Bing Image Extensions Now Out of Beta

Example of Bing image extensionsBing’s image extensions are no longer in Beta and are available on its advertising platform for paid search across all markets. In 2013 Google attempted image extensions and decided to drop it at the Beta stage. Now Bing has picked up where Google left off to give its users the ability to show up to six images alongside their Paid Search ads, including other extensions.

Bing has made the process of adding image extensions easy by listing a step-by-step guide on their ad page:

  • Click Campaigns at the top of the page and click the Ad Extension tab. If not already selected, click Image Extensions.
  • Click Create ad extension and select the campaign you want to add the image extension to.
  • Click Create new image extension.
  • Enter the Name/Display Text, Description (optional), and Destination URL (optional) of the Image Extension.
  • To Select your images, you can Select an existing image or your brand logo or Upload new images. Click on the image(s) you want to appear in both Bing and MSN, and review the images in Selected images. You can also click on See how your images will look in an ad to get an idea of how your image may appear.
  • Click Save.

Edging Out the Competition
Image extensions set your ads apart from the competition by visually promoting your products and services. This helps increase brand awareness and customer engagement. They can also improve click through rates and make a great addition to a traditional text campaign. As an added bonus they allow merchants who don’t use shopping campaigns to use visual ads as Bing image extensions don’t require you to have a product feed.

Even if you do use shopping campaigns, we still recommend using these in addition to your regular campaigns for added visibility. For instance, if you don’t appear at the top page of your shopping campaigns, you run the risk of losing out on consumer engagement. Furthermore, by adding image extensions you have a greater chance of increasing your click through rate while displayed beside shopping campaigns.

Image extensions are a major benefit for industries that do not look to sell a specific retail product and wouldn’t benefit from shopping ads. For instance, if a user types in ‘trips to New York’, images can really help grab their attention. Industries such as travel, finance and services lacking tangible products, have the opportunity to display attention grabbing images similarly to shopping ads.

Definitely consider putting some test budget into image extensions. From our previous experience with Google’s image extensions in most cases CTR greatly increases however, make sure you keep an eye on your CPC value.

 

Facebook and Instagram’s New Holiday 2015 Behaviour Segment

With Christmas fast approaching, Black Friday less than a week away, and online shopping on the rise, retailers are heavily focused on maximising their digital advertising sales this holiday season.

A recent survey by The National Retail Federation shows that the average person plans to carry out 46% of their browsing and buying online. As the world’s largest social network, it is no surprise that Facebook has rolled out a new ad-targeting segment called ‘Holiday 2015,’ aimed specifically at people who are engaging in the holiday season.

This new segment will be available between 26th November and New Year’s Day on both Facebook and Instagram. You will find the ‘Holiday 2015’ ad-targeting option within the ‘Behaviours’ category under ‘Seasonal and Events’.

Facebook Holiday Targeting

These Facebook users are identified by picking out holiday-related keywords, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, in posts which they have published, commented on, liked or shared. Facebook will take into account users who interact with these posts the most, with the audience remaining aggregated and anonymised.

This is not the first time Facebook has utilised real-time conversations. Earlier this year, the Big Game targeting segment was introduced for the Super Bowl. It will be interesting to see how advertisers use the Holiday 2015 segment in comparison; especially with so much hype around the Black Friday period.

For advertisers looking to take advantage of the holiday season traffic, we highly recommend using this segment in the run up to Christmas by testing it overlaid with their usual targeting options. Users engaging positively with keywords like Black Friday and Cyber Monday on Facebook show a higher propensity to buy, and will likely result in a higher CTR and conversion rate. However, advertisers cannot rely too heavily on this ad segment alone, it must be used alongside strong messaging and enticing creatives. Consider using it in conjunction with Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads.

How Google Shopping Can Benefit you this Holiday Season

As the second holiday season unfolds for Google Shopping, merchants can feel confident that this heavily direct-response focused channel will reap substantial rewards during the last few months of 2015.

Here are some key points advertisers should know about Google Shopping and consumer trends going into this holiday season:

Merry Mobile: The Virtual Holiday Shopper
While shopping days like Black Friday will remain big for brick and mortar retailers, online merchants are closing the gap with the help of mobile. People are now using their mobiles as virtual shopping carts and shop assistants, signalling a dramatic change in consumer behaviour.

Online purchases have dramatically increased over the past year thanks to mobile, and it’s expected to continue to rise over the course of 2016. It is the merchants who are advertising on mobile this holiday season that will take their sales to the next level since 40% of holiday shopping now takes place online, and 48% of shoppers indicated that they start their holiday shopping well before Black Friday. Google Shopping is the perfect advertising platform to take advantage of this holiday mobile rush.

Retailers can expect to see a massive shift in the way consumers do their holiday shopping as purchases made via mobile and tablet increase. Shopping is no longer a frantic activity that takes place on a few peak days over the holiday season; consumers are now researching and making purchases while they sip coffee, walk the dog, watch TV or stand in line at the bank. Mobile is creating a space for these “micro-moments,” shopping can occur anytime, anywhere.  Inside Adwords suggested, “Shopping moments will replace shopping marathons. There is no longer a sense of urgency since every day is shopping day.”

NMPi Account Director, Leonie Tamkin remarked, “Part of this shift has come from the fact that online we’ve seen such a huge surge in purchases on Black Friday, with more people wanting to be prepared early. Merchants have allocated more of their digital budgets into Black Friday shopping. Black Friday is a time when consumers are going to be searching for the best deals which is where Google Shopping becomes more important as a price comparison tool.”

What’s Missing: Google Shopping Assortment Report
How can retailers take advantage of these shopping micro-moments? By optimising their feeds and staying on top of the latest shopping trends with the newly launched Shopping Assortment Report, merchants can review and refine the products they are offering. The report displays the most popular items that competitors are showing ads for, and gaining traffic from, that aren’t in their product feeds. It also provides information on the benchmark prices for these recommended items.

This information will be vital as the holiday season kicks into high gear as it gives merchants important information about potential missing revenue that can be easily recouped by adjusting their product range and stocking that product. Merchants can review the last 14 days of activity on the Shopping Assortment Report to determine what’s working, what they’ve missed, and note changes or trends occurring over the holiday season.  The report also encourages more fluidity between digital and buying teams from the advertisers’ side because these reports can help shape buying strategies.

Online Activity and In-Store Holiday Purchases
Retailers looking for a successful holiday season must blend their virtual and physical presence. Online activity and in-store activity are no longer separate segments of the path to purchase. Consumers are seamlessly combining online and in-store activities blurring the line between online and offline purchasing.

Google Shopping has honed in on this trend with local inventory ads that provide consumers with important details such as stock availability, location, and product detail at their local stores when they’re on the move. This feature goes hand in hand with the increasing trend of researching online, then purchasing offline. It’s also a great method to drive footfall for the purchase of products that require more consideration. Google Shopping has also made mobile purchases even easier by implementing a feature that allows customers to swipe over the desired product to reveal relevant information. This could translate into an increase in holiday sales.

Brick and mortar stores have increasingly become distribution centres where holiday shoppers come to retrieve online purchases. Merchants eager to increase their take this holiday season need to adjust their marketing strategies to align with these trends in consumer behaviour, while continuing to provide a convenient and personal shopping experience.

Summary
Google shopping can offer a big boost to retailers this holiday season if merchants heed these changes in shopping habits.  87% of consumers do their research online first before finalising a purchase in-store.  By understanding this change in consumer behaviour and the growing impact that mobile has on the way people shop, Google shopping gives merchants the opportunity to take advantage of these micro moments, the popularity of location based shopping, and to keep on top of product trends.

What-is-Google-Shopping



Facebook Has Introduced New Features for Local Advertising

With the aim of making advertising easier for local businesses, Facebook introduced local awareness ads in the US in October 2014, and rolled them out to the UK and other territories last summer. Local Awareness is one of Facebook’s campaign objectives; it can target people when they are within a certain distance of a store if they have location services enabled on their device.

In a recent article from Facebook, they outlined eight reasons these ads can benefit businesses:

  • Encourage consumers to shop in store
  • Increase local brand awareness
  • Help specific stores meet their sales targets
  • Tell consumers about new store locations and grand openings
  • Get the right individuals to your event
  • Tell consumers in the area about current events
  • Build buzz by rallying local communities
  • Spread the word about local promotions

With mobile advertising becoming increasingly important, it is not surprising that Facebook is rolling out new features in this area. Since the launch of local awareness ads, Facebook has introduced new call-to-action options in addition to the ‘Get Directions’, ‘Learn More’ and ‘Like Page’ buttons originally available. These include a ‘Call Now’ button and a ‘Send Message’ button, enabling customers and businesses to connect immediately.

On the 6th November, Facebook announced two new developments: Multiple Store Locations and Local Insights.

Multiple Store Locations

This feature makes Local Awareness campaigns easier for businesses with numerous stores.  Advertisers using the Locations for Pages tool to manage multiple store Pages will be able to target individuals who are near any one of their stores, and serve them with a location-specific ad.

There are three main benefits:

  • Customers are shown highly relevant ads: based on the information from the store Pages, location-specific ad copy, links and call-to-action buttons can be inserted into the ad.
  • Simpler ad targeting: businesses can choose which stores to show ads for using the addresses attached to their store Pages.
  • Performance Analytics: Advertisers will also be able to analyse the performance of each store using location-specific ad reports.

Local Insights

In addition, Facebook augmenting the Page Insights section; a Local Insights tab will be coming out soon. This tool uses data from devices with location services enabled to show overall demographics and trends relating to users near a store. It allows businesses to find out:

  • The area’s busiest times of day and days of the week
  • Demographics of the people nearby (such as age, gender, tourists and local residents)
  • The percentage of people nearby who have seen the ad

These trends will help advertisers form a balance between reaching a larger percentage of people nearby and accomplishing their goals by targeting the right people at the right time.

Implications

Facebook says: “Updates to Local Awareness Ads are now available globally through the API and will soon be available in Power Editor. Local insights are rolling out to Pages in the US starting today and over the coming weeks.”

The Multiple Store Locations feature as well as Local Insights will not only support businesses with local advertising, they support Facebook’s growing mobile advertising revenue which made up 78% of its total ad revenue in Q3 of 2015.

However, according to a recent survey by mobile location network Skyhook Wireless, nearly 40% of mobile users are hesitant to share their location data due to privacy concerns, not seeing the value in doing so, or battery drainage. As a result, 18% have location services turned off for all their apps and 20% disable location services to avoid ads. Only 25% of those surveyed keep location services turned on for notifications, despite 83% saying that they thought location services are important.

We don’t foresee deactivated location services being detrimental to campaign performance at the moment as advertisers are still reaching individuals with hyper targeted and relevant advertisements. This means while you may be reaching fewer consumers, the impact of these ads will be greater.

NMPi’s Damien Bennett Speaks on The Evolution of eCommerce at our 2015 Seminar

NMPi’s Head of Strategy, Damien Bennett, talked to the audience at Evolving Digital about what advertisers are facing in today’s digital world, and where the market is going in eCommerce by identifying two important trends: Machine Learning and Payments Options.

The pace of change in digital marketing has been extraordinary and it is radically changing consumer behaviour and the way advertisers approach conversion. For instance, there are certain apps have changed the way consumers approach their everyday lives. Uber have revolutionised the way we travel in just a short period of time. They’ve simplified the travel process by tapping into consumer aversion to carrying cash for a taxi ride. This recognition has enabled them to dominate the taxi scene in London, and across the globe just by simplifying a process.

Music giant, Spotify is another app that has changed our lives by has profoundly changing the way we listen to music. It’s given listeners the ability to discover artists they’re likely to be interested in by observing what they currently listen to, and using artificial intelligence to make appropriate suggestions. It has become a formidable discovery tool for any music aficionado.

Machine Learning
Machine Learning is not only a tool used to make our lives easier as advertisers and consumers, but has really made a difference to the way consumers behave in regards to things such as watching movies, looking up directions and taking vacations. Companies like Netflix, or LoveFilm have enabled us to discover new content, much in the same vein as Spotify, by suggesting films or TV programmes to a viewer based on what they’ve been watching. It uses data to drive personalised experiences.

Google Maps is another good example of machine learning; it plugs into live traffic data to give you the best possible journey. It’s a great example of personalised data being used to make our lives easier.

Retailers are catching on. Cosmetic companies like L’Oréal are driving a far more personalised experience by creating a programme called Beauty Genius where the consumer plugs in personal details about what they’re looking for along with information about their complexion. It then suggest products based on the information they’ve provided.

Google Now is giving consumers the ability to organise holidays; your tickets, your bookings and travel information can now all be stored on the Google Now platform. Google can then serve customised ads based on minute details such as the temperature of the place they are travelling to according to what they’ve stored on this platform.

Payment Options
Paying for products and services has become easier with the explosion in payment options introduced over the past few years. Paypal, eWallets, and smartwatches are going to make paying easier, and as a result, conversion better on mobile. A trend in payment options is the introduction of “Buy Now” buttons in the US market by Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Google have also launched a “Buy Now” button in the US exclusively on mobile. These buttons allow you to buy products directly on the websites without ever leaving their platform. If endorsements, such as products used by Sports stars, were combined with a “Buy Now” button, this could become a very powerful tool.

What does this mean for the future of eCommerce?
The customer journey will become infinitely shorter. If advertisers serve an ad on Twitter with a “Buy Now” button, the user can buy that product right away instead of doing research or comparison shopping. Immediacy is key.

Transactions will take place across a wider range of channels. Your website will no longer be the main point where people transact. With “Buy Now” buttons, people can purchase directly through search, social media, or have transactions in a number of different places and channels. Payment options will see a definite change in consumer behaviour, specifically around new customer acquisitions.

Will it become harder or easier? That’s difficult to say. On the one hand, there are fewer opportunities for impulse shopping since customers are being spoon feed. There is also less control over advertising creatives as companies clamp down on what they want to see in their ads. Brands are becoming better at using different channels to cross sell and upsell to customers.

Bennet concluded on a positive note, saying it could be much better for marketers because it reduces some of the barriers to advertising by levelling the playing field. The need for overly advanced platforms to sell products and services won’t be necessary. While there is some concern around the introduction of the “Buy Now” buttons, Bennett indicated that early adopters will be rewarded, and encouraged agencies to embrace the changes.

Download Damien’s Slides: The Evolution of Ecommerce

AdGibbon Presents ‘Mobile Formats & AB Testing Banners’ at NMPi Seminar

Justin Campbell, CEO of AdGibbon a Berlin based advertising company focused on improving the cross platform advertising experience, discussed the Do’s and Don’ts of mobile marketing and offered some sage observations and advice to advertisers at NMPi’s recent Evolving Digital seminar.

In its infancy, the mobile market didn’t take off because it was centred around games and ringtones. Mobile didn’t really progress until Apple unveiled the iPhone in 2007, with Android picking up their game in 2009.

Where are we now?
80% of usage is in app, and while the average person has over 20 apps on their phone they only use 10. Furthermore, the industry is now using UDIDs and Andriod IDs to combat the inability to use cookies on mobile devices causing a huge shift in retargeting. There has been an explosion in RTB, and mobile is changing the way we do business with the advent of ApplePay and Paypal.

Where Do Agencies Need to Advertise?
Agencies need to advertise in app where the majority of activity takes place. Agencies also need to advertise in games because 80% of gaming takes place in app, with targeting focused on on app name and site ID. Campbell was quick to dispel a common myth about the gaming industry, it’s no longer solely the domain of teenage boys, adult women are now the largest growing gaming demographic.

Trends

    •  People are spending more time on their mobiles than on laptops and that number is getting bigger.
    • 68% of shoppers use multiple devices when purchasing a product at least half of the time. Advertising needs to be on mobile to gain brand recognition.
    • Cross platform targeting will continue to be a massive shift in the industry.
    • 52% of users shop at home on their mobile, on apps such as Amazon.

Do’s & Don’ts

  • Target high-end devices: target the newest version of iOS and Android, because early adapters are more technologically savvy and more likely to buy on mobile.
  • Start campaigns in the early morning, but not at the beginning of the day: a high CTR doesn’t always equal high conversion. Ad servers start at midnight, and while you can get large amounts of traffic at night from people who are googling on their phones or bored, they don’t tend to convert. Start your campaigns in the morning and split them up throughout the day to evenly spread your advertising spend.
  • Always run on white lists: a safe list of apps and sites where you can run your campaigns.
  • Beware that mobile is prone to fraud: unfortunately, it’s easy to create click bots and impression bots in exchanges so advertisers must always check their traffic sources.
  • Design your creatives and banners in high resolution: Screen resolution is much higher on mobile so design your creatives in double the size and then scale down so you don’t get pixelated banners.
  • Have a Call to Action: place it the right hand side of the screen because most people are right handed. Be as direct as possible with your CTA, “Buy now” ,”Sign Up Now”
  • Make your ads stand out: banners with images or faces of people tend to do better. High contrast creatives also do well but make sure they’re not too busy.

Download Justin’s Slides: Mobile – How Advertisers can Embrace New Formats and Improve Performance with AB Testing:

DoubleClick Discusses “Mobile Search: Context, Answers, Action” at NMPi’s 2015 Seminar

NMPi recently had the pleasure of hosting another successful digital breakfast, Evolving Digital: How to Stay Relevant in a Changing World. We invited industry experts to talk about trends in mobile, content, up-and-coming advertising platforms, and the evolving state of eCommerce.

“Mobile search ads can be beautiful, immersive experiences”

Darragh Daunt, Head of Platform Sales at DoubleClick, addressed the impact of mobile in search in advertising in, Mobile Search: Context, Answers, Action.

The Pulse of the Nation
Daunt suggested that, ‘Search trends show us at a macro level, what people are thinking, feeling and doing.’ Search behaviours using ‘near me’ were able to accurately reflect the nation’s mood from politics, to healthcare, to popular daily activities based on season, day, location and even weather.

Mobile search is providing invaluable insights, enabling marketers produce relevant, meaningful ads. Mobile is also changing the way we search; mobile search is ‘in the moment’ and immediate. Personalisation also continues to be extremely effective with 75% of 20-40 year olds responding favourably to brands that personalise messages. It is imperative for marketers to act on this information.

Reaping the Retail Rewards
Retailers benefited significantly from the recent mobile explosion. 50% of smartphone users who conduct a local search on their mobile will visit a store within one day, and 18% of those searches result in a purchase. Ads need to be action oriented and reflect this trend; they need to include location, inventory, and business hours. Mobile is positively impacting offline sales with multi device users being highly profitable to retailers.

Mobile in the Funnel
Mobile apps are important in the upper funnel in areas like discovery and in the lower funnel for customer loyalty. Mobile search drives engagement on this platform.

The Furture of Search is Mobile
Traditionally, mobile search has been undervalued because conversion still ultimately takes place on desktop. Daunt suggested that this landscape is changing. 35% of all traffic last Cyber Monday was driven by mobile, with 20% of that number converting on their smartphones. Mobile search queries are higher than desktop in some markets, like the US and Japan. This is a significant and positive change for mobile advertising.

TripAdvisor: Using Disruption to Stay Relevant in the Online Travel World by Adrian Hands

TripAdvisor is where travellers go to plan their trips and is the undisputed leader in hotel reviews. For the past 12 years, the company has used disruption to move themselves to the forefront of the travel industry by re-inventing the review market. At NMPi’s, Evolving Digital: How to Stay Relevant in a Changing World seminar, Senior Director, Adrian Hands, talked about what the future holds for the company, and how they plan to stay relevant in a rapidly changing digital marketplace by using two disrupters: Instant Book and Attractions.

Globally, travel is a $2.3 trillion dollar business, with the the online market forecasted to be $700 billion over the next several years. While most online purchases are in airlines, with cruises bringing in a fair share of the market, the majority of revenue in the travel industry lies in accommodation.

With the hotel market expanding rapidly, TripAdvisor employed some innovative strategies to stay ahead of the competition. Personalisation is key; they developed the Traveller’s Choice Awards, a much sought after recognition programme that is coveted by travel businesses across the globe. In addition, the use of loyalty points, stickers, and user badges have all been important, and relatively low-cost strategies for TripAdvisor.

Instant Book

What’s the the next disrupter for TripAdvisor? Instant Book. Currently, most revenue made by TripAdvisor is via third party online travel agencies. The goal is to interrupt that flow and reconnect directly with hotels. The intermediary between TripAdvisor, the travel agency, and the hotel was an excellent starting point for expanding the brand, but Hands indicated that it was time to move on and grow the business in other ways. Connecting directly into the hotel’s API and booking system provides a better user experience. TripAdvisor is actively trying to disrupt the commission market by lowering hotel commissions via third parties, then giving hotels direct access to their customers, while still retaining a positive customer experience. While they are interested in expansion into this area, they don’t want to be an online travel agency.

This is not a new strategy. Hands admitted that other companies have done this but that TripAdvisor has a unique advantage in its huge content base, with 80 million registered users and a significant influence in the market.

Attractions

The next big disrupter is the attraction market. TripAdvisor wants to help its customers answer: ‘What will you do on your next vacation?’ They’ve strategically partnered with two companies to help move this goal forward: US based, Viator, and European brand, La Forchette. TripAdvisor purchased Viator because they offer a huge selection of packaged and discounted trips that could be worth $120 billion worldwide. Viator can serve TripAdvisor customers the content they want to see based on their bookings. LaForchette is a popular restaurant booking business and a nice add-on to what’s being offered online. Their addition to TripAdvisor would also be an easy market disrupter that ties into providing a seamless customer experience.

Download Adrian’s Slides: Using Disruption to Stay Relevant in the Online Travel World

Using Disruption to Stay Relevant in the Online Travel World from NMPi

Google Launches Black Friday & Cyber Monday Ad Extensions in the UK

Google have relaunched their Black Friday/ Cyber Monday ad extension to make more of the weekend!

The ad below is an example of this new Black Friday Paid Search ad, which was available in the US only last year. The ad allows you to add specific Black Friday and Cyber Monday attributes to your ad text. These attributes are displayed as an extra line on the ads.
Google-Black-Friday Ad Extensions UK

*Text in image has been made bold to emphasise change to ad.

The extension allows you to actively promote your offers for the Black Friday weekend and will appear in your AdWords account on 9th November. Once the extension has been set up, it will start appearing from 24th November. The extension will switch messaging automatically to Cyber Monday part way through the weekend and will stop showing on the evening of 30th November.

We recommend monitoring the percentage of time the extension shows with your ads, and testing whether ad copy also containing ‘Black Friday’ performs better or not.

We will be reporting on the results we saw when the weekend has finished, so stay tuned!

NMPi & Bathstore Partner with IC Tomorrow to Help Solve Digital Industry Challenge

IC Tomorrow Technology Competition

For retailers, understanding the consumer path to purchase is challenging as people experience multiple online and offline touch points throughout a sales journey. Generic online searches that do not include the brand’s name create a more difficult problem to solve when trying to determine the cause of consumer’s online search and motivations that encourage purchase.

Increasingly, retailers and digital media agencies want to understand the value of Above The Line (ATL) advertising, conventionally television commercials, and the effect that this has on their online paid search advertising; more specifically with the use of generic keyword searches.

NMPi is out to help solve this industry challenge with the support of Innovate UK’s current IC Tomorrow challenge themed around Intelligent Data Insights. Innovate UK is a government programme that removes barriers for up-and-coming entrepreneurs by offering assistance though funding, webinars, conferences, competitions and community support.

The contest will give innovators across various trades the chance to win £210,000 in funding (up to £35,000 each). In addition, the winners will receive mentoring, promotion, and the opportunity to work alongside six industry giants:IBM Watson, Barclays, London City Airport, Carnival Corporation, Office of National Statistics and NMPi with bathstore. IC Tomorrow is looking for innovators with fresh perspectives on artificial intelligence, machine learning and sensor-led technologies to offer solutions to current business challenges.

Entrepreneurs will have access to NMPi and bathstore’s insights and expertise in order to help them develop innovative data analysis tools, processes and machine learning techniques that enhance the impact assessment of ATL advertising, primarily television and video advertising, on online paid search.

NMPi Operational Director, Joe Comotto, remarked on the frustration digital marketers are encountering when trying to connect ATL advertising and paid search,“Nobody’s been able to really solve this to a level that is actually portable and scalable to a customer or advertiser. The challenge for us is being able to understand the value of the TV advertising that was done and relate that back to that generic keyword search term…So we’re really looking for somebody to provide a solution that is able to integrate with the other platforms that are available on the market today.”

NMPi is a strong supporter of innovation and research. The IC Tomorrow programme enables us to be at the forefront of cutting edge technology while giving back to the community by partnering with the next generation in paid search evolution. A resolution to this dilemma would dramatically alter and improve the digital advertising landscape. We look forward to participating in this year’s IC Tomorrow challenge.