Online gambling is one of the most profitable digital industries, and it’s constantly expanding. Yet, it’s also one of the most challenging markets for digital advertisers. As technologies improve and strategies develop, the competition grows fiercer each day.
At the same time, the rise of social media forms a perfect marriage between a gaming industry that’s exploded and an advertising channel perfectly suited to what online gambling providers want to achieve—an even larger market and more players.
Advertising strategy for online gambling depends on many factors, differs according to specific brand requirements and goals, and requires a lot of testing to determine what works best. The key to success is to have a clear strategy and apply a few general best practices.
In this article, we look at an example of a robust gambling strategy, discuss challenges, and offer recommendations for campaign optimization.
You should include four essential phases in your strategy:
To make sure you’re staying ahead of the competition, it’s important your strategy covers all phases of the typical online gambler journey, from the branding to retention, and that you use ads and targeting tactics that are the most useful in each phase. Any tweaks to the strategy will depend on your budget and resources, but having a clear structure makes planning easier and your ad campaigns more successful.
Further, there are a few things to note in order to maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns:
Here are several great advantages from using this strategy, plus a few more tips for how to get the most out of it.
Once your strategy’s clear and your campaigns are live, you’ll likely run into a few challenges. Here are a few common ones and how to handle them.
For a real-life example of how an online gambling site hit the jackpot with their CTR and saved big on CPAs, read our Leo Vegas case study.
Between the distant frenzy of the Q4 shopping season and the rising calm of midyear, Q2 tends to be the quietest quarter. However, this doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening. Among other things we found in our research, mobile display played a larger role this Q2—but overall, the ubiquitous move to mobile is actually slowing down. And, tablet usage continues to drop.
To create our quarterly benchmark reports, we sample the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform. We analyze data from around the world to create our report. For Q2 2016, key findings include:
For detailed information on Q2 2016 search, social, and display mobile performance and strategy recommendations, download our Performance Marketer’s Benchmark Report Q3 2016 – Vital Search, Social, and Display Performance Data by Device.
This is a guest post from Daniel Rohsler, Digital Marketing Account Manager at 3Q Digital.
Brands are finally investing heavily in videos for social platforms. Although the attention is now there, clients often ask about best practices for making a “good” video for social.
Facebook has been making a slow but steady switch to showing more videos in users’ News Feeds—I just did a quick count on my personal page, and 10 out of the first 18 posts (55.5%) were videos. With this switch, it‘s essential to incorporate video into your brand’s creative strategy. And, it’s even more important to make sure your videos are “right” for the platform they’ll be served on.
For this post, I’ll stick to Facebook best practices, but most of these guidelines will work nicely for Twitter, too. Here are common questions clients often ask regarding video—and some answers.
The ideal length of a video ad should be somewhere between 30 seconds and a minute. Ideally, the video should provide the necessary context to the user with or without sound—taking advantage of the auto-play feature in Facebook’s News Feed.
If the message or purpose can’t be shown with a 1-minute video, it’s okay to make it a bit longer. Just make sure the message is still concise and engaging enough to keep users interested (short attention spans and all).
You can, but you shouldn’t. If your TV commercial has run its course, it likely won’t be well-received on social platforms. Diversity is often as important as frequency when it comes to reaching your audience, so try not to serve the exact same asset across different channels.
However, a social video that shares the same theme or feel as your commercial can be incredibly beneficial. Building familiarity across channels by using the same actors, music, or visuals is a good way to grab attention, but be sure that the videos are differentiated enough to keep users engaged and interested.
Your video doesn’t “need” actors or a voiceover—but if you’re going to have either one, it’s important to caption the video or use large image text throughout. Remember, videos will auto-play in users’ News Feeds, so the first few seconds will likely be seen but not heard. This is where image text and captioning are essential.
It’s always recommended that the video have lots of large image text, taking up a good portion of the screen so that the text is easily readable regardless of whether the user is viewing the video on mobile or desktop. Image text is particularly important in the first 3-5 seconds of the video—good text can make users more inclined to click for sound or expand the video.
Here are a couple videos I often share with clients when they ask for some good examples…
Facebook Tips: When Facebook unveils a new feature, they’ll often promote how-to videos like this one for Facebook Stickers.
While the subject matter itself isn’t particularly exciting, it does execute on the essentials well—image text that matches the voiceover, branded logos throughout, and artistic visuals. This is just one video in a series of how-tos that all have the same look and feel. You can view the series here.
Dear Sophie: A personal favorite for what makes a great social video is Google’s Dear Sophie. It’s a little bit longer than the recommended 30 seconds to a minute, but it does a great job of providing all the necessary context with and without sound, by using large image text and visually engaging imagery throughout.
WARNING: You might cry, even with the sound off!
Have fun creating your videos, and may you discover more best practices that work for you.
Last year, Marin partnered closely with our customers to transition over two billion URLs to Google’s new Upgraded URLs format. With Yahoo! Japan’s support following suit this year with Advanced URLs, we’ve created best practices to ensure our clients have a seamless upgrade.
As our clients prepare for their upgrades, we wanted to highlight some important tracking considerations to keep in mind. For Ad Groups with upgraded keywords and legacy creative, Yahoo! Japan will serve the creative-level URL over the keyword-level URL. This means clients who use keyword-level tracking should migrate their ads before migrating their keywords.
As with Google’s upgrade last year, Marin’s Customer Support and service teams will be on hand to assist with questions that arise during your upgrade process for fast response and inquiry resolution. This experience is specifically designed with our customers in mind!
Marin’s step-by step self-migration guide, and our close-knit partnership with Yahoo! Japan, enables our customers to complete their upgrades in accordance with Yahoo! Japan’s best practices approach. This approach uses shared tracking templates at the ad group, campaign, or account levels to reduce website load when creating new ads or keywords and allow for future URL changes with no interruption to ad serving.
At Marin, we understand our client needs are unique and we have you covered. We published comprehensive campaign management and self-migration documentation to Marin’s Enhanced Support Center. If you’re a Marin client be sure to check this out.
Shopping has been a hot-button topic for some time now. While many customers have launched successful Shopping campaigns, there are some lesser-known features that may provide a quick additional boost or improvement to your current efforts.
Four such features are:
Marin fully supports performance reporting at the SKU level. With this extremely valuable data, advertisers can review products on a regular basis to see where individual SKUs prove to be candidates for segmentation or exclusion. If the SKU data warrants it, you can indicate a more aggressive or conservative bid.
To see SKU-level reporting enabled in Marin, work with your platform representative to append the appropriate parameter to the product groups, and to have the new feature enabled and backfilled.
Priority settings are extremely useful for advertisers who invest the time in building out multiple Shopping campaigns and want to maximize their effectiveness.
As Google describes the setting, “When you have the same product in multiple Shopping campaigns, you can determine which campaign should participate in the auction for that product with campaign priority. Your campaigns already have a priority: Low. But you can change this priority to Medium or High. These priorities determine the bid for any product that the campaigns share.”
The right mix of priority assignments and bid strategies by campaign solve the tricky issue of being able to control products that exist across multiple campaigns.
If you have metadata enabled on your site, it may be prudent to enable Google’s Automatic Item Updates feature. This allows Google to crawl your site and update Shopping based on the site’s inherent microdata information. This is mostly valuable in reconciling price discrepancies and/or availability.
Advertisers can choose from Google’s attributes for automatic updates:
Enabled in Google Merchant Center, a Promotion is an excellent way to differentiate your product from the competition and advertise your sale. You can assign Promotions to a subset of products or across all products in the feed, as applicable.
Google manually reviews all promotions for accuracy, so be sure to schedule these well in advance of the actual promotion launch so that the approval process won’t cause any delay. Also be sure you know Google’s Merchant Promotions Program Policies.
Get ahead of the competition by testing out some of this readily available advanced functionality! If you’re interested in speaking with a Shopping Consultant from Marin, get in touch with your platform representative.
When Google released product listing ads, it dramatically changed the way retailers advertise online. Because of their huge success, retailers are constantly on the lookout for the next game-changing ad format.
If the results our retail clients have been seeing are any indication, the next frontier for product ads is harmonizing Google Shopping and Facebook Dynamic Ads (DA). Even though there’s been steady growth in the number of advertisers using Facebook DAs since their launch in 2015, many retailers are still managing their search and social channels in silo.
In this post, you’ll learn how to supercharge your shopping ads by combining the best of search and social. Using these techniques, our customers have seen a 68% higher revenue per conversion from their campaigns, when managed together with social advertising campaigns.
Savvy advertisers take advantage of their existing Google Shopping campaigns to optimize—or simply test—DAs for the first time. By identifying your best-performing products from Google Shopping campaigns, you can export high-ROI products to advertise using DAs.
Through Facebook’s new Google Shopping to DA product (available to Marin Software customers), advertisers using Google Shopping can take their best-performing campaigns and easily create Facebook DAs in a few easy steps, without the need for lengthy setup and extensive IT resources.
To easily increase your average order value and/or customer lifetime value, be sure to offer products related to what a customer’s ordered. As you’re building out DA campaigns, you can create upsell, cross-sell, and prospecting campaigns using the same process.
Search intent retargeting is the smartest way to maximize the ROAS of your search budget. As cross-channel marketing strategies become commonplace, digital advertisers have started using search intent data to power their social campaigns. This strategy can be extended to Facebook DAs.
One example: using search intent to optimize DA creative templates. If the right users see them, these dynamic changes to creative can lead to significant lifts in CTR, conversion rates, and ROI.
Let’s say you have three users who’ve reached your website using different levels of search intent.
Through DA creative templates and search intent data, you can dynamically tailor your Facebook creatives based not only on the products users have seen on your website, but also on the keyword they used to get there in the first place. This allows you to show hyper-targeted ads, resulting in higher click-through and conversion rates.
In the above example, our users see different things depending on their keyword group:
Once you start running Google Shopping and Facebook DAs, you should look at product performance and optimization in a more holistic way. The challenge with cross-channel tracking is normalizing conversions across multiple devices, ad buys, and other variables. However, with a third-party platform like Marin Software, the problem’s solved, so you can focus on the most important task—making sense of all that rich data and finding synergies.
With consistent third-party conversion tracking, you can also deduplicate conversions across search and social. And, through attribution modeling, you can gain deeper insights into how your Google Shopping and Facebook DAs are affecting the overall path to conversion.
Your future shoppers are spending an ever-increasing amount of time on Facebook and Google. In fact, 78% of all new ads were on either Facebook or Google last quarter. Now’s the time to think smarter about how you can cost-effectively engage and convert these users.
By combining search and social shopping strategies, not only do you break down channel silos—you gain a holistic view of product performance, and the ability to optimize across channels and improve overall product performance.
Last year, we forecast that 30% of all retail paid-search spend would be on a shopping ad, and 45% of all product ad clicks would be on a smartphone—and smartphone click growth ended up being even stronger than we predicted. Looking forward, where do we see shopping ads this holiday season?
We took a look at month-over-month variations and factored in seasonal shifts in performance to forecast where we’ll be by December 2016:
For more results sampled from the Marin Global Online Advertising Index—composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform—read The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report. With data charts on mobile, social, text versus product ads, and strategy recommendations for the 2016 holiday season, be sure to download your copy today so that you’re prepared for the Q4 rush.
As retail search advertisers continue to plan their campaigns for the 2016 holiday season, they’re weighing the pros and cons of text versus product ads. What’s the most effective ad type for reducing cost, increasing CTR, and maximizing returns on spend?
The answer: it depends.
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. Here are just a few of our findings:
For the full results of our research, including data charts on mobile, social, text versus product ads, and strategy recommendations for the 2016 holiday season, download The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report.
Shopping season is here. To help retailers navigate the current terrain of shopping ads and digital marketing, Marin has developed new features to help retailers maximize revenues and efficiencies this back to school and holiday season.
In this post, we’ve asked Anil Channappa, Senior Director Product Management for Marin Social, to talk about these features and how they’ll benefit retail and ecommerce advertisers.
It’s the ability for marketers to maximize the sales and revenue of their products through advertising regardless of the publisher. Without such a solution, advertisers have to coordinate advertising campaigns across Google and Facebook (in the same or different tool), without a way to measure the effectiveness across publishers.
With a solution like Smart Sync for Shopping, advertisers can mirror a Google shopping campaign so that the same campaign is running on both Google and Facebook, without needing to know much about leveraging their product feed on Facebook. The cross-publisher reporting helps our advertisers make smarter bid and budget decisions to maximize ROI. And this is a unique and innovative solution in the market today.
Customers and prospects are browsing freely across Google and Facebook. So, advertisers shouldn’t be bogged down by publisher-specific differences, and should be able to reach customers where they are. Being able to reach shoppers where they shop with one product feed and campaign flow, will improve campaign management efficiency and the effectiveness of their campaigns.
Campaigns should be geared towards business objectives and needs. Does a customer want to run a promotion that aligns with events like 4th of July, Black Friday, or a major sale of specific products? In most cases today, customers have to replicate these campaigns manually across all publishers.
With Marin’s cross-channel solution, advertisers can rely on technology to create, measure, and scale campaigns across publishers, while spending their time on critical decisions and optimizations.
Publishers are racing to offer innovative products to keep pace with emerging customer behaviors. Mobile technologies (tablets, smartphones) have been a huge disrupter. Publishers are forced to innovate rapidly to offer advertising products that fit this new paradigm.
Shopping Campaigns and Dynamic Ads are all visual ads that are easier for users to preview and click on mobile devices. Depending on your source, anywhere from 75-95% of mobile users click social ads. Marin’s research shows that during Q1 of this year, closer to 95% of all social ad clicks were on a mobile device.
In the past, we’ve invested heavily to streamline advertising within channels (search, social, and display), but we can only go so far in our value-add, because the channels themselves are very different. Given shifting user behaviors and publishers offering similar products, there is a huge convergence of ad products across publishers. This is a perfect opportunity to help marketers who are used to streamlining their channel-specific advertising and extend it across channels.
Google is the dominant player for most retailers to drive demand and new customers. This is the place where advertisers have gone back, time and time again, to drive their sales.
With Facebook stepping up their ad products, we’re hoping it’ll be a great source of new customers, and provide advertisers with increased scale and higher revenue across the board. As a secondary benefit, the streamlined solution could help advertisers save time, reduce cost, and balance their budgets more effectively.
Think about people-based marketing rather than channel-specific marketing. From the outset, we suggest that customers set up cross-channel campaigns and measure the impact to net revenue and ROI. The channel-specific team should still focus on channel-specific optimizations (creative, audience and bid optimizations in Facebook and product group, bid optimization in Google), but share cross-publisher learnings from platforms like Marin.
For more information on Smart Sync for Shopping, watch the video.
This is a guest post from Sarah Burns, Content Manager
at Boost Media.
Google’s Expanded Text Ads are officially live. The new, longer ad format is rolling out across all devices alongside the existing standard ad format. But as of October 26, 2016, advertisers will no longer be able to create or upload standard text ads.
While Google has not yet released an official date when standard ads will no longer run with ETAs, eventually standard ads will be phased out from the search results page entirely. If you haven’t already begun making changes to your account, you should start. The key to implementing ETAs is a thoughtful testing strategy.
As the top testing platform for search marketers, Boost Media has analyzed hundreds of ads in the new, longer format. Our data suggests that simply expanding ads without a well-thought-out testing plan or detailed creative strategy in place won’t guarantee success.
In one test Boost ran for a large travel advertiser, we compared standard text ads versus custom and template ETAs across 34,000 impressions. Here’s what we saw.
What did we learn from testing?
It’s impossible to apply custom copy across your entire account made up of hundreds of thousands of ad groups. Instead, segment your account strategically into areas that can use a template-based approach, and areas that need custom copy.
Adding copy to the end of a headline doesn’t guarantee that the entire ad will make sense or drive clicks. As Google’s Director of Performance Ads Marketing Matt Lawson said, “Use this update as a chance to re-evaluate your entire creative. This is a chance to craft something new and more compelling than ever before.”
Don’t miss out.
Focus on testing one variable at a time to have a better chance of understanding the results and deciding what to do next. If you run too many tests at once, you risk passing up clear, actionable results.
To learn more or start creating ETA ads today, get in touch with us.
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.
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