Facebook is rolling out new targeting features for its advertising interface, which allows advertisers to reach their target audiences more precisely. Advertisers can now narrow down their Facebook campaigns by four main targeting types: location, demographic, interests and behavior. In location targeting, marketers can build flexible campaigns by using the combination of geographies such as country and city or country and state. The new demographic features give advertisers the ability to reach audiences based on type of education, job title, relationship status and other information. Besides, instead of targeting broad interest categories and keywords, advertisers are able to choose one interest segment to target a specific group. Behavioral targeting options like device usage and purchases have been included as well.
In October 2013, Google released the beta of a new enhancement to Product Listing Ads, called Shopping campaigns. Starting from this week, Shopping campaigns are available to all advertisers around the world. Google Shopping campaigns are a new way to organize Product Listing Ads within AdWords, allowing merchants to browse inventory and streamline reports of Product Listing Ads directly in AdWords. Other major elements of Shopping campaigns include: structure product listing ads based on product group layering, include benchmark CTR and bulk bid changes, and add other advertiser focused updates. Existing Product Listing Ads campaigns overlap with new Shopping campaigns and advertises can choose to use regular Product Listing Ads campaigns or switch to Shopping campaigns for more flexibility and new features.
In order to improve the quality of search results, Google has just released an update to the Top Heavy algorithm that downgrades the ranking of websites with too many ads. The Top Heavy algorithm was first launched in January 2012 because many users had complained that it was difficult to find the actual content on some webpages due to excessive ads. The algorithm looks at the layout of webpages and if a page carries too many ads at the top or distracts users from finding the content they are looking for, Google will downgrade the ranking of this page. The latest update of the Top Heavy algorithm was activated on February 6th.
Google announced a few changes to its AdWords reporting, enabling advertisers to customize the way conversions are tracked based on their business needs. Beginning in February 2014, advertisers can set the conversion setting in AdWords as “All conversions” or “Unique conversions”. “All conversions” is ideal for advertisers interested in the total number of sales. For example, two conversions will be recorded if a customer books a hotel and rental car. “Unique conversions”, on the other hand, counts only unique conversions and is a good choice for lead generation tracking. If a customer fills out multiple lead forms in both home insurance and car insurance sections, AdWords will only count two conversions. This update comes with new column names “Converted clicks” and “Conversions” in AdWords reports.
Twitter recently introduced its conversion tracking tool which allows advertisers to track the performance of Twitter Ads. By placing a tracking tag on the thank you page of their sites, advertisers can track how Promoted Tweets drive conversions on destination sites through ad impressions and engagement. One of the key benefits of conversion tracking is the conversion attribution window that can be set for both post-engagement and post-view conversions. The attribution window can identify which specific engagement triggered the conversion, such as Tweet expands and Retweets. Companies like Alex and Ani, Live Nation, and Seamless have been testing the conversion tracking beta version before the official launch.
8thBridge, a social technology company, recently released its third annual Social Commerce IQ (SCIQ) report, which analyzed online retailers’ strategies of using social commerce to improve the shopping experience. 872 retailers were surveyed this year, including almost all brands in the Internet Retailer 2013 Top 500 Guide. The results show that, in terms of platform adoption, around 90% of brands are using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest. Facebook and YouTube generate most traffic, while only 85 retailers are getting traﬃc from Twitter and 55 retailers are getting traffic from Instagram. About 58% of brands think Facebook drive sales most successfully, followed by Pinterest with 27% support. It also shows that Facebook is the main platform for people to share products and also the most effective way to learn about new products.
ExactTarget, a digital marketing software company acquired by Salesforce in 2013, recently released a report of the top marketing priorities in 2014. The results are based on a survey of over 2,500 marketers and provide informative insights for marketers while setting new strategies for this year. The survey found that increasing conversion rates is the first priority for marketers in 2014 (47%), while other top priorities are increasing brand awareness (46%) and utilizing behavior-based data (29%). When it comes to the budget, 98% of marketers intend to increase or maintain digital marketing budgets for 2014, with the focus on data & analytics and marketing automation. About 66% of respondents agreed that social media indirectly impacts their business performance. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, other channels marketers plan to use in 2014 include Google+, SlideShare, Blogs, Podcasts, and Pinterest.