The Ultimate Shopping Set Up

In his latest presentation, Head of Performance Max Flajsner joined industry experts to discuss Google Shopping and CSS. Following discussions of Max’s presentation looked at how you can take your Shopping campaigns to the next level, and how a CSS can help you along the way. 

Laying the Foundations

First things first, it’s important to get the basics right, as it’s not as easy to control Shopping or CSS as it is to control your PPC. With Shopping you’re not able to choose which keywords you’re bidding on, nor can you control what ad copy you show i.e. which product gets shown. As such you’re immensely reliant on the Google Shopping algorithm when it comes to which products are showing and on which terms. It’s important to note that Google values price in its algorithm, so how can you make sure your best seller is showing and not your old cheaper sale deadstock?

The solution here is twofold. First, ensure you’re getting granular with your bidding, and not bidding flat across a big product set. This gives you more control; allowing you to bid higher on those best-selling products to keep them front and centre while pulling back on sale items to maintain a higher ROI. Then, use negative keywords and campaign priority to create a tiering system to make sure you’re winning on your key terms. 

As we move into Q4, it’s even more crucial that you consistently review the splits of your data; which demographics, geographies and audiences are performing? If you’re using an automated bid strategy, does this account for seasonality? Max made reference to a presentation made earlier this year, where Alex Haynes highlighted the phenomenon of the “Pyjama Panic Buy”. Over Cyber Weekend, we tend to see ROAS peaking from 11 pm onwards each night, as users panic that deals won’t be available the next day and so purchase just in case they miss it. Ensuring that your bid strategy takes this into account will play a huge role in your success over this time period.  

Sharing Data

Businesses today have access to so much data, but its often housed in a number of different places. In order to truly drive optimum performance from Shopping campaigns, we need to connect those data sources. Search and Shopping campaigns output tonnes of useful search query data, which can then be pushed back into the feed to boost impression share. Plus, 99% of advertisers are wasting spend on low stock and low margin advertisers. All of this data should be available, so once again it’s a case of pushing it back into the shopping feed to guide your campaign decisions. 

This works both ways – once you’ve brought insights from other channels into your Shopping campaigns, you’ll need to use your Shopping data to fuel even wider decisions. Someone clicking through a Shopping ad for your best seller is worth more to us than the person clicking through your deadstock. With tools like SA360, you’re able to add dynamic parameters to every clickout based on how well the product performs. These audiences can then be used across all other channels. 

CSS can also give us lots of data on how products perform in a competitive environment. When you push that information back into the feed, it can help you to decide which creative to use on Display or Social. Finally, all those search queries driving performance in CSS should be shared with your other teams as well; for example, using the highest performing search queries to build custom intent audiences for Display.

Getting Creative

Sometimes, we as marketers can have an inflated sense of self-importance; believing it’s the little changes we made to a campaign that drove the big uplift in performance. In reality, this was likely caused by something that was completely out of our control. In short, we aren’t as in control of our campaign performance as we might like to think. 

There are ways to harness some of these outside forces though, which will help you to make the most of these unexpected uplifts. For example, sports brands would do well to incorporate Fantasy Football APIs and match schedules into their feeds and bidding strategies in order to make sure they’re pushing the right products at the right times. Garden Centres or plant stockists should factor in the seasonality of their products when deciding how to split the budget, while clothing retailers might want to consider the weather. 

There are lots of opportunities for retailers to make the most of CSS platforms, especially in time for the holiday season, but like any channel, you cannot run it in silo. The most successful strategies will incorporate not only information from other digital channels, but pull external data into the feed – The Ultimate Shopping Setup is one that is communicative, and creative. 

Amazon: The Missing Piece of the User Journey

At PI Live this year, Peter won the public vote to speak at the conference – and with Amazon such a hot topic this year it’s no wonder why. As we move into a key retailing period, his presentation provides the perfect overview of this newly evolving channel. 

The Rise of Amazon

A Feedvisor study from March this year highlights that two-thirds of US shoppers typically start their search for new products on Amazon; showing just how far the ecommerce giant has permeated into consumer habits. For contrast, only one-fifth of respondents used a search engine like Google, and only 3% looked on another marketplace. It comes top for vendors too, with nearly half of Amazon’s US vendors and sellers selling exclusively on Amazon; accounting for between 80-100% of their total business ecommerce revenue.

Unsurprisingly, we’re also seeing digital spend on Amazon Ads climbing. In 2018, Amazon saw YoY growth of 123% while this year’s forecasts suggest YoY growth of 53%. Driving this growth is the size of the audience available on the channel, all primed and ready to purchase. With over 200 million users a month in the US alone, retailers are able to chase some strong performance and ROI. 

Understanding User Behaviour 

Amazon offers an easy, efficient and familiar user experience, with a built-in feedback loop that keeps users coming back for more. This has ingrained the channel into the mindset of consumers, making it the primary destination for product searches. However, it’s important to understand its place within the user journey, especially with relation to the other ecommerce giant – Google. 

When it comes to Brand – related searches and Generic searches, Google comes out on top; with most users preferring to do their research here. Amazon instead dominates on specific product terms – as this is when they are at a much higher propensity to buy. Conversion rate is also much higher on Amazon, again reflecting the purchasing mindset, even if CTR tends to be much higher on Google. 

Creating a Less Siloed Channel

Amazon itself is notoriously siloed as a channel, but there are a number of things you can do to effectively enhance your performance. 

Amazon is very similar to other paid search channels, which means that you can share data across channels to optimise your performance. For example, you can analyse search queries and patterns across platforms to discover new keywords for your campaigns. 

With access to heaps of data from Google, you can use this to better inform bidding decisions on Amazon. This would allow you to utilise cost and conversion data from different channels to improve ROI on a multi-channel level. 

Finally, and perhaps most crucially, you’ll need to find an effective way of measuring your performance in a holistic way. One option here is to use Amazon Attribution to measure how user behaviour differs from your website compared to Amazon. This allows you to see patterns such as where users prefer to convert and how they behave between the two purchasing options. 

Amazon provides a huge opportunity for retailers, especially as we move into Q4. This is the perfect time to get to grips with this highly lucrative channel. To find out more about making the most out of Amazon, join Pete on 13th November for his upcoming webinar, covering more practical tips for your campaigns. 

Meet BERT – Google’s Latest Update

Google’s algorithm updates have always had a significant impact on how marketers handle their SEO efforts, but their latest update – BERT – has been heralded as the most important update in five years, and is set to impact 10% of search queries. But what exactly is BERT, and what impact will it have on organic search as we know it?

The Future of Search is Conversational

In recent years, we’ve all heard that marketing is conversational, but BERT shows that Google has firmly subscribed to this. With voice search becoming increasingly popular thanks to the rise of smart speakers, Google’s latest update is designed to help Search better understand natural language and more conversational queries. 

BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, and is a “deep learning algorithm”. The algorithm seeks to give context to Google Search queries so that Google can understand a user’s more natural searches. Sometimes, the context of a search is crucial to getting the right results – for example, there are many different uses of the word “type”. When considered on their own, you might receive results that are entirely irrelevant to these kinds of words. It’s the context around the rest of the query that demonstrates specifically what a user wants. 

Given that there has been a trend towards longtail search terms, particularly as people talk rather than type their queries, this update provides the opportunity for content creators to go back and retest content that might not have been as successful previously. As Google begins to understand search terms with the context of their intent, you may find engagement rising where previously it had remained low. 

Success after BERT

To ensure your organic search success after the rollout of BERT, you’ll want to ensure that your content is well written, and uses words precisely. If your content or pages are unclear, it makes it more difficult for Google to understand the overall context. When developing content, be sure to keep the user front of mind; having a clear focus on the point your page is trying to make. By writing for users, Google is better able to understand the context and relationship between words and hence make sure you’re appearing for the most relevant searches.

The full impact of BERT is still unclear, but what we can already see is the continuing optimisation towards conversational voice searches. Context will be incredibly important, ensuring that you continue to appear on the most relevant searches. Focus on precision, and you’ll likely see the benefit for your organic search.

Programmatic Gold at IPMA’s and a Drum Shortlist: All in a days work for NMPi!

Last night, PerformanceIn kicked off another exciting PI Live with their International Performance Marketing Awards and another successful night for the NMPi team!

Our recent work with Fanatics earned us a Highly Commended for Best Paid Search Campaign, but it was our Christmas campaign for Liverpool FC that took home the gold. The Christmas gift-buying season brings its own set of unique audiences, requiring a very different style of advertising. Our display team’s creativity saw some great results for Liverpool FC, and earned us the Best Use of Programmatic.

However, this wasn’t our only success of the day- as it’s been announced that we’ve been shortlisted for Online Advertising (40-99 Staff) at the Drum Recommends Awards!

We’ve headed to day one at PI Live, award in hand and we’re looking forward to seeing what the rest of the conference brings! If you’re heading to PI Live, come and visit us on Stand 12 – you can find out more about what we’re offering here.


Incubeta Ignite: Data: The Road Ahead

Read Time: 3 mins

The consequences of the industry’s misuse of data have finally caught up with us. Restrictions and technical limitations, enforced on us by legislation, web browsers and technology platforms, have curtailed many of our practices. With the turn of the decade upon us, Kate Jervis takes us through the road ahead for data.

Restrictions and Regulations

One of the biggest challenges we now face is that the “perfect” single customer view doesn’t exist. Of course, it never really has existed, however it’s something the industry has long been aiming for. Now, due to the impact of GDPR, it’s no longer a sustainable objective to work towards. What we’re able to track has fundamentally changed. 

GDPR wasn’t the first legislative restriction placed upon tracking; in 2011 the EU Directive stated that consent was now required to drop non-essential cookies. However, this wasn’t too limiting with the ICO providing guidelines which suggested implied consent (pre-ticked boxes for accepting cookies) was reasonable, and so we were still able to work towards tracking a complete view of the customer.

This all changed with GDPR legislation coming into play towards the turn of the century, and best practice guidelines from the ICO highlighted an important industry development; analytics cookies are considered non-essential and therefore need explicit user consent before they can be dropped and recorded.

Whilst they provide businesses with useful information that can help site optimisation for user experience, analytics cookies aren’t part of the functionality a user is requesting when they use an online service. If a website didn’t have any analytics on-site, a user would still be able to access the site itself, hence the classification as non-essential. Recent stats before GDPR came into effect show that between 8-20% of analytics tracking is being blocked, and so with all these legislation changes, it’s certainly likely that this number will grow.

Remaining Optimistic

Despite this, there is still a lot to be optimistic about and there are a few different solutions being discussed. Perhaps the most promising technical solution involves cross-industry unification, a blue-sky possibility conceptualised by the IAB; they talk of a world where information would travel with the consumer throughout the digital supply chain, giving any advertiser or website who is compliant with privacy regulations access to the consumer’s information. It may be a long way down the line, but it’s important to remember that the challenge of cookie-less tracking is not a singular business challenge – it’s an industry-wide issue, and therefore the true resolution lies in all our hands as a collective.

But in the short-term, what else is an option? There’s fingerprinting, or even a move from user-centric analytics to sessional data. Or if we were to stop thinking about the technical options for a second, we might realise that we could have a positive mindset, and work with what we’ve already got! We’ve become so obsessed with everything being measurable that our ability to take action has been seriously hindered. We will never be able to have the perfect customer view that we’ve pictured for years, so it’s time to let it go. Looking back from ten years ago to now, we have better technology, better insights and better skill-sets than we’ve ever had before, and so it’s time to start from where we are, instead of living in the past.

Is DV360’s Auto-bidding the AI Solution We’ve Been Waiting for?

Read Time: 4 mins

When it comes to your display and video campaigns, managing your ad budget and optimising your bids is a tricky beast. With the sheer amount of information available on users – their demographics, their searching habits, and where you’re likely to find them – it’s incredibly difficult to manually find the perfect bid to reach the right person at the right time. Auto-bidding takes away all the hassle, enabling you to optimise your bids using countless data points that would be impossible for a human to group together.

What is Auto-bidding?

Auto-bidding uses AI to dynamically optimise bids and ad delivery to best achieve your goals. By learning from both failed and successful bids, the algorithms are able to predict the behaviour of your target audience. 

To put this into context, let’s use the example of a prospecting line item targeting 18-to-24-year-olds in the UK with an interest in football. Our goal is to drive these users to site at the lowest cost. 

In a fixed bidding scenario, you’ll use the same bid for each individual user in this audience. Auto-bidding, on the other hand, layers a number of more refined data points to create a unique bidding strategy. This takes into account a number of behavioural trends relevant to this audience group, such as:

  • Users in major cities have a higher CTR and better CPCs compared to those in the countryside, despite having a higher eCPM.
  • 19-year-olds engage with the ads at the same rate as 24-year-olds, but tend to be a cheaper audience to target.
  • Engagement rates are best between 6 pm and 8 pm.
  • Contextually, advertising alongside football news content garners higher engagement than alongside technology review sites.
  • Showing 20-year-olds an ad 5 times a week leads to improved overall performance.

The Benefits

As you leave the AI to do its job, you’re able to focus your attention on other things, ultimately giving you more time to develop strategy or work on creative outputs. Advertisers no longer need to worry about analysing engagement and conversion data to determine the best way to adjust the fixed bids – instead, looking at the overall picture of performance. 

Also, the algorithms are able to interpret these swathes of data in a way which a human simply cannot. This unlocks a huge potential for performance to improve which would not be possible without AI. 

Finally, as Google completes the roll-out of the first-price auction to Google Ads Manager, understanding how auto-bidding works is a necessity if you want to succeed. While first-price auction buying improves the bidding across all exchanges – as the auctions take place simultaneously – it will inevitably lead to increases in CPM. Complacency in diversifying your bid strategy will likely lead to poor performance as you are left behind the pack. 

Bear in Mind

However, as with any new technology, there are a couple of things to remember as you get started. 

First things first, you’ll need to make sure you have enough conversion data available for the algorithms to work from. The exact amount is tricky to pinpoint, as the more data available the more effective the algorithms can be. You’ll need to find a balance between the value of your conversion goal, and the amount of data this conversion goal can give your algorithms. Also, be mindful that in the testing and learning phase it can take anywhere between a week and a month before you start to see improvements, so patience will be crucial. 

When choosing the type of strategy to employ, it’s important to note that auto-bidding strategies designed to minimise your CPCs will often bring in low-quality traffic or clicks that fail to convert. Instead, set up your auto-bidding strategies to minimise your CPA with the conversion goal as a landing page visit. By setting up your account in this way, you are able to take potential drop-off between clicks and landing page views into consideration. 

Another feature available through auto-bidding is Insertion Order-level budget allocation. Here, there is an extra layer of AI which evaluates the performance of your line items before allocating your budget accordingly. From experience, however, we recommend analysing your results, taking into consideration the CPAs and amount of inventory available (cookie pool size), and then manually allocating the budget.

So, is DV360’s auto-bidding the AI solution we’ve been waiting for? 

From the results we have seen, we definitely recommend implementing Autobidding – but there are a couple of caveats. If your conversions are low, or you’re retargeting a very small audience, you won’t be able to generate enough machine learning data for the algorithms to optimise from. However, if you have plenty of data and the right strategy, auto-bidding is a great way to unlock the potential of your display and video campaigns. 

Team NMPi Head to PI Live!

The NMPi team are headed to PI Live next week to meet, greet, and share insight at performance marketing’s biggest event! You can find us at stand 12, where we’ll be showcasing some of our tools designed to help advertisers across their Paid Search, Display, and Paid Social activity.

Come and Visit Us!

Our PPC specialists will be offering live demos of our proprietary technology, NMPinsight, which can identify opportunities in potential new markets, analyse how competitive a specific search space is, and determine whether an advertiser is appearing for some of the most popular search terms, and if so, where. Visitors will receive a report specific to their sector, followed by a personalised analysis of their competitive search space.

If you’re more interested in Display, you can schedule a personal session with our data-driven creative team. They’ll help you brainstorm some potential creative options based on your brand design, proposition, and site functionality! You’ll even get some shiny examples sent over after the conference. 

Finally, never incorrectly implement your social pixels again, as our experts run an audit to make sure it’s effectively placed on your site and suggest any areas of improvement. This helps to ensure smooth running and measurement of your Social activity. 

If you are interested in having a one-to-one session with our specialists, book a meeting now.

Catch our Speakers

Make sure to catch our speakers throughout the event as they cover top performance strategies for Amazon and CSS. 

Amazon: The Missing Piece of the User Journey

Peter Munton, Day 2, 12:00-12:30, Marin Dome Stage

Integrate to Survive: The Future of Brand and Performance

Luke Judge (moderator), Day 2, 14.00-14.30, Main Stage

Google CSS and PLA: Strategies, Predictions and Ultimate Setup

Max Flajsner, Day 2, 15.40-16.10, Main Stage

You can also follow our status throughout the conference on all your favourite social channels, just look for #nmpilive

NMPi Shortlisted at this Year’s SBC Awards

It’s with great pride and pleasure that we are announcing our most recent shortlist at this year’s SBC Awards for Marketing & Service Provider of the Year (Sports & Casino).

The awards are known for “recognizing expertise and innovation in the betting and gaming industries,” and it is truly an honor to be shortlisted for this award after having launched our iGaming services just over 2 years ago.

Our digital strategies bring a fresh and innovative approach to the iGaming industry, which can be seen through our work with our clients such as Hero Gaming.

If you’re interested in learning more about our strategy, check out our latest Whitepaper on the iGaming industry, which provides specialist insight on the US Sports Betting market. 

Place your bets on NMPi, Winner to be announced 3 December 2019.

Incubeta Ignite: The Next Billion Users

Read Time: 2 mins

Since 2005, a lot has changed in the world, but there is one key stat that Google’s Ian Turner wants us to focus on: the 2% of Africa’s nearly 1 billion population who had access to the internet in 2005, compared to the 46% of Europe. Flashing forward to 2019, 82% of all developed economies are online, compared to 40% of those still developing. Africa has seen an upswing in adoption, but still only has 25% of the population online. 

Google recognises that the next billion users will come from across Asia, South America and Africa, and in most cases, the potential for growth is more than half the populations. This being said, their internet use is markedly different compared to that of the current user base, as well as their habits and interactions with different devices. 

The biggest trend is that these populations are largely mobile-first, because they are only on mobile devices. Statistics suggest that around 50% of all smartphone users are in Asia, but general usages is high across India, Indonesia and Southeast Asia. 

With the high permeation of smartphones in these places, voice usage is also very high; for example, 30% of search queries in India use voice. On top of this, the use of language is often very fluid across these regions. For those who only speak Hindi, they’ll use an all-Hindi keyboard. Those who also speak English might speak Hindi or “hinglish” with the English alphabet with friends, and Hindi with the English alphabet to their grandparents. Then there’s also the shifts and blends with Punjabi or Urdu to contend with.

Video content is particularly popular, especially YouTube, and localised content including localised languages is also incredibly important. However, this highlights some of the biggest challenges that we face bringing these populations online. Localised content is hard to maintain, while the phones being used are often low spec. Getting, and staying, online is often difficult thanks to poor and costly connectivity.

Google are making strides to develop their products to ensure that they are accessible to the users that are coming online. Technology can and does make a huge difference to lives across the world, and it’s exciting to see how the next billion users will find the online world.

You can download Ian’s slides here. 

Incubeta Ignite: Changing Your Mindset

Read Time: 2 mins

While many of our presentations have focused on the technical opportunities and challenges of the upcoming decade, Pauliina Jamsa of Siemens highlights a very different opportunity available to us: that of emotional intelligence. It’s not necessarily always about the coolest technology, but how you make people feel – and how you help them to share those feelings with the world. 

It was once the old adage that if I didn’t film or photograph it and put it on social, it never happened. Now, you must also appear in it for it to have happened. Users are now craving something real from the advertising and technology they’re exposed to.

Keeping this in mind, there are a few things that Pauliina believes we should focus on. 

  • Companies need their top talent more than the top talent needs them. Employees tend to value more flexibility, freedom and culture than money or status. Building a working environment that uses technology to grand more freedom will allow your employees to succeed.
  • Don’t forget the digital experiences of the older generations. While so much attention is being paid to Millenials and Gen z (with good reason), this doesn’t give us license to forget the silver foxes. They can often help to bridge the generation gap.
  • You’re competing against the last best experience that consumer had, so focus on UX after purchase. Many of us will focus on getting the user to convert, then letting the experience drop off afterwards. By turning our attention to the post-purchase interaction, we can stick in the user’s mind for longer.

Perhaps most importantly, Pauliina reminds us to show that we care. It’s a simple gesture, but it is incredibly clear when we don’t.

You can download Pauliina’s slides here.