NMPi Shortlisted for 7 Performance Marketing Awards!

We’re delighted to announce that NMPi has been shortlisted for 7  awards at this year’s Performance Marketing Awards! The categories we’re up for are: Industry Disruptor, Best Travel and Leisure Campaign, Best Paid Search Campaign, Global Excellence, Best Use of Automation/AI, and Most Creative Performance Marketing Campaign.

The Performance Marketing Awards celebrates the very best advertisers, publishers, agencies, networks and technology providers in performance marketing, and it is an honour to be recognised for our successful campaign strategies and our work as a disruptor in the industry.

Our Work

Our work with East Midland Trains has earned our nomination for Best Travel and Leisure Campaign, and Best Paid Search Campaign. Our granular approach to PPC helped us take back market share from one of the industry’s heavyweights.

The nominations for Global Excellence and Best Use of Automation came from our work with Harvey Nichols, which saw us drive successful international activity where no other agency could. This was all driven by some seriously impressive automation from our performance team.

Our Most Creative Performance Marketing Campaign was a joint entry with CJ Affiliate for our work with sports apparel retailer, Fanatics. We used data from a fantasy football API to make more intelligent bidding decisions and steal a march on our competitors on extremely competitive terms.

Rising Star

NMPi’s very own Performance Manager, Fred Maude, has been shortlisted for the Industry Rising Star Award in the Performance Marketing Awards, which is awarded to an individual under 35, who looks set to take the industry by storm.

Make sure to vote for the Rising Star!

The big day is the 24th of April and we already can’t wait. Best of luck to everyone who worked on the nominated entries!

 

A Day in the Life: Andy Warby

Two weeks ago, we let one of our Account Managers – Andy Warby – loose with our Instagram account and asked him to give us a look a what a Day in the Life looks like for him. He was more than happy to oblige.  

9:00 Off the train at Waterloo for a quick cycle over to Google’s Central St Giles offices for a roundtable on Local Inventory Ads. These are hugely important for our omnichannel retailers, helping digital to influence in-store sales. Roundtables are an opportunity for representatives from agencies, like me, to meet with the product managers and specialists at Google. It allows us to feed back our experiences using Google’s products – both positive and negative – and also hear about what’s coming up in the pipeline. It’s all top secret stuff under NDA, so I can’t say any more! There’s so much to talk about that the meeting overruns and we end up in Google’s (very fancy) canteen talking through some recent changes that we want to learn more about.


11:15 Back at the office to catch up on yesterday’s performance and the morning’s emails. The team have already done their checks and optimisation, and I’ve had the final draft of a case study we’re working on with DoubleClick come through. All we need is approval from the client for it to be published so I fire off a quick note to our main contact. I check in on a few tests that we’ve got running and things are running sweetly.

12:00 Two back-to-back meetings with the team running through presentations for upcoming client meetings, one this afternoon and one tomorrow. Good preparation means meetings are easy – making sure everyone is confident in what they’re presenting and pre-empting any questions that we’d expect to be asked.

13:00 Every quarter, people from across the business get together for a blog writing lunch. This means we talk through recent and upcoming client tests, strategies and success stories to determine some of the content we’ll push out into the wider world through blogs and case studies. We also get pizza, which greatly assists the creative process.

14:00 After lunch we’ve got a training session with one of our external technology providers, in this instance a company who help our clients protect the usage of their trademarked terms in ad copy. Paid Search is always getting more and more competitive and using third-party verification helps our clients to make sure that they’re not being misrepresented – there are a lot of cheeky agencies out there that’ll employ some underhand tricks to try and get an advantage. With a market monitoring tool, we can quickly identify any rogue behaviour and flag it to Google.

15:00 I’ve got a fashion client in this afternoon for their monthly review meeting. As it’s the end of their financial year we’re also looking back at 2017 as a whole – not to brag but we increased their revenue by 41% vs 2016 so this all goes down quite well. With January taken up by clearance sales, we’ve adopted a slightly different strategy to try and increase basket value from customers. The initial results are promising so we’ll re-test the approach in their next sale.

17:00 We wrap up the meeting with a quick pint or two at the New Rose Inn – where’s the fun in success if you can’t celebrate it! Spending time with clients outside of the boardroom is an undervalued aspect of the agency/client relationship in my opinion – it’s good to take things to an informal setting and connect as people. Sadly it’s our last day working with one of the client’s team so we toast her future success and say our farewells.

After GDPR

With only 3 months left until GDPR becomes a reality, we joined The Drum to find out how industry leaders are preparing for the new legislation.

GDPR at a glance

It’s an update of the previous Data Privacy Directive, and much of this is still at the core of the regulations. However, we’re looking at a very different landscape to the one of 1995, and so GDPR takes the age of the internet into its remit. The right to be forgotten, privacy by design, increased territorial scope; all of these new regulations are part of the maturity of the internet. Hence, many envision GDPR compliance as a natural reordering of the system, one which will see evolutionary rather than revolutionary change.

GDPR in and of itself is a behavioural change. It’s an attitude adjustment. Managing consumer privacy will be a huge part of many a marketer’s focus, as well as a full awareness of the journey and uses of consumer data. The most fundamental aspect is putting user privacy at the very core of all of your technological platforms. You will have to ensure that you have a technical team to help you with the technical solutions to what is a technical challenge.

Educating the Consumer

Don’t trust that the consumer always knows when their data is being collected, or how it will be used. Sometimes, they might be sharing this data by mistake. Education is going to be a big part of any business’s GDPR adoption, as well as placing incentives for the consumer on data sharing. However, be aware that educating the consumer will also raise consumer awareness of the past uses of their data.

Don’t underestimate the power of the activist consumer in this space: in the past, advertising has gone too far into the dark pits of sketchy data usage, with B2B being one of the darkest areas. There is potential for this to explode after May: the wrong consumer being retargeted in the wrong way could lead to a high profile court case.

Life After GDPR

What’s very clear is that, while everyone’s focus is on making their business GDPR compliant, no one is thinking about what will happen after May. Some have concerns that we don’t know what the level of consumer consent will be when consumers are more likely to have to opt-in to having their data recorded, as opposed to merely consenting by default. If they are given the time to think, it is plausible that they may be more likely to opt out. We also don’t know how the back ends of websites or email servers will keep up with these changes.

However, there could be a lot of good news. The first thing is that it will force marketers to do a better job. Instead of relying on first party data to optimise towards people who would likely have bought anyway, marketers will be forced to create better quality content to influence consumers.

On top of this, we should see a better relationship between the agency and their clients, and more respect for the consumer and their privacy.  We’re also already seeing a lot of collaboration between competitors, because if one of them does a lackluster job everyone in the industry will suffer. Respect will shape our relationships across businesses and with consumers in a much more positive way.

The key takeaways?

  • Make sure your technical team are educated helping you out
  • Educate your consumers
  • Shift your vision to what happens after GDPR has come through
  • Brace yourself for a new industry where respect, quality and privacy are paramount.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Valentine’s Day

There are few holidays which spawn as wide a variety of ads as Valentine’s Day. Christmas is fairly easy to get right: you can’t go wrong with something sweet and wholesome. The Super Bowl is a masterclass in how creative you can be. Valentine’s Day? Well, that’s a tough one. From the sexy to the sweet, just about anything goes; so I’m taking a look at some of the good, the bad and the ugly ads that have surfaced this year.

The Good

The one that tops my list this year is the Old Spice campaign. Both visually stunning and amusing it’s definitely one of the highlights of this year’s crop. At its core, it sticks to that winning formula that we know and love about Old Spice: that stupid humour but amazing visuals. If another brand tried to pull that blend off I’m not sure I’d be as enamoured.

Some companies just get holiday advertising right, and Dunkin’ Donuts seem to nail it every time, maximising holiday sales and engagement. This year’s Valentine’s competition focuses on all kinds of love (which warms my cold, lonely heart): encouraging fans to share how their love – platonic, romantic, or otherwise – “runs on Dunkin’” using #DDLoveContest. Their Instagram and Twitter feeds are full of heartwarming stories, many of whom have gone with their loves to Dunkin’ Donuts just for the ‘gram. An engagement campaign which drives sales: the gold standard.

The Bad

More than anything else, I’m confused by the Vanity Fair Napkins (not to be confused with Vanity Fair the magazine) and Match.com partnership, promoting #DateANapkinUser. It’s an odd one, and doesn’t really make much sense. The choice of topic doesn’t reflect either of their brands particularly well, and unless you knew that it was an ad for Vanity Fair Napkins I don’t think you could guess it from content alone.

You’d also think that by using a hashtag, the campaign would be all over social, right? Well, you’d be wrong. In fairness, it is a young campaign, but there isn’t very much interaction with it. If you’re using a hashtag, you want people to play and engage with it. All they really have is direct shares of the same article. It’s a risk, and sadly I don’t think it worked.

The Ugly

Ugly campaigns are the ones that are just a bit weird, but I can’t help but want to talk about. A prime example? Scratch and sniff Valentine’s cards from KFC, with the aroma of the Colonel’s own 11 herbs and spices. In other words, it smells like chicken. One word: WHY?

A tiny part of me wants to get one of the cards, a lot of me doesn’t understand, and all of me is on board with it. Ultimately, I want everyone I know to have seen it so I can talk about it more.

The final ad campaign I want to talk about is Car2Go, and in all honesty I can’t decide whether I like it because it’s good, or because it baffles me. It’s a three-part story about Greg’s affair with a new car. It’s a story of love and betrayal: packed with emotion and humor. Car2Go has given us a campaign that is a little out there but I certainly feel for Tammy: you deserve someone who treats you better than Greg.

This is just me, I know that some people will disagree. The one we can agree on? People promoting GDPR as though it’s a Valentine’s delight. Just stop.

NMPi’s Fred Maude Shortlisted for Rising Star

We’re back in the throes of awards season once again, and we’re delighted to announce that NMPi’s very own Fred Maude has been shortlisted for the Industry Rising Star Award in the Performance Marketing Awards! The Rising Star is awarded to an individual under 35, who joined a performance marketing-driven company within the last six years, and looks set to take the industry by storm.

Fred has been with NMPi since June 2016, and is one of our Performance Managers. He’s played a huge part in developing our Google Shopping proposition: developing multiple scripts which have revolutionised how we manage campaigns. His scripts have allowed us to offer Google Shopping on a risk-free CPA. 

He also goes above and beyond for clients, creating and managing product feeds for brands completely free of charge to allow them to run Google Shopping when otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to. The cherry on the cake? He’s demonstrated fantastic account management, great leadership, and is a highly respected member of the NMPi team.

“I’ve known Fred for some time now, but he never ceases to surprise me with what he can do. His technical skills and experience have been known for sometime, but his ability to couple that with his excellent client relationships and the leadership of his team is what really impresses me about him. He not only fully deserves this nomination, but deserves to take home the big prize as well.” – Max Flajsner, Head of Performance.

We’ve always known how talented Fred is, and we’d love to see him win the Rising Star. The good news is, the award is open to a public vote. To vote for Fred, visit: Rising Star Award

 

The New Players on the Shopping Block

June 2017 saw a record anti-trust fine of €2.42 billion from the European Commission against search giant Google for allegedly abusing its search engine dominance by giving illegal advantage to its own shopping comparison service. By September, Google made changes to its shopping service to give equal treatment to shopping comparison rivals as required by the EU.

However, it was only recently that any real changes to the shopping service became noticeable. Over the past few weeks, some shopping comparison services have been spotted appearing in top ‘Shopping Boxes’. For example, Lyst is appearing in the third box for ‘gucci clothes’, while GUCCI’s Google Shopping activity is nowhere to be seen. However, for their brand term, GUCCI ads take top spot.

What’s striking in each of these SERPs, is the obvious lack of shopping comparison services (CSS) like, Lyst. Google is likely removing duplicate products or offers from the same merchant.

We suspect the reasoning behind this is to ensure that healthy competition remains between merchants. If a merchant ran Google Shopping campaigns alongside numerous CSSs, they would completely dominate the space, forcing users to click through to their domain.

Equal Treatment

So, how exactly does this stimulate competition between CSSs?

CSSs are supposedly judged on the same criteria that Google Shopping merchants are. Since CSSs linking to identical domains are likely to have the same feed quality, and hence quality scores, it appears the higher bid wins the ad placement.

These smaller CSSs, like Lyst, who compete against big budget retailers on Google Shopping are unlikely to have the funds to outbid the competition.  This means the adjustments to Google Shopping are unlikely to have a significant effect in the long term.

In the short term however, we could find that as CSSs test the space and bid more aggressively to appear in the top ribbon, impacting CPCs.

With these high and potentially increasing costs, how are the smaller CSSs going to compete with existing budget-rich Google Shopping campaigns?

One avenue of success would be to focus on serving for longer tail search queries. By appearing, unnoticed, in the gaps of the merchant’s main coverage, smaller CSSs could thrive on low, cheap volume but higher converting traffic.

If we look closer at Lyst, we can see they dominate for the longer tail search term ‘shop gucci coats online uk’, with over half of the shopping ads on the SERP.

Provided that the CSSs can be clever with their ad placement and efficient with spend, they can make this new feature work for them.  This will allow them to reach users who have never used their comparison shopping service previously.

Merchant’s Choice

From the merchant’s perspective, why would they care which CSS a sale came from? A sale is a sale, right?

Well, merchants will tend to pay a fee for every sale or click driven to their website from a CSS. So, which CSS is most cost effective for the merchant?

This is largely dependent on the agreement that a merchant has setup with a CSS and the ROI of their Google Shopping campaigns. Even with a top performing Shopping campaign and significant investment, a merchant may find that a sale through a CSS is actually cheaper.

But, don’t go turning off your Google Shopping campaigns just yet. Ask yourself, is there any sustainable competition that these CSSs will be able to provide against rival merchants when the difference in budget is so stark? Probably not. They also can only appear on the SERP and not in the Google Shopping tab.

Dependence on these CSSs could well be a one-way street to losing out to your competition as they are outbid and out performed by more influential and experienced players.

Just as a note, it’s possible that a merchant may not be aware of an additional CSS bidding on its products. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on who is promoting your products, measure their performance and hold them to the same targets.

In fact, Google provides a handy feature in Google Merchant Center where you can untick a box to prevent a CSS from bidding on your products.

In Conclusion

Overall, it is doubtful that many merchants will see much change in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps, they may merely suffer a slight spend increase on Google Shopping campaigns.

Ensure that you are observing search queries carefully to see that we are not losing traffic from some of the best performing regions of our campaigns. If you do notice something such as long tail encroachment, then you must act quickly to stop any losses.

The key to overall success is monitoring, tracking, and measuring your results. This is not just from your Google shopping activity but also from that of any external CSS.

FACEBOOK: Top 3 Tips to Convert this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day: one of the biggest retail holidays in the calendar. With only 7 shopping days left until the big day, we’ve compiled some of the best tips to get the most out of your Facebook advertising spend and maximise your conversions in the last minute shopping frenzy.

Finding “The One”

With Facebook and Instagram Advertising, you’re able to really drill down on the right target audience, which is particularly important with this specific holiday. Most people have their relationship status on their profiles, making this crucial data readily and easily available to advertisers. This allows you to target users who are in relationships, whilst not wasting your budget on the single population.

When you targeting people in a relationship consider differentiating by relationship type: boyfriend/girlfriend, just engaged, newly weds, or married long term. This will allow you to personalise your messaging for a higher conversion rate.

Make sure to build custom audiences specifically, people who are looking at Valentine’s offer pages on your website that have yet to purchase. You can then retarget these users with the products they were looking at.

Be a Smooth Talker

Since you can do such granular advertising on Facebook, you need to make sure your copy is up to the task. Differentiate your messages between male and female audiences. Make sure you’re highlighting any services like Click and Collect or Free Delivery: these will be hugely important as consumers do their last minute shopping. However, if there’s terms and conditions on these services they need to be clear. Sequential messaging might also be useful as a reminder to the consumer of deadlines for online ordering.

For instance, “Last chance to get delivery in time for Valentine’s Day. Get your order in today and receive free shipping on gifts over £50.”

This puts a sense of urgency into the user and will encourage them to convert.

Another aspect of your ad that is crucial to nail is your landing pages. If you’ve got two separate ad campaigns running as “Gifts for Him” and “Gifts for Her”, you’ll need to ensure that you have corresponding ad pages for them. If you’re advertising gifts for her, consumers will be less likely to convert if they’re served a generic landing page. Any offers for the holiday such as, 10% all gifts, will have a higher conversion rate with a dedicated landing page.

Dressed to Impress

When creating your ads, the best performing formats are the carousel, and video. Something important to note: keep the copy on the images to an absolute minimum, if you need it at all. Facebook doesn’t tend to serve ads that have too many words on them.

Also, ensure that your images are the correct size for the platform. A picture that is optimised for Facebook on desktop is never going to look the same on Instagram. Speaking of Instagram, video also works really well here. If in doubt, a high quality photo showcasing your product works the dream.

7 Days to Go, the Countdown is on

So, if you want to maximise your conversions this Valentine’s Day: make the most of the targeting capabilities available, keep your copy tight with relevant landing pages, and showcase products using video and carousel formats.

For more tips on how to convert using Facebook, download our whitepaper: 5 Facebook Advertising Tactics to Drive Performance