Top 2018 Facebook Ads Predictions from the Experts

Posted by on Dec 13, 2017 in PPC News, Social
Top 2018 Facebook Ads Predictions from the Experts

Can we agree that we’re spending more time on our phones? We can’t get enough of these pocket-sized computers.

The average American spends more than two hours a day on their mobile device, with 50% of their app time in their most-used app, and almost 80% in their top three apps, according to comScore. And of those 140 minutes spent on our phones, 50 minutes are spent across Facebook apps (Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger).

Moving forward, Facebook will play a bigger role in marketer’s mobile strategy. That said, what’s in store for Facebook marketers as we head into 2018?

I predict Facebook marketers will turn to Instagram ads to drive conversions, experiment with Messenger ads to start conversations, and turn to offline conversions to measure business impact.

A Pipeline of Advertisers Headed Straight to Instagram

One reason for Instagram’s rapid adoption among advertisers is the pipeline of 5 million active advertisers on Facebook. As Facebook faces ad load saturation on its main app, marketers have more reasons to experiment with Instagram advertising. Facebook can provide the same targeting capabilities on Instagram, but there’s a growing number of ad types and more available inventory on Instagram for advertisers to drive conversions.

Instagram Ad Types

Driving Conversations With Messenger Ads

Figuring out how to stay in front of audiences is always top-of-mind for marketers. With Facebook pouring more resources into monetizing Messenger, I predict marketers will be enticed with more ad types and variations in 2018. And with a push for more adoption of the Messenger platform, expect that payment processes will get easier and more efficient. To learn more about how to get started check out the Ultimate Guide to Messenger Ads.

Measuring the Impact of Facebook Ads

Marketers are under constant pressure to prove the impact of their ad spend. With offline conversion measurement capabilities on Facebook, marketers can track when transactions occur in physical business locations and other offline channels (CRM) after people see or engage with their Facebook ads.

match transactions to campaigns to determine attribution

This is extremely valuable for marketers looking to justify their budgets. Facebook is uniquely positioned to provide multi-touch attribution so marketers can accurately understand campaign performance and optimize spend. Look for marketers to adopt Facebook’s offline conversions in 2018.

Facebook Ads Predictions from Industry Experts

We asked four Facebook Ads experts their predictions about what’s to come in 2018.

Key Facebook Trends to Watch for in 2018

  1. Facebook’s Diminishing Ad Load
  2. Experimenting with Messenger Ads
  3. Getting Creative with Ad Creative & Ad Types
  4. Be Ready to Test New Features

Susan Wenograd, Partner at Five Mill:

“I think there will be at least two developments related to FB targeting in 2018 and one development around rules and regulations.

Facebook started running out of News Feed space last year. This has caused skyrocketing CPMs, and really fierce competition. This is great for Facebook’s bottom line, but I think they also recognize that evolving is now more important than ever. They cannot just shrug and say, ‘Welp, that’s all we got. Good luck, folks!’ They have to test and iterate on new ways to create inventory, but simultaneously have it be quality inventory that will move the needle so advertisers will spend budget on it.

I believed Watch was their first step towards this when they announced it. Video has all kinds of applications and success for ads on the platform, so it makes sense they’d look to evolve this first. They also have the opportunity to learn from what other video platforms like YouTube do well and don’t do well. Indeed, they have announced testing of pre-roll images recently, so look for future inventory openings to come from things outside the News Feed directly.”

Susan Wenograd Facebook Quote

“I also think the other major targeting thing that will continue to evolve is targeting based on user behavior. This was a huge leap forward for Facebook in the past year, allowing us to target users based on their in-platform activities like their interactions with Events, Videos, and Posts. I believe this will continue to evolve, giving us options for how to create Audiences based off which Posts/Ads they interacted with, and whether their reactions to posts were positive or negative.

The other thing I’m watching is the rise of chatbots. This is a huge deal for Messenger, but will also require some oversight from Facebook to control what that looks like. Spammy messages and annoying marketing techniques will frustrate users, so I think Facebook will need to figure out the rules and guidelines advertisers need to adhere to about what is messaged and how it’s done.”

Akvile DeFazio, President and Facebook Ads Specialist, AKvertise, Inc.:

“In this last year, Facebook continued making a push to get more users and brands on Messenger. As we head into 2018, we will most certainly see the trend forging a deeper path as more people dive in to the app from ads at different stages of the conversion funnel without even having to transfer to a website or wait for customer service responses via preexisting and less instantaneous means.”

Akvile DeFazio Messenger Quote

“From Sephora making beauty service booking quicker than ever, to O’Reilly Auto Parts providing customer service, Domino’s Pizza featuring order placement and tracking, to Pinterest now allowing users to easily search and share pins, it’ll be interesting to see the many creative ways brands will utilize this highly coveted space to get the closest to their audience since email.

As it stands today, it is still an under-utilized space for advertisers, though not for long, as chatbots level up. Messenger is no longer just for communication, it’s also evolving into a medium for conversions.”

Matt Mason, Senior Client Manager, Point It:

“With Facebook’s focus on Messenger and their acquisition of WhatsApp, they will find a way to be able to purchase directly through their messenger platforms. Imagine being able to serve an ad for a product within Messenger, and someone being able to purchase without having to click out of the app.

Facebook makes a big splash with an acquisition of a well-known brand in order to increase their reach but also solve for their dwindling inventory and ad slowdown. As the market becomes more and more oversaturated, they have to be able to meet the demand.”

Matt Mason Facebook Quote

“Facebook begins testing some sort of self-service creative studio to help advertisers with videos + statics. They’ve already announced the Creator App for the creative community. It wouldn’t shock me at all if there was some form of light version for advertisers. It would make sense considering the majority of the advertisers are small businesses without a lot of capital.”

Michelle Morgan, Director of Client Services at Clix Marketing:

“Long story short, Facebook is getting more competitive and that’s going to require advertisers to lessen or move away entirely from their previous strategies on the network. I think Facebook will continue to grow in terms of the number of advertisers over the course of 2018. Given the inherent nature of inventory on Facebook (there are only as many impressions available as people willing to scroll through their feed), that means more advertisers for the same amount of impressions. Economics 101, anyone?

Advertisers will need to be willing to do a few things to stay competitive on the platform.

First, be willing to bid competitively. Up until now, it’s been common to hear of highly successful Facebook campaigns for little ad spend. There might still be opportunities for that, but that time is fading. If you want to see returns from Facebook, you’ll need to get competitive with your bids or let go of the bidding reigns altogether and let Facebook’s algorithm do it for you.”

Michelle Morgan Facebook Quote

“Second, you’ll need to get more creative with how you engage your target audience. Going from zero to 60 and asking for a sale the first time someone visits your site might work during the holiday season, but it’s going to be harder to do during the remainder of the year. Whether it’s creating a new conversion type for a lead generation company, being more appealing with your ad copy doing a better job of not over-saturating your audience, or creating a retargeting funnel, there are many ways to get more creative with your advertising; and 2018 is the year you’ll have to flex those muscles to get the returns you need.

Lastly, stay on your toes in terms of the Facebook platform itself. Facebook is continually changing its advertising options, as well as its user experience. Keep an eye out for new targeting options, functionality, etc. that could benefit your accounts, and be willing to test new features as they become available. My guess is that early adopters will be the ones to get low-cost, profitable campaign results.”


Marketing is all about (a) finding your target audience and (b) communicating how your product or service can solve their problem. And Facebook ads are making this easier to accomplish. The question is how are marketers going to react to rising News Feed cost and expanding onto other Facebook properties. And how will Facebook entice marketers to experiment with new networks in a transparent way.

Brand Safety: The New Must-Have PPC Metric

Posted by on Nov 28, 2017 in PPC News
Brand Safety: The New Must-Have PPC Metric

For the second time this year, advertisers are (at least temporarily) abandoning YouTube because the video platform compromised brand safety by displaying advertiser messages on videos that appeared to sexualize children. Back in mid-March, reports revealed that ads from major brands had been appearing on YouTube videos from white nationalists and hate preachers. Huge advertisers from L’Oréal to Verizon suspended their YouTube buys in the wake of the crisis, but eventually came back.

A recent report from Trusted Media Brands, Inc, a global media and direct marketing company, polled 287 marketers to see how they interpret the importance of brand safety, and across the board, these digital decision-makers are concerned and believe brand safety directly impacts return on investment.

Below, we’ll look at how marketers can take back control, but first, we’ll examine why brand safety has suddenly risen to the top of the worries list.

What Is Brand Safety?

Regardless of who you ask—agency buyer or marketing VP—most everyone agrees brand safety means ensuring ads always feature appropriate content and are positioned in the best light. One VP in the report added more detail to the definition by highlighting “an environment that is fundamentally friendly, that will not cause uncomfortable associations, or spur unwelcome sharing or comments.”

Why The Recent Focus?

From an ad tech perspective, more automation and programmatic have led to a loss of transparency into placement info from media channels and buys. And more reporters are catching, and writing about, not so favorable examples. Earlier this year at Advertising Week Europe, Anthony Katsur, president of Sonobi, an audience platform that works directly with media companies, placed blame on the whole ad tech industry, saying there are “layers of obfuscation between the brand and the consumer … Suppliers supplying suppliers, supplying suppliers.”

From a societal or political perspective, fake news, in general, has damaged the public’s trust in content, and viewers are therefore hyper-aware of and suspicious about anything that seems off. An article in Marketing Tech News using internal data found of the more than 150 million domains and 5 trillion monthly page-level URL requests where MTN has insight, approximately 10-12% of URLs are recognized as unsafe because they include content that is adult, violent, or similarly inappropriate.

A Gallup poll found that just 18% of Americans trust big business. And a study from McCann found that 42% of Americans believe that brands today are less trustworthy than 20 years ago. Pair those feelings and beliefs with a major misstep as to where ads are served up to consumers, and you can see why brand safety is a concern for marketers.

Top Issues For Brand-Safe Environments

TMBI’s report found that more than three-quarters of marketers believe brand safety impacts ROI, and have started putting a special emphasis on placing ads in trusted environments. Marketers said they believe advertising in brand-safe environments drives significant impact in three key areas:

  • Audience quality (83%)
  • Brand equity (82%)
  • Brand lift (79%)

When marketers were asked to rank the most concerning issues overall in digital media buying, brand safety came in third behind ROI and viewability.

brand safety stats

Ninety percent of the marketers included in the poll said that in light of recent events, they’ve started taking steps to improve brand safety in their media buys. One marketing director included in the report said, “We have a robust list of ‘rules of engagement’ that clearly defines an unfavorable environment. It is centered around very specific content, keyword, and types of sites.” And that’s just one of the ways marketers are getting more involved in where their ads are appearing.

How Marketers and Advertisers Are Taking Control

Blacklisting or whitelisting specific sites and channels, monitoring site lists, and avoiding political content or sites is an extremely effective way to make sure your ads are shown in the best light. But don’t just trust your media partners to supply you with this list. Put your own people on the job for hands-on observation of sites and channels.

Adexchanger interviewed New York Life’s corporate VP of media and metrics who explained that his team doesn’t just enforce brand safety guidelines, they also assign KPIs.

“A brand-safety KPI can be a couple of things. It can be more of a tactical KPI, [such as] the percent of content the media attempted to display, but has been blocked because it’s not brand-safe. And it can be a more strategic KPI, [like] implementing a process by which brand-safety settings are consistently reviewed and adapted to today’s business.”

From TMBI’s report, four in ten marketers also said they plan to increase their use of programmatic guaranteed/private marketplaces to have more control over where their ads are showing up, and the same number said they wanted to avoid or limit sites that featured UGC content.

how advertisers address brand safety -- survey stats

Branded and News Sites Now At a Premium

Sites that guarantee delivery of trusted content 24/7 are now a top priority for brands, and many are willing to pay more to secure these safer spaces. That includes branded sites like Disney and news sites like the Despite Facebook’s challenges with Russian ads during the election, the social platform has managed to maintain trust, at least with 34% of marketers surveyed. YouTube was given the green light by 27% of marketers, though that percentage has likely dropped in light of the most recent reports.

websites to advertise for brand safety

Other Strategies To Strengthen Brand Safety

Whitelisting, preferred site placement, and more hands-on management of ad placement will positively affect brand safety, but don’t stop there. Here are other steps you can take to ensure your content is showing up in a favorable light:

  • Scrutinize your creative. Mark Finney, director of media and advertising at the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, during Advertising Week Europe, suggested content should be actively vetted for quality “before advertising is put anywhere near it.” The content of your creative is one of the few pieces of the puzzle you can control fully, so take advantage of that.
  • Focus on quality placements with trusted publishers. Though it may cost more, this effort is likely to pay off. Unilever CMO Keith Weed said his company found that ads are more effective when they run alongside premium content.
  • Demand transparency from your partners. You should know exactly where your ads are showing up, or better yet, where they will show up, so you can step in if any part of the buy seems inappropriate for your brand.


How Much Do Facebook Messenger Ads Cost?

Posted by on Nov 14, 2017 in PPC News
How Much Do Facebook Messenger Ads Cost?

Facebook announced on their Q3’17 earnings call that “more than 20 million businesses are communicating with customers through Messenger.” And TechCrunch reported back in September that Messenger surpassed 1.3 billion users.


Source: TechCrunch

As Facebook looks to deal with max ad load, they finally started to ratchet up monetization efforts on Messenger by introducing different ad types. In our Ultimate Guide to Facebook Messenger Ads, we showed how to create the two most popular types 1) Send People to Messenger (Direction) and 2) Send Sponsored Messages to People on Messenger (Placement) ads.


Messenger Ads Cost Benchmarks for Q3’17

In a brand new report from AdStage, we took an in-depth look into PPC benchmarks and trends that matter to you and your digital advertising strategy. In Q3’17, we analyzed AdStage data for over 150 million Messenger ad impressions and found the average CPM was $17.13, the average CPC was $1.27, and the average CTR was 2.31%.

Facebook Messenger Ads Benchmarks

Messenger Ads CPCs

We found the majority of advertisers are earning CPCs less than $1.00 with a lot under $0.29. These results make the ad placement enticing for marketers looking to experiment with Messenger Ads.

Facebook Messenger Ads CPC

Messenger Ads CPC Histogram

With Facebook pouring more resources into monetizing the Messenger platform, we predict marketers will be enticed with more ad types and variations in 2018.

Our mission at AdStage is to connect paid marketers quickly and easily to the data they need to understand holistic campaign performance and take action at scale. Learn more about our Facebook Ads reporting solution, and get our latest Q3’17 benchmark report.

The exclusive AdStage Q3 2017 PPC Benchmark Report gives unprecedented PPC insights and trends into what’s happening on the major ad platforms. Just click on the button below to access the full 78-page report.


12 PPC Conferences You Must Attend in 2018

Posted by on Oct 24, 2017 in PPC News
12 PPC Conferences You Must Attend in 2018

Digital marketers love attending conferences for a simple reason: they are one of the best investments they can make. Conferences allow marketers to learn from the most prominent experts about the latest industry tips as well as meet with their peers and grow their professional network.

With the number of conferences held every week around the world, it’s hard to decide which ones you should attend. To help you choose, here’s a list of the best 12 digital advertising conferences you should attend in 2018.

Note: Some of the events’ dates and locations for the third and fourth quarters of 2018 aren’t confirmed yet.

Click here to copy the list.


SMX: top digital marketing conferences to attend in 2018

Image Source: MarketingLand

First Quarter 2018


Programmatic World Forum

Date: January 25.

Location: San Francisco, California.

Price: There’s only one ticket which includes all the keynote presentations, all panel sessions, and workshops, currently priced at $295 for the Super Early Bird buyers.

Programmatic advertising is one of the hottest topics in the digital marketing industry. Programmatic World Forum focuses their talks and workshops exclusively on every topic related to the programmatic advertising industry. With over 200 attendees and 20 guest speakers, the Programmatic World Forum is the cheapest conference on this list.


PubCon Austin

Date: February 21.

Location: Austin, Texas.

Price: The Full All-Access Conference Pass, which includes full access to all conference sessions and events as well as breakfast, lunch, and breaks, costs $449.

One of the first digital marketing conferences, PubCon is an event where digital marketing professionals get together to learn how to market and manage commercial websites for themselves or clients. The conferences include talks about SEO, PPC, Social Media, conversion rate optimization, affiliate marketing, and more. Since their inception, the PubCon event has attracted over 30,000 attendees.


SMX West

Date: March 13-15.

Location: San Jose, California.

Price: From $49 for access to the Exposition hall only to $1,895 for the all-access full-conference pass.

Since its inception in 2007, the Search Marketing Expo has been one of the leading conferences in the search engine industry. SEO and PPC specialists can learn actionable tactics throughout the sessions and training workshops held. The SMX, organized by Search Engine Land and MarTech, is made up of four events, two in the West Coast, one in the East Coast, and one in Europe.

SMX Munich

Date: March 20-21.

Location: Munich, Germany.

Price: From €120 for access to the SMX Expo+ Pass, which includes selected sessions and access to the exhibition hall, to €2355 for the SMX Gold Ticket.

SearchLove San Diego

Date: March 26-27.

Location: San Diego, California.

Price: Prices range between $1,299 and $1,599.

Covering topics from analytics to search engine optimization, the Search Love conference features an even amount of experts from agencies, such as and Portent, SEER Interactive, and Brainlabs, and software companies, like Search Metrics, Moz, and Litmus. The conferences, run by Distilled (a British digital marketing consulting company), are held three times a year, once on the East Coast, one on the West Coast, and one in London.

Second Quarter 2018


Programmatic I/O San Francisco

Date: April 10-11.

Location: San Francisco, California.

Price: Prices range between $1,595 and $1,995.

Programmatic I/O is the largest conference focused on programmatic media and marketing. Held twice a year in San Francisco and New York, these conferences feature more than 70 industry speakers and a group of networking events which attract between 1000 to 1500 programmatic marketing executives from companies like IBM, Nielsen and The Boston Consulting Group.

PubCon Florida

Date: April 10-12.

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Price: Prices range from $25 for the exposition floor access only to $849 for the Platinum All Access Pass.

Hero Conf Austin

Date: April 16-18.

Location: Austin, Texas.

Price: Prices range from $1,700 to $2,875.

Organized by the award-winning PPC agency Hanapin Marketing, Hero Conf is the largest conference specific to the PPC industry. The conference runs twice a year: in Austin during the first semester, and in London during the second one. Speakers include experts from all the most prominent ad networks, advertisers, and technology companies, including AdStage.


SMX Advanced

Date: June 11-13.

Location: Seattle, Washington.

Price: From $199 for the Networking Pass only to $2,995 to the All Access + Workshop Pass.

SearchLove Boston

Date: Early June.

Location: Boston, Massachusetts.

Price: $1,099 and $1,399.

Third Quarter 2018



Date: July 9-11.

Location: Seattle, Washington.

Price: Unlike other conferences, there’s only one ticket for everyone with the same benefits. Moz’s subscribers can get the ticket at $1.049, while those who aren’t subscribers get it at $1.549.

Moz is one of the most popular SEO tools in the online marketing industry. Their conference, MozCon, is a three-day event full of actionable sessions covering topics such as SEO, conversion rate optimization, analytics, customer experience, social media and content marketing, among others. The event is focused on providing the latest advice to help marketers rank higher in the evolving search engine results as well as learn how to make data-driven decisions.



Date: Late September.

Location: Boston, Massachusetts.

Price: The entry-level price costs $599, and includes all the keynotes and networking events. The all-access pass, also includes workshops, special sessions, and free lunch, costs $1,699. They also offer a VIP Pass at $1,999 including a hotel room, faster check-in, and premium reserved seating, among other things.

While some of the other conferences on this list focus on specific marketing channels like PPC or SEO, the INBOUND conference specializes in the inbound marketing industry as a whole.

Run by Hubspot, one of the largest CRM and marketing software providers for marketing and sales, the talks and workshops are focused on every subject related to online marketing and sales, including social media, analytics, branding, sales management, and paid online advertising.

Past speakers have included marketers such as Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk, executives like Arianna Huffington, and celebrities like Serena Williams and Alec Baldwin. In 2017, the keynote speakers were Michelle Obama and Piera Gelardi (Co-Founder of Refinery29).

Fourth Quarter 2018


Hero Conf London

Date: Late October.

Location: London, United Kingdom.

Price: Prices start at £1,350.

heroconf top PPC conferences to attend in 2018

Image Source: PPC Hero

SMX East

Date: Late October.

Location: New York City, New York.

Price: From $599 for a one-day conference pass to $2,995, which includes all access to the talks and workshops.

Programmatic I/O New York

Date: Late October.

Location: New York City, New York.

Price: There are four 2-day options worth $1,995, the Programmatic Essential workshops, the Programmatic Ops Talks workshops, the B2B Marketing workshops, and the Programmatic 101 workshop.

SearchLove London

Date: Late October.

Location: London, United Kingdom.

Price: Prices range from £899 to £1,149.


ad:tech New York

Date: Early November

Location: New York City, New York.

Price: Prices start at $100 for the exhibition hall only, and go up to $1,395 for the All Access Pass, which includes access to all keynotes and all-conference streams.

Digiday Programmatic Media Summit

Date: Mid November

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana.

Price: From $2,895 to $4,795.

The Digiday Programmatic Media Summit is a conference with a unique perspective. While most conferences about programmatic advertising focus on the network side of the industry, the Digiday Programmatic Media Summit focuses exclusively on the way publishers are using their tech stacks. Held once a year in New Orleans, this event has featured speakers from media companies like The New York Times, Condé Nast, and ESPN, among others.

Native Advertising Days

Date: Mid November

Location: Berlin, Germany.

Price: The tickets start at €708 for the Workshop only, €1,065 for the Conference only, and €1,184 for the All-Access pass that includes both the workshops and conference.

Native Advertising Days is a conference focused on publishers and marketers who work with native advertising. The conference features talks on a diverse range of topics, such as the future of native advertising, the latest trends in the industry, the latest programmatic platforms, user experience, and much more.

ad:tech London

Date: Late November

Location: London, United Kingdom.

Price: There’s one Full Access pass worth £599, which includes access to all keynote and breakout sessions. There’s also the Networker Package pass for £3500, which includes branding as sponsor on on-site, website and digital event guide, and 2 full access delegate passes with 2 complimentary invites.

There are countless events around the world where you can meet Fortune 500 executives, but few feature the quantity and quality as the ad:tech conferences. The talks and workshops focus on the intersection of the marketing, advertising, and media industries, giving a unique blend to the conference. Past events have hosted executives from eclectic group of companies such as Intel, Hulu, McDonald’s, SAP, Oracle, GlaxoSmithKline, and more. ad:tech hosts events in cities around the world such as San Francisco, New York, London, New Delhi, Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore, Melbourne, and Sydney.

MozCon -- best digital marketing conferences for 2018

Image Source: Thrive Digital Marketing


Online marketing conferences are a great way to keep up-to-date with the latest industry news and techniques. They keep you in a constant state of learning, open to new ideas and willing to try new tactics (plus, they’re a lot of fun).

The 12 conferences on this list will help you become a better marketer and grow your network, which in turn will make you a more productive member of your company.

Twitter CPMs Increase 27% In 2017 [Report]

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in PPC News
Twitter CPMs Increase 27% In 2017 [Report]

We analyzed over 3.5 billion Twitter ad impressions from January to June 2017. Based on our data, we saw CPMs increase from $5.30 to $6.72 during the first six months of 2017, while the average CPC increased from $0.52 to $0.80.

  • Twitter’s CPM increased by 27% since January 2017.
  • The average CPC on Twitter increased by 18% since January 2017.
  • The average CTR on Twitter remained consistent month-over-month between February and June.

Twitter’s Supply and Demand

Twitter ad impressions dropped by 8% in Q2’17 compared to Q1’17, while ad spend increased by 8%. This is causing advertisers to pay more to enter the auction at a decreased number of impressions.

AdStage - Twitter Supply and Demand

Twitter’s CPM Increase 27%

From our data, we saw CPMs spike the last month of Q1’17 and again in Q2’17. The overall CPM increased 27% since January 2017. This highlights the volatility of the Twitter auction with the monthly ups and downs in CPMs.

AdStage - Twitter CPM 2017

Twitter’s CPC Increase 8%

Twitter CPCs went from $0.52 to $0.80 in the first six months. While a $0.28 change may seem small, that’s a 54% increase in six months and may impact the ROI for advertisers moving forward.

AdStage - Twitter CPC 2017

Twitter’s CTR Remain Flat After January

Twitter advertisers are seeing consistent CTRs month-over-month with the exclusion of January. However, it’s costing advertisers more budget to get the same result due to higher CPMs and CPCs.

AdStage - Twitter CTR 2017

Why Are Twitter’s CPMs & CPCs Increasing

Our ad spend data includes all ad types ran across Twitter’s network. Below are a couple of possible explanations for the increase in CPMs and CPCs in 2017.

1) Twitter’s User Growth Is Flat

Twitter boasts 328 million users and only added a 15 million users in the last year, with most of the growth coming internationally. Recode reported that “Twitter’s declining revenue has been blamed on the fact that the company had paltry user growth for almost two whole years — revenue was simply catching up.”

Twitter User Growth

Image Source: Techcrunch

Techcrunch added, Twitter’s “U.S. users are a fraction of its total users, but they make up a majority of its advertising revenue.”

2) Twitter Budgets Increase For Some Advertisers

Hanapin Marketing conducted a paid social survey asking marketers where they plan to increase and decrease budgets in 2017. They found that 49% of marketers are NOT investing in Twitter Ads.

However, 21% advertisers plan on increasing their Twitter ad spend within the next year. It appears Twitter Ads are driving results for certain types of companies.

Hanapin Paid Social Survey - Twitter

Our data confirms that Twitter advertisers are indeed increasing their budgets, as overall spend increased 8% since January 2017. Although budgets seem to be inconsistent from month-to-month.

AdStage - Twitter Spend and Clicks

3) Are Twitter’s Latest Ad Types Enough

Twitter’s biggest announcements were centered around video ads with In-Stream Video Ads and promoting chatbots with Direct Messages. Are these new ad types and features enough to attract new advertisers to the platform? Or even get more budget from current advertisers?

One way Twitter could help advertisers would be to offer more granular targeting similar to Facebook and LinkedIn. Ultimately, they’ll need to work on keeping the ad types fresh and creative by offering more to smaller advertisers like their carousel ads.


Takeaways and Insights

Based on the data, here are our main Twitter insights and questions:

  • Advertisers are still spending on Twitter Ads
  • CPMs and CPCs increased while CTRs remained flat
  • Advertiser budgets are inconsistent month-to-month with a lot of variation

Further Questions

  • Are Twitter ads driving business results?
  • Are Twitter ads better for brand awareness?
  • Will advertisers run video ads like they do on Facebook and YouTube?

Our mission at AdStage is to connect paid marketers quickly and easily to the data they need to understand holistic campaign performance and take action at scale. If you want to learn more about our Twitter Ads reporting solution, click the banner below to sign up for a 14-day free trial.


LinkedIn CPCs Increase by 15% in Q2 [Report]

Posted by on Sep 19, 2017 in PPC News
LinkedIn CPCs Increase by 15% in Q2 [Report]

We analyzed over 4.3 billion LinkedIn ad impressions from January to June 2017 from AdStage customers. Based on our data, we saw CPMs increase from $7.29 to $8.39 during the first six months of 2017, while the average CPC increased from $6.03 to $6.50.

  • LinkedIn Ads CPM increased by 15% since January 2017.
  • The average CPC on LinkedIn ads increased by 8% since January 2017.
  • The average CTR remained flat month-over-month with little variance.

LinkedIn’s Supply and Demand

According to AdStage data, LinkedIn ad impressions dropped by 5%, while ad spend increased by 10% in Q2’17. This is causing advertisers to pay more to enter the auction at a decreased number of impressions.

AdStage - LinkedIn Spend vs Impressions

LinkedIn’s CPM Increase By 15%

From our AdStage data, we saw CPMs decrease by 20% in Q1’17, and then dramatically increase by 44% in Q2’17. The overall CPM increased 15% since January 2017. This shows the competitive nature of the LinkedIn auction and may indicate that LinkedIn is reaching max ad load.

AdStage - LinkedIn CPMs 2017

LinkedIn’s CPC Increase 8%

Our internal findings also showed that LinkedIn CPCs went from $6.03 to $6.50 in the first six months. Q1’17 actually saw a 4% CPC decline while Q2’17 increased by 15%. While it’s a small increase, it may be enough to scare away smaller advertisers when thinking about the type of companies finding success on the network.

AdStage - LinkedIn CPCs 2017

LinkedIn’s CTR Remain Flat

LinkedIn advertisers are getting very consistent CTRs month-over-month. However, it’s costing more to get the same result due to higher CPMs and CPCs.

AdStage - LinkedIn CTR 2017

Why Are LinkedIn’s CPMs & CPCs Increasing

Our AdStage ad spend data includes all Sponsored Content and text ads ran across LinkedIn’s network. Below are a couple of possible explanations for the increase in CPMs and CPCs in 2017.

We asked AJ Wilcox, CEO of B2Linked, to share his opinion on the data. “It’s natural for LinkedIn’s auction to become more competitive over time, as with any other successful biddable media platform,” says AJ. “We especially see CPCs in Q1 each year as being quite low, so the 15% rise from Q1 to Q2 isn’t surprising.”

1) Is LinkedIn’s Inventory Maxed Out

LinkedIn boasts more than 500 million users, which is impressive but still limited compared to Facebook. With a limited supply of ads coupled with growing demand, the auction is getting more competitive, which means advertisers will pay more to enter.

The following three issues are impacting LinkedIn’s ad inventory:

  • LinkedIn’s user growth remains steady, but only 23% of members use the platform on a monthly basis.
  • Ad placements cater to desktop users. Linkedin will need to find new ways to place more ads on their mobile app.
  • More advertisers are using the ad platform.

AJ says that engaging ad creative and offers are key to winning the auction.

As more and more advertisers enter the competitive auction, the onus moves to advertisers to create ads that generate higher engagement rates. Advertisers who insist on pushing friction-prone offers like demos, trials, and sales conversations will not generate high enough Relevancy Scores to show, and when they do show, the cost per click will be so astronomical as to price these advertisers out of the auction.

It’s worth noting that LinkedIn recently announced their native Audience Network. This will allow advertisers to reach more people with Sponsored Content through third-party publishers placements. However, don’t expect a huge lift as beta advertisers only saw a 3-13% increase in unique impressions.

2) LinkedIn Budgets Are Increasing

Hanapin Marketing conducted a paid social survey asking marketers where they plan to increase and decrease budgets in 2017. They found that 43% of marketers were NOT investing in LinkedIn Ads. However, 39% advertisers planned on increasing their ad spend within the following year. It looks like LinkedIn Ads are delivering results for certain companies, which is leading to budget increases.

Hanapin Paid Social Survey - LinkedIn

Our AdStage data confirms that LinkedIn advertisers are indeed increasing their budgets, as overall spend increased 23% since January 2017.

AdStage - LinkedIn Spend 2017

3) New LinkedIn Ad Types and Features

LinkedIn released two big features that definitely got advertisers excited. It’s possible that advertisers increased their test budgets, leading to more competition in the auction.

Here’s what AJ Wilcox thinks:

“We’re currently also seeing much more interest building over time of new advertisers flocking to test out the platform, due to the continued addition of features as LinkedIn is quickly catching up to the pack.”

Two new features LinkedIn announced in Q2:

  • Lead Gen Forms — This ad format helps marketers drive leads from Sponsored Content campaigns, particularly on mobile devices where conversion rates tend to be lower, as users don’t want to fill out a long form on-the-go. For B2B advertisers, the quality of the leads on LinkedIn is already far superior to other ad networks that offer lead gen ads. And, just like any other LinkedIn campaign, these campaigns come with the same reporting capabilities that LinkedIn already offers, so you can easily measure return on ad spend, cost per lead, and conversion rate.
  • Matched Audiences — LinkedIn announced a powerful new feature called Matched Audiences, which includes three new targeting tools that let you combine LinkedIn’s professional data with your own first-party data. Now you can target website visitors, contacts, and specific accounts on LinkedIn.

Takeaways and Insights

Based on the data, here are our main LinkedIn insights and questions:

  • Advertisers are putting more budget into LinkedIn Ads
  • Yet, CPMs & CPCs are rising as inventory remains flat
  • By using natively uploaded videos as new ad inventory, LinkedIn could increase its overall ad load without cluttering user feeds or profile pages.

AJ offers advise to advertisers looking to win future auctions:

Advertisers who win in the future with low costs per lead will do so by exercising a keen understanding of their customers’ pains and needs, and providing useful content that solves them, without being overly salesy or pushy.

Further Questions

  • Are LinkedIn’s more than 500 million members enough to entice digital advertisers to run campaigns on the platform?
  • Are CPCs scaring away advertisers?
  • When will LinkedIn start serving video ads?

Our mission at AdStage is to connect paid marketers quickly and easily to the data they need to understand holistic campaign performance and take action at scale. If you want to learn more about our LinkedIn Ads management solution, click the banner below.



Facebook CPMs Increase 171% In 2017 [New Report]

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 in PPC News, Social
Facebook CPMs Increase 171% In 2017 [New Report]

Over the last year, we’ve analyzed over 8.8 billion Facebook ad impressions. We found that during the first six months, the average CPM increased from $4.12 to $11.17, and the average CPC increased from $0.42 to $0.99.

Key Takeaways

  • The average CPM on Facebook ads has increased by 171% since January 2017
  • The average CPC on Facebook ads has increased by 136% since January 2017
  • The average CTR for Facebook ads has remained consistent over the last six months

Be sure to view the Q3 Facebook ads report for the latest trends.

Facebook’s Supply and Demand

Facebook’s ad impressions are flat while ad spend is moving up. This tells us advertisers are paying more to enter the auction while getting the same number of impressions.

AdStage Facebook Benchmark Report Spend vs Impressions

Facebook’s CPM Increase 171%

Based on our data, we saw CPMs increase by 171% during the first half of 2017. This shows how competitive the auction is and illustrates why Facebook is having ad load issues.

AdStage Facebook Benchmark Report CPM Increase

Facebook’s CPC Increase 136%

The CPCs of Facebook Ads went from $0.42 to $0.99 during the first six months of 2017. That’s a huge jump, especially when thinking about the role of Facebook in the customer journey.
AdStage Facebook Benchmark Report CPC Increase

Facebook’s CTR Remain Flat

Advertisers are getting consistent CTRs month-over-month, but it’s costing more to get the same result due to higher CPMs and CTRs.

AdStage Facebook Benchmark Report CTR Remains Consistent

Why Are Facebook CPMs Increasing

Our ad spend data includes all ads run on Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network. There are a number of possible explanations for the increase in CPMs and CPCs.

1) Advertisers Are Flocking to Facebook

Facebook reported a total of five million advertisers as of April 2017. That’s up from four million monthly advertisers in September 2016, and three million in March 2016. Put another way — Facebook gained two million advertisers in one year.

Keep in mind that Facebook’s five million advertisers are only 8% of the 65 million businesses active on the network. Therefore, we don’t foresee a slowdown in advertisers’ growth over the next 12 months.

2) Advertiser’s Facebook Budgets Are Growing

Hanapin Marketing conducted a paid social survey asking marketers where they plan to increase and decrease budgets in 2017. They reported that 73% of marketers are investing the majority of their social spend on Facebook and 71% plan on increasing their Facebook ad spend within the next year.

Hanapin Paid Social Facebook

Our Facebook data confirms that advertisers are indeed increasing their Facebook budgets as overall ad spend more than doubled since January 2017 (122% increase).

AdStage Facebook Benchmark Report Spend

3) Facebook Is Reaching Max Ad Load

Facebook CFO, David Wehner, said on the Q2 2016 earnings call:

“We anticipate ad load on Facebook will continue to grow modestly over the next 12 months and then will be a less significant factor driving revenue growth after mid-2017.”

The company’s Q2 2017 results showed its reaching max ad load with only a 19% paid ad impression growth compared to Q1’17’s 32% and Q4’16’s 49% growth. However, Facebook’s revenue will continue to increase as surging ad prices, user growth, and Instagram are enough to pick up the slack.

4) Facebook’s Ad Load Slowdown Is Real

Facebook’s Q2 2017 paid ad impression growth slowed to 19% compared to Q1’17’s 32% and Q4’16’s 49%.

Eric Jhonsa of The Street reported:

Slower ad supply growth is naturally boosting prices. But given that supply is still growing (albeit at a slower rate), it’s also clear that strong ad ROIs — made possible by Facebook’s powerful and steadily improving targeting abilities — are motivating marketers to pay more for ad impressions and clicks. A growing mix of video ad sales might also be helping, given that video ads tend to carry relatively high prices.”

Takeaways and Insights

Based on the data, here are our main insights and takeaways:

  1. Small and mid-size brands are flocking to advertise on Facebook
  2. As a result, Facebook’s CPMs & CPCs are rising fast
  3. Advertiser aren’t afraid to increase budgets even as the auction gets more expensive

Further Questions

  1. Are results driving the increase in budgets or is it the competitive auction?
  2. How will advertisers react to increased competition and ad prices?
  3. Q4 is historically more expensive on Facebook, will they find more inventory or will CPMs skyrocket?

Our mission at AdStage is to connect paid marketers quickly and easily to the data they need to understand holistic campaign performance and take action at scale. Learn more about our Facebook Ads reporting solution, and get our latest Q3’17 benchmark report!


7 Major Updates for Facebook Advertisers

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in Advertising, PPC News, Social
7 Major Updates for Facebook Advertisers

What a week in ad tech! While Apple was putting on a show in Cupertino, Facebook quietly revamped its Ads Manager, rolled out several updates for advertisers, and even launched a new video chat app. Here’s a recap of all the major announcements:

1. Power Editor and Ads Manager Are Now One.

Starting this week, advertisers will begin to see an updated Ads Manager interface. Here’s what you need to know about this update.

  • No features lost.
    The updated Ads Manager will look just like its old version, plus all the features from the old Power Editor and Ads Manager.
  • Quick or guided: choose your favorite creation flow.
    Whether you preferred Power Editor’s quick creation or Ads Manager’s guided creation, you’ll be automatically opted in to the same workflow you used previously. You can change it anytime in the top right of the ad creation window.
facebook ads manager updates

The Power Editor Interface.


facebook power editor guided creation 2

Guided Creation in the new Facebook Ads Manager. Source: Jon Loomer

  • Automated drafts: review and publish.
    You’ll still have access to the Power Editor’s Automatic drafts feature. However, you will now manually review and publish all the changes that need to go live. Nothing to worry about: if you leave the updated Ads Manager with unreviewed changes, Facebook will show a reminder.
  • All campaign data insights and reporting in a single interface.
    The updated tool will allow advertisers to view and report on campaign data within one interface.

2. Lifestyle Templates to Mirror Print Catalogs

On Monday, Facebook announced a new ad format which allows users to shop directly from the Facebook ad. The new ads carry the look of a modern-day print catalog: not as glossy, but with the added benefit of interactivity, mobile reach, and less consumer friction. The new lifestyle format should appeal to the Pinterest demographics (Williams-Sonoma was among the first brands to test these ads in beta).

Instagram ads

Facebook Lifestyle Templates replicate the print catalog experience for mobile. Source: Facebook

3. Canvas Ad Format on Instagram

On Tuesday, Instagram announced the integration of Instagram Stories with Facebook Canvas. Canvas ads can now run in Instagram Stories.

What does it mean to advertisers?

  • The ability to capture Instagram’s younger demographics with full-screen experience on mobile
  • New features allow uploading organic stories as ads in Ads Manager
  • Broader reach: you can now run the same Canvas ads across Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network.
Instagram Ads

With 250m DAU, Instagram Stories are catnip to advertisers. Source: Instagram

4. New Rules for Branded Content and Instant Articles

On Wednesday, Facebook introduced monetization eligibility standards. Which means Facebook will now be more selective and cautious about Branded Content and Instant Articles. The new guidelines will control who is eligible to earn money on Facebook and what kind of content can be monetized. Starting today, the update will apply to videos and will extend to Instant Articles over time.

5. Third-Party Verification for Facebook Ads

You knew this was coming. Brand safety and ad fraud are major issues for advertisers. How do you make sure ads don’t show up next to questionable content? And who is clicking, a bot or a human? Facebook has been under scrutiny this year: first, fake news, and then inflated ad reach numbers.

To help assuage growing concerns, Facebook partnered with the Media Rating Council, the U.S.-based non-profit industry organization that reviews and accredits audience measurement services. Over the next 18 months, the MRC will work with Facebook in three key areas:

  • First-party served ad impression reporting
  • Third-party viewability partner integrations
  • Facebook’s new two-second video buying option.

To ensure advertisers have better control over brand safety, Facebook will work closely with third parties, such as DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science.

As Facebook is looking to make more ad money on its original content, these changes will be critical to rebuilding the network’s trust with advertisers.

6. Get Ready for Instant Videos

Facebook is testing a new feature called Facebook Instant Videos. Facebook Instant Videos download and cache Facebook videos to a user’s phone while they’re on WiFi so that they can watch them later on the go without spending their cellular data.

Instant Videos could be a game-changer for advertisers in the developing countries with a slow mobile Internet connection. For places where mobile data is pricey, and the network is weak, the new feature can level the playing field — at the very least when it comes to ads. For example, the average download speed on cellular in Afghanistan is 2.2 Mbps, compared to 4.4 Mbps in South Korea.

7. No More Instant Articles in Messenger

While it’s clear from some of the earlier updates that Facebook will continue to focus on Instant Articles (and videos), this ad format will no longer be available on Messenger —  for now. The truth is, as of now, Instant Articles are still not as publisher-friendly as Facebook wants them to be. Publishers report traffic issues; according to TechCrunch, advertisers have also complained about attribution: you can’t easily add UTM parameters to the end of Instant Article URLs. Facebook is collaborating with publishers to give them more control over their content, so maybe we’ll see a comeback.

… and a Bonfire

To top this week’s updates, Facebook also launched a new video chat app called Bonfire. The app mimics all the features of Houseparty, a social network popular among teens. Facebook’s copycat strategy is strong and already caused Snap’s earnings to plunge in the first quarter. Which app is next?

Tune in to hear the experts’ commentary on AdStage’s PPC Podcast this Friday.

Sign up and join our email list.



Webinar: Getting Started with Quora Ads

Posted by on Jul 10, 2017 in PPC News
Webinar: Getting Started with Quora Ads

Webinar Recap featuring Quora and AdStage: Getting Started with Quora Ads

Quora’s Head of Product Marketing, Puja Ramani, and AdStage’s Head of Customer Acquisition, JD Prater, will discuss the Quora Ads platform and best practices on how to get started running your first campaign. If you’re interested in learning more about Quora Ads then you don’t want to miss this webinar.

In this webinar, we’ll provide actionable tips on

  • Setting up your campaign structure
  • Where Quora fits in the purchase process
  • How to leverage the platform for business success

>>Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Create Your First Quora Ads Campaign<<


Quick Guide to Facebook Value-Based Lookalike Audiences

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017 in PPC News, Social
Quick Guide to Facebook Value-Based Lookalike Audiences

Facebook’s New LTV Lookalike Audiences

One of Facebook’s most powerful offerings for marketers is Lookalike Audiences. A new roll out is taking that feature to the next level and letting you assess current and new customers by how valuable they are, value-based lookalike audiences. According to Facebook, “LTV Is a value associated with your customers based on how much and how often they spend with your business over the course of their relationship with you.”

Sure, the people who buy from you every now and again shouldn’t be ignored, but your most loyal customers (and potential customers who display similar traits) deserve special attention within your marketing plan.

Facebook Value-Based Lookalike Audiences

The Power of Lifetime Value Metrics

LTV is one of the most important metrics for understanding and targeting your customers since it measures the direct profit your business makes off that person or account. There’s a big difference between someone who frequently buys from you but may only spend a few dollars on each purchase and someone who buys semi-regularly, but spends a lot each time. Both segments may be valuable to you in different ways at different times, but it’s important to note the contrast between the two groups and market to them accordingly.

LTV gives you a much more in-depth look at customer behavior since it can be calculated to specific time periods, including lifetime, month to month, and even to forecast. You can also use LTV to determine how much to spend on a customer that will give you the highest return, and even how to shape your product or service to keep these high LTVs coming back.

How does LTV improve my lookalike performance

LTV is an essential factor in determining where to focus your budget and effort and should be considered an integral part of your marketing plan, not an add-on to what you may already have established.

Reasons To Use LTV Audiences

Because you’re targeting people who already know and love your product or service (or again, share traits with those who already love your product), your messaging can be much lower funnel. You can skip directly to promotion instead of spending time and money on awareness, engagement, and education. The cost for these ads may be higher initially, but LTV Audiences is a longer game since it’s based on the lifetime value of a customer. Take note of immediate numbers, but the focus should be on the weeks and months following.

Step-By-Step: How To Create a Value-Based Lookalike Audience

As with most new Facebook products, value-based lookalike audiences are on a slow roll-out, so be patient and use this time to come up with a plan if you don’t already have access.

Step 1 – Create a New Custom Audience

First, check to see if you have access to the LTV Audiences feature. To do that, in your Facebook account, navigate to Audiences -> create a Custom Audience, and select Customer File. If you are a part of the roll-out, your see an option for Customer file with lifetime value (LTV). This is what you’ll click into to set everything up.

create custom audiences with LTV

Step 2 – Add Custom Value Column

From here, the flow will look similar to what you go through to create a normal Custom Audience, but with a few differences. You’ll see Step 2 requires you to “Include a column with a range of customer values.”

Facebook Value Column for LTV Custom Audiences

When creating a customer file with LTV, be sure to follow the directions Facebook gives: use positive numbers in the same currency without commas. Make sure everything is in dollar values as Facebook uses this base information to create its own rank of your customers.

Also be sure to include a full range of customers, not just those you’ve already identified as high LTV so that Facebook’s algorithms can make their own determinations on regular LTV versus high LTV customers.

Step 3 – Confirm Custom Value Column

Facebook will ask you which column you want to use for the customer value. To create the column with a range of customer values, you’ll need to do some math on your own if your CRM software doesn’t already provide you with this information.

Confirm Your Custom Value Column

Step 4 – Preview and map your identifiers

Map your data to upload it. Your data will be hashed before it’s uploaded.

Preview and map your identifiers

Step 5 – Create a Lookalike Audience

Finally, click to generate your value-based lookalike audience. You’ll use this group similarly to how you would a regular Lookalike Audience, but keep in mind who you’re targeting, and what messaging would be most appropriate.

Create a LTV lookalike audience

Remember, if you don’t see the results you were expecting right away, don’t halt the campaign. Using LTV Audiences is more of a long game. Let it run, then take a look at how the numbers panned out and what tweaks you can make to the next round.

**How to Create Facebook Lookalike Audiences for Multiple Countries**

Step 6 – Populate and Test Value-Based Lookalike Audience

It can take a few hours to populate your new value-based lookalike audience, but once it’s ready you’ll see the audience size populated. In this example, our lookalike audience size is 2,151,400 people.

LTV Lookalike Audience Ready

Using the Data to Optimize LTV

Now that you know who your high LTVers are and where to find more people and accounts just like them, it’s time to figure out how to increase that LTV and push mid-LTV customers to the next level. Because LTV is a wholesome look at a customer’s potential, increasing LTV means a direct increase in profit.

How do I measure and test performance

And don’t forget the basics of marketing here – It’s much easier to sell to someone who has heard of you and bought from you than to someone who’s stumbling across you for the very first time. A focus on returning customers (and lookalike audiences who match those you’ve already had success with) is key here.

Essentially, you’re coming up with a retention strategy aimed at those customers who are already giving you the most bang for your buck, and those who show the potential to do so.

You’ll want to model a few different scenarios to figure out who to pay the most attention to now. This may mean ignoring – or spending less time on – lower LTV customers while you focus on those who are already the most engaged and earning you max profit. Again, keep in mind that data over time is the key here. Though your efforts are happening now, the more accrued information you have, the better.

Looking For a Better Way to Examine Your Facebook Data?

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