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.
In late November, news broke that Facebook was planning a major overhaul to its advertising campaign structure in Q1. The revised campaign structure will include a new management “level” called the Ad Set, that will sit in between the Campaign and Ad levels.
Since the initial information leak, little has been publicly shared from Facebook as to what the new campaign structure will look like, how it will benefit advertisers, and how their workflow will be impacted. Sensing the significance of the overhaul, you may remember that we shared our thoughts here on the blog soon after.
After months of waiting, Facebook recently made an official announcement on the Facebook for Business blog. They confirmed that existing Facebook campaigns will be migrated on March 4th (tomorrow!). The new structure is described as a “simpler way to organize and optimize campaigns on Facebook,” and is aimed to improve advertiser workflow, reporting and optimization.
Today’s Facebook marketers may have hundreds or thousands of campaigns within an account targeting different audiences and objectives. For example, an advertiser could have 15% of their campaigns focused on acquiring more fans, 20% focused on driving mobile or desktop app engagement, and 65% focused on website acquisition toward an ROI objective. Managing thousands of campaigns across hundreds of targeted audiences with mixed objectives can be confusing and problematic for advertisers without a sophisticated management platform.
By moving to a new “3-tiered” campaign taxonomy, Facebook hopes to provide marketers with a better way to organize campaigns targeting similar business objectives. Using the example above, marketers will now be able to look at campaigns with “ROI” objectives and quickly determine which target audiences (specified at the Ad Set level) are driving the best performance. If a marketer wants to understand which creative design or message resonates best with a particular audience for a given objective, the marketer can then drill into the Ad Set and analyze Ad-level performance.
Marin has been working diligently on the new campaign structure since October and is excited to roll it out to our customers. We expect the impact to our customer’s workflow to be positive for two reasons. First, Marin’s platform architecture has been built on a three-tiered campaign structure since we went GA in 2007. What this means is that our Facebook advertising customers who also use our product for Search and Display will finally have a consistent campaign taxonomy across all their channels. Second, this restructure will allow for an even more streamlined and favorable cross-channel workflow and analytics experience.
As a Marin Facebook advertiser, here is what you can expect:
Your Existing Campaigns
Marin has partnered with Facebook to transition our mutual clients on Friday March 14th, in accordance with our i48 release. On this date, existing campaigns will be migrated to the new structure automatically, both in Facebook and in Marin. No additional steps will be required of the advertiser. The campaign will simply inherit the new setting, the “Objective.”
Creation of Ad Sets
Ad Sets will be created between the Campaign and Ad levels and inherit the settings of your existing campaigns.
Nothing will happen to your Ads as a result of the migration – everything will remain the same.
Your Customer Success Team is Here to Help
Marin believes in offering industry-leading support and service to our Facebook customers. We know this transition has big implications, and we want to be there to help. Please reach out to your Customer Success Team soon to discuss any questions or concerns about the transition. Following the transition, they will be eager to help you assimilate into your new workflow in Marin.
Best Practices Webinar!
On Tuesday, March 11, Marin will be holding a webinar for our customers to go through our new improved UI. We will be will also cover best practices for campaign creation, editing, and optimization with the new structure. Marin customers will be receiving an invitation via email in the coming days, so stay tuned!
The search for summer interns is already on, and our recruiting team has been hitting the road! On Wednesday, we met with students at the Cal Internship & Summer Job Fair. Then on Thursday, we traveled to Oregon State University in Portland. (Did you know we now have an office in Portland?)
But the real apex was our “Super Saturday” event this past weekend. Our recruiters welcomed awesome students from Stanford and Cal to our headquarters for breakfast and a great conversion with Joe Chang, one of Marin’s co-founders and chief technical officer. Joe is also a proud Stanford grad. Students got to learn more about the ad tech space, what Marin’s been up to, and why it’s such a neat place to work. They also had the opportunity to interview for summer positions, in an engaging speed-dating style.
Finally it was off to lunch at Super Duper, to make it a truly super Saturday! (If you’re in the Bay Area, you’ll definitely want to try their burgers and shakes.) Thanks to all students who attended – it was great to meet you! And thanks also to our recruiting team for pulling off such a fun event.
Fun Fact: One of our engineers who attended Super Saturday was actually in the first class of Marin interns!
The difference between a good, serviceable bidding solution and an optimized solution is the difference between okay results and record campaign ROI.
There are many factors enterprise advertisers must consider when evaluating a bid management solution: algorithmic or rules-based; portfolio- or goal-based; bidding with limited data or intra-day bid adjustments. These and other features address business requirements that ultimately impact the ability for advertisers to drive revenue at a profitable return—publisher tools, in-house solutions, and multi-channel platforms attempt to provide some or all of this functionality.
There are three fundamental attributes found in all effective bid management solution that enable advertisers to remain competitive in any auction landscape: transparency, flexibility, and a systematic approach to forecasting.
Visibility into how a keyword’s bid is calculated is critical to understanding the performance metrics and auction conditions that factored into the final bid. This ultimately justifies the calculated bid rather than relying on a “trust us” mentality and gives insight into future performance. To provide complete transparency, bids and statistical models should be exposed at each step of the calculation. Marketers must have access to the amount of historical data used, including the time window, how conversions or revenue tracked next to defined business goals, and what auction thresholds and bid settings were met that impacted the final bid calculation.
Though many enterprise platforms provide transparency into bid calculations, some more than others, tools like Google Conversion Optimizer (GCO) don’t expose how bids are calculated. These “black-box” algorithms provide little to no transparency, leaving advertisers in the dark and at the mercy of the tool. Even when GCO is disabled, keywords bids revert back to the original bid prior to enabling the tool, leaving marketers high and dry with old, sub-optimal bids.
Despite the demand for complete automation, flexibility remains one of the most important pieces of any effective bid management solution. Though algorithms assume the lion’s share of work, marketers still require flexible user controls and the ability to factor in any source of data when calculating optimal bids. Defining CPC ceilings and floors, limiting how reactive bids are to seasonality and cyclical trends, overriding individual bids to satisfy business requirements, and excluding outlying data from calculations are all controls marketers need to adapt bids to ever-changing market and auction conditions.
With accurate, timely and relevant data, that make sense to an advertiser’s business, bidding algorithms can effectively calculate bids that maximize performance. This level of flexibility exists beyond most bid management tools and is available in only the most sophisticated platforms. Multi-event conversion tracking, visibility into customer lifetime value, attributing latent conversions, and factoring in analytics, ad serving, call tracking, CRM, and backend data enables marketers to optimize spend, drive high value customers, and acquire more revenue.
3. Systematic Approach to Forecasting
Marketing effectiveness is hampered without the ability to evaluate the potential impact of shifts in business goals. Furthermore, some auctions are extremely competitive and volatile, with suboptimal bids negatively impacting overall program performance. To mitigate risk, effective bid management solutions must provide marketers with a systematic approach—guiding marketers through the business impact of any changes in bid strategy.
The ability to preview calculated bids alongside visual overlays helps advertisers understand the potential effect of new bids and evaluate risks. Even more powerful is the ability for marketers to build “what-if” forecast models of how changes to performance goals will affect volume, cost, return on investment, and profit. With accurate forecasting models, marketers can focus on evaluating budget allocation across publishers and business lines to maximize performance and achieve business goals.
Selecting the Right Solution
Bid automation is growing increasingly complex and more types of media are becoming biddable. In the face of unique business requirements, dynamic marketplaces, and competitive auctions, advertisers increasingly must look to bid management solutions that provide transparency into bid calculations, the flexibility of user controls and data integrations, and a systematic approach to forecasting for mitigating risks. Solutions characterized by these three fundamental attributes meet the business requirements of today’s most complex and sophisticated advertisers, and enable them to drive more revenue with increasing efficiency.
Click here to learn more about Marin Software’s bid management solution and why we have more than $6 billion in annualized spend on our platform (announced in our earnings call today).
The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising - lots of data & best practices in our new paper: bit.ly/1hMRakl