Attribution Revolution: The Mobile Series in NYC

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This past Tuesday, Magnetic kicked off Attribution Revolution: The Mobile Series at New York City’s Dream Downtown. Our panel discussed the mobile changes currently facing advertisers, best practices, and how the industry can help to solve for cross-device attribution. Discussions centered around mobile challenges and opportunities for marketers, including cross-device targeting, tailoring the user experience for mobile, and the importance of incorporating all devices into your attribution model.

The panel included:

James Green, CEO, Magnetic

Duncan McCall, CEO, PlaceIQ
Dwight Crow, Product Manager for Direct Response Advertising, Facebook
Nick Jordan, SVP of Product, Tapad
Paul Pellman, Head of Adometry, Google

Some of our favorite panelist quotes of the evening circulated around the importance of understanding user behavior on all screens and devices:

  • “If you don’t have a cross-device strategy, you don’t have a mobile strategy.” - Nick Jordan
  • “Mobile adds another dimension to attribution.” - James Green
  • “Unless you are giving us cross-device, you are not getting the results you want.” – Dwight Crow
  • “Creative must feel comfortable on the device. Don’t focus on screen size, focus on tailoring user experience.” – Nick Jordan

See the full panel video and pictures below:



How Digital Is Shaping Auto Marketing


by James Green
CEO, Magnetic



Featured on Marketing Land, October 6, 2014


Over the last several years, the U.S. auto industry has seen an immense rebound after the recession and bailouts of 2008. According to many volume forecasts, 16 million new vehicles will be sold in the U.S. in 2014.

These sales predictions bode well for digital marketing budgets, as consumers will increasingly tap into digital technology to research and purchase new vehicles.

Digital advertising in the U.S. is up as a whole across auto, retail, financial services, telecom and travel industries. However, eMarketer estimates that the auto vertical willlikely overtake financial services in 2015 as the second-largest spender on digital advertising among US industries, only behind retail.

The rise in digital ad spending is directly related to the increased adoption of devices and growing reliance that consumers have on real-time information available to them 24/7.

Digital’s Influence On The Purchase Path

For each of the next five years, eMarketer expects U.S. automakers and dealers to tack on an additional $1 billion or more annually in digital ad spending, significantly eroding every traditional media ad budget except TV. eMarketer also predicts that automakers and dealers will spend more than $6.15 billion on U.S. digital advertising in 2014, up 18% from the previous year.

The majority of spending (60%) will go to direct-response tactics, with the rest put toward branding. Moreover, 35% of total digital ad budgets will be slotted for mobile tactics, a share in line with spending by other US industries shifting their marketing efforts toward smartphones and other mobile devices.

One large reason as to why the automotive category is seeing such a high spike in digital is the transformation of the consumer purchase path, which increasingly begins online at the national or local level, yet still converts almost exclusively in brick-and-mortar dealerships. Consumers don’t buy cars online, but they conduct loads of research and price evaluation across digital platforms.

There’s a tremendous opportunity for digital to play a vital role in brand building, where consumers can engage in upper funnel activities. From there, search retargeting and other data-driven efforts can feed lower funnel activities such as locating a dealership and building a car model, which ultimately transforms prospects into car intenders and potentially buyers.

The Role Of Search

Because there’s such a long buying cycle associated with purchasing big ticket items such as vehicles, auto brands must work to remain top of mind for consumers along every step of the purchase path.

While search engines were the most used path for consumers to get to auto retail websites over the last few years, according to Deloitte, other internet channels and entities are actually capturing consumers’ attention and influencing their buying decisions.

In Deloitte’s 2014 Global Automotive Consumer study (PDF), car reviews on independent websites ranked highest among sources that influence car purchases. The amount of intent data captured on these entities from search data to site behaviors is premium fuel for data-driven, hyper-targeted advertising campaigns.

Data from Magnetic (my company) collected from search entities beyond the major search engines, showed that searches for [tires], [oil changes] and [used cars] were among some of the top search categories for the summer months (2014).

Additionally, Honda, Jeep and BMW were the top three brand searches. In essence, search engines have really become the gateway for consumers to obtain more information. While the actual searches are happening both on dedicated search engines and on other sites with search functions, independent research sites play a role in informing advertisers what their consumers are interested in buying.

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A Multi-Tier Opportunity

Regardless of the tier, companies within the automotive category have numerous ways to take advantage of digital at every stage of the consumer funnel. The customer pool is massive for every level of auto advertiser, from national to regional and local dealerships.


Digital channels and strategies across social, mobile and local ad targeting equip different tiers with different needs. For example, tier one may be rolling out a new vehicle leveraging a national ad strategy across TV and digital; and by using location-aware advertising, tier three can capitalize on the national advertiser’s marketing efforts. The various tiers make the auto category a perfect contender for both branding and direct response campaigns.

The amount of online activity that occurs before a car purchase makes automotive one of the most prominent verticals in digital advertising.

With digital advertising no longer being text ads limited to search engines and display advertising limited to desktop, more auto companies of all sizes have the opportunity to use digital as their primary source for influencing audiences and turning consumers into auto intenders.

James Green Moderating Panel at J.D. Power 2014 Automotive Marketing Roundtable

Magnetic will be at the J.D. Power 2014 Automotive Marketing Roundtable on Oct. 14 – 16. Our CEO, James Green, will moderate a panel called: “Looking Under the Hood: Exploring Ad Viewability and Issues Related to Bots and Suspicious Traffic.” This interactive discussion will educate auto brands on the true meaning of viewability, and share insights on how to combat ad fraud and block the bots.

Regardless of whether you’re an advertiser or publisher buying inventory direct or via an exchange, it’s in your best interest to ensure your ads are actually viewed. Watch the below video to learn more about viewability in display advertising.

Viewability originated as a simple matter of determining whether or not an ad was seen on the screen. It has now morphed into a complex matter involving real-time and programmatic buying, with a need for standardized viewing metrics. The brunt of the issue comes from sites (also referred to as “bad actors”) that claim to have what appears to be significant traffic, and offer those impressions on exchanges. These sites don’t provide audiences with content and/or useful information, and instead are hyper-focused on generating traffic (commonly referred to as “suspicious”) and fraudulent clicks.


2014 Summer Search Auto Trends

The automotive industry never sleeps in the world of online search. Magnetic’s search data from summer 2014 revealed the top auto industry searches across car manufacturers and auto-related search categories.

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Advertisers within the automotive vertical have the opportunity to turn prospects into car intenders through the power of search intent and data-driven display advertising.

Click on our infographic below for more insights!





2014 Holiday Season: Rules of Attraction

Rules of Attraction thumbBefore retailers can convert customers, they must first attract them. This is becoming a lost art, but search retargeting can provide the data and customer strategy to restore it – just in time for the holiday sales season of 2014.

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As the leader in search retargeting, Magnetic enables marketers to attract new prospects and retain current customers by combining the power of intent data with digital advertising. Download your copy of Rules of Attraction today!

Magnetic’s Retail Therapy – September 24, 2014

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1. For Department Stores, Mobile Is Essential

Department stores must focus on mobile in order to reach their consumers at every step of their shopping journey.

“Mobile is crucial—and department stores are tightening up their mobile offerings to encourage the mobile device’s role as both an inspiration tool and a facilitator for mcommerce transactions.” eMarketer


2. Gap Falls Into Mobile

Gap is implementing a new mobile focus for their fall ‘Dress Normal’ campaign.

“Gap is realizing its potential by incorporating mobile and digital innovations into its overall marketing strategy. As its campaigns become more omni-channel, Gap is taking steps to reach its mobile audience.” Mobile Marketer


3. Ad Executives Weigh In On How to Engage Holiday Shoppers

Magnetic CEO James Green explains why retargeting should be an integral part of your marketing strategy this holiday season.

“Companies that use data to predict consumer intent and understand what their customers are interested in buying have a better chance to impact holiday purchases.” Yahoo Ad Blog


4. Home Depot Is Building Sales, Thanks To Digital

The home improvement retail giant is seeing positive sales results after attributing more dollars to digital.

“We’ve shifted to more targeted personalized messaging to become more relevant to customers, and as a result, costs attributable to print advertising are down 60% since 2010, and have been shifted to more efficient advertising.” MediaPost


5. Boost Your Holiday Sales With Mobile

Magnetic SVP, Soo Jin Oh, discusses how retailers should implement mobile marketing tactics for the holidays.

“The amount of time and consumer activity that occurs on mobile devices is increasing, and as a result, mobile is quickly becoming a viable marketing channel for brands to reach, engage and influence their audiences.” Marketing Land

Why a Hiatus Is Key to Preventing Job Fatigue


by James Green
CEO, Magnetic



Featured on Entrepreneur, September 22, 2014


There are many different jobs in the world, some more stressful than others. Being an entrepreneur in the tech space comes with incredible pressures. Sometimes the stress comes from the fear of not being able to make payroll: Will employees still have a job next week, next month, next quarter or next year?

Other times, the entrepreneur is grappling with the pressure of not being able to return borrowed capital: Well-respected people have trusted him or her with millions of dollars of investment capital. Will it all be lost? And then there’s market pressure, one competitor nipping at the company’s heels or another one to chase.

Most people take yearly vacations for a break from these stressors. Often, however, entrepreneurs can’t take a complete break, either because they are incapable of removing themselves from their work or their jobs so intense and the need to make decisions so incessant that even when they take a breather, work follows them.

While I can’t speak for others, I can say that my vacations have generally amounted to an opportunity to work while being with my family in a pleasant environment. In other words, I never really take a break. And so it’s no surprise that if a person keeps doing this, the pressure builds up: The person becomes less productive, less imaginative and less effective as a leader (not to mention, less fun to be around).

From 1998 to 2010 I ran four companies and then sold them all. When my fourth company was sold, with a little help from my wife, Emma-Kate, we realized that I simply wasn’t myself. I felt very insecure about my abilities, and although I had started looking for something to do next, I found myself being lackluster at meetings and interviews.

Fortunately, there was one thing that I had always wanted to do that wasn’t work related: to go sailing for a year and cross one of the world’s oceans. We thought about this idea for a while, then put our belongings in storage and went for this trip.

Taking a year off for a sailing trip remains the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was incredibly rewarding, and I came back feeling 10 years younger. I was invigorated, ready to conquer the world and had boatloads of energy. So why exactly does a work hiatus help? Here are some reasons:

1. A break can remove someone from stressors.

Each person operates at optimum productivity with a different level of stress. I personally need some stress to keep me sharp. With too little stress I stall, but with too much I’m overwhelmed. If you find yourself burned out from stress, unimaginative or just plain unhappy, then taking a break can be a fantastic thing.

For me, spending a year on the beach would notwork. Everyone has something that they would like to do. Some people have goals that are quite modest. Others have quite extravagant ideas. Taking a break is as much about a person’s realizing what he is passionate about as it is about removing him from the source of stress.

2. It reminds a person what’s important.

I learned many things from sailing, about what’s important and what’s not. When I’m in the thick of things at work, that’s what seems important, but I tend to lose sight of all else. During my sailing trip, I asked my daughter what she gained from our taking time off together. Without hesitation she said, “Getting to know you, Daddy.” Frankly that one statement made the whole trip worthwhile.

3. It can open up new professional opportunities.

When someone takes a hiatus, many people are interested in hearing about it when she returns. Life experiences like this make for great stories and show that a person is brave and confident and a leader. Hiring companies may be intrigued by such tales. For better or worse, people are judged by what they’ve done most recently. So those planning to take some time off should do something meaningful.

If it’s impossible for financial or personal reasons to recharge this way, take a short vacation and think about what’s wrong and what can be done to fix things. Such introspection can even lead to the conclusion that a change should not be made.

Sometimes a person isn’t making a change out of loyalty to a company. While that’s understandable, do consider other options when happiness is absent.

All the pressures of life can never be removed and frankly who would want them to be? That’s what keeps life interesting. But when these pressures become too much, doing something else for a while can be just the thing to restore confidence and sanity.

Sizing Up RTB’s Value For Large And Small Businesses


by James Green
CEO, Magnetic



Featured on MediaPost’s RTB Insider, September 15, 2014


Over the last decade, search engine marketing (SEM) has served as an integral part of marketing strategies for businesses of all sizes. It doesn’t matter if you are playing in a global, national or local league, SEM allows the right message to be delivered to the right person in real-time, providing a high value to marketers. Even after a decade, this strategy has not yet lost its luster. If anything, we’ve seen SEM grow beyond the search engine and into the world of display advertising, opening new doors for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). As many say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

The recent shift to real-time buying (RTB) and growth of programmatic marketing has changed the traditional way of buying display media, making it more actionable for smaller businesses than ever before. With traditional forms of display advertising, advertisers had to cough up large sums upfront in order to reach their target audience for a given campaign. The challenge for SMBs was that they didn’t have access to the sizable budgets of larger advertisers, and therefore felt limitations in terms of scale and reach. However, because of the influx of programmatic marketing and real-time buying, algorithms are enabling the right ads to be delivered to the right users in real-time using dynamic pricing models.

Now that RTB has become so widespread, it’s catching the attention of virtually all companies, regardless of size, and there are different ways of utilizing it depending on your business. For instance, although display advertising offers a near infinite supply of inventory, not all marketers need to flood the market to create impact. Instead, the most efficient and effective display strategy leverages the best of both worlds (i.e. search and display). This enables you to reach the consumers that you want to influence throughout their path to purchase, including when they show purchase intent and even after they have left your website.

The preeminent tactic for any business is to build its target audience based on two distinct factors: site traffic and search activity. While site retargeting works well, there won’t ever be enough traffic to build a scalable marketing program — therefore, it becomes critical to look at other audience attributes that signal intent, such as search data/keywords. For smaller businesses, intent-driven display advertising can play a prime role in customer acquisition and retention. If done right, you can create highly efficient and cost-effective strategies where you continue to reach and nurture your audience beyond the search engine and re-engage them after they’ve left your website. This is a very powerful approach for attracting, capturing and converting prospects.

The ability for marketers to deliver their ads on premium content through RTB levels the playing field for advertisers of all sizes. For example, advertising on now becomes somewhat affordable and just as important as smaller blogs, because you know you are reaching the right end user. Businesses with small and large budgets can reap the benefits of these new opportunities afforded by retargeting strategies that leverage both site and search data.

There are approximately 28 million small businesses in the United States alone, many of whom have most likely not even scratched the surface of the value of display. There is so much value in RTB and programmatic marketing, with the added benefit of not having to commit massive amounts of dollars to specific publishers – allowing marketers to optimize and improve strategies in real time, just as in SEM. As programmatic marketing use continues to grow, we will see further parity between search and display, resulting in more RTB activity for SMBs. There is plenty of room for brands of all sizes, large or small. May the best strategy win.


From Coffee To Mobile King: How Starbucks Serves Up Its Mobile Strategy


by Soo Jin Oh
SVP, Data Business and Ad Operations, Magnetic



Featured on Marketing Land’s Mobile Marketing Column, September 11, 2014


The Siren, the emblem of Starbucks, is not only an iconic symbol — she depicts the obsession that the coffee king has cultivated in all of us worldwide.

“She is a storyteller, carrying the lore of Starbucks ahead, and remembering our past. In a lot of ways, she’s a muse –always there, inspiring us and pushing us ahead,” a senior writer identified only as Steve M. posted on Starbucks’ corporate blog in 2011. “And she’s a promise too, inviting all of us to find what we’re looking for, even if it’s something we haven’t even imagined yet.”

As expected of a dangerous yet alluring creature, we’ve succumbed willingly and almost unconsciously to the daily habit of paying $5 for a cup of joe that was once less than a buck.

Starbucks Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said at the company’s 2012 Investor Conference that “Starbucks will have more than 20,000 retail stores on six continents by 2014 and more than 200,000 points of global CPG distribution by 2015.”

Today, Starbucks rules the world of coffee and it’s on its way to reigning over the mobile kingdom as well. (Disclosure: Starbucks is not a current client and has never been a direct client of my employer, Magnetic, though the company did run a campaign for Starbucks through an agency in the past.)

Whipping Up More Than A Frappuccino

Static bland 320×50 ad units that people accidentally tap or don’t notice at all aren’t acceptable for Starbucks. Instead, the coffee company does it up with its mobile ads using Mobile Rich Media Interface Definitions (MRAID).

These ad units not only expand to fill full mobile screens, but they incorporate the unique mobile features of swipe, tap, and shake for users to engage with their brand and then share within their social sphere.

Marketers need to build on the same level of sophistication in their own mobile creative and take full advantage of the full screen and user engagement capabilities, which MRAID allows them to do.

Here’s a mock-up of an expandable ad designed to be displayed on an iPhone, so you can get a taste of the interactivity. (Editor’s note: Please excuse the clunkiness, but you can interact with this mock-up. Also, be aware that clicking on the call to action should launch a video with audio.)

In addition to full screen mobile ads, Starbucks has boosted engagement over the last year through SMS messaging campaigns. In return, the consumer receives images featuring animals holding a Frappuccino of their own.

It is important for marketers to look beyond standard mobile ad units and take advantage of the ways in which mobile platforms make it exciting for consumers to opt-in to brand marketing programs.

The Starbucks App Enchants & Engages

Hopefully all marketers have learned by now that spending marketing dollars with the single goal of increasing app downloads is costly and ineffective.

Engagement with apps is key and also a bigger challenge. Starbucks clearly is winning here by incorporating the following features.

Mobile Payments & Transactions: Starbucks recently launched its newly enhanced payment app for iPhone where customers just need to shake their phones for the payment barcode to display. It also launched the digital tipping option where customers can tip their barista through their phones.

All of these innovations in mobile payments seem to be working; the company droveover $1 billion in mobile payment revenue in 2013, according to estimates from Business Insider’s research service, BI Intelligence.

In Asia, the largest mobile market with a significant number of mobile transactions, consumers bump phones at subway stations as a way to pay for their fare. Within China alone, nearly $1.6 Trillion was spent across mobile in 2013, according a The Next Web report citing statistics from the country’s central bank. Although the United States is a bit behind, BI Intelligence last year estimated that mobile credit and debit card transactions had grown 118% on average each year over the previous five years.

Rewards & Loyalty Program: How do you incentivize your users to give personal information such as a credit card number to use your app? Loyalty programs play a critical role in retailers’ success. The Starbucks app captures all of your purchases, gives you points and advances you to tiers where you can get promotions and offers, which ultimately attracts you back to your nearest Starbucks location.

By enmeshing the loyalty program with transactions, Starbucks looks beyond point of sale and towards customer experience. In May of last year, the company furtherexpanded its program to include purchases made outside its stores, a move largely unprecedented in the retail world.

It Incorporates The Latest To Be The Greatest

Instead of following trends, Starbucks creates them. The company implements the latest technology, such as QR codes, coupon downloads and virtual gift cards to elevate itself as an industry leader, all while capitalizing on the traditional technology of the store locators and click-to-call features in its app. With all of these digital components, many are starting to think of Starbucks as a technology company rather than just a coffee spot.

Starbucks itself certainly acknowledges the important role mobile plays. In a letter to shareholders (PDF) regarding fiscal 2013, Schultz said:

“The relationship that we have with our customers has always been core to our brand. Today, these connections are more powerful than ever because of the combined, complementary influence of our global retail footprint, our world-class digital and mobile technologies, and our innovative loyalty programs.”

It’s no surprise that Starbucks was named Mobile Marketer of the Year twice in the past three years and that its payment volume has seen a 73% increase year-over-year, according to Business Insider. The beverage giant always uses mobile strategies to promote new product launches, services and holiday deals in order to drive product awareness and in-store traffic.

Mobile is a front-running strategy for Starbucks, not an add-on. It is truly innovative in the mobile space, and all of these digital developments have improved upon the already-positive customer experience it provides. Starbucks is definitely a brand to watch in this space, and other brands should look to it as a model for taking their own mobile advertising to new heights.