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9 Essentials for Your Social Advertising Campaigns, Part 2

By February 16th, 2017

Episode 2: Targeting and Bidding

This is a three-part series that explores all the things social marketers should do when setting up their social ad campaigns. In our second post, we look at best practices to target effectively and bid for the greatest ROI. For the first three tips see our previous article on account structure and creative.

One of the main goals of the social marketer is to consistently target wider and more precise audience segments, while making smart bids based on a solid bidding model. Follow these best practices to ensure your social advertising campaigns are fine-tuned for the highest performance possible.

4. Target Wisely

When it comes right down to it, Facebook is mass media, and its algorithm performs better with large audiences. A best practice is to keep the target size above 100,000, especially for your prospecting campaigns. A few other rules of thumb:

  • Always keep an eye on your reach.
  • Avoid campaign overlapping—competing against yourself will lower your relevance score and obstruct spend. Use the detailed targeting feature to refine your audience.
  • Make use of email-based targeting and Website Custom Audiences.
  • Use lookalike audiences, the Facebook conversion pixel, and Fan Page.

You may also want to use split targeting, depending on:

  • How recently users have shown intent using the inclusion and exclusion feature
  • The level of intent (beginning of the sales funnel vs. the end)
  • User behavior
  • The purchase value

Marin Tip
Thanks to our Bulk Creator feature, you can easily A/B test and create multiple ad sets at once.

5. Allocate Placement

When you’re first starting out, it’s best to keep your mobile, desktop, Right Hand Side Ads (RHS), Audience Network, and Instagram placements separate. There are af few reasons for this:

  • Each one has different creative specifications.
  • They perform differently, and need different optimizations in terms of bid and budget.
  • If all placements are within the same ad set, Facebook optimizes toward the most successful one, and gives other placements a chance to spend and convert. In the end, you won’t know exactly how each placement performs.

6. Let the Audience Size Determine Bid Type

When the target size is above 100,000, bid oCPM. This’ll allow the algorithm to look for the users more likely to convert.

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Optimize for clicks and pay for impressions when your audience is between 80,000 and 100,000.

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For target sizes below 80,000, use the CPC bidding type.

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Marin Tip
Change bids across ad sets and campaigns in two clicks by clicking the Selected or All buttons.

Rake in More Revenue with a Combined Search and Social Strategy

By February 14th, 2017

We all know the two most popular websites in the world right now—Google and Facebook. On any given day, people are performing close to 3 billion Google searches, and over a quarter of the world’s population use Facebook. Bing is also growing fast and is now a major SEM contender.

 

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Image source: Parse.ly, 2016

 

Advertisers have much to gain from an integrated search and social advertising approach. But exactly how much?

To answer this question, we conducted a study of more than 200 enterprise advertisers managing Google, Bing, and Facebook campaigns. With billions of dollars in annualized ad spend managed on the Marin platform, we work with many of the world’s largest and most sophisticated advertisers.

Here’s what we found:

  • Customers who click search and social ads are more likely to buy. Users who click both an advertiser’s search and social ads had an approximately two times greater conversion rate than users who click the search ad only. Users who click both the search and social ads have a click-through rate approximately four and a half times higher than users who only click social ads.
  • Customers who click search and social ads spend more. Users who click both a search and social ad contribute approximately two times more revenue per click than users who click search ads only. Users who click both a search and social ad contribute six times more revenue per click than users who click a social ad only.
  • Search campaigns perform better when managed alongside social campaigns. Search campaigns managed alongside social advertising campaigns have two times more 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 almost 10% higher revenue per conversion from their search campaigns when managed together with social advertising campaigns.

For full research results and actionable tips for cross-channel success, download The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search and Social Advertising.

9 Essentials for Your Social Advertising Campaigns, Part 1

By February 9th, 2017

Episode 1: Account Structure and Creative

This is a three-part series that explores all the things social marketers should do when setting up their ad campaigns. In this post, we focus on making sure your account structure is solid and how to get the most from your creative.

Setting up a social advertising campaign can be a bit daunting. With so many things to consider in reaching your goals, strategy and tactics become crucial.

We’ve developed nine best practices—presented over a series of three articles—to ensure you have a strong foundation for social advertising success. If you’re a Marin customer, we’ve added Marin Tips tailored just for you.

1. Keep a Consistent Account Structure

The key to effective account structure is consistency—the more uniform your account structure is, the better Facebook’s algorithm will perform. We recommend including the following:

  • Test multiple placements. Test different placements at the ad set level, on different platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc), to understand performance across devices.
  • One ad set per demographic (gender, age range), with up to six ad sets per campaign. The algorithm will optimize ad sets against each other. Therefore, make sure all ad sets have similar target sizes to make it a fair fight.
  • Between two and six ads per ad set, each one testing an different element of the creative (landing page, call-to-action, creatives). The algorithm will find and push the best performing creatives. Be sure to pause the non-performing ads so the others have more budget.

A consistent structure helps you A/B test and understand why some variables trigger reactions and others don’t. From there, you can take action accordingly.

Consider each campaign as a test, where you refine based on lessons learned from each test.

Marin Tip
The Split button allows you to A/B test audiences in a single click.

2. Use Creatives That Resonate with Your Audience

Above all else—be different. Every business has its own identity, so use yours to find your tonality and compose smart ad copy. Here are a few more tips to stand out, get noticed, and stay current.

  • Use storytelling to make your ad attract eyes and your brand memorable.
  • Stay consistent across channels so customers recognize your brand.
  • No matter how good your creatives are, ad blindness and ad fatigue will happen. Keep refreshing images on a regular basis (two weeks on average).
  • Make the most of all Facebook ad types to engage with your audience in different ways and maximize conversions: Lead ads, Dynamic Ads, Carousel, Video, Slideshow, Canvas, and 360 photos and videos.

Marin Tip
For brand awareness, use Marin’s Reach & Frequency sequencing feature to control the order in which your ads are delivered—this is great for storytelling! Follow this link for more tips.

3. Use Videos

We all know video’s hot and only getting hotter. Make sure you’re creating killer videos and keeping people entertained, educated, and informed. In addition:

  • Keep it short. Facebook best practice is to keep video length between 15 and 30 seconds.
  • Make sure the thumbnail is attractive to your audience and relevant to your story. Change it regularly to fight ad fatigue.
  • Tell a story. As mentioned, storytelling is a great way to keep people watching all the way to the end of your video.
  • 50% of Facebook users watch videos without the sound. So, mention your brand and insert text within the first five seconds.
  • Turn on video re-engagement to people who watched your video. Retarget them with a link ad or carousel ad and a strong CTA.
  • Don’t have enough budget to develop a video? Slideshow is a great alternative.

Marin Tip
Use Carousel Ads, mixing videos and images and adding different CTAs.

Dynamic Ads: Digital Advertising of the Future

By January 24th, 2017

Dynamic Ads, if we must say so, is pretty badass. In the not-so-distant future, it’s the way all digital advertising on social and display will be delivered, regardless of industry or vertical.

Dynamic Ads for Travel (DAT) allows advertisers in the travel industry to automatically deliver personalized ads based on the interest people have shown on their travel site or app. Part of the Marin Social platform, DAT lets you seamlessly create dynamic audience and product sets across each phase of the buyer journey—from retargeting to cross-sell and up-sell.

Meliá Hotels International used DAT to lower its CPA and increase ROI by 6.7 times.

Watch the video to learn how DAT can help you target the right travel audiences, deliver thousands of relevant ads in seconds, and increase your conversions.

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Boost Media’s Digital Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2017

By December 21st, 2016

This is a guest post from Suzie Kronberger, VP of Marketing and Revenue Operations at Boost Media.

By the end of this year, digital will overtake TV ad spending in the U.S. for the first time—digital ad spend will reach $72B and TV will grow to $71B. Strategies that worked one year aren’t guaranteed to yield the same results the next, which means marketers must be on the lookout for change and innovation.

So, how far did we come in 2016, and what does 2017 have in store for digital marketers?

2016: Here’s What We Learned

Video is the future of advertising: Mark Zuckerberg said it during the spring ‘16 Facebook earnings call. We’re seeing it in the data. Customers are ordering loads of video ad creative.

Vertical video is much more engaging than 16:9 landscape videos: Snapchat’s insight that watching landscape videos on our phones is awkward was a game-changer. They have 10-12B vertical video views per day. Facebook has vertical video ads now. Watch for this format to proliferate.

  • Insider tip: Don’t shove your 16:9 into a vertical video! There’s a reason portrait mode is called that—your footage needs to focus on people/characters large, front, and center. Best to cut unnecessary scenery.

Mobile is where it’s at, but remember: 60% of Americans watched traditional TV programming on their mobile devices. If you’re in a vertical where there are certain aspects of the funnel where mobile isn’t the preferred device, then target accordingly. For U.S. retail, many purchases are still completed on desktop. Add-to-cart is significantly lower on smartphone (6.2%) compared to desktop (10.4%).

2017: Predictions

Major innovation in ad formats: 50% of clicks on mobile ads are accidental. With delivery platforms innovating rapidly, so will ad formats. Expect there to be new mobile ad formats that will help you drive much stronger engagement than you’ve achieved in the past.

Ad formats that provide user value: Ads that are highly engaging offer users something of value. Value can come in literal forms like offers and promos, but also in the form of humor or entertainment. An ad that people thoroughly enjoy can create deeper connections between the brand and the user.

Be ready to take creative to the next level: With the innovation in ad formats, there’ll be more opportunity to tell stories in compelling, interactive ways that you never could do before. Think big on the possibilities here, and get the help you need on developing new, cutting-edge concepts, mediums, and designs.

Creative makes a difference in capturing and maintaining user and consumer attention. But high-quality, cutting-edge creative doesn’t have to be expensive. Prioritize creative in next year’s budget so you’re prepared to take advantage of opportunities quickly.

Happy holidays and here’s to a successful 2017!

All You Need to Know to Win Big with Lead Gen Ads

By December 13th, 2016

Lead generation ads have many benefits, and are a great way of connecting with the people most likely to want your products. Looking to get even more qualified leads? Then lead gen ads are for you. Here a few things to keep in mind to get the best results and yes, “win big.”

Best Practices

A good way to maximize the effectiveness of your lead gen ads is to drive users to helpful content, such as….

A blog article. In the lead gen ad, provide a teaser to the content. Then, redirect the user to the actual article to continue reading and dive into the details.

A PDF: Have a piece of content you know your audience will love? Give them this gift by way of a lead gen ad. For example, if you run an online casino, provide them with a PDF guide on online gambling that includes useful advice to make them more confident in using your site.

A specific offer: Your existing clients might just love something tailored specifically to them. Think retention. Are you an
e-commerce site with promo codes for customers? A lead gen ad could be the solution, as it has the sense of ‘unfolding’ something that’s just for the individual consumer.

Continued Flow from Ad to Website

It may take you some time to put continued flow into action on your website, but once you do this—and once you’re whitelisted by Facebook—then users will be able to simply fill in their details into the lead gen ad on Facebook and won’t need to complete them again when they’re redirected to your site. This greatly improves the user experience.

Some of the details, such as the user’s name, are pre-populated in the lead gen form. After the user fills in the form, they’ll be redirected to your website, where not only will their name already be filled in, but any other required fields will also be pre-filled to avoid any redundancies between Facebook and website forms.

This all works seamlessly because of Facebook’s Continued Flow. Note that you’ll need to implement the Continued Flow API to make sure the flow works, and to ensure a smooth user experience with no need for the user to repeat actions. (It’s kind of like being transferred during a phone call and not having to explain things all over again.)

Mobile Versus Desktop

Like most online channels these days, mobile’s winning. Lead gen ads are no exception, and mobile placement tends to have better delivery and results.

For desktop ads, be sure to keep in mind that most browsers have pop-up blockers, so desktop users may not be redirected to your website. In this case, there goes your lead. And, due to security upgrades in modern browsers on desktop, it’s hard to bypass these blockers.

Since Facebook must currently live with these blockers, Continued Flow won’t work on desktop. For best results for your lead gen ads, focus on mobile.

Retargeting Campaigns

Make sure you’re taking the fullest advantage of your engaged lead ad audiences. Depending on traffic and results, run a retargeting campaign simultaneously.

Note that when you’re analyzing performance, look at blended CPAs to understand the real costs of your campaign.

Supporting Lead Ads

There are several complementary efforts you can launch to amplify the effectiveness of your lead gen ads.

Link the lead form data directly to your CRM system. Facebook integrates with several great providers, giving you the ability to send user data directly to your CRM system. From there, you can support your lead gen initiative with email or SMS campaigns. And, even if you decide not to launch a side campaign, you can still more easily download your new leads with a CRM integration.

Use email marketing. It’s a common practice for gambling companies to decrease their CPA by running email marketing campaigns to retarget users gained on Facebook. Why is this? These companies have a particular user funnel that involves a couple of conversions until they achieve the result of ‘getting the player’.

Other markets can greatly benefit from this, too. Consider running email marketing campaigns to support your lead gen ad efforts. Again, look at blended CPAs and the particular value this would have for you.

Take the Lead

All in all, there are plenty of opportunities to implement lead gen ads for your business and make your campaigns more successful. To find out how Marin can help you put lead gen ads into action, contact us today.

The Post-Christmas Buying Rush: Are Your Social Campaigns Prepared?

By November 9th, 2016

Shopping doesn’t end after the holidays—according to a National Retail Federation survey, 65% of shoppers plan to keep shopping after Christmas. Use this time of year to convert them to loyal customers with new demand generation and cross-sell opportunities.

Demand Generation and Cross-Sell

Don’t let your holiday campaigns go to waste—keep aiming for more purchases. Post-holidays is a great time to re-engage to drive demand.

  • Audience: Identify recent purchasers to showcase new collections to them. You can achieve this by using Website Custom Audiences (or Tailored Audiences on Twitter) with an appropriate retention window.
  • Ad formats: Use Dynamic Ads to automatically cross-sell complementary products or upsell higher value products from your catalog.
  • Creative: Focus on creative that defines your brand beyond the holidays to avoid ad fatigue and expand into the New Year. Your brand message should seamlessly transition from the holidays to the post-holiday period to maintain interest and create new opportunities, such as additional gear and add-ons for holiday presents (video games, DSLR bag, etc.), post-holiday flash promotions, etc.
  • Optimization: Optimize for product sales or conversions to maximize the delivery of your ad campaigns to people likely to convert, once again making sure that your pixel is capturing enough conversions per week.

For more tips on winning the holiday shopping game, download our Social Advertiser’s Holiday Guide.

How to Build an Effective Retargeting Program with Dynamic Ads

By November 2nd, 2016

Dynamic Ads enable you to automatically promote your entire catalog across devices. With Dynamic Ads, you have full control over the products you advertise, ensuring you’re reaching audiences who’ve expressed high intent to purchase with the most relevant products. Advanced tactics are also available—cross-sell, upsell, and even prospecting.

  • Audience: Segment audiences based on past browsing behavior. For example, you can create audiences of people who viewed or added products to their cart but didn’t purchase, then retarget them with the same products to increase their purchase intent.
  • Targeting: Upload your product catalog to Facebook and make sure it’s regularly updated. Build product sets by category, best sellers, or high-margin products.
  • Ad formats: It’s best practice to use Carousel Ads rather than static image link ads.
  • Creative: Test different variations with macros such as price, brand, and description in your ad text and Carousel titles.
  • Optimization: Always bid your maximum value for one-day post-click conversions, and make sure bid values match with audience behavior. For instance, “add to cart” is a higher intent than a simple “product view” and may justify a higher bid. Make sure your audience pools are broad enough to get sufficient delivery.

For more tips to make the most of your holiday ad campaigns across social media, download our Social Advertiser’s Holiday Guide.

How To Create Vertical Video Ads That Work

By October 31st, 2016

This is a guest post from Sarah Burns, Content Manager
at Boost Media.

Vertical video has become ubiquitous in the world of apps and social media, and the shift to vertical is changing the consumer experience. Vertical videos take up more space on the screen then horizontal, and smartphone users don’t have to rotate their phones first to watch. This creates a fully immersive and powerful experience every time a video is played.

Here are three creative tips to consider while adopting your vertical video strategy.

1. Rethink concepts

Find new techniques to film scenes and subjects that are optimized for vertical orientation. For example, close-ups of people, landscapes, and buildings work well vertically. Concentrate on one object to make the most impact visually. Consider how you might fill the space that appears if you tilt the camera up or down. Remember that creative should match the platform, the environment, and the context in which it’s being viewed, and be mobile-first.

2. Experiment with text overlays

Text overlays help tell a story quicker, which is important with video moving to shorter and shorter pieces. Consider using text for subtitles, which come in handy when translating videos to a foreign language, for example.

3. Revisit metrics

Due to the large size of vertical ads and the fully immersive video experience, vertical video ads are a great way to build awareness and drive increased site traffic. It’s not so much about completion of an ad as much as engagement time after the video. Test a variety of metrics to determine what works best for your organization.

 

About the Author

sarahSarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, and yoga.

About Boost Media

Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.

5 Strong DR-Focused Facebook Features for Q4

By October 27th, 2016

SEM has long been considered bottom-funnel advertising, but Facebook’s new and improved direct-response features mean you can turn the platform into a revenue machine over the coming weeks. Here are five essential direct response (DR) features available on Facebook—and how to use them to your advantage.

Carousel Ads

With Q4 bringing a high saturation of ad demand—especially ecommerce and retail for the holiday season—carousel ads are a great way to stand out. With these ads, you have the ability to tell a story about your brand or product. You can also showcase the different benefits of a signature product, or a range of products or product lines. More real estate means more opportunity to grab attention and gain potential new customers.

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Lead Gen Ads

If your focus is on lead gen, you should be using lead gen ads. The benefit here is that the user doesn’t need to leave Facebook to fill out your form. There are tons of fields to choose from—Facebook will try to fill them in automatically based on information from the user’s Facebook profile (which makes it a lot easier for someone to complete the form). You also have the option of putting up to three custom questions on the form that are specific to your company.

Wondering what creative works well? You can use carousel ads with this campaign objective to help tell your company’s story, list different benefits or services, etc. (Yes, we’re fond of carousel ads.)

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If you’re worried about spending a ton during a highly competitive season (remember, with Facebook ads, you’re competing for space, not keywords), we recommend establishing a test budget to figure out which messaging works, then open the budget spigot in Q1.

App Install Ads

If your focus is on app installs, Facebook now has a great new type of bidding to use for app install ads. You can now bid on in-app events such as a registration or purchase. Your cost per install may rise with this, but you’ll be targeting people who are more likely to complete the in-app event that’s most important to you.

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Lookalike Audiences

Trying to figure out who to target this season? Lookalike audiences should definitely be in the plan. With lookalike audiences, you can target from a 1% lookalike all the way to a 10% lookalike. A 1% lookalike will be the percentage most closely like your original seed audience, but once you find a seed audience that works, you can expand the percentage in order to scale more. Fee seed lists we see work well on Facebook are:

  • Top LTV users
  • Converters from Facebook
  • Most recent converters

04-howitworks

To go even deeper into lookalike audiences, make sure you caught Marin’s detailed article.

Pixel Implementation

Last but not least, make sure you’re confident in your pixel implementation! Once the pixel is placed, make sure you go through the user flow on your site a few times and test the pixel. You can use the Facebook Pixel Helper Tool extension on Google Chrome. With this tool, you’re able to see if the right event is firing on the page you want it to. Since you’re likely bidding oCPM for conversions (in order to maximize the number of conversions you can get), you want to ensure you’re optimizing on a conversion that’s firing correctly.

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Make sure you use all of the above features throughout the year, not just in Q4. But, to compete on Facebook and show some return for your dollar from now through mid-December, it’s imperative to use what’s available to you. These five features are a great start.

Resources

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