Five Minutes with a Search Guru

IgnitionOne’s remarkable technology is backed by a global team of online experts, who are constantly building upon the company’s products through their extensive knowledge and expertise.

Based in the IgnitionOne UK office, Judy Chan has been working in the business of Search for the past 9 years in both agency and direct client roles, making her a seasoned veteran of all things PPC and SEO.

Is Search still a relevant channel for brands?

100%.  Search is the core part of any business.  When analyzing click path analysis, how often can you say search was not path of the click path?

Even if you disagree, test and learn.  It’s the only way to understand this fully. A handful of us are analyzing different attribution models, but not enough of us are moving away from the last-click model.  Search has always been one of our measurable channels.  We need to adapt and analyse attribute models to understand the conversion path.  Even for “brand” activity, yes I agree, tracking a conversion is difficult.  However, there are technology providers out there who can match back the analytical/ engagement data against your keywords to give you better insight and help you make better decisions on running search.

Google Enhanced Campaigns – good or bad for search marketers?

It depends on the vertical, to be honest.  A lot of us have spent the last few years breaking out our accounts, i.e. separate accounts for desktop / tablet / mobile.  We did this because we were able to target each device more specifically and become more granular and relevant in our campaign management. It was fantastic; we could suddenly see how CTR was affected. Google Enhanced Campaigns basically means reverting back to how it was, and managing devices at campaign level, the breakout including mobile, and desktop / tablet.

Regardless, Google has made its decision and we need to act as necessary.

Best piece of advice given to you about analysing search campaign results?

Focus on one target.  Try not to add too many variables, i.e. I want a £10 CPA overall, but I also want to monitor these generic terms and change them manually.  Use a technology to help you manage your time better.  You can then focus on strategy, testing and analysis.

We’re in an industry crammed with acronyms, any personal favourites?

SPOT, which is our predictive optimization technology.

This uses predictive bidding models to automate maximum efficiencies from search campaigns.

Does your work in search affect your personal computer use?

Yes!  I’m so analytical about what comes up and which ads I click on: bad habits.  I tend to make more searches to see who appears also, so my exposure sequence is probably 12 on average.  Geek alert.

 

IgnitionOne Selected as Yahoo! Preferred Partner

We are excited to announce that as of today, IgnitionOne is a member of Yahoo! Bing’s Preferred Partner Program, which recognizes us as a leading SEM technology provider who has committed to a higher standard of Bing Ads’ compatibility and advertiser experience. This title signifies that advertisers can expect a superior level of Bing Ads platform and feature support and insights from us, and that we have committed to meeting the program functionality requirements.

IgnitionOne is really honored to be a part of Yahoo!’s growth, and we are proud to be among only a few organizations that hold this badge. The announcement also signifies a commitment to our clients that we are constantly evolving to suit their needs and the demands of this innovative industry.  Search is an important channel for digital marketers and IgnitionOne delivers a best-of-breed solution for search that only becomes stronger through this partnership.

To learn more about our search solutions and how we can help you with your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaigns, visit our site here.

Read the full post on Advertsing.Yahoo.com.

White Lightning

Perhaps it is simply that I am like the other 3 million people or it is my exposure to Southern heritage (being based in Atlanta), but I am totally addicted to Discovery Channel’s Moonshiners.

The docudrama follows the activities of a group of Appalachian mountain men who produce and sell illegal moonshine.  What is most intriguing to me is the ingenuity of these men as they develop their illegal stills from cobbled together components while hiding their enterprise from the “law.”

The other night  it struck me how IgnitionOne’s Digital Marketing Suite (DMS) technology stack and “Big Data” has connections to my favorite show.

At first blush, the linkage is pretty disjointed.  But closer examination shows them to be very similar to each other.

A still is nothing more than an extraction engine designed to efficiently create alcohol (C2H5OH) from natural ingredients.  Along the way, these natural ingredients impart desirable flavors and properties that are valued by its consumers.

Likewise, a “Big Data” engine like the DMS is an extraction engine designed to efficiently create marketing “white lightning” from digital data. Along the way through all the transformations and manipulation, the basic ingredients (data) is refined and distilled into products that extract the maximum kick while still maintaining its consumption value.  And white lightning for marketers won’t give you a buzz (or a hangover) but it will deliver better results and efficiency.

The Mash: GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out)

Beyond just the basic purpose of a distillation engine, the individual pieces of each machine also have direct relationships.  While each moonshiner has his own personal recipes, the basic inputs to a still are grains/sugars, yeast and water, which are combined into a “mash”.  Recipes vary during the year based on the price/availability of raw ingredients.  The result is a balance between  the strength of the mash (how much alcohol can be concentrated into the final mixture) and the potableness (suitability for drinking). A mash that is too “hot” (not able to be consumed, due to the burning feeling when consuming) is as undesirable as a mash that is too “cold” (no alcohol but is more potable).  Balancing these competing properties is the art in the process that has been handed down through generations of shiners.

Likewise, within any Big Data marketing system, a multitude of different inputs are available to gain marketing insights and knowledge.  Referral data, search engine data, onsite tracking, social data, CRM, demographics and a host of other data sources all contribute to the digital marketer’s mash.  Some of these sources are easy to obtain and some are more difficult, but ultimately to be most useful to the final product, they must be combined into a single mash.  Similarly, some data is very hot (contains great marketing insights and knowledge) but is very difficult to digest, while other data is too cold (and while consumable is ultimately not useful in action).

Additionally there is the question of scale.  In a still, it takes a lot of mash to make even a little product.  The same is true in Big Data Stills where low information value data may require large amounts of processing to enable the accumulation of enough insights.  Extracting the maximum amount of information at the minimum cost enters into all Big Data Stills as well.

Mash Pot: Adding Heat to Create Pressure

During the fermentation process, the mash is transferred to the mash pot.  Here it is exposed to heat which releases the alcohol from the mash in the form of steam.  Pressure in the mash pot builds and is captured by the steam cap which is then used to propel the alcohol heavy steam through the rest of the distillation process.  An improperly designed mash pot will leak steam and therefore not be able to propel the steam through the additional processing.  Another more dangerous situation arises when the pressure is too great and the still explodes.

Big Data Stills have the same problems.  Improperly designed data stores are unable to bring to the surface marketing insights in a timely fashion or may leak valuable information.  Or Big Data stores will simply blow up due to scalability as the pressure and volume of the data mash and boiled up marketing insights are too great for the system to handle.  Big Data marketing systems need to be carefully designed, flexible enough handle multiple set of inputs and built to scale.

There is another dangerous phenomenon that occurs in Big Data Stills as well as moonshine stills.  During the fermentation process, a certain portion of the mash will be converted into methanol (C3OH).  Methanol is a highly dangerous substance that has been known to cause blindness and even death.  As a still heats up the mash releases this methanol (methanol boils at a lower temperature that alcohol), shiners call this the foreshot and discard this dangerous byproduct.  This is very similar to Big Data Stills where the initial set of analysis (foreshot) from the data can be very disorienting and can blind marketers  to the insights behind the data.  Likewise, many times marketers overfit and/or over analyze the data mash which can lead to marketing paralysis or dangerous results.

From Steam to Hooch: The Rest of the Journey

Once the alcohol heavy steam has left the mash pot, it flows through a series of pipes and tubes.  The first stop is the thump keg, which filters the impurities from the steam, which if allowed to continue through the process, will clog up the increasing smaller diameter piping that makes up the rest of the still.  Filtering the haze of analysis to ensure that it is accurate, reliable and true is also necessary in a Big Data Still.  Outliers, site outages, and data delays need to be removed so that they do not lead to erroneous results and/or excess pressure in the system.  A common mistake among Big Data systems is ignoring the need to control for these impurities, and while it would appear that working with digital data is surprisingly clean, these cleansing functions are surprisingly complex.

As the now purified steam leaves the thump keg, it enters the worm box.  Here cool water is circulated over coiled pipes known as the worm.   A shiner’s worm is one of his most prized possessions (they have been known to be passed down in some West Virginia wills). Carefully crafted from hand selected copper, a superior worm imparts warmth to the final product by slowly condensing the vapor (and the flavors of the underlying mash) across the entire length of the pipe, thereby allowing the flavors and the raw alcohol to infuse into each other.   The cold water condenses the alcohol vapor within the pipes which then emerges as final product for distribution.  Without the constant supply of cold water, the alcohol vapor will simply shoot out of the end of the pipe without condensing, lost forever to the wind.

Within a Big Data marketing system, the worm is the interface system which exposes the marketing vapor to the cold water of analytics and experience.  Some digital marketing systems are great at producing huge amounts of processed data (and vapor) but little of it is in form that is true marketing white lightning.  It is only by the constant application of judgment, experience and analytic brainpower which is constantly changing and adapting within the machine itself that the final product is effectively delivered.

Result: White Lightning

By no means am I trying to romanticize the illegal production of moonshine; instead I am trying to focus the discussion around Big Data marketing systems to their core competency.

With all the talk about Big Data marketing systems, it is important to recognize that, in the end, they are nothing more than distillation machines.  There is no need for huge data stores if the information content of the data is unusable, blinding or dangerous.  Additionally, your Big Data marketing system needs to be designed and run by deep institutional knowledge about how the mechanics of the system are implemented, how to mix the data ingredients, and finally how to effectively present and deliver the actionable insights and marketing knowledge that the data presents.  While I would like to think that we are slightly more refined, professional (and hopefully better looking) than our mountain men brothers, our goal is the same delivering the best white lightning for our clients.  Cheers!

Anniversary of Innovation

April marks the 2nd anniversary of the centralized marketing technology stack –  IgnitionOne’s Digital Marketing Suite. Released in 2011, this first-of-its-kind SaaS marketing platform brings together media management and optimization, cross-channel attribution and analytics and web site optimization technologies in a single technology stack.

IgnitionOne has been at the center of innovation in digital marketing solutions and our teams have been responsible for many “firsts” that we are very proud of. In celebration of our anniversary, we want to look back at these innovations that stretch back over a decade.

  • Even before “Big Data” we were the first to introduce integrated user-level scoring, which is now a core part of our Engagement Scoring Engine and helps marketers deliver relevant, optimized content to users through advertising, site content, promotions and more. This score is a central piece of our Web Site Optimization and Marketing Automation solutions.
  • Always looking to drive intelligent bidding and improve results, we were the first to offer predictive portfolio optimization as an integrated part of our technology. Our predictive engine, SPOT®, improves marketers’ returns on ad spend by taking the guesswork out of budgeting.
  • Leveraging our centralized data to provide the most relevant messages, our Smart Remarketing was the first in the industry to optimize remarketing based on the deep user knowledge available through our scoring engine.
  • Back when we first introduced cross-channel attribution, there was not even a term for it. IgnitionOne led the industry by providing an innovative way to track media exposures across channels and de-duplicate and attribute credit to the efforts assisting towards a conversion. We take attribution further by integrating into our platform and leveraging the insights to automatically optimize media.
  • Digital marketing should not be handled in silos. That is why the Digital Marketing Suite is also the first to fully integrate a DSP with search in a single platform and still leads in our space as a fully integrated marketing technology stack. In addition to media optimization, the DMS is the only solution that also provides fully integrated Site Optimization and Marketing Automation functionality.
  • Marketers goals are not always as straight-forward as completing a sale. IgnitionOne was the first to introduce an Engagement Optimization offering which addressed a glaring need for measurability of digital advertising for brand marketers and allowed marketers to focus their media budgets on the advertising that creates the most visitor engagement.
  • Paid and earned media need to work together in social marketing, and that is why through best-of-breed partnerships, IgnitionOne offered the first integrated and automated innovation to automate and optimize Sponsored Stories based on social community activity levels.

IgnitionOne is not resting on our past accomplishments as we look to the future. We will continue to innovate and further expand our one-of-a-kind media optimization and marketing automation and help marketers meet the challenges they face today and tomorrow.

IgnitionOne’s April Industry Digest

Announcements

Download IgnitionOne’s definitive Integrated Marketing Playbook here.

We will also be hosting a series of integrated marketing webinars. Learn more about them and register here.

IgnitionOne in the News

Humans vs. Machines: Who’s Winning? 
MediaPost
March 1, 2013

IgnitionOne is mentioned as a partner of Casale Media, in order for them to “maintain a more personal touch with publisher relationships.”

IgnitionOne Publishes “The Integrated Marketing Playbook”
Mobile Marketing Watch
March 1, 2013

Highlights the release of our comprehensive Playbook.

Hotels Strive to Own Organic Search Results
FinChannel
March 4, 2013

IgnitionOne organic search data is cited as most often being the last exposure before a conversion within the travel industry.

Diageo Marketing Exec on Brands’ Evolution Into Integrated Digital Marketing
Broadcasting Cable
March 5, 2013

Covers the interview with Peter McDonough, chief marketing and innovation officer for Diageo North America, in the Integrated Marketing Playbook.

Facebook Plotting Major Video Push
ADWEEK
March 7, 2013

IgnitionOne’s CEO, Will Margiloff, is quoted, discussing how Facebook video ads would be welcomed by buyers.

AOL Waits for a Huffington Post Payoff
Businessweek
March 28, 2013

Bloomberg Business article cites data from an IgnitionOne report, which discusses how ad rates have dropped industry-wide, falling as much as 23% in 2011.

Q1 Report Coverage

Tablet Paid Search Spend Continues to Grow as Engagement Tops PCs
Marketing Charts
March 27, 2013

Study: Paid Search Spend for Mobile is Exploding
Mobile Marketing Watch
March 27, 2013

Search Budgets Rise for Mobile, Total Search Spend Flat
MediaPost
March 27, 2013

Tablet, Smartphone Paid Search Spend Doubles on Higher Engagement Figures
CMSWire
March 27, 2013

Something Meaningful Shocked the eCommerce Ecosystem in January
Seeking Alpha
March 27, 2013

Report: PPC Tablet Spending Up 112%
SearchEngineLand
March 27, 2013

Tablet and Mobile Marketing in Front Seat With Strong Growth and High Engagement
MarketWatch
March 27, 2013

Is Google (GOOG) Earnings Miss Unthinkable? Stifel Says No
Street Insider
March 27, 2013

Tablet and Mobile Marketing in Front Seat With Strong Growth and High Engagement
Virtual-Strategy
March 27, 2013

Tablet Devices and the Future of Paid Search
Business2Community
March 27, 2013

Dow And S & P 500 Down Slightly – NASDAQ Stock Market Little Changed
Focus.de
March 27, 2013

Tablet and Mobile Marketing in Front Seat with Strong Growth and High Engagement
AdOps
March 28, 2013

US Smartphone Search Spend Jumps 113pc Year-Over-Year: Study
Mobile Marketer
March 28, 2013

Thought Leadership

Search Marketing Shouldn’t End at the Click
MediaPost
March 5, 2013

Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne, identifies closer cross-team relationships, tailored experiences and optimization for engagement as ways marketers can work more efficiently to make the most out of every person that clicks on their ads.

Part II: Holistic Facebook Marketing & Advertising: Merging Marketplace & FBX for Improved DR
FBPPC.com
March 8, 2013

In the second in his series of holistic Facebook marketing and advertising, Chris Knoch, VP Strategic Solutions at IgnitionOne covers how to use a content creation framework to get direct response results across the spectrum of various Facebook marketing options.

Stop the Compartmentalization of the Marketing Budget
FrankWatching
March 21, 2013

Stephan van den Bremer, Managing Director of IgnitionOne Europe, discusses why and how budgets should be holistically allocated across media and site optimization channels, rather than divided by silos, in order to maximize spend.

Optimization Imperative: The Path To Maximum Impact
MediaPost
March 27, 2013

Dave Ragals, SVP Client Services, discusses how bringing together teams, combining budgets, and aligning goals in order to integrate marketing, will help to eliminate waste of waste, increase efficiency and successfully optimize.

Trends in Comparison Shopping
DMS.com
March 5, 2013

Leslie Gzehoviak, Account Contact at IgnitionOne, discusses the most recent trends in comparison shopping and how they encourage stronger consumer engagement.

When it Comes to Bid Optimization, Are You ‘Book Smart’ or ‘Street Smart?’ 
DMS.com
March 8, 2013

Lisa Arsenault, Senior Director of Sales Engineering at IgnitionOne, covers the evolution of the length and complexity of questions coming from marketers over the last few years and identifies the varying levels of knowledge on the topic and how they translate into practice.

Setting Up Your Organization for Success
DMS.com
March 13, 2013

Roger Barnette discusses how marketing organizations can achieve true and efficient integration by aligning teams and goals in order to drive improved results in this webinar.

Webinar: How Marketers Can Get the Most from their Technology Vendor
DMS.com
March 19, 2013

Jani Rayner, Account Manager at IgnitionOne, concludes that by partnering with a technology vendor, maximizing all of their tools offered in the platform, being trained, efficiently communicating, and tracking results across channels, marketers are able to get the most from their relationship.

Webinar: What to Look for When Integrating Marketing Tools and Technologies
DMS.com
March 20, 2013

Roger Barnette covers the challenges faced by marketers today and how to best address those challenges in order to enhance results in this webinar. Roger details the benefits of integrating marketing tools and technologies, such as the creation of a single-data source, experiencing fewer errors in reporting, and true attribution which allows for deeper insights and greater returns.

Industry News

The Power of Distributed Teams
MediaPost
March 18, 2013

This article highlights how to overcome the complications innate in distributed teams, which are very similar to the obstacles and solutions found in compartmentalized marketing teams

The Evolution of Omnichannel Behavior
iMedia Connection
March 19, 2013

Background and research on the emergence of omnichannel behavior and discusses the evolution toward an integrated physical, digital, mobile and social experience.

Here’s Why the “Second Screen” Industry it Set to Explode
Business Insider
March 27, 2013

The “second screen” approach, where the tablet or smartphone becomes a TV companion device, allowing for added levels of interactivity, is examined to reveal how second screen apps, social networks, and mobile sites will ultimately succeed in drawing significant audiences, how they will begin to see some advertising dollars, who second screen audiences are, the second screen opportunity from the broadcaster angle, and detail the opportunity represented by audience analytics and second screen commerce.

Global Internet Ad Spend to Exceed $113 Billion in 2013
M&M Global
March 28, 2013

Global internet ad spend reached $99 billion in 2012, up 16.2% over 2011, and is expected to rise a further 14.6% this year to hit $113.5 billion. The report also found that internet advertising in 2012 accounted for 19.5% of all global measured ad spend.

Display

Display Ads: How Direct Buys & RTB Interact
MarketingLand
March 4, 2013

Clarifies the differences and expands upon the relationship between direct buy and RTB systems and the economic motivation that drives publishers to segment using these options.

The 4 Biggest Myths About Programmatic Buying
iMedia Connection
March 4, 2013

Programmatic buying is a superset of exchange, real-time bidding, auction, and other types of automated media buying and selling. However, there are still many myths regarding programmatic buying, for example people still think of programmatic media as remnant inventory sold using real-time bidding. Read the article to see other misconceptions regarding programmatic buying.

Enhanced Campaigns For Display: Powerful Bidding Tools For A Multi-Device World
Google Mobile Ads
March 19, 2013

In conjunction with Google’s Enhanced Campaigns, which are meant to help advertisers more simply and scalably reach their customers in a multi-screen world, the company discusses how they work with display campaigns.

Why Publishers Would Miss Cookies
Digiday
March 26, 2013

Stephan Noller, CEO of nugg.ad, believes publishers should be getting involved in programmatic premium initiatives and bringing their assets into the digital age. In order to do so, we need cookies or comparable options for identifying users, modern tracking systems that neither spy on users or know them personally. If Mozilla sticks to its guns and blocks third party cookies, the online advertising world will lose out on a centralized opportunity to deliver intelligent, highly paid advertising.

Search

Enhanced Campaigns: New Sitelink & Call Ad Extensions Feature Rundown
SearchEngineWatch
March 5, 2013

A comprehensive look at the new campaign structure of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns, shedding light into the details of what advertisers should be prepared to modify.

Google’s Biggest Search-Related Technology Challenges
MediaPost
March 10, 2013

Four challenges that Google has yet to solve: Knowledge Graph, speech recognition, natural language understanding and conversation, stand in the way of the company creating a search technology that fades into the background, giving searchers what they need without being intrusive.

Three Reasons Why eBay is Wrong about Paid Search
MediaPost
March 29, 2013

eBay conducted a survey that suggested that brand-keyword ads have no short-term benefits, and that returns from all other keywords are minimal. This article highlights reasons why eBay’s conclusions are false.

Mobile

Mobile Ad Budgets Set to Increase as Print Cutbacks Continue
Marketing Charts
March 11, 2013

An AdAge survey reveals that 64% of advertisers will increase their mobile ad spending over the next 12 months. Just 18% of the more than 1,200 respondents said they would increase their ad spending on magazines, compared to 26% who forecast a decrease in those budgets.

Tablet Ad CTR Massively Outperform Smartphones, Except In Retail And Dating
eConsultancy
March 12, 2013

Tablets and smartphones can no longer be lumped under the same category of mobile as each device encourages entirely different user behaviors and outcomes from brands and yield much different results, such as tablets driving more traffic and higher conversions than smartphones.

Mobile Searchers Do It At Night
Marketing Pilgrim
March 14, 2013

This article dissects several points from a Google Report, “Mobile Search Moments: Understanding How Mobile Drives Conversions.” In it, the author points out that 77% of mobile searchers have a PC nearby – meaning the searcher is getting a limited number of returns on a small screen and 17% of mobile searches triggered a purchase and / or a visit to the store, making it imperative that an advertiser shows up early in a search in order to be noticed.

What SXSW Did and Didn’t Cover about the Future of Mobile
eConsultancy
March 18, 2013

This article discusses how to create an engaging mobile experience and illustrates industries and companies that are making the most of their mobile outlets.

Social

Facebook: Advertising On Site Boosts ROI By 22%
All Facebook
March 20, 2013

Brad Smallwood, Facebook’s head of measurement and insights, told attendees of the Advertising Research Foundation’s Re:think conference in New York that among 22 recent Facebook campaigns, with data from 70 million consumers, Facebook increased return on investment by 22%.

Facebook Cranks Up Ad Targeting in User News Feeds
AdAge
March 26, 2013

In late March, Facebook began placing ads purchased through FBX in the newsfeeds of users, giving exchange-purchased ads more visibility and theoretically boost prices across FBX by making the bidding more competitive.

Twitter Ad Revenue to Approach $1 Billion by 2014, Fueled by Mobile
AdAge
March 27, 2013

Twitter’s global ad revenue will catapult from $582.8 million this year to $950 million next year, according to new projections from eMarketer on Wednesday, which cited the strength of Twitter’s mobile presence in revising its earlier projections upward by a combined $180.1 million.

Predicting the Future… It’s Personal

I was watching Minority Report, (the one where Tom Cruise is escaping from the government and has his eyeballs replaced because everyone is identified by iris recognition) and it made me think, as a recent digital convert, how close we are to sophisticated technology like this actually existing.

There’s actually a prototype of this personalised billboard technology being developed in Japan as we speak, though luckily not with Iris recognition.

Companies are able to recognise valuable customers online too, by observing browsing behaviour (mouse movement and clicks, geo-location, product interests, recency and frequency of visits) and there are many ways in which this information can then be used to drive conversions.

According to Forrester, personalisation is the top priority for 55% of retailers in 2013 as new technologies allow for greater understanding over multiple touch points. I can also predict that this is going to be more tablet and mobile focused in the future, as spend on these devices continues to rise exponentially, according to our Q1 2013 Digital Marketing Report

The most obvious and possibly simplest way of personalising a user’s experience is by offering product recommendations based on recent browsed pages (good for cross and up-selling). Another popular method is by using the information gathered to change the content of the website (homepage banner for example). This has been proven to increase click through rates and user experience figures. We all know that e-CRM is incredibly valuable too, by examining the behaviour of registered users you can send bespoke email content encouraging them to return to the site and convert.

There are other increasingly imaginative ways to approach personalisation too, such as offering a video text chat option on a marketer’s website, so that users can interact with operators and get a more personal feel as their queries are being answered. Gaming sites frequently use this option, but it is also making its way into the high street retail area.

Sephora is working with Pantone to enable customers to scan their faces onto their iPad and find their perfect shade of foundation. This is a prime example of using technological insight and innovation to deliver a unique and individualistic experience to the consumer.

I love the prospect of going on to my favourite retail website to be given a wholly personalised experience based on my past behaviour. My size, favourite styles, colours and price limit are taken in to account, making my experience more enjoyable and helps to build my brand loyalty.

As more and more advertisers realise the importance of personalisation, there will be many more innovative and clever ways of engaging with users on a one-to-one level in the coming months.  I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes out for brands that go above and beyond to make me feel more ‘unique’ and less like a ‘user’. Hopefully my irises are safe for a little while longer.

Tag Management: Keeping Clients’ Sites Elite

As a digital marketer in this day and age, one of the most exciting aspects of this industry is that our responsibilities span beyond the realm of advertising and media management, spilling into the spheres of analytics, data, and technology.  The performance buys that are the core of many a media plan (the ones that drive the best return on ad spend or highest volume of conversions) most likely would not happen (nor would a network or vendor run a campaign) without tagging our clients’ sites.  3rd party ad tags or “piggybacks” play an integral role –whether it’s for conversion optimization purposes, retargeting or dynamic creative (to name a few).  To take it to the next level, DoubleClick and other tracking or container solutions have given us the ability to design pretty sophisticated rules on how and when tags fire on our clients’ sites, ultimately helping our media strategies evolve to support the more complicated business needs of our clients.  This allows us to isolate high value users or repeat customers based on status, or specifically retarget to users who’ve hit the site only if they were last on say, Trip Advisor and they hadn’t been to the site within a month and have not received emails from your client.

Because we can cookie, track, segment and programmatically optimize, tagging comes with the job, but it’s a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly.  I was recently at a conference where the speakers were emphasizing the concept of the butterfly effect –how the perceivably miniscule motion of a butterfly flapping its wings could result in a monumental event, whether good or bad.  It’s one of those universally applicable notions, but in the context of tagging, the repercussions could range from hundreds of thousands of media savings in targeting just those high potential users to potentially slowing down the checkout process during peak conversion time aggravating 500 customers and losing $100,000 in revenue (not to mention the resources involved in figuring out which tag caused it and how it’s never going to happen again).  When something like this happens, nine out of ten times, the reason is that the network at fault was making secondary calls to another server to gain access to additional inventory sources, and it was actually the secondary tag that was to blame.  As much as you want to hold that vendor accountable, the client and their IT team will ultimately, and pretty rightfully, hold the agency accountable for opening up that wormhole in the first place.  So how do we better prevent and control the ugly second scenario?  The answer is by employing a tag management solution.

To illustrate how tag management works, I’ve created a fun little analogy (or at least I’d like to consider it this way).   Think about the client’s .com as the most elite VIP club out there.  Needless to say, the club owner would be Client X, the club manager would be Client X’s IT team, and they’ve hired a party planner and PR crew (in this case the agency) to manage their events and the guest list.  To keep things exclusive, the party planning team handpicks the guest list every single night.  You have to be on the list to enter, but the current bouncer is a rookie, and during an A-List event, he doesn’t ID patrons before entering, disregards the guest list, and the next morning TMZ reports that Justin Bieber was mauled by a dozen pre-teen fanatics.  This could have been avoided with proper tag management.

Fast-forward a month later.  The party planners and the club manager put placing the best front door security team as top priority.  They hire an ex-CIA agent to man the front door.  He has the foresight and instinct to separate the good from the bad seeds.  Not only does he ensure that invite-only patrons come in, but rowdy and overly intoxicated persons are not permitted to enter, and high risk people are escorted out at the first sign of trouble.  In addition, connected patrons (friends of the A-Listers and even friends of friends) are not permitted to enter without first being screened by the club managers and party planners.   In this scenario, you can say that the proper tag management was in place.

Why Tag Management is Needed?

  • Numerous 3rd party vendor tags in effect
  • Site Crashes, Security Warnings, Slow Loading Pages  – due to any given “bad” tag or a multitude of unwanted secondary and tertiary tags  being calledClean and controlled process of 3rd party tag implementation
  • Streamlined tag firing and pixel logic
  • Data capture

Features to look for when considering tag management:

  • Asynchronous tag load of 3rd party data tags (for data collection purposes)
  • Streamlined site tagging – hierarchal tagging from a Category to subcategory page level
  • Logic-based data capture/tag fires
  • Localized Latency management – automatic tag load termination based on client-set time threshold + re-activation based on server stabilization
  • 24-hr support
  • User-friendly interface – easy to use for both Client Tech and Agency Ops teams

Agencies need to work closely with their client’s tech team and their ad ops team to select the right fit for the client.  Not all solutions are built alike with some prioritizing tagging and segmentation logic (Google Tag Manager) vs. latency and kill-switch technology (TagMan, Ensighten, Media Geeks, Satellite, BrightTag, Tealium).  Ultimately, it’s up to agencies and their clients to identify which benefits are needed from a solution to create accountability and keep the site and marketing programs operating optimally.

IgnitionOne has worked with a variety of clients spanning all verticals (travel, retail, entertainment, finance) to improve tagging strategies and employ and evolve processes to monitor tags in effect as well as minimize and prevent complications from 3rd party tags.  Our team is constantly surveying the tag management landscape to identify and recommend best of breed solutions that best address individual client’s needs.

Bridging the Gap: Advertising, Conversion Optimization and Marketing Automation

 

In the third of a series of integrated marketing webinars, Filip Lauweres, VP Client Services, IgnitionOne Europe and Stewart Holt, Sales Director, IgnitionOne UK, discuss how digital marketing strategies should convey relevant content and facilitate dialogue with customers through personalization and interaction.

In this webinar, Filip and Stewart cover how active personalization is achieved through behavioral targeting, which enables delivering the right content at the right time to the right audience. Coupled with engagement optimization, a combination of conversion metrics and behavioral analysis of a visitor, marketers are better equipped with true insights on how to attribute credit across channels before making a decision. All of this means higher customer engagement and more conversions.

To learn more about these and more integrated marketing insights and best practices, click here to download the Integrated Marketing Playbook.

What Retailers Can Expect With New Sales Tax Implementation across the US

With many states facing large deficits and less monetary support from the Federal Government, they are now turning to the next frontier of income growth: e-commerce sales tax.  This has been a long debated topic, so it is not a huge surprise that the state and retailers have come to terms with this. So with these changes, what can we expect to happen in the e-commerce industry?

There has been trepidation that e-retailers could see a drop in conversions due to charging consumers sales tax, however, according to research there is no reason to expect a change in consumer behavior. A study by comScore shows the value of shopping online:

  • Comparison shopping- without ever having to leave the room, consumers are able to hit multiple retailers to find the best price on the same product or supplementary products.
  • Daily specials- More and more consumers are subscribing to emails of their favorite brands to “shop” the specials. Even recently we have seen e-retailers make a business model out of the daily special.
  • Mobile Advantages- Exclusive apps that provide value through the convenience of shopping any time of day from (almost) anywhere in the world

Nowhere is there mention of not paying sales tax as a value of shopping online, inferring that sales tax has little to no influence on online shoppers.

How will sales tax affect comparison shopping?  No matter which e-retailer the consumer purchases from, there will always be a sales tax incurred (pending that they live in a state that mandates a sales tax).  Implications to comparison shopping are annulled as the actual price of the product will still dictate the e- consumer’s decision, not the sales tax.

In comScore’s “Online Shopping Customer Experience Survey,” the survey concludes the top reasons that people abandon their digital shopping cart:

  • They were not ready to purchase, but wanted to know the total cost.
  • They were not ready to purchase, but wanted to save the cart for later.
  • Shipping costs were more than expected.
  • Order value was not large enough to get free shipping.
  • Shipping and handling costs listed too late.

While during the time of the survey, taxes were not an issue, we do find that hidden costs can be a detriment to proceeding to purchase. However, one must think that most e-consumers are aware of their state’s sales tax mandate; so the effect of a surprise cost at the end of the purchase will be minimal, if it occurs at all.

This sales tax may cause higher fixed costs for the e-retailers in order to manage charging the consumers, however, in the short run, it is expected that this cost will not be filtered into the marginal cost of the products and should not drive up consumer price.  This sentiment in addition to the sales tax savings not mentioned as a reason why consumers shop online and the minimal surprise that the e- consumer will be charged the sales tax, will not have a large implication on the e-consumers shopping behavior.

In the long run, we may see prices of e-retailers increase if the cost of managing sales tax across states becomes onerous. If the e-retailer is also brick and mortar, we would expect the price of the goods in the B&M to rise to the same level as the e-commerce store, in order to stabilize prices between the two.  In this instance, we would not see a shift of e-consumers turning into B&M consumers.

E-retailers that are also B&M have incentive to filter more sales through the website as the amount of fixed costs of running the e-commerce store is much less than the B&M.  These types of retailers also have more incentive to keep e-commerce inventory prices equal as many people use online as a comparison shopping tool. In the event of any of these scenarios, it is unlikely that there will be a shift from e-commerce to B&M.

In light of the sales tax being mandated by more and more states, e-retailers should focus even more so on their core capabilities or value proposition. For example, if you’re an e-retailer that’s largest value is selling affordable work out gear, make sure that you are strongly conveying that message to all current and potential consumers.  This message should be apparent across all media touch points that a retailer has with their consumers. As long as consumers still feel the e-retailers value is greater than the marginal cost of the sales tax plus the purchase price, the consumer will not abandon their purchase based on having to pay a sales tax.