Last week, we were proud to host another engaging Marin Masters in NYC! Customers and partners gathered to network, share insights, and take in presentations from some of today’s top digital marketers. A big thanks to everyone who attended, and here’s a transcribed streamcap in case you missed it (#MarinMasters on Twitter):
The Marin Vision: Turning Complexity into Opportunity
Matt Ackley, CMO, Marin Software
Customer Targeting and Optimization in Action
Cameron Urry, Senior Interactive Marketing Manager at Extra Space Storage
Audience Targeting and Building a Database of Intent
Molly Parr, Director of Product Marketing at BlueKai
Deconstructing Digital Daily Habits: A Deeper Understanding of How Gen Y/Z Affects Online Advertising
Edwin Wong, Senior Director of B2B Strategic Research & Insights at Yahoo!
Attribution & Optimization Techniques for Multi-Channel Success
Panelists: Matej Horava – Head of Partnerships at LiveRamp, Paul Pellman – CEO of Adometry, David Greenbaum – CEO of Boost Media
Mobile Audience Targeting
Cathy Boyle, Senior Analyst of Mobile at eMarketer, Inc.
Combining Search & Social: The Performance Marketing Multiplier
Dan Morris – Senior Product Marketing Manager, Marin Software
The Digital Transformation of an Industry Vertical
Brian Long, Senior Manager of Performance Marketing at AutoTrader and Ian MacDonald, Senior Manager and Director of Consumer Marketing at AutoTrader
Chris Lien, CEO of Marin Software and Melissa Esmundo, VP of Marketing at Though Mudder
Marin Software is fortunate to have over 500 employees around the globe, and today we’re excited to tell you about Dana Carpenter! A member of our research team in Austin, Dana is also an advocate for people with disabilities and recently participated in her second Ms. Wheelchair Texas. This unique competition is dedicated to promoting the achievements and needs of people with disabilities, and it does so with glamour and glitz!
Contestants in Ms. Wheelchair Texas utilize wheelchairs for 100% of their daily mobility needs, and compete to become a spokeswoman for millions of Americans with disabilities. During the course of the competition, each participant delivers a speech on a disability issue they feel strongly about and plan to support. This year, Dana’s platform was all about bringing awareness to companies on how flexible employment solutions – such as working from home – can increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities who are otherwise qualified for the position.
“Transportation is a huge barrier to employment for people with disabilities,” Dana said. “As of February of this year, only 19% of people with disabilities were employed compared to about 80% of their able bodied counterparts. All it takes is creativity and flexibility to make a difference!”
In her role at Marin, Dana is able to work from home, eliminating worries about how to get to and from the office. Her manager Paul Greer noted, “Dana’s efforts and warm positive demeanor strongly contribute to our overall goal to provide best in class sales development support. She is an asset and ally and we’re very glad she chose Marin.”
Bobby Hollis, Senior Manager of Sales Development and close friend of Dana’s, echoed that sentiment saying, “Dana is not only a solid contribution to our team and culture, she backs it up with solid quality work that is making great impact to our sales process. Selfishly we want her in the office more because she’s just a ball to be around but quite honestly we are extremely fortunate to have her with us in any capacity.”
Dana loves competing in Ms. Wheelchair Texas, saying she appreciates being around other women in similar situations. “You really do form a sisterhood so to speak,” she explained. “Also, it is so empowering to be on that stage sharing all the ways we are changing the lives of people with disabilities! You feel like you can take on the world, and win!”
Marin is proud to support Dana in her advocacy, and to hire the best employees regardless of physical disability or mobility issues. If you want to learn more about Ms. Wheelchair Texas, please visit their website or watch Dana’s speech on YouTube.
“Marin has given me the opportunity to work from home, while still making me feel like I’m part of a team,” Dana said. “How cool is that?!”
We were delighted to pick up our fifth UK and European Search Award at last week’s ceremony in Iceland for our work with MoneySuperMarket. The award recognised the innovative work we carried out with MoneySuperMarket to build an open stack of technology to drive PPC efficiency alongside our partners Adometry and BlueKai. MoneySuperMarket took advantage of Revenue Connect to optimise paid search in Marin Enterprise using post-attributed data from Adometry, and optimised paid search campaigns based on audience data integrated from BlueKai into Marin through Audience Connect. The judges for the award commented:
“Judges felt this campaign pushed PPC efficiency to its limit showing creative innovation through technology integration.”
This fifth award won across the UK and European Search Awards series in four years reaffirms our continued presence as one of the leaders in the European search industry. Our momentum since opening up in 2009 has seen us hire more than 110 staff across 5 locations in Europe, managing campaigns for leading European brands including easyJet, Peugeot, Europcar, Nestle, Adidas, lastminute.com, LeGuide, Philips, Sainsburys and Zoopla. This growth now means we manage more than €1bn in annual European online advertising spend through our platform.
We also want to congratulate our numerous clients and partners who also won at the awards!
The search for summer interns is already on, and our recruiting team has been hitting the road! On Wednesday, we met with students at the Cal Internship & Summer Job Fair. Then on Thursday, we traveled to Oregon State University in Portland. (Did you know we now have an office in Portland?)
But the real apex was our “Super Saturday” event this past weekend. Our recruiters welcomed awesome students from Stanford and Cal to our headquarters for breakfast and a great conversion with Joe Chang, one of Marin’s co-founders and chief technical officer. Joe is also a proud Stanford grad. Students got to learn more about the ad tech space, what Marin’s been up to, and why it’s such a neat place to work. They also had the opportunity to interview for summer positions, in an engaging speed-dating style.
Finally it was off to lunch at Super Duper, to make it a truly super Saturday! (If you’re in the Bay Area, you’ll definitely want to try their burgers and shakes.) Thanks to all students who attended – it was great to meet you! And thanks also to our recruiting team for pulling off such a fun event.
Fun Fact: One of our engineers who attended Super Saturday was actually in the first class of Marin interns!
The difference between a good, serviceable bidding solution and an optimized solution is the difference between okay results and record campaign ROI.
There are many factors enterprise advertisers must consider when evaluating a bid management solution: algorithmic or rules-based; portfolio- or goal-based; bidding with limited data or intra-day bid adjustments. These and other features address business requirements that ultimately impact the ability for advertisers to drive revenue at a profitable return—publisher tools, in-house solutions, and multi-channel platforms attempt to provide some or all of this functionality.
There are three fundamental attributes found in all effective bid management solution that enable advertisers to remain competitive in any auction landscape: transparency, flexibility, and a systematic approach to forecasting.
Visibility into how a keyword’s bid is calculated is critical to understanding the performance metrics and auction conditions that factored into the final bid. This ultimately justifies the calculated bid rather than relying on a “trust us” mentality and gives insight into future performance. To provide complete transparency, bids and statistical models should be exposed at each step of the calculation. Marketers must have access to the amount of historical data used, including the time window, how conversions or revenue tracked next to defined business goals, and what auction thresholds and bid settings were met that impacted the final bid calculation.
Though many enterprise platforms provide transparency into bid calculations, some more than others, tools like Google Conversion Optimizer (GCO) don’t expose how bids are calculated. These “black-box” algorithms provide little to no transparency, leaving advertisers in the dark and at the mercy of the tool. Even when GCO is disabled, keywords bids revert back to the original bid prior to enabling the tool, leaving marketers high and dry with old, sub-optimal bids.
Despite the demand for complete automation, flexibility remains one of the most important pieces of any effective bid management solution. Though algorithms assume the lion’s share of work, marketers still require flexible user controls and the ability to factor in any source of data when calculating optimal bids. Defining CPC ceilings and floors, limiting how reactive bids are to seasonality and cyclical trends, overriding individual bids to satisfy business requirements, and excluding outlying data from calculations are all controls marketers need to adapt bids to ever-changing market and auction conditions.
With accurate, timely and relevant data, that make sense to an advertiser’s business, bidding algorithms can effectively calculate bids that maximize performance. This level of flexibility exists beyond most bid management tools and is available in only the most sophisticated platforms. Multi-event conversion tracking, visibility into customer lifetime value, attributing latent conversions, and factoring in analytics, ad serving, call tracking, CRM, and backend data enables marketers to optimize spend, drive high value customers, and acquire more revenue.
3. Systematic Approach to Forecasting
Marketing effectiveness is hampered without the ability to evaluate the potential impact of shifts in business goals. Furthermore, some auctions are extremely competitive and volatile, with suboptimal bids negatively impacting overall program performance. To mitigate risk, effective bid management solutions must provide marketers with a systematic approach—guiding marketers through the business impact of any changes in bid strategy.
The ability to preview calculated bids alongside visual overlays helps advertisers understand the potential effect of new bids and evaluate risks. Even more powerful is the ability for marketers to build “what-if” forecast models of how changes to performance goals will affect volume, cost, return on investment, and profit. With accurate forecasting models, marketers can focus on evaluating budget allocation across publishers and business lines to maximize performance and achieve business goals.
Selecting the Right Solution
Bid automation is growing increasingly complex and more types of media are becoming biddable. In the face of unique business requirements, dynamic marketplaces, and competitive auctions, advertisers increasingly must look to bid management solutions that provide transparency into bid calculations, the flexibility of user controls and data integrations, and a systematic approach to forecasting for mitigating risks. Solutions characterized by these three fundamental attributes meet the business requirements of today’s most complex and sophisticated advertisers, and enable them to drive more revenue with increasing efficiency.
Click here to learn more about Marin Software’s bid management solution and why we have more than $6 billion in annualized spend on our platform (announced in our earnings call today).
We have one week left to find the Biggest Search Geek, and competition has been fierce this year!
If you’re not familiar, Biggest Search Geek is a quiz contest that tests your SEM smarts. In our 6th year of competition, we’ve had over 3,500 entries from around the globe. Rich M from Australia is currently leading with a score of 75% correct, followed by Mihai P from UK/Europe, and Brian S from North America.
At the end of the competition, the person who answers the most questions correctly in the least amount of time will win a trip to SMX West, and their choice of an iPad, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One. Runners up and top 50 finishers will also receive prizes – including serious bragging rights!
We’ve had a lot of fun with this year’s contest – from wracking our brains for the toughest questions, to creating silly memes on our #whatshouldsearchmarketerscallme Tumblr. (Check it out!) And we look forward to presenting the winner their prize on stage at the SMX West opening session. (Also be sure to see our very own search geek and CMO, Matt Ackley, speak on Day 1 about what’s next for paid search in 2014.)
We hope you’ve had as much fun as we’ve had – and if you haven’t taken the quiz yet, make sure to do it soon! The contest ends on February 14 at 11:59pm PST.
Big data. It’s a phrase everybody throws around, but with meaning that nobody can fully agree on. Definitions usually include some combination of massive amounts of information, structured data, unstructured data, too much data to process, complex data, or data that is beyond our computing power. While this is interesting, it’s not necessarily helpful. And what does it mean for digital marketers?
The idea of big data really kicked off when analyst Doug Laney published an article on data management challenges way back in 2001. He framed the discussion using three Vs:
Since then, others have added any number of additional Vs including veracity (data quality), viability (how useful the data is), and value (what the data helps us learn or do).
So while we can’t 100% agree on the definition of big data, the real takeaway is that you should know what big data means for you and your industry.
Which brings us to digital marketing! Big data is absolutely critical in our field because it makes data-driven marketing possible. It reveals intent and gives us a picture of our audiences. It allows us to be simultaneously more global and more local. It allows us to work across channels, and in real time. It keeps us competitive, and it can reap big profits.
All these perks are great, but dealing with big data is no simple task. The data must be organized in a way such that we can glean actionable insight. Scale is a big challenge, across millions of customers and keywords. And when we have really powerful data, it can also be a struggle to trust and act upon it when it’s not in line with our basic intuition and judgment.
Some companies – not just search marketers – are getting it right in a big way. Consider how the United States Marine Corps enlists big data in its recruitment efforts, described by AdAge. Or take a look at how some other big companies, from Netflix to Walmart, have enhanced their offerings with data-informed decisions here in this great Mashable article.
Marin Software is essentially a big data product, helping digital marketers make sense of and act on massive sets of really cool data. We encourage a data-driven approach of understanding audiences, predicting, and optimizing.
Now for the fun part. According to a recent McKinsey report, big data leaders have, on average, 5% higher productivity and 6% higher profits than other companies. In other words, marketers who capture the power of big data are making a sizeable impact on their bottom lines. So if you’re ever overwhelmed by all that is “big data,” remember that everyone else is on a journey to figure it out too, and that the possibilities and payoff are certainly worth the effort.
Neil’s Recruitment Co has, for the second year running, successfully mapped out the vast digital marketplace in the form of a nifty starchart. The digital universe is a constellation of digital agencies, specialist firms, media groups, data and tech companies, and more. We’re excited to be part of such an incredible industry and landscape – find us in square E9! It’s a pretty massive map, so click to enlarge and see if you can locate your own company as well.
The holiday season is fast upon us, and folks across our US offices are looking forward to a relaxing Thanksgiving. The President has pardoned a lucky turkey named Popcorn, travel has been arranged (we’ll keep our fingers crossed for you!), and there is even a pecan pie in the office fridge with a Post-It note declaring, ”Don’t eat – it’s for Mom!”
While tomorrow is a good day to give thanks, we’re proud to say the Marin team makes a habit of giving back all year round. Here are some recent highlights and ways to get involved:
Happy Thanksgiving, all! We’ll see you when you get back, with updates on holiday seasonal trends and more best practices to keep your programs in tip-top shape.
Do you spend your days managing keywords, creative, and bids for paid search campaigns? Are you caught up on the latest best practices and trends to gain that competitive edge? If so, you may be our next Biggest Search Geek!
Today, Marin Software and Search Marketing Expo are excited to announce the 6th Annual SMX Biggest Search Geek Contest, the popular quiz-based contest that tests your paid search industry knowledge. The contestant who answers the most questions correctly in the shortest amount of time will win a round trip for 2 to SMX West, an award presented onstage by Danny Sullivan of Third Door Media and Marin’s CMO Matt Ackley, and their choice of an iPad, Playstation 4, or an Xbox One.
What are you waiting for? Test your search IQ now and find out if you’re the geek to beat!
Our NY office started a book club! They're currently reading "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt. pic.twitter.com/gluV1s4UlE
Thanks, @MpactMaxGuy - feel free to DM us or reach out to email@example.com.