Archive for ‘Publishers’

Happy 9th Birthday Twitter.

By March 20th, 2015

Social publishers grow up so fast…
Check out this infographic of Twitter milestones.

Ever since its inception, through to its IPO in November 2013, the challenge for Twitter has been to balance the need to monetize its platform with ads without alienating its loyal user base. So how is it doing?

Overall Twitter ad revenue increased 97% (Feb ’14-Feb ’15). This is because Twitter has become a highly attractive advertising medium for savvy advertisers. Twitter has worked hard to attract marketers by broadening its advertising options, opening up more audience data and launching new capabilities to reach users, such as pinned tweets and Vines. In the US it’s even testing a ‘buy’ button. These moves have been important for brands, who might otherwise fear their message could be drowned out by the sheer volume of noise on the platform – over 9,000 tweets are posted every second.

Twitter has also been quick to embrace mobile, something Facebook admits it took longer to do. Smartphone adoption is a key reason Twitter will continue to grow in the years ahead; mobile already accounts for 85% of Twitter usage and 85% of all its ad revenue.

All of this appears to have been achieved without upsetting existing users – it’s hard find any evidence that ads are creating Twitter quitters. Growth of new users has slowed, but Twitter is still on course to hit 400m users this month, that is an astoundingly large audience.

The bottom line is that Twitter will continue to attract advertisers if the advertising continues to work and if users are kept happy; keeping this balance in check will be critical. The signs are positive, Twitter is a here to stay for at least another 9 years and will continue to grow as an important channel for digital marketers.

Advertisers can use the Marin Social platform to manage Twitter ads alongside Facebook. Request a demo today.

3 Best Practices to Prepare You for Bing’s Unified Device Targeting Update

By February 12th, 2015

In March, Bing will begin migration for phase 2 of their unified device targeting update. This phase includes the elimination of explicit mobile device targeting. Last year, Bing launched unified device targeting as a way to simplify Bing Ads for advertisers. For those unfamiliar with unified device targeting, the first phase was the consolidation of tablet and PC/laptop campaigns. With this change, targeting selection for mobile will be merged along with desktop and tablet devices. While Unified Device Targeting no longer allows advertisers to target devices explicitly, Bing is allowing for bid modifiers available for tablet and mobile.

A few benefits to be expected from this change include simplifying the workflow for managing Bing ads with more streamlined targeting and making it easier, and more efficient, for advertisers on multiple search publishers to manage ads now that Bing ads will be structurally compatible with Google.

In preparation for the migration, here are three best practice tips to keep in mind:

Tag your URLs by device

URLs are the key to tracking revenue and conversions back to keywords. For any advertisers that want to get conversion and revenue reporting data by device, it is recommended that they tag their URLs by device type.

Use this as an opportunity to improve your Bing ads overall

Advertisers should use this opportunity to figure out why their ads may be under-performing. As advertisers are taking the time to review their campaigns, they should keep in mind factors that might be getting in the way of them reaching their advertising goals. Things that advertisers should consider – Are my budgets reasonable and high enough to factor in additional volume from mobile? How are the Quality scores for my ads? Perhaps it may be worth revamping my landing pages. Are there any keywords I should add to target mobile users?

Don’t be shy when it comes to testing out new ideas on a few campaigns before the deadline.

Use this as an opportunity to improve your advertising strategy overall

For any advertisers that have been considering leveraging a third party platform to help with managing their campaigns, this is a great time to bite the bullet. Platforms, such as Marin Software, can not only help advertisers with the migration process, but also offer tools that allow advertisers additional levels of control.

For example, even though Bing campaigns will be now target all devices, advertisers can optimize at the device level using Marin device level reporting and modify their bid adjustments accordingly.

By being prepared, advertisers can ensure that their campaigns play well and succeed with mobile, tablet and desktop devices.

Just Launched: A Brief Guide to Understanding Google’s Upgraded URLs

By February 9th, 2015

Today Google formally announced the launch of their long anticipated upgraded URLs. We understand that many Google advertisers out there are wondering what this change means to them and how they will be impacted. In this post, we hope to provide answers to the main questions out there regarding this mandatory change and hopefully help put you at ease.

For starters, what are upgraded URLs?

Google is introducing upgraded URLs to help advertisers track ads and execute changes more efficiently. You can now specify separately two pieces of information for your URL: 1) The landing page URL – the landing page were the user will go when they click on the ad, and 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 will no longer need to update ads, keywords, or sitelinks every time you need to add a tracking parameter to your URLs.

What do I need to do?

Google is requiring all advertisers to change the structure of their URLs to the new upgraded format by mid 2015. While Google will automatically do the most basic migration of all non-redirect URLs to the new format on the deadline, it is recommended that advertisers proactively take charge of updating their URLs ahead of time in an effort to conform to Google’s “best practices” structure.

Wait, I need to individually update each of my URLs? That’s a lot!

Yes, Google does require advertisers to update all of their URLs, which is a daunting task considering the volume of URLs the average advertiser has to deal with. To help mitigate the chance of errors and any potential negative impact on campaigns, there are tools out there that will assist you with making this update easy and painless. Platforms like Marin Software not only offer a migration tool to easily upgrade all your URLs according to best practices prior to the deadline, but also offer resources to help answer any questions or solve issues you may have along the way – helping to eliminate any disruption to your campaigns.

Got it, so what should I do now?

Take the time to figure out the right strategy for upgrading your Google URLs. This will help you experience a smoother transition and allow you to focus solely on the benefits that new upgraded URLs have to offer.

Happy Upgrading!

3 Simple Steps to Boost Performance on Bing Ads in 2015

By January 14th, 2015

This is a guest post from Peter Harrington, Sr. Product and Partner Manager at Bing Ads.

With the New Year come resolutions of all shapes and sizes. For advertisers, resolving to spend search ad dollars more effectively and successfully in 2015 has never been easier to achieve.

As has been reported, Bing Ads saw an average CPC of $.78 compared to $.93 on Google (Q3 2014). And in head-to-head comparisons across eight different verticals, the Yahoo Bing Network had a CPC equal to or lower than that of Google in seven of the eight verticals.

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While it’s hard to argue with a lower CPC, choosing the best place for your search advertising spend is not just about cost. By providing unique levers that allow advertisers to optimize campaigns even further, Bing Ads offers you a significant opportunity to increase traffic and revenues with even lower CPCs. Simply follow these three easy steps:

Keep an Eye on Quality Score

First, monitor and optimize your quality score. The Bing Ads quality score shows you how competitive your ads are in the marketplace by measuring how relevant your keywords and landing pages are to customers’ search queries and other inputs. A high quality score can help improve your performance and deliver lower CPCs. The key is to understand what is driving low quality scores (landing page relevance, user experience or keyword relevance) and make changes accordingly.

When compared to AdWords, Bing Ads is unique in factoring relevancy and experience of the consumer into quality score, and not bids, allowing advertisers to focus more on messaging and customers.

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Modify Bids Across PC, Tablet and Smartphone

Second, take advantage of Bing Ads’ device bid modifiers. As any savvy advertiser knows, not all devices are created equal, so having the opportunity to modify bids across devices is critical. This is where Bing Ads is distinct, allowing advertisers to increase or decrease their bids on PCs, Tablets and Smartphones – something Google, which combines PC and Tablets, doesn’t allow. Specifically, advertisers can increase or decrease Tablet bidding on Bing Ads from -20% to +300%. For Smartphones, bidding can be adjusted from -100% to +300%.

Don’t Forget Ad Formats and Extensions

Third, make sure you’re leveraging Bing Ads’ ad formats, like our Ad Extensions, which have proven to help boost traffic and performance even more. On average, the use of extensions such as Call, Location or Sitelinks can increase your click through rates 15-25%. Enhanced Sitelinks, launched in October 2014, is a new format of Sitelink Extension that allows you to add up to two lines of customizable, descriptive text. By expanding your current Sitelinks, you can capture a searcher’s attention even more with a more detailed, highly targeted ad. Since its release, we have observed an average click through rate increase of 27%.

In addition to Ad Extensions, Product Ads are a great way to attract customers to your ad. Bing Product Ads use imagery and promotional text to showcase your product in a visually engaging way – and stats show that they work. Serving a product ad generated a 7% increase in CTR vs. a comparable non-brand text ad and revenue per click was 31% higher. In fact, Product Ads produced a 98% higher return on ad spend. That’s tough to beat.


You can find even more tips and quick wins to boost your performance on Bing Ads from this recent webinar. With just a few easy steps, you can resolve to start 2015 on a high note.

About the Author

Headshot (2)Peter Harrington is a Sr. Product and Partner Manager at Bing Ads. Peter has been in search marketing and advertising for 10 years, representing such brands as Microsoft, Getty Images, T-Mobile, and Kimberly-Clark. Equally experienced in SEO and paid search, Peter has held agency, publisher, and in-house roles.

How to Take Twitter Ads to The Next Level with Search Data

By January 8th, 2015

Did you know that there are 2.1 billion searches on Twitter every day? There are millions of people who use Twitter search to understand what’s happening right now and to stay updated on the latest news and trends. On Twitter Ads, advertisers have the ability to run different types of ad campaigns, but if you’re looking for a way to drive relevant engagement then targeting keywords are your best bet.

In general, we all know that search and social channels both serve very different purposes along the consumer’s path to conversion. However, research shows that marketer’s who integrate their search and social advertising programs find more consumers who are likely to convert and spend more.

This post will help you leverage your search data to guide you in your process of selecting keywords to target. Keep in mind that users search differently on Google versus Twitter, so you do not want to dump your entire search keywords list directly into Twitter Ads. However, it’s worthy as a test and it can be a useful resource to determine what keywords you want to use.

Before we get to that, there are the two types of keyword targeting that you need to get familiar with:

1. Users’ Timeline: You will be able to reach users at the right moment and context with your ad displayed directly into their timeline based on words and phrases they’ve recently Tweeted or searched for or that appear in Tweets with which they’ve recently engaged.

2. Search: Your ads will appear in the search results for terms and phrases related to your keyword list.

Quick Tip: By default, campaigns will appear in both search and timeline, but you have an option to focus on one or the other. I would advise on separating the two targets into two separate campaigns, using same keywords and ad creatives, then evaluating performance side by side.

How to Use Search Data for Twitter Ads

1. Log into Marin Software or your search management platform and navigate to the Keywords tab and select your preferred date range. You will want to sort by Clicks to see which keywords are driving the most volume.

2. If you have the typical search setup, here are some ideas on how to group your keywords for testing on Twitter:

  • Brand Terms: If people are searching for your brand on Twitter, you’ll want to stay top of mind.
  • Competitor Terms: If someone is searching for your competitors, why not stay ahead of your competition?
  • Terms Related to Business/Service/Assets: Carefully scan through the list of keywords you have and choose which keywords relate the most to the asset you will be promoting on Twitter and only select keywords with a one to two word count.

Note: The maximum # of keywords is 1,000, but our account rep from Twitter suggests 20-30 keywords with no more than 2+ word phrases is adequate.

3. When you have this keyword list segmented and ready, you’ll want to also create hash tag variations of your chosen keywords. For instance, if digital marketing is a keyword in your list, you will want to test out #digitalmarketing.

4. Now that you have your list ready, you’re ready to load that into your Twitter Ads campaign by using “Import multiple keywords”.

15. When you’re done importing in your list of keywords, click on “Expand your reach” to get recommendations from Twitter on related keywords that you can use.

236. Lastly, adjust the match-types you want applied to your keywords. Here’s a quick overview from Twitter:

Happy Tweeting!

The SERP In Review

By December 17th, 2014

We all know Google is constantly toying with the SERP. Sorting out what new tweaks Google is testing can be difficult at times, but I thought it’d be fun to do a side-by-side comparison of what the SERP looked like a year ago compared to what it looks like now for the same search term, “Razor Scooter.” Here’s what I noticed:

1) More PLAs! Google was toying with adding more PLAs at the end of 2013 and it appears they’ve settled on more. In 2013, a total of four PLAs appeared. The SERP for 2014 delivered twice as many. The location has changed too.

2) More Text in Text Ads. The number of lines appearing with text ads has increased. Last year the largest text ad on the page consisted of four lines. This year, the largest (position 1) features up to seven lines. There isn’t an ad on the 2014 SERP with fewer than four lines.  The addition of the review stars as well as the inclusion of physical addresses has created “longer” ads. This essentially means fewer text ads on the side are able to fit above the fold. In 2013, four text ads appeared on the side above the fold. In 2014, two and half appeared. The lost real-estate is compounded on smaller monitors – on a laptop just a single side bar text ad appeared.

3) The “Ad” Icon. Google started testing the “Ad” icon just over a year ago. It’s now the standard.  Gone is the ad box with the title “Ad Related To [search query].” Instead, ads are identified by the little yellow “Ad” icon and ad organic search results are delineated by a grey bar or divider.

4) More Text Ads Above Organic Results. Last year, one text ad was served above the organic results. We now have three. With PLAs moving to the right side bar and the company description disappearing (this still appears on some, less retail focused results), room was freed up to serve two additional text ads. Organic results are pushed down. The same “Razor Scooter” search query today on a 13” laptop screen produces just a single organic result. 

In short, the SERP is much more ad dominated, with the focus going towards PLAs and positions 1 – 3.

Tis’ the Season of RLSAs

By December 4th, 2014

During the last the last two Holiday seasons, Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) captured the attention of performance marketers. Retailers adopted the ad type as though it were the latest fashion trend. And while we don’t see the use of Google Shopping campaigns and PLAs slowing down this season – we expect retailers to devote upwards of 50% of their search budgets to the image-based ads – Google RLSAs (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) are this year’s shiny new toy.

If your retargeting program doesn’t include RLSAs, then frankly, you’re missing out. The point of retargeting is to re-engage with people that have visited your site as they continue perusing the Internet. As the top site on the Internet, it’s almost certain your site visitors will be stopping by

In a recent survey of digital marketers, 88% of respondents indicated retargeting is currently a part of their marketing mix and of those digital marketers running retargeting campaigns, 65% said they leverage RLSAs. It should be 100%.

If we think about a consumer’s online shopping/researching experience, a browsing session often starts at a search engine, which more than likely is Google. A consumer clicks on a search result, browses the site to see if it fulfill what they are looking for, and then likely returns back to the search engine. Being able to then retarget that visitor on search is extremely powerful.

In looking at the performance of Google RLSAs, we found the click-through rate (CTR) of RLSAs to be 234% higher than non-RLSA ads in the second quarter, 2014. The cost-per-click (CPC) of RLSAs was 24% cheaper than non-RLSAs.

Better performance at a cheaper price sounds like a win-win.

5 Key Tactics to Unlock Missed Opportunities on Bing

By November 18th, 2014

Today’s sophisticated advertisers know the importance of investing in Bing Ads – they’re a great way to reach over 150 million unique searchers. But even the best advertisers have room to improve. That’s why we’re excited to reveal 5 key tactics to unlock missed opportunities on Bing! Let’s get started…

Tactic #1 – Capitalize on Top-Performing Campaigns

You already have successful campaigns on other publishers, so why not take advantage of these on Bing as well? Consider replicating campaigns that are hitting or exceeding profitability targets, campaigns that are reaching your budget limit, or campaigns that are on the cusp of profitability and could benefit from a reasonable decrease in CPC. If you’re a Marin customer, use the copy tool to quickly and easily clone your campaigns from one publisher to another.

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Tactic #2 – Cash in on Your Best Keywords

Often the keywords you have on Bing do not match up with the keywords you have on other publishers, so it’s worth taking a look at this discrepancy. Moving profitable keywords is a great way to get additional volume in a way that improves overall performance. To do this, identify your top-performing keywords on other publishers and check to see if they’re also on Bing. In Marin, you can again use the copy tool to launch those keywords on Bing.


Tactic #3 – Reconsider Budget Capped Campaigns

Take a look at the Bing campaigns that are hitting your KPIs, and see which of those are also hitting your budget caps. Consider changing your daily budget on those campaigns to expand volume. In Marin, filters make it easy to identify good campaigns for this tactic, and from there you can opt to boost budgets by a dollar amount of percentage increase.


Tactic #4 – Sell More with Sitelinks

If you’re not already using them, sitelinks are a great way to maximize performance on Bing. They take up more real estate in the search engine results so you can push competitors farther down the page, plus they provide a more relevant experience for searchers through deep linking. Finally, sitelinks are known to boost CTR by 10-20%. If you’re using Marin, manage in bulk and use the copy tool to clone sitelinks between campaigns as an easy way to save time and get sitelinks live quickly.

Tactic #5 – Set Up Bing Product Ads

Retailers should try Bing Product Ads as a way to increase visibility, and reach up to 31 million unique consumers who don’t use other search engines. Featuring images of the products you offer, this rich ad type takes consumers directly to a page where they can make a purchase. Additionally, they make it possible to take up more real estate on the search engine results page – even allowing for multiple listings in the form of text ads and Product Ads. Marin’s workflow allows you to manage both ad types in our platform for valuable time-savings.


Looking for additional resources? Read our intelligence report for key data, check out our case study with Sykes Cottages, or if you’re not currently using Bing get started with a $1000 credit.

Native Advertising Joins the Search Family with Yahoo Gemini

By November 12th, 2014

When marketers talk about their Search strategies, one can expect to hear the usual suspects mentioned: “combining traditional search with social is big”, “don’t forget about optimizing for mobile search”, but few ever expect to hear about native ads in their Search conversations. Native ads usually fall under the category of display advertising, but today they are joining forces with mobile search for the first time through Yahoo’s innovative advertising solution called Gemini.

Native ads have always appealed to advertisers with the way they blend into the natural flow of editorial content and their high engagement factor with consumers. With native advertising boasting a 3.6x lift over traditional display ads for branded search activity and 6x lift for generic search activity according to Yahoo, it’s not surprising advertisers want to include native ads into their advertising strategy. For advertisers new to native, Gemini makes it easy to get started, as it allows advertisers to buy, manage, and optimize their native and mobile search ads all in one place. By combining the power of native ads with the popularity of mobile search ads, advertisers are able to not only reach targeted audience across desktop, mobile and tablets, but also provide them with a compelling ad experience.

To help advertisers get started with Yahoo Gemini, we’ve provided three helpful tips:

1. Reap the benefits of an early start

Early adopters of Gemini are already seeing great results. One major hotel brand raves about generating more leads and revenues in just one week from advertising on Gemini. Gemini provides advertisers access to the majority of Yahoo’s mobile inventory, with mobile accounting for 39% of Yahoo’s searches. As more advertisers learn about the substantial opportunity that is Gemini, it makes sense to get in early to beat your competition to the punch, take advantage of lower CPCs, and have more time to fine-tune your ad performance.

2. Understand your audience

With the combination of native and mobile search, advertisers have the ability to hit audiences at different parts of the marketing funnel. Native content on Gemini is displayed on the Yahoo homepage as well as Yahoo properties like Mail, Mobile Search, News, Sports, Finance, Celebrity, Movies, TV, Music, Travel, Autos, and My Yahoo. This reach allows you to hit a broader audience and it may make sense to create ads that are geared towards creating brand awareness. Mobile search ads on the other hand appear according to keyword searches, making it a good place to display more customized ads that are focused on specific products or information that you believe your targeted audience is interested in.

3. Work with a third party platform to see it all

While Gemini allows advertisers to bring together native ads with mobile search ads, advertisers can gain even more insight by combining their Gemini campaigns with the rest of their advertising campaigns. By having all their search, social and display campaigns consolidated in one place, advertisers are provided with a truly comprehensive picture of how their advertising efforts are performing. Additionally, third party platforms allow advertisers to easily clone ads from one publisher to another and also sync between publishers and the platform to ensure consistency across both and minimize errors.

Earlier this week, Marin announced an exclusive partnership with Yahoo Gemini. For more information on how Marin can help with your Gemini campaigns, click here.

Google Exact and Phrase Match Search: 2-Month Performance Review

By November 7th, 2014

Google rocked the search world this August with the announcement that they were changing the definition of Exact Match and Phrase Match to include close variants of their keywords, such as misspellings or plural variants. This caused a huge uproar from search marketers over the potential effect this could have on their search performance. Almost two months later, were their fears founded? I took a look at our Marin Global Online Advertising Index to see how performance has, or has not, changed over the last month and a half for Google Exact and Phrase Match search.

To start, I looked at click-through rates between August and October for both 2013 and 2014 for Google Exact and Phrase Search. While these searches make up only about 3% of all Google searches, this still means billions of impressions daily. Surprisingly, I found no real change in CTR trends between 2013 and 2014. While there is a small drop the week of the change, this is also mirrored in CTR behavior in 2013 on the same dates.

On the cost-per-click side, we also see very similar trends to 2013. While there is a jump in CPC during mid-September, we see a similar jump in 2013. This coincides with both the beginning of the holiday season sales and back-to-school sales so this is not unexpected. While the jumps were less pronounced this year than last, overall, trends show that this change to Google Exact and Phrase Match search have not affected CTR and CPC significantly, at least not yet.


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