How to Personalize Landing Pages for Increased Conversions

Posted by on Aug 21, 2017 in Advertising
How to Personalize Landing Pages for Increased Conversions

Nearly everyone’s received a piece of junk mail, or even an email addressed to “Resident” or “Customer.” That type of greeting couldn’t be more impersonal. The sender is asking for my business but won’t even bother to learn my name? No thanks.

That’s how landing pages can feel if you use a broad message to cater to a wide audience. To give customers a truly tailored experience, use personalized landing pages. Each page should be customized to an individual person – through channel, device, segment, stage of the sales funnel, and the overall messaging.

Why Create Multiple Landing Pages?

Creating multiple landing pages isn’t necessarily doubling, tripling, or quadrupling your work every time, but it’s certainly additional effort. But it is an effort that will pay off in the end.

1) Reduced bounce rate.

People leave a page because they can’t find what they want. If the page is carefully tailored to a customer’s needs and intent, there’s no reason for them to go elsewhere.

2) Higher engagement and more conversions.

If you’re serving up exactly what people are looking for, they’re much more likely to buy.

3) Full control.

You can tailor a landing page down to the most specific detail you know about someone, including their name. And if your product or service appeals to a few very different audiences, you can create a page with specific elements to entice each group.

4) Relevant offers.

Instead of making them sit through your introductory sales pitch again, you can lead customers down a more precise funnel. Think about how Amazon creates a tailored landing page for you based on your purchase history. When it comes to what we want, Amazon sometimes seems to know us better than we know ourselves!

custom landing pages example

Tailored Amazon landing page when customers are signed in.

How To Determine The Pages To Create

In other words, how to segment your current and potential customer base. Because each page is tailored to an individual or the persona of individuals that share the same qualities, you have to figure out who these people are first. You probably have a ton of internal marketing data already, but here are a few other approaches to consider:

  • Track individual users by having them sign in or create an account (see the Amazon example above). The more information you can tie to one person, the better you’ll be able to tailor a landing page to them.
  • Consider the filters you used to set up a PPC campaign. Those custom audience filters can be applied directly to the landing page.
  • Take a look at your existing email list. If you’ve already segmented it, you can create landing pages complementary to those groups.

The main goal is to identify the type, and how many, unique landing pages you’ll need. If your product or service appeals to both CFOs and small business owners, you need to be able to separate these two groups and market to them correctly. A small business owner won’t care about some of the features a CFO can’t do without.

As you’ll see in the examples below, you can use the technology you’ve already built to create custom pages – such as filters that account for interest, age, gender, etc.

Identify What You Can Personalize

You can personalize just about everything on a landing page, as long as you have access to that information.

Here’s a list of some of the elements you can consider:

  • Visitor’s name. If junk mail companies with meager budgets can do it, so can you.
  • Company name. We’ve previously covered using social in account-based marketing, and those tactics can apply here, too.
  • Company size. If you have a robust profile of the company the customer works for, your landing page could lead with messaging like, “Mid-size agencies swear by our tools.”
  • Visitor’s job title or position. What better way to flatter someone than by calling out their status? Speak directly to the decision-makers with messaging like, “See why marketing managers from Fortune 500 companies call us a ‘go-to.’”
  • Device and browser
  • Messaging based on ads they clicked on. If website builder Squarespace is sending people to its site through a partnership with a wedding blog, their tailored landing page could be the most used wedding templates with examples of what other wedding customers created.
custom landing pages

Squarespace partnership post with a wedding blog.

  • Gender. If your product or service equally serves men and women, but in different ways (a razor or a new shaving cream, for example), knowing the gender of the person (and therefore the intended use) is an easy win.
  • Age. Gifts curation company UncommonGoods has a super simple approach to landing pages; they send certain ad clicks to e-comm results surfaced through a filter. A search for “gifts for teens” brings up an ad that leads to a page filtered for “gifts for teens 15 and up.”
custom landing pages

Search results for “gifts for teens.”

 

custom landing pages

UncommonGoods landing page when clicking through on “gifts for teens.”

  • Geographic location – When housing finder Zillow knows a person’s location of interest, they can send them straight to a page listing houses in that area.
custom landing pages

Zillow’s personalized landing page for customers whose location of interest are known.

  • Industry of visitor’s organization. Use this information to create a sense of urgency with a message like, “Our social media management software is taking B2B companies by storm.”
  • Search method visitor used
  • Onsite history of visitor. If you know what’s already caught someone’s attention, give them more of it. Whether it’s blog topics or a product they seem to be considering, serving up more of what they like will make website visits feel tailored just for them.
  • Topics visitor has historically been interested in. If instructional website Masterclass knows you’ve taken screenwriting classes in the past, they can serve up a landing page that suggests other performance-related lessons.
custom landing pages

Masterclass tailored landing page for customers who have already expressed interest in performance-related classes

Depending on your product or service, there are so many ways to tailor pages to match your audiences’ interest and intent.

Take It One Step Further With Testing

Hopefully, with multiple, personalized landing pages, you see an uptick in conversions immediately. Whether you do or don’t, keep testing. Companies like Sailthru, EasyPURL, HubSpot, ExactTarget (Salesforce), and Mindfireinc not only make it easy to get your landing pages up and running, they also provide a simple platform for making small test changes.

No one likes to be talked to in general terms, especially when asked for personal information, like an email address, or money. Personalized landing pages allow marketers to better connect with current and potential customers with messaging that speaks directly to their interest and intent.

Why Reducing Risks Could Be the Best Marketing Strategy This Year

Posted by on Aug 16, 2017 in Advertising
Why Reducing Risks Could Be the Best Marketing Strategy This Year

Humans are wired to seek quick fixes. We, marketers, like coming up with new hacks and ideas to outsmart the competition. But the truth is, we often benefit more from reducing harm than from marginal improvements and fresh tactics. So how can you apply this simple rule of risk management (or common sense) to your paid media strategy this year?

In this article, you’ll learn how to mitigate risks in your paid ads strategy through fixing the most common paid search faux pas, diversifying your media investment, and keep close tabs on your budget with automation.

Small Errors, Big Risks, and Easy Fixes for PPC

Risk mitigation is common in marketing, finance, and even human survival. Which is why smart marketers a/b test, savvy investors diversify portfolios, and humans generally don’t play with fire.

What does this have to do with my paid search campaigns, you ask. Well, even small errors may bring costly risks. Below you’ll find some quick tips to help you play safely in your paid media strategy:

1) Set Alerts and Rules to Prevent Overspending

Take budget pacing, for example. If you’re an agency marketer, you’re likely familiar with a situation when you go over a client’s PPC budget too fast. This mistake is so common, there’s a whole Reddit subthread about a guy who overspent thousands of dollars on several clients’ PPC accounts and had to pay out of pocket. The good news is, you don’t need to worry about it if you set alerts and rules in their PPC reporting tool – you’ll get notified via email whenever things fall off track. (You can automate and pause ads with low conversion rate, too.)

2) Remove Duplicate Keywords and Revisit Your Exclusion Lists

Duplicate keywords in PPC accounts is one of those pesky errors that are too easy to overlook. Many marketers forget to check for duplicates in their campaigns and end up bidding against themselves. The result? Their quality scores go down and cost per click goes up. To prevent this unfortunate situation, use AdWords Editor to quickly find and edit duplicate keywords (Tools>Find Duplicate keywords).

As Google is refining its exclusion rules, now may be a good time to revisit the lists of websites you don’t want your ads to show. Seer Interactive has built a great list of 429 placements to block on Google Display Network.

3) Optimize Landing Pages for Conversion

Even the best search campaign will fall short if the landing page is missing a clear call-to-action, replete with distracting elements, or simply not optimized for mobile. Worse yet, someone comes to your website via organic search only to be greeted by an annoying pop-up in the first two seconds. So, before you run a campaign, think through the buyer’s journey all the way from a click to conversion and make sure it’s a smooth one, no matter the device.

PPC automation and reporting tool

Automate actions and set alerts to mitigate risks of overspending and poor campaign performance

4) Set a Quarterly Testing Budget

Now that you’ve fixed all the most common risks and errors, let’s focus on building out a risk-free media buying strategy.

How you allocate your marketing budget depends on your business’s needs and goals, target audience, time frame, competitive intelligence insights, and other situational factors. But chances are, you don’t put all your money in just Google AdWords. You may invest in SEO, creating quality content amplified by paid social, and, perhaps, even the occasional offline branding activities. Your advertising budget is often spread out across your Bing Ads, Twitter Ads, Linkedin Ads, and other channels.

Diversification strategy can apply to just the AdWords as well. Try additional media: display, remarketing, or video. In other words, you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

You can clearly track back the impact from all your different channels if you keep data under one roof. Visualize your spend and campaign performance with PPC tools like AdStage, understand performance trends, and make better business decisions.

ppc automation and reporting data visualization -- adstage

Pro tip: Easily visualize your spend across different channels with AdStage Report.

5) Rebalance and Optimize Over Time

If your campaigns from last quarter went especially well, you might use extra money to implement a more aggressive asset allocation strategy and try Snapchat ads, for example. Or maybe not, but you’ll generally mix and switch things up while diversifying your risks. As a rule, you should establish a testing budget for each quarter and reevaluate your performance over time. Never rely 100% on autopilot.

Road to Risk-Free PPC Strategy: Fix, Optimize, and Test

Account for the worst, and the best will take care of itself. The bimodal strategy of minimizing risks and maximizing safety (better known as common sense) can be well applied to paid search advertising strategy. Before you build out an innovation strategy, start small. Eliminate easily fixable mistakes, de-risk overspend through automation, diversify your investment, and optimize over time to keep your paid search and paid social advertising budget in check.

How to Become a PPC Expert

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Advertising
How to Become a PPC Expert

Each summer PPC Hero votes to identify the top 25 most influential PPC experts. This year, AdStage’s JD Prater made the list alongside Larry Kim (Wordstream, MobileMonkey), Purna Virji of Microsoft, Ginny Marvin of Search Engine Land, and other leading search marketers whose opinion will matter most in the next 12 months.

How does one become a PPC expert? You don’t need a formal degree to run ads. In fact, many of today’s brightest paid search marketers say they “just landed into it.” Some transitioned to PPC from copywriting, like Susan Wenograd, Partner at Five Mill; others applied their natural analytical prowess and learned by trial and error on local SMBs, like AdStage’s Marketing Director, Michael McEuen.

I sat down with AdStage’s PPC experts, Michael and JD, and asked them what it takes to become a PPC pro. Turns out, it’s not about getting that Bing certification or passing the Facebook Blueprint exam.

Here are the seven things top PPC pros have in common.

1. They Build a Deep Expertise in One Area

PPC experts know the ins and outs of Google AdWords, Bing Ads, or Facebook Ads – but rarely all the networks at once. Why go niche? It’s the only way to go from good to remarkable. Most PPC skills are transferrable, but a niche strategy makes easier to stay on top of the latest changes.

how to become a ppc expert. tips from michael mceuen.

2. They think beyond metrics

Clicks and conversions vary across networks, and most PPC specialists know how to track metrics in each. But only a few experts can report on these metrics in a way that makes sense to the board, business owners, and senior-level executives. The best marketers don’t stop at CTRs, CPAs, leads, and conversions. These rare professionals tie campaign results to revenue and customer lifetime value. They are not afraid to bid higher – and will confidently ask for a bigger budget if they think it’s best for the business.
how to become a ppc expert. tips from michael mceuen.

3. They Have Some Agency Experience

Many PPC experts started on the agency side. In-house marketers often get a firmer grip on the strategy wheel and develop a broader range of marketing skills, but agency folks learn certain technical skills a lot faster. Externally-driven deadlines taught them to structure their time for maximum productivity and output.

how to become a ppc expert. tips from jd prater

4. They Are Excel Ninjas

From charting to pivot tables, Excel skills are critical for any marketer working with large datasets. The ability to wrangle Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets with ease and confidence speeds up and improves business decisions. PPC pros use Excel to create dynamic URLs in bulk, slice data, or animate a scatterplot chart for an ad hoc report.

how to become a ppc expert. tips from jd prater

5. They Are Not Afraid to Fail

The risk of failing when you test a different approach gets in the way of finding new original solutions. It’s common (and not wrong) to do what worked well in the past, but the best learnings come out of mistakes and failures. (Check out JD’s post on the mistakes he made while testing Quora Ads). PPC experts try new things and stop the campaign if it falls off track.

how to become a ppc expert. tips from michael mceuen.

6. They Understand the Guts of Tracking

Whether they inherit an account or start a new one from scratch, great PPC marketers understand the critical steps of setting up Google Analytics. These experts will get the right code in place to collect all the necessary insights. Chances are, they’ve dabbled in some code and understand the limitations and hidden opportunities of Google Analytics tracking.

how to become a ppc expert. tips from michael mceuen.

7. They Are “Doers” And Never Stop Learning

Even the best PPC experts can quickly go back to being newbies if they don’t work on their craft. Many former individual contributors find it hard to sustain their expertise when they start to manage large teams: “dual-track” (manager + individual contributor) is a tricky career path.

how to become a ppc expert. tips from jd prater

 

Bringing it all together

Yes, all the 25 PPC experts on the PPC Hero list this year speak at conferences and often have thousands of social media followers, but building a reputation as an industry specialist starts with the basics. The best PPC experts go niche, love data, take risks, and keep learning.

Want to start automating PPC ads like a pro? If you haven’t yet, sign up for our free trial.

 

How To Extend Your Ad Copy Into Converting Landing Pages

Posted by on Aug 9, 2017 in Advertising
How To Extend Your Ad Copy Into Converting Landing Pages

You and the team spent weeks, maybe even months, mapping out your current digital campaign, nailing down the strategy, refining the images and copy, and finally releasing it out into the wild. But for most B2B companies, that’s just half the battle.

Depending on your objective, you have to guide customers along the whole journey, not just dump them off in an unfamiliar land with a smudged map. And that’s where landing pages come in. More importantly, landing pages that convert.

Don’t think you have to wheel the whiteboard back out to start carving out your landing page. The arduous work you’ve done to create your campaign will set the foundation you’ll use to build your landing page. As a bonus, this approach also naturally guarantees your campaign will look and feel cohesive from the first time someone comes across your ad, all the way to conversion.

Get Your Landing Page Structure Down

There’s a lot, but also very little, you’ll put on your landing page. What I mean is that every word will pack an important punch, but the copy and visuals will be relatively minimal. For that reason, it’s important to get everything organized to provide yourself with a clear template of what you need to fill in.

Your hierarchy may change slightly depending on your goals and what you’re selling, but the below is a proven structure since it follows the flow of the average consumer’s questions: What or who is this? What do they want from me? What’s in it for me? If I say yes, then what happens?

Identify Yourself

Use a one-line headliner to describe what your company is about. The ad that brought the potential customer through was probably focused on their need. Your identifying headline is your chance to establish credibility by concisely letting him or her know why you’re cut out to provide that solution. This line probably already exists on your homepage as your elevator pitch introduction to visitors.

Zendesk builds whole suites of products aimed at helping companies provide top-notch customer experiences. Here’s how they sum themselves up in one sentence:

converting landing pages example -- zendesk

And Salesforce, whose product offering is exponentially more complicated than the one-liner below, smoothly explains the company’s purpose:

converting landing pages example -- salesforce

Determine Your CTA

The call to action is basically the entire purpose of the page, right? So don’t pass off this section as a simple button with “Click Here” on it. A landing page should have one goal. Just one – download the ebook, start your free trial, order today, subscribe now, and on and on. Identify that one goal and put that CTA front and center. Of course, it’s important for it to appear on an obvious clickable button, but don’t hesitate to represent it elsewhere in the copy, as long as the message stays the same.

landing pages call to action CTA example

Identify The Offer

What are you giving the person? While discounts are enticing, don’t make them your default. If you have a great product or a white paper, it’s  enough if you’ve set the sale up correctly. Don’t stop at one bullet point for what the person will get. Expand on the offering as much as possible to give the offer strong legs. Be able to list exactly what you’re giving people.

Blue Apron, an ingredients and recipe delivery service, highlights the difference in their ingredients – farm-fresh, seasonal, no added hormones, sustainably-sourced, and so on, in addition to mentioning the supporting recipe materials. The list gives the product a much higher quality feel than a box of food with some directions (and starts to justify the cost).

converting landing pages example -- blue apron

Highlight The Benefits

Most (if not all!) people have a “me” mentality. They assess nearly everything with a “what’s in it for me” filter. For that reason, focus on the outcome of using your product, not on the product qualities themselves. Using Adstage as an example, our “cross-network reporting & automation connects marketers to the data they need to analyze, automate, and report on their ad campaigns.” The potential customer benefits include saved time, hands-off campaign tracking and measurement, better-looking reports in just a few clicks, and easier campaign decisions thanks to more precise data collection.

List What Comes Next

If someone is heavily considering taking action, this could be what tips them over the edge. They’re interested in the offer, so use this section to show them it’s the correct, easy choice. List out what happens as soon as someone takes action – instant access, automatic importing of existing data from your current system, no download or installation required, full access start of a 21-day trial, etc. No one wants to commit to something only to find out they have to do work to get started.

Know Your Audience

You should already have a ton of audience data from when you initially set up the campaign, and hopefully it was reflected in your ad copy. If your campaign has been running for awhile, you should also have a pretty good collection of insights to shape the landing page, too. If there’s a certain audience segment that’s responding very positively, focus there. If it’s split, you may even consider creating a few landing pages – one for each segment.

In addition to using what you already have, try starting with your prospects’ most urgent  problem and work backward. For example, if you know your potential customer spends 15 hours a week creating one email for their marketing campaign, and your software allows the same to be done in minutes, hit home on the “time saved” message. Pump up the language that shows prospects you understand their pain points. It not only lends you credibility, but potential customers will be more likely to trust the solution you’re selling if it seems like you understand the problem to begin with.

Focus The Landing Page Copy

Before you start jotting down copy, go back to what your campaign objective was in the first place. Collect all the copy and messaging you used in your ads and paste that below your campaign objective.

Pro tip – determine which ad performed the best and highlight that copy as a reminder of what’s already proven to be most effective. Use this as a powerful reference sheet as you scope out copy for the rest of your landing page. It’ll stop you from doing double work, but also keep everything cohesive.

  • Keep it short. Your landing page is essentially another ad unit, so you have to be concise, even though technically you have a lot more real estate.  You’d never be able to drone on in a PPC ad or even a TV commercial. The same best practices apply here. If you’re using the right messaging, it won’t take multiple scrolls to convince someone to accept your offer. In a previous post, What’s A Good B2B Conversion Rate in 2017?, we looked at a report from Unbounce that examined landing page conversions across several verticals. The study found pages with fewer than 100 words convert 50% better than pages with 500+ words.
  • Make every word pack maximum power. Here at AdStage, we often use tools like CoSchedule’s free Headline Analyzer, which breaks down and scores your copy. Also, make sure your messaging pertains to your unique business and product. If you a competitor could also use it, it’s not specific enough to you.
  • Don’t try to include everyone. Sure, you want to sell to as many people as possible, but generalizing your copy and messaging will only water down your offer and benefits. Focus on your persona’s specific needs and go hard there. If down the road, you see an opportunity to focus on another persona, you can always build another landing page speaking to the solutions you provide that person.

Test, Test, and Test Some More

Whether it’s button copy (instead of “Click Here” try “Start Your Free Trial” etc.), or breaking paragraphs into bullet points, make sure you’re trying new approaches to see what works best.

VWO, an A/B testing and conversion optimization platform, shared a case study on their blog (#8) showing how Provident Hotels & Resorts ran multivariate text tests on their CTA and form titles that resulted in a 9.1% higher CTR. They used 12 different combinations and discovered the  “Reserve a Room” + “Search” combination was most effective.

CTA call to action example for landing pages

Pro Tips

  • This should be no problem if you’re using the same copy and assets from your original ad campaign, but make sure the messaging and design mirrors the ad that brought the person to the landing page. If it’s too different, he or she might think they’re in the wrong place or being scammed.
  • Don’t get carried away on desktop. Everything needs to be mobile-optimized.
  • Videos can be a compelling tool to help offer more information without clogging the page with text. Eyeview, a video manufacturing company, shares a few case studies that show video can increase conversion up to 86%.
  • For more tips beyond copy, check out our post 5 Easy Ways to Boost Landing Page Conversions

Launching an ad campaign is just half the battle – but there’s a silver lining, too. It means that half the work is already done, all you need to do is extend it into another form. Keep in mind your landing page should answer all questions, and provide an offer prospective customers can’t refuse.

PPC Dashboards: Insights, Impact, and Action

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in Advertising, Reporting
PPC Dashboards: Insights, Impact, and Action

Picture this: You just have finished running your PPC campaign. You are happy because it performed well. You can’t wait for your boss to see the results. You grab all your data and start creating the dashboard to show your boss.

After a few hours of work, your dashboard is done. Everything is looking good, so you go to your boss’s office and show her the results. Once you are done talking about the results of the campaign, your boss looks at you, unimpressed, and says, “OK, what’s the impact to our business?”

You mutter a few words, trying to explain the significance of your findings, but to no avail.

You lowered the CPC of your top-performing keywords and increased their CTR. You also tested new ad copies and found new keywords to bid. Why didn’t she like the results?

The problem is simple: your boss doesn’t care about the details of your PPC campaign. She cares about the results it brings to the business. Your PPC report wasn’t for your boss; it was for you.

In this article, you will see how to build dashboards that will win your boss’s attention (and make you look great).

Add Context with Insights, Impact, and Action

Many marketers assume that dashboards should be reserved strictly for graphing numerical data. For these marketers, text is for reports; data is for dashboards. This misconception leaves aside all sorts of information which can help your boss understand your report all within one dashboard.

Your boss is unimpressed every time you show her a PPC dashboard because she doesn’t get the context of your data. If you can make the abstract concrete, your boss will understand what each metric and graphic mean for her.

Analytics guru, Avinash Kaushik, recommends using the following three elements in any dashboard.

1. Insights

Metrics and graphics show what happened during a given period. What your boss wants to know is why that happened. As a marketer, you should be able to explain what could have caused each metric to go up or down. You want your boss to have an “aha” moment that can make her see what’s going on with your PPC campaigns.

2. Recommendations for Action

Once you have explained why things happened they way they did, you need to follow up with a recommendation for action. After you answered the “why,” you need to give them the “what now?

3. Business Impact

Once your boss knows why something happened and what they can do about it, the final piece of the puzzle is explaining why your boss should do what you recommended her to do. Your boss wants to know what impact your recommendations will have on the company’s performance.

Use Benchmarks and Trends

Insights, impact, and actions are all helpful ways to amplify your metrics with some context. No metric reported works on its own. If you show your revenue, it’s likely there are associated metrics that have affected it, like conversion rate and average order value, among others.

Another way to show context is benchmarks. You can show three kinds of benchmarks in your dashboards:

  1. Own data benchmarks. It’s much simpler to create your own set of benchmarks using data from your analytics provider. You can find those benchmarks by looking at month over month trends for each year and across years.
  2. Industry analyst data benchmarks. Industry analysts and companies like Gartner or Forrester, Consumer Electronics Association, and eMarketer sell this kind of information, which can be useful but expensive. If you decide to use one of these companies, consider the data collection methodology before purchasing their data.
  3. Competitor data benchmarks. You can use tools such as SEMrush and Spyfu to analyze your competitors’ performance. These tools give you a real view of how much they are paying per click, what keywords they are bidding on, and more.

Another way to add context to your dashboards is by contrasting segmented metrics with goals. You can also show the trends of each metric and goal, so your boss can see the performance throughout a specific period (usually from a month to a year).

Without context, even the most important metric won’t provide any value on the dashboard.

Choose the Right Kind of Dashboard

Depending on your needs, you can add different elements to your dashboard, broader in scope or more narrow, strategic or operational, real-time or predictive. In the table below, you’ll see example options from Juice Analytics. As you build your dashboard, however, remember to focus on insights, recommendations, and their expected impact on the business.

selecting metrics for your ppc dashboard examples

Source: Juice Analytics

Each of these options will help you distinguish what useful, interesting, and productive information to show or leave out.

Show Business Metrics

As you may recall, your boss wants to see results, not numbers. She may get impatient because her time is scarce. Senior-level executives are responsible for making the business grow, so they care about everything related to that goal, not your department’s one.

To make both your boss’s and your life easier, you need to understand the difference between external and internal metrics. Internal metrics are those that matter to your department. Since you work as a PPC specialist or manager, your internal metrics include:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • CTR
  • CPC
  • Quality score or Relevance score

All these metrics are important for you. But how can your boss translate those metrics into actual business results? Instead of waiting for him to discover that by himself, you need to show him the “external metrics,” the ones that affect the business. These metrics include:

  • Number of acquired customers
  • Acquisition costs
  • Average order value
  • Number of leads
  • Number of trials
  • Revenue generated
  • Sales pipeline contribution
  • Lifetime value
  • Goal conversions
  • Task completion rate

Even if you show your boss your external metrics like the ones mentioned before, you can’t show him 20 different ones. That will make it hard for him to understand which ones matter and which ones don’t.

As a rule of thumb, your dashboard should contain fewer than ten metrics. Each metric should have a specific goal associated with it. Also, you should segment most, if not all, of them.

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Segmentation Is King

You have seen how important it is for your dashboard to explain the performance of a given metric and recommended actions to improve it. Aggregated data can help you find if there’s an issue with a given metric, but it won’t explain which segments that influence that metric are over or underperforming.

Segmentation is thus a key way to make it easier to understand why a metric performs above or below the desired threshold. Once you find which segments are driving an average metric down (or up), you can then recommend actions to fix (or optimize) that segment.

In the case of a PPC dashboard, you can segment by a wide range of attributes, including:

  • Mobile device
  • Impressions
  • Cost
  • Number of clicks
  • Spend of ad account
  • Ad network

Your boss and other decision-makers don’t have a clear idea of what happens with their website. Showing them segmented metrics, trends, and results is a useful communication tool.

There’s nothing more important in any analysis than segmentation because your visitors aren’t one-dimensional. They all have different attributes, whether they are demographic, behavioral, or transactional. Unfortunately, most of the PPC reporting and analysis are done in an aggregate way. You must have an effective and persistent segmentation strategy as part of your analytics process.

Conclusion

Creating useful PPC dashboards can help you position yourself as a savvy business member of the marketing team. You have seen what specific elements you need to add to your dashboards to make your boss happy. Not only everything you learned today will help you stand out; it will help your boss drive better results, which in turn can help you progress within your company.

If you’re looking for a way to automate your cross-network PPC reports with business goals, check out our free 14-day trial of AdStage Report.

LinkedIn Text Ads: 5 Brands to Copy to Boost Performance

Posted by on Aug 2, 2017 in Advertising, Social
LinkedIn Text Ads: 5 Brands to Copy to Boost Performance

As LinkedIn has grown to over half a billion users, so too has its ad platform’s capability to slice and dice audiences based on troves of self-reported user data. With plenty of targeting options to choose from, you can get your message in front of decision makers and C-level execs when  they catch up on news, connect, and network.

But an ad done wrong can actually reduce the sales of a product. (Or so says Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising.) How do you write a compelling LinkedIn ad?

At AdStage we’ve plowed through tons of ads on the platform and analyzed several examples of different LinkedIn ad types to inspire your creative process.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the basics of writing effective B2B LinkedIn text ads. Read on to learn how to write a LinkedIn ad headline, increase form field conversion rate, and choose images to support your ad on the landing page.

5 LinkedIn Ad Types: From Text Ads to Programmatic Display

linkedin campaign manager

You can buy Sponsored Content, Text Ads, and InMail ads through LinkedIn’s self-service platform and programmatically purchase LinkedIn Display through your preferred ad partner. For Dynamic Ads, you’ll need to go through a LinkedIn sales rep.

It bears saying from the outset that a strong organic presence – a company page – is a must for any brand. But to scale your customer acquisition, you must invest in paid ads. On LinkedIn, you can serve up paid ads in the following five formats:

  • Text ads
  • Sponsored Content
  • LinkedIn InMail
  • LinkedIn Dynamic Ads
  • Programmatic Display

Some ad types work better than others depending on your marketing budget and goals. Below, we’ll look at several text ads served by B2B companies in July 2017.

Match Landing Pages to Ads and Reduce Form Fill Friction

The beauty of text ads is that they are super easy to create and work for budgets of all sizes. Text ads appear in the right rail of LinkedIn pages or at the top, as seen in the example below:

linkedin text ads content strategy 2017

Let’s zoom in on this one. As I click on the ad, I’m redirected to a URL with custom campaign variables, featuring content gated by a contact form.

linkedin text ads landing page scribble

linkedin text ads content strategy

Scribble’s ad is well-targeted and features relevant keywords in the headline, as well as an actionable CTA. Unfortunately, the text ad is missing the company’s name, and its content is poorly-timed.

What’s good about this ad? Obviously, the job title targeting is on point: a guide on content marketing strategy optimization is a logical offering for a content marketing manager. Scribble Live is not hard-selling me software, but offering a free pdf download instead. And the call-to-action is clear — the ad ends with a straightforward “Get the Guide.”

What’s missing? For starters, this text ad doesn’t mention the company’s name in the headline — a missed opportunity for raising brand awareness among those who don’t click but count as “impressions.” And for those who do click, the brand could have provided better, smoother user experience through frictionless form capture.

Too bad I have to manually enter my name, company’s name and email — Scribble could have easily pre-filled the form with data from my LinkedIn profile through LinkedIn AutoFill Plugin Generator. But plugging in the company’s name and streamlining form capture is only part of the equation. I’m here for the content, but Scribble’s timing seems a bit off. Content strategy for 2017? We’re more than halfway through the year; that ship has sailed.

After I leave Scribble’s website and re-load my LinkedIn page, another version of the same ad pops up — this time, with a marketers’ favorite odd-numbered-list headline. The cool thing about text ads is that you can very quickly come up with a multitude of options for testing, a big positive for copywriters on lean marketing teams.

linkedin text ads content strategy

Here’s another B2B ad example, courtesy of Cloud Coach:

Cloud Coach linkedin text ad

A click on the ad brings us to the registration page on Eventbrite.

linkedin text ads landing page for events

linkedin text ads salesforce

Cloud Couch uses smart geo-targeting to promote an event offline and times it well to create urgency while allowing at least week for planning. Unfortunately, the image on the landing page doesn’t entice me to register.

What’s good here? This ad is an excellent example of relevant geo-targeting. LinkedIn uses a mix of user-provided data and IP information, a compelling offering if you’re promoting offline events. The ad is also timely; served a week ahead of the promoted event, it creates a sense of urgency while allowing some time for planning. I also like the no-nonsense approach to copy: it has the When, the Where, and the Why.

What’s missing? The landing page creatives clearly fell flat. Cloud Coach advertises a seminar, an event to network and learn about custom applications of the Salesforce platform. Yet the image doesn’t feature people I want to meet or the experts who’ll speak at the training. Even a company’s logo and screenshots of the software tool itself would have been more helpful. Instead, I see a picture of a saving glass jar half-full of quarters. Unless a glass jar full of “Profit,” as the ad suggests, is exactly what a company is selling, it’s better to play it straight — at least on the landing page.

Mind The Where, What, and Why-Should-I-Care

With LinkedIn text ads, a short line of text is all you’ve got, so it’s critical to use the limited number of characters (25 for a headline and 75 for description, including spaces) wisely. Leverage this space to showcase a benefit, announce a product update, promote a discount on a service, recognize your customers’ problems and offer a solution, or quote a happy client.

As a target buyer, I should be able to quickly figure out the value proposition. As Steve Krug put it, “don’t make me think.” For example, both LinkedIn text ads below promote events. Which one does it with more clarity?

linkedin text ads

linkedin text ads aws webianr

Both ads promote an event, but the first one is confusing and doesn’t tell me the “where, what, and why-should-I-care” part of the piece. AWS, on the other hand, uses relevant keywords, mentions all the cross-promo partners’ names, and tells the full story in one line.

Putting It All Together

LinkedIn text ads allow marketers to quickly test multiple variations and reach highly-targeted audiences at a reasonable cost. How do you maximize the impact of the few characters you have?

  • Play it straight and speak the language of your buyer. Use relevant keywords your target audience can relate to (e.g., job title, skill, software tools they use)
  • Offer value, don’t hard-sell
  • Time content well — this is especially important for events and seasonal content promotions
  • Optimize your conversion page to reduce friction through LinkedIn AutoFill
  • Test multiple variations of headline and image
  • Go for clarity over cleverness to minimize irrelevant clicks

Do you have any tips for writing great LinkedIn text ads? Tell me in comments.

 

The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Ads that Convert ebook download via blog.adstage.io

How to Use Facebook to Create Powerful Customer Personas

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in Advertising, Social
How to Use Facebook to Create Powerful Customer Personas

As an advertiser, the more you know about your customer personas, the better the content you can create. Rich customer data also helps determine how to distribute this content effectively, which leads to more successful marketing campaigns.

But gathering this customer insight can be expensive and time-consuming. You have to run extensive surveys, conduct one-on-one interviews, and collect regular feedback. In an ideal world, you would have the resources to do all of the above. But in reality, you often have to charge in blind, armed with just your intuition and fragmented conversations with clients.

Fortunately, there is a little-known solution called Facebook Audience Insights. Apart from helping you run better Facebook ad campaigns, Audience Insights is also a fantastic tool to gather customer insight. By combining raw intuition with Facebook’s hard numbers, you can create detailed customer personas.

The result? Content that your target customers love. Plus, higher conversion rates. Read on to learn how to use Facebook to develop your customer personas today.

What is a Customer Persona?

A customer persona is a biographical sketch of a single representative customer, or your “ideal customer.” While this persona has some hard demographic data (age, location, gender, etc.), it is mostly a subjective summary of the customer’s likes, dislikes, problems, and desired solutions.

Here’s a sample customer persona from HubSpot:

hubspot marketing mary

There is no limit to how many customer personas you can have. A large business like Amazon might have hundreds, even thousands of customer personas, while a bootstrapped SaaS product might just need a couple.

Customer Personas Use Cases

Well-defined customer personas can guide your content efforts from planning to distribution:

  • What kind of problems to address in your content
  • How to write, style, and present your content
  • Where to distribute your content for maximum impact
  • How to prioritize content creation

Suppose, you have two target personas:

customer personas

Persona A represents a key decision maker, someone in an executive-level position. To target this persona through content, you can use their preferred format, style, and media:

  • Create shorter content that’s easier to consume
  • Distribute mostly through popular enterprise blogs and LinkedIn
  • Emphasize high-level wins
  • Use a writing style that’s aligned with the demographics.

Persona B, on the other hand, represents an entry-level employee. They don’t make critical decisions yet, but can tell decision makers about your product.

To attract this persona, you can adjust your content accordingly:

  • Create more in-depth or beginner-level content
  • Distribute via Facebook, Twitter, and other popular mainstream blogs
  • Use a more casual writing style aligned with the demographics.

As you can see, a content marketer would likely create two very different content marketing campaigns for these personas. Detailed customer personas will make content creation easier and help you attract targeted traffic.

So, how do you create customer personas? This is where Facebook Audience Insights helps.

How to Create Customer Personas with Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook Audience Insights offers a fast and free alternative to extensive surveys and expensive focus groups.

Let’s look at how you can use this nifty tool to create customer personas.

Start by Researching a Competitor

The first step is to find and research a popular competitor. This will give you the initial data you need to zoom in further on individual personas. Ideally, this competitor should be popular, yet niche. If you’re selling software, don’t research Adobe; your data will be too broad. Instead, look up 37Signals or FogCreek.

Go to Audience Insights and plug this competitor into the “Interests.” In this example, I used Copyblogger to research content marketing customer personas.

copyblogger custom audience research

You can already see that this first step already yields some interesting insights: most of Copyblogger’s audience are older than 25 and, for the most part, women.

Find High-Affinity Related Pages

Once you have your seed data, you need to find related pages that have a high affinity with your existing audience. To do this, go to “Page Likes” and sort the pages by affinity. Make a list of at least five or six pages.

facebook page likes

Research All Related Pages for Demographic Data

Next, add all the pages you found above to your list of interests. This will help you expand the audience and gather demographic data. For best results, keep your total audience size under 50k monthly active people. For smaller niches, I stick to 10k people and under. For example, adding “Duct Tape Marketing,” “Derek Halpern,” and “Jeff Bullas” to the interests list shows me this:

facebook audience interests

While this won’t give you specific customer personas, it will help paint a general picture of your target audience.

In the above case, it’s clear that most of my target audience is in the 25-54 age group. A look at “Lifestyle” shows that a lot of these are also “Top Professionals.”

facebook audience lifestyle

The Education and Job Title section shows that my selected audience are mostly college-educated and work in media, management, or sales roles.

facebook audience education and job title

Based on this, I gather a few things:

  • My target customers are mostly professionals working in media, management, and sales
  • Most of them are at least in their late twenties and went to college

Once you dive further, you can start creating your customer personas.

Drill Down by Age and Education Level

Your next step is to drill down further and create specific customer personas from the general data you gathered above.

Here’s how:

  • Divide audience into distinct age groups
  • Segment this audience further based on their education.

In the above example, the age and gender data shows that most of my audience falls into three age groups:

facebook age gender

I focus on age since it usually correlates with career advancement (older people tend to be in positions of higher authority). In most cases, the above three age groups would form three separate customer personas. Research each of these age groups separately.

For example, focusing only on 25-34-year olds shows me that 54% of this audience is female.

facebook audience personas

To get an even better picture of your audience, drill down based on education level. For example, looking only at college-educated 25-34-year-olds, you can see that an overwhelming majority is in management or media roles:

facebook audience job title

Look at each segment’s page likes to find:

  • Where this audience hangs out
  • Where to distribute content (including guest post spots)
  • Identify influencers
  • Narrow down on niche interests (social media marketing -> Facebook marketing)
  • Tools and products they use and like

For example, here are the page likes for college-educated 25-34-year-olds:

audience influencers and guest posts

In contrast, 25-34-year-olds with a graduate degree are equally represented in management, sales, and media roles. They also tend to be female. Based on this data, you might have two customer personas:

  1. Persona A: 25-34-year-old male with an undergraduate degree working in a managerial position in marketing. Hangs out on social media and career-focused websites.
  2. Persona B: 25-34-year-old female with a graduate degree working in a sales or media position. Follows SaaS businesses in the MarTech space, reads established marketing and business bloggers.

Do this for all the different age groups until you have a handful of customer personas.

Test Your Customer Personas

To test your hypotheses and create more accurate personas, follow this three-step process:

  • Create a custom audience based on a single customer persona
  • Create a blog post that would appeal to this customer persona
  • Promote the blog post via Facebook ads and measure results

If there is an alignment between your content and customer personas, you should see a healthy engagement rate. If not, try narrowing or expanding your target audience.

See this guide if you want a primer on running Facebook ad campaigns.

Create Your Final Persona

Once you have all this data, it’s time to create your final customer personas.

Here’s how:

  • Give each customer persona a name and age (“Tony Stark, 42”)
  • Add a picture representing the persona. Use stock images or find something on MorgueFile.
  • Give the persona a fictional position (“CEO at Stark Industries”).
  • Summarize each data point in a single sentence.

You can use PowerPoint or the MakeMyPersona tool from HubSpot.

Conclusion

Facebook Audience Insights can be used for a lot more than running Facebook ads. The insight you gather from it can also help you create customer personas for your content marketing campaigns. By researching your closest competitors’ audience, you can learn about their demographics, their favorite products, what industries they work in, and what influencers they follow.

It’s not more accurate than running an expensive customer survey campaign, but it’s a lot better than going in blind. Plus, it will neither cost you money or take up too much of your time.

5 Women Who Inspired Me to Be a Better PPC Marketer

Posted by on Jul 26, 2017 in Advertising
5 Women Who Inspired Me to Be a Better PPC Marketer

The PPC industry, later expanded to Paid Media, is less than two decades old; while one of the oldest digital mediums—the web banner ad—was launched just prior, in 1994. While the industry’s two largest networks, Google and Facebook, launched their advertising solutions in 2000 and 2004, respectively.

It’s the reason why you’ll be hard pressed to find an expert who has run ad campaigns, that imagined they would do so as part of their career. Most college curriculums are just now starting to cover digital marketing, let alone teaching budding marketers how to optimize ad campaigns across different channels and mediums. For many of us who started out years ago, there weren’t too many comprehensive guides or walkthroughs, often leaving learning to trial and error, and community outreach.

More than just information scarcity, there also seemed to exist a clear gap of the number of women in the industry opposed to men in the early days. While not perfect, and with clear gaps remaining in salary and leadership representation that need to improve, it has been compelling to see the industry and community become more gender diverse and inclusive over time.

I was inspired to pen a post highlighting some of the most talented professionals who had a noticeable impact on the way I approach my work. I’m very grateful to these bright marketers who’ve provided guiding light through the depths of digital marketing, by continually sharing their knowledge to others.

Annie Cushing

Annie Cushing

Chief Data Officer, Outspoken Media

Annie, who many endearingly refer to as “Annielytics” on account of her blog, possesses a unique gift of breaking down complex data analysis concepts into clear and actionable steps.

Never did I appreciate this more than when trying to follow Richard Branson of Virgin’s mantra for business, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes—then learn how to do it later!” Finding myself burning the late night oil trying to make sense of projects that required regression analysis, cross-sheet pivot tables, VLookups, and many more seemingly alien tasks. Thanks to Annie I shaved countless hours off the learning curve and was able to understand the once foreign language of Excel commands.

Must-read articles to check out:

Melissa Mackey

Melissa Mackey

Search Supervisor, gyro

When it comes to PPC subject matter, articles geared towards B2C business types often dominate the conversation. This isn’t surprising, as many of the advertising solutions were built from the viewpoint of a sale happening all on a website and with a short expected sales cycle. This left many marketers, such as myself, scratching our heads on how to best approach B2B marketing using tools and solutions that aren’t often not meant for, or accommodating towards, our use cases.

Opposed to an online sale, B2B often focuses on generating leads that are then worked with a sales team to hopefully turn into a closed contract or sale. Their sales cycles are often months, not hours, and the tracking is often murky (needing to account for online and offline touches). While we report in terms of leads/contacts, companies/accounts, opportunities, and revenue, many advertising platforms reveal web conversions as their standard tracking and performance views.

Melissa stands out to me as someone who really understands B2B, first and foremost, and then has a unique gift of being able to apply her knowledge against the greater paid media landscape—recommending the best features and tactics on search, social, and display to drive more qualified leads and sales opportunities. From her posts on Search Engine Land, speeches at events, or consistent contributions to the #PPCChat community, I continually learn from her expertise and thankful for her strong B2B viewpoint in the content.

Must-read articles to check out:

Merry Morud

Merry Morud

Senior Creative Strategist, Aimclear

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn from some of the brightest Facebook advertisers on the planet, located at the headquarters of Aimclear—a marketing agency nestled within the small town of Duluth, Minnesota. Their CEO, Marty Weintraub, authored the celebrated book, “Killer Facebook Ads: Master Cutting-Edge Facebook Advertising Techniques”.

Here I was a corporate search guy in khakis (judge away), working at a Fortune 500, visiting what seemed to be an obscure little town in order to learn how to advertise on a social network—needless to say, I felt a bit out of place.

I stepped into what I’ll never forget as an incredible atmosphere of creativity and collaboration that has stuck with me through the years. Eggos were popping hot out of the toaster and launched across the room to other team members catching them on plates, like a foul ball cracked into the stands. Individual ad copy was blown up on a big screen and poured over by the entire team. Side projects were encouraged and financed. People were free to let their freak flags fly high and be their true selves, it was eye-opening and glorious.

Here I met Merry, a razor-sharp creative who understands both audience segmentation and performance analytics cold. She pushed me away from keyword stuffing ad copy, and thinking in terms of intent—common habits praised in the search space. Instead, I was challenged to think about audience targeting in the form of Psychographics, understanding the power of an image when it comes to behavior, and how to write headlines that demand attention. Merry also has an exceptional command over Facebook’s Power Editor—if there’s a new shortcut, hot key, or bug, she’s likely one of the first to spot it (and usually screenshots it on Twitter).

If you’re lucky enough to hear any of the Aimclear crew speak at events or attend one of their webinars, be sure to leave your email. You’ll be included in their email nurture,“Super-Secret Psychographic Targeting Tip Sheet”, often penned by Merry, with actionable insights into new Facebook features, comprehensive targeting, and optimization wins. It’s punchy and consistently worth the read.

Must-read articles to check out:

Lauren Vaccarello

Lauren Vaccarello

VP of Marketing, Box

Moving from being part of a digital agency to an in-house role at a startup was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. If you’re curious about the experience, our Head of Customer Acquisition recently wrote about this exact transition.

B2B is a tricky space for running acquisition campaigns. Forrester revealed in a study that less than 1% of marketing leads, on average, turn into closed-won revenue for the Sales team. Now couple that with marketing a SaaS (software-as-a-service) product, where most of the buying process happens online, and it can make many marketers feel a bit lost at sea.

Thankfully, I came across the book, “Complete B2B Online Marketing”, co-authored by Lauren. Within those pages, she revealed the core pillars to her online acquisition strategy while at the helm at Salesforce. I thoroughly enjoyed her holistic approach to running multi-channel campaigns in order to reach and nurture your ideal customer audience—pushing me to invest in thinking more about the customer journey, strategy, and tracking from a bird’s eye view. It’s been inspiring to follow her transition from a more traditional demand generation mindset, to running Account-Based Marketing campaigns targeting existing sales prospects at Box, in order to aid in shortening sales cycles.

Must-read articles to check out:

Joanna Lord

Joanna Lord

Chief Marketing Officer, ClassPass

Before Google’s Panda update, and Facebook turning down the dial for organic reach, SEO was the digital marketing industry’s golden child—while PPC was often the forgotten lackey. Search engine and digital marketing conferences were dominated by SEO tracks and thought leaders. That’s why it was so compelling to hear a strong voice for the PPC community coming the VP of Marketing at one of the most adored SEO product companies, Moz (then SEOMoz).

Joanna was speaking at events about segmenting your web page traffic and remarketing with relevant messaging while many marketers were just laying their first retargeting/remarketing pixel, and blanketing the same banner ad everywhere. She also possessed a firm grasp of how paid and organic strategies could be combined together to drive more customers.

Since, Joanna has expanded her marketing arsenal by mastering the art of branding. Fueling the growth of companies like BigDoor, Porch, and now ClassPass. I follow her personal blog for honest and thought provoking views into startups and marketing strategy.

Must-read articles to check out:

What’s Your Story?

Are there thought leaders or mentors who have inspired you? We’d love to hear your story!

How to Use Bing Ads to Reach New Customers

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Advertising, Search
How to Use Bing Ads to Reach New Customers

Don’t Overlook Bing Ads

It’s been seven years since Windows unveiled Bing, and since then, the search engine and the teams behind it, have made strides to catch up with the behemoth, otherwise known as Google.

Just in the past few months, new features have included a ‘Popular Content’ section showing you the most visited content sections from a website or web page, completely redesigning the Android version of its search app and including augmented reality, and even adding Game of Thrones content in preparation for the season 7 premiere. Perhaps even Windows 10 could have had a big effect since Bing is now integrated throughout the entire desktop OS.

Little by little, those efforts are bumping Bing’s numbers up. In comScore’s latest rankings for search on desktop, Google slipped .3 points while Microsoft (Bing) rose by .2%. In an amended deal struck in mid-2015, 51% of Yahoo’s desktop search traffic has to carry Bing ads, giving the search engine even more clout.

Of course, there’s still a huge difference between Bing and Google’s overall share of search, but Bing’s influence is larger than most people think.

comScore’s latest rankings for search on desktop

While the majority of people are hanging out on Google for their searches, being among the crowd isn’t always the best bet for marketers. In fact, Bing offers many advantages over Google.

The Power of Bing Over Google

Bing has less competition and cheaper PPCs

Using an example from digital marketing agency ymarketing, keywords “mens boardshorts” gave them a CPC of $0.48 on Bing compared to $1.35 on Google, for a cost savings of 64%. Fewer people to go up against means lower costs for marketers. You’re also more likely to get better placement since not many marketers are including Bing on their media mix currently.

Bing gives you more control and flexibility at the ad group level

When setting up an AdWords campaign, Google locks you into network, location, ad scheduling, language, and rotation settings at a campaign level, and ad groups are held to those restrictions. The only way to get around that is to set up a new campaign with different parameters so that you can extend the filters to ad groups. Bing allows you to adjust all those same options at any level, as well as assign different campaigns time zones, which could be a crucial factor for global clients.

Bing allows transparent access to search partner targeting

Bing’s got nothing to hide when it comes to search partner targeting. Not only can you target just Bing & Yahoo, just search partners, or both, but you can also see who the search partners are and drop any partner who’s not giving you the numbers you want. Google, on the other hand, lets you target just Google, or Google and search partners, and refuses to pull back the curtain to let you see who the partners are, let alone adjust bids or exclude anyone.

Bing gives context with social extensions

In the first quarter of 2016, Bing announced Social Extensions, which are “placed under your ad copy that direct potential customers into social conversations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Tumblr. Searchers click on the extension and are directed to the associated social account or social post.” Bing also shows participating advertisers’ Twitter followers in ads to give additional validity to a business with which a customer might not be familiar.

bing ads social extensions

Bing lets you use demographics in search

In AdWords, you can set demographic targeting on the Google Display Network, but that control doesn’t extend to search. With Bing Ads, you can set the gender and age of who you want to see your search ads.

Now that you’ve seen the ways advertising on Bing can be beneficial over going the traditional Google route, hopefully, any skepticism about the underdog search engine has dissipated. Now let’s take a look at Bing’s targeting capabilities and how you can use them to your benefit.

Bing Ads Targeting Capabilities

According to Microsoft, Bing Ads and the Bing Network reaches 167 million unique users who spend 26% more online than the average internet searcher. Those are some pretty enticing numbers considering you can get much lower PPCs, too. Bing’s targeting capabilities aren’t drastically different from what Google offers, but they’re still worth taking a look at to fully understand them and determine how to use them to shape your campaigns.

1) Keywords

Bing provides a Keyword Planner (you’ll need to have a Bing Ads account and be signed in) that suggests keywords based on insights from historical trends and marketplace competition. You’ll need to start with your own seed list of keywords that you’ll input into the planner, as well as the URL of your website or a page on your website, and a category relevant to your product or service, then you’ll get a list of suggested keywords from Bing. From there, you’ll also see a bid landscape for each keyword where you can make decisions on what to go after.

2) Location

With Bing, not only can you show a store address in your search ad, but you can also specify a radius within a city or U.S. ZIP code in which to target your ad. This capability lets you focus your ads on search users who live close to your store. Bing gives another example of location-based targeting using the keywords “Seahawks jerseys.” As you can see in the graph below, it’s no surprise the most search traffic comes from Seattle, followed by California and Oregon. With this data, you can make sure you’re targeting these areas exclusively, or bid appropriately to ensure you’ve always got ads up in your strongest regions.

bing ads keyword insights

Once you have enough historical data through your campaigns, Bing will show you location based bid adjustments which are suggestions on how to tweak your account to get more from the locations that are responding best.

3) Language

Bing will do all the translating for you. When setting up a campaign, all you have to do is select the most common language in the region you’re targeting, and Bing will make sure your ads correlate to the language of the end-user’s web browser settings.

4) Scheduling

With Bing’s scheduling tool, you can parse ads out in 15-minute increments. If your campaign is focused on getting customers into a brick & mortar door, you can also set ads to run only when your store is open. Bing averaged its user data to come up with helpful trend charts showing volume by hour and days per device.

bing ads relative volume by day of the week

5) Device

You can limit where you want your ad to be seen – mobile, tablet, or PC. Bing has another helpful interactive graph that shows click-through rate, cost per click, and volume by device type and industry. It’s a great way to get a glimpse at what competitors are doing, and also set your own bar.

6) Demographics

In addition to the default HHI, education, and marital status, you can also target demographics like age and gender, which can offer some tailored opportunities when it comes to your ad creative.

7) Remarketing

Don’t miss out on interested customers. Bing lets you remarket to customers who have visited your site but may not have converted.

RECAP

We’ve preached before (and we’ll do it again) about the importance of varying your media mix. Bing, with its large, engaged audience and low PPCs offers a great opportunity to experiment with a search engine you may have previously overlooked.

REPORT: How Modern Marketers Measure Advertising Effectiveness

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 in Advertising
REPORT: How Modern Marketers Measure Advertising Effectiveness

How Do Marketers Know If A Campaign Was Effective?

That question seems to be one of the most hot-button topics in digital marketing today. Most likely because finding the answer is so challenging thanks to numerous channels, media mixes, and multiple devices.

And there doesn’t seem to be one right answer when it comes to measuring effectiveness, though campaign results are crucial in determining future advertising strategy, where to put more money, and how to expand on successful messaging. To truly understand the impact of a campaign, marketers need to be able to dig into results at an individual level through first-party data.

Research Now, an online market research company, and Econsultancy, a subscription-based service that gives marketers access to research, market data, best practice guides, case studies and e-learning, teamed up to survey 2,715 global marketers to examine their approach to measuring the effectiveness of campaigns. The sample consists of client-side/in-house marketers, agencies, independent marketing consultants, and technology vendors.

Some key findings in the report include:

  • More than three-quarters (77%) of company respondents agree that the success of advertising should drive the level of budget allocated to it. The ease of digital measurement, alongside this attitude, is reflected in the results; brands allocate 25% of their budget, on average, to digital, compared to 13% to TV, which tends to be a more difficult channel to measure.
  • Those who are effective at advertising measurement are more likely to be using key measurement tools. Over two-thirds (69%) of marketers who are ‘extremely effective’ at digital advertising use customer surveys, and 74% measure brand awareness, compared to 21% of those who are ineffective at measuring each of those.
  • More than 60% of client-side marketers agree that ‘surveys to test advertising effectiveness provide a strong indication of the success of an advertising campaign,’ and 54% agree that these surveys are essential to advertising validation. An even higher proportion (72%) see market research as playing an important part in measuring the effectiveness of advertising.

Measuring An Effective Advertising Campaign

The outcome of a campaign isn’t going to mean anything if it wasn’t set up correctly in the first place. Avoid any arguments and discussion after the fact by getting all key players to understand and agree on the campaign’s objectives and subsequent results tied to those goals from the very beginning.

The report cites Kevin Standen, Head of Digital Marketing at Vauxhall, who advises, “Given the possibilities in terms of journey sources, platforms, timeframes, channels and devices – to set KPIs to measure effectiveness that fit all of these is extremely difficult.” He suggests dividing every activity into a separate role as it relates to the customer journey, with each assigned a KPI.

Other respondents in the survey took the same approach, which results in prioritized objectives that stack up like this:

most important objectives for your advertising

When asked how they measure the above, respondents said proof of increased sales was the top indicator (66%), traffic second (62%), and social media engagement and increased brand awareness third (45% each).

So how do you apply this information to your marketing strategy? Before you even push “go” on a campaign ensure you know:

  • your individual campaign objectives and associated KPIs
  • which channel would be most effective for each objective
  • your media mix based on customer journey

Use A Broad Media Mix To Get The Results You Want

The report cites an eMarketer prediction that American adults this year “will spend almost six hours per day using digital media, including mobiles, desktop/laptops, and other connected devices.” All those channels (and time) provide a lot of opportunity for marketers to get their messages to audiences, but with all those choices, where do you even start?

As we talked about above, define your campaign objectives, and you’ll have a better idea of the media mix to include in your strategy. And don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Diversifying will yield differentiated data that can provide better direction on how to proceed. When asked about spend on digital advertising, respondents reported a healthy mix of different channels:

average portion of advertising budget

More marketers are shifting budget to digital thanks to viral potential, low costs, and relatively easy measurement, but TV and video shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you’re focused on long-term effects like brand awareness.

The IPA, a UK organization for professionals in advertising and marketing communications, found in a study that adding TV to a media mix (in addition to channels like Facebook), can increase campaign effectiveness by 40%.

Applying the above findings to your strategy, diversify budget across a media mix that makes sense for your campaign objectives. You’ll get the most data and bang for your buck from multi-channel campaigns.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the number of marketing channels available. Instead, test quickly to determine which are right for your brand and strategy. Media mix choices will only continue to grow. The faster you can understand and implement, or ignore new channels, the more ahead of the game you’ll be. The most effective marketers see the wide range of marketing channels as an opportunity, not a burden.

Attribution Remains A Challenge For Many

Correctly attributing a purchasing decision often requires tons of clean data, which takes a lot of time and skill to establish and maintain – luxuries many businesses don’t have in-house.

Of respondents in the survey, only 15% of in-house staff say they use attribution modeling to determine a campaign’s success, with that number rising to just 22% for agencies.

how to establish how effective your advertising is

Marketers are using a mix of results to determine campaign effectiveness, but the most successful respondents in the survey reported giving more weight to four specific categories:

  1. measuring brand awareness
  2. customer surveys
  3. attribution modeling
  4. and NPS

Summary

So if you’re looking for quick and solid feedback on your campaign, consider these avenues first. You’ll also want to prioritize the measurement techniques that are easiest for you to set up and manage. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by trying to create a complicated attribution model that might not be correct from the beginning.

Check out our post on solving attribution issues for some tips on how to get started and read the full report here.