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Archive for ‘Mobile’

Far Away, So Close: Current Insights into Travel Search Advertising

By October 18th, 2016

With school out and warm weather in, we traditionally think of the summer months as the best time to take a vacation. However, is it actually prime time for search advertisers to ramp up their ad campaigns?

To answer this question and others, we took a look at travel advertisers on Google and Bing. We examined 2014 and 2015 to locate any trends in advertiser spend and performance for the travel vertical across quarters, and to assess the state of consumer behavior. Google and Bing dominate the global search market, which made them ideal for our study—other search publishers have regional presence at best, so they were excluded.

We found a few interesting things:

  • Summer searches, but fall clicks. Although, on average, consumers searched for travel terms (flights, lodging, auto rentals, etc.) almost 20% more during summer than winter, clicks on travel-related searches didn’t peak in summer as expected. Instead, their highest point was in autumn, right after the summer months.
  • The great smartphone migration. Over the past two years, travel advertisers have steadily shifted spend away from desktop and tablet towards smartphone. While smartphone made up under 10% of search spend in early 2014, by end of 2015, that number grew to almost 30% of all search budgets.
  • Native is restless. The travel ad format that’s seen significant growth is native advertising via channels such as Yahoo! Gemini. Starting in late 2014, investment growth in native ads by travel companies grew almost 5x by mid to late 2015. While this format is one of the newer ones, it’s been growing consistently in both advertiser and consumer adoption over the past year.

For more great information on search advertising in the travel industry—including cross-device performance data and campaign recommendations—download The State of Travel Search Advertising: Trends, Formats, and Paths to Success.

5 Tips to Fine-Tune Your Holiday Advertising Strategy

By October 11th, 2016

We recently published our 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report, which looked at the current state of shopping ads, and examined advertiser and consumer behavior over the past year. Now, with the shopping season even closer, advertisers are quickly making sure their budgets and ad campaigns are ready and flawless.

Based on the data, what are our top tips for retailers looking to get the most value out of their digital advertising campaigns this holiday season? Read on.

1. Plan and time large increases in budget to account for      holiday spikes.

We predict that 40% of all shopping ad dollars will be on a mobile device. Similarly, around 37% of search clicks will be on a shopping ad on either Bing or Google. Be sure to budget ad campaigns accordingly to match up with consumer attention during critical holiday spikes.

Research shows that spend peaks in November, with overall ad spend reaching almost 90% above what it was in January. Smartphone behavior was the most pronounced—smartphone ad spend spiked to almost 400% above baseline in November when compared to the year’s beginning.

2. Account for mobile-desktop differences for shoppers.

Smartphones now make up the majority of clicks and spend for all shopping ads. With 55% of all shopping ad clicks originating on a smartphone, the importance of properly optimizing ad spend can’t be overstated.

Research shows that shoppers are utilizing mobile devices in-store more than ever, to conduct product research and price-shop. Being able to capture this audience while they’re in the middle of a purchase decision may be crucial this holiday season to ensure an offline conversion.

3. Spread shopping ad budget across publishers.

While Google remains the largest search publisher for shopping campaigns, Bing is no slouch, either. Adoption of Bing Shopping Campaigns (BSC) has been accelerating and Marin has seen over 20% of clients on Google Shopping already using BSC. While Google Shopping has more viewership and use, BSCs are competitive in price and performance, and may be a good option for some retailers.

4. Go beyond shopping ads.

Shopping ad spend has been taking up a larger portion of retailer ad spend every year, reaching almost 30% of all search ad dollars this year. However, this doesn’t mean this is the only ad format retailers should consider.

Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) are a relatively new ad format that have seen strong early returns for many advertisers. Early data has shown an almost 300% ROAS for ETAs, meaning they’re highly competitive with both conventional search ads and shopping ads.

5. Social shopping is great for mobile retailers.

While social networks have always been a highly mobile device oriented channel, this is especially true for retail. Almost 95% of clicks on retail ads on social are on a mobile device, and mobile also accounts for 90% of all social spend for retail advertisers. Research shows that consumers interact differently with social ads than they do with search. Rather than research, social ads are better used for awareness and to start conversations with target audiences.

Each holiday season has been bigger than the last, and the trend is positioned to continue this year. Retailers have more choices than ever when it comes to ad campaigns. However, with this increased choice comes increased difficulty, as effectively managing spend across multiple devices and channels isn’t easy. A little planning, knowledge, and foresight will go a long way.

Mobile Display Goes Up, but Tablet’s on the Decline

By September 6th, 2016

Between the distant frenzy of the Q4 shopping season and the rising calm of midyear, Q2 tends to be the quietest quarter. However, this doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening. Among other things we found in our research, mobile display played a larger role this Q2—but overall, the ubiquitous move to mobile is actually slowing down. And, tablet usage continues to drop.

To create our quarterly benchmark reports, we sample the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform. We analyze data from around the world to create our report. For Q2 2016, key findings include:

  • The move to mobile is slowing down. Across search and social, the shift away from desktop has been slowing for the last two quarters. Device share is decelerating and seems to be approaching a stability point. Display is the only channel that’s still seeing strong shifts toward mobile over the past quarter for both advertisers and users.
  • Smartphone and desktop are the devices of choice. The tablet revolution never took off and continues to shrink. Instead, it was co-opted by its sibling device, the smartphone. For the foreseeable future, smartphone and desktop are the two largest winners.
  • Advertisers should continue to prioritize cross-channel, cross-device targeting. In order for advertisers to employ a robust cross-channel, cross-device marketing approach, they should continue to learn the strengths and weaknesses of these channels and devices.

For detailed information on Q2 2016 search, social, and display mobile performance and strategy recommendations, download our Performance Marketer’s Benchmark Report Q3 2016 – Vital Search, Social, and Display Performance Data by Device.

What to Expect for Shopping Ads This Holiday Season

By August 16th, 2016

Last year, we forecast that 30% of all retail paid-search spend would be on a shopping ad, and 45% of all product ad clicks would be on a smartphone—and smartphone click growth ended up being even stronger than we predicted. Looking forward, where do we see shopping ads this holiday season?

We took a look at month-over-month variations and factored in seasonal shifts in performance to forecast where we’ll be by December 2016:

  • 40% of all shopping ad dollars will be on a smartphone
  • 37% of paid search clicks will be on a shopping ad
  • Social clicks and spend share should flatten out over the year and remain at current levels


For more results sampled from the Marin Global Online Advertising Index—composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform—read The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report. With data charts on mobile, social, text versus product ads, and strategy recommendations for the 2016 holiday season, be sure to download your copy today so that you’re prepared for the Q4 rush.

A 2016 Social Media Shopping Spree

By August 1st, 2016

Shoppers are already prepping their lists for the holidays, and retail advertisers are close behind, on the mobile-focused, ad spend case. If smartphones were big-box retail destinations, they’d be the new “mad rush” of holiday sales.

Thankfully, when shoppers are looking for deals and information, they can now easily turn to their mobile devices.

Sampling the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform, we analyzed data from around the world to create our 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report. Our research uncovered some surprising things about what to expect for social advertising this 2016 shopping season.

  • Advertisers are investing big on smartphones and tablets: During Q1 2016, social ad spend on mobile devices represented 90% of ad spend.
  • Shoppers love social ads on mobile: Those ads were popular, with 95% of all clicks happening on social by way of a mobile device during the same time period.
  • This bodes quite well for Q4 2016: Social clicks and spend share should flatten out over the year and remain at current levels.


Happy shopping—and spending—in 2016.

For the full results of our research, including data charts on mobile, social, text versus product ads, and recommendations for how to stand out during the 2016 holiday season, download The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report.

In the Click of It: Mobile Shopping in 2016

By July 19th, 2016

When it comes to shopping ads, Q4 and mobile go together like thumbs on a small screen (literally).

Sampling the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform, we analyzed data from around the world to create our 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report. Our research allowed us to make a few definitive predictions for mobile performance in the 2016 shopping season.

  • Smartphones rule clicks: By April 2016, we expect the smartphone click rate to have grown by about 200% from January 2014. Mobile will leave tablets and desktops in the dust, as they hover just around the 75% point in terms of click share. No competition, as they say.
  • Smartphones rule CTR: The same will hold true for click-through rate, with smartphones projected to dominate the scene throughout the holiday season and beyond.
  • Smartphones rule CPC: Increased mobile activity will lead to lower cost per click, allowing advertisers to allocate spend where it counts most, and to better evaluate the different strengths and weaknesses of different ad formats.


In sum: smartphones rule. For the full results our research, including data on social, text versus product ads, and recommendations for how to stand out during the 2016 holiday season, download The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report.

Top 6 Items to Check Off Your Back To School List

By July 18th, 2016

What’s the saying? There is no rest for the weary? Just when it feels like summer’s just begun, it’s already time to switch up your marketing campaigns for back-to-school shoppers.

According to Google Trends, interest in “Back to school” is on the rise since early June. But summer isn’t over yet, which makes this the perfect time to take advantage of this level of interest before we hit peak season.

Here are the top 6 things to make sure you check off your list to ensure you’re prepared for this year’s back-to-school season:

Understand your competition.

Don’t be so quick to start changing bids. A little research on your competitors goes a long way. Identify the gaps and move quickly on those opportunities. Look for top and direct competitor ads, and don’t forget online tools that can assist in finding out what competitors are doing with keyword bids. We recommend arming yourself with competitive information now so that your account is prepared for the next big retail shopping season.

Target back-to-school focused search queries.

Most back-to-school shoppers include parents and college students—as they prepare for back to school, they’re also searching online for deals. Marketers can benefit from this by creating campaigns that are focused specifically on back-to-school keywords and deal searches. Some examples of this are:

  • back to school supplies
  • back to school sales
  • cheap school supplies

Be sure to give these campaigns a healthy budget, plus either an end date or a scheduled pause to ensure they don’t continue to run post-season.

Create relevant, compelling ad copy and landing pages.

Parents and college students are often price conscious, but also want the products they purchase to last. Also, shoppers are often looking for sales to save money. Marketers should focus their ad copy around these consumer needs to incentivize shoppers to click their ads.

If a consumer doesn’t see a phrase that indicates there may be a good deal on the landing page that comes after their click, they may select a competitor instead. Helpful phrases include the obvious “back to school,” but also things like:

  • sale
  • clearance
  • an additional X% off
  • durable
  • lasting
  • all school year long

And more. We suggest using discount-focused terms for smaller ticket items like colored pencils, and durability-focused terms for larger ticket items like backpacks and athletic shoes.

Put together a bidding strategy

Make sure your strategy is informed by previous years’ data and this year’s goals. This also goes in line with understanding your competition, as we mentioned earlier. Take note of when the cost-per-click in your campaigns rose last year, and by how much, and adjust bids accordingly to ensure you’re pacing well with market demands throughout the season.

Don’t forget to include your shopping campaigns in your bidding strategy planning as well, especially for larger ticket items. Many consumers do a lot of research on items such as backpacks prior to making a decision, and may choose to purchase these items online in order to get exactly what they want.

Stay top of mind using retargeting.

Retargeting is another area where you may be able to better keep the attention of consumers who do a lot of price comparison shopping before making a purchase. Create a separate retargeting campaign specific to, again, higher-dollar items such as backpacks and athletic shoes, targeting users for several days after viewing your product.

When creating these retargeting ads, we recommend showing the products viewed previously in the ad, and potentially offering a coupon code to incentivize the consumer to purchase this product from your business specifically.

Remember mobile!

Parent and student purchase decisions are heavily influenced by mobile. According to Google, in 2014 over 40% of back-to-school searches were done via mobile devices. These searches are typically performed on the go by busy parents and students trying to get back-to-school shopping done in between all the other things they need to do.

What are these roving shoppers doing? They’re performing price comparisons, checking product availability, and searching for the closest store to their current location to sneak in a quick trip and check items off their list. You can capitalize on this by using location extensions and prominently displaying inventory availability for products at nearby stores on their easy-to-navigate mobile site.

If you’re strapped for time and can’t roll out a new back-to-school strategy, keep this checklist on hand, since these best practices are also applicable during the holiday shopping season. Want to learn more? Join the Center of Excellence for our back-to-school webinar on Thursday, July 21st!

Your Guilt-Free Webinar Binge Watching List for This Summer

By June 13th, 2016

Summer. It’s the time of year when I get serious about my binge watching. All of my shows are off the air, and I have precisely two months between the airing of the finale of Game of Thrones (Cleganebowl will be a thing) and Nathan Adrian’s first swim in the Rio Olympics.

But I would never limit my binge watching to just my personal time. I’m always happy to fall down the YouTube rabbit hole at work, and really, so should you with this hit list of Marin’s most popular and highest rated webinars. My colleague Maria shared a fantastic roundup of our best quickie blog reads, but our educational, half-hour to hour-long best practices webcasts are the sort of content you want to chill out with on a long summer workday.

  1. Your Guide to Native Advertising: Best Practices for Commanding Audience Attention (35 minutes)
    National native advertising spend ballooned to $10.7 billion in 2015, a 150% increase over only two years before. There’s no better time than now to learn how to take advantage of its ability to connect and attract the attention of your target audience.
  1. Scale and Optimize Your Social Campaigns Starting Now (40 minutes)
    We joined forces with our partner, Twitter, for this educational webcast on how to best leverage direct response advertising and utilize Twitter’s ad environment in combination with your search and display campaigns.
  1. The Newest Way to Reach and Convert Facebook’s 1.4 Billion Users (55 minutes)
    In this webinar, one of our most popular ever, we teamed up with our partner, Facebook, to tackle the topic of Facebook Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs). Are you taking full advantage of Facebook DPAs to promote your product catalogs? We discuss best practices for utilizing this feature to zero in on your best consumers and boost sales.
  1. The Path to Mobile Advertising Success (40 minutes)
    Whether you’re a skeptic who doesn’t see a reason for mobile to be a top priority, an advertiser unclear on how mobile bid adjustments work, or a seasoned mobile marketer looking for advanced recommendations to improve your mobile game plan, Google’s outlook on the future of mobile and Marin’s mobile-optimized advertising strategies will set you on the path to mobile success. Another partner webinar! This time it’s Google.
  1. Increase Your Display Advertising Performance with Image Optimization (40 minutes)
    Approximately 5.3 trillion display ads are served to U.S. users per year. Yet historically, the click-through rate of display ads is less than .1%. How can display advertisers leverage image optimization to increase performance and gain insights? Marin Software and Boost Media give you answers. 
  1. Integrated Search and Social Advertising: Transforming Trends & Tactics into Revenue (55 minutes)
    It’s an oldie but goodie. We’re joined by one of our agency partners, iProspect, for a webinar on integrating your search and social strategies. We walk through 15 proven tactics to help you better manage, measure, and optimize your campaigns for improved ROI and maximum customer lifetime value.
  1. 8 Reasons View-through Attribution Should be Working for You (30 minutes)
    This webcast provides viewers an introduction to and better understanding of the value and necessity of view-through conversions. It also offers best practices to drive more profitable display ad spend.

It may not rival your Battlestar Galactica binge watch, but it’s the only one you can get away with at work, so happy viewing, online marketers!


A One-Hour Summer Reading List for the Busy Digital Marketer

By June 9th, 2016

As you search online for the cheapest flights, the top island destinations, or where a solo traveler can find the best international cuisine, remember—no matter where you are, the mind of the digital marketer always craves useful information to stay competitive.

Whether you end up flying high across multiple time zones or enjoying a staycation this summer, here are a few time-friendly reads from the Marin Software vault to bring along for the ride.

White papers:

Blog posts:

Bonus: This is actually 55 minutes worth of reading, not an hour. Use those extra five minutes to schedule a demo, and learn how we can help you with any and all of the above. Bon voyage!

5 Signs Your Brand is Dropping the Ball on Mobile

By June 7th, 2016

This is a guest post from Brionna Lewis, Marketing and Public Relations Assistant at Kiip.

All trends are leaning towards mobile first. Americans are spending 51% of their time consuming online media through a mobile device. In the years to come, everything will have to be mobile first, including your marketing strategy.

Chances are you’ve at least started thinking about how your brand is going to leverage the mobile space, if you’re not already doing so. But are you doing it right? Here are 5 telltale signs you’re not and, in fact, dropping the ball completely.

1. You think all impressions are created equal.

This is the key to mobile advertising placements. Too many brands are striving for mass brand awareness instead of focusing on strategic ways to reach their target audience. It’ll always be quality over quantity in mobile. One thousand impressions from your target demographic are better than one million from an audience that isn’t interested in your brand at all.

A 2013 study showed that only 2.8% of mobile users thought the ads in apps and mobile websites ads were relevant to them. So, if you’re still investing in mass display advertising, stop. Contextual advertising, based on relevance to the content of the app or web page, location, or time of day and are much more effective.

The Brand Aid survey found that when people view brand ads alongside relevant content, they’re 10% more likely to pick up new information, nearly 20% more likely to feel more positive about the advertiser and, crucially, 23% more likely to think that the ad is relevant to them.

An excellent example is a mobile campaign ran by Samsung on the mobile site for is a website people visit to see what’s on TV, read up on television industry news, and catch up on what’s happening on their favorite shows. An oh-so-fitting place for a Samsung TV ad.


2. You’re marketing to “millennials”.

If you’re claiming “millennials” as your target audience, you’re effectively saying “everyone.” Using stereotypes to target 80 million Americans is not an effective marketing strategy. It’s like saying everything living in the ocean is a fish—it’s entirely false.

Millennials are a large group of people within a 20-year age range of varying genders, ethnicities, nationalities, interests, and lifestyles. Instead of looking for easy ways to clump people together, focus on the ways that separate them. The more specific you can be about who your target audience is, the more tailored and effective your brand strategy can be.

3. You’re not reaching email inboxes.

Even in 2016, email is still king when it comes to effective marketing. A study found that 91% of consumers check their email every day, and 48% say it’s their preferred channel of communication with brands.

So, if you don’t have a means of collecting email addresses from your potential customers and a strategy for maintaining contact through email, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.

The trouble with collecting emails is that most consumers try to avoid giving their email out, so that they don’t have an inbox full of spam. The only way to combat this is to offer your customers something in return for access to their inbox. Many companies offer discounts and other member perks to customers who provide their email address.

An example of this is The Barista Bar’s Coffee Club, which they promoted through a Twitter ad placement.


4. You’re not offering value to your customer.

No one loves banner ads and intrusive pop-up videos, but you know what people do love? Free stuff—discounts, trials, and useful content. If you’re going to ask for someone’s time, attention and ultimately, money, be prepared to offer them something of value in return. The key to both customer acquisition and retention is to offer something that people actually want when advertising.

Through Kiip, Smartwater was able to give Runkeeper, a fitness app, users a coupon for a free bottle of Smartwater for after they complete their workout. This is an excellent way for brands to surprise and delight their potential customers by letting them try their product for free.


5. You’re not establishing loyalty.

Loyalty is more than complicated point systems and exclusive sales. Loyalty is building a relationship with your customers. The best ways to establish that relationship is to hear them out and respond. Social media is a great opportunity to do that. If you’re not responding to comments and tweets, you’re missing out on the opportunity to build a relationship.


Another way to establish loyalty is to offer customers something for their mobile wallets. Apple Pay and Google Wallets are a place where consumers store virtual coupons that they can redeem IRL (in real life). A coupon from your brand in their mobile wallet keeps you front of mind and with them as often as their phone is (all the time).

You can also build loyalty with mobile customers by creating an app where users can get more perks, find out about sales, and interact with your brand seamlessly. One company that executes this amazingly is Target, through their app Cartwheel. Customers can check for sales, clip virtual coupons, scan items to see if they are on sale and simply scan their barcode at check-out to get all the saving. Target killed it.


So, if you’re currently dropping the ball on mobile, it’s not too late to turn it around. With this new insight, you can develop a winning mobile marketing strategy in no time.