New Google Fees

Read Time: 5 Minutes

The start of November marks the introduction of Google Ads’ new country-specific fees, which means any advertiser within the UK will see a 2% Digital Servicing Tax (DST) Fee added to their monthly invoice. For brands around the world, this means that digital marketing costs are set to increase once again. While there is no way to escape the fee itself, it’s important for advertisers to understand what the new fee means – and how they can do their best to mitigate the costs. 

So what are Google’s Country-Specific Fees?

The new country-specific fees are a direct response to the introduction of DST or Regulatory Operating Costs. These taxes are levied on to brands who advertise online in the UK, Turkey and Austria. Google automatically calculates the fees based on the number of impressions or clicks that are served within a country where these fees are applicable.

To conceptualise this, consider a brand running ads in the UK. With the new fees, an ad spend of £100 would be subject to a 2% DST fee. This takes the total cost up to £102 before VAT. However, we should note that if a brand is running ads across different jurisdictions, only those ads which are served in countries with these taxes will be subject to the new fees. 

What’s the Impact?

Unfortunately, these fees are a mandatory cost increase for brands and are set to impact advertising budgets worldwide. Not only will costs increase, but it’s also likely that this move will reduce the reach and visibility of campaigns as brands are forced to re-evaluate their budgets accordingly. 

With no way around the fees, businesses need to refine and amend their campaign spend accordingly. There are three ways in which you can do this; switching to Performance Based Advertising, improving your Site Ranking (SEO), and Optimising your Keyword Spend.

1 – Performance Based Advertising

Working with an agency isn’t exactly risk free, KPI’s aren’t always guaranteed but fees definitely are. Businesses need the reassurance of performance, but can’t necessarily afford to foot the bill if targets aren’t met. The introduction of the new Google Fees, and the subsequent increase in expenditure will only heighten this fear of being out-of-pocket. 

One way brands can avoid wasted spend is through performance based advertising. Performance Advertising tends to operate on a Cost Per Action (CPA) structure, and is a risk-free way for brands to advertise and sell online – the agency fronts the media spend and only takes commission once results are delivered. This structure incentivises the agency to drive the best results, helping businesses succeed, which in turn reduces wasted ad spend and optimises their budget. NMPi can offer these performance based services in Paid Search, Google Shopping, Programmatic Display, and Paid Social – allowing our clients a full scope of potential across their entire advertising landscape, whilst waiving the management and technical charges.

With the periodic introduction of Google taxes, such as these 2% DST fees, it’s imperative that brands remain on-top of their budget management – NMPi can help businesses reach their acquisition targets and maximise their return on investment without breaking the bank. Find out how NMPi can optimise your ad spend here

2 – Site Ranking (SEO)

Google’s new taxes are coming at a time when the majority of advertisers are already feeling the impact of uncertain economic times. With an additional 2% being added to an already hefty marketing bill, brands need to ask themselves, whether it’s worth investing as heavily as they are in paid media?  One way brands can optimise their budget and cut costs is through the exploration of previously deprioritised areas – such as organic search and the user experience.  Optimising your site ranking through SEO, allows advertisers to achieve a top spot in search engine rankings, at a fraction of the cost of a monthly paid media campaign which in turn, can significantly impact your performance and revenue.

Paid media is a steadily burgeoning industry, and as the prices continue to rise, businesses should take the time to refine their organic position and gain a top spot on the SERP. Channelling some of your paid budget into SEO and the user experience ultimately provides your site with quality content, boosting your position on the SERP and ultimately generating more traffic to your site. NMPi can  provide clients with a comprehensive and integrated strategy to ensure SEO success and maximise the power of your organic coverage. For more information on how NMPi can improve your site ranking visit our website.

3 – Optimising Keyword Spend

Paid search advertising expenditure currently accounts for 54.1% of total digital media spend globally, yet still brands struggle to comprehend the relationship between their organic and paid coverage. To date, approximately $332 billion is spent on paid advertising, and without understanding the true value of search, one has to wonder what percentage of that is unnecessary spend. 

As costs go up, brands need to keep their outgoings low, and one way to optimise budget spend is to refine and reduce spend on keywords that one already has high organic coverage for. Identifying exactly how much their paid strategy cannibalises their organic strategy, allows businesses to tailor their bids, optimise content and maintain a dominant position on the SERP – without wasting budget. 

Brands can optimise their keyword spend via Incubeta’s search management platform, Seamless Search.  Using Seamless Search, businesses can assess thousands of internal and external factors that impact the correlation between their paid and organic search, determining the true value of each channel and how they’re impacting business performance metrics. Thereby reducing unnecessary bid spend, and increasing brand revenue. Join our waiting list to find out how you can optimise ad spend via Seamless Search.

There’s no denying that the new Google fees will eat into the advertising budget, however – with a little under a month until it comes into action – now is the time to optimise your ad spend. For more information on how to refine your expenditure, and get in prime position for Q4 visit NMPi, and get in touch. 

This post was originally published on Incubeta’s Blog

Marketing in Times of Crisis

Read Time: 6 mins

Seeing high street stores close and all the doom and gloom on the news, you can completely understand why brands are becoming increasingly panicked about the state of their business and as such are rethinking their media strategies.

Industries like travel and entertainment have been forced into shutting up shop as leaving the house becomes more and more discouraged around the world. The retail world, however, is a bit more of a mixed bag; some verticals are in decline, while others experience somewhat of a mini-boom, but with constantly changing governmental regulations can we expect this to continue?

 As the situation develops, with new policies and fluctuating consumer confidence, how can you promote your businesses whilst minimising risk? We’re going to take a look at 5 things businesses can be doing right now to improve efficiency and ensure the profitability of marketing campaigns, both in the short term and the long.


One of the most obvious steps to guarantee return on your ad spend is to factor product margin into your campaigns across all levels. This may seem obvious – of course you’d want to promote your higher-margin products more aggressively – but you’d be surprised how few businesses are set up to do this.

Pushing the cost of producing each product into the product feed allows you to make more intelligent business decisions throughout your marketing efforts. You can optimise Shopping campaigns towards profitability and you can ensure high-margin products are the ones getting displayed in carousel creatives.

This is hugely valuable in any situation, but with the profitability of your campaigns under a microscope, particularly with a lot of retailers running various promotions in an attempt to liquidate their stock, it becomes even more important now. Incorporating margin into bidding and creative decisions should be one of your highest priorities, but it’s also important to incorporate other factors. Does one product happen to have a higher lifetime value than another? Does a particular product often lead to sales of complementary goods and increased basket value? These are all things you should consider when implementing your product bidding strategies.


In a similar vein, incorporating stock levels into campaigns is vital to ensure campaign efficiency. Platforms such as Google will help you to stop running ads for individual products which have run out of stock, but should these campaigns have been shut off before this point? Do you want to be wasting your ad spend on a product that’s only available in an XXXL that no one wants to buy? Conversely if a product is selling itself via organic channels, do you want to be using up valuable budget promoting these products?

Product stock levels can even be used for goal setting and planning. If liquidity is an issue for your business as the economy begins to slow, you can also leverage your stock levels to dictate the ROI goals for various products, loosening efficiency targets for product ranges with a stock surplus to help sell them quicker. 

Pay It Forward

Since the start of Covid-19, many advertisers have had to completely rethink the way they use their resources. As brands reduce spend in certain areas they may now have some saved ad spend as well the human resource that was required to deliver it. How can businesses repurpose that resource, in a manner that will benefit the company in the long run?

This is a great opportunity to pay your money forward, where possible, to longer-term success. We’re seeing brands invest their spare resources into training and upskilling their staff, investment in bigger SEO and CX projects and even running in-depth Analytics projects. These kinds of activity mean that when business returns to normal, ad spend is being utilised as efficiently as possible.

External Data Sources

We as marketers have a tendency to believe that any change in campaign performance was driven by the little tweaks we made, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. More often than not, a big swing in performance is down to an external factor beyond our control. Being able to factor those drivers of demand into campaigns will allow for far more efficient use of ad spend.

For instance, performance can live or die based on where competitors prices are set. There are tools available that will collate the pricing levels of your competitor set, benchmark against yourself and push this data back into your feed – allowing you to make the most of your comparative advantage.

Demand for some products is largely dependent on things like the weather or even sports schedules. Sadly for all of us, weather and sport are most likely not having quite the same impact in the current climate, but again setting up campaigns to ingest this sort of data is another example of long term projects that can be tackled now!

Performance Models

The final thing to explore when seeking profitability from campaigns is actually oft-overlooked, and that’s pure performance marketing. Continuing to stump up the money to meet minimum spends or committing to platform fees for top of the line campaign management technology can be a daunting prospect during times like these. Performance marketing offers an alternative. By engaging partners on a pay-per-sale format you can guarantee marketing campaigns at a risk-free, fixed return on investment.

Affiliate marketing has often been dismissed as nothing but cashback and voucher codes. Today though, you can get everything from search to display to social campaign management at fixed costs per acquisition (CPAs). In this arrangement, all media costs are covered up front and brands are only charged a pre-agreed commission based on total revenue (or action) driven. Not only does this give peace of mind in uncertain times but it also incentivises your partner to drive the best results they can within that fixed ROI goal, as the more sales they drive the bigger their fee.

Just like the more traditional agencies of the world, many businesses operating in this space utilise elite technology like the Google Marketing Stack or Kenshoo. Where they differ is that performance agencies often cover these costs themselves too, and also regularly include services like feed management or creative execution free of charge as it’s in their interests to do so.

This sort of model might not work for everyone and now may not seem like quite the right time to switch over a particular channel. However, the beauty of the performance model is that it can act very much as an extension of your current campaigns. Brands can engage agencies on a performance model to support territories or channels that aren’t getting the attention required and often on shorter-term contracts.

These are incredibly uncertain times for advertisers, and for a lot of brands, marketing their business might be a luxury they don’t think they can currently afford. Hopefully, by implementing some of the steps above, marketers can return to trying to grow their businesses, safe in the knowledge their campaigns are driving effective, profitable returns.

Innovations Director Max Flasjner will be diving into this topic further on 7th April in our upcoming webinar “Marketing in Times of Crisis”. He’ll be joined by NMPi’s Business Director Amy Jackson and HSBC’s David Maddison for a timely and insightful look into the marketing industry across a range of sectors, including retail and travel. You can register for the session here.


This post was originally published on Incubeta’s blog.

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. 

Top 5 Tips to Beat Your Competitors

Resellers can be a thorn in the side of any retailer, especially when it comes to drawing in traffic through advertising. Whether it’s through Paid Search, Display, or Paid Social, we’ve gathered some of our top tips for beating out your competitors across the digital space.

  1. On Social, you are able to exclude your site visitors, allowing you to create campaigns that specifically target prospects who have little knowledge of your brand. If new customer acquisition is your goal, then this is a great way to boost your brand awareness on social.
  2. Your CRM data can prove especially useful for both Search and Social. It keeps you more informed on your existing customers, allowing you to tailor your content to suit what they’re actually buying, and keep yourself front of mind to avoid competitors taking a loyal customer away. Nothing is worse than your customer seeing an ad for a competitor when looking for one of your products.
  3. Stay on top of what your competitors are doing. Are they running a sale? Have they made a major change to their landing page? This might be the impetus someone needs to jump ship to a competitor. Keep an eye out for any major changes, and respond accordingly.
  4. Make sure you have protected your brand by ensuring your trademark is registered with Google. While this won’t stop anyone from bidding on your terms, it will make it more expensive to do so as they can’t use your brand name in their copy – thus lowering their quality score – and will make their ad look less related to the search – lowering CTR.
  5. Share your data across channels to make sure you pick up anyone who didn’t convert on another channel. For example, use your top performing keywords on Search to fuel your Display contextual targeting, or using cross-channel audiences on Social so you don’t miss someone who clicked on a Shopping ad but didn’t convert, and so on.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be sure to stand out amongst competitors and resellers alike. 

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.


Best Practise: Data Studio Dashboards

In the midst of Q4, you’re probably drowning in data already. Or you’re likely to be post-Black Friday! At times like these, no one wants to spend hours churning through reports, or figuring out on-site journeys from those rather confusing Google Analytics flow reports. We all just want to know what’s working, and what’s really been going on with our customers.

To help with the data overload, here are our top 10 tips for creating easy-to-use Data Studio reports that are bound to impress your colleagues.

1. Define your requirements

You’ve created your first Data Studio dashboard and added your data source. You are then presented with a blank canvas. Pretty intimidating, right? Deciding in which direction to take your dashboard may seem overwhelming at this stage and to overcome this, you may be tempted to dive straight in and get creative. However, doing so at this point can result in a confusing dashboard that doesn’t answer all your questions, or match what you had initially imagined.

To avoid this, it’s a good idea to define your requirements early on. Considering what key information you want to convey in your report, and who your audience will be, helps provide a framework for what you build.

Thinking about your KPIs is a good place to start. Do you really need all those metrics, or will sessions, transactions and conversion rate suffice?

2. Keep the styling simple and consistent

Data Studio offers a great variety of opportunities for customisation, and for those of us who spend our days in Excel it can be pretty enticing to get as creative as possible!

However, you’re probably after a professional and streamlined look, so try not to get too overzealous. Might be best to leave the word-art and rainbow colour scheme at the door. Sticking with a couple of complementary colours and one or two fonts will make the report easy to read and allow the audience to absorb your key points.

3. Utilise different ways of displaying information.

Data studio offers 11 different chart types, making diverse presentation of data easy to implement. Having a variety of visuals in your report will engage the viewer and help them understand what you are trying to convey more easily. When you’re choosing your chart type, have a think about what it is you’re trying to communicate. If you have more than 3-4 data points, a pie chart might not be the best solution; if you’re showing how a metric has changed over time, a line graph is likely your go-to option.

4. Add time filter controls

Adding the date range widget allows you to view data dynamically and maintains the relevance of the report, as it is easy to update the widget as time passes. Goodbye weekly reporting – or more like daily over Black Friday! – and hello to a single report that never expires.

5. Utilise Google Analytics segments

This is by far one of the most useful feature releases Google have done for Data Studio. It’s pretty impossible to create a base dashboard that meets everyone’s needs. You might be focused on customer retention, whilst your colleague is all about customer acquisition – and the report you create for the digital team on a Monday purely focuses on Mobile traffic. The magic of Data Studio is being able to create one report, with the option to bring in various Google Analytics segments in order to aid finding customer insights for different audiences.

6. Experiment with customisation

Don’t be afraid to play around with different functionalities and customise charts as needed.

A time series chart, for example, can be manipulated to appear as just a trendline rather than a detailed graph. This can be helpful in visualising top line trends at a glance. We’ve found it particularly helpful to use overall numbers (i.e. total revenue, total orders) and their % change year on year at the top of all our reports, before we delve into the details further down. This helps to easily contextualise any granular insights on performance.

7. Multi-page reports

Having all the relevant data presented on one page has merit in that the information can be communicated at a glance. However, if your dashboard starts to look cramped, this may have the opposite effect – making the report hard to read and potentially losing the interest of your audience!

To avoid this, Data Studio offers a multi-page functionality. A good tip when utilising this feature is to give each page an overarching topic. This will help keep the report organised and easy to navigate. It’s also a great idea to use the opening page as an Executive Summary, with the following pages drilling down into more detail for those that need it.

8. Data blending

Google recently introduced a data blending functionality that allows different data sources to be combined, or ‘blended’. For example, combining data from multiple GA views is now possible. This is a huge time-saver for those users who don’t have access to a data warehouse where the data is already blended for them. Perhaps you want to include a data source of margin data from Google Sheets for all your products sold. Voila: you can now generate insights across numerous sources with a few clicks of a button.

9. Use your report as a template

Data Studio allows you to create copies of your dashboard – super handy if you need to generate multiple reports with similar styles for various purposes. You can simply copy your dashboard and use this copy as a template, no need to start again from scratch!

10. Provide some detail

Customising charts and visualising data can be fun, but don’t forget to give some detail to your analysis. Not everyone is data literate and so it’s good practice to provide an explanatory label for each chart you create, including any caveats they need to be aware of (i.e. site was down for 3 hours on x date). Sometimes it’s even helpful to add a brief line of commentary, if you feel it’s particularly relevant for the point you want to communicate.

Combining Art and Science at connect:London – Part 2

This is the second edition of our coverage of Luke Judge’s presentation at connect:London. Last time, we looked at how art and science complement each other to inspire great work. When they work together, they can transcend complexity to create something truly beautiful. As a marketer, we should be using these moments to get potential customers from moments of wonder to the “I Do” moment.

In the second half of the presentation, we look at how the current technological climate has allowed us to unite media, creative and technology in order to deliver experiences that delight audiences.

The Creative Renaissance

Reaching the “I Do” moment has never been more promising. Once upon a time, technology could only support media or creative, never both. Now, however, we are on the cusp of a creative renaissance, where our technology has matured enough to give us a unique opportunity to bring together media, creative and technology in new and exciting ways. From the first banner ad in 1994 to the launch of social advertising in 2006, all the way up to the introduction of DoubleClick Bid Manager in 2012, we’re now at a place where programmatic bidding is everywhere.

We’re moving into a new phase of interconnectedness where data and measurement bind media, creative and technology together. There has never been a time when we have had such powerful tools to deliver experiences that delight our audience.

The Marketing Symphony

With all of this in mind, how do you get started?

Think of the modern marketing mix as an orchestra, with an effective CMO as a conductor as they piece it all together to deliver a great experience for their audience. Data, creative, tech. media and measurement all make up different sections within the orchestra: woodwind, brass, strings and so on, and each one needs their own time to shine.

  • Data – Your Violin Section: Use data to garner learnings about a target audience and create a segmentation plan to deliver results. Data comes in many forms, it’s up to the marketer to collect and unite what’s relevant.
  • Creative – Your Woodwind Section: In the same way that the woodwind section often leads the melody, creative leads your campaigns. This is where we pick the formats that will appeal most to the audience.
  • Tech – Your Percussion Section: This gives us the right tools to monitor your creative formats, underpinning everything that we do. From setting up and managing our campaigns to the measurement of their performance, we couldn’t do any of this without our technology.  
  • Media – Your Brass Section: Media gets your campaign out into the world; finding the right audience at the right moment, with minimum waste, at the best possible price.
  • Measurement – Your Lower String Section: The strings sit at either end of the orchestra, and measurement is the twin to data. You rarely find violins without a double bass, and you won’t find data without measurement. This allows you to demonstrate your performance, supporting your entire marketing symphony.

In any given symphony, different sections will need to be showcased; focussed on; brought to the forefront. As a skilled conductor can control the whole orchestra while also bringing out the melody, a talented CMO has complete oversight of the marketing mix, knowing exactly the right time to bring out different elements.

Always remember…

Our key takeaways are simple. Use data to get to know your audience. Tell them a story that sparks an emotional response and use creatives which build on that connection. As you’re taking stock of performance, measurement will be important but remember to trust your instincts. Then you’ll be sure to get the “I Do”.

You can find the slides from Luke’s presentation on our Slideshare.

Top Tips for Sleigh-in’ it this Christmas

With Cyber Weekend behind us and Christmas looming ever closer, these next few weeks are the most crucial for any advertiser. We asked the team at NMPi for their top tips to make the most of your campaigns and snap up those last minute sales.


“Use your audiences effectively! It might be easier to capture searches for “insert-brand Christmas sales”, it’s a tired approach that relies on consumers actively looking for you. While efficiently capturing searches for just “Christmas sales” is more difficult, it can often prove more profitable if done right. You’ll be able to pull wandering consumers back to your brand and drive additional revenue all the while.” – Josh B, Senior Account Executive.


“On social, there are a couple of things you can take advantage of. If your messaging is based on gifting, then make sure your creatives reflect this. For example, have your creatives feature people enjoying your products, rather than focusing on products themselves. Also, remember that some customers may only buy from you once a year – they might not be a part of your normal demographic but are buying a gift for someone who is. To be able to retarget them, you can leverage CRM lists to circumvent the 180 day limit on Facebook pixel audiences. This way, you can target people who might have fallen out of the normal targeting window or don’t match your interest-based targeting.” – Jack C, Performance Manager.


“Storytelling over this period, particularly on display, is always a winner. Plan your ad copy or creative so each user learns more about your brand each time they see your ad.” – Charlie K, Account Executive.


“Increase your Display spend at the beginning of the month to raise awareness of your offering early on. While it might be a little late for that now, you should also ensure that your last delivery date is called out in your messaging.” – Alice M, Senior Account Manager.

There’s not long left until the big day, but with these top tips you’ll be able to pick up some quick wins across the Yuletide seasons. If you want to get some external insights into how your campaigns are performing, take advantage of our Christmas gift this year: a full digital audit. Get in touch with the team to request yours today.

Combining Art and Science at connect:London – Part 1

You can never underestimate the power of great experience in driving performance, and great experience comes from uniting art and science. NMPi CEO, Luke Judge, brought his thoughts to the stage at this year’s connect:London.

The Marriage of Art and Science

Art and science complement each other to inspire great work.

Music, an inherently artistic discipline, is filled with mathematics: major scales are based upon the mathematical equation for the 12th root of 2.

Leonardo da Vinci was an extraordinary artist because he was an extraordinary scientist, and his empirical observations of form were the basis for his paintings.

The Fibonacci sequence, and by extension the golden spiral, occurs naturally in anything from sunflowers to galaxies. It is so appealing to the eye that it is the reason behind our attraction to certain works of art, including, “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa.”

So when art and science come together, the result transcends complexity to create something truly beautiful.

It can be hard to think about digital marketing beyond its impact to the bottom line, but we should be striving for truly great marketing that makes us feel something different: be it wonder, curiosity, excitement or fear of missing out. It is those feelings that create an emotional connection with your brand, and ultimately establish customer loyalty.

Our job is to get someone from those moments of wonder to saying “I Do” and making that lifelong commitment.

Bringing the Romance Back

So how do we guide customers from their first search all the way to that final conversion?

Let’s start by dating; you have to meet your customer first at a time when you are relevant to them, so pique their interest on Search. They’ll swipe right when they’re ready. Once you’ve got them interested, it’s time to add some sizzle. With high impact creative you can create excitement.  If you’re a retailer, create an environment which allows them to browse shoppable products set within a real-life setting. By creating these real-life environments you can establish your branding and resonate with the consumer.

You then need to spend some quality time together with personalised dynamic creative. This is where you focus on each other’s interests, build loyalty, and extend your relationship. Say a customer put a tennis racket in their basket but didn’t purchase – target them with a discount code on that racquet to encourage their conversion. If they have previously purchased a racquet, instead target them with related products like tennis balls.

After you’ve spent some time in a relationship, it’s time to get engaged. Make sure it’s a great experience; frictionless like the iPhone. You need to be honest and trustworthy, like John Lewis and Marks and Spencers. And you need to be there when they need you like the AA.

If you get the whole thing right, they’re sure to say “I Do”.

If you want to find out more about the presentation, you can download Luke’s slides here, and you can read part 2 here.

Is your Google Analytics GDPR-compliant?

It’s now been 6 months since GDPR came into effect, and the initial panic appears to have settled. However, it’s not over yet! It turns out GDPR isn’t a problem you can solve overnight, and then tick it off your to-do list.

In the past few months, we’ve seen some businesses struggle with Personally Identifiable Information (PII) being captured within their Google Analytics. And so, here’s a short how-to guide, for ensuring you aren’t picking up that pesky personal data along with all your valuable customer insights.

How can GDPR be breached in Google Analytics?

In Google Analytics, there are some obvious ways GDPR can be breached, for instance:

  • Collecting customer information via form fills, for instance postcode or address
  • Having an on-site privacy policy that doesn’t match your data retention settings in GA
  • Loading data in via Data Import which includes customer PII
  • Capturing PII-related custom dimensions that aren’t using hashed or salted encryption.

Most of these areas will have been assessed by any pre-GDPR audits that took place across data-collecting platforms, as a breach of GDPR through these means are pretty obvious (if you haven’t had a GDPR audit, get in touch with us here). Despite that, there are still a few ways that Google Analytics can mistakenly collect PII data if you’re not careful. The are two ways we see PII breaches in GA:

  1. Page URL’s. The basic Universal Analytics tag collects the URL of every page viewed, and passes this unfiltered through to Google Analytics. Occasionally PII can make it’s way into a URL, particularly during redirects from an email service provider.
  2. Search Terms. Users seem to love accidentally searching for their own email addresses, and of course, this ends up straight in your Search Terms report.

To identify whether you are collecting PII data through either of the above, navigate to the relevant report (For Page URL: Site Content > All Pages, for Search Terms: Site Search > Search Terms) and search the @ character in the in-report search function. This will show up all instances of email collection in the time period you have selected.

I’ve found some PII in my GA reports – how do I fix this?

If that’s the case, do not fear. There are a few ways the issue can be eliminated.

There is PII data showing in my All Pages report

Issue: URL captured contains ‘customer_email’ as the query parameter which is included for reporting

Report: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

How to Find: Search the @ character in the in-report search function


> If you use GTM

This is the preferred solution, as it ensures no PII data is passed from the URL from the outset.

You need to create a Custom JavaScript variable in GTM, which will perform a PII check in each URL collected. If the URL contains an email address, you can replace the email address with a word or phrase such as null, or undefined.

In the example code below, we have chosen to replace the email address with the word ‘redacted’. The variable, in bold, can be replaced with whichever URL variable you have set up.

function () {
  var pagePath = {{Page Path}};
  var query =;
  var em = /^(([^<>()[\]\\.,;:\[email protected]\"]+(\.[^<>()[\]\\.,;:\[email protected]\"]+)*)|(\".+\"))@((\[[0-9]{1,3}\.[0-9]{1,3}\.[0-9]{1,3}\.[0-9]{1,3}\])|(([a-zA-Z\-0-9]+\.)+[a-zA-Z]{2,}))$/;
  var r = '';
  var result = [];

  if (query) {
    query.split("&").forEach(function(part) {
      var item = part.split("=");
      var qStr = item[0];
      var dCo = decodeURIComponent(item[1]);
      var ma = em.test(dCo);
      var s;
      if (ma) {
        s = qStr +"=REDACTED ";
      } else {
        s = qStr + "=" + dCo;

    var r = pagePath + '?' + query.replace(query,result.join('&'));
  } else {
    var r = pagePath;
  return r;

Then you need to update your Universal Analytics tag to include the Custom JavaScript variable in the ‘Page’ field, as shown in the below screenshot:  

> If you want to make the change in Google Analytics itself

If you don’t use GTM, the PII issue can be solved via the GA View Settings in the Admin section. Within the View Settings, include the relevant query parameter in the ‘Exclude URL Query Parameters’ box for instance customer_email, or whichever the term is which precedes the PII data in your URL.

> If your Universal Analytics tag is hard-coded on-site

If your tagging is hard-coded on-site, you can add the below line of code to your Universal Analytics script to amend the URL’s before sending data to GA for reporting. The ‘new page value’ is where an altered page path is sent to GA, which will be coded by your site developers. The new line of code should be fired on all pages on the site along with your hard-coded GA script.

ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’, ‘new page value’);

Your updated hard-coded script on the site should look something like the following:

<!-- Google Analytics -->
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),

ga('create', 'UA-XXXXX-Y', 'auto');
ga('send', 'pageview');
ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’, ‘new page value’);
<!-- End Google Analytics -->

There is PII data showing in my Search Terms report

Issue: Users perform a search on site using their email address (it happens more than you think!)

Report: Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms

How to Find: Search the @ character in the in-report search function


The solution to this is much like the approach identified in section 1 (‘there is PII data showing in my All Pages report’) however, the change CAN’T be made within Google Analytics itself, using the option of excluding URL query parameters, as this will remove all on-site search tracking.

The same GTM solution can be used, as detailed already, with the same results. The hard-coded option can be used, however your on-site developers will need to ensure that the ‘new page value’ which is passed to Google Analytics only excludes search queries where an email address is present, otherwise all on-site search tracking will be excluded from reporting.


PII data can be found in Google Analytics, typically passed from URL’s, Page Titles and Search Terms. However, these instances can be prevented easily enough using the above tips! The best option is implementing fixes in GTM, as it means PII is excluded from the very start of the data collection journey, but there are also options in GA or through hardcoding that are available. 

If you need any help with the above, or are concerned about GDPR compliance in your Google Analytics, give us a shout.