Attribution Revolution: The Mobile Series in Boston


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:

James Green, CEO, Magnetic

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


by James Green
CEO, Magnetic



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


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!



Magnetic and Tapad Partnership Allows Brands to Reach Users Across Screens

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Magnetic has partnered with Tapad to power search retargeting across devices. With Tapad’s Device Graph Access™, Magnetic’s online search data and media platform will enable marketers to reach consumers based on unified, cross-screen behaviors and to reach the same user with relevant advertising, regardless of their physical location or device.

How mobile retargeting works:


Magnetic is the only search retargeting company to partner with Tapad and will now be the first to support cross-device retargeting using search intent. “Mobile adds an entirely new dimension to the customer journey, which has already become a vital part of the media mix,” said James Green, CEO of Magnetic. “Our partnership with Tapad allows Magnetic to reach the right audience everywhere based on search intent, regardless of their device.”

Click here to view the full press release.


Magnetic’s Retail Therapy – October 9, 2014

 1. The Christmas Creep

Think it’s too soon to start advertising for Christmas? The numbers prove otherwise.

“Two-thirds of people surveyed in a Bain & Company poll last week reported few, if any, negative feelings about it. One-third even said that the ads put them in a good mood. This receptiveness jibes with the National Retail Federation’s consistent finding that almost half of Americans start shopping for the holidays before Halloween.” View the full article on Yahoo Finance


2. Tis The Season Of Intent

Magnetic is giving marketers quick tips for the year’s biggest shopping season.

“Tightly tethered retargeting strategies allow advertisers to expand beyond a finite audience, a common barrier for site retargeting. Use intent across the funnel to turn attraction into action.”  Download the Magnetic Holiday Marketing Guide


3. This Holiday Season, Take Advantage Of Mobile

Mobile devices have become an integral part of a consumer’s path to purchase.

“Fully 60% of mobile device users said they were likely to respond to retail-related mobile ads that contained information about discounts and sales, the most popular response by a long shot. Product reviews (36%) and product information (35%) rounded out the top three.” Learn more on eMarketer


4. Holiday Spending Expected To Rise 4%

 This Holiday season, it is predicted that retail spending will increase by 4-4.5%, bringing total spend to $986 billion.

“The consultancy also reports that 84% of consumers are using digital tools, either before or during their shopping excursions. And because those shoppers make purchases at a 40% higher rate than those who don’t, Deloitte is encouraging stores to flex their digital marketing muscle as much as possible.” Read the full article from MediaPost

How Marketers Can Get In Sync With The Multi-Screen World


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



Featured on Marketing Land’s CMO Zone, October 9, 2014


With consumers constantly switching between desktop and laptop computers, tablets, mobile phones, wearable devices, and connected TVs, it’s difficult to target users with relevant ads. However, a multi-screen or omni-channel strategy is the future for marketers.

An August 2013 poll by the Association of National Advertisers and Nielsen found that two-thirds of marketers spent up to 25% of their media budget on integrated multi-screen campaigns. Fast forward more than a year later and there are even more advancements in technologies, with the increased adoption of cross-device targeting and the new iPhone.

The age of multiple screens provides the opportunity for advertisers to engage and influence consumers across more channels; however, it also comes with a new set of challenges and considerations for marketers to keep in mind. Below are some tips on how to reach audiences across screens:

1. Choose The Right Tech Provider

It’s important to define a marketer’s desired environment before choosing a provider, especially with an eye to the two key targeting methods: deterministic and probabilistic.

Deterministic refers to 100% definitive targeting and is often validated by login data. Because login information is required, the user is known with a high degree of certainty. The downside is that ads can only be served in a limited environment. Additionally, there are only a handful of companies that manage to do this at scale such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

On the other hand, probabilistic, while not 100% definitive, uses statistical mapping of devices to identify unique users. Since the probabilistic method is able to span beyond platforms, operating systems and applications, it’s a more scalable cross-device targeting solution for marketers.

Companies like Tapad, Drawbridge, Conversant and BlueCava have created viable cross-device technologies that look at device patterns related to location, browsing and app behaviors in order to determine which devices belong to the same user. The downside of the probabilistic method is that it’s not as accurate as the deterministic approach.

Scale is key when it comes to device mapping, and it’s only useful if marketers can use it to identify their audience. Ideally, you want to make sure that there is enough overlap between your audience base and the number of unique users associated with specific devices.

2. Think Beyond The Cookie

With mobile usage surpassing desktop, industry decision-makers need to start thinking beyond the cookie or they will miss out on engagement opportunities. Cookies are not obsolete when it comes to mobile, but they certainly aren’t the most effective when you consider that cookies are not unique to a specific user and not 100% supported in mobile environments.

For example, if someone opens up three browsers, they can essentially have three unique cookies. It’s important to have technology that enables mapping of all the cookies to a unique user. In addition, browsers such as Safari block third-party cookies, and applications don’t allow for the functionality of cookies.

Major companies are already making the move toward a cookie-less existence. Google and Facebook have their own IDs in order to map users across the digital landscape, which offers a higher value proposition for advertisers.

Companies such as Verizon have followed suit by launching PrecisionID, which The Wall Street Journal described thusly: “[I]f a Verizon subscriber visits a shoe retailer’s site, the retailer might log that activity. Verizon’s PrecisionID could then help that retailer target ads to the same user’s mobile device within websites or applications.”

It is important to note that cookies are still quite effective in desktop and will be until a majority of transactions from buy and sell side across all players and ecosystem are using a universal ID.

3. Understand The Role Of Each Device

Today, it’s challenging for marketers to measure data points across each device and since a buyer penetration is still higher on laptops and desktops, smartphones and tablets are missing out on credit for helping drive conversions.

ComScore released data earlier this year showing that buyer penetration for desktops was 79% compared to tablets at 42% and mobile at 25%. ComScore also shared data that indicates that consumers now spend more time engaging with retail sites on their smartphone than desktop.

The challenge lies in obtaining a 360-degree customer view, where you see their entry point into the funnel all the way through to their conversion and properly attribute credit across screens. Understanding the role of each device along the path to conversion will impact how you evaluate the performance of your campaign and the performance by platform.

4. Marketers Must Adapt Quickly

According to an October report from eMarketer, U.S. adults are expected to spend 22.9% of their time in 2014 on mobile devices (non-voice), compared to desktops/laptops at 17.7%.


Yet experts estimate that we still spend anywhere from 2x to 5x more on PC ad spend than on mobile ad spend.

Today’s spend is simply not representative of consumer engagement; time is spread across devices. Time spent represents a meaningful shift for marketers.

To put this in perspective, the average time spent on mobile per day has jumped from 3.7% in 2010 to 13.4% in 2012 and now to 22.9% for 2014 (per the chart above). This increase signals that consumers are quickly taking hold of more screens, and marketers should follow.

Marketing Challenge Vs. Opportunity

Many internet users own both a desktop or laptop and a mobile device, and most marketers want to be able to reach their consumers on as many platforms as possible. While there are many challenges that lie ahead in terms of perfecting the multi-screen experience, the opportunities undeniably outweigh the struggles.

Digital as a whole has reached critical mass, but the marketing universe still has to fully adapt into the cross device universe in order for the stars to be fully aligned.

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.