Archive for ‘Publishers’

Calling All Social Geeks! 2nd Annual Biggest Social Geek Contest Launches Today

By August 17th, 2015

Do you spend your days creating and optimizing social marketing campaigns? Are you focused on ROI, CPC, CPM, CVR, CPLC, and a million other acronyms? Do you regularly find yourself on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram – all for work?

If so, you could be the 2015 Biggest Social Geek!

We’re looking for somebody who lives and breathes social media advertising. Test your social savvy by challenging yourself to our 20-question quiz, which launches today. You could win an all-expense-paid trip to SocialPro in Las Vegas, plus your choice of an Apple iPad Mini, Xbox One, or Sony PlayStation 4.

Ready to get started? Play Biggest Social Geek now!

5 Ways Search Data Can Inform Your
Marketing Strategy

By July 30th, 2015

With Google processing more than 3.5 billion search queries in a single day, there’s a surprising amount of insight that can be gained by analyzing the content and user behaviors behind these searches. Studying your own paid search data can substantially benefit several areas of your marketing strategy, including product, pricing, competitive strategy, branding, and store location selection.

Product Strategy

Search engines periodically release insights based on overarching or vertical-specific search trends. Bing and Google both offer places to start researching search trends related to your product. This data can help you:

  • Research the viability of a possible new product launch.
  • Discover what customers like and dislike about your existing products.
  • Inform product-market fit.

If you analyze search query data directly associated with your brand name, you can identify customer pain points, bugs, and potential new product features.

Pricing Strategy

SEM ad creative testing can help inform pricing strategy, as well as the best way to message pricing.

  • Develop a variable pricing approach: Launch hypothesis tests of identical ad copy and landing pages where the only variable is price. The ideal price point is when you’re generating the best possible balance of order volume and return on ad spend.
  • Optimize pricing verbiage: Set up testing with identical price points and variant messaging to learn the best way to position prices and discounts. For example, customers may react differently to these two variations describing a discount on a $100 item: “Save $20” and “20% off.”

Competitive Strategy

The search engine results page is a goldmine of competitive data. By performing searches related to your product, you can:

  • Find out who your competitors are.
  • Identify your competitors’ weaknesses.
  • Exploit your competitors’ weaknesses to your advantage.

Even if you don’t plan to launch a competitor campaign, it’s important to monitor your own branded search terms. The simplest way to do this is to look for spikes in your brand CPC. If it jumps, you may have a new competitor.

Brand Strategy

Search data can help you test new approaches to brand messaging. Marketers can utilize search data to:

  • Understand how your brand awareness plays are performing.
  • Identify tone and intent of customer interest in your brand.
  • Continually optimize and identify ways to position your brand.

Store Location Strategy

Search data can help inform your store location strategy by providing:

  • Granular geographic data to identify zip codes likely to be profitable.
  • Insight into the market share of foreign language speakers to determine demand for foreign language customer support.
  • Brand search volume cross-referenced with existing store locations—spikes can indicate hotspots for interest in your brand, and where existing locations underserve customers.

Search marketing isn’t just a direct response channel, but rather a means to inform your marketing strategy with data. Product, pricing, competitive strategy, branding, and store location selection are just a few examples of how to use search data. Make it a regular practice to analyze search data for insights that can be applied throughout your marketing strategy.

About the Author

sarahSarah 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.

About Boost Media

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.

Click here to schedule a free demo of the Creative Optimization platform today.

Why Retailers Should Spend More on Google PLAs in 2H 2015

By July 29th, 2015

We recently took a look at the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, which consists of advertising data from leading global brands that manage more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend through Marin’s platform. By examining consumer behaviors from last quarter, we were able to forecast how search advertising would impact the second half of 2015.

We also came up with three ways to dominate search in 2H 2015, one of which you could call, “Spend more on shopping ads.”

Shopping Ads Quickly Reach Critical Mass

Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) hit the market in late 2012, and user adoption has grown steadily ever since. Especially during the critical holiday season, this ad format proved to be richer, more engaging, and highly successful.

For this particular ad type, we looked at retail advertisers and their audiences. We found that:

  • Retail advertisers spent 47.0% more on shopping ads in 2014
    than 2013.
  • This year will see another increase of 20.1% over last.
  • Roughly a third of all PLA ad spend concentrated in the last quarter of 2014.
  • PLA spend in December is forecasted to reach 250% of
    January PLA spend.
  • Click behavior during this time mirrors spend behavior, with large surges during Q4 each year.
  • This year, PLA clicks are forecasted to be 136% of January’s
    click volume.

All of this data highlights the importance of the holiday season for many retailers. This isn’t so surprising, since PLAs are highly effective at reaching consumers during this season, which starts in November.

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Budget Share and Consumer Adoption

In terms of budget share, PLAs have also been steadily gaining ground against text ads in the retail space. While 2013 saw advertisers spike to 23% in PLAs during Q4, overall growth has been slow and steady, taking up just over 20% of all paid-search budgets. This is projected to hit 27% during the holiday season.

Consumer adoption of shopping ads has also shown consistent growth patterns, as the ads have improved and been refined by publishers and advertisers. Shopping ad click share has shown constant growth and made significant gains over the past year and a half. It’s on track to account for over one-fourth of all paid-search clicks by end of year.

Bottom line: Since shopping ad spend is projected to spike dramatically during Q4, retailers should increase shopping ad spend accordingly.

This is just one of three recommended tactics for leading the search field in 2H 2015. To learn more and access full data charts, download our report, Mid-Year Outlook: 3 Tactics to Dominate Search in 2H 2015.

Upgraded URLs – Making It Easier for Paid Search Advertisers to Manage Tracking

By July 14th, 2015

Continuing with our cadence of thought leadership and innovation in digital marketing, Marin Software has successfully upgraded approximately 2 billion URLs to the new Google Upgraded URLs format. We partnered closely with our customers and Google to ensure a smooth transition.

Complete Transparency: Marin’s Upgrade Portal

For visibility into the upgrade process, Marin developed a one of a kind interactive Upgrade Portal. This portal allows customers to quickly and easily review their account configuration and proposed tracking structure before routing changes to Google. As an added bonus, the post-migration summary report within the Upgrade Portal enables customers to keep track of their top performing keywords and ads, and quickly take action within their Marin account(s) to guarantee a timely and successful upgrade.

Ready for a preview of the report tab? See for yourself by watching our two-minute overview video:

Best Practices for the Upgrade

Marin’s Customer Support and Service teams were on hand to assist with any questions that arose during the upgrade process for fast response and inquiry resolution. This experience was specifically designed with our customers in mind!

Through Marin’s close-knit partnership with Google, our customers were upgraded in accordance with Google’s advanced best practices approach – using shared tracking templates at the ad group, campaign, or account levels to benefit from reduced website load when creating new ads or keywords, add new ValueTrack and custom parameters during the upgrade process. Future URL changes can then be made without an interruption to ad serving.

At Marin, we understand that our customer needs are unique. For our customers who chose to self-migrate, Marin had them covered as well! We published comprehensive campaign management and self-migration documentation to Marin’s Enhanced Support Center, along with the archived version of our highest rated webinar to date: Marin’s Best Practices for Managing Upgraded URLs. If you’re a Marin customer please be sure to check this out!

Google Upgraded URLs: the Deadline Approaches

By June 18th, 2015

The June 30th deadline to upgrade your AdWords URLs to the new Upgraded URLs structure is quickly approaching! As mentioned in our previous blog post, Upgraded URLs is a mandatory change to help advertisers track ads and execute updates more efficiently. With Upgraded URLs, you can now separately specify two pieces of information for your URL:

  1. 1) The landing page URL – where the user will go when they click an ad
  2. 2) Your tracking information – the values you’d like to track about your ad performance, which can be at the account level. As a result, you’ll no longer need to update ads, keywords, or sitelinks every time you need to add a tracking parameter to your URLs.

While many marketers have already put together an upgrade strategy for this transition, if you’re still figuring out how to handle your AdWords URLs – it’s not too late. Here are some options and resources to help ensure you’re covered for Upgraded URLs:

  • Auto-migration: If you have very basic URLs (for example, you don’t use any tracking in your URLs), you can either perform the automated upgrade on July 1st, or earlier to get a head start. This method copies your current destination URLs to the new final URL field for all ads and keywords. The benefit of this approach is that you don’t need to do anything; all your ad stats will be maintained, and your ads will not be subject to policy review. However, if your URLs go beyond the basic URL structure, the automated upgrade may not structure your URLs according to best practices.
  • Self-migration: If your URLs include any tracking parameters or use tracking templates, Google provides a self-migration feature. Depending on whether you go with their Basic or Advanced migration, you’ll be able to bulk upload local or shared tracking templates. The Basic migration allows you to create local tracking templates for each of your final URLs. The benefit of the Basic migration is that your ads won’t be subject to policy review, whereas those with Advanced self-migration may be. On the other hand, the Advanced migration allows you to manage shared tracking templates at the ad group, campaign, or account levels. Using the Advanced migration will enable you to try new ValueTrack and custom parameters during the upgrade.
  • Platform help: If you’ve been considering leveraging a 3rd party platform to help you manage your ads, Upgraded URLs presents a great opportunity and reason to try one out. Platforms such as Marin have provided customers with migration resources to help alleviate the stress of making the upgrade, and to minimize any potential disruptions to workflows. Currently, for new customers, Marin is providing Upgraded URLs migration services as part of the onboarding process prior to July 1st. With this approach, you get the assurance that your URLs will be migrated according to best practices. And, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of platform support for ongoing management of your ads.

With all the options you have available for Upgraded URLs, it’s important to review your Google ads to determine which approach works best for your business.

Top 3 Takeaways from Google’s AdWords Livestream 2015

By May 6th, 2015

Yesterday morning at Google’s AdWords Livestream 2015, the AdWords team announced several exciting new features. The features they’ll be launching fall into three broad categories: ad experiences, automation, and measurement. Here’s a run-down of each:

1. Ad Experiences- Creating experiences for consumers when they’re looking for your business

For Automobile Ads, Hotel Ads, Shopping Ads, and Comparison Ads the big theme across all is an emphasis on interactive. Google is releasing a number of enhancements to the creative formats for different verticals by making them more interactive, with a greater emphasis on images and integration with mobile apps. With these enhancements, Google is looking to move advertising beyond just text ads, which are the most common ad format today. This is an understandable move, as ads containing images are proven to drive higher levels of user engagement, according to eMarketer, with a 28% growth in clicks for image-based ads versus just 4% for text ads in Q2 of 2014.

2. Automation – Accelerate, customize, and scale your activity in AdWords

In today’s world, advertisers need to manually create campaigns and set bids for Dynamic Search Ads. Google acknowledges that this can be a cumbersome task that is difficult to scale for advertisers with expansive keyword sets. With the launch of the new Dynamic Search Ads, an improved workflow will allow advertisers to simply type in a URL and view recommended CPCs provided for their categories. Additionally, the introduction of automation into the DSA workflow demonstrates Google’s intentions of moving away from keywords and towards more macro targeting. Google has also announced auto-resizing of GDN ads to help advertisers save time and make it easier for them to reach their audience through Display. For bidding, Google is launching a CPA bid simulation report that will allow advertisers to simulate bids for target CPAs on search and display, as well as an enhanced bid strategy dashboard in the Shared library that will allow advertisers to review the status of their bid strategies over time.

3. Measurement – Measure every moment that matters, across touch points and devices

To provide advertisers with the full value of digital and insight into their advertising performance across devices, Google is enhancing their analytics and reporting capabilities. These new capabilities will allow for better conversion and attribution tracking across devices. The first step in this process will be the integration of Estimated Total Conversions (ETC) to bidding to help inform better bidding and budgeting decisions. Later this year, advertisers will be able to take action on cross-device conversions for automated bidding and to include cross-device conversions as part of the conversions column in AdWords. The goal is to provide advertisers with the ability to track cross-device conversions that started on the web and finished on the app, regardless of device type. Attribution was also discussed, with the integration of data driven attribution into AdWords to make attribution actionable for Search. This integration will allow you to break down the customer journey and measure every moment using your own conversion data to value attribution. This will allow Google to calculate the actual contribution of every keyword in your account and optimize for the best performing keywords across the conversion path. Coupling this new feature with automated bidding will allow you to optimize keyword bids based on the actual value of your Search ads.

All these new enhancements are planned to roll out over the course of the next few months so stayed tuned to Marketing Insights for more updates as we provide all the details you need to you know as they launch.

Yahoo and Bing Update Their Relationship Status

By April 27th, 2015

Last month, Yahoo and Microsoft announced that they are revising the terms of their search partnership in hopes to “improve the search experience, create value for advertisers and establish ongoing stability for partners”, according to the Yahoo press release.

First, some background on the partnership. Yahoo and Microsoft formed a partnership in 2009 in an effort to provide advertisers with a viable alternative to online search advertising by combining the technology of both companies. Based on the original terms of the agreement, Microsoft would provide paid and algorithmic search services on desktop to Yahoo exclusively. Additionally, a revenue sharing agreement was put in place where Microsoft would pay Yahoo a percentage of Bing Ads revenue delivered from Yahoo searches.

What will change? The changes to the partnership agreement will come into effect starting in Q3 2015. These changes include:

  1. 1. Microsoft will become the exclusive sales force for ads delivered through the Bing Ads platform. This means a single customer experience and increased connectivity for all things Microsoft advertising, including display advertising.
  2. 2. Previously, Bing served all Yahoo desktop search impressions. Under the new terms, Bing will, at minimum, now serve 51% of impressions, with the remaining 49% left to the discretion of Yahoo as to how they will be served. Based on comScore data*, it’s estimated that Bing will continue to power at least 26% of the total search market share, that’s 100% of Bing Traffic and 51% of Yahoo PC traffic.
  3. 3. Microsoft will develop their own sales force to sell Bing ads to enterprise and SMB advertisers. They’re now also free to pursue high quality syndication partners. Meanwhile, Yahoo will be selling desktop ads through Gemini, making it the go-to platform for ads on Yahoo.

For advertisers, this updated partnership makes it a great time to explore advertising on Bing and Yahoo. Bing has been experiencing enormous growth, going from 8% to 20% search share in just six years. With the growth of cross-device advertising, Bing provides you with a direct line to your audience through their device integration with Windows phones, Apple (iOS and Spotlight on Mac OS), Kindle Fire HD and Fire Phone, and Xbox. And even more exciting is that Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant powered by Bing, will be integrated directly into Windows 10.

On the Yahoo front, these changes signify Yahoo’s decision to take a greater ownership over their search ads making this a great time to consider including Gemini in your advertising strategy. As Gemini’s presence in the advertising world continues to grow, it is worth looking into expanding your audience reach with this versatile platform that provides advertisers with the ability to advertise across mobile and desktop devices for both search and native ads. For more information on Gemini, check out Native Joins Search with Yahoo Gemini.

*Source: comScore Explicit Core Search (custom), March 2015

Google Upgraded URLs: Don’t Just Prepare for the Transition, Optimize

By April 17th, 2015

The mandatory Google Upgraded URLs July 2015 deadline will be here before you know it, at which point all URLs on AdWords will be migrated over to the new URL structure. With less than three months to go, it’s critical for Google advertisers are prepared for migrating, maintaining and optimizing their URLs across their entire program in the future. Advertisers need to ensure they have the necessary technology and knowledge to allow for a simple, seamless migration and URL framework. So the real question is, are you prepared?

For Google advertisers with third party tracking values, migrating URLs across an entire program can be a giant undertaking. Some advertisers may be wondering what the best way to handle the migration is to ensure that there is limited disruption to existing ad campaigns. While there are many ways to go about this, we’re here to provide you with our best practice guide for the Upgraded URLs migration.

Get the direction you need

The migration process for Upgraded URLs is a new experience for all advertisers so it may be difficult to assess what exactly needs to be done, and when. That said it never hurts to have a helping hand to assist you in navigate through the necessary steps to successfully transform your existing URLs into the new Upgraded URLs. In May, Marin will be providing a migration portal that will give advertisers step-by-step instructions outlining what they need to do and when, an overview of their account, the components that will be affected, and access to a wealth of other helpful resources at their fingertips.
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Set yourself up for ongoing success

How you set-up your URLs during the migration will have a direct impact on the management of your URLs going forward. To ensure that your new Upgraded URLs are set up in a way that you can easily change and scale going forward, it is recommended that you use a shared account-tracking template approach. This template solution will make it easier to make changes in the future by allowing you to make basic tracking parameter changes to URLs without having to going through the Google editorial review process, which requires taking keywords and ads offline. Ultimately, this solution results in cleaner looking URLs with increased readability. With Marin, we will take your URLs from the account tracking template, and then through the use of an automated tool, we will transfer your existing URLs to the new structure making them available for your review. From there, you will be able to traffic your URLs to the publisher at your convenience.
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After the migration, the ongoing management of your Upgraded URLs can be simplified with the help of a tool that understands the challenges that come with adopting to the new URL structure. Marin offers a pop-up side panel that allows you to make URL edits on the spot while you’re looking at your campaigns, keywords, and groups, a URL builder to help you easily piece together the three components of new URLs, and a preview feature to help you troubleshoot your URLs before publishing.

As there are many different options available out there to help you handle the Upgraded URLs migration, choosing the right one for your business needs will help to ensure that you hit the ground running with Upgraded URLs!

Bing Joins the Party for Upgraded URLs

By April 10th, 2015

Bing has just announced that they will be launching Upgraded URLs for Bing Ads with a rollout plan starting May 2015. As many of you are still planning out your migration plans for Google Upgraded URLs, the very thought of having to throw Bing into the loop right now may be panic inducing! However, there’s no need to worry, as we’re here to help provide you with all the information you need to make it through this transition smoothly.

The Why

First things first, there are two important dates to remember for this launch:

  • Early May 2015: Support for Importing of Upgraded URLs from AdWords
  • End of Summer 2015: Availability of Upgraded URLs in Bing Ads

Bing is adopting Upgraded URLs in order to help make it easier for their advertisers to copy their ads from Google to Bing. Instead of having to adjust URLs when managing between Google and Bing, advertisers can save time and streamline their workflows knowing that their URLs will function seamlessly between the two publishers.

The What

With this launch, advertisers on Bing will be able to use their existing AdWords tracking templates (at the account, campaign, ad group and entity level) and URLs (both Final URL and Final Mobile URL) to reconstruct a Destination URL that Bing Ads is able to understand.

Bing has provided the following table to explain the effect of Upgraded URLs on destination URLs of text ads, keywords and sitelink extensions. It also outlines how Bing Ads will handle Destination URLs, Final URLs and Final Mobile URLs during Google Import. However, it is important to note that Bing will not be able to import URLs with custom parameters in from Google.

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In addition to Bing’s support for Upgraded URLs, Bing is also rolling out support of new dynamic text placeholders in Bing Ads Destination URLs.

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Continue to stay tuned; we will be sure to update you with more details on this launch as they’re provided!

Google Mobile Update: 3 Ways to Prepare for Mobilegeddon 2015

By April 1st, 2015

The event that the Search industry has dubbed “Mobilegeddon” is almost upon us. Starting April 21st, Google will be updating its algorithm to increase its emphasis on “mobile friendliness” when ranking search results. Many of you may be wondering what changes to expect, since Google has always factored in “mobile friendliness” into quality scores in the past, so here’s a breakdown of what this change is all about and some quick tips on how to stay on top.

With 15% of the world’s population owning and using tablets, and over 25% owning and using mobile devices according to an eMarketer study, it makes sense to make sure that you offer a positive user experience for these consumers who click on your ad while on these devices. While Google hasn’t provided very many specifics on the mobile update, what we do know is that advertisers who do not have landing pages that are up to the standards of Google’s revamped “mobile friendliness” standards will experience dramatically lower search visibility.

Here are three easy ways to make sure you’re prepared:

1. Make Sure You Have a Functional Mobile Experience

This may appear to be a no brainer, but just because your site looks great and works amazingly on the desktop, does not necessarily mean that that experience will automatically translate to tablets and mobile devices. If you don’t currently have a responsive website (using responsive web design), make sure you create a mobile version of your desktop site. Nothing is worse than having a consumer click on your ad, only to lose them through a website that they can’t navigate through.

2. Test Your Site Out

Google has provided a helpful link for you to evaluate the mobile friendliness of your website, aptly named the Mobile Friendliness Test. In addition, to get a full report on mobile usability issues for your site, check out Google’s Mobile Usability Report. It is worth noting that Google hasn’t said what will change in their requirements on April 21st, but these tests are a great start to see if your website meets the basic standards for a mobile optimized website.
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3. Understand Consumer Mobile Behavior

Make sure that the right consumers are seeing your amazing mobile optimized website. It’s important for advertisers to note that mobile users tend to be searching for different things than those on desktop and often, the keywords that are most effective on these devices differ. Searches done on a mobile device tend to be for quick answers such as location or contact information, so make sure to keep those in mind when selecting keywords and optimizing your campaigns for mobile.

Even though we won’t know to what extent advertisers will be affected when April 21st hits, these tips will help you to be prepared for whatever may come.

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