Tag Archives: CTR

The Beta Debate

To beta or not to beta…that is the question. It is always tempting for search marketers to load up a text ad with the latest ad extensions offered by Google or Yahoo!/Bing to command more real estate on the search engine results page (SERP), but does it pay off in the form of increased ROAS? The answer is sometimes yes, but a lot of times, no. So before you jump on the beta bandwagon, carefully consider your vertical and the KPIs to which you are managing to ensure the beta will actually help you achieve your goals.

When evaluating whether or not a client should participate in a new beta, the media team at IgnitionOne takes into account the following considerations:

  • Vertical – While it makes sense for a travel or retail client to run Google’s new image ad extensions, the beta will not be as impactful for a telecomm or banking client. Google users will be interested in seeing images of a luxury hotel or fashion house’s latest line, but not as intrigued by a stock photo man on the phone or a pile of cash. Running banal stock images will not increase CTR or any other return metrics.
  • KPI (Key Performance Indicator) – To what metric are you optimizing your client’s account? If you are lucky and the answer is simply site-traffic or awareness, then the world is your oyster (the world of betas that is.) But, if your KPI is ROAS, as it is for most advertisers, then choose your betas carefully. For example, running Google’s communication extension may encourage users to sign up for a newsletter, but it also may discourage them from actually clicking through to the site and potentially making a purchase. Another recent example of a newish product that has the potential to decrease ROAS is Yahoo RAIS Video ads. Because the video does not link through to your site, you are essentially trading potential conversions for video views.
  • Tracking & Reporting Capabilities – If the results are not “trackable”, then they do not exist. While a beta may help drive incremental revenue, if you cannot track the performance and report on it, that revenue (and your effort in setting up the beta) is wasted. For example, enabling call extensions for Yahoo|Bing! campaigns may look great in the SERP and will drive traffic to your call centers, but if your campaigns are not integrated with a call tracking technology, those conversions will be lost. Most times, your technology platform will not have built in support for betas, so you may have to set up workarounds, like dummy tracking.
  • Budget Constraints – Any budget allocated towards testing engine betas should be incremental. Never rely on a beta product, like Google’s DSA (dynamic search ads) or Yahoo|Bing’s in-stream ads to spend your core budget or drive revenue towards your overall goal. Betas should always be tested with a small incremental budget before they are launched across an entire account and expected to boost performance.
  • Client’s Level of Risk Aversion – Now I am scared of many things, including heights, public speaking and tick borne illnesses, but engine betas are not among them. However, many clients prefer to stay with the tried and true and are hesitant to enable betas before they are a proven success. For example, clients with highly particular brand guidelines tend to stay away from betas that have any type of dynamically generated ad-copy, since the predictability of how the brand will appear is low during the beta period. Other clients are not satisfied unless they are on the cutting edge of something, even if the risky behavior costs them performance. Of course, the smartest advertisers fall somewhere in the middle, but always consider your client’s risk aversion when proposing that they test an engine beta.

The bottom line for betas is to proceed with caution. Marketers should carefully consider their vertical, KPI, tracking and reporting capabilities, budget constraints and risk aversion before opting into the latest and greatest engine offering.

Sabermetrics & Search Bid Management; ‘Moneyballing’ the Market

It took some time for the baseball world to accept the forward thinking Bill James. His work in advanced statistics, now known as sabermetrics, attempts to quantify all aspects of baseball to determine why teams win and lose. James’ approach has been highly contested since the late 70’s, but is now becoming widely accepted as a stat revolution in baseball.

My curiosity with Search Engine Marketing (SEM) grew with the acceptance and advancement of sabermetrics in Major League Baseball in the early 2000’s. The similarities between SEM and baseball seemed quite natural to me and easy to correlate. You have a batter and a pitcher, similarly representative of your ad and a consumer. At-bats are impressions, hits are clicks, home runs are conversions and so forth. Slightly more quantifiable stats in baseball, such as Batting Average, Slugging Percentage and On Base Percentage equate very similarly to CTR, Revenue-Per-Keyword and Average Order Value for any given keyword.

The age of “big data” for marketers had me convinced there are new sabremetrics yet to be discovered or written for search which would provide a tactical advantage for my clients in the search auction. The logical correlation seemed obvious and as with baseball, sabremetrics could help smaller advertisers/ ball clubs compete against the large advertisers/ big market clubs as many of us enjoyed in “Moneyball.”

So I began hurling ideas at the whiteboard in the spirit of Old Hoss Radbourn and his 60 win season (minus the alcoholism and shooting out his own eye) – positives, negatives, extrapolating new stats, correlating stats by macro and micro trends and the findings were quite astonishing… as well as completely inconclusive.

Although it seems SEM is poised to enter the age of advertising sabermetrics, it quickly became more complicated than it was at first glance. The issue lies at the root of aggregating data, as with individual players. An individual player will average between 450-600 at-bats per season based upon games played and order in the lineup; however there is no change in competition besides the pitcher. Keywords, on the other hand, may have millions of impressions and in very different market conditions and at different ranks over a short period of time. Factors such as day parting, budget management, geo-targeting, seasonality, competition and current bidding algorithms make the environment too variable to quantify additional metrics beyond our current capacity. Although it would be easy to assume in the age of big data someone could ‘Moneyball’ the SEM space, it doesn’t appear likely. Actually, it appears nearly impossible.

By this point you are probably asking, “So what is the right approach and aren’t you going to share something insightful?” The answer almost appears too simple, considering the complexity of the issue, but it is as basic as implementing strategic, statistical, and active management.

Bid management needs an active eye – a daily glance ensuring you adapt to ongoing market changes. This means multiple rounds of bid optimizations at different points during the week. The statistical layer includes identifying a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) and leveraging the keywords driving your KPIs. The final, strategic layer comprises a variety of external market conditions such as seasonality, inventory and actualized return around various KPI’s to ensure you are maximizing actions for your given budget.

Sabermetrics may have changed the way GMs manage baseball teams and is even impacting other industries, but ad tech won’t be joining the party any time soon. Instead, we should embrace the fact that our industry only rewards those who actively participate in bid management, and those who succeed will earn their way to the top.

IgnitionOne’s Solution to Bid Management

Although developing new sabermetrics for search may not be a feasible solution, there are other technological approaches to addressing this challenge. IgnitionOne utilizes SPOT, which uses proprietary algorithms based on advanced statistical modeling technologies to accurately forecast keyword performance at varying spend levels. This can help marketers determine how aggressive bids should be based on goals and how to optimize spend by keyword to where it will receive maximum impact. By developing a technology solution which aims to provide insights at a level beyond what any new ‘search sabermetrics’ could provide, IgnitionOne can optimize keywords to achieve maximum performance at unprecedented scale.

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.


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.

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.

Leveraging Rich Ads and Branded Sitelinks in Yahoo!/ Bing

With Yahoo!/ Bing (YaBing) releasing a beta for sitelinks, alongside the release of Rich Ads earlier this year, IgnitionOne investigated how to leverage the budgets of branded campaigns to increase efficiency to marketers’ YaBing account.  The basic premise of leveraging the two products’ budgets to increase efficiency lies in the ability to predict brand click-through rate (CTR).

How Rich Ads Work

Rich Ads run only on exact and phrase match types, can only run on brand terms or extremely relevant non-brand terms and the ad position only shows at a rank of 1. This design of the Rich Ads, along with the fact that no competitors can set up a Rich Ad campaign running on another marketer’s brand terms, indicates that the algorithm which dictates cost-per-click (CPC) for this product is slightly different from the algorithm we see in the perfectly competitive open market (i.e., the non-Rich Ads campaigns’ algorithm). The algorithm in the “open market” determines rank and CPC by looking at Quality Score (QS), which is usually a 10 for branded terms, CTR, as a relevancy proxy, and the next in lines competitors’ bid in comparison to your bid. Due to the Rich Ads’ design we can take out QS as a major determining factor for the CPC you are charged, as well as the next-in-line competitors’ bids. We also know that the algorithm is only predicting CPC as the rank and never changes for Rich Ads. This leaves CTR determining CPC. As we all know, CTR is determined by clicks and impressions.

So how can marketers use this information in tandem with their branded sitelinks strategy?

The Strategy

Since the Rich Ads algorithm primarily gathers information from within its campaign and pulls relatively little information from the market, it has more of a lagged model than the “open market” algorithm. Essentially, it uses past data to predict what will happen to the CTR in the future. The shift between the lows and the highs of brand demand (i.e., impressions) is where this gets interesting.

The lag experienced in CPCs, essentially based on impressions, is about 1-2 weeks (note: this may vary based on the amount of impressions your brand receives). During the period in which your brand has reached the descent from the apex of a high demand period, you will be charged high CPCs for about two weeks into your descent of demand within the Rich Ads campaign without the justification in ROAS (i.e., conversions or AOV decreases). This is when IgnitionOne recommends decreasing your daily budget caps so that your rich ad campaign will, in fact, flight (see Figure 1.0). From here, marketers should reallocate extra budget into branded campaign that has sitelinks, to ensure that all exact, phrase and broad match terms come in a rank of 1 (See Figure 1.1). This is important as the “open market” algorithm will adjust more quickly due to your competitors pulling out of the market/lowering their bids during periods of low demand. The algorithm will adjust more quickly also due to your ability to change more keywords’ average ranks to a 1, thus bolstering CTR, which will in turn lower your CPC. Once you see the Rich Ads’ CPCs coming down to where they should be, your brand should increase the budget to where it will not flight further.

Best Practices:

-Identify if your CTR follows this same pattern during extreme changes in brand demand.

-Watch your Rich Ads campaign to see how it performs during fluctuations in demand. You will need to understand your brand’s CPC lag time.

-Set keyword bids high in the Rich Ads campaigns. You will need to manage spend in your Rich Ads by daily budget rather than CPC, as there are no competitors bidding on these terms and no dispute for rank.

-Set the Rich Ad campaign serving setting to “accelerated.”

-Do not turn off your Rich Ads campaign during the period in which your CPCs will not justify the ROAS. You will need the Rich Ads algorithm to collect data in order to get CPCs where they should be.

-Ensure your branded campaign has enough daily budget to take over the Rich Ads campaigns’ daily spend when you switch over.

NOTE: How to predict changes in CTR

Impressions and clicks rise in periods of high demand for your product or brand. However, it is common that in periods of extremely high demand, clicks are able to maintain at the same rate as the demand (i.e., impressions). Due to this effect, brands typically can experience drops in CTR. Since CTR is the main dictator of our Rich Ads CPC, brands using this product can experience higher CPCs during high demand periods. This is not a huge detriment to the account as conversion rates tend to be fairly high in Rich Ads campaigns and also during times of high demand. Conversely, CTR increases as impressions decrease during a brand’s offseason causing CPCs to decrease in Rich Ads. It is during this time that IgnitionOne would recommend keeping Rich Ads budget caps high.

Figure 1

Figure 2

What About Search Partner Networks?

SEM managers should be concerned with partner network traffic when seeking to increase efficiencies for a particular account.

I’m not here to outright denigrate the search partner network.  It’s a great solution to a potential problem for all parties involved.  There are a lot of smaller portals out there through which users can search the web, and these users undoubtedly constitute a considerable amount of valuable traffic.

That being said, even your engine rep will probably pitch it to you as a marginal revenue segment of your search spend rather than an efficient channel that stands on its own merit and can be expected to compete on KPI’s with the principle publishers.

Assessing partner network performance, and turning them off when warranted, is completely essential to your entire SEM effort.  Omitting a partner network can do much more than just save you the portion of the budget it’s absorbing.  Switching off a poor performing partner network can cause an uptick in every metric for a given campaign, and this comprehensive array of benefits can lift a campaign into an entirely different tier of performance.  If you’re reading this, you don’t need me to tell you the heights that harmonic interplay between rising CTR, falling CPC, and steadily climbing conversion rate can propel an SEM initiative to.

Before anyone rushes out and turns off every partner network that is currently missing marketing goals, no matter how narrowly scoped the view or by how small a margin they fall short, it’s important to be aware of the potential negatives of such a sweeping measure and decide on strategy with a caution/aggression balance tailored to your efficiency/volume needs.

At IgnitionOne, we tend to err on the side of caution when switching off partner networks, and choose to do so with “mature” search campaigns.  The reason we make this one of the last major optimizations is simple: the search partner network can respond just as strongly to optimization efforts as principle-engine search, and so to cut the network early in a campaign’s lifecycle is to miss out on possible gains that other optimizations that would possibly drive the partner network into profitable territory.  It’s best to think of most optimization measures as paint, and the partner networks as part of the canvas: see what brush strokes the space affords you and what picture you can paint before cutting out part of the picture.

When we’ve decided it’s time to cull the partner herd, we take approach that examines multiple metrics.  The first thing to look for may be partner networks missing a KPI goal such as ROAS or CPA, but that’s just scratching the surface.  It’s important to make sure that the problem is truly the partner network and not some other factor, and for that reason, we look for networks that perform below both client goals and the campaign’s engine search traffic.  If a partner network’s CTR, conversion rate, and ROAS are lower, and its CPA, is higher, we will cut it.  CPC is tricky, as sometimes a partner will provide too many cheap clicks to give up on, whether the rationale is that conversions will eventually have to follow, or that the impressions are good for branding.

A key metric some managers miss is Average Rank.  We don’t like to cut a partner network unless its average rank is around or above the engine search average rank.  If your ads aren’t showing at the same rank on both networks, how can you expect the same performance?  Lower ad rank on a search partner network is something we tend to see get hammered out over time, and so it’s best not to give up yet if you see your partner networks hampered by this effect.

Once you’ve made these changes, be sure to pay close attention to the affected campaigns and verify that you’re seeing the response in the metrics that you expected.  Tricky elements like click-path assists and other unforeseen indirect consequences could demonstrate that the partner networks you cut were providing value that wasn’t immediately apparent to you.

IgnitionOne Industry Digest

September 2012

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

Company Highlights

SEM Metrics that Really Matter
Search Engine Watch
August 2, 2012

Dave Ragals, SVP, Client Services at IgnitionOne discusses the metrics that are most important in search engine marketing and better allow marketers to understand the value of the results.

Five Best Practices for Display
August 2, 2012

David Hill, Senior Product Manager at IgnitionOne, lists five best practices for marketers implementing display into their marketing mix.

An Intelligent Business: Understanding the Conversion Path for an Online Booking
Eye for Travel
August 7, 2012

IgnitionOne data pertaining to what affects the speed of an onlinebooking and size of the average order value is used in this Eye for Travel report, as well as insights from Dominic Gramatte at IgnitionOne UK.

IgnitionOne Ignites Expedia Ireland’s CTR
Breaking News Travel
August 11, 2012

IgnitionOne announces the results of a partnership with Expedia.ie, consisting of the improvement of overall site relevancy by 25% and a four times higher CTR using targeted homepage banners compared to default or standard banners. See the case study here

Q&A with Noriaki Okubo, IgnitionOne’s Managing Director, APAC
August 15, 2012

Noriaki Okubo discusses marketing in Asia, the recent launch of remarketing in Japan and pivotal supplies if ever stranded on an island.

Through the Lens of an Intern
August 22, 2012

Isaias Garcia discusses what it is like to be an intern at IgnitionOne, some notable experiences and his take on the digital landscape.

Mobile is where it’s At (Literally)
August 23, 2012

Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne, covers mobile search in his MediaPost byline and offers key takeaways for marketers in need of integrating mobile into their mix.

Back to School for Search Marketers
Search Engine Watch
August 30, 2012

Dave Ragals reminds search marketers to revisit the fundamentals as part of the “back to school” season.

Econsultancy PPC Bid Management Technology Buyer’s Guide
August, 2012

IgnitionOne is featured in the 2012 Econsultancy PPC Bid Management Technology Buyer’s Guide, a valuable tool for those interested in the global market for paid search bid management technology, containing a detailed analysis of market trends and guidance about how to select the right technology.

Industry Insights

Accurately Evaluate the Performance of your Marketing Efforts
August 1, 2012

Four steps to ensure you are accurately measuring the performance of your marketing efforts: starting with you business objective; investing in research; knowing what success looks like and considering the big picture.

China Edges closer to the US in Online Advertising
Internet Retailer
August 3, 2012

According to a new forecast by eMarketer, China will surpass the UK in 2014 to become the second largest source of online advertising in the world, after the US, at an estimated $11.78 billion, compared to the UK’s estimated $11.25 billion and the US’ $52.80 billion.

Reinventing the CMO
August 6, 2012

A recent report revealed that 80% of CEOs are not satisfied with the work done by marketers, yet 90% value and trust the work of CFOs and CIOs, however, CMOs have gained access to measure, normalize, and rationalize marketing programs – demonstrating a clear and compelling marketing ROI – to silence critics and build respect in the executive suite.

The History of Marketing Channels 2012 (Infographic)
Marketing Pilgrim
August 7, 2012

An infographic that highlights the emergence of marketing in 1839 and the incredible influx of marketing channels in the last four decades.

Earned, Owned, Paid, Shared: Horsemen of the Apocalypse or Best Opportunity?
August 13, 2012

Multi-channel, multi-media, and multi-skilled are the baseline expectations for competitive marketing with digital media. Some marketers see the shift in media as an opportunity to build an approach that fully leverages changes in consumer use of technologies, how they’re influenced, and how they influence others. The author discusses how to attract, engage and convert prospects to buyers through earned, owned, paid and shared media.

You Don’t Control Your Digital Technology Decisions, M&A Does
August 14, 2012

Mergers and acquisitions are shaping the digital technology landscape, by allowing large players to evolve into the enterprise resource space. This article advises marketers to thrive in this “storm” by working with those who have a keen vision of the future and can shed light on complex situations.

The “Missing Manual” of Search Marketing in China: Part Two
August 15, 2012

This article discusses the relationship between search engines and social media in China, and the implications for marketing.

Braving the Rough Waters of Online Marketing
August 15, 2012

This column uses rowing as a metaphor for marketing. Small to mid-sized organizations are much like beginning rowers who get better with practice. Carton offers advice: know your destination, focus on measuring what matters, don’t be afraid to experiment, be prepared to make small, frequent course corrections and take sensible precautions.

Braving the Rough Waters of Online Marketing
August 15, 2012

This column uses rowing as a metaphor for marketing. Small to mid-sized organizations are much like beginning rowers who get better with practice. Carton offers advice: know your destination, focus on measuring what matters, don’t be afraid to experiment, be prepared to make small, frequent course corrections and take sensible precautions.

Key Mobile Users Comfortable with Ads, Shopping with Devices
Marketing Charts
August 15, 2012

New research finds three segments who routinely use mobile media: women with children at home (77%) and mobile Boomers (74%) are highly likely to use their devices while shopping in retail stores, while Generation M are least likely to use their devices while shopping (65%) but show the most comfort with ads. 59% of mobile users say their purchases are influenced by mobile ads, ahead of the 57% influenced by TV ads and 53% of US mobile users say they have been introduced to something new via their device.

The Dangers of Buckets
August 16 2012

People tend to force things (people, products, etc) into buckets or categories in order to stay on track, hence the bucketing of tech products and services, which is inhibiting the realization of companies’ offerings.

Ten Interesting Digital Marketing Stats We’ve Seen this Week
August 17, 2012

Top statistics from the week of August 17 showing that more than three quarters of searches are successful, RTB video ad inventory is on the increase, m-commerce is predicted to boom and more.

New Data Reveals How Marketers Use Social Media
August 20, 2012

This infographic reveals that Facebook and Twitter lead as the most popular social networks, with Google+ as the third. 74% of marketers use LinkedIn for branding, and 60% of marketers are looking for analysis options as well as other analytics options in their social media management tools.

16 Different between Google Mobile and Desktop Search Results in 2012
Search Engine Land
August 20, 2012

Search results vary between mobile and desktop. These differences include local results being more likely on mobile, autocomplete results appear before results in mobile app search, smartphone results having different filters, CTR and bounce rates being more likely to vary in mobile, and more.

Why Media Companies are being Eaten by Tech Companies
August 20, 2012

Google has continued to expand from technology to media, highlighted by acquisitions, such as its recent purchase of Frommer’s; Amazon changes its distribution model through the use of technology; Microsoft has altered the engagement model and therefore the distribution of content via the Xbox. With these examples, it is clear that existing media models will continue to be disrupted and that the future of media is intertwined with technology.

Demand for Mobile impressions through RTB Jumps During H1
Marketing Charts
August 21, 2012

Advertiser and DSP demand for mobile ad impressions through RTB rose from 0.4 bids per impression request in January to 1.6 in June, with a peak of 1.7 in May. Android saw an increase in share of auction volume of 39%, from 28% in April to 39% in June; demand for social networking impressions stood out in Q2, growing from 9% share of auction volume in April to 31% in June; and the US demonstrated the largest share of auction volume in Q2, growing from 21% in April to 25% in June, even as the rest of the world was in flux.

Integrated Marketing Checklist: Tying Together Your Promotion across Platforms
Search Engine Watch
August 22, 2012

This piece shows how marketers should tie promotions across platforms, including like-verbiage on promotional messages on-site, in paid advertising, social media and email marketing.

Does Your PPC Budget Match Your Conversion Optimization Budget?
Search Engine Watch
August 22, 2012

This article highlights the problem of not spending enough time, money and effort on optimizing your conversions.

Nine Chances for Website Conversion Optimization You Don’t Want to Miss
August 22, 2012

Nine tips to boost your website’s conversion potential, including leveraging social proof, revitalizing CTA designs, featuring new offers, updating CTAs on high-trafficking blog posts and web pages, reducing friction, A/B testing and optimizing landing pages and CTAs, experimenting with secondary CTAs, appropriately aligning CTA selection with web pages and optimizing pages you expect to receive high traffic.

Integrated Marketing: If You Want Your Digital Media to be Great, You Must Integrate
August 22, 2012

This article outlines how to integrate paid, earned, owned and shared media and asserts that engaging consumers where they live online and in ways that they care about represents the path to helping brands become more relevant.

Facebook Officially Launches “Sponsored Results” Search Ads
Tech Crunch
August 22, 2012

The Sponsored Results search typehead ad unit allows marketers to target users searching for specific apps, pages and places and inserts a link into the typehead results that points to their own app, page, custom page tab or post.

Display Ads Stable on Major Web Portals
August 24, 2012

The most recent display ad-tracking report revealed that 38% of home page ads were oversized/custom units, up from 36% for the same period a year ago, but down from 44% in the first half of the second quarter. Financial services and media were the biggest verticals in the first half of the current quarter, accounting for 20%, and 17%, of home page ads, respectively. Automotive was another strong contributor, representing 14% of ads.

Facebook Measurement Chief Advocates New Standard for Gauging Reach
August 27, 2012

Brad Smallwood, Facebook’s Head of Measurement and Insights, admits that the company continues to look for ways to measure experiences on the sight, and feels that media agencies and advertisers are three to five years away from demanding successful metrics.

IgnitionOne Targeting Drives 300% Higher CTR for Expedia.ie

Expedia.ie faced the challenge of an industry where users seek a wide variety of products. Reflecting its “People Shaped” approach to travel, Expedia.ie aimed to offer highly relevant products and services to cater to the differing needs of its audience.The popular travel brand sought to increase web traffic, click-through-rates (CTR) and conversions on its site. Expedia.ie looked to IgnitionOne to help solve their digital marketing needs.

IgnitionOne implemented its Digital Marketing Suite technology, which dynamically customizes site content for each visitor in real-time based on their travel destination interest. Providing more relevant and personalized content creates a more fluid click behavior, which improves CTRs. The technology was driven by IgnitionOne’s powerful audience scoring engine on Expedia Ireland’s website. The scoring solution considers on-site behavior, including the travel interests entered by visitors in search forms on Expedia.ie, and instantaneously adapts its homepage banners according to the travel interest profile of each visitor.

Andrew Warner, Senior Marketing Director, Expedia EMEA said, “When Expedia launched, we effectively turned around the travel agent’s monitor and gave the customer access to these expert tools, and more than 15 years on, we continue to look for new ways to empower our customers and to make travel planning simpler and more intuitive.”

Expedia provides access to over 150,000 hotels and more than 300 airlines from destinations across the globe, offering a wealth of ways to tailor the content displayed in banners. The Expedia.ie team used the Digital Marketing Suite’s LiveMarketer drag and drop functionality to draw on the broad range of options to personalize the website on the fly. This functionality includes triggering promotional offers and other on-site campaigns easily for different audience segments to ensure that Expedia.ie can help travelers to find the best value for the destinations they are most interested in quickly and easily.

Within just three months, overall site relevancy improved the user experience by 25%. Targeted homepage banners recorded 300% (4x) higher CTR compared to default or standard banners.

To download the complete case study, click here.

Five Best Practices for Display

by David Hill, Senior Product Manager

Before I started working on display advertising, I always thought of display the way most Internet users probably do: noise next to content I was specifically looking for. Like many users, I actually became blind to display ads. Banner ads may have had some contextual relevance to the site that I was viewing but other than that, there wasn’t a lot of incentive for me to click on an ad. That is of course, unless the stars aligned and I was served a relevant ad that peaked my interest. A lot has changed since then.

As I have moved into working on display products and continue to learn more about the areas of remarketing and real time bidding (RTB), my eyes have been opened to how amazing and powerful display advertising is.

When I have updated friends and family that work in brand marketing on my work in display, I am surprised at how little they know about the topic. My assumption is that even though a lot of brands have seen the importance of including display in their online marketing strategies, there is still a need for further education on the benefits of display as a channel.

I think part of the problem is that brand marketers are so busy in their day-to-day business that display may be viewed as a “technology I just don’t have time to learn.” Whatever the reason, here is a simplified rendition of the benefits of display advertising to those that are interested in it but have not had the opportunity to learn about the landscape.

1. Remarket to users you know are already interested in your product

When users visit your site, you can collect valuable information about what they are interested in, called 1st Party Data. When a user has visited your site and then visits a publisher your display partner can bid on, this data helps to present a highly targeted ad to a user that has already identified that they are interested in your product or service.

2. Target your audience

You can use 1st Party Data (data you collect about your users) or purchase 3rd Party Data (data collected by sources such as publishers, retailers, offline data providers, etc.) to target users more efficiently and effectively based on your online marketing strategies and goals. This data can be used to make more educated bidding decisions that result in showing more relevant users your ad.

3. Branding

Use targeting to your advantage in extending your branding campaign. Since display advertising is highly measurable, the proper mix of strategy and measurement greatly extend your brand marketing efforts

4. Measurement

Display advertising is highly measurable and will help to identify traditional online metrics such as ROI, click-through-rate (CTR) and conversion data, as well as provide advanced insights that can help you create more in-depth custom analysis. This data can also be aggregated and compared to other online or offline marketing efforts.

5. Privacy

Privacy is a subject that you hear a lot about in today’s world both online and offline. How personal information is used is a concern for users and advertisers. Display advertising is no different. Organizations like Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) and the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) help to ensure that user privacy standards encouraged by the Federal Trade Commission are met and continually followed. When selecting a display partner, it is important to know whether they are a member of one or both of these privacy organizations.