Tag: Advertising

Smart Bidding: Five ways machine learning improves PPC advertising

February 10, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The machine learning-enhanced “Smart Bidding” capabilities available in Google Ads offer an easy way to see the campaign results you want while allowing you to take a more hands-off approach.
  • You can use Smart Bidding on the campaign level or, if you prefer, you can apply it to your entire ad portfolio, allowing you to optimize all of your campaigns using Google’s ML algorithms.
  • Marketing consultant Gabrielle Sadeh explains five different objectives that Smart Bidding can optimize for – and when to use each.

PPC advertising is a core part of many brands’ online marketing efforts. Unfortunately, getting the most out of your PPC bidding can be a tricky process, to say the least.

Some brands find themselves bidding too much for keywords, ranking highly for a brief period but blowing through their marketing budget. Others don’t bid enough, and never see themselves achieving the conversion rates they hope for.

The good news is that there is a smarter way to bid. Google’s Smart Bidding options, which are readily available via Google Ads, offer an easy way to see the campaign results you want while allowing you to take a more hands-off approach.

These advanced algorithms draw from several contextual signals to drive performance, and some of these signals are only available when using Smart Bidding. These include factors like local intent, remarketing lists, ad characteristics and seasonality. Bidding strategies are also available at a portfolio level, allowing you to apply machine learning to optimize all of your campaigns.

By letting Google’s machine learning algorithms take on a load of PPC bidding, you can focus more of your efforts on other marketing and conversion tactics, like optimizing your ad copy or landing page designs. Google Ads currently offers five Smart Bidding options — here is how each one can improve your PPC advertising.

1. Target Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

Target ROAS, helps you maximize the value of your campaign based on how much revenue you’d like to get for each dollar you spend on PPC advertising. For example, if your goal is to achieve $ 7 in sales revenue for every $ 2 that you spend on clicks, that means you have a target ROAS of 350%.

After inputting your target ROAS, your Google Ads campaign will set bidding for cost per click campaigns in an effort to meet this goal. 

Target ROAS is strongly reliant on your historical data. Google requires that your campaign have at least 15 conversions over 30 days for when using Target ROAS to optimize search ads, and there are other minimums for other ad types. 

For best results, however, you should achieve 50 conversions over a 30-day period prior to implementing Target ROAS bidding. This way the algorithm has data to learn from.

According to Google’s own internal research, this bidding method can increase conversion value by an average of 35%.

2. Target cost per acquisition (CPA)

Target CPA allows advertisers to set a target goal for cost per acquisition (CPA) that they wish to achieve with PPC advertising campaigns. When you use this parameter as your optimization target, Google’s Smart Bidding algorithm aims to achieve conversions at an average cost that is equal to or less than your target CPA. 

This way, you can grow your sales without running the risk of overspending.

If you already have a Google Ads account, Google will draw on your historical data to recommend a Target CPA when you are setting up bidding. It’s often a good idea to follow this guideline, as setting a goal that is significantly lower than your current CPA could cause your conversion rate to crash.

PPC advertising - Smart bidding

Source: KlientBoost

In one recent case study published by KlientBoost, switching a client from manual bidding to Target CPA-based Smart Bidding resulted in a 107% increase in conversion rate, while also decreasing the cost per conversion by over 40%. By drawing from your historical data and contextual signals, Target CPA is an easy way to get more conversions for less.

3. Target impression share

Not every PPC campaign is going to be focused on direct sales and conversions. Many brands try to increase the number of search ad impressions they receive as a method of generating demand and awareness for a brand and its services. 

Quite often, these ads can prove effective in helping you gain new leads. Target impression share bidding will optimize your bids in order to maximize your ad impressions on the SERPs.

As part of this Smart Bidding strategy, you can select to have your ads shown at the “absolute top” of the search results page, near the top or anywhere on the page. Users can adjust these targets as they see fit — so your ads could appear at the top in some search results, and in a sidebar in others.

Device optimization can be especially important in this strategy. In a case study from Metric Theory, Target Impression Share bidding, the total cost per click increased with both mobile and desktop devices. However, the campaign increased mobile spend by an impressive 87%, as the bidding diverted to lower-cost mobile users.

PPC advertising - Impression share targeting

Source: Metric Theory

Because target impression share bidding is based on real-time data, it overrides the bid adjustments from your manual campaign. The one exception is the ability to turn off mobile bidding.

4. Maximize clicks

Similar to target impression share, choosing to maximize clicks as your Smart Bidding parameter is not necessarily focused on increasing your conversion rate. However, this can still be a viable bidding strategy for your PPC campaigns.

With Maximize Clicks, Google adjusts bidding to get as many clicks within your average daily budget parameters. Drastically increasing traffic to your website can serve as a valuable method of collecting data for future campaigns in preparation for transitioning to Target ROAS or Target CPA bidding. 

Getting more users to your website can strengthen your branding and help you build lists — an invaluable strategy for B2B companies that rely on more personalized sales calls. 

Indeed, a case study from PPC Hero found that while Maximize Clicks was universally successful in increasing the total number of clicks, and generally successful at reducing campaign costs per click, these campaigns had a tendency to deliver fewer conversions. 

Like Target Impression Share, Maximize Clicks campaigns should focus more on awareness and leads than actual sales.

This campaign option does allow for a few manual adjustments, such as the ability to schedule your ads to be shown (or not shown) on specific days or times.

5. Maximize Conversions

For conversion-focused digital marketers, Maximize Conversions is a highly appealing Smart Bidding option. As with Target CPA and Target ROAS, this bidding strategy draws from a mix of historical data and contextual cues to optimize ad placements.

The big difference with Maximize Conversions is that it is less focused on your acquisition costs and more on volume. This can be especially helpful when you’re working with a small budget. 

Increasing your sales volume in the early stages of your company will spur word of mouth growth in the future as more customers leave reviews for your products and share their impressions with others via word of mouth. This will make future campaigns more cost-effective thanks to the social proof you will have created for your brand.

Using machine learning for PPC advertising

Source: Google

However, this strategy doesn’t account for ROI — it just seeks to spend the total available budget to achieve the maximum number of conversions possible. This could increase your cost per acquisition or daily spend, which makes this option less than ideal if you are closely tracking those metrics.

A smarter way to bid

Trying to determine which bid will maximize your campaign goals without blowing through your budget can be a tough balancing act. By turning the heavy lifting over to machine learning, you can ensure stronger outcomes for your campaigns while also giving yourself more time to further optimize other key advertising elements.

The post Smart Bidding: Five ways machine learning improves PPC advertising appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Jingle all the way: What will 2021 mean to the advertising world?

December 26, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Despite the overall doom and gloom, some industries actually skyrocketed in 2020.
  • 2021 is supposed to dot some i’s and cross some t’s in the field of transparency and first-party data solutions.
  • Live streaming related to gaming and sports is a huge advertising-friendly zone that is expected to expand further in 2021.
  • Header bidding solutions for OTT and CTV, new attribution, and monetization features are the advertising technologies that will gather momentum in 2021.
  • AI and ML predictive algorithms will further revolutionize personalization in the advertising world.

Surreal, eye-opening, melancholic, thought-provoking… 2020 has been like no other year in this century so far, as those wearing t-shirts with an “All I want for Christmas is 2021” logo will eagerly confirm. And though there’s a lot to be done before all pieces of the 2021 puzzle can be put together, the upcoming year has many hopes to fulfill. No pressure, 2021, but you’d better be good! On this cautiously positive note, let’s briefly revise 2020 based on the insights from the ‘OTT Executive Summitbefore we can warmly welcome the upcoming year. Read on for foresight on the future of advertising.

Looking back at 2020

The reality of 2020 dictated new rules, values, people’s habits, and a new outlook on what “normal” was. Unsurprisingly, despite the overall doom and gloom, some industries, which fit in this transformed layout really well, actually skyrocketed. They say every cloud has its silver lining, and that was true even for 2020.

Take for instance CTV, whose ad spend increased by 19% this year, according to IAB, primarily due to the pandemic and mass lockdowns. 

“TV forever has been a top funnel media, a media that you used to drive awareness but not to drive purchase. What’s so interesting about Connected Television is that it gives an opportunity to be both, a powerful branding media as well as a media that is very appealing to marketers who are trying to drive actual outcomes,”

Scott Rosenberg, SVP/GM of Platform Business at Roku

Digital devices, including the CTV ones, to a certain extent, became the guardians of people’s mental wellbeing. This fact is backed up by the Leichtman Research Group’s report that counted 400 million Connected TV devices in the US earlier this year. 

Another curious outcome of the pandemic is the shift that occurred in the way viewers started consuming OTT content. Nielsen shared their insights on the growing trend of co-viewing, as people were tied to their homes and family members for a long period of time.

The developments of the Internet and 5G networks added even more points to CTV’s score, making the market magnetic for app developers. As a result, streaming soared, turning 85% of Americans into streamers, according to Roku. 

“Streaming for the first time is overtaking live TV,” Andrew Hare, Senior Vice President, Research at Magid Associates, Inc

In addition to the accelerated number of subscribers of existing streaming services, outlined by eMarketer, the industry has seen a true upswing in the launch of new platforms, like Apple TV +, HBO Max, Disney +, Paramount +, Quibi (currently shut down), and others. 

“The streaming war up until this point has been really between the Big Three [Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu], however, with the entrance of all these high profile services from Disney, Apple, Warner Media, NBCUniversal, and others we could be seeing a huge upset of the hierarchy moving forward. And the interesting thing is that a lot of these new services have taken different approaches, trying to tackle the Big Three,”

Steve Nason, Research Director at Park Associates

With a CTV viewing time growth by 81% in 2020, as per Nielsen, and the abundance of entertainment opportunities CTV has in its goody bag, consumers admittedly started to have fewer problems with ads. Provided that ads could be the only price they would have to pay for the content. 

“Consumers found our service and services like ours really viable. Ad-supported became a really good way of getting your news and your movies, and perhaps your content library,”

Colin Petrie-Norris, CEO at Xumo

“43% of US adults have paused a show they were watching to go purchase or consider the product that they just saw on screen. The conditions are very ripe between the consumers’ unwillingness to go to physical retail as well as more advanced ad products that can put the right ad in front of you at the right moment, have it be actionable,

Scott Rosenberg, SVP/GM of Platform Business at Roku

In fact, eMarketer’s Q3 report highlighted an increase in AVOD revenue by 31% in 2020. This means that well-established AVOD platforms, such as Pluto TV, Xumo, Vudu, Crackle, and Tubi, will soon have to share the space with many newcomers, willing to hit the jackpot by adopting AVOD or a hybrid model that combines SVOD and AVOD features.

“Two-thirds of all viewing time is on ad-supported platforms. For the first time 53% of people 18+ said they watch at least one AVOD service. 51% in the US tell us they would prefer an advertising-based free model versus a subscription with no ads or EST [Electronic Sell-Through],

Andrew Hare, Senior Vice President, Research at Magid Associates, Inc

Looking forward to 2021

Though mysteriously staring at the crystal ball to see the future is always fun, eMarketer shared a few clues to make anyone’s predictions a bit more grounded. Following eMarketer’s estimates, the CTV ad spends will reach $ 11.36 billion in 2021, which is around 40% higher than the year before that. Additionally, 2021 will bring a reduction in Connected TV CPMs due to a meteoritic rise of supply. Without having our heads in the clouds, let’s take a closer look at where this may take us from different perspectives of the CTV landscape.

1. Transparency

Privacy concerns have consistently been the internet’s stumbling block. Users want to know who collects what data and for what purposes. Looks like a few years after the introduction of GDPR, 2021 will finally dot some i’s and cross some t’s in this area. Since Google announced its plan to opt-out third-party cookies from the Chrome browser, the advertising world has been restlessly trying to come up with a new unified first-party data approach for all its channels. As advertisers aim to secure their access to consumers, direct deals via PMP (Private Marketplace) or PG (Programmatic Guaranteed) punched above their weight. And though these are effective ways of reaching audiences, they risk leaving smaller players out of the loop. In the meantime, the connected TV arena moved the question of transparency from high priority to critical. Hopefully, 2021 will bring some clarity to unified solutions for delivering first-party data to advertisers. Alternatively, we have good chances to watch further fragmentation of the market (which is not good) stitched together with progress in addressability (which is good).

2. Investments

Streaming of all shapes and sizes continues to soar, and 2021 is expected to reveal its potential even fuller. Live streaming, especially related to gaming and sports, offers marketers a unique opportunity to reach out to a growing segment of esport streamers and watchers, who in 2020 constituted 92% of the US and UK Generations Z and Y populations, based on the data from GlobalWebIndex. Certainly, anchoring consumers at home did oil the wheels and contributed a great deal to this trend. Outside of sports and gaming, another streaming playing field, that is gaining momentum as we speak, is certainly AVOD. A snowballing effect with which streaming services sprang up made watchers tight-fisted and less opposed to ads. This tendency is likely to stay the course. Therefore, if there is a perfect time and place to make the most of advertising budgets, it will undoubtedly be streaming in 2021. 

3. Formats

Provided that customers’ attention span was eight seconds in 2020, as stated by Oracle, it’s obvious that capturing this attention will only get harder for brands with time. This is where engaging formats will come in handy. Browsable galleries, shoppable ads, carousels, TV-to-Mobile elements, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), these are just a part of the mantra for all advertisers out there. The only way to walk customers through all the stages of the funnel is to stay creative, up-to-date, and make their experience lightweight, yet memorable. As for the channels, it’s worth going out on a limb and adopting an omnichannel strategy that will include DOOH (Digital Out-of-Home), which has been rocking the boat of digital advertising for quite some time now. Given that consumers are expected to spend much more time out of their homes to make up for 2020, if/when restrictions are relaxed in 2021, experimenting with new formats would be the way forward.

4. Advertising technologies

Due to the fact that programmatic, as a transaction method is going to reach $ 5.72 billion in 2021, according to eMarketer, the talks about scaling up header bidding solutions for OTT and CTV have a clear rationale behind them. This technology will enable buyers to access dynamic auctions, while publishers will be able to send ad requests to multiple buyers and improve their monetization results. Furthermore, 2021 will surely expose marketers to more attribution and promotion opportunities, be it showcasing customer journey for OTT channel owners with the Attriboost analytics software or providing across-the-board monetization capabilities through Allroll’s self-serve platform. Staying at the forefront of the AdTech innovation curve will open doors to windfall profits.

5. Intelligent automation

A recent focus on a minimized face-to-face human interaction fuelled interest in automation powered by AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning). This ultimately sowed the seeds of acceptance and made these technologies more approachable for businesses. In the context of Connected TV, the advancements of AI-led to the kickoff of ACR (Automatic Content Recognition), which originated from smart TV players, for example, Samba TV, Samsung Ads, and LG’s Live Plus. Their predictive algorithms create an additional layer of personalization for CTV viewership. Taking into consideration how personalization is worshipped by marketers, beyond a shadow of doubt, ACR will play an important part in the CTV industry in 2021.


The time to say ‘goodbye’ to 2020 has come. Digital space, in line with the rest of the world, has gone through a lot of rethinking and reinventing, demonstrated resilience and agility, trying to foresee and comfort consumers in every single shift in their behavior. These changes, however, mapped a whole new outlook for 2021. Data privacy, investment opportunities, engaging formats, advertising, and automation technologies will run the digital world in 2021 in an even more exciting manner than before. So, fasten your seatbelts, and let’s go!

Alex Zakrevsky is the CEO of Allroll marketing platform for CTV/OTT channel owners. Innovator, product lover, CTV, and programmatic enthusiast. He believes that the quality of the product always wins.

The post Jingle all the way: What will 2021 mean to the advertising world? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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PPC Keyword Research Guide: How to Find Keywords for Your Paid Advertising

December 4, 2020 No Comments

This post includes the most effective tips to drive a business’ paid campaigns via highly-quality PPC keywords.

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The Ethical Implications Of PPC Advertising & How To Overcome Them

November 18, 2020 No Comments

Is it fair that people can pay to get to the top of search results? This blog discusses the ethical implications of PPC from one advertiser’s perspective.

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How to Build a Winning Native Advertising Strategy

September 20, 2020 No Comments

Native advertising is one of the best ways to gain increased engagement from high-intent audiences. Learn how to build a winning native strategy from an expert.

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Five great display and video advertising tactics to increase relevance and revenue in a cookie-less world

August 25, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Display and video advertising already have tactics that can be highly effective in a cookie-less world.
  • Contextual advertising is going to rise, as users will be in the right state of mind to interact with the brands’ ads.
  • Content sponsorship is going to build strong relationships between brands and consumers, as the values and purpose of each brand will be transmitted to the audience in a non-aggressive sales-y way.
  • Channel integration can become the norm as channels can support each other through insights.
  • User-based targeting will still allow for personalization with the consent of the user.

Let’s face it. The world is going through difficult times, and so is every method of advertising. People are suspicious and don’t trust advertising, thinking that ads may lead to fraud or that advertisers act only to their own benefit and that the consumers will get no value out these promotional banners sitting around the content they visit. They get annoyed when video advertising interrupts their user experience popping up or getting in the way of their desired content.

Things get worse when the ads are totally irrelevant to the user’s interests, which results in total waste of money. Things got a bit better with cookies, as we could target specific audience segments based on their demographics and browsing behavior so that the ads where tailored to their state of mind and interests but in a soon-to-be cookie-less world? Are we back to zero?

Fear not. During the past few years, the targeting technology and tactics became much more sophisticated and we can use numerous methods to target our audiences with relevant only ads and at the same time comply with the new GDPR normal.

Below are five must-have tactics around display and video advertising to smoothly transition to the post-cookie era.

Well, there are no must-dos in life, but realistically these will definitely make your life a lot easier and your ads will create only positive relationships with your audience. Anyway, cookies matching (the process of syncing cookies data so that Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) and Data Management Platforms (DMPs) know that they are dealing with the same user) isn’t exactly perfect. So let’s see the positive side. It’s our chance to get closer to our goal to increase relevancy, please customers, and drive sales.

1. Contextual targeting


Back to zero? Not quite.

Example - Display and video advertising

Yes, keyword or contextual-based advertising is an old tactic, I am not talking about the invention of the wheel. But: nowadays we can use Programmatic buying. With cookie-based targeting, ads about martech platforms would keep following you around the web. But this is not you. You are more than that. You like fitness, food, minimalism, whatever.


With contextual targeting through programmatic, you will be able to display your ads only when your audience is in a relevant state of mind across hundreds of sites at the same time. So when you’re looking for healthy recipes in food websites, you will see ads for organic products and when you will be reading about the future of digital advertising, you will see ads of a new analytics platform.

So what?

So the ads will be relevant to the web environment you’re currently consuming and consumers will feel more comfortable to convert, as they will see the ads as an extension of the content they are already looking at. Contextual advertising works well for all the stages of the purchase journey, as high impact formats (large sizes or video) but also native ads-teasers can be used to increase awareness and memorability and click-throughs respectively.

2. Content sponsorship


Yes. It works. People want to get value from the brands, and this is how they get to trust them. Consuming educational content brings us closer to the bran’s values, we see the world through their eyes and therefore we decide to follow them or not. Have you ever made friends without listening to them talking first?


Especially during the pandemic, people started educating themselves on numerous topics that don’t necessarily have to do with their job. They love reading about how they can make their life easier. And they trust someone’s content especially when they are not trying to directly sell or only sell a product without justifying it. To my opinion, content must be branded but should be consumer-centric at the same time. These are some questions you should seek to answer through your content.

  • What are the benefits of the product/service?
  • How does it fill someone’s needs?
  • Does it add value to someone’s life/daily routine?

This is exactly our time as advertisers to elaborate on the challenges that our audience can overcome by using the product. This is our time to be where our consumers are and consume content, to show that we care, and we give, and this is a win-win game. And that the more we win, we commit that the more we will give.

So what?

Brands that get personal like the P&G ads are amazing. Have you seen them? They celebrate women’s/mums’ roles and contributions to society. They speak the truth, they make people relate to the content. Also, going back to my point on the pandemic now, people appreciated it so much the brands that collaborated with each other for a good cause, the brands that offered, the brands that supported also financially the situation.

Why? Because we all want to feel that someone is there for us, that brands don’t care only for their profits. So if I’m going to give my money for a product anyway, I will choose one that we have the same beliefs with.

3. Channel collaboration


And here it comes. Your boss, your client come to ask for channel integrated campaigns. They want to see how everything works together towards the same goal. They don’t like fragmented budgets anymore, as the ad investment comes from one pot and there’s one person managing all the channels so there’s no point in delivering multiple media plans.


Use every channel’s success or failure (this is still a very useful insight!) to contribute to the success of other channels. For example, look at search engine marketing (SEM) like paid search or SEO to find the most successful keywords, and then implement these in your display and video advertising – contextual strategy.

So what?

In other words, what I strongly recommend is to use the terms that your customers are using in their search before they convert, to open up to new audiences in relevant webpages. This way, you can have an online presence in relevant environments, with high impact display formats and videos to increase awareness when your audience is at the right state of mind.

4. User-based targeting


This is not something new, the big platforms are already doing this and it’s an amazing source of data that I don’t think we made the most of, because we were mostly relying on cookies (that, let’s face it, wasn’t 100% accurate anyway). These data sets are quite accurate as they rely on information that the users give through forms and actions and not on our interpretation of their browsing history.


This is essentially targeting through the user id on the respective platform. Users give their details and create profiles so that they get access to various platforms or make purchases to numerous websites. This way the brand can target the ideal users with cross-device recognition, using first-party data.

So what?

Who doesn’t want a consistent experience while interacting with a brand across multiple devices? Again, this is a win-win game when implemented effectively, as the brands do not waste budget while targeting the users isolating every device and at the same time the users are being targeted with the most appropriate message depending on the stage of the funnel that they are. Plus it improves personalization.

5. Sequential targeting


How many times have you noticed a specific car model in the streets after you talked about it for the first time with your friends? It’s not that all these cars magically appeared in front of you after your conversation. It’s that this car is now familiar to you, so it’s easy to notice it. Humans like what looks or sounds familiar. The brain wants to spend as little energy as possible so if it’s something already known, it’s easier to identify and memorize. That’s why we need sequential advertising in our lives.


First-party data allow also for sequential targeting, which is a marketing technique that uses a sequence of ads to tell a story and convince the audience to convert over time, across different devices. The creatives used for sequential targeting should have the same look and feel so that the consumer feels familiar with them and also recalls the brand’s image but should be evolved as we walk down the funnel. The sequence is device agnostic when a user is logged in through their account, which means that shifting between devices doesn’t affect that strategy, it even enhances the experience. Someone may see an ad on their smartphone and then the second in order ad may appear the next day on their laptop.

So what?

It has been observed that awareness can be vastly increased through high impact sequential ads. For instance, Google’s research in partnership with Ipsos on sequential videos revealed a 74% ad recall lift and 30% purchase intent uplift compared to standalone video advertising. The sequential messaging drives also high-quality leads as they guide the user down through the funnel to convert.

The sequential tactic is highly effective as most consumers use multiple digital devices before making a purchase or using a service. This strategy increases visibility, as people notice a brand more when its ads appear on multiple devices and they seem familiar, plus you allow your audience to interact with your brand through their platform of choice and it prevents ad fatigue. It’s of no wonder why this tactic presents increasing CTR.

Into the technicalities now

In digital display and video advertising, I would recommend for the sequential path to involve three stages of content.

  • Stage one – the user sees an ad that is usually more generic, it introduces them to the brand or service
  • Stage two – includes ads that educate around the brand or service advertised and present briefly the benefits and happy results of using it

The first two stages should invite the user to learn more about the product and get to know the brand if needed so that they walk through the consideration phase. For these purposes, the first (or second too) stage can well be represented by a video. The videos are well known as being highly memorable and impactful, so this is what the user needs at this stage.

  • Stage three – ad with a strong call to action, an invitation for the audience to use the product and purchase, sometimes even offering a discount

Naturally, the call-to-action in each stage will change depending on what action we want the person to perform (Learn more Vs Buy now).


Therefore, it’s not the end of the world, it’s the end of a technology that worked for long but now it’s time to move on to new relationship structures, just like societies do. Because it’s time for the brands to build honest and transparent relationships with consumers, which is going to lead to stronger trust in advertising. And this is a good thing.

What are your thoughts on display and video advertising? Feel free to share them in the comments section.

Anastasia-Yvoni Spiliopoulou is a Global Digital Media expert. She has recently launched her new online course in digital display and video advertising for corporates and individuals.

The post Five great display and video advertising tactics to increase relevance and revenue in a cookie-less world appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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The Most Underutilized Microsoft Advertising Features

July 31, 2020 No Comments

Get the best for your campaigns by testing these underutilized Microsoft Advertising features, as chosen by Microsoft themselves.

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Hottest user-centric video advertising trends of 2020: CTV, vertical, and social formats

June 13, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Since the lockdown online video content has been steadily replacing traditional television as people spend more time streaming shows and playing video games.
  • Advertisers are redistributing their ad budgets making stakes on CTV/ OTT and social media.
  • 64% of advertisers terminated their ad campaigns while 24% used this period as an opportunity to launch something new.
  • In-stream, shoppable, vertical, and short video formats are gaining momentum as social media traffic volumes are peaking.
  • CEO of SmartyAds, Ivan Guzenko shares his thoughts on video advertising trends as he highlights the hottest video ad formats and resolutions.

Digital video advertising trends are booming when six out of 10 people prefer watching videos online instead of watching TV, it is safe to say that online video content has replaced traditional television. More than 78% of people watch digital videos every week and 55% watch them every day. The penetration of over-the-top video streaming in the U.S. reached 57,3% of the population in 2019, and by the end of 2022, it will rise to 58,2%.

Just like Bill Gates once predicted oblivion to companies that ignored the Internet space, in 2020, something similar can be said about video marketing. In my last article, I mentioned how brands can apply video marketing strategies. Now, it’s time to discuss video advertising trends and explore new formats so that your brand can grasp new opportunities and establish a stronger connection with customers.

OTT and CTV ads

In this time of the coronavirus, TV experiences a dramatic surge in viewing TV video content consumption has climbed 60% higher on all devices for streaming Smart TVs, and mobiles including. The most significant rise was noticed in categories like entertainment, news, and children’s content. Video advertising trends 2020 statsA record number of visitors on Steam was detected in May.

The platform gathered the largest number of visitors over the past 16 years: 21,998 players per 24 hours. 

Thus, even though now many advertisers are forced to close their brick-and-mortar stores and postpone their ad budgets, more than a quarter of them plan to launch new campaigns as traffic across CTV medium peaks.  

Video advertising trends 2020 comparative stats

April’s data, meanwhile, confirms the growing demand regarding CTV and OTT viewership that outstretches across all dayparts. As seen from the chart below, TV viewership has seen a giant climb across popular channels. 

Video advertising trends 2020 comparative stats in April

Connected TV makes it easy for people to consume video content, how they like, and where they want, via Internet-connected gadgets. Thus, even after COVID-19 comes to an end, such TV consumption will only grow in comparison to a much less flexible linear experience. Currently, brands are massively redistributing their spending into CTV and OTT programmatic environments.

Those brands that embrace CTV and OTT programmatic platforms will be doubling their profits in the future, because only these technologies, so far, make TV ad campaign planning, attribution, and management as transparent as on the web. While planning an ad campaign on CTV pay attention to ad slots available at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of streamed content. These ads are called pre-rolls, mid-rolls, and post-rolls, and they last for 15 to 30 seconds. In the same way, you can make use of in-stream ads that appear in the video content.

In-stream ads

So, familiar YouTube in-stream ads are still leading video advertising industry trends and aren’t going anywhere in the near future. After entering the mobile medium, they gained a new definition. These ads are built directly into the video stream, or on-demand videos, and they last for five to 15 seconds after initiation. In-stream ads usually perform very well and result in completion rates that reach 70% on Facebook.

Today, any brand can create short mid-rolls that are optimized for a particular purpose: raising brand awareness, engaging users, generating installs, views, etc. Within the March-May period, in-stream units that smoothly transition in the live-stream grew in demand for at least eight to 13% according to customer data gathered by SmartyAds DSP. 

Video advertising trends 2020 - YouTube advertising

Personalized and shoppable videos

In 2020, about 71% of consumers prefer to receive personalized messages, which is why data-driven technologies are strategically important for every marketer. Platforms, like Facebook and YouTube, have already learned how to manipulate detailed video usage statistics to personalize ads. Additionally, last year, YouTube launched theTrueView for Reach” option for short commercials, which analyzes the search queries to predict the relevance of advertising.

Instagram, meanwhile, has introduced a shop button, which redirects a customer to the landing directly from the promotional video (shoppable video). Tiktok is currently testing the same feature. Over 49% of advertisers plan to extend their video strategies by investing in smart, shoppable ads in the future since after the COVID-19 period people will be more inclined to online purchasing.

Video advertising trends 2020 - Gif formats shoppable ads

If you religiously keep up with 2020 video advertising trends, employ shoppable and personalized experiences in your video advertising strategy and forget about wasting money on irrelevant impressions. In order to personalize your ads, use the YouTube TrueView tool for short commercials, or choose programmatic advertising personalization. Programmatic technology determines the relevance of an impression based on arrays of collected user data sets that will fit not only video personalization, but also display, native, push, CTV, and other types of campaigns.

Social media video trends

The competition among brands that are trying to win an audience’s attention is difficult like never before. 81% of businesses regularly incorporate video advertising into their promotion strategies (with a 63% increase year-after-year). The freshest trends show that 45% of people spend time on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) more often so the trend is not random. At the same time, it’s no longer enough to reach existing and potential customers. The main objective now is involvement in brand experience by presenting information to the audience in the most convenient format and resolution. In the era of mobile-first experience, vertical videos, short formats, and stories are the best way to do so.

1. Vertical video format

Video advertising and social media trends reflect the most drastic changes in the mobile experience. That’s why such platforms like Instagram prefer to lead the trend and base their strategies on vertical videos. Stats claim that 40% of the top 1,000 most popular Instagram videos are generated by brands. Vertical video trends imply that videos need to be optimized according to the most convenient way of watching vertical or horizontal (depending on the situation).

Video advertising trends 2020 - Vertical videos

  • According to the stats, 94% of people usually hold their mobile phones in a vertical position.
  • 82% of people find it annoying watching a video that’s not optimized for the orientation they choose.
  • Ads that are watched vertically, on average, have 90% higher completion rates than those watched horizontally.
  • 40% of people who film videos with their own phones and produce user-generated content still prefer to keep their phones vertically and 60% horizontally.

So what should be considered before you fit videos to user experience? First of all, remember that most vertical videos can be found on social media and entertainment. Keep your audience in mind when optimizing the watching experience, and remember that, ideally, they should be pretty short approximately 15 seconds.

2. Short, yet memorable 15-second-long videos

World video advertising trends tipped marketers off that people prefer brands that appreciate their time. Thus, video content should be crafted so that it easily grabs attention and lingers in the memory, despite the fact that the ad unit duration barely reaches 15 seconds. Sounds like mission impossible, but that’s what the market demands now 73% of video advertising commercials never exceed the two-minute ‘boredom bar.’

Last year, brands started to actively transform their long videos into bumper ads a six-second long video format that drives an enormous lift in memorability. For potential customers, six-second video views are perfect. From the customer’s standpoint, such ads help to stay away from excessive details, yet it is enough to resurface the brand in the memory when a purchase is being planned.

 Short videos can work wonders for both brand-awareness and performance ad campaigns alike. These ad units are much less annoying than other video types, but they’re also cost-effective tools that drive upper-funnel and bottom-funnel goals for companies with humble ad budgets. At the same time, your ads don’t always have to be 6-seconds long – create and test 6/15/30 second-long videos, include a call-to-action and recognizable brand elements to see how your audience reacts. The shortest version can be set prior to a 30-second ad that runs at the smaller section of the screen and so forth.

3. Stories

Ad formats, such as stories, have also been popular on social media (for a long time). If Instagram stories involuntarily pop into your mind, remember that now it is also used by Facebook and Snapchat, and even LinkedIn is currently testing the waters.

Clearly, video narratives are gaining momentum. Create a story about your brand and pack it into stories format: intrigue first, give clues, and finally, craft a catchy ending. Finally, encourage your audience to create custom content – now they have the opportunity to easily do so on their phones. Good stories and user-generated content will always leave a pleasant aftertaste and increase interest in your brand. During the pandemic, you can also ask your customers to participate in a challenge by using interactive stickers or solicit feedback and opinion surveys.

In closing

In 2020, using the latest trends in video advertising is a sure way to break through informational noise and win the hearts of your potential customers. User-generated content, vertical videos on social media, stories, and short creatives video marketing is steadily growing user-centric.

Brands need to understand that this is a new challenge. Instead of force-feeding your audience with irritating and irrelevant commercials, choose the right format and resolution. Finally, give preference to data-driven personalization to amplify the effect of your message to let it reach the right audience at the right time.

Ivan Guzenko is CEO of SmartyAds. He can be found on Twitter @ivanguzenko.

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TikTok Advertising: Should You Test It?

May 17, 2020 No Comments

TikTok is the newest and one of the most popular social platforms right now, especially with many people having extra time, and are looking to be entertained.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Effective mobile advertising strategies for 2020

April 22, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • With the entire global COVID-19 pandemic that has brought the world to its feet and forced everyone inside their homes, mobile marketing is going to take a very different turn.
  • As per earlier estimates, mobile advertising was going to make up for a whopping 75% of all digital ad spending by 2022.
  • Considering the new alterations, the best thing to do would be to understand the fabric of it and work to implement mobile advertising strategies for your own business.
  • Know more on how to establish and polish your mobile marketing strategies to effectively target communication, deliver optimum effectiveness, capture your audience, and deliver your business goals.

Mobile advertising has been a game-changer for quite some years now. In 2017, when mobile advertising first surpassed desktop advertising, no one knew the bounds of its potential. It won’t be an exaggeration to mention that 2020 is going to be a major year for mobile advertising in all terms. With the entire global COVID-19 pandemic that has brought the world to its feet and forced everyone inside their homes, mobile marketing is going to take a very different turn.

As per earlier estimates, it was noteworthy to mention that mobile advertising was going to make up for a whopping 75% of all digital ad spending by 2022. Now that figure is going to see an alteration. Keeping in mind these figures, the best thing to do would be to understand the fabric of it and work to implement mobile advertising strategies for your own business.

The Wall Street Journal also talked about the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in alliance with national and state governments in the US, will be using the data collected by advertisers through social platforms, such as Facebook. This is being done in the wake of tracking the movement of Americans within the areas of “geographical interest”.

Now talking of core mobile advertising, we know that it is more important than ever to any business or brand, it is important to understand the essence of it and have a grasp of its core ideals. It is important because awareness around the subject matter will ensure that your mobile advertising campaign is a success in generating bigger brand awareness or driving sales, whichever your end goal is. With 60% of all social media activity happening on mobile devices, the potential for your audience is still untapped.

Mobile advertising explained

To simply put into words, mobile advertising is advertising meant for mobile devices. But in the present context, we are talking about wireless mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. For the power of personalization delivered by these devices, mobile advertising has reached high bars of success. It has provided brands, agencies, and marketers a unique way to connect with consumers beyond traditional means.

Mobile advertising is so powerful because of the nature of the targeted user device. It is very easy to choose the target audience and make sure that your message is being delivered to their devices which is unique to them, making way for precisely targeted communication. In this manner, mobile advertising delivers optimum effectiveness wherein probabilities of the response levels can be easily spiked.

stat showing time spent online and how it affects mobile advertising strategies

To elaborate, let’s take an example of interactive Ads. They are very effective when it comes to mobile advertising strategies because the user gets to truly interact with them. They can choose to call the business, check out directions, visit their Facebook page, or simply go to their website. The direction of conversion is multifaceted but one thing always leads to another, right?

Samsung really went to extra lengths for the promotion of its Galaxy S6 smartphone. They created a highly-personalized interactive Ad in collaboration with InMobi. They helped people experience the deliverable by displaying a “personalized real-time battery identification mobile ad unit,” on their smartphones.

They wanted to emphasize the fast-charging battery feature of their smartphone and here’s how they did it.

The result: 1.6% of the users ended up tapping on the “Tap to find more” button, while 1.1% of users clicked on the “Experience” CTA and an average of 20 seconds were spent on the interstitial ad.

In yet another successful mobile interactive advertising move, Pond’s went on to create the world’s first face detection augmented reality rich media mobile ad for the promotion of their new Acne 10-in-1 Solution. Through this Ad, the beauty and health brand provided a unique experience to the target audience. All they had to do was use their front camera to track the various features of their face and automatically detect the acne-prone areas of their skin. This implementation of augmented reality experience brought about 29 seconds of average engagement from over 39,000 users.

Types of mobile advertising

  • Pinterest: Awareness campaigns, engagement campaigns, traffic campaigns
  • Facebook & Instagram: Images, videos, carousel ads, interstitial ads
  • LinkedIn: Display ads, Sponsored in-mail, sponsored content, text ads, dynamic ads
  • Twitter: Promoted accounts, trends, and tweets
  • Snapchat: Snap ads, sponsored and on-demand geo-filters, sponsored lenses

Effective mobile advertising strategies

If the above information somehow was not very convincing for you, let us tell you that the mobile advertising market is expected to exceed $ 200 billion globally. All substantial brands and businesses that want to reduce their cost of advertising but also ensure that their advertising reaps maximum leads and conversions are relying on effective mobile advertising strategies. However, the audience isn’t very willing to view ads on their mobile devices and they use a plethora of ad-blocking services on their smartphones. Checking out ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, NordVPN review and other reviews for other reliable services to ensure that they are not beings served with ads. Hence, it is important to draw them in with relevant ads that can successfully engage them. Hence. here are some of the most effective mobile Ad strategies:

  • Customization of ads for the target audience: One of the most basic yet the most effective strategies for mobile advertising is the customization of ads for the target audience. We are talking of highly-customized ads for devices because each user is unique to their smartphones. To ensure an increase in mobile conversions, targeted ad customization is crucial. Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) lets you do just that. With DCO, one can easily create multiple versions of an Ad, specifically targeting them for the targeted audience. Based on variables such as gender, age, socioeconomic status, Geo-location, type of the device being used, etc., DCO will help you get the task done.
  • Mobile-preferred ads: In 2020, people are spending all of their time indoors and even working from home. Hence, by the expectation, people are spending more time online actively engaging with news and video content. So, marketers at the moment have reduced the number of brand-heavy advertising campaigns. Hence, the trend. If you really want to tap your audience for ensured conversion, mobile-preferred Ads are your way out. These Ads are aimed at users searching from their mobile phones. So, you can try sending users to your mobile landing page and telling them in advance that the URL is mobile-friendly. Mobile-preferred Ads are about giving away offers that are accessible via a mobile device and not otherwise.
  • Ecommerce mobile ads: Mobile advertising is highly effective for eCommerce brands and similar brands. People want to be seamless and quick in their online shopping. Even Google shopping campaigns prioritize shopping Ads and display them on the top of the mobile results page. So, use this to your advantage and create great eCommerce mobile Ads that allow users to absorb maximum information and arrive on a purchase decision.
  • Use ad extensions: Using ad extensions is not just a great way to get an edge on the competition but are also very helpful in increasing an ad’s CTR. They also contribute to the quality score and help increase ad rank and click-through rate. They let you have more space on the search results page if your ad qualifies. So, make sure that you use the relevant ones such as Location extensions, Sitelink extensions, Call and message extensions, App extensions, Price extensions, Seller rating extensions, etc.
  • Enable calling = Cheap conversions: A lot of marketers do not realize the relevance and importance of calling when it comes to seeking affordable and cheap conversions. By enabling calling, you are able to minimize the barriers for your potential customers to call your business. Hence, by including your business phone number on the ad, you make it easy for your target audience to call you instantly and eventually cut down on the cost of conversion.
  • Mobile ad gamification: Ever came across game ads that let you actually play the game for a span of 15-20 seconds to help you experience the true game? Well, they are really engaging and are capable of driving solid conversions. So, you can implement ad gamification to enrich your ads and make them more effective.
  • Incentivize your ads: For the love of incentives, how about you implement the incentivization of your Ads? We are talking about anything which falls in the range of discount, free shipping, or a voucher. For example, you can simply offer an X% discount for signing up for your newsletter. However, just make sure that your users are able to claim the incentive seamlessly and not navigate to many pages and make many clicks in order to redeem the incentive.

How to rightfully implement mobile advertising strategies in 2020?

Here are a few things you need to ensure if you want to rightfully reap the benefits of mobile advertising strategies:

  1. It is important to identify the right target audience that would be interested in mobile ads. Make sure that your Ads are relevant to the device users that they are being shown to
  2. It is important to ensure that your ad is just not for the promotion of your offering but it should genuinely aim to solve the target audience’s problems.
  3. Keep your ads lightweight so that they can easily load on the mobile devices of your users.
  4. Employ video content in your ads because they have a higher engagement percentage.
  5. Capturing the emotions of your audience with your ads is a great strategy if rightly implemented.


Advertisers and marketers have definitely come a long way in terms of how they exploit the prowess of advertising strategies to their advantage. This is a period of radical change, consumer behaviour is experiencing a huge shift. With the mammoth increase in online traffic and people looking to consume digital news and engross in gaming and streaming content, you have to come up with a strategy.

In this approach, shifting the focus from desktop to mobile advertising is a primary step because the present and the future is mobile. So, make sure that you follow suit and ensure that you are tapping the potential of this move and driving maximum conversions for your business.

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