Introducing AdStage V2 and the Universal Data API

Posted by on Jan 19, 2017 in PPC News, Press Releases, Product Updates
Introducing AdStage V2 and the Universal Data API

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

Unveiling AdStage V2

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

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

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

Introducing the Universal Data API

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

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

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

Statistics and Availability

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

About AdStage

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

Learn more about AdStage at: www.adstage.io

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

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

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

Follow our blog at blog.adstage.io

Contacts

Sahil Jain

CEO, Co-Founder

AdStage, Inc.

sahil@adstage.io

(415) 562-5344

Michael McEuen

Director of Marketing

AdStage, Inc.

michael@adstage.io

(650) 382-2474

Facebook In-Stream Video Ads as a Placement

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in PPC News, Social
Facebook 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.

Facebook 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

How to Get 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!

 

CTA Report

 

What PPC Professionals Can Expect in 2017

Posted by on Jan 7, 2017 in PPC News, Search, Social
What PPC Professionals Can Expect in 2017

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

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

2017 Search Predictions

1. Take full advantage of ad extensions for more real estate and organic-looking results. The more opportunities you can find to get users to interact with your ad, the better! Check out this example of a ski boot search to see what we’re talking about:

What Every PPC Professional Should do to Prepare for 2017 via blog.adstage.io
2. Explore creating dynamic Google Display Network ads and native ads. The tools available to create responsive ads continue to reduce the barrier to entry for marketers. All you need is a short headline, description, and some images to upload and you’re off to the races. Google will take care of resizing your ad to fit the page on which it will be served.

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

2017 Social Predictions

1. Social community managers need to learn how to sponsor their best content against the right audience. This means getting a really good handle on the paid side of their networks, which not all community managers have necessarily needed to do until now. There are lots of great training resources out there, so if you’re not a paid social expert, take some time this year to get up to speed.

What Every PPC Professional Should do to Prepare for 2017 via blog.adstage.io
2. Invest in social listening, monitoring, and analytics tools to increase and prove social ROI. 61% of social marketers see measuring ROI as a challenge, and if you can’t measure how your social investments are doing, you’ll be stuck in that challenging spot for another long year.

What Every PPC Professional Should do to Prepare for 2017 via blog.adstage.io
3. Experiment with new mediums such as bots and live video. Doing so now will allow you to take advantage of the lower competition costs, greater reach, and higher engagement rates than standard ad units.

2017 AdTech Predictions

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

2. Align your re-marketing campaigns into sequences with different ad creative triggered by last visit, conversion step, or lead status. Check out this handy graphic for some examples:

What Every PPC Professional Should do to Prepare for 2017 via blog.adstage.io

3. Either through scripts or 3rd party solutions, PPC marketers should automate their most mundane tasks — such as budget pacing, pausing underperforming keywords/ads/ad groups/sets — instead focusing their time on budget allocation, campaign strategy, audience targeting, and copy testing.

We’re biased here, but with Automate, our 2700+ users saved over 144 weeks of full-time man hours in 2016! Think of what you and your team could do with that kind of freed up time.

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

 


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


 

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

 

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

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

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

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


Dennis Yu PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.ioDennis Yu

CTO, Blitzmetrics

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook Lead Gen Machine via blog.adstage.io

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

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


Brad Geddes PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Brad Geddes

Co-Founder, AdAlysis

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

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

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

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

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


Melissa Mackey PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Melissa Mackey

Search Supervisor, gyro

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

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

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

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


Jonathan Dane PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Johnathan Dane

CEO, Klientboost

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

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

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

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

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

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


Soso Sazesh PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Soso Sazesh

CEO, GrowthPilots

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

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

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

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


JD Prater PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

JD Prater

Head of Social, Hanapin Marketing

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

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

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

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


Ginny Marvin PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Ginny Marvin

Paid Media Reporter, Search Engine Land

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

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

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

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


Kirk Williams PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Kirk Williams

Owner, ZATO

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

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

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

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


Bryan Garvin PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Bryant Garvin

Director of Digital Marketing, Purple

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

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

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

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


Eva Sharf PPC Predictions via blog.adstage.io

Eva Sharf

Digital Marketing Manager, Bizible

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

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

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

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

 

LinkedIn Releases Sponsored InMail Campaigns for All Advertisers

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

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

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

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

Why Sponsored InMail Rocks

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

Four reasons you should get started!

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

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Inbox via blog.adstage.io

Getting Started with LinkedIn Sponsored InMail

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

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

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

Crafting an Effective Sponsored InMail Campaign

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

Subject Lines

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

Here are a few keywords you can consider using:

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

Body Text

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

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

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

Targeting

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

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

Setting Your LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Budget

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

LinkedIn automatically recommends a suggested CPS bid for you, based on your target audience. The more narrow your audience is, the better, especially for your InMail messaging. However, keep in mind that the minimum CPS bid will be higher as the reach will be limited to focus solely on your target audience.

Once you’ve figured out your ideal CPS based on the projected performance, you can set a budget and delivery schedule. Below is a screenshot of the details to consider when you’re figuring out your campaign bids, budget and delivery schedule.

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

Have you launched your first Sponsored InMail campaign? What kind of success are you having? Do you have any tips or tricks that are working well?  Have you experimented with any targeting?

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

 

eBook: complete guide to LinkedIn Ads that Convert

What You Need to Know About AdWords Expanded Text Ads

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

AdWords Expanded Text Ads Are Here

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

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

[Update: Advertisers now have until January 31, 2017 to make the transition to expanded text ads (instead of the original date of October 26, 2016). 

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

What are Expanded Text Ads (ETAs)?

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

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

New AdWords Expanded Text Ads Interface

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

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

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

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

How to Transition to Expanded Text Ads

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transition_Standard_Text_Ads_to_Expanded_Text_Ads via blog.adstage.io

 

Wrapping Up: A Few Best Practices to Keep In Mind

Spend Time on Your Headlines

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

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

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

Take this Opportunity to Audit Every Aspect of Your Text Ads

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

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

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

Posted by on Jun 20, 2016 in PPC News, Search, Social
Microsoft Acquires LinkedIn: What the $26.2 Billion Deal Means for Advertisers

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

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

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

Continue Reading on MarketingLand

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

2016 Growth Marketing Conf: User Acquisition, Conversion Optimization, and Retention

Posted by on May 9, 2016 in Automation, PPC News
2016 Growth Marketing Conf: User Acquisition, Conversion Optimization, and Retention

What’s Growth Marketing?

I was fortunate to attend this year’s Growth Marketing Conference, a fairly intimate event when it comes to marketing conferences. With only 250 tickets available, attendees had the opportunity to personally meet and nerd out over Growth tactics with any one of the 28 speakers. Panels included growth industry leaders such as Andrew Chen, Neil Patel, Jon Miller, and Dan McGaw…just to name a few.

Growth Marketing Conf via blog.adstage.io

We kicked off the morning with a fireside chat with Andrew Chen and Bubba Murarka titled, “Why Most Growth Hackers Just Can’t Hack It.”

One of the overarching themes many of the speakers focused on was the importance of finding product/market fit. Without it, you will not grow. Chen, known for his straightforward analogy, happily shared this quote:

“Growth is a magnifying glass. If you have a diamond and you put it under a magnifying glass, then you’ll make something big and great. But if it’s just a tiny piece of shit, then it’s just going to be a big piece of shit.”

It makes sense why Growth Hacking, a term coined by Sean Ellis in 2010, has taken off in the past few years. Ideally, once a company has found product/market fit, they then look for ways to optimize growth. This requires allocating resources to specific areas that have been identified as the most viable levers to pull for exponential increase in revenue.

The Google Trends report for the term “growth hacking” clearly shows us the interest in this newly created business function.

Building a Growth Team

Chen went on to describe how a growth team functions within an organization. A true growth team works cross-functionally and includes a product manager, marketer, engineer, data scientist, and designer. Normally, this team works independently of marketing and product to allow for the autonomy to design tests and influence the product roadmap.

Panelists like Juney Ham (CMO, Hired) and Archana Agrawa (Head of Data Science and Growth Marketing, Atlassian) focused on the structure of growth teams and how to organize for success.

For example, Atlassian plans to grow 20x, from 5 million monthly active users to 100 million monthly active users. Agrawa shared how she structured her growth team and the essential competencies to reach that level of growth.

You should model your growth team around these four areas of expertise:

  1. Data Science
    • Develops predictive analytics and focusing on multi-touch attribution.
  2. Marketing Analytics
    • Responsible for business insights and recommendations.
  3. Data Engineering
    • Implements testing at all states of the customer lifecycle.
  4. Growth Product Marketers
    • Focuses on messaging for activation, journeys and in-product experience.

The success isn’t determined by the number of signups, but rather by active product usage and how to drive that usage into conversion. Without the right foundation of structure, competencies, and process, growth initiatives will inevitably fall flat and fail to provide business value.

Metrics that Matter

As a SaaS growth marketer I really enjoyed listening to “How Thought Leaders Get Explosive SaaS Growth” panel with all-stars like Shira Abel (CMO, Cyara), Scott Heimes (CMO, SendGrid), Elizabeth Yin (Partner, 500 Startups), and Tim Matthews (VP of Marketing, Incapsula).

On the topic of metrics, speakers shared insights on which KPI’s matter the most for optimal startup growth. Elizabeth Yin, without hesitation, noted churn rate as the most important metric because investors judge the scalability of a business based on product stickiness. You can focus resources on acquisition efforts to grow the number of leads, demos, and signups; however, if you’re unable to retain those initial customers you acquired, then you’re actually costing your company more dollars. A leaky conversion funnel is a strong indication time and resources are dedicated to the wrong customer stage lifecycle. Tim Matthews followed up on this same thought with CAC Ratio and why retention rate is a sure-fire metric to measure growth’s success.

The conversation then shifted to top-of-funnel tactics and how to fill the sales pipeline with qualified leads. The most recent trend is to leverage marketing automation as a means to increase the volume of incoming leads. While this has made the job of the marketer easier, automation has caused a degradation in quality, wasting time and creating noise in metrics data. It doesn’t matter if there’s a high volume of leads in the sales pipeline if they are not going to convert into customers.

Scott Heimes talked about the power of analog marketing tactics. Heimes divulged how to segment based on lead quality to determine which contacts should receive a more personalized sales interaction and which should be directed to an automated nurture track. For example, when dealing only with 50-100 top tier leads, it can be worth your time to send direct mail to these contacts. These time intensive tactics show that you actually care about gaining their business and has resulted in many new customers for SendGrid.

The takeaway here is to spend a little more time personalizing messaging to your top leads, and optimize your automation tactics to continue filling that top-of-funnel to nurture lower priority leads.

Sara Varni, SVP of Sales Cloud at Salesforce, gave her presentation titled “One Metric Marketing – How Daily Action Can Drive Long Term Success.” Varni shared how focusing on one metric was the key to scalable growth at Salesforce. The biggest challenge to overcome in growth is aligning marketing and sales goals. Echoing a statistic she shared:

“B2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies costs 10% or more of revenue per year.” – IDC Research.

When each team is aligned on the same one metric, it’s makes it a lot easier to identify processes that really matter to move the needle.

Varni’s four step process to achieve this is:

  1. Clarify Organizational Priorities
  2. Evaluate the Metric Effectiveness
  3. Gain Cross-Functional Consensus
  4. Revisit, Revise, and Pivot

Optimization Testing

When anyone speaks about growth, it usually involves a/b testing. Daniel McGaw of Effing Amazing laid it out clearly, we’re all testing wrong. Or as he would say it, we’re all fucking wrong (that’s his shtick). Along with the numerous and equally humorous f-bombs dropped, McGaw demonstrated any optimization testing must be done with a view of the entire customer lifecycle – retention must be considered, don’t limit success to user acquisition.

As an example, a variation test that results in more signups is great, but how do you know those signups are quality leads and will result in less churn? Maybe your “winning test” actually increases churn 3-months down the road.

To solve for this is not complicated and simply requires connecting your testing tool (e.g. Optimizely) to one of the many analytics tools such as Google Analytics or MixPanel. You’ll then be able to clearly track your test groups throughout their entire lifecycle.

Wrapping It Up

It is clear that growth is ultimately a long term game when building a new team focused on conversion optimization. And it’s not up to one person, or one team, it’s up to the entire company to focus on growth.

The conference can be summed up in these three key points:

  1. Focus on product/market fit before scaling. (“Nail it before you scale it”)
  2. Focus on one key metric at a time. Rally your marketing, sales, product, and customer success teams around this metric.
  3. Build a multi-disciplinary growth team comprised of specialists in their respective fields.

If you want to learn more about the conference, visit http://growthmarketingconf.com. I’ve also listed a few additional resources to check out below:

What the New Snapchat API Means for Advertisers

Posted by on Apr 25, 2016 in Advertising, PPC News, Social
What the New Snapchat API Means for Advertisers

2016 is already shaping itself to be a big year for the mobile-only social network. Snapchat is finally throwing their hat in the ring to compete with direct response marketing giants Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. With 100 million active users and dubbed the most popular social network for young adults, Snapchat is exploring new ways to grow their digital ad business. Back in January Digiday reported on Snapchat’s plan to open up an API that would allow AdTech players and brands to execute campaigns, deliver creative, target specific audience segments and measure ad success. In February, we caught wind of Snapchat’s plans to expand the ad platform that closely resembles Facebook’s. This includes such builds as improved ad targeting, visible conversion tracking brand-side, and even the possible introduction of an algorithmic ranked feed.

snapchat-api-ads-that-work via blog.adstage.io

Snapchat recognizes the unique value their platform offers marketers and is changing up their game to  steal ad revenue share from other social media giants.

Let’s take a look at what they’re planning to roll out over the next few months.

New Partnerships

Another crucial way Snapchat creates value for advertisers is through a recent partnership with Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings. This comes as no surprise since Snapchat has worked with Nielsen in the past to measure and analyze audience reach, resonance, and reactions on the platform.

The two businesses plan to:

  • expand Snapchat’s currently offered metrics (mobile audience reach, resonance, and reaction)
  • begin using new metrics to gain a more granular insight to campaign reach (frequency, demographic composition, and gross ratings points)

Nielsen reports a campaign’s total digital audience across computers, tablets and smartphones using metrics that are comparable to TV. Under this new partnership Nielsen plans to create measurement solutions for both video ads as well as sponsored filters.

Interest-Based Audience Targeting

snapchat api discover via blog.adstage.io

Snapchat is looking to help advertisers build highly targeted ad campaigns within the publishers’ channels in the Discover publisher portal. Targeting will be based on the content people are consuming. This is quite an enhancement to the previous audience bundles. Brands will have the ability to track which content topics generate the most user engagement, rather than the channel as a whole. The Discover Section is filled with new branded content daily in the form of video clips. As you can see, a grid of icons from their Discover Partners allows users to view sponsored content from channels they find most interesting.

Rumor has it, Discover Partners will start interest-based targeting sometime this year.

Automation Plans

Taking notes from Facebook, Snapchat plans to automate media sales. Currently, they rely on a sales team to reach out and coordinate with individual brands on ad campaigns. To offset costs and improve ad campaign deployment, they are looking to build an API for a third-party company to automate their ad-selling process.

There is no word yet on how exactly Snapchat plans on moving forward, but there is a possibility of a tech acquisition to smooth over the heavy lifting.

Shaking Up the Stories Feed

With the rise of the algorithmic based news feed, Snapchat may be the next social media conglomerate to follow suit. The chronologically based story timeline has become cluttered and results in a poor user experience. Finding the videos you want to watch is often a tedious task.

stories feed snapchat api via blog.adstage.io

One incentive to implement an algorithmic news feed is the ability to re-introduce paid ad placements. This new features is expected to give brands more advertising opportunities for brands to promote in the stories tab and further their Snapchat audience reach in the stories tab. Placing sponsored content within the stories tab puts brands in the same stream as regular posts.

 

An added bonus for advertisers: Auto-Advance stories seamlessly transitions from one story to the next, making it simpler for users to stumble across intriguing sponsored content.

All in all…

Snapchat keeps their users coming back and hopes advertisers will soon follow suit. As Snapchat continues to experience rapid user adoption among a very unique demographic, advertisers will start to gravitate more readily to the mobile-only network. Snapchat promises to keep developing their digital ad business and that includes tapping into the retail industry with commerce ads in the near future.

Will they be able to live up to the hype? Only time will tell.

start free trial of adstage via blog.adstage.io

Connecting the Marketer: The Future of Modern Marketing

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in Advertising, PPC News, Social
Connecting the Marketer: The Future of Modern Marketing

Our big vision at AdStage — the platform for the new Head of Demand Gen.

With the launch of Automate in February 2016, we started speaking publicly about where we see the marketing technology space headed over the course of the next decade. Automate was our first step towards building a platform to lead in that space.

When Jason and I started this company 3.5 years ago, we initially set out to build a better, open ad management platform for search and social ads that was accessible to the masses, not just the Fortune 500. What we’ve seen since then is that marketing organizations are getting more sophisticated. Agencies are adapting.  Companies are bringing activities in-house while leveraging agencies on the planning and creative side of campaign execution.

The biggest shift, however, is that we’ve seen a huge proliferation of tools that are best in class for very specific parts of what we call “the marketing stack”. For example, you may use Salesforce, Intercom, Datanyze and a handful of other tools under your “sales automation” stack. On the advertising side, companies are expanding into multiple networks at a rapid rate while using tools for analytics and attribution beyond just placing the lionshare of their budget on Google AdWords.  

What’s even more intriguing is that all of these tools are also becoming far more sophisticated and should be connected. Today, sophisticated demand generation marketers will take leads from Salesforce and upload them into Facebook, Twitter and Google Ads as targeting. They’ll post organic content on Buffer and then take those content pieces and turn them into social ads. They’ll pull all their segments from their marketing automation tool (HubSpot or Marketo) and create audience segments that are identical or similar via paid ads to nurture outside just the email inbox. The list of ways you can bridge the many tools is long and today, highly manual and reserved for the most sophisticated of marketers.

As the industry continues to increase in complexity and the toolsets proliferate we believe that the Head of Demand Generation will become the most critical role in the marketing organizations. This highly analytical and tool-reliant marketer will sit at the center of all things online ads, content, sales automation and marketing automation. They will be the conductor of the marketing orchestra and be asked to stitch together dozens of tools while generating a clearly measurable return on investment.

This is why AdStage is building a platform dedicated to helping the Head of Demand Gen be successful. We believe they will have the most impactful role on the marketing team and their success is critical to the marketing health of an organization.  This shift will not happen overnight, and likely not even over the next year. Even the role itself, “Head of Demand Generation” can be seen as a fairly new role at many organizations (many of which actually lack this role altogether).

At AdStage, we’ll be working towards building what we’re calling (working title) a Meta Marketing Platform. The goal of this platform is to not just connect the Head of Demand Gen to all of the various tools, but also build workflows between the tools themselves (you can see this in our new logo). We’ve started by building AdStage, which is an ad management platform, to tie the many ad networks and analytics together. We’ll also focus our efforts on building applications like Automate that live and connect across networks. The idea of the latter being able to actually get the tools working together.

Connect the Marketer via blog.adstage.io

Our Meta Platform can be seen as a sort of switchboard or data pipeline across the many tools within a modern day digital marketer or demand generator’s stack. The key is to then also build out applications that add the layer of sophistication atop and across all things online ads, content, sales automation, and marketing automation.

So let’s start the revolution now to #connectthemarketer.

Stay tuned for more from us, and hopefully many other companies that will help drive and sustain this movement as we enter a critical decade for marketers.

Sahil

CEO