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Paid Media News 2016

PPC News

Customer match PLA beta

  • With initial results showing strong performance for Customer Matching on search, it’s unsurprising Google have already decided to Beta running Customer Matching on PLAs.
  • Obviously this comes with the benefit of driving improved performance through your various audience segments but the really exciting part is the use of Similar Audiences!
  • Previously reserved for Gmail and YouTube activity the PLA beta will allow for Similar Audiences to run on your PLA campaigns.
  • This will allow advertisers to reach a potentially untapped pool of new shoppers perfect for the brand, with similar audience lists created to align with whatever segments are uploaded from clients’ databases.

Draft campaigns in Adwords

  • You may have seen this new feature available in your AdWords account over the past few days; Draft Campaigns.
  • This allows you to create a duplicate of a campaign and make multiple changes to it without affecting the original. This can then be run for a testing period as an experiment to measure the impact of your changes without impacting your live campaign.

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Ad layout testing

  • It looks like Google’s been busy over the past few weeks, with a few different SERPs layouts being tested, keep an eye out for any other variations they may have on the go:
  • 4 ads on top and/or 3 at the bottom on desktop – Which we know now has been confirmed to stay!
  • Expandable PLAs
  • Ranked PLAs
  • 3 ads on top for mobile

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Display News

Ad Blockers

  • Mobile phone network Three has formed a partnership with ad blocker, Shine, to block most pre-roll ads and up to 95% of banners and pop-ups across its network.
  • Three are providing an opt-in service and plan to work with ad networks to improve the relevance and quality of ads for their customers.
  • There are thoughts that this is a move for Three to take a share of mobile advertising revenue through securing a deal with the likes of Google and Facebook.
  • The likes of EE and O2 are also looking into a similar set up, as are Verizone in the US since their acquisition of AOL. With the rise of these partnerships comes concerns from the IAB that this will lead to the rapid growth of pay-walled content as publishers will no longer be benefitting from their advertising revenue.
  • Only 52% of UK publishers said they would circumvent ad blocking software and serve ads even in its presence, compared to 64% of US publishers.

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Programmatic plays in the Super Bowl

Whilst Super Bowl has always been the prime spot for the biggest TV ad spots, this year we saw digital marketers getting in on the action.

Key findings from the 2016 Super Bowl:

  • Impressions increased towards the end of the game and the rest of the night, clicks and conversions rose steadily in the second half of the game and continue for several hours afterwards but dip during the game.
  • Marketers spent significantly more before and during the game and that CPM, CPC and CPA metrics were 2 times higher than normal during the game, but dropped off significantly in the final hour.

Key learnings:

  • If you’re looking for efficiency, the hour before kick-off is not the place to be.

Marketers spent the most in the hour preceding the game, but that was also the most expensive hour in terms of CPM, CPC and CPA. Marketers also spent more during the first half of the game compared to the second half, but the cost metrics indicate the reverse strategy would have been more efficient.

  • Post-game activity is a grand opportunity

Because of the lag that exists between cost and volume, marketers who wait until the second half of the game can take advantage of high volume and lower costs. Super Bowl Sunday is an unofficial holiday, and much like the real holiday season, the best deals are to be found immediately following the main event.

Fat Thumbs?

  • This year we can expect to see mobile spend overtake press for the first time, to become the third largest advertising medium.
  • It’s anticipated that mobile will account for 12.4% of the market in 2016 whilst newspapers will shrink to 11.9%.
  • This is all very exciting but the question is, how much of that spend is driving valuable traffic and how much wasn’t meant for you? A recent study found that over 60% of clicks on mobile display ads are accidental! With “fat thumbs” being the main culprit.
  • The study found that 60% of participants typically clicked a banner ad by accident, whilst only 16% claimed to clicked because they liked the “company, product or service” and only 13% said they clicked because they found the ads interesting.
  • With investments reaching new heights marketers should be sure to spare a thought for the less dexterous among us and incorporate other approaches into their mobile strategy.

Paid Social News

Twitter – relevancy over recency

  • Twitter’s updated algorithm means that better content with higher engagement will now be rewarded with greater coverage, whether it’s organic or paid, however it could also mean a drastic reduction in the organic reach of brands leading to them having to pay to play on the platform.
  • This essentially is an extension of the ‘While you were away’ feature, ensuring that, whilst much of the users’ timeline remains chronological, they are able to see tweets and conversations that they may have otherwise missed. Jack Dorsey stated that this is the “fastest way to get back to live without missing any of those tweets that you really wanted to see”.
  • The implication this has for brands is that there is a potential for reduced reach, frequency and organic reach, as users will potentially see a lower volume of branded content in their curated timeline. Promoted tweets will remain unchanged by the update, meaning that if a brand’s content isn’t getting the visibility it desires there is the fallback of paying more for the coverage you want.
  • Ultimately this will come down to brands with the strongest content seeing the greatest benefits, whilst those still serving up sub-par content will be hit hardest. If the case for content being king ever needed any more support, here it is.

Twitter Q4 number’s flat-lined

  • Twitter reported its latest quarterly earnings this month, with its monthly active user base (MUAs) – 320 million – largely unchanged compared to the previous quarter.
  • Twitter’s revenue for the last quarter of 2015 totalled $710m, an increase of 48 per cent year-on-year, with the social network also reporting that ad revenue rose 53 per cent during the period, with “data licensing” revenue accounting for $70m during Q4 2015.
  • MAUs, which grew 9% YoY to 305 million, were down in comparison to the previous quarter from 307 million, this is a crucial period, typically when advertiser spend is at its height. With the social network also reporting that mobile MAUs represented 80 per cent of this total.
  • CEO Jack Dorsey told analysts the social network would focus on growing its user base, plus improve retention rates. This strategy will rest upon five pillars: refining its core service by; focusing on being a forum to witness and participate in live events via video; give users better tools to connect with audiences; make Twitter safer; and work with developers to make Twitter a better partner.

Affiliate Marketing

Alibaba Acquires 5.6% Stake in Groupon

  • Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has acquired 33 million shares in online deals website Groupon, making it the fourth largest shareholder.
  • “The purchases are part of the Chinese company’s strategy to learn more about the US market as it expands internationally,”
  • “They don’t want to have their own operations, so they are investing in other companies to help them learn and pave the way for more robust activity down the road.”
  • Groupon has suffered an 86% decline in value since its IPO in 2011, but Friday’s announcement came just hours after the discount site revealed its strongest financial results in four years.
  • “Our focus as a team just isn’t on things like acquisitions, or being acquired. Our focus is on building a great business,” – Rich Williams, Groupon CEO

RetailMeNot Tells Investors to Hold Tight!

  • Discount hub RetailMeNot revealed a 5% year-on-year loss in net revenue for the final quarter of 2015, down to $83.1 million
  • The global firm’s portfolio is headed up by RetailMeNot.com in the US and includes properties such as VoucherCodes.co.uk in the UK
  • Q4 2015 saw a 21% decline in desktop revenue ($52.4 million) which, due to it representing 63% of RetailMeNot’s overall takings, counterbalanced the 19% increase in the money it made through the redemption of offers on mobile devices ($9 million).
  • In-store redemption from mobile devices saw annual growth of 57% however there is uncertainty of whether this growth will be enough to offset the loss being seen in desktop.
  • The growth in mobile/in-store looks to be the building blocks for what will hopefully be a stronger year in 2016.

Tradedoubler to Increase Currency Options

  • A partnership between Tradedoubler and online payments company Payoneer will allow publishers based in 200 countries to receive payments in their local currency.
  • Payoneer will take over as the sole provider for cross-border payments made to publishers based outside of Europe, and makes payment available in 90 local currency options, Euro or USD, reducing transaction costs and exchange rate risks.
  • The news comes in light of a surveyfrom last year, showing that two thirds of global affiliates want to be paid in local currency.
  • Tradedoubler’s CEO states that the new arrangement aids the overall ‘nature’ of performance marketing, providing e-commerce companies with a low-risk mechanism to expand into new markets.
  • This announcement follows the CEO’s comments about Tradedoubler being “well positioned” to deliver an enhanced service in the year ahead, despite seeing net sales decrease 12% YoY in 2015, even with growth observed in Q4.