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What Can Online Retailers Expect This
Mother’s Day?

By May 2nd, 2016

Mother’s Day is almost here! With flowers, cards, and family visits close at hand, many brick and mortar retailers are gearing up for the shopping spike. The season of maternal appreciation extends to online retailers, who are also gussying up their search, social, and display campaigns to attract consumers around the world.

How did online retailers do in 2015, and what to expect this year?

Mother’s Day 2015 – Clicks, Spend, and Conversions

In the week leading up to Mother’s Day 2015 (May 10th), clicks increased an average of 15% across retailers as click-through rates rose 6%. In addition, spend increased 9% during the same time period, peaking a few days before Mother’s Day.

Most notably, conversions saw a bump of 12%, peaking on the 5th at 18% above the monthly average. This noticeable bump for all retailers was more pronounced among those specialty retailers that Mother’s Day particularly impacts.

CPCs actually dropped slightly during this period, except for two days where they spiked, the 4th and 5th. The 5th proved to be a particularly important day for consumers and advertisers, showing abnormal surges along all metrics.

Perhaps consumers took account delivery times and the looming holiday date into account, giving themselves a few buffer days in case of delays in delivery and arrival.

These numbers dropped dramatically on Mother’s Day itself, and returned slowly to roughly average afterwards. Click-through rates remained elevated for Mother’s Day and a few days afterwards before returning to seasonal norms.

Recommendations for 2016

For retailers looking to maximize their Mother’s Day sales, here are a few key takeaways:

  • Start campaigns at least a week before Mother’s Day to capture the online shopping market, especially those looking to have a gift arrive in time for the occasion.
  • In particular, focus attention on five or six days beforehand, as this is when consumer interest peaked last year.
  • Expect similar trends to 2015, as people power down for the actual day to celebrate a mom!

How to Evaluate Programmatic Buying Transparency – Types and Tips

By April 21st, 2016

This is the first in a series of posts on transparency. In today’s post, we lay out the many ways transparency is elusive in digital marketing today. We also include some best practices for stamping out the fuzziness prevalent in the programmatic landscape.

Most marketers will admit transparency in media buys sounds like a good idea. So why don’t we have it all the time? Inertia, circumstances, or legacy business practices are the usual culprits. Knowing about the types of programmatic transparency is a good place to start.

The Problem with Buyer/Seller Blindness

You may have read about the recent survey on programmatic buying by Forrester and the ANA. Although we know intermediaries carve up a media dollar along the ad delivery path, a surprising 33 percent of survey respondents in this study have turned a blind eye while knowingly opting into an undisclosed programmatic model.

Not knowing the true value of your media obscures your true ROI. This buyer/seller blindness stands in the way of programmatic growth and success.

Let’s dive in and take a look at the three types of transparency: intermediaries, environmental, and data.

1. Intermediaries: What is the True Cost of the      Programmatic Supply Chain?

According to the ANA/Forrester study, 55 percent of marketers are concerned with the opaqueness of the intermediaries along the supply chain, up from 21 percent two years ago. No advertiser is immune to the supply chain realities, but seeing how the budget is allocated should be as natural as homebuyers scrutinizing loan origination fees from their mortgage broker.

There is a host of intermediaries in today’s programmatic supply chain including:

  • Data / Targeting
  • DMP technology
  • DSP technology
  • Ad serving (advertiser side, publisher side)
  • Exchanges
  • Publisher
  • Verification
  • Ad blocking
  • Managed services fees through an agency or media buying partner  

Not surprisingly, there are also several cost models:

  • CPM-based fees
  • Percent of media fees
  • Flat fees
  • Arbitrage

The advertiser pays most of the fees, while in some cases the publisher, or both the advertiser and publisher, pay them.

It’s common to have an agent buy media on the advertiser’s behalf, only revealing the final price of a campaign, total margin, and fees. Just as common is the masking of the closing or winning bid prices.

This lack of bidding transparency is precisely what’s needed for optimization. This practice is especially prevalent among black box vendors, as is straight-ahead arbitrage. Without transparent insights into what improves targeting and conversion, marketers are flying blind.

So, what’s the average take rate of each partner? It varies of course, depending mostly on targeting strategies and pricing/profit models. But asking your supply chain partners exactly what they’re charging you is the first step in achieving total transparency.  

2. Environmental: Ad Viewability to Detect Fraudulent or      Unviewable Inventory

Certainly one of the hottest issues in ad tech today, environmental transparency of an ad is as important as the campaign’s message or who’s being targeted. There are more mysteries than answers focused on who sees your ad, how much was seen, how long they see it, and where the ad showed up, but help is on the way.

In the early days of RTB, fraudulent or unviewable inventory was a common problem. Although challenges remain, there is an increasing number of new tools available for advertisers, publishers, and ad servers to detect bot fraud, fraudulent inventory, or unviewable ads.

Still, there’s no consensus on how viewability is defined. Standard bodies like the IAB and MRC are driving clarity on this issue. Many new vendors are trying to monetize viewability. Large holding companies have their own standards as well.

Advertisers are increasingly demanding that publishers bear the burden of proof by complying with imposed measurement of viewability-centric campaigns. Viewability-tracking fees, brand safety-tracking fees, and brand lift study fees are paid by either side in an effort to run cleaner campaigns. Although far from being solved, the use of ad verification and brand safety tools goes a long way in solving environmental transparency.

3. Data: Data Transparency = True ROI

It seems logical that any data used in an ad campaign that you paid for would be accessible to you. But that isn’t always the case. Publishers could block the intent data or other data sets you would normally have access to with more transparent partners.

You may prefer to pay a black box provider because your only KPI is sales – this can work for some who don’t insist on understanding their true ROI. However, for data-driven marketing to work, seeing all your data for future learnings or to calculate your true ROI is essential.

Irresistible pricing models are as tempting as a timeshare in Tahiti. We get that. But regardless of whether you use a DSP or publisher tools for your programmatic buys, the more you know, the more you can improve outcomes – that is, if you want to know exactly how to improve outcomes rather than relying on your black box vendor to give you numbers devoid of margins or analysis.

Data are collected at every turn, every segment of the customer journey. CPC, CTR, and impressions are table stakes. For more intelligence, you need the eCPM and in-view impressions. Getting site-level reporting helps you blacklist/whitelist and improve targeting.

If you’re striving to get to your true ROI, knowing how the data points were calculated is certainly also part of the equation. Since we’re talking numbers, understanding the logic, math, and algorithms behind a bidding process is another must-have.

Guidelines for Getting Clarity on Transparency

You should be able to decide exactly what success looks like for your brand. This means choosing your own KPIs, publishers, and the data you want to bring, buy, optimize, or analyze. Here are some best practices for how to bring more transparency to your programmatic initiatives.

  • Insist on seeing the media cost on an impression-by-impression basis, as well as breakouts of all other costs contributing to the total price.
  • Pick the exact sites, formats, devices, and audiences you want.
  • Utilize business rules within your RTB programmatic buys and with your brand safety to ensure a URL is present or that it matches where your ad eventually runs – if you can’t prove your URL, your programmatic partner shouldn’t bid on the impression.
  • Request detailed campaign guidelines from your agency or DSP.
  • Use third-party verification tools to detect bot traffic and sourced traffic, as both of these contribute to fraud.
  • Evaluate and utilize tools from new fraud and viewability measurement partners.
  • Assign in-house team members to focus on media by having them dig into agency and tech partner contracts to determine fraud and viewability practices.
  • To make adding it all up easier, use IAB’s recently released Programmatic Fee Transparency Calculator.

Next time, we’ll dive deeper into the programmatic supply chain and how it affects cost.

Digital Advertising in 2015 – Mobile Is Crushing It

By April 6th, 2016

2015 was a banner year for mobile.

Continuing its ascent into the status of omnipresent being, global smartphone adoption reached an all-time high last year and shows no signs of slowing down. Thanks to this rapid expansion of smartphone usage around the world, advertisers now have an opportunity to reach consumers even more easily.

We sampled the Marin Global Online Advertising Index, composed of advertisers who invest more than $7 billion in annualized ad spend on the Marin platform, to analyze data from around the world to create our latest annual benchmark report.

We uncovered three key findings:

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

For detailed information on 2015 search, social, and display mobile performance – including detailed data charts with YoY performance and further recommendations for 2016 – download our Mobile Advertising Around the Globe: 2016 Annual Report.

2016-mobile-report_cover

Why We Like Love Facebook’s New Reactions

By March 1st, 2016

In 2009, Facebook introduced the now-famous Like button. Last week, seven years later, users logged in to find a revamped experience – Reactions! Let’s take a look at how they work, why they were introduced, and what they mean for businesses and advertisers.

First things first. What are Reactions?

Reactions is an extension of the Like button. Now, users can engage with posts using their choice of six different buttons: Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, or Angry. The buttons appear as colorful and animated emojis.

emojis

Okay, so how do Reactions work?

On desktop, hover your mouse over the Like button. On mobile, hold down the Like button. In each case, a tray of all six options will appear and you can click to make your selection. Right now you can only add a single reaction to each post – no mixing and matching.

How did Facebook roll out Reactions?

Slowly and following a lot of research! The public’s first glimpse into this year-long project came in October, when Facebook began testing in markets like Spain and Ireland.

The biggest change since then? Facebook eliminated the Yay button, because it served a similar purpose as the Like and Love buttons, and because its meaning was confusing in some markets. Wired has a great piece on how Reactions evolved over time, if you’re curious.

Why did Facebook introduce Reactions?

Ever since the original Like button was introduced, users have provided lots of feedback – including frequent requests for a Dislike button! There are times when a Like just doesn’t feel right – for example when reacting to a sad or upsetting post.

Mark Zuckerberg summed up the feedback, saying, “What [users] really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment.”

No, really. What’s their reasoning?

Really! To give more users the flexibility to engage with posts in a specific and empathetic way. But, since you asked, let’s speculate on additional reasons and their implications:

  • To collect more data. By expanding from one button to six, Facebook has exponentially increased the amount of data they’re able to collect. Even better, that data is self-categorized and universal in meaning. This helps explain why Facebook provided six buttons, instead of an entire suite of emojis to choose from; the limit ensures the data can be more easily analyzed and put into action.
  • To keep users coming back. Using the data, Facebook will be able to adjust its algorithm to provide an even more personalized and relevant experience for each individual user. This fulfills a core part of Facebook’s mission to keep users engaged and coming back to the platform on a regular basis.
  • To introduce new advertising possibilities. In addition to organic results, Facebook can also apply the new volume of data to improve or increase the sophistication of its advertising products.

How will the News Feed be impacted?

Facebook’s algorithm factors in a variety of signals, including Likes and engagements, when deciding what to show in the News Feed. Right now, it doesn’t matter which button users click – it will be counted in the same way.

Over time, however, Facebook says they “hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want
to see.”

What does this mean for advertisers?

Right now, it’s business as usual for advertisers, and all Reactions have the same impact on ad delivery. For example, a Love is counted the same way as a Like.

If you’re curious which Reactions people are using to engage with your content, visit your Insights page. This information can help you tailor future content.

What’s next, and why should advertisers Like Love Reactions?

In the future, Reactions will likely play an increasingly important role. Let’s consider a few exciting possibilities:

  • Distinguish brand fans from casual users. Reactions can help brands understand which users Like versus Love their content, an important distinction with big implications on lifetime value and influencer behavior. In particular, advertisers could potentially create lookalike audiences based on brand fans to expand reach among high-value segments.
  • Deliver better content. Analyzing user Reactions will help advertisers gain a more nuanced understanding of their communities and the types of content they enjoy. This information can be applied to editorial calendars and future advertising campaigns, for better performance and increased levels of engagement.
  • Automate based on sentiment. It can be tough for advertisers to quickly identify top-performing content and filter through the sea of comments. Marin addresses this challenge with Message Booster, an innovative feature that automatically boosts content based on pre-defined metrics. Imagine the extra layer of perception and control that would come from automating based on specific Reactions.

What’s your opinion on Reactions? Let us know on Facebook
or Twitter!

The Ever-Shifting World of Social

By February 25th, 2016

This is a guest post from Sarah Burns, Content Manager
at Boost Media.

With more than 2 billion active social media users worldwide, the influence of social on brand perception, customer relationships, and purchase decisions is indisputable. But, there’s a major shift happening in the way people interact socially, and it’s a trend marketers need to stay on top of.

Social media is becoming more visual

Social media is becoming more visual, with image and video-focused platforms seeing hockey stick growth. In fact, Snapchat had a purported 100 million daily active users only two years after
its launch.

Users are also voting for more image and video content with their clicks. Posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement rates than text-only posts and simply using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%.

The influence of image and video content is expected to continue. An estimated 84% of communication will be visual by 2018, and by 2019, 80-90% of global consumer Internet traffic will be video.

There are long-term returns on investing in image and video production

Figuring out how to get more images and videos in your repertoire is a “today” problem and there are immediate, compelling gains to be realized from investing in visual content. Marketers can expect several positive results:

  • A boost in SEO performance
  • More social engagement and audience growth
  • Amplified paid media performance
  • A stronger connection with existing customers who may be more likely to make repeat purchases and talk about your brand

Establishing a system for how your brand produces images and videos will also pay off in the long run, put you ahead of the competition curve, and help your brand build and grow profitable customer relationships now and in the future.

Putting it all together

Marketers used to say “brands are the new publishers,” but perhaps now it’s time to think about brands as the new creative shops. To engage with customers, you’ll need great image and video content, and a lot of it. Don’t wait to ramp up your image and video production and distribution efforts. Now is the time to invest in solutions to scale visual content production and create an effective system for your brand.

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.

Your Quick Recap of the Latest Social
Advertising News

By February 17th, 2016

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

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

1. Twitter Launches Algorithmically Sorted Timeline

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

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

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

2. Instagram Rolls Out 60-Second Video Ads

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

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

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

3. Facebook Soars in Q4 2015 Earnings Report

http://investor.fb.com/results.cfm 

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

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

4. Snapchat Teams Up with Viacom

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

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

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

5. Facebook Shuts Down Free Basics in India

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

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

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

6. Facebook Adds Caption Tool for Video Ads

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

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

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

7. Twitter Introduces First View Video Ads

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

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

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

8. Account Switching Now Available for Instagram

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

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

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

3 Facebook Advertising Trends You Need
to Know About

By February 4th, 2016

The year is 2016, and Facebook will soon be 12 years old. As Facebook hits puberty, it’s no longer just an influencer platform – now, it delivers actual (and many) conversions to social advertisers.

We took a look at Facebook’s growth and development over the last year, and three main trends stood out as being the most significant for the platform: clicks, video, and geotargeting.

People are clicking Facebook ads

Social media targeting in general is the most precise it’s ever been, and it’ll only get better this year. In 2015, Facebook click-through rates (CTR) more than doubled. Why is this?

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

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

Social video is growing fast

In 2015, video was one of the fastest growing sectors of online advertising, and Facebook quickly picked up on this trend. We’re now used to seeing video ad formats in our news feeds.

According to Facebook, by the end of 2015 there were eight billion average daily video views, or 100% growth in a seven-month time period.[1]

This incredible growth is part of the reason Facebook is investing so much attention on improving and refining video ad formats to increase user engagement and relevance. And, there’s a lot of potential for Facebook video ad sales to take off in 2016. The future looks bright for this ad format.

Local ads are more precise and effective than ever

During 2015, geotargeted ads gained major steam on Facebook, due in no small part to Facebook’s improvements to their local ad type. Hyper-local ad targeting on social media has allowed marketers to reach very specific audiences to within a mile of particular locales.

This hyper-local targeting easily synergizes with mobile ad formats, such as click- for-directions or click-to-call to reach nearby audiences that have high engagement rates for local brick-and-mortar businesses. Since 2010, locally targeted social media ads have grown a compounded 33% every year, with $8.3 billion worth of ads in 2015.[2]

For more information on current trends in Facebook advertising – including year-over-year trend charts and the latest intelligence on mobile – download our report, The State of Facebook Advertising: Clicks, Videos, and Geotargeting.

———————–

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

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

Super Bowl Ads: Are They Worth It?

By February 3rd, 2016

When it comes to TV viewership, the Super Bowl is the most-watched sporting event in the United States. From advertising to merchandise, millions of dollars are invested each year in both the actual event and everything surrounding it.

For many Super Bowl fans, the advertising is almost as important, with 77.1% of consumers seeing the ads as a form of entertainment. A well-done Super Bowl video has a way of amassing millions of views, and brands often feel the impact for weeks or months after the end of the game.

Still, a 30-second spot costs millions of dollars. In the long run, does this really pan out for advertisers?

The Super Bowl Leaves Huge Impressions

We compared a group of advertisers who aired an ad during the 2015 Super Bowl (Group A) against a group who did not (Group B) to see how performance fared weeks after the event.

Group A, predictably, saw a massive spike in online search ad impressions during the Super Bowl, which trailed off to normal levels in the following weeks. This peaked during the Super Bowl when Group A saw 340% more conversions than the start of the year.

Conversely, Group B saw impressions drop 17% on Super Bowl Sunday. For Group A, this increase in impressions led to a similar increase in clicks, which peaked at 250% during and immediately after the Super Bowl.

While advertiser impressions and clicks increased, cost-per-click didn’t appreciably increase except for terms centered on the Super Bowl. Longer-term, Super Bowl advertisers got more clicks at a lower price.

More Ads, More Conversions

Not only did Super Bowl TV ads result in more impressions and clicks — they actually increased conversions over 400% on Super Bowl Sunday when compared to Group B. This increased engagement and conversion remained consistent throughout the entire month of February in 2015, representing a long-term return on investment.

With increased conversions and relatively stable costs, cost per lead actually decreased throughout February for Super Bowl advertisers, meaning that by mid-month, it cost Group A less per conversion than Group B.

SuperBowlConversions

Do What Works For You

While it may be tough to determine if buying a Super Bowl TV ad is worth it, it undoubtedly has a huge impact on online advertising campaigns for any company that chooses to buy a spot. Ultimately, a TV ad during the Super Bowl translates to increased search volume, which results in increased clicks at a similar cost and increased conversions at a lower CPL.

2015 Year in Review: Greatest Hits & Highlights

By December 22nd, 2015

Another year has come and (almost) gone. There’s been tons of great momentum, change, and shifts in the world of digital advertising, and Marin Software was squarely in the eye of the storm! This storm, however, was more of a fun, wild ride than anything requiring an umbrella.

From important acquisitions and partnerships, to new ad types, to the ascendency of mobile, 2015 was truly a landmark year.

We hope your year was as great as ours. Here are some of the greatest hits and highlights, across Marin and digital advertising.

Buy Buttons and What They Mean For You

By December 15th, 2015

By now, you’ve likely seen or heard about buy buttons, which are a quick way for customers to purchase directly from search, social, and video platforms. How should digital marketers work with buy buttons this holiday season?

First, let’s review the statistics.

202%The year-over-year lift in social media-referred orders that Shopify reported.

60 millionThe number of shoppable pins on Pinterest.

84%. The percent of Pinterest buyable pin-referred orders coming from new customers, according to one advertiser case study.

What it means for you

These data points indicate a growing trend toward social as a shopping discovery tool. One thing missing from the statistics is the success of buy buttons from a revenue standpoint. Since buy buttons are relatively new, it’s still too early to tell how successful they’ll be in generating sales, making it uncertain whether to prioritize them over other tests this holiday season.

Still, it’s worth it for brands to begin preparing now, given the investment being made in buy buttons across the digital ecosystem. It’s easy to imagine that customers will quickly become accustomed to social discovery-fueled shopping, facilitated by buy buttons.

Let’s take a moment to recap some of the major networks with buy buttons, many of which still have the ad units in beta, with a select group of advertisers:

Instagram

As part of its action-oriented suite of ads released in June, Instagram has an ad unit with several call-to-action options including “shop now,” which allows users to make a purchase while staying within Instagram.

Pinterest

Pinterest has made Buyable Pins available to advertisers on select e-commerce platforms since late June.

Google

In mid-July, Google announced it’s beta testing its own version of the buy button in mobile paid search results.

YouTube

In late September, YouTube launched Shopping Ads, which include a click-to-buy option within partner videos.

Twitter

In late September, Twitter announced U.S. advertisers on select e-commerce platforms have access to buy buttons in tweets.

Facebook

Facebook, which has tested a buy button for over a year, in October announced it’s testing a shopping tab, enabling users to shop directly in the platform without visiting a brand’s site.

Where to go from here

With so many major networks supplying buy button-infused ad inventory, customer shopping behavior will be influenced—it’s just not clear yet how and to what extent. At this phase, it’s worth testing buy buttons on a small scale to establish a benchmark and to begin collecting intelligence to inform next year’s holiday buy button 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.

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