As a digital marketer, you’ve likely noticed that the industry has been on a roll, with internet advertising revenues reaching $11.7 billion in the second quarter of 2014 alone – a 14% YoY increase. But with this growth has also come concern. (If you’ve felt some of these effects, you’re not alone.)
To try and understand some of the growing pains, we conducted a survey of over 300 digital marketers to better understand their cross-channel practices and challenges. Respondents were located across the United States and United Kingdom, and represent a diverse array of verticals and marketing job focuses.
According to the survey, better understanding audiences, breaking down siloes, and integrating channels will be the main areas of focus for digital marketers over the next 12-months. The top five priorities ranked are:
1. Creating campaigns based on deeper understanding of audiences (51%)
2. Cross-channel digital marketing (50%)
3. Better integrating online and offline marketing efforts (46%)
4. Better integrating digital marketing disciplines (44%)
5. Investing in more sophisticated technology to gain and act on insights about customers (33%)
Additional priorities cited in our survey include: hiring more people with data analysis skills (33%), programmatic buying of advertising (23%), and gaining more transparency into where digital agencies invest their budget (22%). Marketers also want to develop a deeper understanding of how to digitally market to emerging markets such as Russia, Brazil, China, and other parts of Asia (17%).
Not surprisingly, we found that the problems marketers listed as their biggest challenges aligned closely with their priorities for 2015, suggesting a good handle on the situation and a path forward.
Do you agree with these priorities? Are there any you would add? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
To read more insights from our 2015 marketers census, download a copy here.
Google launched Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) in June 2013, giving advertisers the opportunity to remarket to potential lost conversions across the Google search and display networks. For the first time, search marketers could reap the retargeting campaign benefits that display advertisers had been employing for the past few years.
We previously shared some strategies for driving successful Google RLSA campaigns, such as increasing bids for searchers who’ve previously visited your site based on the assumption that they will be more likely to convert. However, the continuing unanswered question has been what your bid adjustment should be in order to engage your search audience. Is a +10% bid adjustment appropriate? +25%? +50%? Or if you were to take that question one step further, what is the optimal bid adjustment on your RLSA campaigns in order to maximize ROI?
Manage Your RLSA Campaigns within Marin Software
We can help answer that question now. We’re excited to announce that Marin Software is the first digital marketing management platform supporting Google RLSA. This means you’ll be able to take the remarketing audiences and campaigns that you’ve set up in Google AdWords, and then import and sync them with the Marin Platform to take advantage of our bid optimization features. So instead of arbitrarily deciding how to boost bids for your RLSA campaigns, you can set them up to be algorithmically optimized to drive increased ROI.
Set Your RLSA Campaigns Up For Success
When setting up your RLSA campaigns in Google AdWords, we recommend cloning your existing groups or campaigns and then adding your retargeting lists to those groups using a Target & Bid setting. This allows you to track performance and optimize these groups at the keyword level. It also enables you to customize your ad copy for your retargeting groups so you can drive them further down the conversion funnel.
To get started with Google RLSA on Marin, contact your Customer Engagement Manager to enable the feature for your account.
This morning, Google announced several new AdWords updates which will become available in the coming months. Vice President of Product Management Jerry Dischler made the reveal during the AdWords Performance Forum, where he reiterated Google’s mission to help advertisers “turn signals into stories,” and emphasized that “it’s no longer about the device; it’s about the consumer.”
Let’s take a look at their feature announcements in more detail:
1) Mobile App Promotion – Google will focus on improving the ways in which advertisers drive mobile app installs, engagement, and conversions through AdWords.
Changes will include suggested keywords based on popular searches in Google Play, improved targeting options on the GDN, and deep linking in mobile app ads for users who have already downloaded an advertiser’s app.
Renewed emphasis on the mobile app space should come as no surprise. From a mobile usage perspective, the statistics are too glaring to ignore. While there have been more than 50 billion app downloads in Google Play across 190 countries, many advertisers still struggle to promote their apps and drive engagement post-download. In fact, some 60% of the available mobile apps on Google Play are never installed and over 80% of apps only get used once. According to eMarketer, more than 86% of mobile usage occurs via apps while only 14% occurs on the mobile web.
While Google was the first major advertising publisher to offer a mobile app install advertising solution (mobile app ad extensions), they’ve recently taken a backseat to Facebook. Approximately 18% of mobile app downloads now come from Facebook and Twitter, and many believe that social beats out search when it comes to app discovery and download. With these new mobile app promotion features, Google hopes to change that perception.
2) Intelligent Measurement Tools – Google will focus on more intelligent measurement tools to help advertisers make the online-offline connection.
Last year, Google released Estimated Total Conversions. Marketed as a way to illustrate how Google search campaigns affect offline conversions, it also provides an estimated impact of advertising spend in one central location (AdWords). Today, Dischler announced additional tracking for offline conversions as part of this calculation. While his description of “offline conversions” was not specific, it will likely include in-store purchases.
This renewed focus on offline conversion tracking fits with Google’s aim to be a one-stop-shop for online advertising. However, advertiser concerns about sharing first-party data necessary for improved tracking still remain. Most advertisers prefer to keep most (if not all) of their first-party data out of Google’s reach due to privacy concerns. It will be interesting to see the adoption rate of this updated Estimated Total Conversions feature given the reluctance of advertisers to share offline data with Google.
3) Intelligent Tools for Power Users – Google will focus on helping AdWords power users manage campaign complexities by adding a few sophisticated tools.
Dischler recognized some current frustrations advertisers experience with AdWords, including the difficulty of completing large-scale bulk actions across campaigns. He called them “far too complicated” and acknowledged that many users currently go outside the interface and create complex spreadsheets to get the insight they need.
To address this pain point, Google will add functionality to help advertisers more easily upload, create and edit “hundreds” of Google advertising campaigns. In addition, AdWords users can expect new reporting, visualization and testing features in the AdWords interface. For example, advertisers will soon be able to drag and drop metrics into the UI to create pivot tables and easily manipulate reports “across multiple dimensions,” similar to what many do today within Excel. Through these “Intelligent Tools,” Google hopes to provide a way to handle reporting, analytics and optimization “all within AdWords.”
This is an exciting step for Google, but it’s important to note the data is Google-specific only, so advertisers will still need to go “offline” or to a third-party platform for comprehensive, cross-channel reporting. Furthermore, Google has historically struggled when it comes to reporting on actual revenue from purchase transactions. At best, Google will provide advertisers with revenue proxies and estimates which can be used for analytics and optimization.
A Note to Our Customers
At Marin, we see these newly announced Google features as a step in the right direction to help address gaps in the AdWords interface. The new features will initially be released in closed-beta, but we look forward to working closely with Google to integrate themas they become available in the AdWords API.
As the leading digital marketing platform and largest spender through the Google API, our mission to provide the industry’s best cross-channel marketing capabilities for advertisers remains the same. As always, we value your product feedback and look forward to receiving your comments.
Last week, we were proud to host another engaging Marin Masters in NYC! Customers and partners gathered to network, share insights, and take in presentations from some of today’s top digital marketers. A big thanks to everyone who attended, and here’s a transcribed streamcap in case you missed it (#MarinMasters on Twitter):
The Marin Vision: Turning Complexity into Opportunity
Matt Ackley, CMO, Marin Software
Customer Targeting and Optimization in Action
Cameron Urry, Senior Interactive Marketing Manager at Extra Space Storage
Audience Targeting and Building a Database of Intent
Molly Parr, Director of Product Marketing at BlueKai
Deconstructing Digital Daily Habits: A Deeper Understanding of How Gen Y/Z Affects Online Advertising
Edwin Wong, Senior Director of B2B Strategic Research & Insights at Yahoo!
Attribution & Optimization Techniques for Multi-Channel Success
Panelists: Matej Horava – Head of Partnerships at LiveRamp, Paul Pellman – CEO of Adometry, David Greenbaum – CEO of Boost Media
Mobile Audience Targeting
Cathy Boyle, Senior Analyst of Mobile at eMarketer, Inc.
Combining Search & Social: The Performance Marketing Multiplier
Dan Morris – Senior Product Marketing Manager, Marin Software
The Digital Transformation of an Industry Vertical
Brian Long, Senior Manager of Performance Marketing at AutoTrader and Ian MacDonald, Senior Manager and Director of Consumer Marketing at AutoTrader
Chris Lien, CEO of Marin Software and Melissa Esmundo, VP of Marketing at Though Mudder
Marin Software is fortunate to have over 500 employees around the globe, and today we’re excited to tell you about Dana Carpenter! A member of our research team in Austin, Dana is also an advocate for people with disabilities and recently participated in her second Ms. Wheelchair Texas. This unique competition is dedicated to promoting the achievements and needs of people with disabilities, and it does so with glamour and glitz!
Contestants in Ms. Wheelchair Texas utilize wheelchairs for 100% of their daily mobility needs, and compete to become a spokeswoman for millions of Americans with disabilities. During the course of the competition, each participant delivers a speech on a disability issue they feel strongly about and plan to support. This year, Dana’s platform was all about bringing awareness to companies on how flexible employment solutions – such as working from home – can increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities who are otherwise qualified for the position.
“Transportation is a huge barrier to employment for people with disabilities,” Dana said. “As of February of this year, only 19% of people with disabilities were employed compared to about 80% of their able bodied counterparts. All it takes is creativity and flexibility to make a difference!”
In her role at Marin, Dana is able to work from home, eliminating worries about how to get to and from the office. Her manager Paul Greer noted, “Dana’s efforts and warm positive demeanor strongly contribute to our overall goal to provide best in class sales development support. She is an asset and ally and we’re very glad she chose Marin.”
Bobby Hollis, Senior Manager of Sales Development and close friend of Dana’s, echoed that sentiment saying, “Dana is not only a solid contribution to our team and culture, she backs it up with solid quality work that is making great impact to our sales process. Selfishly we want her in the office more because she’s just a ball to be around but quite honestly we are extremely fortunate to have her with us in any capacity.”
Dana loves competing in Ms. Wheelchair Texas, saying she appreciates being around other women in similar situations. “You really do form a sisterhood so to speak,” she explained. “Also, it is so empowering to be on that stage sharing all the ways we are changing the lives of people with disabilities! You feel like you can take on the world, and win!”
Marin is proud to support Dana in her advocacy, and to hire the best employees regardless of physical disability or mobility issues. If you want to learn more about Ms. Wheelchair Texas, please visit their website or watch Dana’s speech on YouTube.
“Marin has given me the opportunity to work from home, while still making me feel like I’m part of a team,” Dana said. “How cool is that?!”
Over the past couple days, you likely heard some alarming reports speculating on changes in how Google passes data to analytics software and advertisers. This understandably created lots of buzz, but today we have the facts as reported in Google’s official Ads Developer Blog:
“Today, we are extending our efforts to keep search secure by removing the query from the referrer on ad clicks originating from SSL searches on Google.com.
Advertisers will continue to have access to useful data to optimize and improve their campaigns and landing pages. For example, you can access detailed information in the AdWords search terms report and the Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries report.”
Marin Software will continue to receive keyword data from Google. Conversion and revenue tracking, reporting, and analytics will not be disrupted. Our CMO Matt Ackley explained, “As an AdWords API partner, Marin Software leverages keyword data – separate from search query data – in providing its market-leading analytics, campaign management and optimization capabilities.”
For customers leveraging Marin Tracker, Tracker will no longer be used as a source for keyword expansion. However, Marin’s Keyword Expansion tool will continue to bring in keyword suggestions via the publisher search query reports for both Google and Bing, which provide the majority of keyword suggestions today. If you’re using Tracker and have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your customer success team.
We look forward to business as usual, helping our customers to be the best marketers in the industry.
We were delighted to pick up our fifth UK and European Search Award at last week’s ceremony in Iceland for our work with MoneySuperMarket. The award recognised the innovative work we carried out with MoneySuperMarket to build an open stack of technology to drive PPC efficiency alongside our partners Adometry and BlueKai. MoneySuperMarket took advantage of Revenue Connect to optimise paid search in Marin Enterprise using post-attributed data from Adometry, and optimised paid search campaigns based on audience data integrated from BlueKai into Marin through Audience Connect. The judges for the award commented:
“Judges felt this campaign pushed PPC efficiency to its limit showing creative innovation through technology integration.”
This fifth award won across the UK and European Search Awards series in four years reaffirms our continued presence as one of the leaders in the European search industry. Our momentum since opening up in 2009 has seen us hire more than 110 staff across 5 locations in Europe, managing campaigns for leading European brands including easyJet, Peugeot, Europcar, Nestle, Adidas, lastminute.com, LeGuide, Philips, Sainsburys and Zoopla. This growth now means we manage more than €1bn in annual European online advertising spend through our platform.
We also want to congratulate our numerous clients and partners who also won at the awards!
Google versus Bing. While they may be duking it out for market share, these two search engines can actually go really well together as part of your overall online marketing portfolio.
According to an October comScore report, Google held 67% market share of searches in the US, while Bing accounted for 18%. Year-over-year, Google’s search share has remained flat while Bing’s has actually grown. If advertisers were to address this logically, they would invest search budget proportionally across these two search engines. However, we often find that advertisers under-invest in Bing, both in terms of budget and time managing/optimizing their accounts.
Crunch all the numbers over here in our full-length write-up, but advertising proportionally on Bing can provide a big boost to your total clicks for no additional spend. Here are some tips to get you started:
Our much anticipated mobile benchmark report is here, packed full of data and graphs that illuminate the mobile search landscape. Make sure to download your full copy of Mobile Search Advertising Across the Globe: 2014 Annual Report.
The report show that as consumer adoption of mobile devices has been increasing at a blistering speed, digital advertisers have matched the momentum, moving ad spend onto mobile devices to take advantage of this new channel. With mobile devices already accounting for over one third of all paid-search clicks, it’s clear why everyone has their eye on smartphone and tablet advertising. Smart allocation of ad spend on mobile will help advertisers stay ahead of the competition, as the landscape morphs into a more interconnected, mobile consumer-base.
In 2013, we saw US mobile click share break the one third mark with spend share close behind. Smartphones make up the majority of the mobile clicks and spend, emphasizing the widespread adoption of smartphones and increased ad integration within these devices. In addition, smartphones and tablets have comparable click-through rates compared to desktops, while mobile cost per click remains lower than that of desktops. This means that performance has caught up, but competition on mobile isn’t full-blown yet.
Our data shows similar trends across the world, with mobile click and spend share growing at a remarkable pace. In some regions, mobile advertising is growing even faster than in the US. Across Europe, mobile device adoption has led spend share to nearly double in the last year, and click-through rates have shot above that of desktops. This is a strong indicator of the emerging value mobile devices hold for performance advertisers.
The pace of worldwide mobile adoption has changed the digital marketing paradigm on a global scale. With smartphones and desktops adding another layer of complexity on top of the conventional desktop model, advertisers have more opportunity to reach their audience than ever before. To learn about the opportunity to expand into new markets, or simply to benchmark your own campaigns, make sure to download the full report here.
One of the single most effective ways a digital marketer can improve the performance of a campaign is through better ad copy. To help advertisers get more out of their creative, we’ve teamed up with Boost Media (formerly BoostCTR).
While this isn’t the first time Marin Software has worked with Boost, this is the first time Boost makes an appearance in the Marin app. Thanks to Marin’s open architecture, the performance of Boost optimized campaigns can now be viewed directly within Marin, saving joint customers all sorts of time in addition to providing insights that can then be used to make immediate changes.
If you’re not familiar with Boost, the company offers marketers a network of 1,000+ expert copywriters skilled in creating compelling, high-performance ad copy for both search and social. Check them out.