The year is 2016, and Facebook will soon be 12 years old. As Facebook hits puberty, it’s no longer just an influencer platform – now, it delivers actual (and many) conversions to social advertisers.
We took a look at Facebook’s growth and development over the last year, and three main trends stood out as being the most significant for the platform: clicks, video, and geotargeting.
Social media targeting in general is the most precise it’s ever been, and it’ll only get better this year. In 2015, Facebook click-through rates (CTR) more than doubled. Why is this?
For Facebook advertisers, this translated to a sharp increase in CTR and lower cost-per-click.
In 2015, video was one of the fastest growing sectors of online advertising, and Facebook quickly picked up on this trend. We’re now used to seeing video ad formats in our news feeds.
According to Facebook, by the end of 2015 there were eight billion average daily video views, or 100% growth in a seven-month time period.
This incredible growth is part of the reason Facebook is investing so much attention on improving and refining video ad formats to increase user engagement and relevance. And, there’s a lot of potential for Facebook video ad sales to take off in 2016. The future looks bright for this ad format.
During 2015, geotargeted ads gained major steam on Facebook, due in no small part to Facebook’s improvements to their local ad type. Hyper-local ad targeting on social media has allowed marketers to reach very specific audiences to within a mile of particular locales.
This hyper-local targeting easily synergizes with mobile ad formats, such as click- for-directions or click-to-call to reach nearby audiences that have high engagement rates for local brick-and-mortar businesses. Since 2010, locally targeted social media ads have grown a compounded 33% every year, with $8.3 billion worth of ads in 2015.
For more information on current trends in Facebook advertising – including year-over-year trend charts and the latest intelligence on mobile – download our report, The State of Facebook Advertising: Clicks, Videos, and Geotargeting.
Super Bowl 50 is here, and the cost to advertise is heating up faster than the Broncos/Panthers rivalry. In fact, CBS is charging up to
$5 million for a 30-second ad spot during the big game. According to eMarketer, the top five Super Bowl advertisers have spent a total of $745.1 million for the privilege over the past 10 years.
While the Super Bowl is a great time to drive awareness with cute Budweiser puppies and ridiculous Doritos commercials, most advertisers can’t afford to shell out that kind of money. Here are four strategies to help marketers of all sizes take advantage of the Super Bowl without breaking the bank.
Make sure you have a cohesive plan in advance of the big day that includes organic and paid teams, and all marketing channels where you have a presence (search, social, display, etc.). With a solid strategy in place, you’ll have a good foundation to help you capitalize on any spontaneous moments that may occur, such as Oreo’s quick “dunk in the dark” reaction in 2013.
Here are a few recommended tactics:
During the Super Bowl, millions of Americans are watching more than just the TV screen. They’re grabbing recipes from Pinterest, posting photos of their gameday garb on Facebook, and sharing their real-time reactions on Twitter. Advertisers who understand this second-screen behavior are in the best position to take advantage using a mobile-first approach.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all offer top-notch video advertising formats, so you can run your commercial without dropping $5 million. Captivating video formats provide an exciting way to engage with users who skim through their phones while watching the game. Other things to consider:
If you already have a good baseline social advertising strategy, take things to the next level using TV Sync technology. TV Sync allows you to automatically activate your social ads based on customizable offline events like television flight schedules, live programming, weather changes, or sporting events – all in real time. It’s a powerful way to amplify your reach and drive engagement across screens.
TV Sync allows you to:
Last but not least, consider using these strategies beyond Super Bowl Sunday. Every day is a great chance to extend your advertising beyond TV, onto the second screen and into the virtual living room.
Consider applying these ideas during primetime TV shows, live awards events, college or national sporting events, the World Cup, the Lumberjack World Championships, or any time at all.
December has always been a frenzy of retailer activity, and the biggest month of the year for most, if not all, of them. Many retailers rely on a strong end of the year to buoy profits and plan accordingly for the new year.
We took a look at retail search advertiser behavior last month to see how the dust settled.
Compared to November and December 2014, this year’s holiday season actually saw less search growth. Ad spend in 2014 grew 27% in December when compared to October, while it only grew 16% in 2015.
However, clicks grew comparably, at 22% vs 19%, respectively, and ad efficiency also went up year-over-year. While CTR was only 6% higher in 2014, it was 18% higher in 2015, largely due to the growing adoption of PLAs and mobile.
December 2015, in particular, saw large, predictable spikes during the month that coincided with holiday sales. In the week leading up to the 25th, clicks and spend spiked over 250%, peaking during Christmas day itself when compared to the December average. This is very similar to 2014 behavior, and again, there were higher CTRs, largely through mobile and PLA growth in proportion to text ads.
Overall, this holiday season was very successful for retailers, who embraced newer ad formats to great effect.
By now, you’ve likely seen or heard about buy buttons, which are a quick way for customers to purchase directly from search, social, and video platforms. How should digital marketers work with buy buttons this holiday season?
First, let’s review the statistics.
202%. The year-over-year lift in social media-referred orders that Shopify reported.
60 million. The number of shoppable pins on Pinterest.
84%. The percent of Pinterest buyable pin-referred orders coming from new customers, according to one advertiser case study.
These data points indicate a growing trend toward social as a shopping discovery tool. One thing missing from the statistics is the success of buy buttons from a revenue standpoint. Since buy buttons are relatively new, it’s still too early to tell how successful they’ll be in generating sales, making it uncertain whether to prioritize them over other tests this holiday season.
Still, it’s worth it for brands to begin preparing now, given the investment being made in buy buttons across the digital ecosystem. It’s easy to imagine that customers will quickly become accustomed to social discovery-fueled shopping, facilitated by buy buttons.
Let’s take a moment to recap some of the major networks with buy buttons, many of which still have the ad units in beta, with a select group of advertisers:
As part of its action-oriented suite of ads released in June, Instagram has an ad unit with several call-to-action options including “shop now,” which allows users to make a purchase while staying within Instagram.
Pinterest has made Buyable Pins available to advertisers on select e-commerce platforms since late June.
In mid-July, Google announced it’s beta testing its own version of the buy button in mobile paid search results.
In late September, YouTube launched Shopping Ads, which include a click-to-buy option within partner videos.
In late September, Twitter announced U.S. advertisers on select e-commerce platforms have access to buy buttons in tweets.
Facebook, which has tested a buy button for over a year, in October announced it’s testing a shopping tab, enabling users to shop directly in the platform without visiting a brand’s site.
With so many major networks supplying buy button-infused ad inventory, customer shopping behavior will be influenced—it’s just not clear yet how and to what extent. At this phase, it’s worth testing buy buttons on a small scale to establish a benchmark and to begin collecting intelligence to inform next year’s holiday buy button strategy.
Sarah manages Content Marketing at Boost Media and leads a team of marketing professionals to drive revenue through complex B2B marketing campaigns in the ad tech industry. Prior to joining Boost, Sarah developed marketing and sales strategy at BNY Mellon, a top 10 private wealth management firm. In a former life, Sarah worked in journalism writing for magazines including Boston Magazine, The Improper Bostonian, and Luxury Travel. When she’s not writing engaging content, Sarah enjoys cooking, running, and yoga.
Boost Media increases advertiser profitability by using a combination of humans and a proprietary software platform to drive increased ad relevance at scale. The Boost marketplace comprises over 1,000 expert copywriters and image optimizers who compete to provide a diverse array of perspectives. Boost’s proprietary software identifies opportunities for creative optimization and drives performance using a combination of workflow tools and algorithms. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Boost Media optimization platform provides fresh, performance-driven creative in 12 localized languages worldwide.
In just a year, display has gone from a desktop-based ad channel to a mobile one, showing a dramatically faster shift than either search or social. Not only has the display advertising world seen huge changes this year, but even more changes are anticipated in 2016.
This is indicative of a larger trend in digital advertising as a whole, where consumers are spending more time and attention on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets instead of desktops. In response, advertisers are allocating more and more of their display budget to targeting mobile consumers.
During Q3 2015, consumer engagement with display ads moved very decidedly towards smartphones. Over half of all display ad clicks came from a smartphone, and these ad clicks resulted in the majority of conversions.
eMarketer predicts that, by end of year, 60.5% of display ad budgets will be on a mobile device, and we’re seeing the same trends within Marin. This added consumer attention has translated to heightened innovation in the mobile display ad space. New formats for display ads are coming out on a regular basis, replacing the old banner ads to help encourage more click-through and conversion on mobile display ads.
For more information about the current state of display advertising and forecasts for 2016, download our report, The Q3 2015 Performance Marketer’s Benchmark Report, and check out our industry infographic below.
According to Time Warner, 65% of people with a smartphone and tablet are likely to use social media while watching TV. From tweeting along during The Voice, to posting game-day Facebook statuses while watching our favorite teams, social media is now a virtual living room.
So what can digital advertisers do to capitalize on these multi-screen habits?
We’re excited to announce TV Sync, a powerful solution that allows advertisers to automatically activate their social ads based on customizable offline events including television flight schedules, live programming, weather changes, or sporting events – all in real-time. By synchronizing social media and TV advertising efforts, marketers can amplify reach and drive consumer engagement across screens.
TY Sync is made possible through Marin’s premier social partnership with TVTY, the leading provider of real-time contextual data. As TVTY’s preferred social advertising platform, Marin can now help advertisers run contextually targeted advertising campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using television signals from over 400 national and local channels, across 25 countries in North America, EMEA, and Australia.
TV Sync unleashes a multitude of possibilities for social advertisers. Consider some examples.
Running TV commercials? Use TV Sync to trigger your social ads immediately as your commercials air, reinforcing the message and increasing your impact with a multi-screen presence.
As soon as your competitor’s commercials appear on TV, counter them by launching social ads in real-time. This is a great way to stay top of mind and boost mindshare.
Trigger your social ads according to weather status or key sporting events for a timely, optimized, and personalized campaign that strikes a chord with your audience. For example, during snow-filled winters, travel advertisers can target users with ads to tropical locations.
TV Sync can help you advertise your auto brand during an episode of Top Gear, or launch social ads for your beauty brand during the red carpet at the Oscars. Aligning your ads with specific programming in this way creates a highly targeted and relevant ad experience.
TV Sync is immediately available for Marin Social customers, and we’ve already seen some exciting use cases and positive results. If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Once you’ve driven the app install, what happens next? Retention is a significant challenge for mobile app developers. Reports have shown that over 80% of mobile apps are abandoned within the first week of install.
Reaching those abandoners quickly is essential if you want them to return to your app and give you a second chance. The longer a user is away from your app, the less likely they are to return. Localytics released data showing that 40% of users who don’t return to your app within the first day will never return, and that number increases to 60% if they don’t re-engage within a week.
To help marketers quickly onboard their existing mobile audiences onto the Marin Display platform, we’re excited to add mobile measurement solutions AppsFlyer, Tune, and adjust to our Audience Connect platform. Specifically, customers who’ve integrated either the AppsFlyer, Tune, or adjust SDKs into their mobile apps will be able to sync event data – like first time opens, reaching a certain level, viewing certain screens, etc. – into Marin Display. Then, they’ll be able to instantly build mobile audiences, and retarget those audiences with in-app banner and interstitial ads.
One of the key benefits of these partnerships is it enables you to get in front of your app abandoners immediately, without having to install additional SDKs and waiting to go through the app store review process where you can lose valuable days and weeks.
The Marin Device Graph also automatically matches audiences captured through these third-party SDKs cross-device, allowing you to expand your reach and target your visitors across more channels, devices, and apps.
For more information and documentation about each integration, check out the resources below:
After several months of testing and refining, Instagram advertising is now open to businesses of all sizes around the world! To make the most of the opportunity, follow this spotlight blog series for helpful tips specific to your industry or vertical.
The US consumer packaged goods industry (CPG) is expected to increase digital ad spend to $7.04 billion by 2018. With most of this spend directed toward branding efforts, marketers are always on the lookout for new ways to reach and inform their audience. Instagram presents an excellent opportunity to do just that.
Here are a few tips to help CPG advertisers reach the fastest-growing and most engaged community on any major mobile property today.
As you get started with Instagram, it’s important to have clear campaign objectives. Are you trying to tell a story? Do you want to boost awareness? How about driving people to your website, or getting them to install your app? Once you have a clear goal in mind, it’s much easier to align your concepts and creatives accordingly.
Instagram offers a powerful visual experience with still photos, but you can take your advertising to the next level by adding video. Use it to depict your products in action, highlight the problems they solve, and bring your brand to life. A recent eMarketer study shows CPG brands rank highest for share of digital video ads, and early advertisers on Instagram have seen significant lift in ad recall using this strategy.
Consumers often have strongly held opinions of CPG brands, which can be tricky to alter. However, Instagram offers a great way to remain true to your brand’s voice while also opening users up to new ideas. Consider yogurt-brand Chobani. To break out of the breakfast rut and encourage users to think of them all day long, they ran ads showcasing their products at snack time and for dessert. Similarly, Philadelphia Cream Cheese found consumers only thought of them around the holidays, so they changed the conversation to highlight how their products can fit in at occasions of all kinds.
Chobani for snack time, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese for all occasions.
Do you offer a product designed to help consumers make dinners fast? Advertise as people are leaving work and wondering what they’re going to cook. Sell a laundry or cleaning product? Reach people on Saturday morning as they head to the grocery store and start their household chores.
Most people actually feel flattered if a brand interacts with them on Instagram, so monitor your hashtags and respond to the comments. Doing so can help increase engagement and further reinforce your brand personality.
To add value to your posts or ads, include something extra that consumers will appreciate. This could be a recipe, DIY idea, coupon link, or some other bonus that relates to your product. Nestle Toll House does a great job by providing handy baking guides, lots of recipes, and fun seasonal ideas.
As a relatively new avenue for social advertising, Instagram leaves lots of room for creativity and innovation to surprise and delight users. If you’d like to learn how Marin Software can help advance your Instagram strategy, feel free to get in touch.
Programmatic is hot right now. eMarketer predicts that by 2016, programmatic spending will top $20 billion, making up 63% of all US display ad spending. As quickly as it’s growing, though, programmatic has some serious terminology and conventions you have to learn if you want to consider yourself an expert. And once you get started, you may feel like you’re drowning in a sea of programmatic jargon, lingo, and acronyms.
The programmatic ecosystem is large and wide – but not impassable. A good way to start the journey is getting to know the 8 major players in the ecosystem, as well as their main functions.
1. The Advertiser
If you’re reading this, this is probably you. The advertising world wouldn’t exist without the companies that buy the ads.
2. The Publisher
Publishers are all the publications, web sites, and mobile apps that create and deliver the real value – the content – as well as the ad space that advertisers buy.
3. Ad Exchanges
Ad exchanges are the backbone of programmatic ad buying, and a major driving force for the display advertising renaissance over the past few years. Ad exchanges are essentially marketplaces where advertisers and publishers buy and sell ad space programmatically. Publishers make their inventory available and advertisers then bid for those ads, often in real-time, based on how much a particular visitor is worth to them.
4. Ad Networks
Ad networks are like the older, less capable big brother of the ad exchange. Like ad exchanges, ad networks aggregate inventory across multiple publishers and package it up, helping advertisers buy ads at scale more efficiently. Because they can still be a simple, efficient way to scale your media buy across a large number of publishers, they’re still relevant in this age of programmatic. Still, ad networks don’t offer the same targeting sophistication that ad exchanges do.
5. Data Management Platforms (DMPs)
Advertisers use DMPs to collect, store, and leverage their first-party audience data. DMPs also aggregate data from third parties and make it available to clients to use in their advertising.
6. Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs)
A demand-side platform is a tool that enables marketers to bid on and buy ads from ad exchanges. There are some big differences between the different platforms out there, so be sure to determine what’s most important to your business before investing in one – for example, access to data, quality of reach, transparency, etc.
7. Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs)
Advertisers use DSPs to buy ads on ad exchanges. Publishers use SSPs to sell their ads on ad exchanges. It’s basically the mirror opposite.
8. Agency Trading Desk
Agency Trading Desks (ATDs) are essentially the media buying and reselling arms of major advertising agency holding companies like WPP, Publicis, and Interpublic. ATDs reflect a mix of people and technology. While media is often bought programmatically using technology like DSPs and DMPs, it’s then resold to advertisers as a managed service.
These eight players are just one piece of the programmatic puzzle. For a more complete discussion – including how data, targeting, and retargeting figure in – download our full white paper, The ABCs of Programmatic.
Each year, the US Search Awards recognizes the best and brightest brands among the world’s leading search and digital agencies and professionals. We compiled advice from eight of this year’s judges on what every brand should do to optimize their PPC campaigns.
This year’s awards will take place at Paris Las Vegas on Wednesday, October 7th. For more information and to enter, visit the US Search Awards website.
Inbound Marketing Manager, Cisco Systems | @DPease
Monitor Your Extension Performance
With all the hype around ad extensions, we can sometimes get caught up in “extension excitement” – putting site links, callouts, and location extensions on our ads to provide a better user experience. But it’s important to monitor the performance of your extensions, to ensure they’re really working for you in the way you want them to. Create a reminder – and check on a bi-weekly basis. If you have an extension that’s not performing, make adjustments or try removing it. Extensions are a great way to expand your ad, but they need to be monitored.
Head of Strategy for America’s Advertising, Google | @Matt_Mcgowan
RLSA. Do it. It amazes me how many clients don’t add the tag to their sites. For free, you can bring together intent, context, and audience to help your business drive sales and leads with great ROI. With remarketing lists for search ads, you can modify bids, ads, and keywords for past site visitors. For example, people visit your sports apparel site to check out available styles, and look at the shoe section of the site. You could add these shoppers to a “Shoe category” list. Then, the next time they search for running shoes on Google you could bid more for them. More here.
UK Industry Expert | @Smartrich
You absolutely have to be leveraging Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) these days. At a recent SAScon event, Larry Kim highlighted the low CPCs that early adopters of the format have benefited from. One great tip is to run a campaign targeting Gmail accounts containing newsletters from your competitors, remembering to negative your own keywords to avoid upsetting existing customers.
Global Head of Biddable Media | @Jimbanks
Anticipate the device your users will be on and have ads that reflect that context. If someone is on mobile, then having the CTA as “Call” or “Tap” will get higher CTR (TTR – Tap Through Rate) than “Click”. Dayparting is now a 168-hour a week function, and device, location, and time of day/day of week will help or hurt more than keyword, bid, or ad.
Digital Marketing Strategist, Author, Speaker, Networker, and Columnist; Sustainable Digital Marketing | @SEOPllyAnna
Look at the performance of high-volume, general PPC ads and test the content for titles and meta descriptions. For example, the shipping message “same day shipping” performed better in Paid than the message “fast shipping”. Test the better performing message CTR and conversion to see if you get lift in Organic Search the same way you did in Paid Search.
Senior Account Manager, Hanapin Marketing; Founder of #PPCChat | @Matt_Umbro
In order to quickly find keywords that are costing too much and not providing enough (or any) conversions, create an automated rule. I’ll generally create a rule that runs weekly and looks at the last 30 days’ worth of data. I’ll set the rule to identify all keywords that have seen at least 50 clicks and zero conversions. I’ll have these keywords emailed to me so I can choose whether to change my bids, pay particularly close attention to the search queries, and/or pause the keywords all together. You can adjust the filter as you see fit, but this rule helps to easily find poor performing keywords.
Bing Ads Evangelist | @Jmgagnon
To bid or not to bid? Bid. And, there’s finally concrete data. Bing Ads completed a study measuring the number of clicks a brand received when they were the top organic spot alone, versus the top organic spot plus the top paid ad.
After looking at three million impressions on brand searches for retail during 2014, the study found advertisers saw an incremental 31 clicks for every 100 brand searches when a paid search ad was used in combination with the top organic result. That’s huge!
Only 11 of those clicks would have been received anyways. Adjust your CPA lower by about 18% to account for the overlap – and you have a concrete strategy for bidding on your brand terms.
Owner, Beetsonomics | @Beeston
If you’re a retailer, then of course you’re running Shopping campaigns. But your campaigns will only be as good as the product or inventory feed that powers them. Spend as much time optimizing your feed as you would any other part of the campaign, making sure you have the right imagery and search-friendly titles. As you can use the feed with Bing Shopping Campaigns (now in beta), Facebook Product Ads, and Google Shopping, the optimization will pay off more than once.
The deadline for submitting an entry to one of the 22 categories in the US Search Awards is the 17th of July, so download the entry form today and you could be a worthy winner at the glittering Las Vegas event in October during Pubcon!