IgnitionOne Belgium Nominated for Deloitte Technology Fast50

IgnitionOne’s Brussels office has been nominated for the 1st edition of the Deloitte Technology Fast50 competition solely for technology companies headquartered in Belgium. The Fast50 award will be given to the country’s fastest-growing technology company, based on its percentage of growth in turnover during the last five years. On Wednesday 22 October 2014, the ranking will be announced at the Award Ceremony in Brussels.

“Our strategy and continuous growth over the past few years have strengthened our position in the market. We consider this nomination as a confirmation that we are heading in the right direction”, said Filip Lauweres, GBO Marketing Automation.

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Vincent Fosty, partner at Deloitte and Technology Fast50 leader for Belgium: “We are pleased that so many companies registered for this 1st edition of the Deloitte Technology Fast50 awards solely for technology companies headquartered in Belgium. This demonstrates that despite the challenging economic environment, there is still plenty of movement in the country’s technology sector. As drivers of future growth, these companies deserve the special recognition and support that they receive through the Fast50 competition.”

The Deloitte Technology Fast50 competition is an annual selection of the 50 fastest growing and innovative technology companies headquartered in Belgium. Public or private companies who develop a technology related product or service and who have experienced substantial revenue growth over the last five years can enter the competition for their chance to be nominated as one of the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in Belgium.

Participating in the Deloitte Fast50 competition can help companies to develop their business by increasing their visibility and giving them access to the Fast50’s unique network of highly successful executives.

What Marketers Can Expect from Apple’s New Products

It’s been about 2 weeks since Apple announced its latest products: the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch. There’s been much buzz about how consumers can use these products, but they also present several opportunities for brands.

Here’s what you should keep an eye on:

Larger Screen Sizes: Many consumers prefer the bigger screen for browsing the web, playing games, etc. Apple has now answered that demand giving the new iPhones a 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch screen size, respectively, which will likely give a boost to digital video advertising as well as social media engagement via mobile. In the mobile inbox, the larger screen size means that more emails are visible within the inbox and more characters are visible in the subject line and preheader text. (Here’s a past look at how email subject lines render on mobile devices for context.)

NFC: Near-field communication (NFC) and ApplePay are included in these new phones. Though a few retailers have stated they won’t accept ApplePay, the service still has several benefits for marketers. Retailers could include ApplePay in their mobile apps, allowing consumers to purchase and pay for items right from their devices as well as giving the brand the opportunity for regular communication with its customers. The watch is said to also be equipped with NFC. The technology also provides marketers with the opportunity to capture more data.

iOS8: There are a few new features to keep in mind with iOS8. The new OS allows users to locate which apps are draining the phone’s battery. If your app appears on the list, it’s a likely assumption that it will be deleted. The ‘Quick Website Search’ feature remembers which sites users search frequently. For example if a user frequently searches Amazon and they’re looking for dog food, they can type ‘Amazon dog food’ into Safari to view all the results from Amazon. Because Google search results are eliminated with this feature, marketers need to factor this into their search strategies.

360i Client Summit: The Top 3 Trends in Digital Marketing

In the past five years, digital marketing has exploded. A day does not go by where a start-up is conceived, a new platform is released, or two companies merge their technologies to better serve their clients. The digital space is exponentially growing and creating new ideas to help companies solve complex problems. As a marketer, digital marketing can be exhausting, confusing and leave you asking yourself, “where do I begin?” In my opinion, the best way to evaluate these vendors is by aligning your top three strategic objectives to the top trends in digital marketing to narrow down your pick-list.

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the 360i Client Summit in NYC where I was able to listen to brands discuss the current state of digital marketing within the context of their company. In watching these presentations, the common thread to success is that brands are using digital platforms to listen to their customers, learn their habits and quirks, and be there for them when the customer needs them the most. Each one of these trends allows brands to digitally enhance the connection they have with their customer, ultimately creating a strong emotional connection to the brand, growing loyalty and increasing profit.

Here are the top three trends in digital marketing, as told by the brands presenting at the 360i Client Summit:

1. Data-driven storytelling – Marketers are beginning to find new ways to take what data they have and craft a personalized story unique to each prospect. Instead of sending generic or slightly personalized content, marketers are digging deep into their data insights to form a narrative engaging with the right person, on the right device at the moment they care. Ellen Stone, EVP Marketing at Bravo and Oxygen Media, further explained how storytelling can be used with transmedia to evolve or shape the story. For example, on their show Top Chef, they drive consumers from TV to digital as a way to vote back on their favorite chef who was eliminated, thus using digital as a means to shape their TV show.

2. The use of APIs – I like to think of an API as a bridge that allows two disparate pieces of technology to communicate in the same language. Marina MacDonald, CMO of Red Roof Inn, noticed a huge opportunity for weather related flight cancellations. When a flight was cancelled, consumers were turning to their smartphones to book a near-by hotel. Red Roof Inn created an API with weather-data and local flight cancellations to place higher bids in search engines in areas where flights were cancelled due to weather. Consumers saw them at the top of the search engine and Red Roof Inn was only paying a fraction of the cost in media spend. This directly resulted in at 375% conversion rate and a 60% lift in bookings simply because platforms were communicating more effectively with each other.

3. Brands are publishers – More than ever, brands have a strong ability to control how they are represented in the public eye. Whether it is digital, social, ecommerce, search, display, or marketing automation, marketers are publishers. In a presentation by The Huffington Post, it was mentioned that we have “60X more content from brands in our newsfeeds today than just 2 years ago.” Brands are beginning to recognize significant value in producing informative, timely and educational content for their target audience. This thought-leadership positions the brand as an expert on the topic, while continuing to deepen the relationship with their customer in a way where the brand can narrative extremely personalized and relevant content to their customers.

IgnitionOne and the House of Code

Throughout the digital marketing landscape, there are but a handful of major players that are capable of servicing the online advertising needs of large companies. IgnitionOne is firmly recognized in the ad tech industry as a leader and innovator in the field. With clients such as General Motors, CenturyLink, Bridgestone, La Quinta and Fiat, as well as advertising agencies such as 360i, GroupM and iProspect ,and a fresh new round of funding, the company is growing rapidly and working feverishly to keep up with demand.

But like any technology company, all of this activity begins with, and ultimately falls back on, the core software product and the engineers who build and support it. IgnitionOne was founded on basic principles of service and innovation and that’s exactly what continues to resonate in the conversations I have had with a handful of engineers from the IgnitionOne team.

As a talent specialist, I often refer to IgnitionOne as the ideal environment for software engineers. And not just because of the beer on tap or the ping pong tables or casual dress code, but the camaraderie within the different teams. It is something very tangible you can experience even just by casually walking by the open cubes on the floor. Either it’s church quiet, or there’s the low buzz of chatter that signifies the collective intelligence of the group collaborating to achieve their goals. And you could just as easily encounter a toy helicopter buzzing around amongst gales of laughter.

The Digital Marketing Suite (DMS) is IgnitionOne’s flagship product that helps marketers to navigate the muddy waters of digital advertising. It is a beast of a system that is simple on the outside and unbelievably complex on the inside. According to engineer Michael Bower, this is one of his primary motivators. “The goal is to make life easier for end users, so that whatever we do is taking away from their daily activities and not adding to it.” For engineer Alexander Fisher, motivation comes from a different angle. “Since there isn’t really one traditional ‘architect’, a lot of that responsibility has been spread out to the rest of the team. And because of that I, get exposed to a lot of new technologies.”

But what makes teams do great things? Or, what are the makings of a great team?
Collaboration comes to mind. I don’t care if you’re a football team or a team of carpet cleaner salespeople, the attributes of a good team are the same. “Collaboration keeps everyone engaged.” Says Donella Cohen, Sr. Product Manager on the search team. “And we strive to get multiple perspectives in the development process. And for a team that’s a little over a year old I think there is unbelievably good chemistry.”

This hints at a larger process that everyone on the floor seems to appreciate compared to their previous experience; the fact that engineers and product are in such cahoots with each other – in most companies that is not the case. “Product is our collaborators” Bower says. “I’m not just sitting down banging out code just to get things done. It is a process that involves everyone.”

It is a testament to the technical leadership at IgnitionOne that Thorne Melcher, a 7 month veteran, would have the same impression as some of the more seasoned engineers.

“In other companies, developers just sit around waiting for the product owners to say ‘go’. Not here, we know what they know and we have the ability to just
start on our own as long as we know we’ll be finished by the next release, “says Thorne.

The consensus is that IgnitionOne is not just a ‘code factory’ but an idea factory that everyone in an unspoken way is responsible for making a contribution to.

It’s also very creative and I often say that the aesthetics of the environment was designed with creative and technical people in mind. Bower concurs with this idea; “It’s water cooler type collaboration vs. scheduling a time and place, and the elephant in the room of ‘don’t waste my time’. We talk about problems over lunch, on the way out the door, through Skype, etc. And the good ideas keep generating conversations that ultimately lead to solutions.

For Craig Alexander (who just celebrated his one year anniversary) the IgnitionOne technical environment is a never ending challenge. “We move mountains of data from one place to another on a daily basis, so there’s a lot of challenges around performance and scalability and the tradeoff between the two. The scale of the DMS is challenging for most of us and it was an area that was lacking in my career and something I was looking for when I was seeking employment.”

This is what is great about our intern program because an intern can come in, whether they are right out of school, still in school, or have 5 years of experience, there is a tremendous upside for them in the knowledge and skill sharpening that’s going to happen in the first 30 days.

In other words, IgnitionOne is one of those shops like Facebook or Google or Amazon where you go to raise your ‘A’ game. And it takes a particular kind of developer. Someone that’s knee deep in the technologies and “someone that’s not just a ‘Tinkerer’” as Troy Larson, VP of DevOps has often said.

But for Thorne, programming isn’t just a way of paying the bills. It is a lifelong passion that has lead her to a place that can really support the kind of thinker and collaborator she is.

“I’ve always found programming to be interesting. It’s a weird way of deconstructing completely unrelated things, picking them apart, figuring out how it works. There’s something very philosophical about programming because you have to understand the inner workings of something in order to build the virtual version in your program. It’s also incredibly rewarding.”

“The problems that I solve on a daily basis continue to be interesting and challenging.
And I think that’s very important to a lot of developers. There are challenges that don’t get boring and remain new” says Fisher.

And given the nature of the ad tech industry, there’s no shortage of challenges to solve and the team that we’ve built and continue to build at IgnitionOne are meeting those challenges head on in a way that’s all their own.

To view our available careers, click here.

New Infographic Reveals Data Flow, How it Can be Used to Benefit Customers

It’s the age of data. Did you know there will be 40 zetabytes of data by 2020? (That’s 40 with 21 zeros after it.) There’s so much of it available to marketers nowadays that it’s easy to get overwhelmed by thoughts of what to do with it and how to best use it.

To help you get a better understanding of all the data that’s out there, where it comes from, how it’s processed, and how we can benefit from it, IgnitionOne worked with other members of the Application Developers Alliance to create an infographic outlining all of this information and more.
Interesting tidbits include:

• 90% of the world’s data was created over the past 2 years.
• 80% of organizational data is unstructured. (For more on structured/unstructured data, check out this post.)
• Data can include sentiment, behavioral, demographic or descriptive information.

Check out the entire infographic:

Is your AdWords Account Set Up for Failure?

I clearly remember my first day as a junior PPC analyst where I was eagerly sitting in the meeting room with a metaphorical funnel in my hand, awaiting a waterfall of knowledge to rain down upon me. Instead I was told the three words that would hang over my head as a noose for as long as I was in PPC:

“DO NOT OVERSPEND.”

We all know the feeling. That word “OVERSPEND” makes your heart stop, stomach sink and that falafel wrap you had for lunch start to claw its way back up your throat.

However, there is something that has always been more important than overspending – something which if PPC people started to pay more attention to at the start of a campaign, they could significantly decrease the chances of wetting their desk chairs: campaign structures.

When mentioning campaign structures “Measure once, cut twice; measure twice, cut once” comes to mind. There is such little time for PPC people to get new accounts up and running that they don’t have time to philosophize over which campaign structure will work best for their client in relation to the budget they have.

Although it may not always be apparent, every half decent PPC person knows that any budget can become considerably easier to manage and oversee when you actually put thought into the campaign structure of an account you are about to set up.

Coming over to the technology side of the industry, I have had the opportunity to speak to some of the greatest minds in search and get a peek into hundreds of different AdWords accounts. So I’ll take this opportunity to put my newly gathered wisdom to good use and give you the top 3 tips about how campaign structures can be used to keep a tighter grip on your budget.

1) Priority Campaigns

We all know most clients don’t have unlimited budgets, and sometimes the number of keywords in an account or the number of products offered is just not proportional to the amount of budget available. Logically, the majority of the budget should first be spent on brand, but once you have gained 100% impression share on these terms, what next? Which generic keywords should you target and which ones should remain?

In times like this, priority campaigns can become your saviors. By dividing the generic campaigns by priority, you can make sure that you are spending money on generic keywords that matter the most! For example, a holiday client may have a variety of different countries on offer. Time should be spent with the client on understanding which countries generate the highest amount of ROAS or which countries have still have spaces to fill.

By splitting generic campaigns up into P1 (Priority1),P2,P3 etc. you are able to fully dictate how much of your spend should be allocated to each set of priorities. Thus making it easier to manage the more volatile part of your account.

2) Spreading it Too Thin

No one likes that part of the sandwich that has no filling and is all bread; the same goes for your AdWords campaigns. Having a large number of highly granular campaigns is a great idea, because you can have even more granular ads. We all know granular ads equal higher CTR and a higher CTR is likely to mean higher quality traffic to site, and more high quality traffic to site means potentially higher conversion rates and higher conversion rates equal to more revenue. No. Just NO.

The above statement is about as one sided as the Germany vs Brazil World cup game. Yes, all of the above is true in an ideal world where budget is unlimited, however the majority of clients do not have unlimited budgets and therefore the above is irrelevant.

Using the same example as before, if we were to create a campaign for each holiday destination for our travel client and set each campaign at a budget of $5 a day, very quickly we could end up with an insane number of campaigns to manage.

Let’s say we have 200 destinations (that is 200 generic campaigns based on an individual destinations). Some days they may spend a combined $5 , other days they may spend a combined $1000. You can see the volatility issue here quite clearly, especially if a client’s budget is only $10,000 for generic keywords in the month! You could potentially blow a tenth of the month’s budget in a day. Yes, shared budgets could be used to alleviate this giant pain, but everyone I have asked have still found them to be more of a liability, but that’s a whole post on its own!

If you have bigger and less fluctuating budgets feel free to take the time and build out more targeted campaigns. For smaller and more volatile budget clients, stick to splitting out on an ad group level and break out any particular ad groups that are taking majority of the campaign budget into its own campaigns as time goes on.

3) Broad Match Modified & Negatives

A colleague of mine once told me “you only need one broad keyword in an account, if your negatives are good enough.” As absurd as it sounds, in principle, this is correct. Negatives play a large role and many a time are overlooked in their importance within a strategy. They can also help to manage budgets more tightly if used correctly by making sure clicks are being directed to keywords with campaigns/ad groups with the lowest bids, especially when match type integrity is of question.

The way forward is to build out your exact match keywords extensively, and only have a handful of broad match modified keywords from which you will negative all of your exact match keywords, leaving your broad match modified keywords to only fish for keywords you have not yet come into contact with. Although with the latest upcoming Google update, which makes true Exact Match obsolete, this method may not be as effective as it once would have been, but nonetheless it is still by far one of the most efficient ways to manage your keywords and bidding.

The smaller the number of keywords in an account, the clearer the indication will be of which keywords are working and which keywords are simply a liability.

In conclusion:
“Measure once, cut twice; measure twice, cut once”
– (John, my very wise builder)

IgnitionOne Earns Gold and Bronze at Golden Bridge Business Awards

Back in July, we announced that IgnitionOne was shortlisted for Innovations in Technology at the Golden Bridge Business Awards.

Today, we’re proud to announce that IgnitionOne’s LiveMarketer 3.0 platform earned a bronze award for Innovations in Technology. IgnitionOne’s work with LaQuinta Inns & Suites also received a gold award for Hospitality and Leisure campaign of the year.

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The annual Golden Bridge Awards is a coveted awards program that features a broad spectrum of industry voices, encompasses the world’s best in products and services, innovations, public relations and marketing campaigns, and more.

IgnitionOne has also been shortlisted for Best PPC Management Software in the US Search Awards.

The US Search Awards recognize and reward organizations, agencies and individuals in the USA search and digital marketing industry, and has attracted hundreds of entries from some of the leading search and digital agencies and professionals from across North America.

Instagram Adds Ad Analytics: what does it mean for marketers?

Recently, Instagram announced a new suite of tools for brands, addressing the need for measurement of paid and organic content on the very popular photo sharing app.

Before Facebook could tout their extensive capabilities for tracking and measuring advertising impact, marketers and the ad industry were very critical of social because success was difficult to quantify, putting its value into question. But then we could measure the impact of Facebook (paid and owned) advertising  as a standalone and while looking at the full conversion path of a consumer and now social is a critical channel in the marketing mix.

Instagram has clearly learned a valuable lesson from its owner’s past, and has made the rollout of analytics a priority for its business users. Now that marketers will be able to track how they’re increasing brand awareness, the performance of paid campaigns and engagement across various ads and campaigns, Instagram immediately becomes more valuable to marketers.

Now that we have the measurement covered, why is Instagram a necessary component of the marketers’ media plan?

  • Viewability Unless you are in a mad dash for the bottom of the feed, scrolling through Instagram photos is pretty steady and controlled, meaning people are almost always going to view your ad because it consumes the entirety of the page – this is just the nature (and layout) of the beast.

Instagram-ads-1024x812 See? Pretty hard to miss.

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  • Audience With more than 200 million active monthly users on Instagram, the audience reach is incredible. Because the app is linked to Facebook, the first party data is extremely rich, allowing marketers to hone in to very specific segments based on demographic, geo, interests and more.

Predictions for Instagram’s Future

  • Instagram will become an attributable step on the path to conversion. The next logical step for Instagram would be the ability  to click through to websites from ads, allowing marketers to quantify DR efforts.
  • Instagram will integrate with platforms, like IgnitionOne’s Digital Marketing Suite.
  • Paid ads on Instagram are very expensive and prices probably won’t decrease much. Instagram inventory is and should be limited, but ad analytics is giving advertisers a look at WHY Instagram is such a powerful tool for branding and  eventually for  direct response.

IgnitionOne Earns Top Ranking in Latest Marketing Technology Research

Late last week, the analysts at Gigaom released an analysis of a wide range of marketing-technology platforms. Gigaom Research is an independent publisher of expert industry insights on emerging markets, including in-depth coverage and analysis of relevant topics – particularly those related to media, technology and consumer behavior.

In their “Sector Roadmap: digital-marketing platforms” report, IgnitionOne receives the top ranking. You can access a copy of the research here: http://digitalmarketingsuite.com/reports/gigaom/

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Recognizing that marketers need more than just point solutions to stay relevant in today’s digital world, Gigaom examined six leading marketing technology providers to determine which would best meet the needs of today’s cross-channel orchestrated campaigns.

The report’s author, David Card, noted IgnitionOne’s capabilities stood out: “of the companies we examined, IgnitionOne…align[s] best with the trends we deemed most critical,” according to the report.

We earned high marks for the variety of capabilities in our Digital Marketing SuiteSM (DMS) that allow for portfolio optimization, social media advertising optimization, and its customer acquisition and targeting capabilities. The report goes on to say “IgnitionOne is well suited as a marketing technology platform for multichannel, multi-objective advertisers…”.

Our placement and involvement in this report highlights our emphasis on innovation and leadership in the advertising and marketing technology space. In a very crowded and fragmented landscape, IgnitionOne continues to raise the bar for the industry. We look forward to continuing to disrupt the industry with best-in-class technology and an emphasis on simplicity to make things easier and more efficient for marketers.

Read more about the report here, and get your copy of the report here.

Meet Jon Baron, IgnitionOne’s Chief Revenue Officer

On August 20th, we announced that former TagMan founder and CEO, Jon Baron, joined IgnitionOne’s management team as chief revenue officer.

In his new role, some of Jon’s responsibilities include expanding revenue opportunities to benefit both advertising agencies and brand marketers, overseeing global sales efforts and more. As for why he wanted to join the IgnitionOne team, the answer is simple: the vision, team and client success stories.
“Will and his team focus on execution and know how to win in a crowded space,” he explained. “[I’m excited about] working with passionate teams focused on going beyond expectation for clients.”

Jon has over 15 years of experience in the industry working for pioneering Internet publishers, online ad networks and early search ‘giants’ like Lycos and Overture, and when it comes to the future of marketing technology he says we can expect to see many changes.

“Most marketers have multiple technology and service providers. Choice is useful but too many vendors have created data silos that have stolen marketer’s ability to gain critical insight. Integration of their data from CRM to ad server to website to mobile app is a number one priority for marketers. They want to focus on teams and results, not tools.”

“Over the next three years, the market will consolidate into more end to end technology solutions. It will be difficult for point solutions to compete. Expect to see big blue chip players enter the market through significant acquisitions. IgnitionOne was the first to integrate ad tech with marketing tech, expect to see further expansion and many more happy clients,” he said.

When he’s not in the office, Jon has enjoyed an array of hobbies from adventure racing to wakeboarding. These days he can be found spending time with his family and friends, perfecting his Argentine barbequing skills as well as pouring the perfect Fernandito aperitif.