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An Interview with Douglas Pan, SVP Engineering

By January 17th, 2017

The people at Marin are as unique as the work we do. Our Life at Marin series highlights the expertise, passions, and backgrounds of our fellow Marinites.

What do you currently do at Marin Software? Were there other roles that you previously held here?

As SVP Engineering, I’m responsible for most of the development (with the exception of social and display development) and Quality Engineering at Marin. My career at Marin has always been in Engineering, starting as Director, then Senior Director, then VP.

What motivated you to join Marin Software?

The people—the interview panel was impressive. I was also attracted by the opportunity to work with a team in China, something I’d always wanted to do.

What is it about your team that you’re most proud of?

Watching the Shanghai team grow from a handful of contractors working on non-customer-facing issues, to a full-fledged subsidiary with around 20 full-time employees who can deliver on most of the existing search functionality.

Is there one thing you can share that you’ve done and are most proud of?

Creating my own Internet startup with a grad school buddy. We raised tens of millions from VCs to build a company around online communities supported by a targeted-ad business model, and later reinvented it to become a streaming video service provider. We grew to around 40 employees, and kept the company going for about eight years.

What was your former professional life?

I’ve worked in the software industry my entire career. I was a developer on the Purify memory-error detection tool at Pure Software before starting my own company. I also worked on a MATLAB to C compiler and at a voice application service provider, where I managed outsourced teams in India.

What are your interests / hobbies?

I like history, travel, cooking, and spending time with my family.

What are you reading now?

Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory.

During my commute, I listen to many audiobooks. I just finished What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America,
1815-1848
, by Daniel Walker Howe.

Now, I’m listening to Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath, by Ted Koppel.

Which person or organization do you admire most? Why?

George Washington—not only did he lead the Continental Army to victory against all odds, he retired from the presidency after two terms, establishing the tradition of peaceful transition of power in the United States.

Marin’s Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

By January 11th, 2017

As Edgar Allan Poe once said, “There are few cases in which mere popularity should be considered a proper test of merit; but the case of [blog]-writing is, I think, one of the few.”

Okay, so he said “song-writing” instead of “blog-writing.”

It still fits, right?

Well, after tens of thousands of reader visits to Marketing Insights in 2016, the 10 articles below passed the merit test and rose to the top of our “most popular” list. Some are indicators that digital advertising continues to rapidly evolve, others point toward the importance of continual learning, and all of them contributed to a fun, fast-paced year of content creation and curation. Thanks for being part of it.

1.   The Ever-Shifting World of Social

2.   Google’s Expanded Text Ads–Things to Know and What to
       Do Now

3.   Google’s New Ad Layout: Pros, Cons, Ins, and Outs

4.   Similar Audiences + Customer Match: Google Ramps up
       First-Party Data Capabilities

5.   3 Facebook Advertising Trends You Need to Know About

6.   Why PPC Granularity Will Be Your Best Friend

7.   5 Reach and Frequency Tips for the Modern Marketer

8.   Text Versus Product Ads: Shopping Peaks, Valleys, and Plateaus

9.   How to Evaluate Programmatic Buying Transparency – Types
       and Tips

10. How to Optimize Impression Share to Increase Brand Awareness

An Interview with Rob Emery, Product Manager

By December 5th, 2016

The people at Marin are as unique as the work we do. Our Life at Marin series highlights the expertise, passions, and backgrounds of our fellow Marinites.

What do you currently do at Marin Software? Were there other roles that you previously held here?

I’m a Senior Product Manager on Marin Search. When I joined Marin, my work focused on search publishers—specifically, features for Bing. I still work with Bing, but my work has grown into other, fundamental parts of our application and features for other publishers like Google and Baidu.

What motivated you to join Marin Software?

Marin Software has a great reputation as a performance advertising platform, which really excited me. There are polished features that many leading digital marketers across the world use. I wanted the opportunity to work on next-generation features they’d use on a daily basis to save time and deliver stronger advertising results.

What is it about your team that you’re most proud of?

Commitment and flexibility. Not just among our product managers, but across our organization. No matter what challenges arise from the ever-changing digital marketing landscape, the team is great at finding solutions to solve them.

Is there one thing you can share that you’ve done and are most proud of?

We released some new shopping features this summer, which was a lot of fun. After identifying an opportunity, we came together and put a plan in place to get the functionality out. In fact, just today someone from our Customer Success team passed along a note about a client optimizing his business based on this feature.

What was your former professional life?

My background is actually in digital marketing—starting with interning at an agency many years ago. As my career has serpentined through a few roles, I ended up working on the technology side, which led me to my current position.

What are your interests / hobbies?

Traveling and exploring are at the top of my list. Either around California or across the US and across the world when I can swing it! I also enjoy games and trivia, as well as movies and great TV—I’m working my way through some documentaries and classic horror movies at the moment.

What are you reading now?

But What If We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman.

Which person or organization do you admire most? Why?

This is a tough question! I’ve always admired risk takers, because I tend to be reluctant to take big jumps. That said, I might select Ed Catmull, from Pixar. A lot of people don’t realize that Pixar started as a technology company that at one point was selling hardware.

Catmull knew that he wanted to bring innovation to the industry and took a few different approaches to get there. Pixar pivoted to capitalize on its product and eventually became a leader in entertainment. Not exactly the path that he started on, but it still allowed him and his company to take advantage of their technical advantages and change the industry!

An Interview with Claire Choe, Software Engineer

By November 15th, 2016

The people at Marin are as unique as the work we do. Our Life at Marin series highlights the expertise, passions, and backgrounds of our fellow Marinites.

What do you currently do at Marin Software? Were there other roles that you previously held here?

I’m a software engineer in the Publisher Framework team. I usually work on projects related to ad URLs, and also on projects responsible for syncing data between Marin and publisher databases such as AdWords.

A few years ago, I was an engineering intern on Marin’s Solution Engineering team, implementing custom revenue solutions for large clients.

What motivated you to join Marin Software?

When I first joined Marin, it was through my school’s yearlong internship program. I think Marin was the only California-based company that year (although they have many more now). I was interested in working abroad, although I had no intention of working abroad after graduation at the time.

The information session gave me a brief overview of the ad tech industry, which I found intriguing. I had such a great year, I decided to come back full-time after graduation. My coworkers were (and still are) professional, smart, and fun, and I was already missing them when I went back to school. It’s great to be back.

What is it about your team that you are most proud of?

I love that my team is very helpful with each other. Being on a large team with many projects, things can get quite overwhelming. However, whenever such things happen, people are willing to jump in and help out. It can be as simple as walking through projects with a demonstration of how it works, but this speeds up the overall work tremendously.

What was your former professional life?

If internship counts as professional life, I did a co-op in a children’s hospital research center in Toronto during college. I helped analyze DNA sequences and protein binding sites.

What are your interests/hobbies?

I’ve been running a lot lately. Marin’s San Francisco office is located near the Ferry Building, and running south along Embarcadero towards AT&T Park is amazing. I sometimes stop in the middle of the run to take a picture of the sunset, or simply the great view of the water and the Bay Bridge. I also do a lot of crochet.

What are you reading now?

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, which I’ve been reading for a while. I don’t think I’ll finish any time soon since it’s so long and descriptive. I already know the whole plot since I read a shorter version as a child and watched the movie, but I think it’s still worth the time to read a great classic. I’ve also been listening to the audiobook version of The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

If you could invent or improve on one thing, what would that be? Why?

One thing that comes to mind is an iPhone 7 with an earphone jack. I often charge my phone and listen to music on it at the same time, so its absence was definitely a deal-breaker. I actually don’t need a new phone at the moment, so I wasn’t that disappointed with the announcement, but it seems that a lot of people would appreciate one with an earphone jack.

Working with Marin Search: How to Optimize Sub-Categories Within Bidding Folders

By November 10th, 2016

If you’re an enterprise search marketer, you’re likely managing thousands to millions of keywords. To automatically improve performance, increase brand awareness, get back valuable time, and attain those magic revenue numbers, Marin Search and its bidding folders can help.

If you’re already using Marin Search, follow these tips to make sure you’re maximizing value. Or, if you’re looking for a search platform that makes keyword and account management easier, these tips provide a glimpse of what our leading advertising solution can do.

Automated Bidding

Marin Search uses a patent-pending algorithm to automatically adjust keyword bids to meet target KPIs. This automated bidding feature optimizes keyword bids within folders. For accounts following PPC best practice structure (organizing groups into targeted themes), bidding folders should fall in line with account structure.

adgroups2

If you’re unsure of which ad groups should go into what folder, think about the KPI you’re trying to achieve. All keywords within a folder should have the same target KPI.

Tagging Sub-Categories with Dimensions

The above bidding strategy will optimize all ad groups and category keywords to one KPI. However, each category could contain sub-categories that might not preform the same.

With dimensions, you can pull reports at the sub-category level. Not only can you use this to create granular reports, but it can also help you improve optimization.

For example, the folder ‘Dining Tables’ is set to achieve a CPL of £75—however, a dimension report reveals the actual category-level performance.

table

‘Wooden tables’ is performing 20% below the folder CPL, while the ‘folding tables’ CPL is 20% above. Use the percentage difference as bid boosts for keywords in each category, reallocating spend to the better-performing category. The average folder spend and CPL will remain the same, but the conversion volume will increase.

Dynamic Actions

Once you apply dimensions, Marin can analyze the data to calculate bid adjustments for each sub-category dimension.

To automate dimension bid boosts, use Dynamic Actions. With this feature, bid modifiers simply sit on top of bidding folder calculated bids, and folder settings remain unchanged.

Using dimensions to optimize bidding cross sub-categories, our customers have seen some amazing results:

  • CVR increases up to 80%
  • Revenue increase by 30%
  • A reduction in CPA by 38%

If you’re a Marin customer and would like more information on how to optimize sub-categories within bidding folders, contact our CoE team for a bidding consultation. Or, to see it in action, sign up for a free trial.

It’s a Blog! The Marin Engineering Tech Journal Is Born

By October 24th, 2016

We’re delighted to announce that our Marin Engineering tech blog is officially live. We hope that the wider Marin Software and developer communities will connect and learn from this forum.

The blog’s editor-in-chief is Kumar Palaniappan, Technical Director – Platform Engineering – Data, Analytics Services and his team of contributing writers are software engineers Filip Jaros and Julian Jaffe.

The blog already has several great content pieces, covering topics such as:

If you have any questions or want to talk shop, contact Kumar directly.

Marin Live Turns One!

By October 20th, 2016

Earlier this month, Marin Live celebrated its first birthday, and what a year it’s been!

In the last year, we’ve held 132 live training webinars covering eight different topics in two languages, reaching 40 countries on
5 different continents
—and that’s only counting live participants! We think it’s safe to assume that recordings of Marin Live are being viewed from many, many more countries around the globe.

On top of that, our participants have logged more than 7,000 training hours via live webinars, post-webinar recordings, and permanent recordings housed in our Support Center. We’re currently averaging 11 live webinars a month and we’re on track to present many more in the future.

So what’s next?

  • We’re refreshing our existing content. We’ve updated all of our intro search webinars to make sure we continue to offer our customers fresh, up-to-date information that aligns with publisher best practices, even as those best practices change.
  • We’re tiering our content and offering advanced webinars. The four intro-level webinars we introduced last year continue to form the core of our program, but in August we launched our brand new Revenue Tracking & Troubleshooting. We’re working on offering more intermediate and advanced content in the future.
  • We’re adding more languages. Our English and Spanish content has been so popular, we’re working on localizing our webinars into even more languages, so that we can continue to bring our amazing content to new users the world over.
  • We’re creating new content. We’re adding new webinars on troubleshooting activity log errors, Google Expanded Text Ads, and much more.

We’re ready to celebrate. If you’d like to join the party and learn more about how we can help you quickly grow audiences and revenue, contact us today.

An Interview with Khaldoun Tayyeb, Principal Network and Security Engineer

By October 19th, 2016

The people at Marin are as unique as the work we do. Our Life at Marin series highlights the expertise, passions, and backgrounds of our fellow Marinites.

What do you currently do at Marin Software?

I joined Marin Software in June 2016 as a Senior Network and Security Engineer. As a member of the Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) team in the San Francisco office, my main responsibility is the design, support, and operations of Marin’s enterprise network and IT security systems. One of my primary responsibilities is ensuring that Marin’s software network has the highest network availability and most secure access to our applications.   

What motivated you to join Marin Software?

The HR personnel and the staff that I interviewed with, and the Site Reliability Engineering team members I met, left me with a good impression of the company and the culture. I enjoy being able to be part of a great team here, where I can contribute my expertise and experience, and apply my skills and knowledge to provide excellent support for our clients.   

What is it about your team that you’re most proud of?

It was clear right off the bat that my Site Reliability Engineering team is hard-working, capable of balancing many plates in the air at once, and working long hours without complaining. They’re great team members and good people. They’re a professional group who believes in providing good support and services to our clients. I admire their dedication, commitment, and hard work. Basically, they’re cool dudes.

They manage to keep the systems up, and work behind the scenes on application deployments, keeping up with daily requests, answering questions from other team members, and participating in daily stand ups. They’re the ones on call after hours.

Is there one thing you can share that you’ve done that you’re most proud of?

I like to lead by example and enjoy helping people who need help. It’s something I like to encourage everyone to do. This is especially something I continue to strive to do for my kids. We have to show our humanity and empathy. I believe that the presence of empathy leads to healing and resolution. Helping people can be shown and achieved in many ways.

What was your former professional life?

I’ve been working in IT for over 20 years. I was a principal network and security engineer for over 10 years with a large enterprise company in Oakland, California. When my daughter turned 16, I decided to become an IT contractor to spend more time with her before she went to college. I contracted with another large company in San Francisco before I joined Marin in June 2016.  It was very special to spend time with my daughter before she started college.

I’m like every other IT engineer—we love new technology and working with it, especially networking and security technology.

What are your interests and hobbies?

I think my hobbies have changed over the years. In the past seven-plus years I started to skydive and I love the freedom I feel while doing it. I like to stay fit and healthy, and I enjoy running almost seven days a week. In the past, I completed the San Francisco Marathon and half marathon. I also enjoy traveling and have visited many countries, with hopefully many more to come. This year we went twice to Sydney, Australia, and visited Brisbane. While there, I got to see and feed kangaroos at the Australia Zoo.

What are you reading now?

John Grisham is one of my favorite authors. The Street Lawyer was the last book I completed. I’m still in the middle of The Rainmaker and The Broker.  I like to read mysteries, too.

Which person or organization do you admire most? Why?

I’ve been with Marin for over 90 days. I believe everyone is working hard for the common good including Operations, Development, Engineering, Marketing, HR, and other groups. Everyone is doing a great job. I interact most with my team and Operations. They both have my admiration.

An Interview with Judy Barron, RVP Agencies, North America

By October 6th, 2016

The people at Marin are as unique as the work we do. Our Life at Marin series highlights the expertise, passions, and backgrounds of our fellow Marinites.

What do you currently do at Marin Software? Were there other roles that you previously held here?

I’m RVP Agencies, North America. I lead the Agency team and client roster for North America. I’ve been with Marin for four and a half years, and my previous roles were Agency Relationship Manager and Senior Director of Services, East.

What motivated you to join Marin Software?

About eight years ago, I was managing an agency search team and after vetting several platforms, we chose Marin. The platform was a game changer for our team in terms of efficiency and performance. Most importantly, I had a chance to work with really brilliant people in ad tech. When Marin opened the New York office and a position became available, I jumped at the chance to join the team.

What is it about your team that you’re most proud of?

My team is extremely well-versed in digital media and the Marin application. They’re enthusiastic, service-oriented people who really want to help their customers succeed. Most of them have worked for agencies and have strong empathy for their agency customers. They work hard and care about each other. I’m most proud of this incredible team.

What do you enjoy most about your role? What would you like to learn more about?

I enjoy working across teams at Marin and we all learn so much from each other. I also enjoy the strong relationships I’ve developed with our clients over the years. I’ve seen many search marketers start out in the field and become Marin advocates—they carry their affinity for Marin as they move through their careers, and Marin in turn is developing to evolve with the ever-changing landscape.

What was your former professional life?

I have a degree in education, and an MS in applied math and operations research. I’ve taught at almost every level, most recently mathematics at the college level.

What are your interests / hobbies?

A lot of live music, reading, and skiing.

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. It’s a dramatic novel that takes place in Cooperstown, NY—an absolutely beautiful place that I recently visited (to see live music, of course!). I just finished A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki and can’t wait until she writes another book. Everyone should read her novels.

Who is the one person, group of people, or organization that you admire most? Why?

My mother and my son are the most important influences in my life. My mother was a Czechoslovakian war refugee who was taken in by an English coal mining family during the war. She lost most of her family in the war, but she ended up having this fantastic, adventurous, rich life. She taught me to take chances, look at the bright side, and find goodness in everyone. She was incredibly intelligent and brave. My son knows almost everything, is passionate and independent, and makes me laugh a lot.

Bidding Optimization with Marin and Google Analytics

By September 29th, 2016

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

One of the reasons advertisers choose the Marin platform is for the flexibility it provides. It grants advertisers the ability to track conversions through the standard publishers (Google, Bing, Gemini), via Marin’s own platform tracking, or by importing conversion goals from Google Analytics. Each method of counting conversions has benefits and should be considered when you’re first setting up on the account.

If you have multiple conversion actions, one method I believe is very powerful and should be considered is integrating Google Analytics and Marin.

Who Should Consider This?

While this type of account setup could benefit most advertisers, those who judge performance based on the revenue or goal completions reported in Google Analytics—over publisher metrics—will find this setup most useful. The reason is that Google Analytics aligns publisher performance metrics (clicks, impressions, etc.) with the goals that impact your business the most.

I personally manage an ecommerce client that likes to monitor publisher conversions and reported revenue, but primarily cares about driving transactions and revenue as reported in Analytics. So, setting up my Marin account to import this data from Analytics allows me to look at total performance as it matters to my client and build a strategy based on the bottom-line numbers.

Bidding

As you may have guessed, the biggest benefit to importing this data is in bidding. Revenue and conversions can be tracked from Google Analytics back to the keyword level from each publisher platform. With this data now imported into Marin, any bidding folders you have in place are now able to execute bid adjustments based on the data that’s most valuable to your business. This makes their adjustments more accurate than if they were based on the reported revenue data from any publisher platform alone.

Setup

To make Marin integration with Google Analytics simple, a Setup Wizard guides you through the process. To set up the wizard, go to the Admin tab, and click the Revenue sub-tab.

01-admin

From the Revenue Tracking setting, select Google Analytics.

02-revenuesettings

If you’d like to use the imported goal to be added to the platform, select the Bidding Eligible box. Before moving forward with this option, be sure the Google Analytics goals are reporting correctly.

03-googleanalytics

Granularity and accuracy are key for all advertisers and particularly critical in high season. If you’re an ecommerce advertiser heading into Q4, put this strategy into play ASAP, test, and refine as needed. Good luck!

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