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Archive for ‘Mobile’

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

By May 24th, 2016

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.)

What Are Expanded Text Ads?

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.

What’s Changing, Exactly?

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):

ETAs

Here are the nitty-gritty details:

  • Headline 1 and headline 2 are 30 characters each. This is a 240% increase over legacy text ads, which historically had just one headline and a 25-character maximum.
  • For the description line, the character count is also increasing. Instead of two 35-character description lines, there’s just one that’s 80 characters.
  • The display URL will now be automatically extracted from your destination URL. You can set up to two path fields like “golf” and “shoes” (e.g., www.powpowsports.com/golf/shoes).

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.

A Positive Change, for Multiple Reasons

Why is this change a net-positive for advertisers?

  • You gain a new, second headline.
  • More characters for longer messaging increase the odds of connecting with your target audience.
  • We’re seeing better overall performance in our early results.

Why is Google Making This Change?

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.

How Can I Automatically Make My Ads ETA-Compatible?

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.

5 Ways to Drive More Customers in a Mobile-First World

By May 23rd, 2016

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.

1. If your business gets mobile traffic, then you need to be      setting a bid adjustment

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.

2. Optimize for calls

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.

3. Segment search query reports by device

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.

4. Remember that mobile-targeted ad copy is key

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.

5. Incorporate remarketing bidding strategies

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.

The Continuing Adventures of Cross-Channel Marketing: The Latest Performance Data

By May 12th, 2016

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:

  • All mobile, all the time. Advertisers and consumers are continuing to shift towards a more mobile ecosystem.
  • Cross-channel and cross device remain important. It’s important for marketers to adopt and maintain a more holistic and complete approach to digital marketing that targets across all channels and devices.
  • Every channel has its strengths and weaknesses. Not only should marketers become adept at recognizing each channel’s weaknesses, but even more importantly, they should start using all three channels and devices to their best strengths.

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.

5 Speedy Ways to Optimize Your Mobile
Conversion Rate

By May 3rd, 2016

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.

Change #1: Install Conversion Tracking Software

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.

Change #2: Install a Sticky Menu

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.

Change #3: Underline Your Phone #

01-UnderlinePhone

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.

Change #4: Fix Your Form Presets to Be for Mobile

02-FormPresets

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!

Change #5: Use Copy That’s Unique to the Situation

03-UniqueCopy

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.

BONUS: Call-Only Ads

04-CallOnly

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:

  • Understand the market. Would a user prefer to call for the keywords in that ad group?
  • Select your keywords. Analyze the intent behind the keywords and run on local modifiers like +city, +near, and +local.
  • Craft killer ad copy. Space is limited, so you need to catch and convert in the SERP. Think about including cost, trust, distance, and contact person.
  • Record calls. Nothing gives you data feedback like recording calls.

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.

Digital Advertising in 2015 – Mobile Is Crushing It

By April 6th, 2016

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:

  • Clicks and spend have gone mobile. In 2015, mobile devices represented the majority of consumer online usage for the first time. Consumers are now spending more time and attention on mobile devices than desktop – as a result, advertisers have been shifting spend away from desktop towards smartphones and tablets to catch consumer attention and generate clicks. We predict this trend will continue.
  • Desktop is becoming more like mobile. As the mobile format gains traction with consumers and advertisers, publishers are innovating. While mobile ad formats formerly took cues from desktop, publishers are now swapping the formula, making desktop ad formats and pages more similar to mobile.
  • Mobile conversion is gaining traction. Desktops are still the primary conversion-driving device; however, within the past year, conversion rates have been growing on mobile devices. While mobile devices have historically been used for product research or upper-funnel activities, this is changing, as better mobile attribution and ad formats are released. Expect this trend to continue.

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.

2016-mobile-report_cover

Re-engage Mobile App Users with AdWords

By March 23rd, 2016

Google AdWords now lets you upload both Identifiers for Advertising (IDFAs) and advertising IDs in bulk so that you can target your mobile app users using the Google Display Network. Although you can use this feature to solicit new users under the right circumstances, its chief use is re-engaging your mobile app users.

After all, your current mobile app users are your easiest source of IDFAs and advertising IDs, meaning you’re going to struggle making the most of this feature if you don’t already have a user base.

Regardless, you shouldn’t see this as a limitation but rather a reminder of the importance of re-engaging your mobile app users.

This is mainly because re-engaging your mobile app users can boost the success rates of your mobile advertising – though it’s important to note that there are a number of reasons why Google AdWords is now particularly useful for this purpose. And, successfully re-engaging those users will contribute to creating a “consumable experience” that makes them want to keep coming back for more.

Existing vs. Potential Users

Generally speaking, you can convince your existing users with much greater ease than your potential users. In part, this is because you’ve accumulated goodwill with your existing users, meaning you’ll have a much easier time convincing them you’re trustworthy, likable, and reliable.

However, it’s also important to note that you have existing data on their purchasing patterns, meaning you can tailor your mobile advertising for the best results. Summed up, you should focus on existing rather than potential users because it costs you less time, effort, and other resources to convince them on average.

Lasting Usefulness

Re-engagement can be useful throughout an app’s lifecycle, meaning that the resources spent on such mobile advertising can prove useful longer than otherwise possible.

For example, you can use it to solicit new users for a similar app, build loyalty in existing users by making them more invested in an app they’re already using, and even bring back past users by reminding them of the app’s existence at an opportune time.

Simply put, re-engagement is so versatile that it can be used for all stages of an app’s promotion.

Expanding User Base

Finally, mobile advertising has become more important, with no signs of stopping in the foreseeable future. This is because the number of mobile app users is continuing to rise as mobile devices become more convenient and more powerful. As a result, you can expect a better rate of return by spending your dollars on mobile advertising rather than the other options out there.

Re-engaging Your Mobile App Users

With that said, just because you can count on this latest Google AdWords feature to be useful, it doesn’t mean you can slack off when it comes to creating your mobile advertising for re-engaging your mobile app users.

As always, if you want to convince your mobile app users to pay attention – and consider your brand a consumable experience – your advertising needs to show your app as useful and interesting. Furthermore, you need to use your existing data to figure out what will appeal the most to them before sending it out at the right times, which is where the rest of Google AdWords features will prove to be beneficial.

Mobile Mania in the 2015 Shopping Season

By March 2nd, 2016

Every year, Q4 is huge for retail advertisers and other verticals looking to capitalize on holiday shopping sprees. In 2015, even more ad spend was devoted to capturing people’s attention at the moment they’re most likely to buy the perfect gift.

We sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, which looks at over $7 billion worth of spend in the Marin platform, and one thing was clear: people are wedded to their mobile devices.

Time and again, the Q4 2015 data played this out, with across-the-board increases in mobile spend, ad clicks, and impressions. When it came to search, however, consumers still preferred powering up their desktop computers and doing a deeper dive on a larger screen.

For detailed information on how the 2015 shopping season played out across devices for search, social, and display – and what you should do to stay ahead of the game – download The Q4 2015 Performance Marketer’s Benchmark Report.

2016-Q4-benchmark-report_cover

Your Quick Recap of the Latest Social
Advertising News

By February 17th, 2016

The world of social advertising changes every day, and it can be a lot to keep up with! There are new ad types, forming partnerships, emerging tech, financial announcements, and the list goes on.

If you’re feeling a little behind on the latest, need-to-know news, grab a cup of coffee and take five minutes to catch up with this
quick recap.

1. Twitter Launches Algorithmically Sorted Timeline

https://blog.twitter.com/2016/never-miss-important-tweets-from-people-you-follow

Quick recap: Twitter announced a new algorithmically sorted way to view the timeline, although it’s not yet turned on by default. Consider it the “while you were away” feature on steroids.

What it means for advertisers: Advertisers have come to expect lower Facebook engagement on organic content, so the same fears may come into play here. Twitter representatives have said that ads will appear in the newly sorted timeline, but that the best content will rise to the top regardless of whether or not it’s paid. Expect Twitter to continue evolving in its quest to revive shareholder value.

2. Instagram Rolls Out 60-Second Video Ads

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBVMFOsS0Dc/ 

Quick recap: Instagram rolled out support for 60-second video ads, a big change from the previous limit of 30 seconds. T-Mobile (did you catch the Drake commercial?) and Warner Bros. were among the first brands to test the extended video ad type.

What it means for advertisers: Instagram video ads can now be anywhere from three to 60 seconds, giving advertisers lots of room to creatively tell a story. Support is already available on Marin Social for advertisers who want to get started right away.

3. Facebook Soars in Q4 2015 Earnings Report

http://investor.fb.com/results.cfm 

Quick recap: It was a great quarter for Facebook! The network beat estimates, announced $5.8 billion in revenue, and revealed it now has more than 1.59 billion monthly active users.

What it means for advertisers: The entire earnings call transcript is worth a read. To align with Facebook, advertisers should place extra focus on their mobile, video, and Instagram strategies.

4. Snapchat Teams Up with Viacom

http://www.viacom.com/news/Pages/newsdetails.aspx?RID=953935 

Quick recap: Viacom and Snapchat announced a major partnership deal, which will give Viacom exclusive rights to sell Snapchat advertising.

What it means for advertisers: Viacom’s core investment in broadcasting and cable, combined with this new focus on social, hints at just how important cross-channel advertising is becoming. If Snapchat’s not your cup of tea, consider other tactics such as triggering social ads based on TV commercials, or running similar video content across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TV.

5. Facebook Shuts Down Free Basics in India

http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/8/10913398/free-basics-india-regulator-ruling

Quick recap: Free Basics by Facebook is a free, zero-rated platform that provides access to basic Internet services (news, health, education, sports, etc.) in developing parts of the world. Net neutrality concerns have made it controversial, and India recently passed legislation that caused Facebook to shutter Free Basics in the country.

What it means for advertisers: Free Basics will still exist in over 30 other countries, and Facebook plans to continue efforts to connect people in India. There are no ads in the Free Basics version of Facebook. However, international advertisers should consider taking advantage of new Facebook ad types (like Slideshow Ads) to reach users with slow connections in high-growth areas.

6. Facebook Adds Caption Tool for Video Ads

https://www.facebook.com/business/news/updated-features-for-video-ads 

Quick recap: Facebook announced plans to roll out an automated video caption tool, coming soon.

What it means for advertisers: Once the feature is rolled out, advertisers will no longer need to embed captions or upload their own caption files. Facebook’s internal tests show that video ads with captions increase video view times by about 12%!

7. Twitter Introduces First View Video Ads

https://blog.twitter.com/2016/introducing-first-view 

Quick recap: Twitter announced a new ad product called First View. It will allow advertisers to do a 24-hour takeover of the top ad slot in the timeline with a Promoted Video ad.

What it means for advertisers: Brand advertisers, rejoice! First View will offer a high-impact way to drive awareness at scale and gain maximum exposure for your brand.

8. Account Switching Now Available for Instagram

http://blog.instagram.com/post/138938416772/160208-accountswitching 

Quick recap: Instagram users will now be able to quickly switch between multiple accounts, without having to log out.

What it means for advertisers: This is an exciting change for social media managers who run multiple Instagram accounts. However, larger advertisers who use a tool to manage their accounts won’t see much of an impact.

3 Facebook Advertising Trends You Need
to Know About

By February 4th, 2016

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.

People are clicking Facebook ads

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?

  • Ad quality is better
  • Ad serving is much more selective and targeted
  • People are more willing to view and click Facebook ads

For Facebook advertisers, this translated to a sharp increase in CTR and lower cost-per-click.

Social video is growing fast

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.[1]

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.

Local ads are more precise and effective than ever

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.[2]

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.

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[1] http://techcrunch.com/2015/11/04/facebook-video-views/ – .v4kfgk3:NzA1.

[2] http://www.biakelsey.com/Company/Press-Releases/111114-U.S.-Social-Local-Advertising- Revenues-to-Reach-$2.3-Billion-in-2015.asp.

So You Don’t Have $5 Million to Spend on the
Super Bowl…

By February 1st, 2016

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.

1. Start with a good content strategy

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:

  • Plan your gameday creative and messaging in advance
  • Use a tool like Marin Social’s Message Booster to improve coordination between organic and paid teams, and to ease the workload by automatically promoting top-performing content according to pre-defined rules
  • Make sure your social media team is at the ready with immediate, relevant, branded content, in case a big and unexpected moment occurs

2. Take a mobile-first approach

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.

  • Use mobile device and carrier targeting to maximize ad relevance
  • Make sure your website or landing page is optimized for mobile viewing
  • Consider extending your ads beyond the publishers and into mobile apps, via the Facebook Audience Network and the Twitter Audience Platform

3. Run your commercial without the hefty price tag

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:

  • Use Reach & Frequency targeting with your Facebook video ads to generate awareness at scale
  • Make sure your creative attracts attention with autoplay and no sound
  • Run video that’s specifically relevant to Super Bowl viewers, and consider unveiling fresh, never-seen-before content

4. Up the ante with TV Sync technology

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:

  • Trigger your social ads whenever your competitor’s commercial airs
  • Launch social ads automatically based on weather status or key sporting events such as touchdowns and timing
  • Push social ads live during other related TV events (Pro Bowl, Puppy Bowl, etc.)

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.

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