Q2 2012 Online Advertising Report Published

Following two very strong quarters of increasing growth in US search advertising spending, the second quarter of 2012 showed a deceleration of spending growth. Q2 2012 had a year-over-year (YoY) growth in search spend of 15.5% in the US. Higher growth was seen in the travel vertical with a 37.8% YoY increase in search ad spending in Q2.

Mobile search advertising also continued strong growth YoY, with spending on mobile search ads up an astounding 333% YoY.

These figures are released quarterly by IgnitionOne, a leading digital marketing solutions firm, managing more than $1 billion in online advertising.

Download the Q2 2012 Online Advertising report here.IgnitionOne Q2 2012 Online Advertising Report

Key findings in the report: 

  • US Search growth slows in Q2 – Search spend in Q2 was up 15.5% when compared to Q2 2011. At nearly half the growth rate of last quarter, this represents a slowdown in growth of paid search spending. This slowdown in growth of spend can be presumably blamed on the current weakness of the macro-economy and softness of the retail vertical in the quarter.
  • Yahoo!/Bing continues to outpace Google spend growth in US – While Yahoo!/Bing impressions and clicks did not grow faster than Google, its CPCs and search spend certainly did. While Google only grew 11.4% in spend, YoY, in Q2, Yahoo!/Bing grew 32.9%. As this growth is off a smaller base, it did not translate into an increase in market share for Yahoo!/Bing, however.
  • US Travel vertical breaks from pack and has strong growth – Continuing last quarter’s trend there was impressive growth in activity and spend in Q2 compared to the same time period last year. Travel impressions were up 61.9% and search spend among travel marketers increased 37.8% YoY.
  • Continued increase in mobile search advertising – US mobile grew to 14% from 12% of total search budgets with a huge 333% increase in spend YoY. The mobile search ads also had greater growth in engagement as click grew 325% while impressions grew 130%.

“While search spending did not continue at the pace of recent quarters, the increase compared to last year is still strong,” said Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne. “The huge and continued growth in mobile search spending continues to impress and points to the movement of consumers and advertisers to these devices.”

This report is the latest in a series of reports from IgnitionOne reviewing trends across the online advertising landscape. The Q2 report can be downloaded here and as well as past white papers and reports

Five Things You Should Know About RTB

1994:  the year I sent my first email, the year Yahoo  was created, the year Al Gore coined the term ‘information superhighway’ and believe it not the year of the first online banner ad.

targeted digital marketing

This is not a history lesson, but rather five things you should know about the ever evolving real-time display landscape that has come a long way since that first banner ad back in ’94.

  1. How does real time bidding (RTB) work?

By now we should all know what the acronym RTB stands for, but do we really know how it works?

When a user visits a website with a display ad, a call is made by the exchange servers supporting RTB to check with the DSP (Demand Side Platform) to determine which marketer gets to serve the ad. There is a list of attributes associated with each user and the platform checks if this user has the desired attributes the marketer wants to target. Based on the perceived value of this user to the marketer, the marketer places a bid on this ad placement and the highest bidding marketer gets the spot.

  1. How does a DSP decide which campaign to serve the impression for?

The real time bidder, which is fundamentally the brain in the process, defines the bidding strategy. This means it will be decided whether or not a bid will be placed for the displayed impression. If you decide to place, a bid you need to think about which campaign is the most suited, and based on the projected performance and estimated market value, what the best price is for it.

  1. What’s the difference between an ad-exchange and anad-network?

An exchange is an auction marketplace that facilitates the buying and selling of inventory across multiple ad networks and DSPs against the network which buys inventory, and adds value in the form of technology, optimisation and data.

  1. What’s the difference between third party  and first  party data?

1st party: Any data proprietary to a marketer, such as search queries, site visitor data, CRM data that comes from marketer’s website and analytics, CRM database or any other source of proprietary customer data.

3rd party: Any data that a marketer can purchase in order to better identify and target their audiences. This includes demographic or psychographic data, past purchase history and more that can be found in data exchanges or individual 3rd party data providers.

  1. Why use real time bidding (RTB)?

RTB allows brands to bid for individual impressions in real time, capitalising on benefits which include audience targeting, global frequency caps, centralised analytics and guaranteed delivery and quality remnant inventory at a fraction of the price.



Luckily we’ve come a long way since the first banner ad, a part of AT&T’s “You Will” campaign in 1994.

14 Things You Didn’t Know about Mobile

  1. The number of social network users accessing the Internet via mobile phones is increasing. In France, users grew this year by 53.8% and will count for nearly half of total social network users next year (eMarketer)
  2. One in five respondents has made an online purchase on a mobile phone – Harris Interactive (eMarketer)
  3. The number of shoppers interested in receiving promotional texts has climbed. “As of February 2012, 31% of US mobile phone owners who did not already receive SMS message-based marketing said they were at least somewhat interested in such messages, and 10% said they were extremely interested in SMS messages.”– Harris Interactive (eMarketer)
  4. The most popular activity of mobile phone users in actual stores is collecting vouchers for use at the cash register. Mobile couponing (either using or requesting a coupon) is most popular at grocery stores. The more considered the purchase, the more shoppers rely on their smartphones. At electronics stores, users mostly use their phones to read reviews – Nielsen (emerce)
  5. Mobile wallets (for example the Wallet app) are mostly used for small, quick purchases – Google (emerce)
  6. Nearly one-quarter of B2B ecommerce professionals around the world think that the mobile web is one of the most influential touchpoints for their customers – Oracle and Endeca (eMarketer)
  7. Mobile device usage is additive, and marketers should look to build experiences that can easily transition across screens. Each activity should allow a seamless movement from mobile to desktop (eMarketer)
  8. 43% of smartphone owners have used their device to search in response to television ads at least monthly. 40% have searched in response to ads they saw in stores – research from Google, conducted by Ipsos MediaCT and TNS Infratest, March 2012)
  9. Retail locations are the number one single out-of-home place for smartphone owners to take action. Smartphone users mostly research products on their smartphone while either at home (58%) or “on the go” (43%), followed by in a store (31%) – research from Google, conducted by Ipsos MediaCT and TNS Infratest, March 2012)
  10. Android phones and tablets are the largest group of mobile devices of online users (IgnitionOne)
  11. In one year, from 2011 to 2012, the amount of mobile videos viewed worldwide has more than doubled to 280 billion views (Strategy Analytics)
  12. Mobile advertising spend reached about $5.3 billion in 2011 (according to estimates published by IAB and Strategy Analytics)
  13. By 2016, smartphones users are expected to account for 74% of all US mobile phone users (eMarketer)
  14. The screen size of smart devices has little effect on click through rates (CTRs) – Jumptap (eMarketer)

IgnitionOne Wins Silver in Online Marketing Campaign of the Year

IgnitionOne’s work with Digital Marketing Works for Extended Stay Hotels was recognized last night by the American Business Awards as a Silver prize winner for “Online Marketing Campaign of the Year.” The award, otherwise known as a “Stevie”, was created to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements of organizations and business people worldwide. In the campaign that was recognized, Digital Marketing Works implemented IgnitionOne’s Digital Marketing Suite and its search and display media optimization solution to drive booking costs more effectively for Extended Stay Hotels.

This recognition is a further testament to the innovation and the hard work of our teams and our clients. To learn more about the work we have done for Digital Marketing Works and Extended Stay Hotels, please check out the case study here: Extended Stay Hotels Drives Bookings by Holistically Managing Search and Display

Congratulations to all the teams involved!

Secret Escapes Chooses IgnitionOne for Digital Media Attribution

A popular luxury hotels and holidays site has become the latest to join an increasing trend of businesses bringing all digital marketing channels under one roof in order to analyse cross-channel attribution.

LONDON – June 18, 2012 – Secretescapes.com, the UK based members-only luxury travel company, has recently chosen to work with IgnitionOne, the global leader in digital marketing solutions, in order to manage and optimise all digital marketing channels (search, social and display). The luxury travel website had previously been managing its media spend through a number of fragmented technologies and programs and wanted a more consolidated cross-channel solution.

Secret Escapes is an online travel club offering cut-price rates on four and five-star boutique and luxury hotels and holidays worldwide. Launched at the beginning of 2011, its website now has more than a million members.

“We’ve seen such excitement from customers for our products across so many channels that unpicking it all manually became unfeasible, which is why IgnitionOne’s automated technology appealed. Not only will it ensure customers get the best possible experience onsite by getting the right content at the right time, but we will also be able to analyse overall ROI more efficiently and effectively on one platform“, said Tom Valentine, Founder and Managing Director of Secret Escapes.

“Secret Escapes is one of a growing number of companies choosing to look at the efficiency of their digital marketing across all channels. Our technology and client support enables them to have a fully attributed view of their online advertising; giving them crucial insight into how the different digital channels work together. ” said Ollie Bath, Head of Client Solutions Europe for IgnitionOne.

Bing Broad Match Modifier Update

Bing has introduced a new match type which gives advertisers the ability to tighten up search queries that are matched to an existing broad match keyword. The new match type, Broad Match Modifier (BMM), can be used alongside their existing phrase and exact match terms. This new feature will assist advertisers in finding the right balance between too little and too many impressions and clicks. Responding to this change, marketers should examine their keyword strategy for Bing campaigns.

Key takeaways:

  • BMM can help capture additional relevant search queries not included in your phrase/exact match keyword list
  • Since BMM does not include matches to synonyms or relevant search queries that are not included in keyword lists, marketers should build out separate campaigns or ad groups for BMM keywords while keeping existing Broad Match keyword structures to minimize any loss in traffic until there is enough statistical data to make ROI decisions
  • This feature allows advertisers to have more control over their keywords, and how their ads are being displayed against keywords, which should result in better performance

IgnitionOne recommends that marketers avoid including modified minor words (i.e. +a, +an, +the, +for, +to, +in). Searchers  often omit these words when searching, so attaching a “+” to them can limit traffic. Furthermore, IgnitionOne highly recommends the use of BMM for campaigns with strict ROI goals. This feature allows advertisers to have more control over their keywords, and how their ads are being displayed against keywords, usually resulting in better performance. Lastly, please note that this feature is currently only available in the US and Canada.

IgnitionOne’s June Industry Digest

Every month, we round up some of the most relevant pieces of industry news, as well as our own company highlights, in a single, convenient place. IgnitionOne knows that the digital space moves at a rapid pace, so we aim to provide a selection of news that touches on all of the most important topics to help you fuel your digital marketing decisions.

Company Highlights

Attribution: How Organizational Structures Fit
April 30, 2012

Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne, discusses that marketers are being kept from gaining an integrated marketing channel and capitalizing on attribution.

Attribution: IgnitionOne Gives Marketers Another View
April 30, 2012

An in-depth overview of new Digital Marketing Suite functions that allows marketers to compare multiple attribution profiles from the Analytics section of the tool.

The Engagement Yardstick: What Should Marketers Look for From Online Measurement Tools?
The Drum
May 1, 2012

Ollie Bath, Head of Client Solutions for IgnitionOne UK, discusses the benefits of Engagement Optimization in his byline.

Take Attribution for a Test-Drive Using a Secondary Profile
May 10, 2012

Dave Ragals discusses the benefits of attribution and covers examples of areas to test, such as partial credit, exposure sequence/ latency, look-back and weighting.

DataPop Creative Ad Platform Driving 40% Average Increases in Sales for Marketers’ Online Ads
May 10, 2012

IgnitionOne offers praise to DataPop’s creative optimization solution as bringing a unique set of capabilities to our customer base.

Attribution Challenges Business Objectives
Search Engine Watch
May 10, 2012

IgnitionOne is mentioned for having released new DMS features that enable marketers to compare multiple attribution profiles, showing credit attributable to media, such as display, search, video and social ads.

How to Turn Your Inventory Into a Valuable Commodity
May 10, 2012

Makes mention of IgnitionOne’s Q3 2011 Report, noting a supply-and-demand imbalance in digital advertising.

Paid Search: the True All Round Performer
The Drum
May 11, 2012

IgnitionOne is noted for its attribution modeling technologies having a positive influence on search by providing insight into the wider media marketing mix, which also aids in optimizing media spend.

Google’s Motorola Deal Could Up Ad Inventory
May 22, 2012

Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne, notes that for marketers and advertisers, the closer integration between platform and device should drive scalable and innovative advertising opportunities.

The American Business Awards Announce Finalists in Marketing Category
American Business Awards
May, 2012

Extended Stay Hotels’ Integrated Online Marketing Campaign, conducted by IgnitionOne, is a finalist for the 2012 Online Marketing Campaign of Year for the American Business Awards.

Industry Insights

Predictions from the First Internet Bust and What They Tell Us about Digital Marketing Now
Fast Company
May, 2012

GM O’Connell looks back on predictions made in 2002 about how the Internet would impact people and brands. He looks back at those predictions and assesses his accuracy.

Mighty Mobile Infographic
Culture Label
May, 2012

An infographic by CultureLabel.com that explores why mobile is a channel that companies, especially ecommerce, must now make an integral part of their business.

New Online Ad Forecast: 12% Growth for 2012
May 1, 2012

Encouraged by the increase in smartphone and tablet usage, advertisers are beginning to embrace all mobile formats. MagnaGlobal anticipates spending on Internet media to grow by 12.2% this year.

Mobile Devices Gain as Shopping Tools
May 3, 2012

A Nieslen study found that 79% of US smartphone and tablet owners have used their devices for shopping related activities. Where mobile devices are preferred to locate a store, tablet owners are more likely to make purchases on their devices.

Is Your Traffic Mix Efficient?
May 4, 2012

Analyzing a website’s traffic mix does not convey much about your marketing efficiency. Rather, a company should consider their visitor mix as a starting point to optimize how to generate traffic, and then the underlying motivation for conversion.

Why CMOs Need to Experiment
May 8, 2012

Steven Cook, brand marketer and CMO of live-music firm Fankix.com speaks to Digiday about why the number of Facebook fans doesn’t make the brand, why brands need to experiment, and why the hunt for social media ROI is beside the point.

Shopper Marketing: Mobile Up, Daily Deals Struggling
May 8, 2012

Although digital has fundamentally altered the way people shop, a Forrester study finds that 17 digital tools most used in shopping are struggling to earn their share of spending, such as QR codes and daily deal sites. Dividing the tools into four different tiers, Forrester assesses technologies in their infancy, survival mode, growth phase and those having earned a place in the shopper marketing toolkit.

Marketers Still Baffled, Suspicious of Agency Trading Desks
May 9, 2012

Digital media buying platforms are still being faced with skepticism in light of issues associated with them, including transparency, kickbacks and agency self-dealing. However, Forrester Research analyst Joanna O’Connell said they, or something like them, will ultimately become the predominant way that digital and some other media, such as addressable TV, are bought and sold.

Google, Alert: Bing Wants “to Model Every Object on the Planet,” Reinvent Search
Fast Company
May 10, 2012

Bing believes that the approach of ranking and indexing pages is no longer sufficient and has revamped its front end in an effort to make search results more useful for users. Rather than indexing text, Bing is “trying to associate data that exists on the web in all forms with the physical object that spawned it in the first place.”

Online Sales per User Continue to Climb in North America
May 10, 2012

Since 2009, the average amount that US internet users spent annually shopping online has increased $100 per year, and in 2012, GroupM estimates that the average B2C ecommerce spending per user in Canada and the US will break the $1,000 threshold.

Social Media Ad Spending to Reach $9.8 Billion
May 15, 2012

According to BIA/Kelsey’s U.S. Local Media Forecast, social media advertising revenues in the United States will grow from $3.8 billion in 2011 to $9.8 billion in 2016, representing a compound annual growth rate of 21%.

Think Global, Act Global: How Big Brands are Taking Facebook Marketing to the Next Level
Holy Kaw
May 16, 2012

Big brands on Facebook capture a more global audience, as is evidenced by this infographic.

What’s the Biggest Myth About Online Advertising?
May 25, 2012

Digiday asked industry leaders what they felt were the biggest myths in online advertising. The results included comments on the worth of banners and clicks, apprehension of new native advertising, and questions about the relationship of digital and traditional media.

Google: Search Activity Rising Following Revamp
Wall Street Journal
May 29, 2012

Google has introduced a new feature that allows people doing web searches to see a big box of information and photos related to the queries, drawing information from sites such as Wikipedia, music and movie catalogues, and more. The semantic search revamp has enticed people to search more.

For a Dynamic Campaign, Deploy Dynamic Titles

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is the chainsaw of SEM.  Everyone can agree that it’s a cool and powerful tool that should have a place in every paid search manager’s proverbial tool shed.  At the same time, many marketers are apprehensive about actually picking it up and using it.  If one loses control of it, things will get out of hand and you’ll go from quickly and precisely sculpting your project to irreversibly marring it beyond repair, and you may even lose a finger (read: client) or two in the process.

While it’s true that if used poorly, DKI could render your ads nonsensical, the truth is that the dangers have been greatly exaggerated.  Some marketers have seen the unfortunate results of using DKI in misspelling-oriented keyword groups or retailer campaigns with a massive and diverse array of products. These marketers can wonder about the wisdom of this tactic after seeing unfortunately-phrased long-tail combinations dynamically placed above their carefully manicured description lines. However, many marketers have seen the consistent increase in CTR that DKI provides and wondered how they ever lived without it.

Confining DKI to the areas where it will be both completely safe and highly effective is remarkably simple.  When seeking out the keywords to break into a DKI-safe ad group, know first that all keywords above the title-length limit for the engine in question are inherently safe because they will trigger the backup title rather than the dynamically generated option.  While that seems obvious, it’s critical enough that it merits explicit mention.  Because it’s possible to sort out every single keyword that won’t actually show dynamically due to length, the long-tail keywords that otherwise would represent a large portion of the keywords that look like DKI trouble can be instantly cleared for deployment.

Once a marketer has cut down the potential DKI keyword list to keywords below this limit, they should be looking at a much smaller keyword set that will need to actually be looked over and approved manually.  If one can identify rule-based criteria for exclusion, such as keywords that begin and/or end in certain words that you know to recur through the set (i.e. prepositions), this would further narrow the selections.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion has proven powerful and easy to execute properly in IgnitionOne’s media initiatives. The copywriting process typically consists of developing the ad templates to be employed with static titles, and then creating a dynamic title version of every single iteration to be tested against its static version.  If a marketer is brought onto a project and there is nary a curly-bracket in sight, the first question that should arise is: “Why is dynamic keyword insertion NOT being tested for this initiative?”

These are just a few helpful hints and best practices for employing Dynamic Keyword Insertion.  The art and science of putting this wonderful technology to good use could take up a long chapter in a thorough book on SEM.  Hopefully this brief objective examination will help some marketers adopt the test-first, assess-later, fear-never attitude towards DKI that will improve their campaigns and have them exploring other avenues such as {Idea: Your Own} and {Tactic: Best Practice} in no time!

What Google Phrase and Exact Match Close Variants Means for Marketers

Google is releasing changes to paid search that allow the option to run phrase or exact keywords on closely related terms. Variations of keywords that include singular versus plural, misspellings, acronyms, abbreviations, accents, and the consideration for alternate suffixes can all be found using this new Google element. By using this feature, Google’s matching technology can identify any variation of these keywords and apply them to your search advertising.

In light of this change, marketers will want to examine their keyword strategy for Google campaigns:

  • Advertisers are automatically opted into the new Google feature.  They will be entered into more auctions, and more ads will show for these variants if they do not opt out of using the variants of phrase and exact keywords. This could potentially affect the competition on keywords by inadvertently increasing the CPC for advertisers
  • However, Google has indicated that the Quality Score will still be determined by exact keywords and not by close variants and that quality score and first page bid estimate should not be affected
  • Initial adoption is best suited for advertisers who are limited in their campaign management capabilities rather than advertisers who closely manage their campaigns. Advertisers who closely monitor their accounts should use this new keyword match type as an additional lever for keyword discovery similar to current strategies applied against broad match terms for both positive and negative contributions

Google has shared initial results that show an overall increase in click volume at comparable CPCs and noted that this may vary from advertiser to advertiser. This additional traffic is likely to be less relevant and less efficient than current traffic. That being said, the new matching behavior is a good feature for marketers who do not currently have extensive positive and negative keyword assets. This may also work for marketers whose main goal is enhancing traffic. CPC for any close variant matched keyword will probably be lower than the CPCs of the actual term, due to lower demand and competition.

For marketers who do have extensive keyword sets built out, this may have a negative effect on performance. These advertisers should monitor keywords closely since increased CPCs may make these terms (which in the past were cheap due to low CPCs and low traffic) inefficient moving forward. Additionally, since the quality score will still be based on exact match keywords and not close variants, it is important to make sure any misspellings and plurals are also included on both exact and phrase match as standard best practice.