The Holiday Advantage: Maturation Of Mobile Real-Time Bidding

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

 

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Featured on Marketing Land, November 6, 2014

 

The holiday season is a time when the symbiotic relationship between consumers and retailers is at its peak. Not only are consumers looking for the best deals and most efficient ways to apply their holiday gift budget, but retailers are also hoping to meet – and exceed – their holiday projections.

This year more than ever, retailers will be taking advantage of mobile and real-time bidding (RTB) strategies to reach consumers when and where they are shopping.

Digital devices have created environments where store hours are non-existent. The internet is open for business 24 hours a day, and Google Shopping Search Data from July to September 2014 shows that one third of shopping searches happened between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.

Real-Time Bidding

The maturation of mobile has been a key contributor in allowing consumers to adapt their buying behaviors to this nonstop retail lifecycle. When you combine mobile with the ability to reach your audience instantly through real-time bidding (RTB), you land at the intersection of two of the fastest growing areas of digital marketing.

Last year, serving ads on mobile devices or tapping into app environments could be considered emerging trends. According to mobile ad exchange Nexage, mobile RTB spend increased 153% during the holiday season and accounted for 70% of total spend on the exchange at one point.

Now, mobile is considered a marketing must-have, and when combined with RTB and data-driven advertising, it opens new marketing opportunities as it relates to time and location for the 2014 holiday shopping season.

The significant growth that mobile RTB has experienced during this past year means that the amount of inventory available on ad exchanges has also increased, so marketers have plenty of opportunities to reach shoppers while they’re actively making buying decisions.

Also, earlier this year, Smaato released a Global Mobile RTB Insights report, which showed that the CPG, food and retail categories overtook entertainment and media as the number one spenders for mobile RTB in Q1.

Since mobile RTB helps marketers take advantage of the times when consumers are on the go (many times, shopping), there is a tremendous focus on how the industry can further improve RTB’s growth and make it a more vital part of every marketing strategy.

Mobile Attribution

To start, location-specific targeting is the main difference (and advantage) for mobile RTB compared to desktop RTB.

The opportunity to layer shopping behaviors and physical location with real-time activity creates a more holistic view of your customer and their path to purchase, which may ultimately lead to more sales.

Mobile enables brands to target potential customers by device type, demographics, search data, site activity and location. Hyper local targeting takes location-based advertising one step further with its potential to drive consumers to an actual store location.

In this scenario, mobile quickly becomes a strong tool for driving in-store traffic vs. actual online purchases. Other aspects related to creative and audience targeting allow marketers to engage that same user across their screens through rich experiences.

So, how can retailers ensure their mobile RTB strategies are making an impact on their bottom line?

Multi-channel attribution is important to measure efficacy of mobile against other digital and offline marketing strategies. With the last touch model, mobile will be underestimated and, in effect, devalued for its impact to drive sales, as a higher percentage of conversions happen on desktops.

By looking beyond the last touch model, retailers will gain the ability to measure the multiple touch points driving sales. They can use these data to better understand the effects of top-funnel influencers, optimize different channel strategies, and fine tune ad frequency across their entire marketing spend.

Final Thoughts

As the holidays approach, brands that take advantage of mobile RTB will be able to reach more of their customer segments.

Brands will be able to get in front of their prospects as they consume content on mobile devices, allowing brands to reach target audiences when prospects are most likely in shopping mode or in close proximity to a physical store location.

The Components Of A Well-Oiled Retargeting Machine

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by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

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Featured on Marketing Land, November 3, 2014

 

Marketers are constantly looking for ways to reach and engage new and existing consumers, so it’s no surprise that retargeting strategies have grown rapidly over the past few years.

An August 2014 study by Marin Software noted that 88% of US marketers polled use retargeting, and the majority (56%) of respondents which hadn’t implemented retargeting yet were planning to start executing it within 12 months.

Combining different forms of retargeting strategies allows marketers to reach, influence and convert customers through multiple touch points.

Data Is A Key Player

First, take a step back and consider all of the different forms of retargeting strategies that are available – email, site, social and search – and understand how they work together to reach prospects and push them through the funnel. The common denominator across all retargeting strategies is data.

While data differs by retargeting strategy, it provides varying degrees of what a consumer might be interested in, and this can all be used to “remarket” a particular user or audience.

Reach The Middle Of The Funnel

The beauty of retargeting is that it’s not limited to the bottom funnel. In fact, while marketing messages are important at every stage of the consumer funnel, many marketers overlook the middle and focus more heavily on the top and bottom stages.

The middle is where the consideration phase is and where your ability to influence a customer is the most critical.

Retarget On Social Platforms

The Marin Software study also found that social retargeting is on rise, with 67.1% of respondents saying they will increase their social retargeting budgets over the next year.

Facebook and Twitter both allow marketers to target audiences using their social networks – environments that are most often effective within the consideration phase.

Retargeting Reaches New Customers

Most consumers start all search activity within engines like Google or Bing. They search for something and leave the search engine to explore the product or service they are looking for on other sites. From there, they may take a break from their online exploration altogether, and spend their time on social, news or content sites.

At this stage, marketers can gain access to strong intent signals from new customers, derived from their search keywords and/or on-site behaviors during their online journey.

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The Downside Of Siloed Retargeting Efforts

Taking a siloed approach to retargeting will only create less effective marketing programs.

First, and most importantly, you will not be able to assign proper credit for conversions across the different retargeting strategies. As a result, you will have an inaccurate view of which retargeting strategy effectively influenced your marketing efforts, which impacts business decisions.

Second, data becomes less effective when it is used as a stand-alone mechanism. The beauty of all this data lies within the ability to better understand your customer, both in terms of their journey from start to finish and how valuable they are to your business. Some customers are more likely to convert and engage than others, but you need multiple touch points to make those kinds of discoveries.

In the end, this will help marketers make smarter bids across real-time buying platforms because you can distinguish the value of a given user. Additionally, advertisers will receive a more complete picture of what their customers are actually interested in by tying their retargeting efforts together.

A bundled approach creates an efficient retargeting machine that constantly reaches new prospects, nurtures them through the funnel and ultimately, leads them to purchase.

Marketers must consider the audience they want to reach and plan campaigns that pull multiple levers in order to get in front of their customers. The world of online and digital marketing is highly competitive, but using these strategies in unison is sure to give you an advantage.

Magnetic’s Launch Party @ The Ham Yard Hotel

Last week, Magnetic held our London launch party at the newly opened Ham Yard Hotel. Everyone gathered at the Croc Bowling Alley & Lounge for a fantastic evening of pins, pints and partying. In addition to an open bar and savory dishes, Magnetic hosted a bowling contest and winners went home with festive champagne bottles!

Below are some pictures from the great night:

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Magnetic’s Retail Therapy – October 30, 2014

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1. Target Aims To Attract With Free Shipping

Target plans to challenge their competitors and win over consumers with free shipping this holiday season.

“The free shipping “raises pressure on Target’s rivals to match the offer, increasingly a requirement for shoppers to make purchases online,” observes Paul Ziobro in the Wall Street Journal. “A study by advisory firm Deloitte found that up to 60% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts due to unexpected costs, including shipping.” View the full article on MarketingLand

 

2. In Our Digital World, The Shopping Never Stops

What are you doing from 10:00pm – 4:00am? New data from Google shows that one third of you are online shopping.

 “Shoppers are also spending more time consulting more sources before making a decision. In 2010, shoppers used an average of five sources of information before purchasing, but that has more than doubled, with shoppers consulting at least 12 sources last year. This means that October through November has become a crucial period for retailers to reach shoppers online, being present with offers, information, how-tos and content.” Learn more from Google

 

3. E-Commerce Shopping At a Record High

With 56% of consumers shopping online, marketers must incorporate digital.

“That 56 percent figure is up from 51.5 percent last year, and also represents a record high for the 13 years that the NRF has been doing this survey. Another record: The NRF says the average shopper will do 44.4 percent of his/her shopping online this holiday season.” View the full article on MarketingLand

 

4. It’s Not Just a Shopping Frenzy…

Magnetic CEO, James Green, offers some tips on how to approach the bidding frenzy this holiday season.

“What tends to happen during a high volume-shopping period like Black Friday and Cyber Monday is, the number of advertisers bidding on audiences increases significantly, which drives up the bid price. As bid prices go up, so does the cost per acquisition, making it much more costly to acquire a customer.”  Real the full article on MediaPost

 

How Small Businesses Can Capitalize on Online Marketing with Retargeting

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Magnetic’s CEO, James Green, contributed to the AMEX Open Forum article “How to Build a Bridge Between Your Online and Offline Traffic,” which focused on how marketers can bridge their marketing efforts for Small Business Saturday. James suggested to “be prepared” by identifying what you want to promote, and to begin nurturing your prospects right away. “Timing means everything when it comes to getting in front of your customers,” he said in the piece.

“Aiming locally” is another technique James offered, and suggested using hyper-local advertising techniques, such as geo-fencing. “Research shows a large majority of consumers searching online for information about purchases want ads customized to their local surroundings,” he said in the article.

View the entire article here.

 

Attribution Revolution: The Mobile Series in Boston

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Last week, Magnetic hosted Attribution Revolution: The Mobile Series at Boston’s GEM Kitchen & Lounge. Attribution Revolution is an engaging series of panel events addressing key topics and challenges that currently affect the digital media landscape. Our panel’s 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:

Moderator:
James Green, CEO, Magnetic

Panelists:
Paul Pellmen, Head of Adometry, Google
Dwight Crow, Product Manager for Direct Response Advertising, Facebook
Vivian Chang, General Manager/Vice President of Technology Business, Tapad
Ed Haslam, SVP of Marketing, PlaceIQ

Twitter was alive with activity from the night. Here are some of the posts quoting the panelists:

  • “Cross-device strategy vs. mobile strategy: mobile isn’t a strategy, it’s a tactic…”
  • “79% of people are on a second screen while watching TV…”
  • “It’s no longer a linear path…you have to think about where the user is on their devices…”
  • “With cross-device, mobile drives the same amount of revenue as standard display – the conversion is just happening elsewhere…”
  • “Using last event attribution is no longer accurate…”

See the full panel video and pictures below:

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Navigating The Holiday Season’s Bidding Frenzy

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by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

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Featured on MediaPost’s RTB Insider, October 23, 2014

 

The lines have blurred when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as consumers now engage in both online and offline shopping activity all weekend long. In 2013, Thanksgiving and Black Friday brought in a combined $12.3 billion in sales, according to ShopperTrak. The National Retail Federation reported that 92 million people shopped on Black Friday, with nearly half shopping online. Additionally, Cyber Monday reached an all-time high, with $1.7B in desktop sales.

We all know the kind of frenzy that goes on during this time of year. First, consumers flood big-box retailers and soon after, online retailers get in on the action. For real-time buying (RTB), this means more than a shopping frenzy. The surge in sales around these prime shopping days also means a bidding frenzy.

By now, a large majority of advertisers spend a portion of the their holiday marketing budgets on RTB, which helps them reach and get in front of customers in real time based on a varied set of behaviors, including online search and site activity. What tends to happen during a high volume-shopping period like Black Friday and Cyber Monday is, the number of advertisers bidding on audiences increases signficantly, which drives up the bid price. As bid prices go up, so does the cost per acquisition, making it much more costly to acquire a customer.

During Black Friday and Cyber Monday and even throughout the larger holiday season, inventory can also be harder to come by. The influx of dollars spent on advertising in guaranteed buys may reduce the volume of inventory on the open marketplaces. The combination of less inventory available with increased demand also forces higher prices across the ad exchange environment.

As RTB matures, companies will become better equipped to deal with the holiday rush.   Here are some things you can do to make sure you reach your customers with the right campaign at the right price:

  • Adjust bid prices early on, and optimize pacing to ensure that your campaign can meet delivery goals. Hopefully you or your partner has an optimization engine that can do the heavy lifting for you.
  • Look at historical performance and evaluate previous market activity to inform your RTB strategy, including when to begin more aggressive bidding.
  • Lock in rates with proven sources of good media ahead of time with private marketplaces.
  • Experiment early on with cheaper sources of media, like long-tail sites.
  • Integrate your CRM database into your site retargeting campaigns. Bid more for loyal customers — you don’t want to lose them.
  • Implement a cross-device strategy. Tablets and mobile phones as well as desktops have RTB inventory available to buy. Not many companies have done this yet, but you may find it cheaper — and more effective — to reach your customer on a different device.
  • Think hard about your attribution model. Serving an ad to someone at the last second often does not have much of an impact. At this stage, consumers are most likely to click on the ad, as they have already made their purchase decision and decided to buy from you. Influencing purchase decisions earlier equals cheaper inventory. We’ve found that the most expensive inventory is not based on media type, but on bidding strategy. Site retargeting tends to be more expensive than all other forms of RTB bidding. Implementing a prospecting strategy such as search retargeting can significantly reduce your cost of customer acquisition, especially when you have the proper attribution model in place.

At the end of the day, advertisers want to be where their customers are — and RTB continues to prove that it is the most effective strategy available. Rather than placing such an enormous emphasis on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, brands should leverage RTB across the extended holiday season, taking advantage of data that can help them reach and influence their customers early on, well before the bidding frenzy begins.

 

The Holiday Rush: Ins and Outs of Technology Search Trends

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The holiday season is a mad dash for retailers to attract consumers. Magnetic’s search data, collected across shopping comparison, product review and e-commerce sites, showed spikes in technology search tendencies.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the 2014 holiday season will see the highest levels of consumer spending on electronics, increasing spending by 2.5% since last year.

Click on Magnetic’s infographic below for more insights!

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