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Archive for ‘Display’

Google’s Customer Match: How to Use First-Party Data for Best-in-Class Performance

By November 19th, 2015

This is a guest post from Dionte Pounds, Account Manager at
3Q Digital.

Customer Match is an exciting new feature that Google recently unveiled that can greatly strengthen your ability to connect with an existing customer base. You now have the option to upload the email addresses of past customers or email subscribers directly to AdWords. You can then target that audience through Google Search, Gmail, or YouTube. Similar features are already available through AdRoll and Facebook. With Google’s newest addition, you can now leverage 1st-party data across yet another network.

This is fantastic news for all advertisers, particularly those in possession of large lists of customer emails who are looking for new ways to utilize that data to improve marketing efforts. Every marketer I know is looking for a better way to increase marketing efficiency, so this should really benefit all of us.

Google is allowing you to take what you know about your customers and use that to drive messaging across devices and platforms. This, in turn, allows you to build loyalty and repeat purchases among an existing customer base.

Three Main Methods for Leveraging
Customer Match

1) The first, and most obvious, way to use Customer Match is to stay in front of your customers. If someone has made a purchase from your business, these audiences can be used to target existing customers and keep your brand fresh in their mind. This encourages repeat purchases and leads to incremental gains.

2) The second is to re-engage past buyers who haven’t interacted with your brand in an extended period of time. Imagine Jane Doe bought a stereo in January and hasn’t purchased from your brand since. You can now create an audience specifically to target her, and individuals like her, when they’re logged into the Google network.

3) The third method is to create a negative audience. This audience is made from a group of people whom you do not want to see your ads. (Maybe you don’t want to risk overexposure, or you wouldn’t benefit from re-engaging this audience.) Businesses focusing on generating leads fit into this category. Customer Match allows you to create and exclude that audience from your advertising campaigns. As a result, you only capture new leads.

There’s a Low Barrier of Entry

Setup for Customer Match is simple. Upload a .csv file containing hashed email addresses directly into AdWords. The larger the list the better, since audiences with fewer than 1,000 members won’t be targeted through any of Google’s networks for privacy reasons. Once processed, you have a new audience to target across devices and channels like any other remarketing audience.

The one exception here is the Display Network, since this feature is not yet compatible. For YouTube and Gmail, Google also creates a “Similar Audience” when eligible. This can increase overall lead volume by allowing you to target audiences made of new users who exhibit characteristics similar to your Customer Match lists.

Customers Come First

Google goes to great lengths to protect user privacy, and this feature is no different. All data uploaded to AdWords must be 1st-party data. All email addresses must be hashed before uploading. Once they’ve been processed and matched to Google users, all data is discarded. This process ensures that all user information remains safe and protected throughout the entire matching process.

Additionally, advertisers must provide a link to a webpage where users manage email preferences. This link is a requirement, and you won’t be able to use Customer Match without providing it. Failure to comply with Google privacy policy can result in being denied the ability to use the Customer Match feature and in some cases, account suspensions.

To summarize, if you have a large amount of 1st-party data, Customer Match is a feature you should definitely test. It’s simple to implement and can be used in a variety of ways across Search, Gmail, and YouTube. Since Google makes privacy a top priority, you don’t need to worry about putting any of your customer base at risk. Overall, the AdWords team has made a great improvement that makes it easier for businesses to enhance consumer relationships and brand loyalty.

How to Fine-Tune Your Holiday Retargeting Campaign to Boost Performance

By November 18th, 2015

Pumpkin spice lattes. Cold weather. Football on TV. That can only mean one thing – the holidays are here!

While you’re busy planning your holiday vacation, family meals, or gift shopping plans, remember to schedule a few minutes for your retargeting campaigns. Consumers are ready to spend billions over the next six weeks (especially online!) so make sure you adjust your campaign settings to capitalize on the holiday rush.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to boost your campaign performance for the holidays:

Increase your budgets

With all that holiday shopping going on, you’re likely going to see a boost in site traffic, which means you’ll see an associated boost in impressions served and advertising funds spent. Make sure your campaigns have a proper budget set to guarantee you have enough ad money available for the day, so that you don’t miss out on these potential new customers.

We recommend a 25-50% budget increase for the holidays, but you know your site traffic best. Whatever % of traffic increase you’re expecting, boost your budget about that same %.

Raise your campaign bids

Consumers will be spending a lot of money on products, but that also means advertisers are spending a lot of money on ads. You’re going to have competition! With so many advertisers fighting for ad space, it’s not uncommon to see your CPM costs rise during this time of year. To be ready for this, make sure you increase your CPM bids across your campaigns. Allowing your campaigns to bid a higher amount will make them more competitive and give you a better chance of serving more ads. We suggest increasing your CPM bid by 50-100% of the current average CPM cost for the campaign.

Use holiday themed ads and landing pages

Your potential customers are thinking, talking, and singing about the holidays this time of year. Join that conversation! Using ads that mention specific events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday can grab a visitor’s attention. Send them holiday cheer, mention that there are X number of shopping days left, and give them a reason to click on your ads. Use the holidays as a call to action, and you could see a boost in clicks and conversions.

Create landing pages and content on your site for these holiday events, then create audiences that capture visitors of these pages. (Information about audiences is available here.)

Finally, create campaigns to serve your holiday ads to your holiday page visitors. If they’re coming to your site looking for holiday deals, they are more likely to respond to holiday themes ads.

We hope these suggestions are helpful and lead to a profitable holiday season for you and your business. As always, please feel free to contact us at with any questions or comments.

From our team to yours – happy holidays!

3 Tips for Using CRM Data to Reach People Across Channels

By November 16th, 2015

With the recent release of Google’s Customer Match, the ability to target users through their email address has finally come to search advertising. This type of targeting has been available in social since Facebook announced Custom Audiences in 2013, and is accessible to display through data onboarding. Now, because of Google’s new feature, advertisers can target users using this data across search, social, and display, and across multiple devices.

This opens up many new possibilities for cross-channel, cross-device advertising. As it stands, a large percentage of marketing CRM emails are never opened. Advertisers can’t depend on email alone to connect with high-value customers in a CRM. We recommend using your CRM data to serve ads across search, social, and the web.

How do publishers match emails or user IDs to users across the web?

First, some background. The deterministic matching method relies on personally identifiable information commonly stored in CRM systems. With this method, a linkage is made when a user in your CRM uses the same email address or social media user IDs to log into an app and a website – across browsers and devices.

As long as a user is logged in across devices and targeting is set up across channels, advertisers and publishers can use this unique identifier to target those users cross-channel, on multiple devices.

Advantages over cookie-based remarketing

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Display Networks already allow you to serve ads to previous site visitors with remarketing lists. This is traditionally done with cookie pools. Customer Match, Custom Audiences, and display customer targeting all allow you to advertise to recognized, signed-in users wherever they are – whether it’s mobile, tablet, laptop, or desktop.

This cross-channel path is difficult for cookies to traverse. It’s also hard for cookies to move across different browsers, and users can easily delete most cookies.

The other main advantage is that CRM data can be collected from multiple offline sources. For example, retailers can ask for a customer’s email address after an in-store purchase, or a travel agent can ask for an email address after a phone booking is made.

The Best Uses of CRM Data to Amplify Cross-Channel Reach

1. Do the Right Thing for the Right Channel

When it comes to matching CRM data with users for targeting, each online advertising channel has slightly different options. Be sure to make the most of each channel’s unique possibilities.

Email addresses

Google’s Customer Match is a new product designed to help you reach your highest-value customers on Google Search, YouTube, and Gmail. Customer Match allows you to upload of a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google in a secure and privacy-safe way. From there, you can build campaigns in Marin with highly relevant targeting and specifically tailored messaging for your audience.

Email lists, phone numbers, Facebook user IDs, Twitter IDs, mobile advertisers IDs

Custom Audiences (Facebook) and Tailored Audiences (Twitter) make it easy to target specific customers or prospects at scale. It allows you to match your customer list against Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter users in a secure and privacy-safe way. Advertisers can use Marin to target users across social platforms and devices.

Email addresses, CRM, point of sale, and mobile advertisers IDs

Through uploading emails, CRM data, point of sale, and mobile advertisers IDs, data onboarding technology (such as LiveRamp) can match your anonymized data to online devices and digital IDs, and segment audiences. These audience segments can then be sent to Marin for display targeting.


2. Be Sure to Segment

Segmentation is key to the success of CRM targeting for search, social, and display. Users can be segmented by value, actions, loyalty, recency, and satisfaction, among many other options – the segmenting possibilities of your customer database are virtually unlimited. You can use all of these segments for innovative advertising, such as enhancing your strategy, target audiences, and creative based on fresh and reliable data.

3. Go Cross-Channel

Using CRM data for targeting can produce fantastic results in single-channel siloes. However, when it’s used as part of a cross channel marketing strategy, the number of creative marketing tactics becomes almost limitless.

One common example of using CRM data across channels is targeting users with tailored messages across search, social, and display, depending on whether or not they’re existing customers.

Channel exclusion lists are just as important as positive targeting lists. In addition to reaching specific audiences with your ads, you can exclude unprofitable channels but still reach the same audiences.

For example, suppose an advertiser is in an industry where search keywords are particularly expensive. But, they want to update existing customers about a new product in a more cost-effective way. They could exclude the existing users from search targeting but still advertise to them on social and display.

CRM targeting strategies also open up new customer care and support avenues outside of phone, email, or direct mail. If a customer has a specific issue, it can be resolved at the level of a search query. Using CRM data, you could automatically deliver the most relevant information and links based on the products or services your customers are using, even if they use the exact same search query to search for information.

Using CRM data and user matching addresses a number of the challenges of cookie-based remarketing. It also helps bridge the gap between offline and online marketing activities. With Google’s new Customer Match, CRM data can now be used to actively target across search, social and display. This paves the way for innovative cross-channel, cross-device advertising strategies.

Mobile Ads Are Dominating Display Advertising

By November 12th, 2015

In just a year, display has gone from a desktop-based ad channel to a mobile one, showing a dramatically faster shift than either search or social. Not only has the display advertising world seen huge changes this year, but even more changes are anticipated in 2016.

This is indicative of a larger trend in digital advertising as a whole, where consumers are spending more time and attention on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets instead of desktops. In response, advertisers are allocating more and more of their display budget to targeting mobile consumers.

During Q3 2015, consumer engagement with display ads moved very decidedly towards smartphones. Over half of all display ad clicks came from a smartphone, and these ad clicks resulted in the majority of conversions.

eMarketer predicts that, by end of year, 60.5% of display ad budgets will be on a mobile device, and we’re seeing the same trends within Marin. This added consumer attention has translated to heightened innovation in the mobile display ad space. New formats for display ads are coming out on a regular basis, replacing the old banner ads to help encourage more click-through and conversion on mobile display ads.

For more information about the current state of display advertising and forecasts for 2016, download our report, The Q3 2015 Performance Marketer’s Benchmark Report, and check out our industry infographic below.


How to Set the Right Lookback Window for
Every Audience

By October 28th, 2015

It’s good strategy to periodically review your retargeting campaigns to make sure you’re hitting your volume and performance goals. An important part of that is setting the right lookback window for each of your audiences.

This post discusses lookback windows, why they’re important, and how to set or change them in Marin Display.

What is a lookback window?

A lookback window tells Marin Display how far back in time to look in an audience to retarget users. When you create a new audience, Marin Display will automatically start adding visitors to it as soon as they start hitting the pages you’ve chosen. But what if you only want to retarget visitors in this audience for 30 days? Set your lookback window to 30 days and you’ll retarget them up to that number.

Why are lookback windows important?

Lookback windows play a substantial role in your campaign’s impression volume and spend, as well as performance metrics like click-through rates (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), and adjusted cost-per-acquisition (aCPA).

If you’d like to increase your campaign’s reach, consider lengthening your lookback windows. That’ll allow you to retarget your audience for greater lengths of time and increase your impression volume. However, keep in mind that your CTR may start to drop if you set too long of a window.

If your campaign’s reach is limited by your budget – or if you’d just like to give a boost to your CTR, CPC, or aCPA numbers – consider shortening your lookback windows. This will eliminate impressions you’re serving to your most distant visitors. As you free up budget to retarget your most recent and engaged visitors, you should begin to see more clicks and conversions in your campaigns.

How do I set my lookback windows?

When creating or editing a campaign, your first task is to select the audiences you’d like to retarget, and set your lookback windows for each audience. In the box labeled “Targeting”, look for the “Lookback Window” fields and enter a value for each audience you’d like to target or exclude:


You can set lookback windows for a specific number of hours, days, or months. If you’re new to retargeting, or have recently started retargeting a brand new audience, we recommend starting with a window between 30 and 60 days to get a feel for performance.

Lookback windows work for exclusions, too. In the example above, we’ve created a cart abandonment campaign that excludes customers who’ve made purchases. If you’d like to exclude your customers from your campaign for a specific amount of time before potentially retargeting them for repeat purchases, you can use a lookback window to achieve that goal.

For more information on lookback windows and campaign setup, check out our knowledge base.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our Customer Success Team. If you’re new to Marin Display, try it for free and get a $100 credit toward your first retargeting campaign.

Planning Your Media Budget and KPIs for the Holiday Season

By October 27th, 2015

Managing your holiday media budget is key to maximizing performance during the annual shopping frenzy. Without the right strategy in place, you risk over-investing in an under-performing segment of your program, while leaving opportunity on the table in another area.

Metrics that matter

Before planning your holiday media budget, understand metrics. CPCs and CPMs increase substantially during the holiday season. Research indicates you should expect to pay at least 2.5x your normal CPC or CPM to show Facebook ads on Black Friday. To add to the mix, Black “Friday” is stretching out to last a month, according to Google. Although CPCs increase during the holidays, keep in mind that the potential for revenue growth is substantial.

Rethinking holiday KPIs

You might have been able to hit your 3-to-1 ROAS goal in July when CPMs were $5. However, come November, this may be unrealistic as CPMs increase by 2 or 3x. Proactively adjust efficiency expectations to avoid missing out on the increased order volume opportunity. Instead of aiming for a strict efficiency goal, consider optimizing to a volume target, perhaps with a cap on minimum ROAS, or cost-per-engagement you’re willing to accept for any given segment of your program.

Holiday media budget framework

Most of the year, digital media budget pacing can be fairly consistent. However, during the holidays there are major shopping days, promotional events, and changes to customer behavior. The goal for holiday budget pacing should be to optimize spend for the highest revenue-per-impression (RPI) days, rather than to spend the budget evenly from day to day.

Further, the fewer constraints placed on budget allocation, the better performance will be. Rather than enforcing strict budgets between ad networks, regions, brands, or products, set targets and enable your team to make investment decisions based on performance in real time.

Holiday shopping behavior is unlike any other time of the year. We hope these well-thought-out rules can provide a budget planning framework to gain maximum traction this holiday season.


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.

Click here to schedule a free demo of the Creative Optimization platform today.

5 Steps to Victory in the Holiday Advertising Game

By October 21st, 2015

We continue to get closer and closer to the busiest time of year for e-commerce businesses and the most festive for online consumer traffic. Our teams at Marin Software have even more tips and tricks for making sure you’re amply prepared.

To help you prepare your accounts for the holidays and top your competitors, we’ve put together five key action points you can start to implement today, directly in Marin.

1. Identify Your Target Audience and Determine Key Dates

There are several holidays between November and January. However, not every holiday is relevant to your customers – so, it’s important to focus and prepare for the dates and audiences that matter.

First, identify your customers. Are they discount shoppers looking for online bargains? Or shoppers looking for that special present for a loved one? Depending on what’s relevant to your business, bucket your strategy into interest-based audiences. For example:

  • Bargain hunters
  • Gift buyers
  • Cultural purchasers
  • Event purchasers

Next, plot the dates that could influence them to search and purchase online. Here’s a short list of eight dates that have the most impact on consumer behavior, and who the holiday appeals to most. Be sure to add these dates to your calendar!

  • Black Friday, 27th Nov: Bargain hunters
  • Cyber Monday, 30th Nov: Bargain hunters
  • Hanukkah, 6th Dec – 14th Dec: Gift buyers
  • Christmas, 25th Dec: Gift buyers
  • Kwanzaa, 26 Dec – Jan 1: Cultural purchasers
  • Boxing Day, 26th Dec: Bargain hunters
  • New Year’s Day, 1st Jan: Event purchasers
  • January sales, 1st Jan – 31st Jan: Bargain hunters

Review your target audience – will any of these dates affect their purchasing decision? In some cases, people might be interested in a holiday just to benefit from the special promotions that come with it. Instead of including the holiday name in your copy, try organizing by interest. To increase CTRs, tailor your creatives to match the holiday that appeals to your customers.

2. Implement Scheduled Actions

Creating ad copy for every holiday can become difficult to manage. Having a Christmas creative active on New Year’s Day can reflect poorly on your company. It’s important that a mechanism is in place to prevent this from happening.

Scheduled Actions in Marin enables you to schedule campaigns, groups, and creatives at a specified date and time. So, if you’re planning on ringing in the New Year on a beach in Mauritania, you can schedule your seasonal campaigns in advance and let Marin pause and activate them while you’re out of the office.

3. Use Ad Extensions

The top positions for your main keywords are prime real estate. With your competitors throwing compelling ad copy and offers into the ring, competition can be fierce. Just your presence alone in the top spot is not always enough.

To expand the size of your creatives and improve visibility, add Ad Extensions to them. This can increase CTR and brand awareness.

Leverage from your existing creatives’ quality score and add Ad Extensions to:

  • Sitelinks: Drive customers to holiday promotion pages
  • Location Extensions: Show your holiday opening and closing times
  • Call Out Extensions: Add a non-clickable festive message or promote an offer like ‘Free Shipping’

4. Exclude Dates from Bidding

Excluding dates from bidding allows you to leave out cost and conversion data for specified dates and date ranges. This is useful during seasonal periods where accounts experience unusual performance, which can skew bid calculations.

If the data is not a true reflection of normal performance, bids will be calculated based on this inaccurate data. To prevent this, exclude the relevant dates.

5. Retarget

Your additional holiday marketing efforts will very likely attract new visitors to your site. These new visitors may have gone to several sites before and after yours. With so many online holiday bright lights, it’s understandable how they could forget where they found that perfect product.

Use retargeting to help jog their memory, bringing them back to the original page where they first saw your offer. Whether you decide to use them or not, there’s no cost in building retargeting lists in AdWords and syncing them with Marin.

Each holiday attracts different search intent. Converting customers on Cyber Monday and Boxing Day could be listed as ‘Bargain hunters’, and customers converting on Christmas can be listed as ‘Gift Buyers’. Building retargeting lists around your target audience will enable you to promote offers across audiences through Display and Search.

We hope these tips get you well on your way to clinching the holiday gold. To learn more about how you can stand out this season, take a look at some of our recent content:

Mastering Audience Segmentation This
Holiday Season

By October 14th, 2015

The countdown for the holiday season is on – which means now’s the perfect time to review your retargeting strategies and adjust accordingly. To ensure your retargeting campaigns are delivering the right message to the right audience, audience segmenting is essential.

This post covers audience segmentation and the types of audiences you should have in your holiday campaign.

Identify Target Groups

Using your visitor intent data, segment your visitors into several groups, depending on the page they’ve visited.

  • Home page
  • Category page(s)
  • Product page(s)
  • Add to cart
  • Add to wish list
  • Cart page
  • Checkout page
  • Confirmation page (converted)
  • Sign-in / Login page

Set Up Campaigns Based on Intent

Once you’ve segmented your visitors this way, set up a number of high intent and low intent retargeting campaigns. Each campaign should have specific messaging and creative for the intended audience.

High Intent: Cart Abandonment

To set up a Cart Abandonment campaign, target users who’ve viewed the cart page but haven’t completed the checkout steps. With this campaign type, you can advertise a special holiday discount code or free shipping to get visitors to complete their purchase.

Low Intent: General Branding and Awareness

A General Branding campaign targets users who’ve visited your site but bounced off the home page. So, target the home page audience and exclude all other audiences.

Medium to High Intent: Add to wish list

This unique campaign type is one you can have during the holiday season to spread general brand awareness, or to target users with dynamic ads based on the products they’ve added to their wish list.

Important note: When setting up any of the above campaigns, always exclude users who’ve already converted. This’ll prevent you from spending your budget on users who’ve already made their purchase and may no longer be a good fit for the campaign.

Audience segmentation is key to having impactful campaigns and is the foundation to retargeting success. The above campaigns are just a few examples of what you can create with segmented audiences.

If you’re new to Marin Display, try it for free and get a $100 credit toward your first retargeting campaign.

Everything You Need to Know About Retargeting – a Perfect Audience and HubSpot eBook

By October 1st, 2015

In the old days of advertising, the name of the game was reach and frequency. Brands preferred mass media vehicles like television and radio, because they were the easiest means to reach large audiences and build brand awareness. Obviously, this meant the most effective advertising campaigns were dominated by the biggest brands with the largest marketing budgets.

If you’ve been reading our blog then you don’t need to be sold on the ways retargeting can help your business. However, putting everything together – building audiences, managing campaigns, optimizing performance, etc. – can sometimes feel overwhelming. This is especially true when retargeting is just one of the many marketing strategies that you focus on.

To help you out, we’ve teamed up with HubSpot, the world’s leading inbound and sales marketing platform, to bring you a free eBook, titled The Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting. In addition to providing context on the types of retargeting and the different ways it can help your business, we’ve collected some of our favorite tips and best practices for getting started, running your campaigns, creating good ads, and measuring and optimizing your performance.

Download the free eBook now and start learning how to use retargeting to increase leads and traffic today.

Google Chrome Blocks Adobe Flash Ads – and What That Means for You

By September 8th, 2015

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.

A Lot of Us Saw This Coming

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.

What If Your Media’s Still Flash-Based?

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:

  • If you haven’t already, upload static or animated GIF versions of your Flash ads, so there’s a suitable replacement that shows when the Flash ad doesn’t display.
  • Reduce spend on campaigns featuring Flash ads.
  • Although it’s ideal to recreate HTML5 versions of your ads from scratch to ensure they render properly, in a pinch, consider Flash to HTML5 conversion tools.
  • If you need to run Flash ads, segment them out into a different campaign, and block Chrome. They’ll still display on Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari, at least for now.

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.


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