfect Audience; an innovative San Francisco based retargeting company. We’re thrilled to have them join us and enhance our remarketing expertise and bolster our industry-leading search, social and display performance advertising platform.
With the acquisition of Perfect Audience, advertisers not only get powerful programmatic display capabilities across the web, but also direct access to Facebook Exchange (FBX), Google’s Doubleclick Ad Exchange, and Twitter. For marketers looking to move away from inefficient point solutions, Marin is the only platform that offers audience-based ad buying across devices and channels.
You know your first party data is your advantage to effectively measure, manage and optimize across channels to win more revenue. Your search data reveals purchase intent. Your social data shows valuable demographic info. Your retargeting offers a trove of behavioral data. Marin’s advertisers will be able to easily combine and analyze all three data streams in a single place to better inform and execute smarter audience buying across the vast search, display and social landscapes.
For example, Marin’s support of Google RLSA in conjunction with Perfect Audience enables advertisers to use their highly valuable first-party data to not only influence display retargeting but also improve search retargeting. Such a 360-degree approach to audience based retargeting in a single platform is a first for advertisers.
Marketers invest big $ to drive prospects to their websites, but generally less than five percent of this traffic becomes customers. Adding Perfect Audience’s retargeting capabilities enables Marin’s advertisers to target the 95% of their traffic that doesn’t convert, generating more revenue from their online advertising programs.
If you’re not familiar with Perfect Audience, we encourage you to check out their powerfully simple platform. In addition to integrating the Perfect Audience platform with Marin, Perfect Audience will also continue to be available as a standalone tool. So, it’s business as usual for current Perfect Audience customers.
Curious about more acquisition details, then check out the FAQ.
Recently, Google worked with Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased® to better understand local search behavior. Unsurprisingly, they found that four out of five consumers prefer and expect that their searches be contextualized to their location. However, it’s important to look at just how much local search affects consumer behavior.
The majority of mobile searches have local intent. According to Google’s study, 56% of all smartphone searches outside the home are done with some form of local intent, along with a little over half of those done in-store. The information consumers are usually looking for are general information for storefronts, such as location and hours.
Consumers respond well to local advertising. When local searches are performed on a mobile phone, half of them resulted in an in-store visit, compared to a third of local searches done on a desktop. In addition, local searches are over two times more likely to result in a sale within the day than a non-local search. While local searches may inherently have more intent to convert than a non-local search, it is still important to note that there is such a significant uptick in conversion rates.
Consumers can influence impulse visits to stores. Google’s study reported that 32% of consumers who viewed localized ads were triggered to make a store visit and perhaps a purchase. Another 19% of consumers said that localized ads caused them to make an unplanned visit or purchase.
What does this all mean for advertisers? It means that if you’re not utilizing location-based advertising, you should be.
Whether it is a click-to-call button, address information, or radius bidding, localized ads drive more in-store visits, calls and conversions than non-localized advertising. While this is particularly true for brick-and-mortar stores, it can also be a factor for online-only companies – it just comes down to understanding the audience demographic which may be localized to certain zip codes or regions. Optimizing advertising budgets for contextually relevant ads will improve overall consumer experience and ultimately drive more sales.
This weekend, Marin is releasing support for Google’s location bid boost capability feature, making it easy for advertisers to take advantage of the benefits. Advertisers can use the feature to easily create and adjust location targets and exclusions, and add location bid adjustments across their Google accounts with one simple bulk form. We’re happy to help our clients extend their relevance and reach consumers on every device and at every point in the purchase process with this new support.
Agencies have come a long way since the “Mad Men” days. The rapid proliferation and fragmentation of digital, social and mobile platforms has fundamentally altered their role in the advertising landscape. Now they need to be mindful of integrating online and offline data, dealing with cross-channel attribution, implementing digital ad tracking technology, and more.
To help agencies get an overview of these considerations, we just released “An Agency Primer for Digital Advertising Optimization.” It includes lots of integration and optimization strategies, and you can download a copy here.
As a quick preview into the Agency Primer best practices, let’s take a quick look at how agencies can integrate new channels and vertical publishers. While the major search engines have held strong as the most utilized research channel, other channels and websites are stealing market share by offering a compelling research experience.
Here are 5 tactics to consider:
1. Leverage Niche Search Engines as an Acquisition Channel. Niche search engines often present attractive advertising solutions for marketers looking to enhance their visibility in the search results. In the travel vertical, consider Expedia and TripAdvisor. In retail, look into Amazon, eBay, PriceRunner, Twenga, and Kelkoo. Or think about comparison websites such as MoneySuperMarket, Compare the Market, Confused.com, or Go Compare.
2. Expand and Optimize Affiliate and Referral Networks. Affiliate marketing, which consists of a revenue sharing relationship between websites and advertisers, has grown considerably over the past several years. Agency marketers often appreciate the pay-for-performance model and recognize the channel as an important part of the customer journey. If you choose to go this route, make sure to review and optimize to reward sites with the highest quality traffic.
3. Advertise on Review Sites to Build Awareness and Consideration. Review sites offer opportunities for highly targeted advertising due to the amount of customer information available. Agency marketers should not be afraid to suggest using review site advertising as a way for clients to drive incremental traffic and revenue.
4. Leverage Retargeting to Re-Engage Potential Customers. In order to retarget a campaign, marketers can leverage a variety of Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) or ad exchanges. No matter how you decide to set this up, make sure to adhere to retargeting best practices. These include capping the number of impressions each unique user can be served to avoid over-serving any one user, and carefully crafting your retargeting criteria based on the content they previously engaged with.
5. Test Second-Tier Search Engines and Search Networks. Many agency marketers have started to experiment with second-tier engines as a means of sustaining traffic at target profit margins. While traffic is generally lower on these networks, acquisition costs can be quite attractive. Consider Sendori, AdKnowledge, Advertise.com, AdMarketPlace, and others.
For more strategies and tactics, download “An Agency Primer for Digital Advertising Optimization” today.
Last week, we revealed data showing the benefits of an integrated cross-channel strategy. But implementing that kind of strategy is easier said than done. Here are some practical tips from our latest white paper, The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising.
1) Assess Your Organization’s Cross-Channel Capabilities - Only 44% and 35% of marketers respectively feel that their paid search and social marketing channels are tightly integrated with their overall marketing activities. That’s way too low! To get more aligned, first ask these questions to assess your organization’s cross-channel capabilities:
2) Target High-Value Audiences Across Search and Social - To reach the right customer with the right buying intentions at the right time, take advantage of audience retargeting across search and social publishers:
3) Measure Performance Across Channels - Marketers who analyze their search and social campaign ROI holistically are able to make better decisions faster. Here are some considerations:
4) Optimize Across Channels Toward Audience Lifetime Value - If you focus on channel-specific metrics, chances are good that you’re missing out on the bigger picture. Instead, opt for an integrated search and social optimization strategy that focuses on customer lifetime value:
Looking for more search and social best practices? You don’t want to miss out on our white paper. Download it here and benefit from lots of data, 5 strategies, and 15 tactics to integrate your search and social campaigns.
You already know the data on search and social channels is compelling – more than 92% of the global internet population uses search engines, and more than 73% use social platforms. But when it comes to managing spend across these two channels, marketers are still figuring out what works best.
We recently conducted a study into search and social marketing programs drawing on the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, an advertising data set from leading global brands that manage more than $6 Billion in annualized ad spend through Marin’s platform.
The results show that customers are more valuable when they engage with both search and social ads, but also that integrated search and social campaigns perform better than campaigns run in isolation.
Here are some key takeaways from our new white paper, The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising:
1) Customers Who Click on Your Search and Social Ads are More Likely to Buy: Users who clicked on both an advertiser’s search and social ads had an approximately 2x greater conversion rate than users who clicked on the search ad only. The impact of a cross-channel touch was even greater when examining social clicks. Users who clicked on both the search and social ads had a click-through rate approximately 4.5x times higher than users who only clicked on social ads.
2) Customers Who Click on Your Search and Social Ads Spend More: Users who clicked on both a search and social ad contributed approximately 2x more revenue per click than users who clicked on search ads only. Multi-channel touch points are even more valuable for social advertising. Users who clicked on both a search and social ad contributed 4x more revenue per click than users who clicked on a social ad only.
3) Search Campaigns Perform Better When They Are Managed Alongside Social Campaigns: According to the study, search campaigns that are managed alongside social advertising campaigns have 26% higher revenue per click than search campaigns managed in isolation. An integrated search and social management strategy also benefits an advertiser’s revenue per conversion. Advertisers have 68% higher revenue per conversion from their search campaigns when they are managed together with social advertising campaigns.
For more data and actionable best practices, make sure to download The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising. How are you running your search and social campaigns? Drop us a line in the comments.