Bringing Creative to the forefront this Christmas

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As we hurtle towards the festive period, and the inevitable influx of consumer spending that accompanies it, advertisers will be dusting off more than just their baubles this Christmas. We may be coming up to the most wonderful time of the year, but that doesn’t mean the pressure is off for advertisers, and you can be sure that when the Christmas lights do eventually turn on, so do the host of festive marketing campaigns.

With vast levels of competition, in an increasingly digital environment, advertisers need to optimise their campaigns to attract the tide of ready to spend merry-goers, and ensure a high return on investment.

In this Golden Quarter, producing engaging and eye-catching content should be the key focus of any advertising campaign. Implementing creatives in the right way, helps brands project awareness, enabling them to cut through all the noise during the holiday season, ultimately boosting engagement and reach.

With over 15 years of experience in creative amplification, performance marketing and working with some of the worlds largest brands (such as Microsoft, Harvey Nichols and Liverpool FC), we understand the importance of Q4 creative.

In order to help you stand out,  the UK team have put together a Q4 Creative Hamper containing a series of social and dynamic bundles to help amplify your company this Christmas:

  1. Social Image Hamper
  2. Social Video Hamper
  3. Full Social Amplification Hamper
  4. Display and Dynamic Creative

By implementing creative amplification within your digital strategy, brands can project themselves to the forefront of the industry through brand awareness and eye catching content. Allow Incubeta to build impactful digital ads that help bring your creative to life, create engagement and grow your reach on any platform. 

For more information please read our Hamper Guide and get in touch with our Creative Commercial Manager, Eddy Walker ([email protected]).

Please note this is only available in the UK – this blog was originally posted on Incubeta

No Pixel, No (First) Party

Recent years have been marked by a shift towards greater consumer privacy. The EU’s famous GDPR legislation – a trailblazer in its own right – has paved the way for an insurgence of data protection policies across the world. With California’s new CCPA laws for 2020, and Google’s upcoming 3rd party cookie ban getting under marketers’ skins, we are having to adapt to a whole new landscape.

Whilst heightened data transparency and security is a big win in the eyes of consumers, you would be forgiven for assuming that these laws would restrict digital marketers’ access to granular data. To some extent this is true – perhaps the biggest impact of GDPR was its prohibition of the use of third party data, or Facebook’s ‘Partner Categories’. But this overlooks the potential for innovation, and crucially, fails to consider a tool far more valuable than Partner Categories: first-party data.

The Facebook Pixel

The age-old belief that companies are inundated with data (inundata’d, if you will) but are still searching for the best avenues to utilise it, rings true. In Facebook terms, the vast majority of this first-party data is captured on-site, by the Pixel. This is a piece of code placed on a website that, once given consent, registers events (content viewed, checkout initiated etc.) that users take on a site throughout their path to purchase. It then syncs this data to a registered Facebook user profile, ready to serve them ads at a later date. This is how your favourite retailer is able to retarget you with that pair of trainers you added to your basket 27 days ago.

What are Custom Audiences?

Facebook stores this event data in order to supply ready-to-build custom audiences within Facebook Business Manager (below). Most who are familiar with paid social are probably aware of these events and have seen great success from targeting these high-intent users, but not all are aware of their full capabilities. 

Screengrab of Facebook's readybuilt custom audiences

Below are three helpful examples of how custom audiences can be used to sift through your first-party data, unlocking nuances of user behaviour otherwise overlooked by the standard events.

Purchase Value

You can overlay standard events (add to cart, purchase etc.) with information in the URL of the specific page the user is browsing when the Pixel logs an event. This gives you access to various URL parameters like the product name or category to give you a much broader idea of specific user interest and intent. 

Overlaying a standard event with a category variable is perhaps one of the more common tactics deployed in custom audience targeting. All this means is serving trainer ads to users who have recently been on a landing page on your website with ‘footwear’ in the URL. However, many ignore the potential to further refine these audiences by additional variables: namely, price. 

Screengrab of Facebook Ads targeting for purchases made in the last 90 days

When advertising products of a higher value, it is crucial to understand who is best to market them to. Suppose your customer’s average order value is £50, but you want to advertise your most valuable product range with an average product value of £250. Ads for these higher-value products may well mean wasted impressions on a typical past purchaser. Custom audiences allow you to refine these purchases by value, so that ads can be served exclusively to customers who have previously checked out a basket with a specified minimum value. Ultimately, this makes your ads more relevant.

Building an audience in this way still only utilises a small segment of the abundance of first-party data businesses are sitting on, but in this scenario, this small segment represents a far greater potential for return on investment. These users also represent a valuable source audience from which to build a look-a-like audience from, enabling marketers to find new users that display similar behaviours to their big-spending customers. 

Time Spent on Site

The trusty Facebook Pixel not only logs the value and the events made on a user’s purchase journey, but also tracks the length of these journeys by measuring overall active time spent on a website. Helpfully, Facebook groups all website visitors into percentile thresholds of their time spent on site, which can be used to build custom audiences. 

Screengrab of Facebook audience targeting for visitors by time spent

Many marketers seek to reach their most engaged customers by targeting users who have actively signed up to reward schemes or within the CRM. Whilst this audience tends to be the most engaged, it’s surprising to see the level of overlap with users who are spending the most amount of time on site. 

We’ve seen as little as an 8% overlap between the 5% of users spending the most time on site and those within the CRM, with a level of performance that rivals the CRM audience. Using these two audiences in tandem can allow marketers to reach a much larger group of high-intent users that, without the custom audience tool, would otherwise have been difficult to reach. 

Purchase Frequency

Our last example concerns frequency; the Facebook Pixel stores repeat purchase data from users that are readily available to be retargeted, if you know where to look. 

Screengrab of Facebook audiences by purchase frequency

This tool can be very handy for businesses that sell consumables. Should a business ever wish to promote these in a 3 for 2 deal, then understanding which customers already frequently purchase, and therefore may be likely to capitalise on a sale of this nature, can make all of the difference.

Alternatively, there is also value in understanding which of your past purchasers have failed to make a repeat purchase in a given time frame. Users within this audience may well warrant bespoke promotional targeting to prompt them to make a repeat purchase. Where there is data, there is opportunity.

Make the most of your own resources

Nothing in digital ever stays still. In an era of unprecedented concern for data privacy, laws such as GDPR and CCPA will continue to be introduced across the globe. As marketers, it is more important than ever that we are reactive to these changes that threaten to challenge routine. 

We have only scratched the surface of the targeting opportunities that are available with the apparatus provided by Facebook’s Pixel and custom audiences.  These examples should be used as motivation to explore new innovative avenues to maximise the utility of transparent, first-party data. Granular targeting is still very much possible, but instead of seeking external help, why not consult your own resources? Innovating with your own first-party data is a hugely rewarding exercise in terms of the performance it can drive.

You can find out more about Facebook and it’s role in commerce at our upcoming webinar. We’ll be joined by Sophie Ellis from Facebook to discuss the Future of Commerce on Tuesday 14th April at 12pm. Register here for the link.

NMPinsider: 5 Minutes with a Graduate Apprentice.

Here at NMPi, we like to boast that our workforce is made up of some of the greatest minds in the Digital Marketing Industry.  We pride ourselves on hiring a diverse range of staff, with varying levels of experience, across a multitude of positions. It’s not rocket science that young talent is important, as proven by the 17-year-old intern at NASA that discovered a planet on his third day on the job.

It’s #NationalApprenticeWeek this week. Whilst we’re not on the hunt for a new planet, we thought we’d give you an NMPinsider look into what you can expect from an apprenticeship at a leading digital marketing agency. We got our resident Degree Apprentice to give us the lowdown…

5 minutes with Sam Seylani: Graduate Apprentice Account Executive, Agency Team. 

So, Sam. You’re a “Degree Apprentice” for us here at NMPi. Could you explain what this means, and how this role works?

After I finished my A-Level studies in the summer, I applied for a degree apprenticeship role at NMPi. 2 interviews later, and I was hired as an Account Executive on the agency team. A degree apprenticeship combines full time paid work with part-time degree-level study.

I work full time at NMPi and travel up to Manchester Metropolitan for a couple of days every month (25 days per year) where I study for my BSC Digital Marketing Degree. We get assignments to complete, and I am given time to work on these at NMPi. 20% of my work hours are spent completing assignments, going to interactive Q&A sessions with my lecturers or participating in any other ‘off-the-job’ training.

It’s 9:00am, you’ve just arrived at the Incubeta Office. What does a general day look like for an Apprentice?

I usually start my day by catching up with my mentor, on what I need to complete in the day ahead. I work on a couple of client accounts so I spend a lot of time making sure our clients are happy, and making the desired changes to their accounts. These requests can vary from editing ads to creating budget monitors. this gives me a really detailed look into the way digital ad campaigns are run. 

At lunchtime, a group of us will usually find somewhere around Old Street to eat. We get office lunch provided once a fortnight, or we do a vote for where to go and eat out on a Friday, which is always an important topic of conversation. After eating, quite a lot of us will gather around the table football table in the office breakout area. Competition levels are high, with a league ongoing. Some people take this a little too seriously!

After lunch, I split my time between working on my university assignments, or tasks for the agency team. I get to split my time and can work on these assignments during my working week. 

A Degree Apprenticeship is a popular choice for students now-a-days. What skills have you learnt from your time here at NMPi so far?

I feel that since I joined NMPi in September, my communication skills have improved a lot. Being given the opportunity to interact with clients on a regular basis, has given me the confidence to speak to clients on a B2B basis. Working at NMPi has also given me the experience of working in an office environment at a relatively young age. I knew I wanted to go into a Degree Apprenticeship, as I felt it would suit me better than full-time study, for example; by the time my university course finishes, I will have gained 4 years’ worth of incredibly useful work experience which is so beneficial and will help with my personal progression. 

I’ve also learnt so much about the industry itself. It’s great that I can apply the knowledge I’m studying, in real-time, which is helpful because Digital Marketing is such a fast-paced industry.

We love having you as part of our hardworking team, but It’s not all hard work though, right? What’s your favourite part about working for NMPi?

My favourite part about working at NMPi is the culture. We all manage to find time for a lot of laughs whilst also remaining hard working. We get great training, which means we’re always developing our skills. Despite being the youngest person at the company, everyone has made me feel welcome and I really feel like part of the family now! There’s people of all ages here so it’s very inclusive. 

After work, my colleagues and I often stay back to get a bit of extra practice on our table football skills, or take part in one of the company social nights, which range from games nights to tropical themed parties. We also have office drinks on a Friday or go to a nearby bar to have a drink and play some pool or darts. 

If you’re interested in working for NMPi, check out our careers page.

#NAW2020 #fireitup #Lookbeyond


NMPi’s Top Blogs of 2019

Here at NMPi, our teams love to share their knowledge and insights. Whether that’s through training or through blogs, they’ve got heaps of expertise to share. We’ve pulled together some of our favourite blogs from throughout 2019 – so check them out below and enjoy!

G|B|U of Super Bowl LIII

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest advertising opportunities available for US-based brands, and the price of just a 30-second placement is astronomical. In some cases though, it becomes apparent that brands spend their whole Super Bowl budget just on the placement, rather than the content within it. In this edition of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, we measured up some of the best and the worst ads from this year’s game. 

From Dates to Data: NMPi’s Love Island Prediction 2019

It’s one of the staples of a British Summer: beer gardens, Pimms, and Love Island. We decided to bring two of the things we love most in the world – data and reality TV – together to see if we could predict the winners of this year’s Love Island. Spoiler: while we got the result of the show wrong, we weren’t wrong overall. Make of that what you will.

Navigating the Top Search Tips for Travel

The customer journey has always been a complicated beast, but none more so that the journey to booking a holiday. In this deep dive, we looked into some of the best ways for travel brands to make the most of Paid Search. As we move into peak season, this might be a good refresher of some quick wins!

Meet BERT – Google’s Latest Updates

Updates to Google’s algorithm usually appear with no advance warning, but have a significant impact on how marketers handle their SEO efforts. BERT – introduced in late October – has been heralded the most important update of the last 5 years and marks a shift towards conversational search. In this piece, our SEO experts walk through what BERT will mean for the average marketer, and what we might able to infer about where Google is heading. 

Amazon: The Missing Piece of the User Journey

Amazon has become a hot topic for retailers these days as their market share grows and more and more budget is funnelled into Amazon Advertising. Peter Munton’s presentation from PI Live proved so popular that we ran his talk again as a webinar, and wrote up the notes for our blog. If you missed it earlier in the year, you can brush up now. 

And an Extra….

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention our, perhaps ill-advised, sequel to our 2017 General Election predictions that we released earlier this week. Using search data, we’ve predicted the outcomes of key swing seats and, thus, the election as a whole. At the time of writing, we don’t know how accurate we are – but if it’s anything like last time, we should be fairly close!

So that’s it! Our top blogs of 2019! What were your favourites, and what would you like us to blog about next year? Let us know on social media or in the comments below. 

NMPinteractive Workshops launched for Industry Partners

NMPi, by Incubeta, are excited to announce the kick-off of our latest workshop series, NMPinteractive. Hosted in our new Old Street office, these active learning sessions give our partners first-hand experience in the services we provide and how to use our solutions to benefit advertisers’ strategy. 

According to our very own Learning and Development Director, Caitriona Bennett,  “Active learning thinks not just about the content of a session but how it will be best absorbed. It requires participants to think deeply and to apply new concepts in meaningful activities. By applying this method we help our partners increase content knowledge, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.”

In our first session, we offered our partners at Awin the chance to step into the shoes of a digital marketing manager. Each team was asked to create a “2020 performance strategy” for a top UK brand. Before they got started, the NMPi team gave them an in-depth training session on Paid Search, Paid Social, Display and CSS, focusing on how each solution can be used to its full potential and create the greatest impact on brand performance.  

After just a half-day’s workshop, NMPi were impressed with the innovative strategies produced by Awin, leaving the Awin team with a full understanding of how NMPi services can be used to their full extent. 

“NMPi hosted both an engaging and insightful workshop for us this month, to enhance not just our knowledge, but our partnership as a Network & Agency. The presentations were extremely valuable for our Client Services team, and to finish off the day – playing the role as a Digital Marketing Manager was very exciting!” – Sapna Basi, Awin Global Account Manager

This workshop was the first of many innovative training sessions that we will be delivering to our partners. If you are interested in learning how to get your team involved in an NMPinteractive workshop,  please get in touch with our partnerships team. 

If you’d like a glance into life at the Incubeta office, check out our Facebook album for an office tour!


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.

NMPi Shortlisted at Effective Digital Marketing Awards

The NMPi team are excited to announce that we’ve been shortlisted in 4 categories at the Effective Digital Marketing Awards!

We’ve been shortlisted in the following categories:

Most Effective Search Marketing Campaign: Superdrug Online Doctor and NMPi – The Only Way is Up

Most Effective Performance Marketing Campaign: Pets Best Insurance and NMPi – Doing What’s Best for Pets Best Insurance

Most Effective Programmatic Campaign: Liverpool FC and NMPi – There’s No Substitute for Good Display

Most Effective Retail & FMCG Campaign: Liverpool FC and NMPi – There’s No Substitute for Good Display

Following a successful first quarter, winning at the UK Biddable Awards, The Drum Marketing Awards, and the PMAs, we’ve got our fingers crossed for some more wins on 9th July.

NMPi Graces Shortlists for the Drum and PMAs

The 2019 award season has well and truly kicked off this week as both the Performance Marketing Awards (PMAs) and the Drum Search Awards released their shortlists. We’re delighted to say that we have been tipped in both of these highly prestigious awards.

The PMAs is now in its 13th year and aims to highlight the industry’s best and brightest within the performance marketing sector. With categories across the industry, from content and influencer marketing to PPC and programmatic, to verticle specific awards, the PMAs is a virtual “who’s who” in marketing.

At this year’s PMAs, we have been shortlisted in three categories:

Best Paid Search Campaign – NMPi & Superdrug Online Doctor: The Only Way is Up.

Best Use of Programmatic – Liverpool FC & NMPi in partnership with Webgains.

Most Creative Performance Marketing Campaign – Liverpool FC & NMPi in partnership with Webgains.

The Drum Search Awards focuses on the outstanding PPC and SEO campaigns within the industry. It seeks to celebrate the individuals and companies at the forefront of Search innovation.

We have been shortlisted in two categories at the Drum Seach Awards:

Best Health Campaign – NMPi & Superdrug Online Doctor: The Only Way is Up.

Most Effective Use of Paid Search as part of a Programmatic Strategy – NMPi & Pets Best Insurance: Doing What’s Best for Pets Best Insurance.

We are immensely proud of the work our teams have put in over the year, and we’re looking forward to the award ceremonies in April.

Top Tips for Maximising and Measuring your Social Advertising

Read Time: 6 mins

It would be an understatement to say that social media had a difficult year in 2018 with the Facebook family dogged by scandal after investigation after scandal, Kylie Jenner’s infamous “does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?” tweet, and the steady stream of controversies regarding Twitter.

In light of this, you would be forgiven for asking why Paid Social matters; why would you want your brand to be on these undeniably flawed platforms? The short answer: the billions of users ripe for targeting with unparalleled creative capabilities.

Making your Social Advertising work as hard as your other channels is no easy feat. The question for many of us remains:

How can marketers operate efficient, impactful Social campaigns that have a positive, measurable impact across their marketing portfolio and wider business?

The starting point for this lies in your foundations. Intelligently implemented & complementary audience and creative strategy, with clear goals, is the bedrock of the most successful campaigns.  

Solid Foundations

Begin by choosing the right campaign goal. On Facebook, this will not only affect the options available when setting up your campaign but will also inform all optimisation decisions available moving forward. If you’re running a Traffic-based campaign when you’re aiming to maximise ROI or a Reach-based campaign for your new branding video, your campaign will never truly succeed even with perfect targeting.

As you’re setting up your audiences, ensure that you’re making the most of the vast array of audience information that can be layered to create complex and highly granular targeting strategies. Whilst lookalikes, interest targeting and dynamic prospecting can all be very powerful, they need to be narrowed down to be truly effective.

Finally, as you roll out your creative strategy, check that it aligns with your audience and campaign goals. Are you trying to draw in new customers, requiring a more informative creative? Are you driving existing customers to your site, or re-engaging with lapsed customers? Creatives for these audiences will need to focus more on any offers or new products.  

A coherent creative strategy is crucial as it increases the value of an impression in a time where a user’s attention span is more fleeting than ever. You increase the value of an impression when the imagery of that specific ad matches any interactions they may have had, or will have, with your brand.

Cross-Channel Sharing

There a very few campaign attributes that do not overlap across your channels. Your budget, attribution, audiences, performance data and landing page optimisation – amongst many others – are all incredibly important to share across your marketing mix. If you don’t know where to start, Jack offers a couple of starting points.  

Creative Strategies: Whilst there will naturally be a difference between the copy and imagery used across Social, Search and Display, it would be a waste not to utilise a clear shared strategy as this allows for a clear and coherent customer journey.

Performance Data: We’re given a wealth of data from each individual channel that all too often is criminally underused outside of its own silo. Whilst any advertiser worth his salt will be optimising at a product level on Google Shopping or selecting products for the home page based off sitewide performance, there aren’t enough cases of that data being freed to influence bidding decisions & dynamic product selection across Display or Paid Social.

Audiences: Play into each channel’s strengths and adopt a customer-centric approach which appreciates the touch points that users have taken so far along the path to purchase. Passing audiences from channel to channel allows you to adapt bids, creative, copy and other strategy points as you deem necessary.

A Source of Truth: Many advertisers still rely on Facebook’s tracking, which is incredibly flawed; operating in a silo which doesn’t take into account the other touchpoints in the path to purchase, wildly overestimating Facebook’s contribution. This leads to inefficient budgeting, an inability to effectively test, and inappropriate bid optimisations. A combined approach is needed, using deduped social activity to gauge true ROAS whilst also using Facebook post-view attribution on appropriate campaigns to assess further impact.


An appreciation of Social’s role within your wider marketing mix and business strategy is a key area of growth for many advertisers, to break it out of the silos and drive increased performance across your business. Armed with Jack’s advice, you’ll be able to develop a complete marketing strategy which allows you to share your insights to great success. You can view Jack’s slides here.


Understanding Comparison Shopping Services

Following the recent launch of our CSS solution and the announcement of our Premium Google Comparison Shopping Partner Status, our Head of Performance, Max Flajsner, led a highly insightful webinar explaining Google’s latest platform.

Comparison Shopping Services (CSS) were a huge industry in the 90s, but after Google launched Google Shopping they noticed that their search traffic was being decimated as they were forced down the SERP. One lawsuit and a record-breaking €2.4 billion fine later, and Google have been instructed to clean up their act. In response, Google has opened the doors for CSSs to buy Google Shopping space.

The biggest benefit of using a CSS is that you can save over 20% just by signing up. As an incentive, Google introduced a 20% discount on CPCs in the SERP, making you 20% richer in the auction, and a Spend Match, giving you ad credits based on your spend within a 30 day period.

How does it work?

CSS Shopping campaigns work almost identically to Google Shopping. While you do need a different Merchant Centre, this looks mostly like the standard one with a few additional functions. You also manage your activity through your usual Google Ads account. Within Google Ads, you’ll see your discount appearing as part of your campaign performance metrics – which should be 20% better – and your Spend Match vouchers will appear like any other voucher from Google.

On the SERP, you will never serve the same product more than once, which means that you will never be bidding or second priced against yourself. When a user clicks on the product name they will be directed straight to your product page, or if they click on the CSS name they will be redirected to the CSS with the search term pre-populated.

When setting up your new Merchant Centre you have two options: to clone your Google Merchant Centre or switch over. The choice will depend on who you are as a brand and the kind of measurement you want to see.


  • You’ll be able to test performance of CSS vs Google for yourself.
  • You can split traffic by Shopping tab/SERP.
  • You will lose campaign data from previous campaigns
  • It will take longs to make changes.
  • We suggest you lower your bids by 15% and slowly scale up to account for the discount. At the same time, you should scale your shopping bids down.


  • You can keep all of your old campaign management.
  • There’s no change to your GMC management.
  • You can’t manually test CSS vs Google.
  • You can’t split SERP and Shopping tab data.

How to pick a CSS Partner

There are 4 main things to keep in mind when choosing your CSS Partner.

  • Are they direct linking? Do they send users straight to your product page or do a redirect to their site first?
  • How strong is their Google Shopping Offering? Since CSS Shopping campaigns are exactly the same as Google Shopping campaigns, you’ll want to investigate their prowess on Google Shopping to give you an indication of how their CSS Shopping will fare.
  • What commercial model do they use? Depending on your needs, be it gap coverage on an affiliate CPA model or the traditional agency model, you’ll need to see who offers what you’re looking for.
  • What level of servicing do they provide? Do they offer reporting or dashboards? How often push feeds to the CSS GMC, and how often do they update their site.

To find out more about NMPi’s CSS solution, visit our Comparison Shopping Services page or read our latest case study from client Watch Shop.