Archive for ‘Display’

Marin Software Joins Forces with Retargeting Experts Perfect Audience

By June 2nd, 2014

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.

Dos and Don’ts for Contextual Keyword Targeting, Part 2

By August 19th, 2013

display2This is a guest post by Jana Fung of MixRank.

In my first post in this series, we looked at the 5 biggest don’ts when it comes to contextual keywords. Now let’s consider a few things you can do to make your ads a success:

  • Do: Experiment with lower bidding strategies. When you’re testing out campaigns, it is usually recommended to start with a large budget and optimize as you go. However, clicks on the GDN can be up to 75% cheaper than paid search clicks. So don’t be afraid to start a test campaign with a small budget. If you find that you’re continuously missing out on impressions due to budget constraints, increase your budget incrementally and optimize your keywords and placements as you go.
  • Do: Try targeting keywords that are outside your current product offering. Although counter-intuitive, this actually expands your reach to the right audience. For example, if you’re selling luggage, your target audience includes travelers and you would use travel-related keywords. However, you may also want to use the keyword “airport security rules.” Although not included in your product offering, this keyword will reach an audience that is new to travelling and in need of luggage. Targeting keywords that are outside your product offering works well because keyword targeting on the GDN is not like paid search where you try to match intent. On the GDN, keyword targeting and ads should be created to reach new audiences, and should focus less on exact match product offerings.
  • Do: Spy on your competitors’ contextual keywords and scale your own keywords accordingly, by using free competitive intelligence tools like MixRank. As mentioned in Part 1 of this blog series, you shouldn’t be using a thesaurus to identify relevant keywords for your target audience. Free competitive intelligence tools like MixRank provide instant access to your competitors’ top performing contextual keywords and give you relevant keyword suggestions that you can test with your own campaigns.
  • Do: Add other layers of targeting in conjunction with keyword targeting. In addition to keyword targeting, the GDN offers placement targeting, interest targeting, topic targeting and re-marketing. With the exception of re-marketing, you should add at least one layer of targeting to increase precision for your intended audience. Keep in mind that if you add too many layers of targeting, volume may significantly decrease, so be sure to check the estimated display reach within your Display Network tab.
  • Do: Limit the number of keywords per ad group to 3-6 to increase precision, relevancy and Quality Score (QS). Because keyword targeting on the GDN only allows for broad match, it doesn’t make sense to add variations of the same keyword as you would in paid search for exact and phrase match targeting. If you’re targeting too many broad match keywords that aren’t thematically related within a single ad group, your QS may suffer and hurt campaign performance.

While this is just a starter list of what you should consider when building out your contextual keywords and ad campaigns, it is imperative to understand the differences between the Search network and the Display network. Display advertisers are creating ads and keyword targets to reach specific audiences, while search advertisers are creating ads and keyword targets to reach specific intentions.

What contextual keyword dos or don’ts have you had success with in the past? Share them with us in the comments section below.

About the Author
Jana Fung, guest author of this post, is the Marketing Manager of MixRank. She has managed successful demand generation programs for over 6 years. is a spy tool for contextual and display ads. With MixRank you can see exactly where your competitors are buying traffic and which ad copy is performing best for them across over 100,000 sites. If you’re a MixRank fan or just want to say hi, Jana is interested in connecting with you! Follow her on Twitter @jana_fung.

Dos and Don’ts for Contextual Keyword Targeting, Part 1

By August 16th, 2013

google display network keywords contextualThis is a guest post by Jana Fung with MixRank.

Contextual advertising on the Google Display Network (GDN) is often an overlooked strategy to gain additional traffic at a low cost. Although willing to test out campaigns, advertisers have had little success optimizing them due to the vast difference between contextual keyword targeting and paid search keyword targeting. With high expectations for contextual ads, advertisers are often disappointed and shocked when the ads do not perform similarly to paid search campaigns.

In this series, I’ll discuss some dos and don’ts when it comes to testing contextual keywords on the GDN. Let’s start with some watch-outs:

  • Don’t: Copy and paste your best performing long tail keywords from paid search campaigns into new contextual ad groups. The GDN only offers broad match keyword targeting, so lengthy, descriptive keywords are more likely to harm your campaigns than to help them.
  • Don’t: Group keywords the same way you would group them for paid search campaigns. Consider using shorter and broader keyword terms that you can thematically group together.
  • Don’t: Add negative keywords as an optimization strategy. Since you’re using a variety of websites to reach as many relevant audiences as possible, you’re better off noting what sites your ads are performing poorly on and excluding those from your campaign using negative placements.
  • Don’t: Expect contextual keyword performance to have similar or comparable outcomes to your paid search keywords. Even though you’re using the same ad platform, Google AdWords, this does not mean the ad channels are equal or that they should they be measured in the same way.
  • Don’t: Rely on a thesaurus to expand your contextual keyword targets and scale quickly. A thesaurus helps with paid search campaigns where you aim to expand your reach to every query that’s synonymous with your product offering. However, for contextual keyword targeting, the main goal is to reach your target audience on different websites. Therefore, instead of focusing on synonymous keywords, focus on keywords that will help you reach similar audiences. In the next post, we’ll discuss some strategies to help you expand and scale on contextual keywords.

Now that you know what not to do, join us next week with Part 2 of this series where will discuss what contextual keyword strategies to implement and how to create precise targeting for your campaigns.

About the Author
Jana Fung, guest author of this post, is the Marketing Manager of MixRank. She has managed successful demand generation programs for over 6 years. is a spy tool for contextual and display ads. With MixRank you can see exactly where your competitors are buying traffic and which ad copy is performing best for them across over 100,000 sites. If you’re a MixRank fan or just want to say hi, Jana is interested in connecting with you! Follow her on Twitter @jana_fung.

Refresh, Relocate & Remove – Three Strategies for Retargeting Success, Part 2

By March 5th, 2013

Retargeting Audiences 2Innovation in retargeting technology has increased over the last few years. With new players, the simplification of tools, and an increase in platform integrations, retargeting has become a valuable channel for reacquiring leads and filling in the middle of the marketing funnel. Last week in part one of our two part series, we discussed why testing platforms, setting realistic call-to-actions (CTA), and segmenting visitors are all critical to a successful retargeting program. Today, we’ll conclude our discussion by reviewing the importance of refreshing ad creative, integrating geo-targeting strategies, and opting out employees from retargeting campaigns.

Refresh: Update Ad Creative Often

Ads that are used to retarget your visitors tend to follow them around as they surf the web. The constant bombardment of the same or similar ads can not only lead to ad blindness, but can also frustrate your audience. To increase the likelihood that your visitor pool will notice and engage with your retargeting campaign, consider refreshing your ad creative frequently—every week or month depending on your business needs. Consider testing new CTAs, promoting a different piece of collateral, or simply changing the look and feel of your ad creative. The more often you refresh your ads, the more opportunities there are to re-engage your audience.

Relocate: Integrate a Geo-Targeting Strategy

The scope of your business or the engagement of your audience might be isolated to a specific geography—shipping only within the United Kingdom or a contest that only includes Australian residents.  If geography is a limitation or plays a significant factor for your business, it’s important to understand which retargeting vendors support geo-targeting functionality. Even if your campaigns are performing well, there are still opportunities to remove specific geographies and eliminate unwanted impression and clicks that result in wasted spend and unqualified leads. On the other hand, geo-targeting an emerging market and retargeting visitors to promote additional discover can help grow brand and lead generation efforts in strategic geographies.

Remove: Opt Out Employees

Employees who visit your company’s website often times become a bullseye for your retargeting campaigns. While the number of impressions may not make a huge impact on overall campaign performance, they still represent valuable impressions and spend that could’ve been directed towards a more qualified audience. Most platforms don’t really offer a simple solution for addressing this challenge (i.e. IP exclusion).  However, you can build a segment, for example visitors to your website’s Careers page, and exclude it from your retargeting campaigns.  Ask your colleagues to visit the Careers page once and they should be “opted out” of retargeting (depending on cookie settings).  This is by far the most efficient and effective solution I’ve found to date (let me know if you leverage a different strategy).

Marin Software Careers Page

Retargeting remains a critical marketing channel for reaching and re-engaging your potential customers. As you manage and optimize your retargeting program, keep the six strategies and best practices in mind. They’ll help you kick-start your program and optimize campaign performance for long-term success.

“Let’s Try This Again…” – Three Strategies for Retargeting Success, Part 1

“Let’s Try This Again…” – Three Strategies for Retargeting Success, Part 1

By February 27th, 2013

Retargeting Audiences

Retargeting has been a commonplace strategy for online marketers for quite some time. However, many companies, specifically non-retailers, overlook the value of this channel for reacquiring leads and filling in the middle of the marketing funnel. Over the last few years, the landscape for display retargeting has seen a sharp rise in innovation; new players, the simplification of tools, and an increase in platform integrations have made it easier for online marketers to kick-start and expand their retargeting strategies. In part one of this two part series, we’ll discuss why testing platforms, setting realistic call-to-actions (CTA), and segmenting visitors are all critical to a successful retargeting program.

Test Multiple Platforms

Don’t get complacent. Just because one retargeting campaign is performing well, doesn’t mean you should stop exploring other platforms. Many vendors offer very similar tools, however you may be able to amplify your message by reaching a broader audience on placements that your original platform may not have been working with. Due to the relatively low risk and ease of implementation, it doesn’t hurt to test additional platforms.

Set Realistic CTAs

With retargeting, especially in the B2B world, you often have one shot to drive a visitor back onto your website. In most cases, assume that you failed the first time in converting a visitor because they weren’t interested in what you were trying to sell. For example, I often leverage a demo or trial signup as a CTA in order to gauge if visitors are interested in learning more or trying out our software. If these visitors enter my retargeting pool, I have to assume that the original CTA was too direct the first time and that I didn’t provide them with the information needed to continue driving them down the conversion funnel. If it didn’t work the first time, it’s highly unlikely it’ll work now. In these scenarios, I try to push a more top of the funnel CTA like downloading one of our industry thought leadership whitepapers. Visitors get to learn more about Marin Software and our platform, and we get an introduction and second chance to show them our value proposition. It’s a win-win.

Segment Visitors

Segment your visitor pool into as many buckets that make sense for your business. The more buckets you create, the more targeted you can be with your remarketing efforts. If you lumped all your visitors into one bucket, you‘d miss out on opportunities to pitch different content or products based on what these visitors have indicated they’re interested in. Why promote socks when they’re looking for shoes? Why pitch a paid search white paper when they’re interested in retargeting? Many online retailers do a great job executing this strategy, and B2B companies are tuning in and following suit. By segmenting visitors, you’ll also be able to remove certain visitors from your retargeting pool. For example, if someone visited your site looking for a job, remove them from your retargeting list. Over the long run, strategies like this one will help increase cost efficiency and lead to higher click-through rates (CTR).

As you manage and optimize your retargeting program, keep these three strategies and their best practices in mind. Next week, we’ll continue our discussion and walk through the best practices for keeping ad creative fresh, leveraging geo-targeting, and opting out employees from retargeting.

You, Google and the Display Network, Part 2: Making the Most of Next-Gen Keyword Contextual Targeting

By May 24th, 2012

Historically, a group’s theme—drawn from the keywords within the group—defined how a creative matched to similarly themed webpages across the Google display network (GDN). As a result of this keyword aggregation, cost and conversion metrics were reported on and optimized at the group level. Back in March of this year, Google announced their “biggest enhancement ever” to the display network. Combining the reach of display with the precision of search, Google’s Next-Gen Keyword Contextual Targeting enabled advertisers to begin optimizing the performance of their contextually targeted display campaigns at the keyword level.

In a post last year, we explored a few best practices for managing and optimizing campaigns across the GDN—tightening group themes to increase creative relevance, continuously optimizing creative language and excluding poor performing placements. Today, in light of the recent changes to contextual targeting, we’ll revisit this discussion and review additional best practices for managing and optimizing campaigns across the GDN.

Breakdown Keyword Performance

The method by which Google attributes keyword-level performance differs between the GDN and Google search. Keep in mind that all keywords are considered broad match on the GDN. From there, the new algorithm selects individual keywords from the group and determines the contextual relevance of each to a given web page. The keyword that is most relevant is attributed with the impression and subsequent click and cost metrics. The contextual relevance of a keyword is determined by how strongly it matches with the web page’s text, language, link and page structure, as well as other factors.

Access to keyword-performance data enables search marketers to better optimize their campaigns across the GDN. However, separating search and display campaigns is highly recommended in order to fully leverage this level of granularity. Although keyword performance can be reported on separately, keyword bids (within campaigns targeting search and display) affect both networks. Only with separate campaigns can marketers set separate search and display bids.

Leverage Keyword Insertion

Using dynamic keyword insertion within creative is a quick and effective way to increase relevancy. Inserting {Keyword:default text} into the headline, description line or display URL dynamically populates creative to include the contextually relevant keyword that triggered the creative. However, keep in mind that not all keywords make grammatical sense when inserted. Simple keyword variations can result in an awkward-sounding creative. (For example, add the keyword “snowboard pants” rather than “snowboard pant”.) Granular and organized groups with well-written creative will benefit most from dynamic keyword insertion and result in increasing click-through-rates and Quality Scores.

Review Bidding Hierarchy

When setting keyword bids for GDN campaigns, the most specific bid available will always be used. The general order of bids, from most to least specific, is outlined below:

  • Individual placement bid
  • Managed placements bid
  • Display Network bid
  • Individual keyword bid
  • Default bid

As a result of this hierarchy, when setting keyword-level bids, don’t set a Display Network bid as Google will ignore the individual keyword bid that was set. Similarly, if no placement bids, Display Network bids or individual keyword bids have been set, the default group bid will be leveraged. As a best practice, only set individual keyword-level bids and default group bids when optimizing bids for GDN campaigns.

Bullish on Google?

By January 20th, 2012

Yesterday, Google released its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2011. On the whole, it was a strong quarter for the digital advertising giant. But Wall Street reacted in a way that seems counterintuitive. Since the earnings’ call, $18 billion has evaporated from Google’s market cap as share prices fell ~8%. So, what’s happening here? Is there really cause for concern? Or are Wall Street’s concerns overblown?

Google Earnings


To get a more complete picture, let’s look at the relevant pieces of Google’s business and performance.

The Big Picture

Google’s revenue for the fourth quarter was $10.6 billion, representing a year-over-year (y/y) top line growth of 25%, and marking their first $10 billion plus quarter. Though I usually don’t wax poetic over corporate financials, there is something strongly significant and symbolic about having hit the rarefied $10 billion quarter club. Way to go, Googlers!

Google’s Core Search Business

Click Volume – Paid clicks were up 34% annually (y/y), implying more users are more engaged with Google.

CPC – Cost per Click declined 8% on a y/y basis, implying customers are getting more volume (clicks) for their advertising spend. This dynamic is important to keep in mind as cheaper clicks are better for advertisers, and assuming click quality doesn’t decline, will lead to increased investment in Google.

Wall Street’s Reaction

There’s probably more to dissect in these earnings, but this is probably a good place to pause and examine Wall Street’s reaction.

To put it plainly, Wall Street didn’t like any of the above. Shares plummeted ~8%. The big issue for Wall Street (based on the nature and frequency of analyst questions) was around the decline in Google’s average cost per click.

But this shouldn’t really be a factor because the marginal cost of a click (for Google) is zero. And assuming that click volumes are rising faster than changes in the cost per click, which they are in this case, Google’s top line revenue shouldn’t really see an impact.Net net, if cheaper clicks brings more advertisers on-board, than Google will more than make up on volume.

To be fair, I’m not looking at the slowdown in Europe or issues around currency (F/X) hedging in this blog post. (I’m also not looking at the positive impacts of mobile, social and display) But, those issues are a) extrinsic and b) volatile, and in retrospect, Wall Street may have over-reacted to Google’s numbers.

Using display ads to support your search marketing

By July 26th, 2011

As search marketers, I think we often overlook the importance of what a well thought out display campaign can do for your search campaigns. If you haven’t in the past, now is definitely the time for search marketers to take display advertising seriously. With recent news that Google’s display network has edged into the lead over Yahoo, isn’t it time you understood the importance of an effective display campaign, and how this added traffic can support your search campaigns?

Display advertising has always traditionally been used to establish brand awareness, but we can focus our display advertising to ensure that it also ultimately drives search activity. It’s highly important to understand what impact display advertising may have for your brand specifically, then cater your ads towards that.


You, Google and the Display Network – Making the Most of Contextual Keyword Targeting

By April 21st, 2011

Reaching over 640 million internet users per month through Google’s Display Network, formally known as Google’s Content Network, is easy.  Reaching those internet users that are relevant is hard, and often a seemingly daunting task.  Understanding how Google manages and operates their Display Network is critical in ensuring healthy and optimized content campaigns.  Google allows advertisers to target audiences through keywords, placements, categories, remarketing and topics.  Our discussion today focuses on keyword targeting.

For direct response and branding content campaigns, effective campaign build-out and execution of best practices can mean the difference between millions of wasted impressions and thousands of qualified clicks.

When constructing or expanding Google content campaigns, keep these thoughts in mind:

  1. Nature of the Beast
  2. Drawing Up a Game Plan
  3. Execution is Key
  4. The Network Never Sleeps



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