The State Of Digital Marketing In 2015

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by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

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Featured on Marketing Land, December 1, 2014

 

The digital marketing industry is experiencing a major transformation.

The current state of digital is directly tied to data. Data are everywhere, informing marketers about audience interests, consumer intent, and device activity.

As mobile use continues to increase and media is progressively being bought programmatically, consumers expect a seamless and entertaining online experience.

With marketers and their agencies well underway with planning for the year ahead, here are a few trends that likely will be top of mind in 2015.

1. Big Data Will Become Bigger

Companies are sitting on massive amounts of analytics related to sales, purchase history, search activity, site interactions and more.

While this data is valuable, any single data point taken in isolation can give you a very warped view of the customer.

Linking data together and leveraging a historical trail of data points allows you to obtain bigger insights into what your customers are looking for and where they are going next.

The world of big data gives marketers the most complete obtainable customer profile, which informs audience strategies, smarter media buying and creative decisions.

Big data will only become bigger and bigger as data sources are combined.

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 2. First- And Third-Party Data Will Be A Hot Topic

Within the world of big data is the combination of first and third party data sources. Brands will be retargeting customers based on their buying patterns, combining their own customer data with intent data from around the web.

Marketers want to know when their customers are in market for a good or service so that they can sell to them before they visit a website.

Incorporating data from social, location, search and site will improve the ability to attract customers at multiple stages of the consumer funnel, improving and optimizing your retargeting strategy for both prospecting and retention.

3. Automation Will Continue To Increase

Eventually, all media buying will become automated.

The swapping of insertion orders will be replaced by systems that seamlessly communicate with each other to reduce the duplication of work and improve accountability, measurability and efficiency.

The more interesting trend to watch will be how much media will switch to RTB. Over time, it’s likely that 100% of direct response advertising will be bought in real time; but how far up the funnel this trend will go remains to be seen.

There will always be a place for Super Bowl ads and other high-impact units on high-impact sites. However, these ads will be bought where there’s a large audience and will not be based on individuals, so they won’t be bought through RTB.

That said, over time, more and more advertising is going to be bought in real time, even TV.

4. Ad Fraud Will Still Be A Concern

Ad fraud won’t be much more than a blip on the road to RTB dominance. There are many companies and organizations fighting it.

Fraud, or suspicious activity as it’s sometimes euphemistically called, is simply a duplication of what happened to search at the turn of the century.

Search was easier to control because there was really only one provider (Google), and they fought it directly.

Now, fraud is recognized to be 5-10% of all search clicks. Display fraud is more complicated because of the large number of players in the space: publishers, ad servers, Supply Side Providers (SSPs), Demand Side Providers (DSPs), ad exchanges and other intermediaries.

As of now, there are a myriad of providers that can help, and only the reckless few don’t use these tools to avoid fraudulent activity.

Unfortunately, there will never be a real “crackdown” on fraudsters because these players are based in countries where these activities are not necessarily illegal. So, chasing them down seems unlikely to happen.

5. The Need For Personalized Advertising Will Grow

The opportunities for personalized advertising will continue to grow as the adoption of apps, location based advertising and dynamic creative optimization (DCO) increases.

There are so many data elements available to advertisers, enabling them to transform generic advertising into relevant marketing in real time, regardless of their device and location.

We will see this trend continue into 2015, as purchase, product level and search activity are used to predict consumer intent and therefore, inform which ad to show, and when, as well as what creative elements should be optimized within the ad itself.

In 2014 we witnessed new platforms, channels and technologies that led to major shifts in the industry and positioned data as the main ingredient for finding, reaching and engaging customers.

The biggest theme of 2015 will be “big data” as we see data sources coming together to create meaningful 360-degree customer views and actionable analytics that inform and even transform your marketing strategy.

Digital Marketing for Small Business Saturday

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by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

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Featured on iMedia Connection, Nov. 25, 2014

 

There are approximately 28 million small businesses in the U.S. alone, many of which have likely not even scratched the surface of effectively using digital marketing to drive in-store activity.

The recent shift to real-time buying (RTB) and the growth of programmatic marketing has changed the way we buy digital advertising. With traditional forms of digital advertising, marketers had to pay large sums of money upfront in order to reach their target audience for a given campaign. In this situation, the challenge for small businesses was that they didn’t have access to the sizable budgets of large advertisers. However, because of the influx of data being captured around web and opportunities afforded by programmatic marketing, companies no longer have to put large sums of money upfront to reach their desired audiences. Today, businesses of all sizes can leverage audience data, digitally enabled devices, and online marketing to reach customers. All of these strategies will help small businesses capitalize on Small Business Saturday (November 29) in a similar way to how large retailers use search data and digital advertising to promote Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to in-market shoppers.

Digital marketing helps get people into stores

According to Google’s 2014 Local Reach study, four out of five consumers search online to find local information and four in five consumers want ads customized to their local surroundings. Influencing customers along their path to purchase requires getting in front of them at the right time and with the right messaging. SMBs have multiple digital channels at their fingertips, including Search Engine Marketing (SEM), data-driven display advertising such as site and search retargeting, mobile advertising and social media. All of these channels now allow you to integrate relevant audience data such as geographic, on-site activity and search behaviors, which can be very effective for SMBs. For example, SEM and mobile advertising play big roles in influencing the consumers on digital devices, which ultimately assists in driving them to visit a brick and mortar store. If a consumer conducted an online search for “car repair,” you can serve them a relevant ad on their mobile device for a promotion from their nearby car repair store.

Small businesses should take advantage of geo-fencing, which allows them to reach consumers within a very specific location with advertising messages local stores. The beauty of real-time advertising and geo-based marketing is that you can customize ad messages based on a set of data points, which enables marketers to make their ads hyper relevant to their desired audience.

Understand which tactics to try and when

First, retailers must define what products and promotions are part of their Small Business Saturday strategy and create marketing messages and ads that can be used across desktop and mobile devices.

Second, advertisers must understand what data is available and work with advertising technology partners using multiple data elements, including search intent, to reach and influence customers. A majority of SMBs want to drive in-store traffic, which will require hyper local advertising efforts. In order to take full advantage of this strategy, you must define your desired goal and then look at how digital channels such as SEM, Facebook advertising, mobile targeting, etc., can assist you in your prospecting and customer retention efforts.

Third, businesses want to be where their customers are, which includes online. In order to cast a wider net across your target audience you should leverage mobile and laptop/desktop advertising (people that searched for keywords relevant to your store or what you offer), and layer in hyper-local advertising so you can reach consumers within a very specific set of parameters.

Timing is everything when it comes to getting in front of your customers. In order to make digital marketing work, you need to leverage it as a way to reach consumers early in the purchase cycle, before they make their buying decisions. Additionally, local and intent data elements are vital for connecting small businesses with relevant audiences. Your marketing efforts simply won’t work if you don’t have the right data strategy in place.

The world of digital marketing and available data is only going to get bigger, which means SMBs will have more and more opportunities to tap digital strategies as larger businesses do. However, this also means that smaller businesses will have to increase their digital presence, which might include creating or improving their online site, Facebook page, local review pages, etc. Consumers rely on information available to them on the web, and if you want to have a seat at the marketing table, digital has to be part of your business, beyond just advertising efforts.

 

 

Attribution Revolution: The Mobile Series in Los Angeles

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Last week, Magnetic hosted our Attribution Revolution: The Mobile Series at LA’s Mr. C Beverly Hills. Our panel of industry experts discussed the mobile challenges currently facing advertisers, best practices and how the industry can help to solve for cross-device attribution. The panel included:

Moderator:
James Green, CEO, Magnetic

Panelists:
Dwight Crow, Product Manager for Direct Response Advertising, Facebook
Ed Haslam, SVP of Marketing, PlaceIQ
Nick Jordan, SVP of Product, Tapad
Paul Pellman, Head of Adometry, Google

To kick off the conversation, James Green asked panelists why mobile is important and beneficial for marketers. Paul Pellman reminded the audience that most people have a mobile phone in their pocket, and are now using that phone to interact online. “As a marketer, it’s an incredibly powerful vehicle if used appropriately, to really reach customers,” said Pellman.

For Ed Haslam of PlaceIQ, mobile is all about the data. “Mobile is emitting a constant stream of data that helps us to understand consumers.” According to Haslam, by analyzing behavior on mobile when consumers are in the ‘real world,’ marketers can start to see consumers as real people, thus allowing marketers to cultivate a much more intimate relationship.

Green then probed panelists about the difference between having a cross-device strategy and a mobile strategy. All panelists seemed to be in agreement that mobile is most effective when part of a larger strategy, and not a standalone element. “You have to think about it as part of a greater, integrated campaign,” said Haslam. To expand on this point, Jordan reminded the audience, “You’re not just marketing to devices anymore, you’re marketing to people.” And while the individual message may be different across devices, all messages need to work together to ultimately drive a consumer action.

Facebook’s Dwight Crow approached the question differently, defending the strategy of “mobile-only”. “If you’re doing brand advertising, and you have a good offline measurement system…you can do just mobile.” That being said, Crow made sure to note that if you want to implement a brand-evolving narrative tailored to an individual, you need a cross-device strategy. DR advertisers also need to be aware that consumers often start their path to purchase on one device, and end it on another. Without a cross-device strategy, marketers will miss a large number of conversions.

Panelists went on to discuss further issues and challenges, including in-app vs. mobile web targeting, how mobile has changed attribution, and the future of mobile. Watch the full panel video to learn more!

Check out the full panel video and event pictures below:

 

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The Holiday Advantage: Maturation Of Mobile Real-Time Bidding

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by Soo Jin Oh
SVP, Data Business and Ad Operations, Magnetic

 

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Featured on Marketing Land, November 6, 2014

 

The holiday season is a time when the symbiotic relationship between consumers and retailers is at its peak. Not only are consumers looking for the best deals and most efficient ways to apply their holiday gift budget, but retailers are also hoping to meet – and exceed – their holiday projections.

This year more than ever, retailers will be taking advantage of mobile and real-time bidding (RTB) strategies to reach consumers when and where they are shopping.

Digital devices have created environments where store hours are non-existent. The internet is open for business 24 hours a day, and Google Shopping Search Data from July to September 2014 shows that one third of shopping searches happened between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.

Real-Time Bidding

The maturation of mobile has been a key contributor in allowing consumers to adapt their buying behaviors to this nonstop retail lifecycle. When you combine mobile with the ability to reach your audience instantly through real-time bidding (RTB), you land at the intersection of two of the fastest growing areas of digital marketing.

Last year, serving ads on mobile devices or tapping into app environments could be considered emerging trends. According to mobile ad exchange Nexage, mobile RTB spend increased 153% during the holiday season and accounted for 70% of total spend on the exchange at one point.

Now, mobile is considered a marketing must-have, and when combined with RTB and data-driven advertising, it opens new marketing opportunities as it relates to time and location for the 2014 holiday shopping season.

The significant growth that mobile RTB has experienced during this past year means that the amount of inventory available on ad exchanges has also increased, so marketers have plenty of opportunities to reach shoppers while they’re actively making buying decisions.

Also, earlier this year, Smaato released a Global Mobile RTB Insights report, which showed that the CPG, food and retail categories overtook entertainment and media as the number one spenders for mobile RTB in Q1.

Since mobile RTB helps marketers take advantage of the times when consumers are on the go (many times, shopping), there is a tremendous focus on how the industry can further improve RTB’s growth and make it a more vital part of every marketing strategy.

Mobile Attribution

To start, location-specific targeting is the main difference (and advantage) for mobile RTB compared to desktop RTB.

The opportunity to layer shopping behaviors and physical location with real-time activity creates a more holistic view of your customer and their path to purchase, which may ultimately lead to more sales.

Mobile enables brands to target potential customers by device type, demographics, search data, site activity and location. Hyper local targeting takes location-based advertising one step further with its potential to drive consumers to an actual store location.

In this scenario, mobile quickly becomes a strong tool for driving in-store traffic vs. actual online purchases. Other aspects related to creative and audience targeting allow marketers to engage that same user across their screens through rich experiences.

So, how can retailers ensure their mobile RTB strategies are making an impact on their bottom line?

Multi-channel attribution is important to measure efficacy of mobile against other digital and offline marketing strategies. With the last touch model, mobile will be underestimated and, in effect, devalued for its impact to drive sales, as a higher percentage of conversions happen on desktops.

By looking beyond the last touch model, retailers will gain the ability to measure the multiple touch points driving sales. They can use these data to better understand the effects of top-funnel influencers, optimize different channel strategies, and fine tune ad frequency across their entire marketing spend.

Final Thoughts

As the holidays approach, brands that take advantage of mobile RTB will be able to reach more of their customer segments.

Brands will be able to get in front of their prospects as they consume content on mobile devices, allowing brands to reach target audiences when prospects are most likely in shopping mode or in close proximity to a physical store location.

The Components Of A Well-Oiled Retargeting Machine

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by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

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Featured on Marketing Land, November 3, 2014

 

Marketers are constantly looking for ways to reach and engage new and existing consumers, so it’s no surprise that retargeting strategies have grown rapidly over the past few years.

An August 2014 study by Marin Software noted that 88% of US marketers polled use retargeting, and the majority (56%) of respondents which hadn’t implemented retargeting yet were planning to start executing it within 12 months.

Combining different forms of retargeting strategies allows marketers to reach, influence and convert customers through multiple touch points.

Data Is A Key Player

First, take a step back and consider all of the different forms of retargeting strategies that are available – email, site, social and search – and understand how they work together to reach prospects and push them through the funnel. The common denominator across all retargeting strategies is data.

While data differs by retargeting strategy, it provides varying degrees of what a consumer might be interested in, and this can all be used to “remarket” a particular user or audience.

Reach The Middle Of The Funnel

The beauty of retargeting is that it’s not limited to the bottom funnel. In fact, while marketing messages are important at every stage of the consumer funnel, many marketers overlook the middle and focus more heavily on the top and bottom stages.

The middle is where the consideration phase is and where your ability to influence a customer is the most critical.

Retarget On Social Platforms

The Marin Software study also found that social retargeting is on rise, with 67.1% of respondents saying they will increase their social retargeting budgets over the next year.

Facebook and Twitter both allow marketers to target audiences using their social networks – environments that are most often effective within the consideration phase.

Retargeting Reaches New Customers

Most consumers start all search activity within engines like Google or Bing. They search for something and leave the search engine to explore the product or service they are looking for on other sites. From there, they may take a break from their online exploration altogether, and spend their time on social, news or content sites.

At this stage, marketers can gain access to strong intent signals from new customers, derived from their search keywords and/or on-site behaviors during their online journey.

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The Downside Of Siloed Retargeting Efforts

Taking a siloed approach to retargeting will only create less effective marketing programs.

First, and most importantly, you will not be able to assign proper credit for conversions across the different retargeting strategies. As a result, you will have an inaccurate view of which retargeting strategy effectively influenced your marketing efforts, which impacts business decisions.

Second, data becomes less effective when it is used as a stand-alone mechanism. The beauty of all this data lies within the ability to better understand your customer, both in terms of their journey from start to finish and how valuable they are to your business. Some customers are more likely to convert and engage than others, but you need multiple touch points to make those kinds of discoveries.

In the end, this will help marketers make smarter bids across real-time buying platforms because you can distinguish the value of a given user. Additionally, advertisers will receive a more complete picture of what their customers are actually interested in by tying their retargeting efforts together.

A bundled approach creates an efficient retargeting machine that constantly reaches new prospects, nurtures them through the funnel and ultimately, leads them to purchase.

Marketers must consider the audience they want to reach and plan campaigns that pull multiple levers in order to get in front of their customers. The world of online and digital marketing is highly competitive, but using these strategies in unison is sure to give you an advantage.

Magnetic’s Retail Therapy – October 30, 2014

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1. Target Aims To Attract With Free Shipping

Target plans to challenge their competitors and win over consumers with free shipping this holiday season.

“The free shipping “raises pressure on Target’s rivals to match the offer, increasingly a requirement for shoppers to make purchases online,” observes Paul Ziobro in the Wall Street Journal. “A study by advisory firm Deloitte found that up to 60% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts due to unexpected costs, including shipping.” View the full article on MarketingLand

 

2. In Our Digital World, The Shopping Never Stops

What are you doing from 10:00pm – 4:00am? New data from Google shows that one third of you are online shopping.

 “Shoppers are also spending more time consulting more sources before making a decision. In 2010, shoppers used an average of five sources of information before purchasing, but that has more than doubled, with shoppers consulting at least 12 sources last year. This means that October through November has become a crucial period for retailers to reach shoppers online, being present with offers, information, how-tos and content.” Learn more from Google

 

3. E-Commerce Shopping At a Record High

With 56% of consumers shopping online, marketers must incorporate digital.

“That 56 percent figure is up from 51.5 percent last year, and also represents a record high for the 13 years that the NRF has been doing this survey. Another record: The NRF says the average shopper will do 44.4 percent of his/her shopping online this holiday season.” View the full article on MarketingLand

 

4. It’s Not Just a Shopping Frenzy…

Magnetic CEO, James Green, offers some tips on how to approach the bidding frenzy this holiday season.

“What tends to happen during a high volume-shopping period like Black Friday and Cyber Monday is, the number of advertisers bidding on audiences increases significantly, which drives up the bid price. As bid prices go up, so does the cost per acquisition, making it much more costly to acquire a customer.”  Real the full article on MediaPost

 

How Small Businesses Can Capitalize on Online Marketing with Retargeting

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Magnetic’s CEO, James Green, contributed to the AMEX Open Forum article “How to Build a Bridge Between Your Online and Offline Traffic,” which focused on how marketers can bridge their marketing efforts for Small Business Saturday. James suggested to “be prepared” by identifying what you want to promote, and to begin nurturing your prospects right away. “Timing means everything when it comes to getting in front of your customers,” he said in the piece.

“Aiming locally” is another technique James offered, and suggested using hyper-local advertising techniques, such as geo-fencing. “Research shows a large majority of consumers searching online for information about purchases want ads customized to their local surroundings,” he said in the article.

View the entire article here.

 

Attribution Revolution: The Mobile Series in Boston

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Last week, Magnetic hosted Attribution Revolution: The Mobile Series at Boston’s GEM Kitchen & Lounge. Attribution Revolution is an engaging series of panel events addressing key topics and challenges that currently affect the digital media landscape. Our panel’s discussions centered around mobile challenges and opportunities for marketers, including cross-device targeting, tailoring the user experience for mobile, and the importance of incorporating all devices into your attribution model.

The panel included:

Moderator:
James Green, CEO, Magnetic

Panelists:
Paul Pellmen, Head of Adometry, Google
Dwight Crow, Product Manager for Direct Response Advertising, Facebook
Vivian Chang, General Manager/Vice President of Technology Business, Tapad
Ed Haslam, SVP of Marketing, PlaceIQ

Twitter was alive with activity from the night. Here are some of the posts quoting the panelists:

  • “Cross-device strategy vs. mobile strategy: mobile isn’t a strategy, it’s a tactic…”
  • “79% of people are on a second screen while watching TV…”
  • “It’s no longer a linear path…you have to think about where the user is on their devices…”
  • “With cross-device, mobile drives the same amount of revenue as standard display – the conversion is just happening elsewhere…”
  • “Using last event attribution is no longer accurate…”

See the full panel video and pictures below:

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The Holiday Rush: Ins and Outs of Technology Search Trends

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The holiday season is a mad dash for retailers to attract consumers. Magnetic’s search data, collected across shopping comparison, product review and e-commerce sites, showed spikes in technology search tendencies.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the 2014 holiday season will see the highest levels of consumer spending on electronics, increasing spending by 2.5% since last year.

Click on Magnetic’s infographic below for more insights!

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Magnetic and Tapad Partnership Allows Brands to Reach Users Across Screens

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Magnetic has partnered with Tapad to power search retargeting across devices. With Tapad’s Device Graph Access™, Magnetic’s online search data and media platform will enable marketers to reach consumers based on unified, cross-screen behaviors and to reach the same user with relevant advertising, regardless of their physical location or device.

How mobile retargeting works:

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Magnetic is the only search retargeting company to partner with Tapad and will now be the first to support cross-device retargeting using search intent. “Mobile adds an entirely new dimension to the customer journey, which has already become a vital part of the media mix,” said James Green, CEO of Magnetic. “Our partnership with Tapad allows Magnetic to reach the right audience everywhere based on search intent, regardless of their device.”

Click here to view the full press release.