IgnitionOne’s latest report for Q3 2015 reveals trends in digital advertising metrics, marking the fourth straight quarter of growth in paid search spend in the U.S. Facebook, meanwhile, continues to outpace Google in display growth.
Key findings in the report include:
Search spend growth continues – U.S. paid search spend grew 12% YoY in Q3, with click-through rate (CTR) and cost-per-click (CPC) increases pointing to more expensive but efficient ads. Sophistication in mobile advertising may be a driving factor in the spend increase.
Mobile search sees slower growth – Shifts in user behavior from tablets/desktop to mobile phones continued to lead to an increase in mobile search spend of 56% YoY. Tablets, similar to desktops, were relatively flat. This is due to the similar ways they’re now managed by users, as well as increased sophistication and interest in mobile traffic. This resulted in 64% of mobile spend share devoted to phones and 36% share going to tablets.
Yahoo Gemini brings change – The addition to the marketplace of Yahoo Gemini gives Yahoo the ability sell its own Mobile and Native ads into its own search results while giving it more control. This has implications to the data tracked in this report and tactics for marketers as it increases fragmentation and bifurcation in the market.
Facebook outpaces Google as ad costs rise – Facebook continues to grow in spend, up 40% while Google display spend dropped 19%. The cost of Facebook ads also continued to climb, with eCPMs up 33% compared to last year.
Programmatic display indicates shift to remarketing – When looking at display tactics in Q3, we see a slight shift toward remarketing ads (targeting ads to users who have visited a site before) when compared to last quarter, coming in at 53% of spend. This is a brief stabilization and a 50:50 mix of remarketing versus prospecting (look-a-like, contextual, custom targeting and reach).
This is the longest continuously running quarterly report on digital marketing trends and is the latest in a series from IgnitionOne, reviewing trends across the online advertising landscape.
The old-aged saying holds true: “If You’re Not Paying for It; You’re the Product.” Unfortunately the general public often forgets this and in today’s digital age internet and mobile users have grown accustom to free content and apps. Publishers have significant overhead to either staff a news room and/or develop these engaging experiences – and to keep the lights on and retain their employees they must generate revenue – more specifically, ad revenue.
With over 144m active adblock users globally – nearly 70% growth y/y reported in June 2014 – adoption has scaled significantly thanks to the increased availability and ease of installation. A significant portion of the growth in 2014 was due to Google Chrome, which led adoption during the same period by almost doubling in use (source: http://blog.pagefair.com/2014/adblocking-report/).
With Facebook recently announcing Instant Articles and Apple following suit with curated content through Apple News and rumors of iOS v9 enabling adblockers by default in safari, digital publishers who have already adjusted from the massive shift from traditional print media are again pinned to creatively generate enough revenue to remain in the black. The move is strategic by the large walled gardens enforcing them, as ad units and revenue can still be generated within their own ad networks. Unfortunately, the publisher is left to fend for themselves and determine how to produce enough high quality content to drive direct visits to their own app on iOS or wholly owned website on Android – where revenue gleaned from ad units goes directly into their pockets.
Meanwhile, Google is hard at work with Twitter to create a new kind of web link and storage system that would allow articles and digital stories to load in a matter of milliseconds, attempting to remain top-of-mind with publishers who may be tempted by the proprietary platforms being rolled out by Facebook and Apple.
While Apple & Facebook are offering consumers a more streamlined, consistent, and stable browsing experience, they are minimizing the importance of publishers to the continued success of their ecosystems. Without content there is no reason to engage in either platform – and content can only be produced when we pay talented writers and editors to work.
By Beth Knetig, Strategic Account Director at IgnitionOne
In February 2015, Google has announced the launch of “Upgraded URLs” for AdWords. Advertisers, Agencies and Ad Tech vendors are currently working together to migrate their AdWords accounts before the July 1st, 2015 deadline.
What exactly is being upgraded?
Google AdWords is allowing for easier means of tracking sources by parsing out root URLs from tracking redirects and parameters. This allows for smoother and faster switching of assets without having to resend everything through editorial before being served. Google is essentially removing the destination URL field and replacing with a landing page field. Tracking elements will be housed in a tracking template and/ or custom parameter fields.
How should an advertiser update this?
For advertisers utilizing 3rd party tracking, they will need to work with their partners to discuss how to go about updating their URLs. For advertisers with complicated URL set ups, there will be some initial legwork and decisions to make before implementing any changes. Once this is completed, future management of assets will be much simpler.
Things to consider before migration:
What tracking parameters will I need to remain intact?
What new tracking parameters will I need to start tracking?
The upgraded URL offers customized tracking without compromising the editorial process for your ads.
IgnitionOne has been working with Google for the past few months to help ensure clients tracking set ups are carefully transitioned.
IgnitionOne’s URL builder will help transition clients to the new format. Current and new clients will be ready for the transition by April 2015 and we plan to migrate clients with complicated set ups well before the July 1, 2015 deadline.
IgnitionOne released a Q4 2014 report today, highlighting trends and data for digital marketing across search, programmatic display, social and mobile. During this time the Yahoo!/Bing partnership grabbed the largest share of the US paid search market since 2008 following two quarters of strong growth. Mobile devices also show strong growth in both search and display advertising.
Key findings in the report:
Yahoo!/Bing shows historic growth at best share since 2008: Yahoo!/Bing continued to chip away at Google’s huge lead and now holds with 26.3% of US search spend versus Google’s 73.7% in Q4. This is the highest market share and largest growth in share over consecutive quarters since the inception of the Search Alliance and equates to a 25.8% jump. The last time growth was close to this robust was in the period of Q4 2007-to-Q1 2008 when they saw a 20% jump.
2014 ends with a strong Q4 for Paid Search: Ending a robust holiday shopping season, US Paid Search saw advertising spend up 11% YoY in Q4. This is the highest rate of growth in 2014.
Phones and Tablets pull even in spend share growth: Spending growth YoY for tablets is up 37% while phone spend is up 78%. As marketers become more sophisticated, creating stronger mobile-specific experiences, and consumers embrace a multi-device lifestyle, mobile becomes more attractive to marketers for effective reach.
Mobile display growth continues – Mobile continues to see strong growth, limited only by inventory available. Most interesting is YoY growth for Android impressions far outpacing iOS, peaking on Thanksgiving Day with 57.8% of impressions.
Healthy growth in programmatic display: Marketers continue to move budget to programmatic display ads due to stronger, trackable results with spend up 35% YoY. Contributing factors to increased effectiveness include better use of data feeding smarter strategies, and greater message relevance based on use of consumer data.
“These numbers show significant growth of mobile across the board, so it’s becoming more important for marketers to get a clear view of the customer across devices and across interactions,” said Roger Barnette, president of IgnitionOne. “Our IgnitionOne data management platform fuels messaging across search, display, social and mobile, making reports like this possible. Pulling together first- and third-party data allows for optimization of all interactions and increased relevance of messaging served.”
Beginning January 1st, Google will no longer allow DMPs to fire 3rd party pixels on its Google Display Network (GDN). The policy specifically restricts capture of impression level data via cookie or other mechanisms for purposes of subsequent re-targeting, interest category categorization, or syndication to other parties on GDN inventory.
What does this mean for you? If you’re using a non-DSP DMP, you’ll have blind spots on the GDN, which means your marketing results will likely be inaccurate.
It’ll work like this: When the new year begins, uncertified pixels will be decertified and rendered vestigial, which will lead to a blind spot on any GDN served impressions.
Google content won’t be able to be compared to non-Google content. Programmatic executions enabled by these DMPs will have holes in the data they are using to optimize.
Accurate frequency capping will be further compromised so attribution and overall customer experience control will be lessened.
IgnitionOne recently published a brief outlining the possible reasons for this change, what it means for marketers, what you can do about it, and more.
Today IgnitionOne announced full support for Google Shopping Campaigns, meaning retailers can now manage, optimize and report on their shopping campaigns within the Digital Marketing SuiteSM (DMS). Uniquely, we are able to optimize Shopping and text ad campaigns together within the same SPOT (or Predictive Bid Optimization) group, allowing marketers to forecast campaign performance at different spend levels and automatically optimize bids accordingly. This gives marketers the ability to maximize ROI to get the most out of their marketing efforts.
This comes ahead of Google’s implementation of changes to its PLA product. Retailers can now (and must adhere to) manage their product feed and targeting within the AdWords ecosystem – and IgnitionOne is ready and able to assist with this transition. By integrating Google Shopping Campaigns into the DMS, retailers can reap the benefits of fully integrated paid search campaigns and have the ability to predict performance of all ads holistically at a specified spend and optimize accordingly.
Other key features include:
Campaign Management allows marketers to create and edit shopping campaigns, ad groups and ads, and manage bids on Product Groups.
Feed Management gives marketers the ability to specify a Merchant Center feed and track URLs for Google Shopping products.
Robust Analytics provide insight into Campaign reports, Ad Groups and Ads reports, Product groups, and product detail reports.
Predictive Bid Optimization forecastscampaign performance in advance at different spend levels and optimizes automatically.
Mobile Support brings retailers’ products to consumers on the devices they use the most
Google announced last week that it was enforcing “close variant matching” to all exact and phrase match keywords. While this has been an option – and, to be sure, the default setting within AdWords Keyword Matching Options – for marketers since it was first introduced in 2012, starting in late September it will be the law of the land. Advertisers will no longer be able to opt out.
Close Variant Matching allows advertisers to show ads for queries that are considered “plurals, misspelling, or close variants” of their Exact and Phrase Match keywords. Close variations are defined as misspellings, singular and plural forms, acronyms, stemmings (such as floor and flooring), abbreviations, and accents. According to Google, many misspellings and abbreviations would be missed by advertisers given their low search volume. Thus, matching to close variants allows advertisers to increase quality traffic by showing ads for queries that reflect the intent of their current keyword set, even if they don’t match their keywords exactly.
This is undoubtedly true for some advertisers, particularly smaller, less sophisticated accounts, where the resources – whether people or tools – to help build out and manage large keyword sets just don’t exist. Google states that advertisers who have used it over the past two years have seen an average of 7% more exact and phrase match clicks with “comparable clickthrough and conversation rates.”
IgnitionOne’s own research skews a little differently, especially by vertical. By comparing the user’s query to the keyword it was matched to, we were able to determine whether or not that query fell into the close variant category, and then ultimately whether or not that ad click resulted in a conversion. Of course, this kind of transparency no longer exists either, as Google has since removed the query from the referrer – another wall in what is becoming an increasingly black box.
The retail industry fared the best, with CPA’s roughly 11% lower on close variant queries. However, advertisers outside of the retail vertical on average saw CPAs roughly 75% higher on close variant queries than they did on non-variants. Clearly, based on this data, the close variant traffic for non-retailers is likely to be significantly less efficient, but that does not necessarily mean that it’s bad traffic. That is up to the advertiser or their search partners to determine.
The primary concern is the lack of transparency. While advertisers can still use misspellings, et al, within their accounts, the ability to vet the specificity of the matching engine – and, therefore, the efficacy of this new change – went out the window when Google removed the typed query from the referrer.
THINGS YOU CAN DO
Continue to add in misspellings, abbreviations and other “close variants” with their own bids. Google should match to them when appropriate and enforce their independent bids.
If you suspect a negative impact on CPCs for some keywords, try pausing them and see if similar terms pick up that traffic.
Utilize a portfolio approach to optimization and evaluate whether there are other paid search assets, or other advertising channels, that could use the capital more efficiently.
Be aware that “close variant” traffic is likely to be less efficient, so evaluate whether or not their performance still falls within your efficiency tolerance.
IgnitionOne will continue working closely with our clients to understand the ramifications of this change and to ensure campaign results and metrics remain strong. If you have any questions, please reach out directly to your IgnitionOne contact or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IgnitionOne announced an update to the Analytics solution within the Digital Marketing Suite this Thursday. The tool will help marketers improve their workflow and increase reporting speeds. DMS Analytics will add to IgnitionOne’s platform of simplification in the online marketing and advertising industry.
Every successful brand has good storytelling. Where to place the stories is a hard task, in addition to deciding where to spend money. Telling the story on all the platforms they can afford is the ideal situation. “The essence of that story should be a point of difference that is effectively dramatised.” This article notes that it is where (read: digital channels) the stories are told that is critical.
Paid search continues to dominate the digital advertising world. The National Retail Federation and Forrester Research Inc. released a report that showed that 76% of e-retailers said the paid search drove up more sales than the year before. 99% of the respondents said that they allocated some of their budget to some sort of PPC advertisements. However, display was also a factor in many companies marketing strategies. 77% of respondents said they spent more on display this year than they did last year. It is exciting to see the growth of digital marketing and how greatly it has changed the marketing world.
Mobile advertising took off for Facebook, so much that it increased their revenue up 61% since last year. That is $2.91 billion, where active mobile users grew 40%. The mobile industry has continued to make Facebook boom, as it holds the second highest spot after Google in mobile ad earnings. It is evident that Facebook holds itself high on the pedestil for gaining ad performance.
Mobile ad spend is predicted to gain a much higher outcome and get more money from advertisers than ever before. The article claims that the spending on smartphones and tablets combined will reach 83% and $18 billion in 2014. On the contrast, Newspapers will generate $17 billion, bringing radio at $15.5 billion. industry experts are advocating for marketers to gear their ads towards the mobile world, and focus less on print sources. “As the measurement tools develop, industry experts say marketers will become increasingly comfortable with shifting more money to mobile.”
The number of smartphone users is expected to reach 1.75 billion by the end of 2014. There have been some key trends in mobile marketing that came along with this increase of smartphone users. A few key trends have been geo-targeting, the use of micro-content, emails shifting towards mobile first and personalisation of mobile. Sooner, rather than later, mobile will be the number one platform on which companies advertise on.
When going through a digital transformaiton, 54% of companies believe it is up to the Cheif Marketing Officer to get the job done efficiently. “The role of marketing is bigger than just awareness and discovery, it’s about the relationship,” said Brian Solis. Companies need to know how to implement their technology in a way that is easy to understand for the marketers.
The programmatic ad market is set to grow from $12 million to $32 million in 2017. Adults in the United States are averaging spending two horus and fifty-one minutes each day on their mobile devices. One challenge that mobile poses is the tracking mechanism, seeing as there is no universal cookie that can be used in the mobile environment.
IgnitionOne just released its highly anticipated Quarterly Report. IgnitionOne’s quarterly report is the longest continuously running quarterly report on Digital Marketing trends. IgnitionOne had some extremely interesting key findings in their report. Search advertising spend is up 9% since last year. Google regained engine market share increasing their share to 79%. On the basis of the report, Roger Barnette says, “our clients closely track ROI and will follow results when deciding where to spend their next dollar.”
Just in case anyone had doubts, mobile commerce is here to stay. New research conducted by Australian Communications and Media Authority shows that mobile commerce has grown by 448% since 2010. As a matter of fact, the report shows that Australian consumers would rather shop from their mobile device. This growth of mobile commerce can be attributed to the increased ownership of smartphones worldwide. Smartphone ownership has increased 8% since May 2013. Mobile commerce is still growing and show no signs of slowing down.
Facebook has once again changed the way they track their customers. Facebook has now decided to track what users do outside of their site. This can be viewed as a huge breach in the users privacy. However, facebook claims they are doing this in order to provide more relevant advertisements to their users. Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, explains that “Facebook is going to use multiple ways to track their users and sell them to their advertisers.”
The infographics in the article show the future of digital marketing and the trends of the industry over the past years. According to the article, “within the next 5 years, digital will account for 75% of the Marketing budget.” Email and mobile both have grown greatly in channel effectiveness since 2012. Many executives say the biggest problem with switching to digital, is “managing the change.” However, it has been proven that digital is effective, so managing the change should be worth it.
Which social media platform are advertisers spending most of their time and money on for the future? The answer is Twitter. The largest goal for marketers, when polled, was bringing “awareness and sentiment” for their brands. Facebook was by far the most dominant social media platform, where 83%, up from 70% of advertisers are now paying for ads on Facebook. However, for a future outlook, advertisers are looking at Twitter as their favored way of promotion. Youtube came behind Twitter and Facebook, falling fourth as the best ad platform for ROI.
Twitter is now growing to expand its mobile app promotion ads worldwide. The ads ultimately redirect users to download new apps or open their existing apps already downloaded on their smartphone. There is no doubt that Twitter has incredible targeting capabilities. Twitter also offers conversion tracking capabilities for its advertisers, allowing marketers to measure the impact of their campaigns. According to BIA/Kelsey, most of the credit for the success goes to Facebook’s News Feed ads and Twitter’s Promoted Tweets.
9% more was spent by U.S. Marketers this year in paid-search ads. Mobile and tablet devices made up for 27% of total search spend. Running campaigns on smartphones alone rose 173%. The article mentions IgnitionOne’s study on the move away from advertising on search partner sites. “The difference in efficiency on Google is likely due to how quality score is calculated separately for their partner sites,” per the study.
IgnitionOne is mentioned on its Q2 2014 marketing report, contributing to large improvements in innovation in paid search technology. The article also mentions different growth engines, such as Google and Facebook’s remarketing platform, Facebook Exchange. It takes note on how much mobile and tablet devices are growing in the market. Smartphone spending amazingly grew by 173%.
We know that many of our customers are well versed in Facebook Exchange (FBX), but there are many who do not live in the space and have limited knowledge. I was one of many that fell into this category. This was before I was asked to write an introductory article to FBX and discovered a whole new world of digital advertising.
Facebook is an obvious appeal to many, (particularly myself), who use it to communicate and stay in touch with many friends. Never did I think twice about the content of the advertisements that popped up on the side of my NewsFeed… until I realized the same boots I had just viewed on Amazon were appearing on the side of my personal Facebook account. At first I thought it was creepy. Did they have access to my personal laptop? The answer, I found out, was no.
The background behind Facebook’s online marketing comes through something called Facebook Exchange (FBX). FBX is a way marketers optimize their targeting capability and create intelligent interactions with their users through the popular social medium. With FBX, marketers are able to reach their users on Facebook by tracking websites previously visited, all in real-time. Using cookies for tracking, third-parties like IgnitionOne are able to identify each unique user through an engagement score and bid for their ad clients (AKA retargeting). FBX has created a very unique opportunity for advertisers to push users towards purchases in real time when active on Facebook.
A possibly less creepy situation occurred on Facebook when I was booking a holiday trip for my December vacation. After my Google search for “holiday vacations,” Facebook posted multiple ads on cheap airfare and hotel stays right on my NewsFeed. This happened because I had clicked on a specific link that led to an advertiser who had a remarketing pixel. This ad I saw was specific to the advertiser that had pixeled me for planning a holiday vacation. Now I must say, in this situation, I actually found myself clicking on these ads to view what they had in the package for me and in the end, I purchased my holiday flight from one of those advertisements.
As a third party, IgnitionOne offers this ad optimization method through FBX. IgnitionOne bids using their own profiled information they collect with real-time tracking. These functions are coming from within IgnitionOne’s Digital Marketing Suite (DMS), optimizing ways to reach customers. Through real-time bidding (RTB), IgnitionOne has helped advertisers reach millions of users globally.
Facebook now counts for more than half of the retargeted ads on the Internet. It is IgnitionOne’s media optimization and Demand Side Platform (DSP) that contributes to FBX and helps advertisers spend less money and improve their performance significantly. With the use of the Engagement Scoring algorithm, they are able to bid smarter than other competitors.
Edmardo Galli, Managing Director of IgnitionOne Brazil, said that our company is Facebook’s leading partner in Brazil. “Almost all of our campaigns are running in FBX now,” Galli told me. “Brazil is second in the world in total number of Facebook users, which means our programmatic campaigns receive double the results of other exchanges.”
Targeting consumers has never been more efficient. Through Facebook posts and NewsFeed ads, FBX has transformed the way marketers advertise. Now we can all settle down and accept that it is not creepy the next time Facebook knows we are planning a specific eight-day trip to Hawaii.