Quick Guide to LinkedIn Matched Audiences

Posted by on Apr 25, 2017 in PPC News, Social | 2 Comments
Quick Guide to LinkedIn 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.

LinkedIn Matched Audiences positively impacts ROI by focusing efforts on the people and accounts that are most likely to drive revenue for you. Here’s a look at the targeting tools and how to use each one.

Website Retargeting

This feature helps you market to LinkedIn members who have visited your website. Not only will you be able to tailor your ad content with more relevant messaging, but you can also better guide potential customers through the funnel.

Get started by adding a LinkedIn Insight Tag, a lightweight JavaScript tag that manages conversion tracking, retargeting, and web analytics for LinkedIn ad campaigns, and watch your audience list grow as more LinkedIn members visit your site.

Contact Targeting

Use this tool to build a custom audience by uploading your email lists or connecting to your CRM. From there, you can create messaging specific to this audience, and re-engage with churned customers.

Account Targeting

Get your message in front of decision makers at your target accounts with this feature. Upload a list of your target companies, then use LinkedIn’s data to run an account-based marketing campaign. You can target by professional demographics to make sure you’re reaching the people with buying power in the accounts with the most prospects.

LinkedIn says during its six-month Matched Audiences pilot program, on average, customers saw a 30% or more increase in CTR when Website Retargeting, Contact Targeting, or Account Targeting were used. Ready to try it out for yourself?

Steps To Get Started with LinkedIn Matched Audiences

To match LinkedIn’s robust professional data, you’ll need to provide your own third-party data. In this example, we’ve chosen to create an accounts-based list based off our audience information on Pinterest.


Quick Guide to LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences via blog.adstage.io


Within Campaign Manager in LinkedIn, navigate to “Tools” in the upper right hand corner and select Matched Audiences.


Quick Guide to LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences via blog.adstage.io


Navigate to the “Uploaded list audiences tab.”

Quick Guide to LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences via blog.adstage.io

Then click on “Upload a list.”

Once the audience list is exported as a CSV file, navigate back to LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager where you’ll be asked to name your audience and verify if the list contains accounts or contacts. In this example, we compiled an contact-based list from our newsletter audience.


Quick Guide to LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences via blog.adstage.io


Again, our example here is account-based. From there, you’ll click “Upload file” to upload your list as you prepare to run your campaign.


Quick Guide to LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences via blog.adstage.io


You’ll have to be patient once your list is uploaded. LinkedIn says currently, your list may take up to 48 hours to match and become available for targeting.


Quick Guide to LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences via blog.adstage.io

Linkedin Matched Audience Email Match Rates


You can follow the progress of matching to anticipate and prepare for the start of your campaign.

As a LinkedIn Certified Marketing Partner, it’s no secret AdStage loves the advertising capabilities this platform provides. Check out the 10 Stats You Need To Know About B2B Marketing on LinkedIn we shared a few months ago. Like the fact that 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn!

LinkedIn Matched Audiences is rolling out, so keep checking your Campaign Monitor for access.

Have PPC expertise to share? Join us for a guest post!

Have PPC expertise to share? Join us for a guest post!

Write for The AdStage Blog

Have an opinion about Facebook’s newest feature release? Want to share your tips on managing Demand Gen teams in modern agencies? Think you have a game-changing hack for optimizing your AdWords campaigns? Then we’d love to have you write a guest post for our blog. We’re always looking for fresh perspectives from the sharpest minds in search and social digital advertising to provide our audience with actionable, in-depth content that helps them better plan, execute, optimize, and report on their PPC campaigns.

A few of our favorite guest posts to date include:

How to Write an AdStage Guest Post

  • Submit your contact information and your blog post idea in this Google Form. Please allow us 7 business days to get back to you.
  • Next, once we give the go-ahead, send us a full draft of the post in google doc format. Include images! Please allow us 7 business days to review and provide edits/feedback.
  • Include a bio (50 words max), include 150 x 150 high-res photo of yourself.
  • After final edits are made and the post is approved, we will queue it up in our content schedule.
  • Lastly, we will let you know the publish date and time so you can co-promote on the launch date.

Who are our ideal guest post authors?

We accept pitches from PPC marketers of all stripes. Whether you’re working in an in-house, agency, or consultant role, everyone brings unique perspectives that are valuable to our audience.

You should have at least a couple years of experience in the PPC world. Previous pieces in published on other high-authority blogs are a plus.

Which Topics Do We Cover?

Our audience consists of data-driven marketing directors, in-house PPC managers/specialists, and PPC agency marketers from around the world. The types of articles that do well with our readers include:

  • Anything to do with planning, organizing, or executing PPC campaigns or accounts.
  • Specific Ad Network features digital advertisers can take advantage of to get the most bang for their buck (top Ad Networks include Facebook, Instagram, AdWords, LinkedIn, Bing, and Twitter).
  • How-to guides for medium to advanced PPC professionals.
  • Bonus points for focusing on PPC reporting or automation!
  • Tips for PPC Reporting for Agencies, A/B testing, Conversion Rate Optimization, Automation, B2B Lead Generation, PPC Landing Pages, Ad Creative, Re-Targeting–if it’s PPC, are all great topics!

Guest Post Requirements

  • Your post must be at least 1,000 words.
  • You must propose a target keyword.
  • We request that you use the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to come up with your headline, and submit one with a score of at least 65.
  • Your post must be original content.
  • If your post is published, we’ll ask that you respond to all comments for the first seven days after it’s posted.

What’s in it for you?

  • Exposure to our ever-growing audience of PPC experts
  • A potential feature in our weekly newsletter
  • Shoutouts from AdStage social media accounts
  • A chance to share your expertise and build your reputation as a PPC thought leader

We look forward to hearing from you!

Have PPC expertise to share? Join us for a guest post! via blog.adstage.io


How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM

Posted by on Apr 11, 2017 in PPC News, Social | 15 Comments
How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM

Here at AdStage, we’re jumping up and down with the release of LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms! We couldn’t wait to get our hands dirty so we built our first campaign using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and set up an integration with our CRM. 

AJ Wilcox of B2Linked agrees. “Lead Gen Forms are a dream for B2B advertisers,” he says. “It’s an easy-to-understand offering that doesn’t require the further education that a landing page provides. Normally, marketers pay for each click to the landing page, and then only a small percentage of those convert to leads. With LinkedIn’s new Lead Gen Forms, the cost an advertiser pays for the click is also the conversion, often resulting in costs per conversion that are 1/10th that of what she is used to paying. This is definitely an ad unit that all LinkedIn Advertisers should test out!”

How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM via blog.adstage.io

Why You’ll See More Mobile Conversions with 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 mobile users, the lead form will automatically populate with the member’s data. This is a win-win for both the advertiser and the user: we have an easier way for prospects to express interest without having to type out their information by hand, plus advertisers get a boost in leads.

For B2B advertisers, the quality of the leads on LinkedIn are 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.

How to Set Up Your LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

Log into your LinkedIn Campaign Manager, head to the account in which you’d like to run the campaign, and create a new Sponsored Content campaign.

How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM via blog.adstage.io

After you name your campaign, select “Collect leads using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms” as shown below. Note that this selection is sort of like a Facebook campaign objective. You can’t go back later and change this option to direct traffic to your website, so only select this when you’re truly ready to run a Lead Gen Form campaign.

How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM via blog.adstage.io
From here you can use existing creative or create a new ad. Once you’ve decided on the creative, click “Next” and you’ll be prompted to select your CTA and Form. (If this is your first form, the form dropdown will be empty and you’ll need to click “Create New Form Template” as shown below.)

How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM via blog.adstage.io

Below you’ll see what’s required for the lead gen form. Note that the your company’s privacy policy URL is a required field so if you don’t have that, we recommend publishing one before setting up your campaign.

How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM via blog.adstage.io

You can select up to 7 fields that you’d like to collect in your Lead Gen Form. The options could include the person’s name, contact info, company name, seniority, job title, location, and more.

How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM via blog.adstage.io

Once someone submits the Lead Gen Form, you have the option to tailor a thank you message and display a URL that directs the user to your ebook, website, or landing page of your choice.

How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM via blog.adstage.io

Once you complete the creation of your Lead Gen Form, choose your desired CTA that will be attached to the Sponsored Content. Select the form you’d like to use and click Next. From there, you can set your targeting, bid, and budget as you would a normal campaign and launch it.
Very simple and straightforward. But I bet you’re wondering where the leads go when people submit the Lead Gen Forms.

How to Sync Your Leads with Your CRM

LinkedIn offers a few different options for automatically syncing your lead lists with your CRM or marketing automation solution. For instance, you can use a pre-built integration with Driftrock or Zapier. We’re big fans of Zapier at AdStage so we’ll cover that integration today. And, it’s free.
Take a few minutes to create your Zapier account if you don’t already have one. Then, from there, you can create a Zap. The trigger will be using your LinkedIn Lead Gen Form where you’ll select the one option that’s available: New Form Response.

How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM via blog.adstage.io

When prompted, you’ll connect your LinkedIn account by entering your credentials and selecting which account and form you wish to set up the Zap for.

How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM via blog.adstage.io

You can now choose which CRM or marketing solution that you’d like to add the leads to.

How We Integrated LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Pardot

We use Pardot at AdStage, so that’s what we selected when we reached Zapier, but there are over 800 solutions you can choose from so don’t panic if you don’t use Pardot.

How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM via blog.adstage.io

Once you supply your account credentials for the marketing or CRM provider you select, there are a number of actions you can choose from, such as sending the leads to sales member, adding them to a newsletter list, enrolling them into a webinar and so on.

In our case, we had our leads populate in a Pardot campaign and then used their automation rules to email leads in that campaign our most recent eBook. Essentially, we used LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms as a way to gate an asset, without having to convince leads to go to a landing page. They never even have to leave LinkedIn! The entire process from being served the Lead Gen Form, to receiving the ebook, takes less time than loading your webpage, and you don’t have to do a thing except sit back and watch the leads roll in.

How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms and Sync Your CRM via blog.adstage.io

In the future, LinkedIn will have pre-built integrations set up with Marketo, Eloqua, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 so you can easily send your lead data to these marketing automation systems if you use one of these. Additionally, stay on the lookout for more granular reporting. LinkedIn also plans to offer insights around demographics to show the exact number of leads you acquire from specific audience segments. We’re looking forward to this.

If you’ve launched your first LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, tell us if you saw a boost in mobile conversion rates in the comments section below! Any fun integrations you want to share with the world?

Experts Weigh in on Google’s Exact Match Targeting Update

Posted by on Mar 28, 2017 in PPC News, Search | 8 Comments
Experts Weigh in on Google’s Exact Match Targeting Update

Last week, Google announced a new change that will affect exact match keyword targeting. In the past, exact match meant exact match. Then, in 2012, Google announced a fuzzy match algorithm called “close variants,” which was supposed to capture plurals, misspellings, typos, and other versions of exact and phrase match keywords. With their latest update, the exact match targeting is getting bundled with the close variant targeting algorithm, which now ignores word order and function order. In this post, we’ll cover exactly what’s changing with the switch from exact match targeting, what you can do to mitigate any surprises on your end, and what experts are saying this means for the PPC world.

What’s Changing

Rewording and reordering from close variant targeting will now include exact match targeting in AdWords. Close variant targeting not only ignores plurals, typos, abbreviations, and adverbs, but will also be broadened to ignore word order and function words. This means ads may be delivered when queries use a different word order or function words. Sadly, this limits the amount of control advertisers have over ad delivery, and further dilutes exact match targeting.

How this Update Affects Advertisers

The Google philosophy is as follows: capture as much traffic as possible with a wider net, then filter out what you don’t want, rather than building a smaller net that might not be big enough to catch everything you want. They’d prefer you spend money on some bad keywords than risk missing out on some potentially good ones.

Because of this, Google removed the ability for advertisers to opt out out of close variants in 2014. This means advertisers are being forced to place more trust on Google’s machine learning algorithms. This is obviously a smart way for Google to make more ad revenue, as they’ve claimed that early tests show advertisers could see an average of 3 percent more exact match clicks while maintaining similar click-through and conversion rates.

Below we’ll walk you through how the close variants are changing:

Function Words Could Be Ignored, Changed, or Added

Function words are essentially words that don’t have meaning on their own within a search query. Google defines function words as prepositions (in, to), conjunctions (for, but), articles (a, the) and other words that usually do not change the intent of a query. With this update, exact match could ignore, add, or change these function words to match with similar queries.
However, Google specifically states that the function words will only be ignored from the query when it does not change the meaning of the keyword. For example, “hotels in new york” can safely ignore the function word “in” because it doesn’t change the meaning. However, in the keyword “flights to new york” the function word “to” would not be ignored, because a “flight from new york” is not the same as a “flight to new york.”

Below are more examples from Google:

Experts Weigh in on Google's Exact Match Targeting Update via blog.adstage.io

Word Reordering

In some cases, two keywords can share the same meaning, and when they do, Google may reorder the keyword in order to deliver your ad. It’s important to note that word reordering will never add words to your keywords or the search query. For example, “buy new cars” and “new cars buy” likely mean the same thing from an intent standpoint. Exact match will use that same logic to match ads with reordered variations of your keyword.

However, similar to the function words exception, Google claims your keywords will not be reordered to match with a query if it changes the original meaning of those keywords. For example, the keyword [SFO to JFK] will not match to the query “JFK to SFO” because the destination and search intent is different. Below are a few more examples of how words can be reordered when using exact match with close variants.

Experts Weigh in on Google's Exact Match Targeting Update via blog.adstage.io

How to Reduce the Impact From These Updates

Let’s face it. There’s no way around this global change and you’re not going to stop advertising on Google because of it. Because this update puts the onus on advertisers to explicitly state what queries they don’t want their ads to show up on rather than the ones they do want, it is important that advertisers be more diligent than ever about digging through search query reports and thinking ahead to prevent unintended consequences when word order matters.

As the exact match targeting update is rolling out over the coming months, here are a few things you can do in that timeframe to reduce the impact these changes have on your campaigns:

  • Update your scripts. If you are using a script like the one from BrainLabs to make exact match exact, it will need to be updated as so.
  • Review all your existing exact match queries and determine if the loss of function words or a reordering of the words changes the meaning. If so, you’ll want to add those variations as negative keywords in your campaigns.
  • Review close variants in your Search Query Reports to see if other variations are currently being triggered that could be affected with the update, and add those as negative keywords.
  • Going forward, schedule more time in your day to mine through your Search Query Reports, especially for close variants (screenshot below)

Experts Weigh in on Google's Exact Match Targeting Update via blog.adstage.io


Experts Weigh in on Google's Exact Match Targeting Update via blog.adstage.io

The Expert Take

It’s been a week now since the announcement and the PPC community has been buzzing with feedback about the exact match targeting update. We asked some of the leaders in the search world for their thoughts:

Gil Hong

Experts Weigh in on Google's Exact Match Targeting Update via blog.adstage.io

“As control freaks, this update spells doom and gloom to our tidy and structured accounts. But as marketers, this could mean additional query growth and less “Low Search Volume” keyword status.

We all survived the mandatory opt-in of close variants back in 2014 and this update only strengthens the point that no keyword structure can lead to success without active management. In the meanwhile I plan to schedule out some more SQRs.”

Julie Bacchini

Experts Weigh in on Google’s Exact Match Targeting Update via blog.adstage.io

“This change seems to be less about “increasing reach” and more about herding advertisers down the path toward keywords as a lower level targeting layer. You can’t accidentally add exact match terms to your account, you have to do it deliberately. And, what the change actually does is already covered in AdWords by using the broad match modified match type for target keywords. It’s clear that Google is viewing related queries (or “close variants”) as fully interchangeable, so if that does not work in your particular situation, it is going to require more vigilance and work to try to keep the majority of queries matching for your preferred phrasing.”

Brad Geddes

Experts Weigh in on Google's Exact Match Targeting Update via blog.adstage.io
Most accounts: Accounts that use combinations of exact and modified broad won’t see any more impressions. Their biggest issue will be year over year bidding or traffic moving from one ad group to another one in trending data.

The rare word order account: When word order or word variations matter, either in meaning or click values, then you need to watch the changes closely. If Google gets it right, then it might not be worth the effort to manage this closely. If Google gets the meaning wrong, then you will need to do a lot of work in order to properly manage which ad groups are receiving the clicks and their associated bids.

Small accounts using mostly exact match: These accounts are going to see the largest impact. If you are mostly relying on exact match with very little modified or broad; you will see an increase in impressions. Make sure these additional impressions are converting at the same rate as your previous ones.”

Duane Brown

Experts Weigh in on Google's Exact Match Targeting Update via blog.adstage.io

“At first I’m thinking this gives us less control. Google simply wants to push out more ads to make more money. When you dig into their statement around machine learning and think about all the data they have on how we search. I start to think if anyone can pull this off, it’s Google. The big “what about when” around this is how does this machine take into account sentiment and the true context of what someone searches. 20% of searches every day have never been done before and if that stat is still true…. what would the machine do in those cases? It has no reference for something that hasn’t happened yet.”

Joe Martinez

Experts Weigh in on Google's Exact Match Targeting Update via blog.adstage.io

“Inexperienced businesses will be hurt the most because they don’t know all the intricacies of AdWords. But if you have an established account, with a long history of appropriate negatives, I believe you won’t see a huge impact unless word order matters. If I’m a Wisconsin company selling a cheese head, I don’t want to show up when someone is searching for head cheese. Look it up. Two WAY different products.”

Matt Umbro

Experts Weigh in on Google's Exact Match Targeting Update via blog.adstage.io

“I’m not too concerned about the AdWords exact match update. For years, Google has been allowing close variants to show. As long as PPC Specialists have tightly themed ad groups and constantly review search query reports, these close variants can help efficiency. I don’t see the mentality changing with how exact match will now be triggered. As long as advertisers remain steadfast reviewing their queries, there shouldn’t be major issues.”

Luke Alley

Experts Weigh in on Google's Exact Match Targeting Update via blog.adstage.io

“With changes like this sometimes there’s a “the sky is falling” response and in the end it doesn’t turn out as bad as everyone thought. It’s still unclear how exactly it will affect performance, but it’s making us rethink some of our fundamental strategies around keyword, adgroup and campaign structure. I’m less confident in exact match campaigns and adgroups and more worried about what I’ll find in the search query report for exact match terms.  The “golden years” of true exact match ended with close variants a couple years ago, and while this continues the trend of less control, there are still many many levers we can pull to optimize and improve our digital campaigns. I’m still optimistic about the PPC future.”

Kirk Williams

Experts Weigh in on Google's Exact Match Targeting Update via blog.adstage.io

“I understand the reasoning for Google’s changes in AdWords, and think this is simply a logical progression from their previous close variants change in the Exact Match Type. Google is trying to make it easier for higher-intent terms to be bid on in advertisers’ accounts who haven’t taken the time to find and add every possible query into their account. Makes sense, right?

On the other hand, frankly, I and many others were already ensuring this was happening by including tightly controlled Broad Match Modified and/or Phrase keywords in our accounts to pick up these “exact close variants”. Thus for us, the change is redundant and unnecessary in our accounts (though admittedly it can now force these exact close variant matches out of lower bid BMM keywords and potentially provide better immediate bidding accuracy on those semantically matched terms in the future – as I have written here: Match Type Segmentation Wins with Google’s Exact March Matchness Update).

My thoughts are that this change will not kill the majority of accounts (I believe some high CPC, probably B2B, terms that have multiple meanings will be hit hard with this), I just think it’s one of those unnecessary changes that further dilutes the original purpose of the Exact Match Type. Exact means, well, “exactly the same” and this new change strips away that meaning even further.”

Have additional thoughts to share on the Exact Match Targeting update? Leave a comment below!

The Facebook Ad Type With the Best ROI

Posted by on Mar 28, 2017 in PPC News, Social | 7 Comments
The Facebook Ad Type With the Best ROI

You already know Facebook is a powerful and necessary channel in your digital marketing strategy from reading reports like DemandWave’s look at digital trends, but with each different Facebook ad type, which will get you the best ROI?

Marketing analytics software company, TrackMaven, conducted an industry-wide analysis of the spend and performance of Facebook ads specifically for Dark Posts and Boosted Posts. They took a look at budgets, days of promotion, and engagement for each, revealing some useful information about where marketers are getting the most for their money. But, before we dig into the numbers, let’s take a look at the difference between Facebook Dark Posts and Facebook Boosted Posts.

What Are Boosted Posts and Dark Posts?

Boosted Posts, which Facebook calls Boosted Page posts, allow you to extend the reach of a post you’ve already published to your Page. When setting up a Boosted Post, you can choose to send it to “People who like your Page and their friends” or “People you choose through targeting.” The second option includes target specifications for location, age, gender and up to 10 interests

Dark Posts, which Facebook calls Unpublished Page post ads, allow for more customized targeting. Every Dark Post that you create can be tailored for and targeted to specific, and different, audiences. Dark Posts are a great way to test creative with different audiences without overloading your Page since none of the ads are published to your feed.

Why Boosted Wins

Marketers spend nearly twice as much per Dark Post than Boosted Post, and leave Dark Posts active for an average of 15 days longer. But engagement numbers reveal Boosted Posts are more effective. Boosted Posts receive over 9x more organic reach and 7x more organic impressions than Dark Posts on average. Boosted Posts also receive a significantly higher number of shares – 73% more. The benefits of each ad type and how they influence creative may be one explanation for the wildly different results. Businesses tend to spend more time on ads posted directly to their Page (which would become Boosted Posts), while Dark Posts tend to focus on testing, and explicit calls-to-action.

The Facebook Ad Type With the Best ROI via blog.adstage.io

TrackMaven points out that Dark Posts may be more beneficial to big brands with big budgets who are willing to commit to a longer-term strategy. Something to consider if your business meets that criteria.

Most Popular Post Type

Now that we know how and to whom to send ads, let’s look at the what. TrackMaven found the majority of posts are link posts – 84% of Dark, and 87% of Boosted. It makes sense when you factor in the reason for creating these two ad types is usually to encourage some type of qualified interaction.

The Facebook Ad Type With the Best ROI via blog.adstage.io


If you still need more convincing to shift focus and dollars to Boosted Posts, check out this article for other benefits AdStage has experienced first-hand.

See what your competitors are planning in digital this year

Posted by on Mar 14, 2017 in PPC News, Search, Social | 2 Comments
See what your competitors are planning in digital this year

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

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

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


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

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

Measuring Performance

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

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

Attribution Models

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

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

Channel Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Content Strategy

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

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

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

Social Channels

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook Pixel Adoption: The Ultimate Transition Guide

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

Starting February 15, 2017, Facebook is changing its pixel game. You’ll no longer be able to create Facebook ads or track conversions with the conversion tracking pixel. While it takes a little doing to get set up with the new Facebook pixel, we think this is absolutely a change for the better – custom conversions and advance tracking – ooh la la!

To make sure you have all the information you need to navigate this transition, we put together a complete guide for surviving the conversion tracking pixel deprecation and embracing the Facebook pixel!

The Facebook Pixel vs. Past Pixels

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

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

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

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

How To Migrate to the Facebook Pixel

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

Step 1: Create Your Facebook Pixel

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

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

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

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

Step 2: Implement Your Facebook Pixel

The Facebook pixel code has two main elements:

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

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

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

Step 3: Check Your Implementation

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

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

Step 4: Transition Your Ads

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

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

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

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

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

Step 5: Remove Your Conversion Tracking Pixel Code

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

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

The Rise of Social Media in Super Bowl Advertising

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the full interview below!

Introducing AdStage V2 and the Universal Data API

Introducing AdStage V2 and the Universal Data API

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

Unveiling AdStage V2

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

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

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

Introducing the Universal Data API

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

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

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

Statistics and Availability

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

About AdStage

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

Learn more about AdStage at: www.adstage.io

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

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

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

Follow our blog at blog.adstage.io


Sahil Jain

CEO, Co-Founder

AdStage, Inc.


(415) 562-5344

Michael McEuen

Director of Marketing

AdStage, Inc.


(650) 382-2474

Facebook Releases In-Stream Video Ads as a Placement

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

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

In-Stream Video Ads

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

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

Posted by Facebook Business on Thursday, May 12, 2016

In-Article Video Ads

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

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

Getting Started

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

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

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

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