Digital Marketing – Doing it for the LOLs

Digital marketing is a funny funny business. Oh sure it might not seem like it from the outside, but digital marketers know how to laugh – especially at themselves. There are a few places out there that really get us and do an amazing job at keeping all of us from taking ourselves too seriously. I want to share some of my favorites and hopefully give you a chuckle as well.

PPC Memes

Started by  @eloi_casali@matthopson and @semantiks, this tumblr aggregates memes about our favorite paid search topics. Whether it’s The Most Interesting Man in the World explaining how to best track your efforts, ridiculously photogenic guy sharing the secret to success on the Google Display Network or Zoidberg mocking your ad rotation methods, this site will bring the laughs and some PPC tips.

Hey girl, our friends at Digiday brought us this very funny tumblr with Ryan Gosling making all the challenges in the Ad Tech landscape feel alright. Not updated very often anymore, but contains some real gems.


Another funny brought to us from Digiday – this contains language (in subtitles) that may not be safe for work – but is certainly conducive to laughter. Watch the dictator meltdown when dealing with ad tech landscape complexity. My favorite line? “Last click BS! What is this 1998?”
While not about digital marketing specifically, this McSweeny’s post outlines the ridiculousness of some of IPOs and the VC funding being tossed around for flawed online ideas. This piece is titled “Prospectus for Silicon Valley’s next hot tech IPO, where nothing could possibly go wrong.”

Every week Adexchanger posts a comic on the latest industry news, with an editorial spin. Often starring the superhero bearing the site’s name, these strips lampoon the deals and buzzwords that we read in headlines during the week.

This Advertising Life

The proliferation of animated gif tumbrs has reached the advertising world. While not specifically about digital marketing, many of these quick images have the ability to hit exactly how creatives and others feel in situations like “after working the weekend before a big pitch” or “when I crack a joke during a brainstorm session and nobody laughs”.


These are just a few of the funny and distracting sites out there for our industry. Did I miss any of your favorites? Let us know and we’ll include them next time.

PPC & SEO – How Well Do They Play Together?

The age old question: am I wasting media dollars advertising via PPC when my listing also appears in natural results?  It’s a completely valid question– why would I, as a marketer, waste any media budget on traffic and revenue I would pick up anyway via organic search?  This has been a concern for years now and there is a lot of research on the subject.  Theories that oppose paid search advertising argue that people value the perceived “editorial integrity” of organic listings, saying they are more trusted and unbiased; therefore, conversion rates should be higher (Hotchkiss et al. 2005). On the flip side, others stress the importance of paid search ads in being able to display controlled advertisements that speak more to the user and what they are specifically in the market for (Jansen 2007).

Both Google and Bing came out with their own case studies to address this hot topic.  The Google study looked at the impact of organic listings on click incrementality across paid results.  They found that the click-through-rate of paid ads with associated organic search results was higher and that this impacted the position of the organic result on the page (Google, 2012).  This research was built on another Google study, which found that 89% of traffic generated by paid search ads isn’t replaced by organic clicks when the paid ads are paused (Google, 2011). The Bing study also investigated whether paid ads provided a source of lift or was cannibalizing organic search results.  The result was that the organic click-through-rate increased whenever the paid ads were active, leading to the conclusion that paid ads were not cannibalizing natural results, but were driving more clicks through paid ads, as well as incremental clicks to the natural results (Roth, 2010).

Well that’s great, you say.  So, the search engines themselves conclude we shouldn’t hold back from giving them money and buying paid media.  As a marketer, we need validation from research that is completely unbiased and stands nothing to lose. On top of that, as marketers, we need to know how much running paid ads affects our overall revenue and net profit, not just traffic, something that neither of these studies addresses.

Marketing Science published an interesting article about a study from two professors at the Center for Digital Economy Research at NYU Stern, which analyzed not only the effect of paid search on incremental clicks, but also on conversion rate, and overall profitability.  The study was conducted on a major nationwide retailer store chain over the course of eight weeks and found that whenever paid and organic listings were grouped together, click-through rate was 5.1% higher (Yang, Ghose 2010).  This positive interdependence was found to be much stronger for brand terms.  The conversion rate was also 11.7% higher during times when paid ads were running alongside natural listings.  Interestingly, the study found that the overall profitability of the search programs combined was up between 4.2-6.15% during times when the paid listings were live.

So, is paid search worth it? IgnitionOne has heard this question before and one case study in particular hones in on this very query.  IgnitionOne analyzed brand terms across Google & Yahoo, answering whether paid search brand advertising is worth the cost.  We found that live paid search ads led to an increase of 17% more natural clicks, and the overall net profit for this particular client was over $24,000 (backing out paid search media spend).  The revenue increases came directly from paid search ads, as there was no revenue increase found from organic search when paid ads were on.  This indicates that paid search attracts more qualified traffic than natural.

The key takeaway is that all signs point to paid media fueling search traffic overall and that revenue will increase by running on brand terms in both your paid and natural programs.  The jury is still out on the impact on the generic terms, so the best thing you can do is isolate a certain portion of your nonbrand terms and TEST, TEST, TEST! The simple reality is that each company’s advertising media has a variety of products, as well as goals, which will certainly impact how well both search programs affect your bottom line.

Ten Things You Didn’t Know about Chat

Whether it’s in person or on the computer, people love to chat. This is visible by the amount of chat programs available: MSN, Facebook chat, Skype chat, Gmail chat, Google talk, iChat, chat rooms; we use many mediums! People from my generation especially (80s baby) have an affinity with online chat. But how do we feel about using chat during online purchases, problems and general browsing?

1. Website visitors that accept chat conversations are more likely to convert than those who don’t. Live chat is an increasingly effective sales channel. For the average website, adding live chat will increase conversions and average order size.Users who chat are 7.5x more likely to convert than those who don’t. This number has increased in the past few years. Chatters buy, on average, 24% of the time. Chatters spend about 55% more per purchase than non-chatters.2. The percentage of visitors that engage in chat has grown steadily, but varies widely from company to company. Proactive chat invites are critical for highly tracked sites.The YoY growth rate of the amount of people that have engaged in chat has jumped into the double digits. Only 1.7% of people (on average) engage in chat (varying between less than 1% to 15%) for low traffic websites; for high traffic websites, less than 1% of visitors engage in chat. Proactive chat (the issuance of a form, image, or other component that generally appears on top of a website and invites the visitor into a chat interaction) yields an 8.5% engagement rate. The ‘Chat Form’ type of invitation is 37% more likely to be accepted over other types, although 47%of website visitors abandon chats when a pre-chat form is presented. Chatters who engage via Proactive are, for the highly tracked site, 9.8x more likely to buy (and 8x  more likely on average websites).3. Website visitors are fairly satisfied with live chats and are more satisfied the longer that the chat lasts. The more satisfied they are with the chat, the greater the chance of conversion.

The satisfaction average goes up gradually from 3.5 up to 4.0 (out of 5.0) for chats that increase from 10 seconds up through 30 seconds. The average satisfaction level increases up to 4.3 at 80 seconds and up to 4.5 at 180 seconds. 25% of chatters fill out a post-chat satisfaction survey, on average. Sites with top 20% conversion rates average 4.5 on their overall chat satisfaction scores. Sites in the bottom 20% for satisfaction scores had a 35% less chance to convert a chatter than an average site.

4. Chatters will wait longer than 10 seconds for an answer.

The average wait time before visitors give up on a chat is 20 seconds when no pre-chat form is used. Visitors are increasingly less likely to fill out a form before chatting, but if they do, they want the chat answered more immediately.

5. Chatters are predominately middle-aged (surprisingly enough). They shop frequently but demand attention.

One in five shoppers preferred live chat as their communication method of choice for contacting a retailer. Live chat fans are more likely to have higher household income, shop more frequently, spend more, are college graduates, and are between 31-50 years of age. The live chat fan is also more likely to be a woman. Those who have chatted 4 or more times in the past few months expect more from the technology and retailers as well.

6. For the vast majority, live chat saves contact centers money while simultaneously empowering them to offer new support options, improve interaction speed and quality, and increase customer satisfaction. However, live chat can go wrong if not managed properly.

What matters most are the agents on the other side of the chat interaction (the most important factors that make chat sessions successful were the human factors, the live agents). Text-based communication is unique and requires different training, incentives, and skills. Because live chat is asynchronous, agents can manage more than one chat at a time and  multi-task.

7. Measuring success: Customer Satisfaction is the key metric by which contact centers providing support through live chat judge their success, next to wait time and chat length.

Technical support is the most popular type of support provided by companies that offer chat services. Live chat has a profound positive impact on support organizations. The most highly rated chat feature in helping provide support to customers is chat history (the ability to access, in real-time, past chat conversations for a given visitor). The consumers know that an agent – through any channel – who can quickly come up to speed on past issues is highly valuable.

8. Watch your ‘chatiquette’ (Toshiba telecom blog) – (chat etiquette) is a variation of netiquette (internet etiquette) and describes basic rules of online communication:

    • KISS-principle: keep it short and sweet. Keep it casual too, don’t be long-winded in your answer, if longer is necessary take the conversation to email or phone.
    • Limit the conversation to one subject or question at a time.
    • GEOTJ: go easy on the jargon. Talk to a customer in the same way as you would in person or on the phone.
    • Watch spelling and grammar.


9. Chat has been around for more than 35 years.

The first online chat system was called Talkomatic, created by Doug Brown and David R. Woolley in 1974 on the PLATO System at the University of Illinois. It offered several channels, each of which could accommodate up to five people, with messages appearing on all users’ screens character-by-character as they were typed. Talkomatic was very popular among PLATO users into the mid-1980’s.
The first dedicated online chat service that was widely available to the public was the CompuServe CB Simulator in 1980, created by CompuServe executive Alexander “Sandy” Trevor in Columbus, Ohio. Ancestors include network chat software such as UNIX “talk” used in the 1970s.

10. The future of chat is diversity.

86% of survey respondents said that live chat agents inside their contact centers work simultaneously across other channels like texting and email. Two thirds indicated that they are also actively supporting customers through Social Media channels.


July 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

Retailers: Leverage All Your Data for Successful Search Campaigns
June 1, 2012

Roger Barnette provides an explanation of how retailers can leverage data to optimize paid search media.

Meeting the Efficiency Curve
Digital Marketing Suite
June 4, 2012

IgnitionOne’s Joseph Akyuz discusses the benefits of efficiency curves in gauging the overall performance of paid search accounts.

How Google Could Become the Oracle of Online Advertising
June 6, 2012

Will Margiloff responds to the introduction of Google’s DoubleClick Digital Marketing.

Taking the Guesswork out of When to Join the Conversation
Social Media Influence
June 7, 2012

IgnitionOne offers a new social analytics solution with partner, Expion, which feeds continuous social analytics into the IgnitionOne DMS to trigger instant ad creation for Facebook’s Sponsored Stories.

Don’t Neglect Landing Page Analysis
Search Engine Watch
June 7, 2012

Of the three gears used toward effective search marketing (keywords, creative and landing pages), landing pages tend to be neglected by marketers. Dave Ragals discusses how to optimize landing pages to better benefit your business.

What Google Phrase and Exact Match Close Variants Means for Marketers
June 7, 2012

Cassandra Murray and Leslie Poole of IgnitionOne discuss changes to Google paid search that allows the option to run phrase or exact keywords on closely related terms.

For a Dynamic Campaign, Deploy Dynamic Titles
June 12, 2012

IgnitionOne’s Lee Elliot provides some helpful hints from for employing Dynamic Keyword Insertion.

IgnitionOne Wins Silver in Online Marketing Campaign of the Year
June 19, 2012

IgnitionOne was recognized by the American Business Awards as a silver prize winner for the Online Marketing Campaign of the Year for its work with Digital Marketing Works and Extended Stay Hotels in search and display media optimization solutions.

14 Things You Didn’t Know About Mobile
June 21, 2012

Rachel Young, EU Marketing Coordinator, collected some very interesting facts and figures related to mobile.

Five Things You Should Know about RTB
June 26, 2012

Ollie Bath, Head of Client Solutions in the UK, answers five common RTB questions.

Free Google Product Listing: RIP, We Hardly Knew Ye
June 26, 2012

Roger Barnette discusses what will replace free listings on Google Product Search, and highlights some of the benefits that retailers will experience with the change.

IgnitionOne: Growth Slows for Paid-Search Spend
June 27, 2012

MediaPost fuels an article on the slowing growth paid search spend in Q2 with IgnitionOne’s quarter-end results.

Q2 2012 Online Advertising Report
June 28, 2012

IgnitionOne reports slow growth in US search, Yahoo!/Bing continues to outpace Google spend growth in US, US travel vertical breaks from pack and has strong growth and a continued increase in mobile search advertising.

Mobile Search Spend Increases 333% Year-over-Year
June 28, 2012

Econsultancy uses IgnitionOne Q2 data to report on mobile and paid search.

Video: The Power of Social Advertising – When Earned and Paid Media Meet
June 29, 2012

IgnitionOne, Facebook and Expion host a webinar that covers how to best take advantage of Facebook advertising, which tools are available to automate and leverage popular and positive posts, and best practices for timing and optimizing Sponsored Stories.

Industry Insights

10 Commandments of Digital Analytics
Search Engine Watch
May 30, 2012

Ten industry commandments, consisting of measurement, setting business goals, misusing personal information, maintaining clear and concise metrics and KPIs, treating online and offline data equally, using meaningless data, stealing or falsifying data, etc.

The Eleven Letter Word that Continues to Elude All CMOs and Marketers
Business 2 Community
June 1, 2012

Spoiler: the eleven letter word is Integration. This article highlights the many times the author has promoted integration, as well as a Forrester survey that indicates 92% of CMOs and marketing VPs who were questioned agreed that while social media has “fundamentally changed how consumers engage with brands” only 49% of them said they integrated social media into their overall marketing strategy. Why do marketers acknowledge the need for integration but very few put it into practice?

New Media Channels and Data Raise Agency Profits
DM News
June 1, 2012

According to chief executives at direct and digital agencies interviewed by DM News, growth is on the radar. Marketers are asking agencies to create marketing platforms that address strategic goals, rather than simply designing campaigns. From CRM, e-commerce and database management to mobile and social media platforms, RFPs now require that agencies build out platforms that take a long-term approach.

Insights into the Modern CMO
Marketing Pilgrim
June 4, 2012

Today’s CMO is faced with more marketing and communications options than ever before as well as greater responsibility to justify the activities of marketing initiatives with proven ROI measurements. Marketing Pilgrim interviews Christine Moorman of Duke’s Fuqua Business School about the changes in the role of CMO, what CMOs should be doing to get ahead of the curve, what the most frequently relied on tools are to measure marketing effectiveness, and more.

3 Ways to Maximize Conversions from Display Advertising
June 5, 2012

Tips to help drive conversion through effective display advertising and sound website optimization strategies are being consistent, using context to deliver on-site relevance and knowing where your visitors are coming from.

IAB Launches Hub for Mobilizing Web Sites
June 7, 2012

The IAB is providing tools for publishers to improve their mobile presence, ultimately aiming to boost mobile advertising and m-commerce by expanding the number of sites designed specifically for mobile devices.

Tablet Usage Explodes, Changes Digital Habits
June 8, 2012

One in every four smartphone owners reported using tablets, a 13.9% increase in the past year. Tablet users were nearly three times more likely to watch video on their devices compared to smartphone users, with one in every 10 tablet users viewing video content almost daily on their device. The heaviest audience concentration is between 25 and 44 years of age and is skewed toward upper-income households.

Search and Social: How the Two Will Soon Become One
June 17, 2012

Ben Elowitz discusses how Google and Bing have both released new search interfaces designed to better intuit intent and aid in getting to the one best answer more efficiently. He notes that this is the “biggest step forward we’ve seen since search results started looking 12 years ago the way they still do today.”

Study: Facebook Mobile Ads Have Higher Click-Through Rates than Those on PCs
June 19, 2012

Research that examined more than 7 million Facebook impressions served between June 8 and June 18 for 12 companies who were running fan-acquisition campaigns, including about 242,000 mobile news-feed impressions that generated 1,911 clicks, revealed stronger CTR for mobile ads compared to desktop only (comprised mainly of right-rail ads), news-feed only (desktop and mobile) and the “control” group (uniform bids made across placements).

What Happened to Search?
June 20, 2012

It seems that search is an afterthought in light of social, video and mobile. However, search still has the ability to emerge as an innovation, as is the case with Siri.

Heavy Tablet Users Respond More Positively to Ads
June 18, 2012

The Online Publishers Association collected data from 2,540 U.S. Internet users between the ages of 8 and 64. Its resulting study found that 31% of that population owns or regularly uses a tablet, up from 12% in 2011. By next year, the OPA estimates that that portion will have risen 47%. 74% said they use a tablet at least once a day, and tablet users average nearly 14 hours a week on their device.

The Golden Age of Advertising Technology
June 20, 2012

Terence Kawaja discusses trends that bode well for the ad tech sector, including big data science, perfecting the down funnel, social CRM, mobile, digital video and cross-channel optimization.

Time to Marry the CMO and CIO
June 21, 2012

Marketing and technology are more entwined than ever before. According to a new survey of marketers, the formula for success is a closer partnership between the CMO and CIO departments. The survey found that 60 percent of marketers point to their lack of alignment with the company’s IT department as the biggest obstacle to reaching today’s consumers.

Microsoft AdCenter Rollout Comes to Three More European Countries
Search Engine Land
June 27, 2012

Both Bing- and Yahoo-owned and operated properties, as well as publisher networks, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are powered by Microsoft Advertising’s adCenter as of end of June. The remaining European countries — Denmark, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden — are expected to be transitioned later this year.

Less than Half of Companies Integrate Mobile into Marketing Campaigns: Stats
June 29, 2012

Econsultancy’s Cross-Channel Marketing Report found that 49% of companies have a strategy for integrating mobile into broader marketing activity, including 35% who say integration is very basic. 51% of company respondents are not integrating mobile into marketing campaigns at all. Only 29% have a mobile commerce site and just 29% are optimizing emails for mobile.

Travel and Retail Report; Attribution and Conversion Path Insights

IgnitionOne released research today that shows the effect of media types and exposure paths on the speed of conversion and on the average order value (AOV). Using marketing data from US and European travel and retail firms over a two month period, IgnitionOne looked at the types and number of media exposures, latency (the amount of time between the first exposure and when the conversion occurred) and the exposure paths that led to conversions.

Download the 2012 Travel and Retail Report here.


Key findings in the report:

  • For travel, paid search is the key driver in getting customers to spend more money.  Outside of organic search, it drives a 71% higher average order value (AOV) than any other single-channel path. Within multi-channel paths, when paid search follows an organic search click, the AOV is 18% higher than the average multi-channel path.
  • Email campaigns are a drag on travel order values and increase the time to convert when part of conversion paths.  Across single-channel conversion paths, email drives a 56% lower AOV and takes over 250% longer to convert a user than on average. Across multi-channel conversion paths, when email is the last exposure, it results in a 36% lower AOV and 100% more time to convert than on average. When email is the first exposure, it results in a 39% lower AOV and takes a user almost 150% more time to convert than on average. This can be explained by email campaigns being traditionally very promotional in nature, which lowers the AOV. Email campaigns are also more heavily dominated by existing customers who may not be currently in the market for travel and/or are more discerning among promotional offers.
  • Display is an effective channel for retail, especially early in the conversion path, feeding the top of the funnel. Even on its own, display drives a 29% higher AOV than other single channel paths. Combined with search channels (both paid and organic), it drives a 16% higher AOV when it’s at the top of the path and converts users 43% faster than other multi-channel paths. At the end of the path, latency tends to be higher but AOV is 36% higher than other multi-channel paths.

“By better understanding how different media interact and assist along the path to making a purchase, marketers can more efficiently leverage advertising dollars,” said Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne. “These types of insights are possible when marketers take advantage of advanced attribution models and move away from last-click models.”

This report is the latest in a series of reports from IgnitionOne reviewing trends across the online advertising landscape. This and previous reports can be downloaded at

Q&A with Gareth Griffiths, Head of Digital Marketing,

Luxury travel website Secret Escapes recently came onboard the IgnitionOne DMS in order to manage and optimise all its digital marketing channels. We sat down with Gareth Griffiths, who is the Head of Digital Marketing for to ask him about some of his thoughts on the digital industry as well as who he would love to have lunch with… dead or alive.

What do you do?

A little bit of everything digital. Primary focuses are paid and organic search and affiliate marketing. We also have a large customer database so email marketing is a big source of traffic.

What is your background?

Moved from a sales and analyst background into digital marketing

What does Secret Escapes do?

We negotiate exclusive rates for luxury hand-picked hotels and holidays in the UK and abroad, at up to 70% off the price you’d pay by booking anywhere else. These special rates are only available to our members so signing up for free is the only way to get them

Which digital marketing channels do you see as being most important for your particular industry?

Email and paid search are very important. For customer acquisition paid search is key, whereas email marketing is number one for sales generation.

From your perspective what is the single biggest change in the digital industry in the last 10 years?

The biggest change in the last 10 years has to be the rise of Social Media. Whilst the race to utilise Social networks as a sales channel has a long way to go, the access to potential customers with specific interests is a big opportunity. With the use of sites like Pinterest and StumbleUpon increasing at such a rate, there is definitely scope for a luxury travel business like Secret Escapes to source new customers whilst engaging existing members and promoting our brand.

What was your main reason for choosing IgnitionOne?

Management and optimisation of search campaigns can be very time consuming, especially for a small team across multiple channels. IgnitionOne allows us to optimise and analyse multiple campaigns from one place, making it easier to implement a coherent multi-channel strategy and increase time efficiency. The use of predictive bid optimisation should see campaign performance increase and make intelligent budget allocation far easier.

How do you see the digital marketing arena shifting over the next five years?

Mobile has to be the next big shift for digital marketing. The advancements in smart phones and tablet technology will see more and more sales being made via mobile devices. Mobile devices now make up a big percentage of our visits, especially from email and search. I see the computer focussed domination of digital strategy in past years moving through a period of a more even focus and into mobile being the greater focus.

If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be…dead or alive? 

Leonardo da Vinci. Described on Wikipedia as “perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived”. As a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer I doubt that the conversation would be boring.

What is your favourite travel destination?

Kenya. Going on safari is an amazing and unforgettable experience.

What is your favourite film and why?

Silent Running. It’s a futuristic science fiction film from the early 1970’s. I first watched it when I was little and the three robots (Huey, Dewey, and Louie) were my instant favourite.

Fun Facts about Search Engines

  1. On September 11, 1990, a young MBA student of McGill University in Montreal, Alan Emtage, emailed a newsgroup about a “nifty new tool for net users.” The “archive server,” or “Archie,” as it was later named, became the first search engine that paved the way for such monster companies as Yahoo! and Google, by gathering script-based data in response to user queries. 
  2. Before it was Google (in 1996), Larry Page and Sergey Brin had high hopes for a search engine they named “BackRub.” 
  3. When Google moved to their Paolo Alto office in 1999, the company was composed of only 19 employees. As of March 31, 2012, there are over 33,000 employees in 13 countries.
  4.  Google’s search technology, PageRank, is named after Larry Page.
  5. Google’s first rented office space was a garage in Menlo Park, California. 
  6. The Google Doodle originated as an out of office message. In 1998, Brin and Page attended the Burning Man festival in Nevada. They designed a burning man doodle to indicate that they were not in the office to fix technical issues in the event of a server crash. 
  7. Yahoo! stands for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.”
  8. Yahoo! was initially named “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web,” in 1994, and served as a way for Jerry Yang and David Filo to keep track of their online interests.
  9. Terry Semel, then CEO of Yahoo!, almost purchased Google for $5 billion in 2002, but he didn’t because the price was too high. Google is now worth over $250 billion.
  10. Google rents goats to mow their grass and clear fire hazard brush on its Mountain View campus. 
  11. It is rumored that Bing stands for “Because It’s Not Google,” because it’s not Google! Bing is marketed as a “decision engine,” not a “search engine.”