Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

CompetitorAnalysis

Whilst it’s important to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to, it certainly shouldn’t be in the bucket of tasks to obsess about and instead competitor analysis should be part and parcel of problem solving.

Whether research suggests a specific type of financial product should be launched, a specific mobile payment method is needed, refer a friend rebrand, registration flow optimised or customer support improvements, part of the discovery phase when looking at solutions should be analysing how other companies have solved the problem (including competitors), which would give a wide range of interesting ideas to consider.

It’s equally important to not simply copy what competitors do, but instead have a vision and ambition to deliver a next generation solution leapfrogging the competition.

An important time to analyse other companies approach to a solution especially competitors is their approach to new regulatory requirements, especially as some of the guidelines are so ambiguous and taking a risk approach to some regulatory requirements comes with potential consequences, but equally come with an avoidance of revenue loss and it’s important to remember that implementing regulatory requirements isn’t cheap not to mention the opportunity cost. An example is that if the likes of Vodafone, British Gas, PokerStars, Llyods or Apple have deployed a relatively high risk approach to certain regulations, then it’s safe to say that using their solutions as a guide would be sensible. If the regulation is industry specific then using the market leader could be a good base also.

If you’re one to obsess about competitors or tend to replicate what they do, the next time you have a big change to make or problem to solve, try ignoring that any competitors exist, ignore all current technical limitations giving the development teams a blank canvas to focus on solving the real clear problem at hand and you might be blown away at the creative thinking that the development teams and UX come up with, utilising the wide variety of new technology available which surpasses anything your competitors have got live or on their product roadmap.

Kpi

In order to prioritise effectively you need both the projected value and effort, but these aren’t always easy to come by. Projecting value can be particularly challenging if the data isn’t easily accessible which can have a knock on effect when analysing your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

Ensuring that a product / feature have KPIs is beneficial for a few reasons including: Aiding prioritisation, celebrating success, feeding back on software development iterations and to feed into the general product vision and wider business goals.

Your KPIs don’t have to be a financial value (although a good attempt at projecting a monetary value should be made to aid ROI projections) or just one KPI, but they just need to be measurable, an indication of success and for them to be linked in someway to the overall business goals, so how can you identify what your KPIs are:

  • Incremental revenue – benchmarking on existing revenue volumes for the relevant feature in question. What do you anticipate increasing the revenue / ARPU by
  • How many customer queries are you hoping to reduce and how much does it cost per contact
  • Is it solving a common problem / request that high value players have been submitting
  • Will solving the problem increase website stability, reducing downtime for customers
  • Are you expecting to increase customer acquisition numbers / conversion rate
  • Will it increase retention rates – a measure of this is churn rate / drop off as well as LTV
  • Efficiency savings – by completing a piece of work could it increase team output / Velocity whether it be development or a marketing team
  • Feature traffic / usage – if conversions or direct revenue from the feature isn’t relevant then at a minimum having sessions, dwell time and value of customers using the feature can be used as a KPI

    Identifying your KPIs is one thing, but having the data available at your disposal on a self-service basis to cut, analyse and share is naturally fundamental, but once you have identified your KPIs and have access to the data, you can be confident that you’re well equipped to contribute to the Agile piece, but also your helping meet the wider business goals.

    Positive and collaboration image

    Product Management (Product Owners / Product Managers) typically have a very broad range of responsibilities as they’re quite often seen to be the avenue to ensure not only that ‘things get done’ when it comes to product delivery, but also that the right things get done.

    The size of the business and location of departments can determine what you do day to day, for example a small company a product manager might see themselves fulfilling the role of a marketer, data analyst or developer team lead on top of their product management role, but in a larger organisation who typically handle all operations in-house might see themselves promoting the vision, providing context, prioritisation and collaborating with the different departments to get things done. Lastly you could be in the unfortunate position where you have the developers in one country, the marketers in another and further more the product management team in another country which makes collaboration all the more challenging.

    Product specialists are expected to be well rounded across a multitude of disciplines including KPIs / handling data, prioritisation (effort vs. value), customer service, UX, technical, marketing, Agile and of course product life cycle, but being a specialist in all these areas is unrealistic, so it’s fundamental to closely collaborate with all areas of the business in order to get to the right solution to customers within an acceptable time frame.

    Unlike a dictatorship, collaborating on what problems to solve is critical generating a positive atmosphere, so discussing the problem you’re hoping to solve and solutions openly and honestly with stakeholders and relevant business areas, enables you all to come to a decision together with the customer being at the heart of conversations which will result in delivering a far superior product / end result.

    This actually applies to the majority of roles, but collaboration alone is not enough and it’s equally important to be positive with a ‘can do’ attitude which will likely be absorbed across the ranks, resulting in your fellow colleagues who you rely on so much will rally behind you to fast track solutions to your customers.

    Letting the barriers down, lots of collaboration, positivity, understanding there’s no I in team, believing that you can’t do everything on your own and appreciating the support at your disposal will naturally put you on the right road to success.

    So many awesome ideas from so many people to improve product, but it’ll always be impossible to fulfil all desires in an acceptable time frame to stakeholders, making prioritisation not only challenging but extremely important.

    Process, data, collaboration and determination can certainly make prioritisation all the more effective and smoother, so looking at these areas in more detail:

    Process: Status of projects, where do product requests / bugs sit in the pecking order, ETA on delivery, investment cost and projected value of projects held in a transparent way will help with the communication overhead and help maintain trust.

    Data: To ensure that high value items are being worked on you need data to backup assumptions. It can be easy to flap and try to make a problem out to be bigger than it is to get it done, but there should always be some kind of data to back it up with examples being: incremental revenue which can be reverse engineered from retention uplift rates or projected acquisition volume increases using ARPU for example. Other ways of projecting value / determining scale of the problem is customer support queries or customer feedback, site loading times, efficiency in terms of £££ saving eg. Man hours / days or software costs etc.

    Collaboration: Discussing value and priority options openly with your colleagues will help you deliver a product in a more confident and focused way, as it’s not easy making the big decisions on prioritisation because what’s at the top or moves to the top means that the items below won’t be done now or perhaps anytime soon, so checking and agreeing on the focus / roadmap helps to give confidence to just get on with delivering a high quality & value product without having to worry about justifying a decision you’ve made alone every minute of the day.

    Determination: Prioritisation changes frequently if you work in an agile environment, so being positive and determined to deliver upcoming projects you’ve been discussing for months or even years helps to keep focus on delivering the key business goals and provides reminders that it’s still on the agenda, no matter the level of incoming bombshells / distractions.

    If someone asks for something to be done urgently without providing any numbers representing the projected value or any element to give an idea of the scale of the problem you’re looking to solve, then asking why do it or what happens if we don’t do it in the next 12 months should help to quickly prompt the need to research more into the value.

    Projecting investment cost and taking time to dig into the real value the product change will make in a collaborative way, will ensure that you’re delivering frequent value to customers internally and externally in a happy, fun and relaxed environment.

    With marketing departments typically focusing on P&L / ROI of ad campaigns and product development on product quality, product feature enhancements / performance and customer UX, it’s easy for the two business areas to be fragmented which could make the end goal harder to reach.

    Ironically although the individual department goals for both are normally so separate and different, the most common problems they face can sometimes be solved by the other eg. Acquisition marketing unable to increase incremental volume because the CPA / ROI / ARPU of the additional media spend doesn’t look healthy, yet fixing some bugs around the product feature in question, a feature enhancement or a new product release is likely to contribute to the solution that allows a raft of new customers through the door efficiently. Vice versa, a new shiny product or feature where the target audience is so niche that acquisition marketing efficiency / volume is poor or it’s unlikely existing customers will benefit, then it’ll be an uphill struggle to make the product viable.

    Fortunately the majority of brands have both of these areas in-house so it does make optimising the relationships and responsibilities easier. Naturally one area cannot exist without the other even when you look at brands like Google and Facebook who have groundbreaking products, yet still require nicely crafted ad campaigns to generate incremental revenue.

    Product developers don’t bite and marketers don’t just care about ad campaign performance, so close collaboration which is vital can be achieved by letting down a shield and discussing problems openly and bravely, so that multiple solutions can be discussed and you never know, the problem you thought was a tough problem to solve, may not be so tough anymore.

    Again, close collaboration is key and potentially another way of aiding / fast tracking an improved relationship is by recruiting a marketer or two into the product development arena or vice versa.

    The two departments working collaboratively to solve problems could lead to some spectacular chemistry.

    It’s powerful, flexible, customisable, saves thousands of man hours, provides valuable customer insights / behaviour and most importantly ensures that you get a healthy ROI if used in the right way.

    Meet The Brain: The Brain is MediaMath’s proprietary algorithm and ingests data (60 billion opportunities everyday to be exact) and decisions against that data.

    Their algorithm’s left-brain and right-brain work together to analyse large pools of impressions, looking at dozens of user and media variables, to determine which impressions will best meet an advertiser’s goal.The Brain values each impression based on its likelihood of driving an action, and bids accordingly.

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    computer-thief

    Can we place a pixel across your whole site and we’ll give you free customer insights? Can we place a pixel on each stage of the user journey so that we can optimise towards all site traffic data?

    These are two very common questions which originated from traditional ad networks and still lives on even though technology has evolved.

    If you ask a marketer if they could target anyone in the world with advertising with no restrictions, it would no doubt be their competitors customers.

    I am fortunate enough to have bought display remarketing campaigns targeting competitor customers in the past. This was when I worked across the largest hotel chain in the UK at an ad agency via an ad network. That level of targeting, special offer creative and high frequency reaped rewards as you’d expect.

    Marketers spend £millions a year on advertising and driving quality traffic can be expensive, so the last thing they want is a competitor just simply remarketing all of their users who visit their site either through FBX or display.

    Fortunately this can be avoided if marketing deploys a strict policy that they only allow media pixels to fire on an attributed basis, yes some partners might say that they’d need all data to optimise but when you weigh up value vs. risk, it’s simply not worth it. Optimising on attributed traffic only is good enough for third party ad partners.

    On the analysis front eg. Google Analytics, Click Tale, Quantcast etc. it’s a case of applying a bit of logic, experience and research so then when deploying tracking / pixels on site, your data will not be sold in a data exchange or given to a competitor for remarketing. When it comes to big blue chip companies like Facebook, Adobe and Google, there’s no need to hesitate about data security because if it gets out that they’re selling your data then it would be disastrous for them. Whereas the likes of Quantcast who are very well known for giving you FREE customer insights just for placing a pixel across your whole site, is one of those cases where big red warning lights should appear because in this world nothing is really for free and the likes of Qantcast make money from using your data.

    Having a strict cookie / tracking policy is safe and advisable but by not having one could cause your market share to decrease as your competitors steal your customers.

    You don’t walk across a busy road without looking in either direction so think twice before implementing code on your site.

    Ever wondered what the digital agency market looks like from space?

    Well Neil’s Recruitment did and as a result they built the below infographic:

    ”Digital

    Not enough

    Scenario: Revenue has been declining for years and the CEO is pointing the finger at acquisition marketing to grow business. Planners are very familiar with this scenario.

    I wrote an article recently that all programmatic buying should be in-house, but if a brand is expecting that this alone will solve a decline in revenue, then they need to wake up and smell the coffee.

    With ad spend over £15bn / year in the UK alone, this brings a lot of hungry salesman to your door insisting that their product is the best and that you should invest, which puts pressure on CEO’s and CMO’s to potentially waste a lot of money testing out the same option over and over again or testing out an option which only has a 1% chance of working to key KPIs. Also accepting a post-view window across their display buys as default because they’ve been constantly told that ‘the flashy banners are driving all organics’ is something which gets banded around often. With that amount of ad spend floating about also brings an opportunity for large sums of money to change hands under desks without the brand (if it’s an agency) or without the investors finding out.

    Just because there is more hype than ever when it comes to advertising eg. programmatic buying, DSP’s and trading desks, it doesn’t mean that focus and investment should divert away from other core business areas. Many CEO’s feel that obsessing about acquisition marketing is the way forward because of the simplicity of delivering an ad which a potential customer can click on in conjunction with hundreds of salesman saying that this is the answer, but for those who are keen to work backwards – finding out why high value customers are leaving feeding this back into dev and marketing, developing products across all devices, looking at CRM and key promotions are the ones who will survive and therefore be able to afford a significantly higher CPA than competitors, giving the trading desk plenty of ad options which competitors cannot afford to buy.

    If all of the below areas work together to achieve a common goal then the long term consequence of this will be shown in bottom line results and staff retention rates in a positive way:

    Capture

    It was really nice to read Marco Bertozzi’s article the other day where he used a personal example to demonstrate that spending money on advertising isn’t the only way of generating revenue and growth.

    Listen

    You have a eureka moment and you start building out the infrastructure for product, website and staff.

    The product flies off the shelves and life is good. Customers are happy, customers are spending on your site and you’re living the dream.

    As the business expands it produces more risk to ‘issues’ across key business areas which effect customers such as product stability, CRM / customer service and product development especially when linked to different platforms. As time goes on, competitors pop up trying to attack your weak points offering a viable alternative and the ideal solution would be to have had long term business strategies in place to cover all areas which could be at risk of those ‘issues’ appearing, resulting in customers not having a good reason to go anywhere else.

    Many businesses only have short term strategies which apply temporary fixes and patches resulting in those ‘issues’ appearing in full view to customers.

    The 21st century has brought customer opinions and voices which are not only expressed across the globe but also across all channels especially social media and forums instantly within seconds to millions, so no longer does a customer have to write a letter to complain or stay on the phone for hours, customers are now in the driving seat not the brand.

    Those businesses who closely monitor, analyse and engage with their customer feedback especially their high value customers will avoid getting annihilated, emmbaresed and shown up in front of millions as well as having to pay high acquisition costs to convince new customers that they have changed.

    Brands need to stop thinking that they know better and start believing the classic saying that ‘the customer is always right’. Yes, not every single customer is right and you don’t need to add every piece of feedback to the business agenda, but apply logic to constructive feedback and where a clear trend appears apply it to the relevant business area.

    Not only are your high value customers willing to give you an abundance of ideas on how to improve, but you only have to give a tiny gift away to get vital feedback to improve business, which in turn once implemented will give you an abundance of organic new customers compared to the expense of having to use ad budget to acquire those new customers.

    On a similar note, it’s also not acceptable to put a product on the shelf when based on customer feedback post launch is clealy unfinished. A brand should never be in this situation, especially with so many tools available which would give you the feedback you need in order to build the ultimate product which meets demand prior to launch.

    So when you’re lying on the beach seeing the cash flow, you need to remember that if you don’t listen and look after your customers, you can lose them significantly quicker and in greater volume than you can aquire new ones and that is certainly not what investors like to see.

    seo_sign

    For decades purchasing more back links in high volume and on-site content has been top of the agenda for agencies.

    Things have changed as Google focuses more on bespoke popular content for the individual which is reflected in their algorithm.

    Rather than agencies finding the most effective illegitimate way of manipulating Google’s algorithm, they are now forced to work closer than ever in a more genuine way with brands / content marketers in order to achieve higher rankings in the SERPs focusing on:

    • META details – title tag will always remain a crucial part of rankings.
    • On-site content incl. homepage and sections.
    • Creating and supporting a forum which will help domain authority.
    • Social plugins especially G+ across the whole site.
    • Quality link building through PR’s.
    • Blog strategy – working closely with bloggers.
    • Adopting an omni-channel strategy / responsive web design.
    • Site speed across all devices.
    • Minimising use of flash or any other un-friendly search media.

    For years the channel has had to remain in the ‘unknown’ as agencies couldn’t communicate the illegitimate practices, but it’s good to see that the natural / organic search channel can finally sit side by side with other marketing channels.

    I’m sure there are plenty of further algorithmic updates from Google in the pipeline to reward those who are genuine and the industry will embrace these with open arms.

    dictnry

    Programmatic

    When a process is automated and self-service is the definition of programmatic.

    When looking at programmatic buying, this would include: paid search, Facebook marketplace and FBX, affiliates, display RTB, online video RTB and any other biddable media / RTB buy.
    Trading Desk

    A team of ‘programmatic planners / buyers’ is the definition of a trading desk.

    Most agencies claim they have a ‘trading desk’ yet run paid search, affiliates and Facebook marketplace in different buildings to their RTB buys, in which case they should be called a managed service DSP or ad network.

    Only when an agency has all programmatic buying under one team and one ‘head of’ can they truly call themselves a trading desk and have the ability to run a trading desk as it should be done.

    In house

    Ad agencies have offered huge value for advertisers for decades and continue to do so. This will never change.

    The key benefits of outsourcing the media planning and buying function to ad agencies include the likes of: global negotiating power, specialist contacts for sponsorship deals, cross client learnings, cross channel integration, deal with the hassle and admin and it’s someone for the CMO or CEO to blame if the business isn’t hitting key targets.

    With programmatic buying (Paid Search, Social Media, Display RTB, Online Video, Mobile and Affiliates) becoming the bulk of digital Marketing, the majority of these benefits no longer applies therefore it doesn’t make sense and can be classed as lazy if a brand wasn’t to even consider taking all programmatic buying in-house.

    Although rightfully CEO’s obsess about growth, also ‘wastage’ and efficiency across the business needs to be reviewed often.

    Let’s look at the pros and cons for taking all programmatic buying in-house:
    Pros

    • New digital media team would be sitting next to all other marketing areas eg. CRM, creative, content, web design, product managers.
    • Close to business KPI’s and budgets so they can be extremely reactive.
    • No hidden margins in bid platforms.
    • Can often get cheaper adserving and bid platform rates.
    • Team become specialists in the business sector / vertical.
    • 100% of time and focus will be given to the one client.
    • Learnings and data won’t be shared with other clients with no chance of leakage to competitors.
    • Can turn around new campaigns significantly quicker.
    • 24 hour contact.
    • Will always have the time to stay ahead of the game.
    • Work closely with the data team / in-house DMP optimising on real KPI’s such as revenue / LTV / ARPU.
    • Can openly recommend business requirements to CEO in order to get things done quickly and grow the business.
    • No hidden agendas – everyone aiming for the same goal.
    • Other internal departments can be educated about what role the media buy has on business goals.

    Cons

    • Can take six months to recruit team, train grads and setup systems and data integrations.
    • Ad agency would have to make more effort to integrate offlline and online brand with internal programmatic team.
    • The CEO might ignore team recommendations of key requirements needed to improve marketing.
    • CMO would need to find someone who has +5 years experience in programmatic buying across all channels to head up the team and train the grads.

    There are certainly plenty of pros and if you’re wondering how to kick things off, speak to some of the recruitment agencies below who will be able to provide an abundance off free advice:

    Neil’ Recruitment

    Digital Bubble

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    Winner

    You’ve spent months working with the data team setting up all of the marketing data feeds for the DMP and now it’s a case of setting the briefs for multi and custom attribution models.

    Last click attribution is typically default and the most common. It’s not wrong to only stick to one and if there’s no motivation to work with others, then last click isn’t a bad choice to stick to.

    Viewing multi custom attribution models gives you insight into the campaigns which are getting undervalued by contributing more higher up the funnel than lower for example. Off the back of the data, you can then increase targets / goals / CPA accordingly for the relevent campaigns / media buys.

    The benefit of using custom attribution models is that you can amend certain exposures / campaigns in order for the output to make more sense in an actionable way eg. remove all banner impressions which did not get viewed, remove brand search clicks, remove remarketing impressions etc.

    Firstly the data team will need to setup the 5 key out of the box attribution models:

      • Last interaction
      • Linear
      • First interaction
      • Time decay
      • Position based

      Once built out, within your visulisation tool there should be options to customise the data further eg. remove banners which weren’t in view, remove brand search, remarketing and CRM campaigns which will leave you with insight into the real performance of your prospecting campaigns across different attribution models.

      Google have been attempting attribution modelling over the past few years via DFA. They unfortunately still have a couple of bugs making the tool unusable, but they are still further ahead than any other third party attempting custom attribution modelling on a self sevice basis.

      It will always be difficult for third party companies to successfully deal with attribution because attribution models should be built using the data from the in house DMP, which includes back end customer / revenue / LTV data.

      In order to understand how all of your ad campaigns are really performing and what role they fully play, viewing performance data across multi custom attribution models is key.

      DMP’s 2.0

      Posted: Jul 21, 2013 in Business, Data, Marketing
      Tags: , , ,

      Puzzle

      DMP’s have been around for decades but the acronym only started getting banded around the ad industry recently.

      DMP’s up until recently pretty much included only back end data which was overlayed with a visualisation tool such as QlikView or Omniscope. Typically media planner buyers and marketing execs used to use adservers to pull off basic performence reports as all costs were flat ie. Not biddable and held within the adserver.

      Since programmatic buying became more popular, media buyers have been spending a significant amount of time pulling data together from different sources just to see how campaigns are performing – combining bid tool, adserver and back end data manually.

      Programmatic media buyers should be spending as much time as possible setting up strategies and optimising campaigns rather than spending days merging data or reconciling costs.

      Clearly things needed to change and they have started to, resulting in programmatic buyers having to work closer than ever to the database team who manages the DMP.

      Due to this change, the volume of work load and briefs to deal with data has tripled over night for data teams. To deal with the new data demand from marketing, it’s essential to have incremental resource to deal with the additional work because otherwise it will either take years to get done or get done in a shoddy way.

      Allowing marketing the extra data resource to support a data led marketing strategy is essential for business success. A DMP should now include log level data updated in real time / within three hours as standard including:

      • Back end data showing cohort conversion and revenue data
      • Paid Search bid tool spend and impression / click data
      • Social Media bid tool and fan page spend and impression / click data
      • Display bid tool spend and impression / click data
      • Banner inview data
      • CRM email impression / click data
      • Affiliate spend and impression / click data
      • Natural Search impression / click data with any flat agency fee attached
      • Mobile spend and click data
      • TV spots and any other offline channel activity with the relevant spend and volumes attached
      • Adserver data incl. adserving fee making all channel spends fully loaded
      • Site traffic data
      • Weather data
      • Competitor exposure data
      • Site / product issue data

      All of this data is essential for knowing exactly what is happening across the business and why. With a click of a button marketing should be able to view real time campaign performance (CPA and projected ROI) across all campaigns and channels as well as impact of what branding, weather, competitor activity and any site / product downtime has on revenue / acquisitions. Also user journey analysis from first touch point to last and the key five attribution models should be built out from the data which all take into account CRM.

      Without this, marketing cannot be expected to grow the business profitably.

      wpid-kids-and-moneyjpg-77598d70108ac633_large-um8nwy.jpg

      As digital media skills become more valuable to the industry and there’s a huge lack of them in certain areas, some grads in their first job in marketing / advertising are demanding an extra £20k pay rise in the first 18 months of starting work.

      This causes many issues especially ad agencies when it comes to managing retention. iProspect are a good example of how agencies have had to adapt by adopting a quarterly pay review rather than annual.

      With these ludicrous demands at such an early stage in their career, minimal work experience and a lack of key skills which is required to be able to think for themselves, have the confidence or knowledge to improve campaign performance independently and generally still at the stage where they’re sitting at their desk wondering ‘what to do next’ is causing a level of ungratefulness and sense that there could be greater long term benefit / ROI to businesses by scrapping a grad only policy and accepting school leavers as a priority in some cases.

      The right school leaver may not be able to string along words as grammatically correct and might require a calculator more often than grads, but what they do bring to the table is an abundance of common sense, drive, passion for their job, ability to get things done in a proactive way with less moaning and more doing , all of which are only normally naturally gained when working full time from the age of 16-18.

      Let’s face it, we all know that you don’t need to be a rocket science to work in marketing / advertising and for those grads who think that all that’s required in our industry to get significant auto payrises is a degree and to turn up for work, really do need to wake up and smell the coffee because the industry is a fairly close nit industry and those who put the effort in will shine and those who expect an easy ride will be quickly identified.

      Just because a degree is missing from a CV, employers should think twice before discounting the applicant.

      Neil’s recruitment blog touches on school leavers in digital media nicely.

      truth_and_lies_t

      Acquiring customers through brand paid search is in most cases not only the most cost efficient way of acquiring customers, but it’s also where most brands find where their most valuable customers originate from.

      As Facebook and Twitter release more ad opportunities by the week which are meeting advertiser demands and paid search CPCs increase especially across mobile, SEM specialists are finding it increasingly difficult to add value or are just simply missing the limelight and therefore to combat this in some cases when presenting paid search performance, they are mixing in brand search data with generics without splitting them out to make ‘search’ look better.

      This is just plain wrong. No matter how much the CEO or CMO likes the look of positive data especially through internal campaign tracked activity, as a media specialist they should be advising key stakeholders of the difference between both, letting them know that there’s no need to obsess around brand search performance because knowing what drives brand search is outside the SEM specialist remit and is a wider and bigger question / concern.

      A CEO or CMO asking an SEM specialist to increase brand search volume and constantly saying that “paid search drives the most conversions” than any other channel and that paid search should be given more budget (when brand and generics isn’t split out) is bad for business.

      I know that a lot of consultants and CMO’s are under pressure but there needs to be more effort from the SEM specialist and senior management team to understand what is driving search performance, splitting out generic and brand keywords clearly and focusing on driving incremental generic conversions leaving brand search volumes for another day.

      I’ve heard a lot of moaning and read a lot of articles (example here) about display specialists adding remarketing data into prospecting results and the fact that it needs to crack down, but not splitting out brand and generic search results is far worse and equally shambolic.

      There is an argument to have brand search data held in a completely different system to be used purely for online and offline brand attribution / to view halo effect, but what is clear is that brand and generic search data should never be mixed up on the same line and should always be kept separate.

      SEM specialists and consultants should be obsessing about how to improve generic paid search performance whether it’s ad copy performance or building long term strategies on building up their QS to achieve lower CPCs in the future and higher rankings which will in turn increase volume incrementally.

      There’s a time and a place to discuss brand search performance and it shouldn’t be when comparing overall digital channel by channel performance.

      wasting-money-300x183

      Criteo have certainly become popular over the past few years with marketers. This is mainly due to them being sold into a no hassle site remarketing solution paying on a low risk CPC basis.

      What a lot of marketers and CEOs don’t know is that by using a managed site retargeting service like Criteo is not only lazy and inefficient, but it it’s also opening the business to data leakage which could have a damaging effect.

      Let’s break those three key points down further:

      1. Inefficient way of spending money – Criteo typically charge c 50p CPC yet using a DSP eg. MediaMath and Adacado together, the eCPC rate would be c 5p. Everything works back to an eCPM for display, so on a CTR of 1.5% you’re paying £5 CPM for the managed service via Criteo and only c 70p CPM for the media and dynamic creative service both on a self-service basis. Not only that, 1.5% is quite conservative for a dynamic remarketing CTR so as it goes up, so does Criteo’s eCPM.

      2. Lazy – it’s a lot easier to send a monthly invoice to accounts to pay but it does take a bit more intelligence, will power and proactiveness to get a self-service DSP on board and dynamic creative supplier. Display CRM would only be part of someone’s job and they’d typically apply a tight frequency cap and low CPM at the top of the funnel, but as you go lower in the funnel the frequency cap should be increased alongside the CPM as the users become more valuable to your business.

      3. Data leakage – allowing a third party to ‘manage’ your data for you is always risky that it could fall in the wrong hands eg. a competitor or data exchange.

      Something I haven’t mentioned is scale and volume, although Criteo do have a few exclusive publishers, this doesn’t match to any degree the sheer scale which a DSP such as MediaMath or DoubleClick Bid Manager bring to the table.

      satisfied_customers

      No matter how much marketing you deliver, whether it’s billions of banners on the most premium sites in the world or you’re top of key generics consistently for Google, unless you have a stable product offering which customers genuinely embrace, then your brand has a fairly bleak future.

      Historically you could spend your way out of a crisis, but now if your site crashes often, you hide key T&Cs, mis-sell promotions, have a complex user journey, product not available on multiple devices, then in a few years time your brand value will show a clear decline which would eventually kill your business unless you adapt fast.

      I think the below video demonstrates the future in a fantastic way and how consumers will shape products, businesses and communication. The good thing about the future is that it will kill a lot of cow boys who are short sited and have no long term business strategy.