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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 TV.com. TV.com 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Google has made a historic change to its creative format with the introduction of a mobile optimized format called “Expanded Text Ads” (ETA). In this post, we provide information to help you understand what’s changing, why it’s a positive thing, and how to automatically make your existing ads ETA-compatible. (Pro tip: Skip to the end of this article if that last point is what you’re after.)
Expanded Text Ads are a mobile-optimized ad-format designed to maximize an advertiser’s performance in mobile search results. This is accomplished by providing the advertiser significantly more ad copy to highlight their product or service. Expanded Text Ads also apply to desktop search results.
This change is a big deal because it’s a fundamental shift away from the legacy AdWords text ad format that’s existed for well over a decade. As such, this change will require every AdWords advertiser to rewrite their ads to be ETA-compatible. To learn how to automatically do this, skip ahead to the end of this post.
Advertisers now have two headlines instead of one, and these headlines are joined with a hyphen. The good news – this copy expansion allows ads to occupy 50% more space on the search results page. Early results indicate that this increased presence improves CTR, which makes sense when you compare the old format (left) to the new format (right):
Here are the nitty-gritty details:
As marketers, we’re excited by all of these updates, and think that the addition of a new headline is only going to help performance, especially in a mobile world.
Why is this change a net-positive for advertisers?
A couple of obvious questions are: Why is Google making this change? And why now?
The short answer: Consumers have shifted to mobile as their primary method of accessing the Internet. And, advertising dollars are following in rapid succession. eMarketer estimates that in 2016, over 60% of all digital advertising spend will go to mobile. It’s also expected that mobile will continue to gobble up market share through 2020.
Google is staying ahead of this trend by shifting to mobile-optimized ads, which is consistent with the elimination of right-hand ads back in February. In the next 12-24 months, we should see more mobile-centric changes from all major publishers, as they train their attention on perfecting mobile monetization.
Through an exclusive partnership with Boost Media, Marin Software has an automated tool that can rewrite your ads to be ETA-compatible. If you’d like to get up and running on ETA ads today, you can get started here.
Stay tuned for more details, insights, and data as we continue to report on Expanded Text Ads.
According to eMarketer, over 70% of U.S. paid search spend will be mobile by 2017. And yet, optimizing mobile advertising and seeing significant ROI on it remains a crucible for many in the digital advertising world.
We joined our technology partner DialogTech at the end of April for
a webinar about how search marketers can adopt new mobile-first optimization strategies to drive PPC conversions and customers.
One of Marin’s very own search marketing experts, Patrick Hutchison, teamed up with Kelley Schultz, Digital Marketing Lead at DialogTech, to share proven mobile optimization and attribution tactics digital marketers can use to drive more clicks, calls, and customers from Google AdWords, Yahoo, and Bing.
In order to achieve their mobile advertising goals, digital marketers need to understand the customer journey and all of the touch points prior to sale. To that end, here are five strategies for optimizing your mobile game plan that we learned from this webinar.
You want to get into a top (1-2) position for mobile devices to ensure visibility, so set up campaigns with an initial +25-30% bid modifier. You can adjust and optimize based on the types of conversions and traffic you see.
Incorporate call conversion tracking to ensure you’re optimizing for all conversions. Without measuring call leads, you miss out on a significant piece of the puzzle when it comes to tracking and understanding the source of your leads.
When you perform search query reports, add a device segment. This will allow you to see what keywords are getting the most mobile conversions and traffic. Within your reports, sort by conversions and then adjust your bids for your highest performing keywords to ensure top position.
Next, sort your report by clicks that don’t drive conversions, and adjust bids or add negatives as necessary for these keywords that are driving up both clicks and spend.
Create mobile-preferred search ads with mobile ad extensions and CTAs. Remember to take advantage of call extensions, since as Google reports, 70% of mobile searchers use call extensions to call businesses.
Set up remarketing lists into your campaigns, so that you can adjust mobile bids for the top position.
Remember the importance of not only bidding up for mobile traffic, but also increasing bidding for your custom audience lists. If users showed interest once, capture them again on their next query with a different message in the top position.
When we looked at performance marketing data from the first quarter of 2016, one thing became clear: cross-channel, cross-device targeting remains the most powerful differentiator for profitable marketing strategies.
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 Q1 2016, key findings include:
For detailed information on Q1 2016 search, social, and display mobile performance – including detailed data charts with YoY performance and up-to-date recommendations – download our Performance Marketer’s Benchmark Report Q2 2016 – Vital Search, Social, and Display Performance Data by Device.
This is a guest post from Garrett Mehrguth, CEO of Directive Consulting, a Google Partner and MozLocal Recommended Agency serving small to enterprise level firms.
Thumbs and tiny screens can be tricky. Users have unique needs when they’re on a mobile device, and as advertisers, it’s critical that we create a conversion-friendly mobile experience. By the end of this post, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to take your mobile campaign conversions to the next level.
You can never assume that you know why your users are on a mobile page. And, throughout the mobile user’s conversion journey, there are countless screen sizes and roadblocks. Finding a tool that allows you to record visitors, analyze form drop-offs, create heat maps, and measure funnels is crucial for improving your Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
It’s possible to drastically improve ROI with elements like average fold analysis on mobile and other tools included in a conversion tracking software suite. In general, you don’t want your call to action below the fold on a mobile page. Remember, thumbs are powerful extremities and they shouldn’t be forced to scroll.
It would be a total shame if you lost all of your calls to action when someone scrolls! A great way to prevent your call to actions from going unnoticed is to install a sticky menu on your landing pages.
With a sticky menu, you can improve conversions and keep your CTA within a thumb’s distance at all times.
Users on mobile know that underlined items are hyperlinked. Not only do we want to make our number clickable, we want the user to inherently know that it’s clickable. Ideally, this number is a part of a sticky menu as mentioned in change #2.
Furthermore, if you really want the number to pop, take advantage of a secondary color from your brand playbook and go bold. The goal here is to make sure that the user knows they can call you.
In a great presentation, @BryantGarvin touches on a very valuable aspect of mobile CRO – keyboards. After using your conversion tracking software, dive into your mobile sessions. When users enter their number on mobile forms, are you using the right keyboard? Make sure you’re leveraging <input type=”tel”>.
Furthermore, if you’re using a checkout, make sure you set your credit card fields to <input type=”tel”> as well. Full details from the presentation here!
When your user comes to your mobile landing page, they’re often in a very unique situation. Occasionally, it could be an emergency. It’s critical that your copy speaks to this urgency and highlights your unique selling point while answering their #1 question.
Take the example above. Notice that “Available 24/7” is the first information a user sees. If you’re available to answer the phone 24/7, make sure your user knows! Also, notice “Tap # To Call: 949-362-5388” – here, the action we want the user to take is clear. Lastly, the user’s top questions are answered: Where do you service? How much will it cost?
When designing copy for mobile landing pages, leave nothing assumed, and guide the user as much as possible.
For certain industries, call-only ads present a terrific opportunity for your mobile campaigns. Frankly, if you’re in an industry where the end goal is phone calls, why not just have the user call you?
If you can take out a step in the funnel, you’ll be able to drastically increase conversions and compete at a higher level by allowing a user to complete their desired actions. Here are some key steps to keep in mind:
Regardless of where you are today, make these changes and monitor for growth. As always, test and improve, but this should give you a running start.
2015 was a banner year for mobile.
Continuing its ascent into the status of omnipresent being, global smartphone adoption reached an all-time high last year and shows no signs of slowing down. Thanks to this rapid expansion of smartphone usage around the world, advertisers now have an opportunity to reach consumers even more easily.
We sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform, to analyze data from around the world to create our latest annual benchmark report.
We uncovered three key findings:
For detailed information on 2015 search, social, and display mobile performance – including detailed data charts with YoY performance and further recommendations for 2016 – download our Mobile Advertising Around the Globe: 2016 Annual Report.