Mission Fun at IgnitionOne

By Mary Baldwin, HR Assistant

It’s 5PM, and the blender is working overtime.  Margaritas will soon be joining nachos on the bar.  An ice cream cake sits coolly in the counter. It’s Casandra’s, Lee’s, and Yujun’s birthdays at IgnitionOne.  And this is all happening at the office.

It’s not that we go especially crazy for birthdays around here; it’s that we go especially crazy for great talent.  As competition in the start-up technology realm has intensified, IgnitionOne recognizes the importance of rewarding hard-working talent.  IgnitionOne hires the best of the best, and the expectations are high.   But all work and no play makes for, well, a pretty dull work life.  While many employers consider a signed offer letter the end of the hiring cycle, IgnitionOne thinks differently.  IgnitionOne takes talent retention to the next level, rewarding its employees with employee perks and a fun office culture.  IgnitionOne aims to ensure their talent has a happy work-life by providing a variety of great incentives in the office.  These incentives allow IgnitionOne to obtain and retain great talent.

At IgnitionOne, fun is a priority.  Last quarter, Dave Ragals, S VP of Client Services, and his managers brought their waffle makers and aprons to work and got busy making waffles in the Atlanta office café.  They threw an ice cream and waffle party to show appreciation for the hard-work of the Client Services team.

Every other Tuesday, IgnitionOne brings in a tasty treat of some kind. .  King of Pops popsicles?  Check. Smoothie King Smoothies?  Check.  Massage therapists for chair massages?  Double check.  Every year in the fall, the office closes for one day to give everyone a day away from work for some fun and a chance to get to know their co-workers.   Past events have included zip lining in the tree tops, white water rafting, and bowling.  If you need a break from your desk, you don’t have to wander around in the lobby.  Drop into the break room for some foosball, Xbox, ping pong, or pool.  Thirsty? IgnitionOne keeps a rotation of three gourmet beers on tap for our employees to enjoy.

IgnitionOne recognizes and rewards its top performers by honoring a Global Employee of the Month.  Employees nominate their co-workers based on their hard-work, dedication, enthusiasm, productivity, and for going the extra mile for the team.  We also have a CEO-for-a-Day award, in which an employee from any of our global offices is recognized for an idea on how to improve the company.   The employee nominated for their idea gets to work in CEO Will Margiloff’s office for a week and gets to see the winning idea implemented..

IgnitionOne is wild about their most important investment: their talent.  Our open office environment, ping pong, beer taps, Xbox, and yes cake, all create a fun and collaborative environment for our employees to enjoy a work-life where they can truly let their talent shine.  And admittedly, we do go a little crazy for birthdays and cake.  We have a “days without cake” countdown in the office.  It usually does not make it beyond two days before there is another celebration, and of course, more cake.


Search Myths Uncovered

By Judy Chan, Head of Search, IgnitionOne UK

Have you ever been given advice that you’re not sure whether to take?  There are many myths and unhelpful assumptions in how to manage your PPC activity.  PPC has a complex structure, with a huge volume of data in constant evolution.  Hopefully with some truths, we can help unravel some myths for you, and support you in managing a successful PPC campaign.

Be visible 24/7 – Not necessarily.  There are two options here for you.  Work out your peak periods: when are your best converting times?  You can then either A) be visible 100% of the time and up-weight budget during these peak times, (i.e. increase budget 5% during 8-9pm) or B) pause the account during periods that are not converting to increase campaign efficiency.

Include an extensive list of broad match terms – Broad match terms are useful in driving traffic to your website.  You can pull the search query report which gives you the actual typed keywords to expand your keyword list for more defined match types to increase quality score.  Make sure you create a supporting negative keywords list across the account to exclude irrelevant traffic.

Create a structure with one keyword per ad group – It is important to have a granular structure so that you can allocate budget accordingly to a group of keywords, however this does not mean that you need to create one keyword per ad group.  Remember, budget is set at campaign level, so if you have top performing keywords within an ad group, you will need to structure the account so that these have maximum budget to convert.  If necessary, move these top performing terms into their own campaigns.  Make sure the structure remains the same so that you have the relevant ad copy and landing page for each keyword.  This is an on-going process as performance of each keyword will fluctuate due to multiple factors including offers, seasonality and price change.

Get ideas from your competitors – Why not?  It’s good to know what you’re competing against.  Understand their USPs and how you can improve on what they are saying.  If you can’t compete with a price or offer in ad copy, then use something more generic.  Test and learn!

Managing your own PPC account in-house is easy – This is really dependent on the size of your account and internal expertise. Agency side will give you knowledge, expertise, cross channel media planning and daily support.  There is obviously a cost to using an agency, but the efficiencies could outweigh what you have in-house.  If you do go in-house, there are technologies out there which can support you in managing your campaigns, such as the Digital Marketing Suite

Focus on long tail keywords – It is important to expand on long tail keywords, but the volume in general will be much lower.  This will be an ongoing process to review your account structure.

Once you have your optimum account, you can review it less frequently–PPC is a continuous cycle.  You can always expand, learn and improve.  Seasonality, offers, price change, new products, competitors will constantly impact your campaign.  Always be aware by checking your campaign daily.

Position 1 is a must – not necessarily as you may be more efficient and profitable in lower positions.  It’s all about a combination of ad rank / quality score / CPC to hit your target.  Using a bid management tool can take the ease out of your day to day tweaking.  The tool will take into account the best CPC formula across your keyword set to meet your targets.  For certain terms you may want to take the strategic approach and maintain the number 1 position.

Make sure you run Google Display Network (GDN) – Treat GDN separately to your PPC campaigns, this will give different results to your PPC activity.  Create separate accounts to run these campaigns with individual budgets and targets.

A new account equals starting afresh with your quality score – True, but if you continue with the same structure you will end up with the same quality score.  Your quality score will only improve with constant optimisation of the account.

Monitor click fraud frequently – Don’t focus too much on this. Google and Y!Bing will have their own internal systems and teams monitoring this for you.  They will update the clicks to reflect this automatically.

Don’t bother with PPC, use SEO instead, it’s free! – PPC can give you instant ads appearing against your chosen keywords and positioning.  SEO is a long-term strategy and takes time and constant monitoring to retain the top position.  Although you may be in position 1 for SEO on certain terms, it doesn’t mean users will see your ad first as there may be multiple PPC advertisers appearing on the same term above your SEO ad.  Again, this is all about testing, and understanding whether running PPC and SEO alongside each other will give you incremental volume. Remember that each keyword will be different.

Remove keywords that don’t convert – Which attribution model is this based on? Most of us are still utilising the last-click model.  If this is the case, then this doesn’t mean these terms have not converted; you need to review your click path analysis.  When looking at a user journey, for example a holiday, which keywords do they type in before booking?  How many different display ads do they click on?  Each of these ads is a part of your click path. As they are different media, focus needs to broaden outside of solely PPC to include other channels such as display, email and Facebook. Take into account all channels, brand and generic terms that contribute to a conversion.  It’s not just Brand that converts.  Allocate part of your conversion to each click path and spend your budget wisely.

Use the best performing ad across all your ad groups – Test and learn!  Ad copy should be tailored specifically and relevantly to each ad group. Regularly rotate ad copy to identify your best performers and use the right tracking sources to support your goals e.g. if focusing on CPA, review your ads on CPA results to optimise and not just on CTR.

From Data to Insights: Leveraging User-Level Data

Yesterday, Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne, hosted a webinar, “From Data to Insights: Leveraging User-Level Data.” In his session, Roger addressed how marketers face a constant influx of data from all facets of their media and advertising efforts, where additional data only drives further complexity rather than helping to create actionable insights.

Roger supplied insights and guidelines for marketers to look past the Siren’s song of Big Data to the truly actionable user-level data. He also shed light on the way consumers are interacting with marketers’ media and engaging with their website and how to then use those insights to deliver relevant and tailored messaging, optimize bidding, and deliver customized landing pages, ad creative and more.

Watch the video to learn more.


Remember When We Used to Use Search Engines?

“Back in the day we had to type in what we wanted to know into a search engine – but not like a question or anything, just some keywords – and hope that those were keywords on some web page that might answer our questions. And then we would get a list of thousands of sites that use those words. Some of them were useful, but most of them weren’t and it was up to us to sift through to find the answers we wanted. And there were ads too – companies would try to match what they were selling to those words we might search for. And there was a whole industry that managed this!”

One day we will sit around and tell the story to our younger colleagues who will laugh and be amazed that anyone lived that way. You know it will happen.

But what will the world look like after search engines? It won’t happen all at once, and in fact we have already seen the beginning of the post-search world. Every time Siri tells Zooey Deschanel that it’s raining or someone uses “monocle mode” in Yelp to find good eats across the street, or someone gets an alert that his favorite band is in town, a little part of the old search world dies.

  • It’s 10pm in the future. Your fridge knows you have no food. Your stove and microwave know you haven’t cooked. The cat video you are watching on your livingroom wall (painted with HD paint) is overlayed with a promotion for 20% off your favorite Chinese delivery. Why yes, you would like your usual!
  • Driving home from work in your super-futuristic car (still not a flying car sorry – but let’s say it’s at least self-driving) and you’re running a little low on fuel (hydrogen? water? trash?). Do you do a search for the closest station? Heck no. Futurecar just tells you it is heading to one of your preferred fuel providers (and giving you the option to reroute to a promoted station).
  • You are walking down the street with your connected glasses and pass by a hot dog stand (yes – these will still exist) and you pause to consider a snack. In front of your eyes you are given a rundown on the very high nitrate content of the hot dog in question. Luckily in the future they have discovered that nitrates are actually good for you. Get one with everything, my future friend!

The post-search world is coming even if hot dogs don’t become health food – though it’s clear that we are halfway there. When I went to double check how to spell Ms. Deschanel’s name, all I typed was “Zooe” and I was already given a full listing of all her info –directly from Google – without having to even hit enter. I now know her middle name is Claire and she weighs 127.9 lbs (that is creepily specific, Google). I didn’t even know I wanted to know this info! The future is bright!

Savvy Marketers Drive Attribution with User Engagement Metrics

At the turn of 2011, the buzz word ‘attribution’ began to garner attention as marketers started to realise value in customised attribution modelling. Understanding the true value of individual channels in a final conversion has always been an ideal strived for.

Reliable insight data allows marketers to understand the interplay of each channel, better enabling them to influence their end goals and increase efficiencies. What’s key, however, is that they can do this by allocating budget across those channels (or channel combinations) that drive results. With this in mind, it’s easy to see the flaws in last-click: a legacy solution with no real concept of applying credit where credit’s due.

With just over half of online marketers using custom attribution (72% of which use first or last-click),I’m sometimes left scratching my head wondering what the other half are doing with all their data.The old cliché ‘knowledge is power’ seems fitting about now; there are some justifiable reasons, the biggest being politics within marketing departments (different teams for different channels) and technological limitations (particularly of larger organisations that are heavily reliant on older tools). Of those who are using some form of attribution, only a tiny proportion had any faith in a totally accurate form of modelling being available.  This is the result of the huge variables that go into assigning credit. What is the value of a social media click vs. a brand search vs. video engagement to the end conversion? Do these values change with product or category, time of day or season?

With the insights currently available it’s no wonder that once marketers begin to tackle the issue of Big Data, it presents big fears. Tools and teams are available to marketers through agencies and technology providers who work together to try to alleviate these problems by investing large amounts of time and money in statistical modelling.

Marketers, however, can approach the problem from a different angle. IgnitionOne coined the term ‘attruebution’ at a Jump event hosted by Econsultancy in 2012 when they spoke of the pioneering approach they had taken to tackle the above issues. What if you were able to assess channel engagement by assessing user behaviour online and linking that to the referring traffic source?

IgnitionOne uses standard online media metrics as well as an audience scoring algorithm to determine a prospect’s buying propensity by evaluating the past behaviours of converters and non-converters. This is a big step forward, as many technologies only consider the average 3% of converters typically seen on a website. The data is then used to evaluate the effectiveness of media interactions and provide customer-driven scientific weighting that eliminates the guess work in delivering suitable attribution profiles. With the change in focus from latency and exposure models, it provides a greater insight into the value that is generated with each media touch point.

The graph above demonstrates that although PPC renders the highest conversion rate, it also produces the least amount of user engagement. With this in mind, how valuable was this channel towards the end conversion? Highest engagement was driven by the social channels so what would be the result of reducing budget in this area to increase PPC spend?

Do you really need to attribute your data? The short answer is yes. If not now, sooner rather than later. It’s a bigger priority for certain verticals, and management teams will need to evaluate the percentage of their conversions that are the result of multi-channel interactions. From this they will have a better idea of the ROI from any media investment they make.

When you finally do decide to take the leap and move off the legacy last-click, have a real think about what you hope to achieve. By thinking outside of the box marketers can take advantage of potential insights and use this to drive their hard earned budgets into the areas that they know are producing real results. No more squabbling between internal teams about who should get what, when the data speaks for itself.

IgnitionOne’s January Industry Digest

This is the most recent issue of the IgnitionOne Industry Digest, created to keep you up-to-date on the latest industry insights and company news.


The Death of Text Ads
Search Insider Summit
December 14, 2012

See video of Chris Knoch as a panelist at this Search Insider Summit event.

Sponsor Luncheon Presentation
Search Insider Summit
December 14, 2012

See video of Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne, giving a presentation on the value of user-level data.


Bright Lights, Big Data
December 11, 2012

Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne, discusses how marketers can best leverage user-level data, and highlights a true understanding of attribution paths and how media affects engagement, a more efficient display ad delivery, and the ability to optimize the user experience. Attend his webinar on this topic on January 23 at 2 PM EST by clicking here.

Search Marketers’ Guide to Facebook Exchange Part II
December 11, 2012

Chris Knoch, VP of Strategic Solutions, discusses how an RTB Exchange works, and how the players within the Exchange work together.

Five Bets on How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2013
December 26, 2012

Will Margiloff, CEO of IgnitionOne, makes some 2013 predictions within the ad tech space.

IgnitionOne in the News

IgnitionOne Report Highlights Growth for Advertisers
Mobile Commerce
December 1, 2012

Discusses IgnitionOne Mid Q4 findings, regarding a rise in spend and impressions, growth in mobile paid search and mobile technology’s impact on the way advertisers engage with consumers.

Mobile Search Budgets Surging
December 3, 2012

Covers IgnitionOne’s Mid Q4 Report, which shows Smartphone spending on pay-per-click search ads having risen 307% over the year-earlier period, and budgets devoted to tablet search having jumped 231%. The report also discusses Thanksgiving Day weekend e-commerce results.

Interrupting the User: From Dark Art to Bright Science
Smart Cog
December 14, 2012

A look at how to approach customer interruptions in the form of pop-ins and live-chats, covering rules on how to engage the site visitor, criteria for whom to interrupt and when to interrupt them.

Amazon to Take on Google in the Ad Business with AdSense-Like Offering of Its Own
Android Authority
December 17, 2012

Will Margiloff, CEO of IgnitionOne, responds to the announcement that Amazon has developed and will launch its own bidding-based advertising platform: “I’ve always believed that the best data is conversion data. Who has more conversion data in e-commerce than Amazon?”


Reflections from a Site Optimization Veteran
November 27, 2012

Dominique Rolin, Senior Onsite Developer at IgnitionOne EU, discusses the progress made by the site optimization team over the four years she has been with the company.

New Report: Thanksgiving Weekend Indicates Strong Q4 for Advertisers
November 28, 2012

Brief recap of IgnitionOne’s mid-quarter report.

Introduction to Facebook Exchange
November 30, 2012

Recap and recorded version of the Introduction to Facebook Exchange Webinar.

Attribution is Where It’s At
December 3, 2012

Donella Cohen, Senior Product Manager, reflects on her experience at ad:tech NYC.

Marketing to the Fiscal Cliff
December 6, 2012

Matthew Silverman illustrates how marketers can find opportunities in the midst of the fiscal cliff.

Site Optimization for Nonprofit Organizations: the Cure for Retention
December 11, 2012

Hélène Tournesac, Marketing Assistant, IgnitionOne EU provides a nonprofit’s guide to site optimization and digital marketing.

Musings of a Digital Newbie
December 13, 2012

Alice Travers, Sales Executive, exposes five things she learned in her first month working for a digital marketing solutions company.

Google Maps Back on the iPhone: What it Means for Marketers
December 18, 2012

Discusses how Google Maps for iOS provides new advertising opportunities for marketers.

Leveraging Rich Ads and Branded Sitelinks in Yahoo!/ Bing
December 20, 2012

Shayna Stewart, Algorithmic Media Analyst, explains how rich ads work, illustrates an appropriate strategy and indicates best practices for marketers.

Online Gaming Giant Uses Site Optimisation to increase Conversions by 49%
December 27, 2012

An illustration of how Betfred.com, an online gaming company, utilized IgnitionOne to maximize the potential of non-converting users already on its site.


OMG: Getting Inside the Millenial Mind
December, 2012
An infographic on the Millenials’ unique media trends and the attitudes that motivate the purchasing decisions and lifestyle behaviors of 20% of American adults.

Should CMOs Aspire to be CXOs?
December 5, 2012

Digital marketing has shifted from the need to be first to market to the need to provide an outstanding customer experience to deliver ROI. With these changes in expectations, CMOs should strive to incorporate experience in their roles.

The Rise of the ‘Big Data’ Driven CMO
December 17, 2012

Marketing departments are moving further away from their creative-centered stereotypes, and more toward being able to prove measurable impact on the bottom line. Marketing now has a focus on data management and optimizing segmentation and targeting, enabling customer service staff and salespeople to engage with consumers in a meaningful way and coordinating all communications channels to deliver consistent messaging.

Brazil’s Robust Digital Ad Market Still Has Room to Grow
December 20, 2012

In response to a growing Internet penetration in Brazil, marketers are directing more substantial portions of their budgets to digital advertising. For 2012, total media spending projections range from $15.5 billion to $20.3 billion. Zenith Optimedia estimates that the country will take the UK’s spot as fifth-largest spender by 2014. eMarketer expects mobile’s share of digital ad spending to reach 4.9% by 2016, totaling $198.3 million, on the strength of still-rising penetration rates.

2013 Trend Predictions

Digital Marketing in 2013: What’s In and What’s Out
December 3, 2012

Mobile, analytics and content testing are in while outbound, daily deals and gaming SEO are out in the New Year.

Digital Marketing Trends 2013
Smart Insights
December 5, 2012

Mobile, content marketing, brand niche/ vertical communities, conversion rate optimization (CRO), increased use of marketing automation, a move from big to small data, contextual ad targeting, and search personalization are predicted to play major roles in marketing in 2013.

The 2013 CMO Challenge: Content, Digital and Organizational Attribution
December 12, 2012

The evolution of marketing over the last year paves way for immense growth in social, a continued maturation of search and the relationship with content marketing reveals new opportunities for the CMO.


Why Search is Facebook’s Tailbone
December 13, 2012

Facebook is sitting on a trove of social data that hasn’t fully surfaced, and they have an opportunity to evolve and truly be a dominant force in finding content – not just served on a newsfeed.

Facebook Kills its Mobile Ad Network
December 19, 2012

Facebook ended its three-month test for advertisers to target ads on third-party mobile apps and sites using its rich data supply. This news may renew the idea that Facebook has trouble monetizing mobile, which shadowed the social Internet for much of 2012.


Q3 Update: Mobile Advertising Continues to Grow, as Does Interest in RTB
December 3, 2012

Market intelligence firm IDC predicts that mobile advertising will reach $8 billion globally in 2012, jumping to $14.2 billion by 2014. Looking just at the U.S., market research firm eMarketer forecasts that $2.6 billion will be spent on mobile advertising this year, an 80% increase compared to 2011. In Q3, Adfonic found that tablets saw 11% of all mobile ad impressions, while 89% of impressions came from mobile phones.

The Mobile Train Has Left the Station: Are You Onboard?
December 13, 2012

This eConsultancy article shows the timeline of mobile communications – from a 2lb cell phone from 30 years ago, the beginning of 3G ten years ago, to the smart phone – and how brick-and-click retailers have embraced mobile as a channel for driving consumer engagement.

New GfK Study: Are Smartphones Limiting How We Use our PCs?
December 17, 2012

This year, consumers have narrowed the range of their PC activities. Phones now account for 17% of total time spent with the Internet across all devices, compared to 12% in 2011, according to GfK. The time used on desktop and laptop computers to access the Internet has dropped off considerably; representing 73% of Internet time consumers spend there in 2012, compared to 83% a year ago, suggesting that consumers are surfing less and their time online is more purposeful.

Google Maps on Apple iPhones will Boost Ad Sales
Investor’s Business Daily
December 20, 2012

As a preinstalled application on the iPhone, Maps could not advertise for local businesses. This time around, Google Maps as a download in the Apple App Store, can carry ads. Mobile maps with paid advertising have the potential to make as much as, or more than, Google Maps on desktop PCs, says Global Equities analyst Trip Chowdhry: “The CPC (cost-per-click) rate for a click on a plumber on the Web might be 5 cents,” Chowdhry said. “But the pay-per-action rate, what you’d get if you clicked ‘call’ on a mobile ad for the same plumber, could be $2 or $3,” representing a very intelligent business move for Google.

What Will Mobile Ads of the Future Look Like?
November 27, 2012

Several opinions regarding the future of mobile ads as told by Jonathan Greene, Managing Director of Mobile and Social Platforms, R/GA, Kevin Delaney, Editor-In-Chief, Quartz, Brian Colbert, VP of Mobile Advertising Sales, Pandora, and Alastair Green, Executive Creative Director, Team One.


Google’s SEM Platform is Mediocre, Which is Fine for Google
All Things Digital
November 28, 2012

Forrester research ranked Google’s DoubleClick Search last in its Wave Report of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) providers. The research firm dubbed Google’s DoubleClick search a “risky bet” for advertisers and agencies, citing shortcomings from “no keyword list expansion tools” to “limited support for campaign testing and error management.”

Google’s Zeitgeist
December, 2012

Google’s list of most popular search trends in 2012, using 1.2 trillion searches in 146 languages.

Location-Based Search Revenue Will Reach $6B by 2017: Study
Mobile Marketer
December 10, 2012

In the Strategy Analytics’ report, the company looks at how location is increasingly taking on a bigger piece of media spend. The findings point to the need for mobile navigation and map apps to increase monetization efforts. The organization forecasts mobile and search spend to reach nearly $30 billion globally by 2017 and that location-based search revenue will reach $6 billion by 2017. Therefore, more than 20 percent of mobile advertising will come through location-based search in 2017.

Bing Adds Social Sidebar Mod – Backyard Fence for Friendly Advice
December 12, 2012

Microsoft’s Bing released a new design for their social sidebar, a version that is less cluttered and better linked to friends and trends. While not exactly what anyone would call “sweeping innovation”, the incremental change is nice.


Mobile Display Proves its Worth
December 4, 2012

Display advertising spend nearly tripled in 2012 from 2011. Despite all the positives, however, advertisers still want better audience-targeting and user-tracking capabilities on mobile. This will be a key ingredient for realizing the full potential of mobile advertising.

2012 Review: RTB Gained Ground thanks to Major Brand Participation
December 6, 2012

According to eMarketer, RTB will make up 25% of the display advertising space by 2015. In 2012, RTB digital display ad spending will reach $1.95 billion, rising to $5.78 billion by 2015. This includes all display formats served to all devices. The top 10 advertisers by RTB spend in the third quarter were all well-known national brands. The top five brands were AT&T, Toyota, Sprint Nextel, American Express, and Southwest Airlines, and more premium publishers are getting into this space.

Amazon to Launch RTB in 2013
December 18, 2012

Amazon will jump into the real-time bidding space next year with the launch of its own RTB platform.
“Over the past year, Amazon has built a proprietary real-time bidding platform that plugs into exchanges and supply-side platforms, including Google’s AdX and PubMatic. This platform lets the company retarget its users across the Web based on their browsing and purchase habits on Amazon’s owned-and-operated properties,” said Adweek’s Tim Peterson.
Amazon began testing its platform this year, but in 2013 will make it available in a self-serve fashion to media buyers so that they can manage their own media buys.

The Most Common Misconception Of 2012: Display Looks Like Search
Search Engine Land
December 19, 2012

The rise of the auction-based marketplace in display has led to the common misconception that display looks like search. The concept of delivering the right ad to the right person at the right time exists in both search and display. However, RTB does not exist in search, as it does in display, the two channels do not share metrics, and search retargeting is not even a function of search, but rather a display strategy. In display, you are buying inventory based on audiences that have been targeted based on search history. In search, you are bidding on keywords.

Q4 Report: Strong Quarter for Tablets in Paid Search Advertising

This morning, IgnitionOne released its quarterly report, which revealed that YoY US paid search spending growth for tablets doubled that of smartphones, as mobile devices in their entirety grew to 18% of total search budgets.

The report also indicated that the Yahoo! Bing Network saw a 48% increase in spend YoY, compared to Google’s 12%, elevating their ownership of the US search market to 24%, its greatest share since Q1 2009. Total paid search spending grew at 19% YoY, representing a continued acceleration from last quarter.

Download the Q4 2012 Online Advertising Report here.

Additional findings include:

  • 2012 ends with a strong Q4 for search – Ending with a robust holiday shopping season, U.S. search saw advertising spend up 19% YoY in Q4. The fourth quarter also saw YoY increases in impressions (19%), and clicks (6%).
  • Tablet search breaks away from smartphones as mobile devices continue to explode – U.S. YoY search ad impressions for tablets are up 212% compared to smartphones’ increase of 20%. Spend for tablets is also double that of smartphones with increases of 163% vs 87%.  Mobile devices now account for 18% of total search budgets.
  • Yahoo! Bing Network picks up steam – Yahoo! Bing continued to accelerate their growth in the U.S. with a YoY increase in Q4 spend of 48% compared to Google’s 12%. This helped Yahoo! Bing grab the biggest share of market (24%) since Q1 of 2009
  • Shoppers splurged on higher value orders in Q4 – U.S. Retail search advertising saw YoY increases greater than average on impressions (+28%) and clicks (+10%) and Average Over Value (AOV) increased an impressive 46%.  However, transactions decreased 31%, pointing to consumers checking out with fewer, but higher-value carts.
  • 2012 was a good year for paid search – When comparing to 2011 for our top U.S. clients, paid search metrics for the full year increased across the board with spend increasing 31% and impressions and clicks increasing 21% and 22% respectively.

“Tablets have become a very important device for advertisers, especially retailers,” said Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne. “Smart marketers took advantage of the high level of engagement on these devices during the critical Q4 shopping season and we will continue to see budget shifts to mobile campaigns in the New Year.”

This report is the latest in a series reviewing trends across the online advertising landscape. This and previous quarterly reports can be downloaded here.

The 12 Days of Online Christmas Shopping

This has been my first working Christmas. There’s no more time to go and buy Christmas presents at a quiet moment and facing the immense crowds of Christmas shoppers on the weekend, standing hours at cash registers, is not something I have patience for. Therefore I have truly experienced the joys of online Christmas shopping this year. Here’s a small excerpt of the successes and failures of online retargeting that I noticed during my shopping experience.

Day 1: I look for a dress for the upcoming festivities. After shopping around a bit, I see one that I like but want to take some time to think about it.

Day 2: I get bombarded with ‘pink dresses’ on every online advert from one particular store.

Day 3: I get fed up with the adverts, clean out my cookies and buy a black dress from a different shop.

Day 4: I search for a pair of ski gloves for my holiday in the Alps, but don’t find anything I like.

Day 5:  I get flooded with more adverts for gloves and dresses… and much to my frustration accidentally click on one of them, which only makes it worse.

Day 6: I’m so sick of seeing these ads that I tweet how much I’m fed up with this shop on Twitter. A lot of people have the same experience and agree!

Day 7: I realize that I still need to buy a present for my brother so I’m on the look out.

Day 8: I see good review from a friend on Facebook about gaming headphones: perfect for my brother! So I do a quick, superficial research on the Internet.

Day 9: I do a little more research on the product and its functionalities, but also look at and compare other products and stores.

Day 10: I click through an ad served to me and decided to buy the headphones.

Day 11: I receive my package the very next day, I’m happy about the whole experience and tweet about it. I don’t see any other adverts from this store (even though I still see gloves and dresses everywhere).

Day 12: I realize I could also buy a blender for my mum on the same site so I browse around again and order for her too.

Retargeting is really an interesting process.

It was clear to me that the gloves & dresses stores didn’t use a Smart Retargeting method, like IgnitionOne implements for its clients. They just looked at the category/product I had looked at last and didn’t know my real interest. They also just tried to show me their adverts as much as possible in the hope that I would finally click on it.

It was obvious that the headphone store had a different strategy. It knew my true interest, and my click path. By using IgnitionOne’s technology, this website scored my propensity to buy. As my score increased, the technology took into account my ‘undeclared interest’. This means not just showing the last product visited but the one that has the highest score. The algorithm calculated when I had reached my critical buying intention score and served me a targeted advert with a very interesting offer (discount + free shipping) whilst browsing that lowered my purchasing barrier.  The company tracked how my interest was increasing and then calculated the perfect time to show me just one  advert with an interesting offer.

When considering both unique retargeting structures, it is apparent to me why one advertising technique seemed less intrusive than the other, and why I chose one experience, and thus one product, over the other.

It All Adds Up: Optimizing Your SEM Creative

Opportunity is knocking at your door: Text ads are the gateway to your consumer. Through your creative, you have the opportunity to draw the consumer into a click or give the click (and possibly conversion) away to a competitor.  Optimizing your ad copy is a continual process that starts with understanding how it impacts your Google Quality Score.

It’s a chain reaction: your creative affects your Quality Score, which affects your CPCs & Rank.

Multiple components of your ad copy affect your Quality Score, including:

  • Historical Display URL’s CTR
  • Historical CTR of all ads across the account
  • Relevancy of keywords to ads
  • Performance on Google (and Display sites if applicable)
  • Performance on targeted devices (Google assigns a separate Quality Score across different devices)

Always pause or delete underperforming text ads and maintain ads with a strong history across your account to earn a top Quality Score.

Back to the basics: never lose sight of Search Engine Marketing best practices.

Before optimizing your text ads, test multiple variations, keeping in mind Paid Search best practices, such as:

  • Organize your keywords thematically and write ads specific to each group’s keywords
  • Highlight your unique selling proposition and include a call-to-action
  • Consider including the keyword in the title using Dynamic Keyword Insertion
  • Format ad in a visually compelling manner
    • Include “www” in Display URL
    • Experiment with exclamation points in the descriptive text
    • Include trademark symbols
    • Use proper capitalization
    • Write different ad copy for device-targeted campaigns

The numbers don’t lie: use analytics to guide your ad copy optimization.

After you have tested multiple variations of ad copy, following the best practices above, it’s time to turn to analytics.  IgnitionOne offers advanced analytics and reporting capabilities that take the guess work out of ad copy optimization.  Be sure to set your ads to even rotation before testing, and pull reports after your ads have acquired a statistically significant number of impressions.  Then, simply choose your top performers based on the metric towards which you are optimizing your account.

The customer is king: the end goal is to please your consumers and earn their business.

Keep in mind your top performers may change with seasonality, competition, promotions and other external factors, but you can always make sure your ads are as relevant as possible, maintain your ads’ history, deliver a unique selling proposition, make your ads visually appealing and use data to optimize the ads across your account.  And above all else, remember that your ultimate goal is to deliver a timely and relevant ad to your consumer.