See what your competitors are planning in digital this year

Posted by on Mar 14, 2017 in PPC News, Search, Social | One Comment
See what your competitors are planning in digital this year

For the past six years, DemandWave, a B2B digital marketing agency, has shared a comprehensive report on the state of B2B digital trends. They poll “a broad cross-section of B2B marketers to find the biggest priorities and pressure points critical to their success.” This year’s report turned up lots of interesting information on what’s happening in digital this year, including:

  • Marketers are focusing on quality over quantity for leads.
  • SEO is gaining on email, when it comes to channels for revenue growth.
  • Dollars continue to stack up in digital marketing budgets. Almost 50% of marketers plan on allocating even more money there.
  • Blogs and video tied for the most popular form of content marketing.
  • White papers and ebooks now producing more revenue than webinars.

Let’s take a closer look at how the numbers shape up and what this could mean for your marketing strategy.

Budgeting

If you want to keep up with the competition, revisit display advertising this year. This channel saw nearly 35% YoY growth, indicating those marketers who are paying attention to it are seeing results. Paid search barely eeks past social media to grab the top spot for dollars. It’s the second year this channel has been first, and as Search Engine Journal points out, the reason for that may be improved platform capabilities, like Google’s AdWords redesign and new features, and access to ad formats on Bing, Facebook, and other networks. Search Engine Journal also forecasts PPC will evolve through artificial intelligence and voice search. For more predictions on how PPC will play out this year, and suggestions for what marketers should do to get ahead, check out our post on trends in 2017.

See what your competitors are planning in digital this year via blog.adstage.io

Measuring Performance

For the fourth year in a row, marketers report using conversion rate as the number one way to measure performance, though ROI continues to rise to the top as ways to measure it improve. DemandWave hypothesizes recent improvements in ROI measurement are due to “an increased adoption of attribution models, particularly multichannel,” which is examined more closely in the next graph.

See what your competitors are planning in digital this year via blog.adstage.io

Attribution Models

Though many marketers haven’t implemented any attribution model, adoption is improving with a 20% increase from last year. And those marketers applying an attribution model are heading straight to the most advanced models – multi-channel. If you’re worried about your strategy, check out this #PPCShow episode highlighting ways to solve your attribution problem right now.

See what your competitors are planning in digital this year via blog.adstage.io

Channel Strategy

Marketers are reporting a healthy mix of channels when it comes to overall channel strategy, with social media, email, and organic search getting an almost equal amount of airtime. Next year we may see paid search and display advertising inching toward the 90% mark, too. Their use increased 11% and 17% YoY, respectively.

For the channels that are driving leads, email, organic search, social media, and paid search are at the top, all with over 50% of marketers reporting positive returns on those channels.

See what your competitors are planning in digital this year via blog.adstage.io

But, when talking about what’s driving revenue, the order of the channels changes. Email and organic search take the top spots for revenue-driving channels. DemandWave hypothesizes the rise of organic search is due in part to marketers better understanding how to leverage SEO and improvements in the ability to measure ROI there.

However, Search Engine Watch and Merkle predict organic search growth will plateau as those listings fight paid search ads for screen space, especially on mobile. Just another great reminder to ensure your marketing mix is as diversified as possible.

See what your competitors are planning in digital this year via blog.adstage.io

Content Strategy

We know how marketers are reaching people, but what does the content look like, and more importantly, what’s working? White papers, or ebooks, barely beat out last year’s winner, webinars. If you have a white paper or ebook you need help marketing, check out our guide. And remember, there are lots of ways to revive old content to help boost quality leads with little lift. Blogs, videos, and infographics all grew by more than 20% YoY, indicating these numbers will be even higher next year.

Leads are one thing, but what about revenue? The order of content types remains the same when looking at what’s driving dollars.

See what your competitors are planning in digital this year via blog.adstage.io

Social Channels

Finally, let’s see what’s working in social specifically.

LinkedIn far surpasses all other social networks for lead generation. If you’re looking to boost your lead strategy on LinkedIn, check out our comprehensive guide with steps and tips on how to create and optimize ads. Though 12% of marketers don’t run sufficient reporting to measure lead generation on social, that’s a huge improvement from last year, when 33% of those surveyed reported they weren’t sure. Another indication that reporting, and adoption of reporting is getting better.

See what your competitors are planning in digital this year via blog.adstage.io

Revenue from social media sees LinkedIn and Facebook continuing to hold the top spots, indicating these channels not only bring in the most leads, but the leads are also qualified. Facebook’s lead generating power continues to grow, too. This channel saw a 150% increase YoY. With Facebook constantly improving its ad platform, we can expect that number to keep getting bigger.

Now that you know what your peers are planning for the year, take a look at your roadmap and determine if anything needs to be tweaked. A year from now, we’ll take another look at these numbers and see if our predictions were correct.

Facebook Pixel Adoption: The Ultimate Transition Guide

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017 in PPC News, Social | 14 Comments
Facebook Pixel Adoption: The Ultimate Transition Guide

Starting February 15, 2017, Facebook is changing its pixel game. You’ll no longer be able to create Facebook ads or track conversions with the conversion tracking pixel. While it takes a little doing to get set up with the new Facebook pixel, we think this is absolutely a change for the better – custom conversions and advance tracking – ooh la la! To make sure you have all the information you need to navigate this transition, we put together a complete guide for surviving the conversion tracking pixel deprecation and embracing the Facebook pixel!

The Facebook Pixel vs. Past Pixels

All advertisers should already be using or be in the process of migrating to the Facebook pixel in order to continue receiving the same conversion stats. In addition to keeping the conversion stats previously available, there are quite a few upgrades with the new Facebook pixel, of which you’ll want to take advantage:

  • Conversion tracking across devices: See how your customers are interacting on different devices before they convert.
  • Optimized delivery to those who are likely to convert: Show ads to people most likely to take your actions, like purchasing or filling out a registration form.
  • Automatically built audiences for website retargeting: Create Custom Audiences for people who take specific actions on your website, like visited a product page, added to cart, or purchased a product.
  • Lookalike Audiences: Know who your best customers are? Find more people who match their qualities.
  • Dynamic Ads: Automatically serve relevant and timely ads on Facebook based on user behavior, like the products people visited on your website.
  • Audience Insights: View rich insights (like demographic, lifestyle and purchase information) about the people visiting your website so you can create content that will resonate with them.

If we do a side-by-side comparison chart between the three Facebook pixels, you get the most power from the Facebook pixel with the least amount of code on your website.

Facebook Pixel Adoption: The Ultimate Transition Guide via blog.adstage.io

How To Migrate to the Facebook Pixel

In five steps, you can migrate your conversion tracking over to the Facebook pixel. Here’s how:

Step 1: Create Your Facebook Pixel

(You can only have one Facebook pixel in your account so if you’ve already created your Facebook pixel, skip this step and proceed to step 2.)

In your Ads Manager, you’ll see a Facebook Pixel tab where you can click Create a Pixel.

Note: You can have only one pixel per ad account, so name the pixel in a way that represents your business (though you can change the name of the pixel at any time from the Facebook Pixel tab). Once you accept the terms, you can create the pixel.

Facebook Pixel Adoption: The Ultimate Transition Guide via blog.adstage.io

Step 2: Implement Your Facebook Pixel

The Facebook pixel code has two main elements:

  • Pixel base code: Must be added on every page of your website to track activity or events on your website.
  • Event code: Tracks any paid (Facebook ads) or unpaid (organic reach) actions that happen on your website, so you can use that data for advertising

There are nine predefined or standard events for which Facebook automatically tracks and optimizes your ads. Previously, you had a unique conversion pixel ID per action, like a purchase. Now, you’ll only need one ID per account and you can differentiate between actions with different event codes. Using the table below, place the appropriate standard event code anywhere you had previously used the conversion tracking pixel:

Facebook Pixel Adoption: The Ultimate Transition Guide via blog.adstage.io

Step 3: Check Your Implementation

After you’ve mapped your events, double-check these areas to make sure everything is tracking correctly on your Facebook dashboard, and cross reference with your conversion tracking pixel data:

  • Is your Facebook pixel active and sending traffic consistently?
  • Is the overall volume of traffic from your conversion tracking pixels about the same as that of your Facebook pixel for the same time period?
  • Is the volume of conversions for each of your types of conversion tracking pixels the same as the volume of conversions for each corresponding standard event?

Step 4: Transition Your Ads

Once you’ve verified that the Facebook pixel is accurately tracking volume, it’s time to migrate your ads over. To transition your existing ad sets to tracking with a Facebook pixel only, go to Ads Manager or Power Editor and locate the ads you wish to update. When you’re in the edit view, go to the Pixel Tracking section and select “Track all conversions from my Facebook pixel” — don’t forget to save and close.

In addition, you’ll want to modify your existing ad sets’ optimization to use the Facebook pixel. Facebook recommends shifting only a small portion of your budget into a new ad set optimizing through the Facebook pixel to start. These ad sets can gather the necessary data for successful full-scale Facebook pixel optimization and as you build up data and feel more comfortable and confident, modify the rest of your existing ad sets.

Go to your Ads Manager or Power Editor and find the ad sets you wish to edit. In the “Optimize For a Conversion” section in the editing window, click the X in the “Conversion Event” field and choose a new Facebook pixel conversion from the dropdown — don’t forget to click Save and Close.

Facebook Pixel Adoption: The Ultimate Transition Guide via blog.adstage.io

Bonus: If you’re an AdStage Report user, here’s how to bring those custom conversions into your Report dashboard.

Step 5: Remove Your Conversion Tracking Pixel Code

Once you’ve implemented the Facebook pixel code and transitioned your ads and ad sets to the Facebook pixel, you can remove the conversion pixel code from your website. However, make sure your conversion tracking pixel isn’t being used for optimization or tracking for any active campaigns before you do this.


Remember the Conversion Tracking Pixel will no longer be supported on February 15, 2017 so don’t delay on these updates. Happy advertising!

The Rise of Social Media in Super Bowl Advertising

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in PPC News, Search, Social | 9 Comments
The Rise of Social Media in Super Bowl Advertising

Sahil Jain, CEO and Co-Founder of AdStage, circled up with CGTN America this week to talk Super Bowl advertising hits and misses, and the role of digital marketing in live television today.

Q: How important are Super Bowl TV and online ads today vs a decade ago?

SJ: Studies show that say 87% of people have a second screen in front of them while they’re watching these games/events or just television in general. 64% are using social media while they’re watching TV. This year, you’re going to start seeing, for the first time ever, digital advertising eclipse TV advertising. But, it’s not doom and gloom for television advertising. In fact, it’s the opposite. Its that digital advertising, television – all these different mediums – are more effective when you use them together – when there’s a holistic strategy in place. You really saw this with Airbnb’s Super Bowl ad where they had the #weaccept hashtag at the end. They knew the Super Bowl audience was going to be on their phones.

Q: Super Bowl ads are no small investment – in fact, they hit 5 million dollars this year. So with so many other ways to attract consumers, is it still worth the investment?

SJ: The name of the game is really elevation across all fronts. Studies are starting to say that television ads will lead to larger social engagement. So if you show a television ad, you’ll see increased engagement on facebook, twitter, etc.

You’re starting to see some more well-funded tech companies taking out Super Bowl ads – you saw Google, you saw Amazon – the two artificial intelligence battlers, and you saw newcomers like Airbnb. That’s just a testament to this medium being alive and well, regardless of the price tag.

Q: Any Super Bowl advertising surprises this year? Big hits and misses?

SJ: You saw for the first time, in a really strong way, these brands using their voice and power to bring attention to things happening currently in the political climate. In the end, brands are still looking for greater sales and bigger purchases, but we can’t forget what Coca Cola did with the Share a Coke campaign – teaching us that there’s some sort of altruistic behavior that you can marry with your business goals. You saw this with Anheuser Busch – it was really beautifully done – almost like a movie or a television show we were watching on Netflix.

Check out the full interview below!

Introducing AdStage V2 and the Universal Data API

Introducing AdStage V2 and the Universal Data API

San Francisco, CA — January 19, 2017 — AdStage — a cross-channel advertising suite for marketers and agencies, which enables users to automate and report on search and social ad campaigns from a single place — has launched version two of their platform and support for an open data API. These innovations provide marketers clarity into their cross-channel performance data that, to date, has not been available in the ad tech market.

Unveiling AdStage V2

Capitalizing on the momentum of 2016, in which AdStage released two flagship products, Report and Automate (see “Statistics and Availability” below), the company introduces significant updates in AdStage V2, including the technology necessary to achieve their next goal:

Expanding beyond integrations with Google AdWords, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Bing to include advertising sources like Snapchat, Pinterest, and DoubleClick, and relevant sales and marketing data sources like Salesforce and HubSpot.

“Imagine automatically generating cross-channel reports that show not just ad click performance data but also pull in lead data from your systems of record like HubSpot or Salesforce,” says AdStage CEO Sahil Jain. “Imagine, then, not simply pausing or editing the budget of a campaign based on the clickthrough rate or conversion rate but automating the management of your campaigns and creatives based on the actual lifetime value of customers pulled from a customer relationship management or marketing automation system. AdStage V2 lays the technological foundation to make this possible.”

Introducing the Universal Data API

Over the past 4.5 years, the AdStage team has been creating the infrastructure to integrate all of the major pay-per-click ad channels and data sources in a central, normalized view. Today, they announce the release of their Universal Data API — allowing advertisers to use this infrastructure to import custom data from their business intelligence tools, CRMs, and marketing automation systems to better inform ad campaign effectiveness and optimization down to realized revenue.

“Leveraging the AdStage API has brought additional insights and benefits to an already powerful tool, “says Paul Severts, Sr. Digital Marketing Manager at DOMO and longtime AdStage user. “It’s saved us a lot of time and effort as we’ve been able to automate more of our internal reporting and get access to LinkedIn ad data via API.”

“The applications of the Universal Data API are expansive and, while we’re ecstatic that we can empower users to ship or ingest deep cross-channel ad data into other tools, services, and systems, we’re even more excited to see how the API is used to go beyond those core applications,” says Sahil Jain. “For example, in one weekend, an engineer at AdStage built an Amazon Alexa Skill, Slackbot and Google Docs App that read out ad campaign performance and reports. With the rise of data accessibility, AI systems, and integrations, this flexible API can serve endless current and future marketer needs.”

Statistics and Availability

In 2016, AdStage saw over $309MM advertising spend in the platform across channels, as well as the release of its two headline products, Automate and Report. Since its release in February 2016, Automate has seen over two million rule-based optimization changes automatically generated for marketers through the system, saving users over 144 weeks in full-time man hours. And, since its release in July 2016, Report has seen over 1,300 unique users creating over 2,000 dashboards. To learn more and sign up for a free 14-day trial, visit www.adstage.io.

About AdStage

AdStage is a powerful cross-channel advertising platform that enables digital marketers and agencies to manage, optimize, report and automate across all their paid search and social campaigns from one easy-to-use dashboard. With direct API integrations across AdWords, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, the platform helps advertisers improve ad performance, save time, and make informed decisions on how to optimize for campaign ROAS. AdStage suite powers the marketing campaigns of companies like Moz, Apttus, New Relic, Universal McCann, and King Content.

Learn more about AdStage at: www.adstage.io

Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/adstage

Follow us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/adstage

Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/getadstage

Follow our blog at blog.adstage.io

Contacts

Sahil Jain

CEO, Co-Founder

AdStage, Inc.

sahil@adstage.io

(415) 562-5344

Michael McEuen

Director of Marketing

AdStage, Inc.

michael@adstage.io

(650) 382-2474

Facebook Releases In-Stream Video Ads as a Placement

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in PPC News, Social | No Comments
Facebook Releases In-Stream Video Ads as a Placement

Facebook is enhancing its Audience Network with its latest release of In-Stream Video Ads. This added placement is not only for mobile, but also available on desktop as well. From a user experience standpoint, the end user will be able to view the video ad in one of two ways: in-stream or in-article.

In-Stream Video Ads

The in-stream video ads, available both on mobile and desktop, will deliver in pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll settings on video publishers that have in-stream inventory. If you’re wondering what type of third-party placements you can expect, premium publishers such as USA Today, Sports Media Group, and Daily Mail are already using these new ad formats to deliver engaging video ad experiences to their audiences. Other premium publishers may be available in the closed beta, but eventually Facebook will be rolling this out more broadly. Here’s an example of a video ad shown on USA Today:

In-stream video ad in the Audience Network (desktop + mobile)Advertisers can now optimize their video ads for brand awareness through the Audience Network. In-stream video ads will play before, during or after video content on third party apps and sites across mobile and desktop.

Posted by Facebook Business on Thursday, May 12, 2016

In-Article Video Ads

In-article video ads are currently shown on Facebook’s Instant Articles, a solution that lets publishers show articles from their site or mobile app to their audience on Facebook. The video ads will appear between paragraphs of text articles on mobile and play automatically when at least 50% of pixels are viewable. Viewers can opt-in for sound if they choose, but the default is muted. If you’re wondering what type of placements to expect, the in-article placements are only available through Facebook Instant Articles at this time. This means any publisher that already uses Instant Articles could enable this placement to show your video ads.

In-article video ad in the Audience Network (mobile)Advertisers can now optimize their video ads for brand awareness through the Audience Network. In–article video ads will appear between paragraphs of text and play automatically when at least half the pixels are viewable. Viewers must opt-in to sound.Posted by Facebook Business on Thursday, May 12, 2016

Getting Started

To start syndicating your video ads on third-party publishers, head to your Facebook Ads Manager. Within your Video Views campaign, you will see an option to Edit Placements. Make sure you’ve checked the box called “Audience Network” to qualify for additional reach and frequency across other publishers outside of Facebook.

Facebook Releases In-Stream Video Ads via blog.adstage.io

According to Facebook, advertisers that opt in to the Audience Network can generate approximately 10% more incremental reach than if they only targeted the mobile News Feed (Facebook internal data, May 2016). Early tests are also showing a lower cost per view (CPV) when advertisers enable video ads on all of their properties including Facebook, Instagram, and the Audience Network.

The algorithms will increase in-stream video ad delivery on a third-party site or app if it is deemed more relevant to a viewer. This means, for example, if your targeted audience spends more time in a particular app or website outside of Facebook or Instagram, your video will be shown on that publisher more often. With more places to deliver content, advertisers can maximize their brand exposure through video ads more seamlessly through Facebook. Have you tried In-Stream Video Ads on the Audience Network yet? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!

What every PPC professional should do to prepare for 2017

Posted by on Jan 7, 2017 in PPC News, Search, Social | 6 Comments
What every PPC professional should do to prepare for 2017

We started off 2017 with some expert predictions about what the new year will have in store for PPC. But all the buzz about trends and innovations can be pretty overwhelming without actionable steps to not just prepare for 2017, but stay ahead of the PPC curve.

In their webinar on PPC predictions for 2017, our very own Mike McEuen teamed up with JD Prater and Matt Umbro of Hanapin Marketing to talk about what’s coming down the pipeline for Search, Social, and Ad Tech and what you can do to stay ahead. We pulled out their most actionable tips, so you can get to work (after all, 2017 is already rolling right along…):

Search

1. Take full advantage of ad extensions for more real estate and organic-looking results. The more opportunities you can find to get users to interact with your ad, the better! Check out this example of a ski boot search to see what we’re talking about:What Every PPC Professional Should do to Prepare for 2017 via blog.adstage.io
2. Explore creating dynamic Google Display Network ads and native ads. The tools available to create responsive ads continue to reduce the barrier to entry for marketers. All you need is a short headline, description, and some images to upload and you’re off to the races. Google will take care of resizing your ad to fit the page on which it will be served.

3. Test audience targeting in Search, for instance bidding higher for a specific age range or gender that might be best served by your product. Matt Umbro encourages PPC professionals to think past keywords and to really think holistically about audiences to stay ahead of the game.

Social

1. Social community managers need to learn how to sponsor their best content against the right audience. This means getting a really good handle on the paid side of their networks, which not all community managers have necessarily needed to do until now. There are lots of great training resources out there, so if you’re not a paid social expert, take some time this year to get up to speed.What Every PPC Professional Should do to Prepare for 2017 via blog.adstage.io
2. Invest in social listening, monitoring, and analytics tools to increase and prove social ROI. 61% of social marketers see measuring ROI as a challenge, and if you can’t measure how your social investments are doing, you’ll be stuck in that challenging spot for another long year.What Every PPC Professional Should do to Prepare for 2017 via blog.adstage.io
3. Experiment with new mediums such as bots and live video. Doing so now will allow you to take advantage of the lower competition costs, greater reach, and higher engagement rates than standard ad units.

AdTech

1. Think of organizing your campaign and ad sets into campaigns by objective, across networks, as opposed to taking a network-centric approach to optimization. Find a true multi-channel tool that will allow you to create this kind of management structure, and valuable, high-level view of your PPC activity.

2. Align your re-marketing campaigns into sequences with different ad creative triggered by last visit, conversion step, or lead status. Check out this handy graphic for some examples:What Every PPC Professional Should do to Prepare for 2017 via blog.adstage.io

3. Either through scripts or 3rd party solutions, PPC marketers should automate their most mundane tasks — such as budget pacing, pausing underperforming keywords/ads/ad groups/sets — instead focusing their time on budget allocation, campaign strategy, audience targeting, and copy testing. We’re biased here, but with Automate, our 2700+ users saved over 144 weeks of full-time man hours in 2016! Think of what you and your team could do with that kind of freed up time.

4. For B2B organizations, standing up an attribution model is key to determining if ad performance at the network, campaign, and ad level are having an impact on actual revenue. It’s time to optimize past cost per conversions (lead) and instead make optimization decisions based on return on ad spend (ROAS). Platforms like Bizible, and ad tech companies who are opening their APIs are great places to turn to get this going.


Want to go even deeper? View the full webinar recording or click through the SlideShare below to get the full presentation!


 

Need another set of eyes on your PPC account? Hanapin has a building full of experts who are happy to help. Click here to see if you qualify for a free account analysis.

When the Ultimate PPC Experts Peer into 2017, What Do They See?

Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in Advertising, PPC News | 4 Comments
When the Ultimate PPC Experts Peer into 2017, What Do They See?

AdStage has had the honor of meeting some incredibly talented and inspiring folks throughout the years, whether through partnerships, The PPC Show#PPCChat, or at marketing events such as HeroConf.

Our conversations with this fantastic community of PPC experts always leave us with a deeper appreciation of the nuances of our field and we wanted to spread that love around as we usher in the new year. So, we asked the sharpest minds in PPC to reveal their favorite optimization techniques in 2016, and what they predict will be big trends moving into 2017.


Dennis Yu PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.ioDennis Yu

CTO, Blitzmetrics

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What’s your favorite optimization technique or new offering from 2016, and what do you predict is going to be a big trend this year?

I’m super excited about call to action buttons in native Facebook posts. For the folks who don’t spend 10 hours a day in Facebook all day making ads, this means you can include things like a “call now” button in an organic post and then boost. And if they tap “call now” while browsing on their phone, it dials your number.

Or maybe you want to drive leads, event registrations, or other goals. Now the person posting on the page has become part of your lead gen team, instead of someone who schedules random quotes and things.

It means they are an integral part of your ads team and that conversion-oriented posts are not some separate thing by some external team or other agency.

I’m calling this the “Facebook Lead Gen Machine” and I made a diagram for you that nobody else has seen before.

Facebook Lead Gen Machine via blog.adstage.io

Because Facebook is collapsing the number of layers necessary to drive conversion, this means you PPC people will be more actively involved in posting on the page, creating lots of videos, slicing up lots of videos, and learning things like video metrics and call metrics.

It means you will have to learn a whole new set of tools to manage videos, build landing pages inside Facebook (canvas and Instant Articles), and so forth. Most of these will be native– meaning they were built by Facebook for you to use and they’re free. Well, free except what you spend in advertising.


Brad Geddes PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Brad Geddes

Co-Founder, AdAlysis

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What’s your favorite optimization technique or new offering from 2016?

My favorite optimization technique is to use multi-ad group ad testing to find great insights within or across campaigns and then apply those insights where appropriate, which could be other ads, landing pages, emails, title tags, account structure, and more.

What do you predict is going to be a big trend this year?

I think the big trend this year is going to be a large growth of implementation and strategies for audience targeting. Audience targeting itself isn’t new; but it’s been woefully underused in AdWords & Bing Ads. With the changes to demographic bidding, responsive ads, similar audiences, campaign level audience targeting, and customer match management; it’s now very easy to create and manage audiences.

While 2016 gave rise to audience features and implementation of savvy and large companies; most features weren’t widely adopted and most strategies were very basic. With these changes, we’re going to see a lot more interesting strategies, more complete implementation, and a huge growth in the usage of audience targeting.


Melissa Mackey PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Melissa Mackey

Search Supervisor, gyro

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What’s your favorite optimization technique or new offering from 2016?

My favorite optimization from this year was the ability to run expanded text ads and legacy ads side by side. This enabled us to test various expanded ad messages against tried and true legacy copy. In many cases, the expanded text ads outperformed the legacy ads; but there have been more than a few instances where the legacy ads performed much better than the expanded ads. Having the ability to test multiple rounds of expanded ad copy prior to being forced to roll it out is allowing us to maintain performance during the transition.

What do you predict is going to be a big trend this year?

I think we’re going to see an explosion of voice search in 2017, and it’s going to change how search marketers think about keywords and ad copy. We’re going to be forced to think about natural language as opposed to two and three word keyword phrases. In some ways, voice search gives the marketer a much clearer idea of what the user is searching for. On the other hand, it exposes the limitations of PPC marketing as it stands today. Both the search engines and the marketers will need to rapidly adapt to the increasing prevalence of voice search.


Jonathan Dane PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Johnathan Dane

CEO, Klientboost

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What’s your favorite optimization technique or new offering from 2016?

My favorite optimization technique actually comes on the landing page side. We’ve been asking our clients what the frequently asked questions are from their prospects, and then using those as drop down fields for the first step of multi-step landing pages.

It’s been performing insanely well, and obviously helps lower cost per conversions so we have much more wiggle room in the PPC accounts.

What do you predict is going to be a big trend this year?

CPCs, CTRs, Quality Scores and other metrics will start to matter less. We’ll find that we get faster results when we’re okay to sacrifice micro metrics in favor of the ones that matter the most – making more money.

With more and more targeting options and new ad formats and advertising channels to use, the scrappiness of a growth mindset will outpace the excel heavy tinkerer. Speed, scrappiness, and creativity will win. We’ll find that marketers and advertisers will venture into other disciplines, like UX, to understand that a visitor is a human being that responds emotionally and doesn’t care whether you use a hyphen or period in your ad copy.


Soso Sazesh PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Soso Sazesh

CEO, GrowthPilots

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What’s your favorite optimization technique or new offering from 2016?

Expanded Text Ads on Google. We’ve seen dramatic performance improvements for many clients since implementing ETAs and there’s still a lot of opportunity as many advertisers still haven’t rolled them out yet!

What do you predict is going to be a big trend this year?

Facebook is going to start flexing their identity-based attribution muscle more and giving marketers much better insight into performance of their ads beyond Facebook newsfeed ads. This includes Facebook’s audience network becoming a meaningful threat to GDN as advertisers seek better measurement/attribution.


JD Prater PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

JD Prater

Head of Social, Hanapin Marketing

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What’s your favorite optimization technique or new offering from 2016?

My favorite new feature came from Pinterest. In the last half of 2016 they added in the functionality and capability to better target audiences, updated their tracking pixel to include event tracking and opened up different types of Pins to marketers. All of these features really allow marketers to have more control over ad sequencing and target different stages of the funnel. I couldn’t be happier that Pinterest is evolving into a legit advertising platform.

What do you predict is going to be a big trend this year?

Live Video Adoption – In 2016, we saw live video introduced and brands have been experimenting how to best use it. In 2017, we’ll see marketers actually adopt the features across social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. This will lead to marketers stepping out from the blog and getting in front of the camera. On the networks we’ll see clickable links within live video to drive people back to websites, and my prediction is we’ll eventually see product cards become available. In the end, we’ll see live video become more widely adopted with the networks giving brands the ability to add CTAs to drive action.


Ginny Marvin PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Ginny Marvin

Paid Media Reporter, Search Engine Land

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What’s your favorite optimization technique or new offering from 2016?

My favorite optimization tactic this year comes courtesy of finally being able to measure campaign performance beyond last click contribution in AdWords and optimize accordingly. Attribution still isn’t a perfect science, of course, but being able to evaluate conversion contribution up and down the funnel has facilitated a shift in conversations about budget allocations. I’d also add that being able to more with Bing Ad’s Universal Event Tracking (UET) for measuring conversion impact and search retargeting has made a big impact in optimizing Bing campaigns.

What do you predict is going to be a big trend this year?

I’m sure I’m not alone in predicting that audience targeting is going to be a major trend in 2017. Search is finally catching up with social in this area. We’ve been talking about audience targeting in search for several years. Customer Match was the first big push for parity with social, but being able to target unowned search audiences with greater demographic granularity and layer those audiences will make 2017 a breakthrough year for audience targeting in search. Likewise, cross-device retargeting based on Google logins is an important update that marketers should be attuned to when it fully rolls out.


Kirk Williams PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Kirk Williams

Owner, ZATO

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What’s your favorite optimization technique or new offering from 2016?

I was overjoyed to get Bing Ads Editor for Mac in 2016. We’ve waited a long time (years!) for this, so to have it finally came through was a big help to my Bing accounts. You could even say that it made me holly and jolly.

What do you predict is going to be a big trend this year?

I think Audience Targeting is going to grow significantly in multiple ways. Social will obviously continue to grow in popularity and usage since it is by its very nature “audience targeting”, but I think we will see Google and Bing continue to add new and creative ways to group audiences together to supplement our current targeting options in both the Display and Search networks. Personally, I would love to see LinkedIn audience targeting capabilities in Bing Ads now that Microsoft owns LinkedIn. One can hope!


Bryan Garvin PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Bryant Garvin

Director of Digital Marketing, Purple

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What’s your favorite optimization technique or new offering from 2016?

While not a “new” offering I have fallen in love with Facebook advertising this year. Specifically Facebook Video advertising and how it can drive demand generation in search. A prime example is looking at google trends for Purple Mattress. All of that demand (which didn’t exist before this year) was driven by Facebook and Social advertising primarily. The focus on social and video to drive revenue allowed Purple to catapult forward to be the fastest growing company in Utah. Forget $15 CPC on non-brand search terms (we are just now testing these at Purple). If you invest in good video, or social campaigns you can drive brand awareness and revenue for a fraction of the cost.

What do you predict is going to be a big trend this year?

As we in PPC or paid digital advertising moves into more and more channels, like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat etc, that attribution is going to become harder and harder. There are new offerings on the way from companies like Atlas (part of Facebook) that could help with some of it, but it still isn’t perfect. I see 2017 being the year more “online advertisers” start looking at their data a little more like traditional media buyers do.


Eva Sharf PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Eva Sharf

Digital Marketing Manager, Bizible

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What’s your favorite optimization technique or new offering from 2016?

LinkedIn’s new bulk upload tool is a favorite from 2016. We efficiently implemented account-based marketing campaigns at scale without the headache of individually entering company names (and we are seeing great results).

What do you predict is going to be a big trend this year?

Marketing teams will focus on account-based marketing measurement to optimize towards channels and campaigns that are engaging contacts from target accounts. Marketers (and sales teams) will also prioritize which accounts to engage based on predictive modeling.

 

LinkedIn Releases Sponsored InMail Campaigns for All Advertisers

Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in PPC News, Social | 3 Comments
LinkedIn Releases Sponsored InMail Campaigns for All Advertisers

Last week, LinkedIn announced its ad format, Sponsored InMail, is now available to all advertisers through the LinkedIn Ads Campaign Manager. This campaign type, previously only available to managed clients, empowers marketers to directly reach their prospects via tailored email messages.

Based on data provided by LinkedIn, over 100 advertisers participated in a pilot program of self-service Sponsored InMail prior to the release, and they saw open rates of around 45 percent and click-through rates between 4 to 7 percent.

In today’s blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Sponsored InMail, from why you should use it to how to effectively craft a campaign to setting your budget.

Why Sponsored InMail Rocks

Sponsored InMail delivers a relevant and engaging ad experience to the right person, at scale. The email-like experience for the end user allows you to deliver more long-form messages without the burden of having to acquire the user’s email address first. This provides a faster solution to drive engagement through a personalized, direct, and meaningful medium.

Four reasons you should get started?

  1. Personalize Your Messages: Marketers can be extremely detailed and persuasive with InMail messages, as they have no restrictive character counts.
  2. Reach Your Audience When They’re Active: With real-time delivery, Sponsored InMail messages are only delivered when members are active on LinkedIn. And strict limits on how often LinkedIn members can receive InMail ensures your message gets maximum mindshare.
  3. Engage Your Mobile Audience: The call-to-action (CTA) button on mobile and desktop offers a responsive design to ensure the message is readable on any screen, large or small.
  4. Drive Brand Awareness: You have the option to add a 300×250 branded banner ad to the InMail that will appear on the right rail for desktop users, like the example below.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Inbox via blog.adstage.io

Getting Started with LinkedIn Sponsored InMail

You can easily start running a Sponsored InMail campaign today by following the steps and best practices below:

  1. Log into LinkedIn Campaign Manager
  2. Open your Ad Account, click “Create campaign” and select “Sponsored InMail”
  3. Select “Sponsored InMail” and start crafting your message

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Select Campaign Window via blog.adstage.io

Crafting an Effective Sponsored InMail Campaign

When crafting your Sponsored InMail message content consider the messaging context of the LinkedIn Platform. We have some best practices and suggestions you can use when testing out different InMail variations.

Subject Lines

Write subject lines using concise, relevant, and conversation language. Short and impactful subject lines with a clear value exchange tend to perform better.

Here are a few keywords you can consider using:

  • Thanks
  • Exclusive invitation
  • Connect
  • Opportunities
  • Join us/me

Body Text

Sponsored InMail offers up to 100 ad variations, so you can test different combinations of text, image, and CTAs to uncover the most compelling creative for your target audience. Try conducting a simple A/B test with two ad variations at a time. This will allow you more control when tracking performance and making optimizations that will boost clicks and conversions over time.

To humanize your message, it’s best to use conversational language and keeps the copy under 1,000 characters. Here are a few additional tips to catch your prospect’s attention and drive better performance:

  • Add a personal touch with a custom salutation by using %FIRSTNAME%, %LASTNAME%. For example: Hi %FIRSTNAME% %LASTNAME%.
  • Include a contextual message body hyperlink to boost click performance.
  • Use a clear call to action (CTA) such as Try, Register, Reserve, or Join.
  • Include a relevant companion banner image to complement your message. If you do not include a banner image, another banner ad could be shown which will drive prospects to another website other than yours.

Targeting

Similar to Text Ads and Sponsored Content, you will be able to choose a target audience based on 16 different criteria. You can build your target audience offline before you start the campaign creation process for a speedier campaign set-up. Below are the different targeting parameters you can choose from for your Sponsored InMail:

  1. Location inclusion
  2. Location exclusion
  3. Company name
  4. Company industry
  5. Company size
  6. Job title
  7. Job function
  8. Job seniority
  9. Member schools
  10. Fields of study
  11. Degrees
  12. Member skills
  13. Member groups
  14. Member gender
  15. Member age
  16. Years of experience

Setting Your LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Budget

For Sponsored InMail campaigns, you will have the option to set a cost per send (CPS) bid. The CPS bid is the maximum amount you wish to pay for each Sponsored InMail that is sent to a LinkedIn member’s inbox. Then, you can set a daily budget to indicate the most that you’re willing to spend each day.

LinkedIn automatically recommends a suggested CPS bid for you, based on your target audience. The more narrow your audience is, the better, especially for your InMail messaging. However, keep in mind that the minimum CPS bid will be higher as the reach will be limited to focus solely on your target audience. Once you’ve figured out your ideal CPS based on the projected performance, you can set a budget and delivery schedule. Below is a screenshot of the details to consider when you’re figuring out your campaign bids, budget and delivery schedule.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Cost Per Send Budget Window via blog.adstage.io

Have you launched your first Sponsored InMail campaign yet?

Tell us about the messaging you tried in your campaign and how it performed for you in the comments section below 👇.

What You Need to Know About AdWords Expanded Text Ads

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in PPC News, Search | One Comment
What You Need to Know About AdWords Expanded Text Ads

What You Need to Know About AdWords Expanded Text Ads

Google announced a big change to AdWords back in May and in July the official rollout felt like Christmas came early. For years, every digital advertiser lived by the 25-35-35 character mantra and agonized over fitting brand message into those stringent limits when launching AdWords ad campaigns. The next generation of advertisers will eat, sleep, and breathe the 30-30-80 character rule.

One month after Google’s the expanded text ads announcement we’re looking at what these major changes mean, how to get the most bang for your buck, and what advertisers need to know to migrate from standard text ads to expanded text ads. As of October 26, 2016 advertisers will no longer be able to create or upload standard text ads.

[Update: September 13, 2016] Google announced the expanded text ad format deadline has been moved back. Advertisers now have until January 31, 2017 to make the transition to expanded text ads (instead of the original date of October 26, 2016). 

Here’s what you need to avoid costly AdWords campaign mistakes and how to leverage this new ad format.

What are Expanded Text Ads (ETAs)?

Expanded text ads offer 47% more space for your ad copy with two 30 character headlines and an 80 character description. Like Standard text ads, ETAs are available on the Google Search Network and Google Display Network. Both automatic and manual ad extensions are fully compatible with the expanded text ad format.

Google designed ETAs to accommodate the seismic shift in how consumers are now interacting with brands across multiple devices. ETAs will display across desktop and mobile devices AND automatically adjust the format according to the user’s screen size.

New AdWords Expanded Text Ads Interface via reunion marketing

Out of the trillions of searches happening on Google, over half of those searches are happening on mobile. And, looking at data from millions of websites using Google Analytics today, more than half of all web traffic is from smartphones and tablets.

Advertisers can now better engage their audience by delivering a mobile-first experience to potential buyers in their preferred context.

What will Change from Standard Text Ads to Expanded Text Ads?

Google Expanded Text Ads vs. Standard Ads Comparison via blog.adstage.io

How to Transition to Expanded Text Ads

  1. Make sure you have AdWords Editor version 11.5 or later. If you don’t, don’t worry! You can download it free here.
  1. Launch AdWords Editor, select ‘Ads and Extensions’ tab on the left table.

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  1. Select all the text featured on the main screen and paste into a spreadsheet.

The most important fields are: Campaign, Ad Group, Keyword, Headline, Description Line 1, Description Line 2, and Device Preference

  1. To update your existing standard text ads to the ETA format, you’ll need to create your new columns. So you can easily see copy changes, put the new columns to the right of their respective previous column.
  1. Insert the =length( function to make sure you don’t go over the character limit for each column.

New Headline 1 = 30 characters; New Headline 2 = 30 characters; New Description = 80 characters.

  1. Now that you have your spreadsheet is setup, you can quickly rewrite your old text ads and transition those into Google’s new expanded text ads format.

Transition_Standard_Text_Ads_to_Expanded_Text_Ads via blog.adstage.io

 

Wrapping Up: A Few Best Practices to Keep In Mind

Spend Time on Your Headlines

Headlines are more important than ever. With the extra headline field, use that space to focus on deeper messaging that resonates with your intended audience. While longer headlines increase the clickable space of your ad, your first headline still remains the most important real estate space. Some advertisers have noticed the second headline truncated when viewed on desktop. Be sure to include the most important message (and keywords) in the first headline.

Keywords Still Matter, So Use the Path Fields to Match Intent

The ETA format now automatically pulls the domain from your Final URL as your display URL with the option to include two 15 character path fields as an appendage to the display URL. Use these two fields to indicate to your searchers where they can expect to see after the click. More importantly, use this space to include top performing keywords to improve relevance and improve your ad’s overall quality score.

Take this Opportunity to Audit Every Aspect of Your Text Ads

Review how your ad, as a complete entity, supports your client’s message. Analyze your historical data and try to come up with new tests to run with your ETAs. This means assessing everything from the ad creative to ad extensions like callouts, reviews, snippets, and more to strategically optimize your ads.

Have you been testing out the new Extended Text Ad formats? Let me know if you’ve found any tips to share in the comment section below .

Microsoft Acquires LinkedIn: What the $26.2 Billion Deal Means for Advertisers

Posted by on Jun 20, 2016 in PPC News, Search, Social | No Comments
Microsoft Acquires LinkedIn: What the $26.2 Billion Deal Means for Advertisers

Unless you’ve been completely off-the-grid or soaking up the sun on a remote island (we’re jealous), you’ve most likely heard about Microsoft’s largest acquisition to date. The LinkedIn deal is set to close for a sizable price-point of $26.2 billion in cash.

While the announcement sparked widespread news coverage, most publications overlook the huge opportunity this acquisition presents for B2B advertisers.

AdStage CEO, Sahil Jain, recently published an article on MarketingLand discussing the possible changes the acquisition may have on the advertising landscape. As a direct API partner for both Microsoft’s Bing and LinkedIn Ads, he shares an intimate view of how the two networks can potentially strengthen each other.

Continue Reading on MarketingLand

Microsoft Acquires LinkedIn- What the $26.2 Billion Deal Means for Advertisers Read More CTA via blog.adstage.io