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9 Essentials for Your Social Advertising Campaigns, Part 2

By February 16th, 2017

Episode 2: Targeting and Bidding

This is a three-part series that explores all the things social marketers should do when setting up their social ad campaigns. In our second post, we look at best practices to target effectively and bid for the greatest ROI. For the first three tips see our previous article on account structure and creative.

One of the main goals of the social marketer is to consistently target wider and more precise audience segments, while making smart bids based on a solid bidding model. Follow these best practices to ensure your social advertising campaigns are fine-tuned for the highest performance possible.

4. Target Wisely

When it comes right down to it, Facebook is mass media, and its algorithm performs better with large audiences. A best practice is to keep the target size above 100,000, especially for your prospecting campaigns. A few other rules of thumb:

  • Always keep an eye on your reach.
  • Avoid campaign overlapping—competing against yourself will lower your relevance score and obstruct spend. Use the detailed targeting feature to refine your audience.
  • Make use of email-based targeting and Website Custom Audiences.
  • Use lookalike audiences, the Facebook conversion pixel, and Fan Page.

You may also want to use split targeting, depending on:

  • How recently users have shown intent using the inclusion and exclusion feature
  • The level of intent (beginning of the sales funnel vs. the end)
  • User behavior
  • The purchase value

Marin Tip
Thanks to our Bulk Creator feature, you can easily A/B test and create multiple ad sets at once.

5. Allocate Placement

When you’re first starting out, it’s best to keep your mobile, desktop, Right Hand Side Ads (RHS), Audience Network, and Instagram placements separate. There are af few reasons for this:

  • Each one has different creative specifications.
  • They perform differently, and need different optimizations in terms of bid and budget.
  • If all placements are within the same ad set, Facebook optimizes toward the most successful one, and gives other placements a chance to spend and convert. In the end, you won’t know exactly how each placement performs.

6. Let the Audience Size Determine Bid Type

When the target size is above 100,000, bid oCPM. This’ll allow the algorithm to look for the users more likely to convert.

01-optimize

Optimize for clicks and pay for impressions when your audience is between 80,000 and 100,000.

02-optimize

For target sizes below 80,000, use the CPC bidding type.

03-optimize

Marin Tip
Change bids across ad sets and campaigns in two clicks by clicking the Selected or All buttons.

Rake in More Revenue with a Combined Search and Social Strategy

By February 14th, 2017

We all know the two most popular websites in the world right now—Google and Facebook. On any given day, people are performing close to 3 billion Google searches, and over a quarter of the world’s population use Facebook. Bing is also growing fast and is now a major SEM contender.

 

GoogleFacebookTraffic2016

Image source: Parse.ly, 2016

 

Advertisers have much to gain from an integrated search and social advertising approach. But exactly how much?

To answer this question, we conducted a study of more than 200 enterprise advertisers managing Google, Bing, and Facebook campaigns. With billions of dollars in annualized ad spend managed on the Marin platform, we work with many of the world’s largest and most sophisticated advertisers.

Here’s what we found:

  • Customers who click search and social ads are more likely to buy. Users who click both an advertiser’s search and social ads had an approximately two times greater conversion rate than users who click the search ad only. Users who click both the search and social ads have a click-through rate approximately four and a half times higher than users who only click social ads.
  • Customers who click search and social ads spend more. Users who click both a search and social ad contribute approximately two times more revenue per click than users who click search ads only. Users who click both a search and social ad contribute six times more revenue per click than users who click a social ad only.
  • Search campaigns perform better when managed alongside social campaigns. Search campaigns managed alongside social advertising campaigns have two times more revenue per click than search campaigns managed in isolation. An integrated search and social management strategy also benefits an advertiser’s revenue per conversion—advertisers have almost 10% higher revenue per conversion from their search campaigns when managed together with social advertising campaigns.

For full research results and actionable tips for cross-channel success, download The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search and Social Advertising.

9 Essentials for Your Social Advertising Campaigns, Part 1

By February 9th, 2017

Episode 1: Account Structure and Creative

This is a three-part series that explores all the things social marketers should do when setting up their ad campaigns. In this post, we focus on making sure your account structure is solid and how to get the most from your creative.

Setting up a social advertising campaign can be a bit daunting. With so many things to consider in reaching your goals, strategy and tactics become crucial.

We’ve developed nine best practices—presented over a series of three articles—to ensure you have a strong foundation for social advertising success. If you’re a Marin customer, we’ve added Marin Tips tailored just for you.

1. Keep a Consistent Account Structure

The key to effective account structure is consistency—the more uniform your account structure is, the better Facebook’s algorithm will perform. We recommend including the following:

  • Test multiple placements. Test different placements at the ad set level, on different platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc), to understand performance across devices.
  • One ad set per demographic (gender, age range), with up to six ad sets per campaign. The algorithm will optimize ad sets against each other. Therefore, make sure all ad sets have similar target sizes to make it a fair fight.
  • Between two and six ads per ad set, each one testing an different element of the creative (landing page, call-to-action, creatives). The algorithm will find and push the best performing creatives. Be sure to pause the non-performing ads so the others have more budget.

A consistent structure helps you A/B test and understand why some variables trigger reactions and others don’t. From there, you can take action accordingly.

Consider each campaign as a test, where you refine based on lessons learned from each test.

Marin Tip
The Split button allows you to A/B test audiences in a single click.

2. Use Creatives That Resonate with Your Audience

Above all else—be different. Every business has its own identity, so use yours to find your tonality and compose smart ad copy. Here are a few more tips to stand out, get noticed, and stay current.

  • Use storytelling to make your ad attract eyes and your brand memorable.
  • Stay consistent across channels so customers recognize your brand.
  • No matter how good your creatives are, ad blindness and ad fatigue will happen. Keep refreshing images on a regular basis (two weeks on average).
  • Make the most of all Facebook ad types to engage with your audience in different ways and maximize conversions: Lead ads, Dynamic Ads, Carousel, Video, Slideshow, Canvas, and 360 photos and videos.

Marin Tip
For brand awareness, use Marin’s Reach & Frequency sequencing feature to control the order in which your ads are delivered—this is great for storytelling! Follow this link for more tips.

3. Use Videos

We all know video’s hot and only getting hotter. Make sure you’re creating killer videos and keeping people entertained, educated, and informed. In addition:

  • Keep it short. Facebook best practice is to keep video length between 15 and 30 seconds.
  • Make sure the thumbnail is attractive to your audience and relevant to your story. Change it regularly to fight ad fatigue.
  • Tell a story. As mentioned, storytelling is a great way to keep people watching all the way to the end of your video.
  • 50% of Facebook users watch videos without the sound. So, mention your brand and insert text within the first five seconds.
  • Turn on video re-engagement to people who watched your video. Retarget them with a link ad or carousel ad and a strong CTA.
  • Don’t have enough budget to develop a video? Slideshow is a great alternative.

Marin Tip
Use Carousel Ads, mixing videos and images and adding different CTAs.

3 Search Tactics to Brush Off and Use in 2017

By January 31st, 2017

This is a guest post from Ashley Aptt, Account Lead at 3Q Digital.

With an abundance of new features being introduced every week, it can be a challenge to keep up with all the available opportunities worth taking advantage of in your paid search accounts. And sometimes it can be easy to get so involved with all the new and exciting strategies that you forget about the tried-and-true tactics that are most valuable for improving account performance.

Here are three tactics to brush off and (re-)evaluate with your 2017 paid search strategy planning.

1. Evaluate the Time Lag Report

The Time Lag Report in AdWords is a great tool that provides the ability to evaluate how long it takes your customers to convert after first seeing or clicking your ad. Time lag can vary greatly client by client—higher-ticket items typically require more research from consumers and therefore result in longer conversion windows. But on the other hand, low-ticket or need-to-have-now items could yield a small conversion window.

01-TimeLagReport

It’s important to know how long your conversion window is, because it’ll give you a better sense of how long you should wait before truly analyzing recent performance. For instance, if you have a long conversion window but attempt to analyze recent performance, it could appear that this year’s performance is worse than it actually is because of the conversion delay.

Knowing your conversion time lag will also ensure that your conversion pixels are set up with the proper conversion window. If 15% of conversions happen after 30 days, then consider increasing your conversion window beyond the 30-day default to gain credit for those delayed conversions.

2. Monitor Assisted Conversions

AdWords gives conversion credit to the keyword that received the last click before the conversion occurred. On the surface, it may seem pretty apparent which keywords are performing well. On further investigation of assisted conversions, however, you might discover that seemingly under-performing keywords play a large role in helping users down the conversion path.

In order to evaluate this data, you have the ability to assess click- or impression-assisted conversions. Both options can be a great resource to identify which keywords help drive the most conversions. This information is easily accessible directly in the keywords reporting tab (right beside other key data metrics) so that you can easily make informed bidding decisions and prevent optimization mistakes such as pausing “poor performing” keywords that are actually providing value.

02-AssistedConversions

For instance, you may consider pausing a certain non-brand keyword because of its high CPA. But, after analyzing the click and impression assists, you realize that the keyword is driving a large volume of assisted conversions. Despite the fact that the CPA is high, you decide not to pause this keyword since it’s driving valuable conversions to the account.

3. Watch for Impression Share Lost Due to Budget

One thing you certainly want to avoid is having campaigns that regularly cap out on budget. Hitting campaign budget caps can falsely hurt performance because you miss out on clicks (and therefore conversions) from top-performing keywords, which ultimately ends up increasing the cost per conversion.

If you’re consistently hitting the budget cap on a particular campaign, you should consider increasing the budget (if it makes sense and you have the budget capacity to do so). However, when a budget increase isn’t an option, then the primary focus should be to reduce keyword bids. Ultimately, it’s important that budgets are controlled and managed via bid adjustments and not budget caps. This’ll allow you to generate stronger performance because you drive more click volume and conversions within your budget.

Monitoring lost impression share due to budget at the campaign level will help you stay on top of this and ensure you don’t end up paying more for less.

In Sum

There are countless strategies to improve account performance and always new things to test. These are just three dependable tactics that are worth taking the time brush off and use in 2017. Take a look at this data in your account and make sure you’re ready for what the year has to offer!

5 Tips to Land a Role in Social Media Marketing

By January 18th, 2017

Are you looking for a career in social? Or perhaps you’re already in the crazy world of social media marketing and want to upskill, but aren’t too sure where to start?

01-Search

In this ever-changing world of social, it’s imperative that you keep up with the latest trends. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have firmly established a foothold in the digital world, with Snapchat and Pinterest starting to gain ground and innovation happening quickly. And, we’re sure to see some newer platforms emerging in 2017.

Social media advertising budgets have doubled worldwide over the past two years—going from $16 billion in the U.S. in 2014 to
$31 billion in 2016. Along with this, hundreds of roles are popping up in social media. How do you get your foot in the door?

Start by building your own community.

02-CommunityCreate a thriving social media presence of your own, and familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of each. Build up your own personal brand—if you can’t market yourself, how will you do this for others?

Familiarize yourself with different industries, attend conferences and industry events, and contribute where possible. You never know—it could be your awesome skills that get you noticed by a potential employer. Your professional relationships may be your most important asset, so engage with key influencers in the industry that you want to get into.

Don’t limit your knowledge to just social.

To really stand out, you’ll need more advanced skills, since your customers will more than likely manage search, social, and display. Take a 360-degree approach to your learning—to succeed and excel, keep your training up to date, and subscribe to and read as many social and digital marketing blogs as you can manage. (Be sure you’ve subscribed to this one!)

You’ll be required to have a more rounded skill set, as social teams are now being integrated across departments, companies, and agencies alike. In job description parlance, a successful candidate will possess technical, analytical, communication, and digital skills.

It’s not just about posting a few updates on Facebook.

03-ChannelIf you pursue a role in social media, be sure to put in great time and effort from the beginning. Become proficient in all social channels and prove your knowledge of each one. Know the full particulars of every existing and new channel, and be expected to wax eloquent about all of them when the opportunity arises.

Know that once you dig into the details, you’ll find a whole new world of advanced features to learn and master (such as creating paid ads, upselling, cross-selling, and much more).

Be professional.04-Professional

Keep your social channels clean and professional. Remember that potential employers always check! There’s nothing as disappointing as a dormant Twitter account.

A good rule of thumb is to not post anything on your social media channels that you wouldn’t want to see published on the front page of a newspaper. This shows that you’re professional and can write well. (It never hurts to do a spell-check, either.)

You’re always learning.05-Star

If you’re thinking a quick course in social media will be enough, think again. The world of social is changing constantly, and it’s up to you to keep yourself in the loop.

If you’re just starting out, it’s all about getting that initial experience. Be prepared to help a business free of charge—look specifically for opportunities to help businesses build and grow their social presence. Whether it’s paid or unpaid, take on an internship, as this is by far the best hands-on experience you’ll get. If you decide to pursue a digital course, make sure it’s fully accredited.

Stick with it—social media marketing is a profession where you never stop learning. Be persistent and believe in your abilities. It requires a lot of effort but you’ll get there. To summarize:

  • Build your own community.
  • Don’t limit your knowledge to just social.
  • Gain knowledge in all areas of social and not just Facebook.
  • Be professional.
  • Keep learning.

Marin’s Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

By January 11th, 2017

As Edgar Allan Poe once said, “There are few cases in which mere popularity should be considered a proper test of merit; but the case of [blog]-writing is, I think, one of the few.”

Okay, so he said “song-writing” instead of “blog-writing.”

It still fits, right?

Well, after tens of thousands of reader visits to Marketing Insights in 2016, the 10 articles below passed the merit test and rose to the top of our “most popular” list. Some are indicators that digital advertising continues to rapidly evolve, others point toward the importance of continual learning, and all of them contributed to a fun, fast-paced year of content creation and curation. Thanks for being part of it.

1.   The Ever-Shifting World of Social

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

3.   Google’s New Ad Layout: Pros, Cons, Ins, and Outs

4.   Similar Audiences + Customer Match: Google Ramps up
       First-Party Data Capabilities

5.   3 Facebook Advertising Trends You Need to Know About

6.   Why PPC Granularity Will Be Your Best Friend

7.   5 Reach and Frequency Tips for the Modern Marketer

8.   Text Versus Product Ads: Shopping Peaks, Valleys, and Plateaus

9.   How to Evaluate Programmatic Buying Transparency – Types
       and Tips

10. How to Optimize Impression Share to Increase Brand Awareness

Product Listing Ads for the Uninitiated

By December 20th, 2016

This is a guest post from Dionte Pounds, Account Manager at
3Q Digital.

Product listing ads, or PLAs, are an incredibly successful strategy for e-commerce companies to promote available product inventory on Google and Bing. Unlike standard search ads, PLAs incorporate a visual image over a text description to show the user the product they’re searching for.

There are plenty of reasons why you should be adding a PLA strategy into your advertising mix. Cost-per-click (CPC) will generally be below what you’ll see across search ads. As a result of showing the user an image of the product they’re searching for, click-through-rate will usually be pretty strong. Once the user clicks the ad, they’re taken directly to the product page, making the user journey simple and leading to a higher conversion rate.

Additionally, it’s quite easy to set up and manage campaigns. Both Google and Bing provide product level reporting, so you can also see how each product is doing individually.

With the holiday season in full swing, let’s take a look at some tips to drive great results from your PLA campaigns.

Segment

The first and most important step in improving PLA performance is to have the proper product group segmentation. Product group segmentation is vital to drive traffic efficiently. If all of your products are lumped together in a single product group sharing the same bid, you’re not maximizing your PLA campaign potential. In this case, you’re bidding the same amount for your best performing product group as your worst. This will lead to wasted spend and a poor return on ad spend over time.

A well-managed PLA campaign should have a structure that allows for isolation of product groups. Look to each product’s category, type, or brand to figure out what level of segmentation works best. In some cases, it may be best to separate each product entirely.

01-segment

Bidding

After viewing your product category report, you’ll have a good idea of what type of product group segmentation will work best for your campaign. In order to optimize the new structure, look at the average CPC for each product group and the ROAS. If the ROAS is below account target, you should start bidding with a CPC below the average. Likewise, if you have a ROAS that’s well above target, you can start that product group with a bid above the CPC to maximize returns.

Try to make use of your conversion rate, ROAS target, acceptable CPA, and average order value to back your way into a starting bid. Let’s imagine the AOV for an account is $50, conversion rate is 1%, and ROAS target is 200%. For this imaginary product group, a $0.25 bid is suitable.

Device Performance

PLA campaigns are very likely to drive more traffic from mobile devices than desktop or tablet devices. Generally speaking, this increase in traffic comes at a price, meaning lower conversion rates and ROAS. Look at how your campaigns are performing across devices, and be sure to use negative mobile modifiers for mobile devices and tablets if it makes sense.

02-device

If you’re already bidding down on mobile devices, be sure to take a look at your desktop CPCs when placing starting bids on your new product group structure. It may be possible that the cheap mobile clicks are driving down your average CPCs. If that’s the case, then base your new bids on the desktop CPC to avoid a loss in traffic.

Negative Scrubs

An often-overlooked aspect of PLA campaign management is mining for negatives. Just like a search campaign, PLA campaigns need to be scrubbed regularly for negative terms to prevent wasted spend.

03-negativescrubs

There’s still time this holiday season to maximize your PLA performance across Google and Bing! See if you can utilize some of these tips to drive great results.

The AdWords Performance Pizza: 8 Ways To Dominate Your Competition

By December 12th, 2016

This marketing infographic is part of KlientBoosts 25-part series. We’re super excited to partner with them so you can enjoy a new gifographic once a day in your inbox. You should subscribe here.

If you’re already using Google AdWords to your advantage, there’s a good chance you’re using pizza to your advantage, too.

Not when it comes to PPC, but when it comes to being happy.

Pizza is part of a well-balanced marketer. And while you need balance in your diet, you also need balance in your AdWords account.

That’s why we here at KlientBoost, in partnership with Marin, have created the AdWords Performance Pizza—eight parts that’ll help you take your AdWords account to the next level.

Perfectly sliced for easy (and delicious) consumption.


Your Content Knows Best: the Case for Dynamic Search Ads

By November 30th, 2016

This is a guest post from Jacob Ehrnstein, Search Account Manager at 3Q Digital.

One of the search marketer’s best weapons is a Dynamic Search campaign. As you may or may not know, Dynamic Search campaigns rely not on keywords for targeting, but instead use your site’s content to create and target your ads based on a user’s search behavior.

There are many great things about Dynamic Search campaigns. First off, you can be precise about the scope of the pages that you target from your site. And, even more interesting and useful, there’s the Dynamic Search Ad (DSA).

A Powerful, Automated Tool for Ad Creation

With Dynamic Search campaigns, Google dynamically generates a portion of the ad. For DSAs, you don’t provide a static headline—rather, Google dynamically generates it for you. As Google states, “The headline is dynamically created from each matching phrase entered in Google Search, and from the title of the most relevant landing page used for the ad.”

dsa-example

Additionally, Google states that “Dynamic Search Ads can have longer headlines than other search ads, which improves their visibility.”

A Nitty-Gritty Test of Dynamic Headlines

That all sounds great. But, what does a search marketer need to know to make best use of DSAs? For instance, how long are dynamic headlines? And, how often does a user’s search match the headline, or the headline match a user’s search or the title tag?

To answer the question of DSA headline length, I looked at the results of DSA campaigns targeting nearly 20,000 unique pages, with unique content that generated nearly 400,000 queries.

I broke the results into three areas:

  • Headline length
  • CTR analysis based on headline length
  • Source of dynamic headline

Let’s dive in.

Headline Length of Dynamic Search Ads

When looking at the headline length, I broke out the analysis into three categories, and here’s what surfaced for each category:

  • Shorter than standard text ads: 8% of the headlines generated
  • Longer than standard text ads, but shorter than the combined length of expanded text ad headlines: 60% of the headlines
  • Longer then expanded text ads combined headlines: 32% of the headlines

The lengthiest headline I found was 90 characters long. This appears to be the longest that a dynamic search ad headline can be.

Number of Impressions Headline Length Percent of Impressions
12,448,010 Total Number of DSA Impressions 100%
1,009,327 Headline Length < 25 Characters 8%
7,504,566 Headline Length > 25 Characters and < 61 Characters 60%
3,934,117 Headline Length > 60 Characters 32%

 

CTR Analysis

Next, I looked at the click-through rate (CTR) by headline length to see if there was a correlation between the length of the dynamic headline and the CTR.

Headline Length CTR
Total Number of DSA Impressions 11.44%
Headline Length < 25 Characters 12.12%
Headline Length > 25 Characters and < 61 Characters 11.21%
Headline Length > 61 Characters 11.70%

 

While it doesn’t appear that having longer headlines necessarily yields you the highest CTR, one segment that outperformed the rest was when the character length exceeded 70 characters.

 

Headline Length Percent of Impressions CTR
Headline Length > 70 Characters 11% 18.81%

 

So, the true efficiencies appear to happen when you’ve far exceeded the normal ad headline length. Even Google’s Expanded Text Ads, with its new combined headlines, would max out at 60 characters.

The data here shows that as the headline moves into this longer territory, the CTR shoots up. This may be because when an ad gets this long, it blends in more with organic results (which have a character limit of around 77 characters).

Dynamic Headline Source

Last, I looked at the source of the headline for the Dynamic Search Ad. Google documentation states that the headline will either come from the headline of the page or the keyword, but I wanted to know what percentage of the time either situation happens. Here’s what I found:

Percent of Headlines that Match Title Tag 60%
Percent of Headlines that Are Variations of Keyword Searched 40%

 

Here, 60% of the time the dynamic headlines exactly matched the title tag. What this means—if you’re going to be a heavy user of Dynamic Search Ads, it’s best to pay close attention to the pages being targeted and ensure the title tags on those pages are high-quality. Keep in mind that other variables—such as description lines and the pages being targeted—play into the performance of the ads I’ve analyzed.

Hopefully, this information helps you better understand your Dynamic Search Ads and how to improve their performance. Here’s to successful campaigns.

What Marketers Should Do Every Day Through Peak Shopping Season

By November 21st, 2016

We’re headed into another peak retail season, which runs from now through Christmas Day. Considering not-so-recent trends in Shopping and mobile, many marketers are hedging their bets on this being the biggest online retail season yet. Preparation is key, and understanding what went well and what didn’t last year—and when it did and didn’t—will help guide decision-making in the coming weeks.

When the volume is so high, each day could make or break the quarter. Here are three things you should be doing on a day-to-day basis to increase the likelihood of favorable outcomes.

1. Monitor Top SKUs

Your buyers should have a list of products they expect will be major sellers this season. These could be products where inventory is so deep no one can compete, or buyers purchased at a bulk rate and can offer the best pricing.

Work with your buyers to understand what these products are, and optimize them on a per-item basis with SKU-level product groups in a High Priority campaign. Monitor these daily and keep an eye on inventory—when they start to sell out, pull back so that you don’t end up aggressively pushing nearly sold-out products.

2. Segmentation

In addition to the proactive management of products you’re bullish about, the high volume is going to yield insights of its own. Monitor your broader product groups—defined by Category, Brand, Custom Labels, etc.—for segmentation opportunities.

You’ll start the season with a single bid for a Brand product group. But, as volume dictates, some products or sets of products within the group will warrant segmenting and assigning a new bid based on how they’ve performed to date. This is a crucial step to optimizing and hitting performance goals on an ongoing basis.

3. Bidding

As you structured your campaigns, you established the levers and switches you’re going to use to effectively manage your product mix and hit performance goals.

The most important pieces of all this will be to understand how you want to bid these levers and how to stay on top of everything. Be considerate of sales, key dates, top products, and inventory / stock levels. A combination of proactive strategies (e.g., Brand X is 20% off next week) and reactive strategies (e.g., Brand Y is selling amazingly well over the past week) will be necessary to generate the best results.

Be aggressive where you expect the best returns and don’t hesitate to pull back on things that aren’t producing. Good luck!

Resources

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