February 4, 2019


Merkle releases its Q4 2018 Digital Marketing Report

Merkle, a leading data-driven performance marketing agency, has released its Q4 2018 Digital Marketing Report (DMR). The 28-pages detailed report analyzes trends across paid search, organic search, social, display and Amazon Ads. It also provides insights into the performance of major industry players such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, and Instagram. So, there’s no way this can’t be helpful for you.

Here are the top takeaways from the report:

Paid Search

  • Total paid search spend grew 16% Y/Y (year over year).
  • Google generated 98% of US paid search spend over mobile and 94% of US paid search spend overall.
  • Google Search ads spend grew by 18%. However, the overall trends were offset by a 16% decline in growth for Bing Ads and Yahoo Gemini.
  • Spend on Google Search ads over mobile grew 42% Y/Y.
  • Search ad clicks grew 9% Y/Y, while CPCs grew 7%.
  • Google Shopping was the biggest gainer especially on mobile, as phone impressions increased by 107% Y/Y.
  • iOS devices produced 46% of US Google Search ad clicks, while desktop Safari produced another 5%.

Organic Search & Social

  • Organic search produced just under 26% of all site visits. That’s a half-point decline from Q3 2018.
  • Google produced 96% of US mobile organic search visits.
  • Overall, Bing produced 9X organic search visits as compared to DuckDuckGo. Though over mobile devices, Bing only produced 3X more visits.
  • Site visits from Facebook saw a slight increase from 13% to 19% Y/Y.
  • Instagram site visit growth accelerated to 123% Y/Y.
  • Pinterest delivered a modest 1% growth in visitors.

Display & Paid Social

  • Facebook ad impressions grew by only 5% Y/Y.
  • Advertiser spend growth on Facebook slowed to just 10% for the quarter.
  • Instagram drove significant revenue growth for Facebook and accounted for 27% of total ad spend.
  • Pinterest ad spend doubled Y/Y, as impression volumes and pricing both grew.
  • Traditional display advertising spend grew just 2% Y/Y. Far eclipsed by the fact that paid social spend saw an overall 31% growth.

Amazon Ads

  • Amazon Sponsored Products spend grew 15% Y/Y.
  • Sponsored Brands grew 26%.
  • Sponsored Products accounted for 87% of all Amazon ad spend.
  • Brand keywords accounted for 64% of Sponsored Brands sales and 47% of Sponsored Products sales.
  • Both Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands saw significantly lower CTR as compared to Google Shopping. Though it’s mostly because of a huge increase in impressions on Amazon’s platforms.

Final Thoughts:

  • Google Shopping ads are doing incredibly well. Driving 63% of all clicks for the search giant, once known for only text ads.
  • Ad spend growth on Facebook has definitely slowed down. However, it’s not because of advertiser pull-outs but the platform seems to have reached its maturation. Also, Instagram seems to be getting more advertiser love and attention.
  • Ad spend on Amazon has declined but can you guess why? Well, advertisers were able to make some great campaign optimizations to maximize their returns with lower ad spend than before. Sales revenue across its ad formats has skyrocketed.

Want to dive deeper and get into the specifics of each platform? Download the report here.


CBO will be mandatory. FB gathers data from dust

This week starts with an important update to Facebook Ads, that might come into effect this September. And, if you were wondering what works better between long and short ad copies, maybe there is an answer.

Moreover, Facebook is gathering data even from the dust. You’ll discover how…

CBO mandatory from September?

Something is buzzing within some FB groups. And it seems to be something very important.

As per the discussions going around, CBO might become mandatory for all campaigns starting September 2019. There isn’t any official announcement from Facebook, but it’s just something that appeared in the Business Manager of many people.

What does this mean? Campaign Budget Optimization is a Facebook feature which aims to optimize the budget of a campaign among its ad sets automatically.

Currently, this is just an option you can choose. However, if this announcement is real, it will be applied to all your campaigns from September 2019. And you won’t be allowed to deactivate it.

One way to go around it could be: 1 campaign with 1 ad set. So technically, there is no CBO in action. However, as per the comments on the post where the news first appeared, some people said that CBO is yielding good results for them. So it’s all good. Whether CBO works or not, we expect to hear some official communication on this from Zuck!

Facebook copywriting for startups and marketers

Still unsure about whether you should use long or short ad copies for Facebook Ads? Calm down ladies and gents. In this post, you might find an answer to satisfy your hungry marketers’ spirit.

Great images and captivating videos matter, but ad copy is equally important. Sarah Sal in her post on Copyhakers.com, shows that a longer copy delivers better results than a short copy.

First, she starts with an experiment from AdEspresso that proved it. Then she shares how she reached an 1866% ROI, thanks to long copy.

And how she generated 3118 leads at a CPL of just £0.54. She tested this in the language learning niche.

While her results are totally impressive, we don’t believe in the absolute truths. Sometimes long copy beats short copy, other times it might just be the opposite. That’s why we only trust in one thing: TESTING EVERYTHING.

However, Sarah shared multiple ways to write long, engaging, storytelling copy. And probably, you might want to try and test them. Let’s have a look:

  • Frame your message with something timely: Facebook is for new things. New announcements. New life changes. That’s why using stories and news that are popular on the webz, can turn into a great copy tactic.
  • Look at the comments: Your prospects are your best copywriters. Sooo have a look at the most popular comments on your ads and posts. And use them into your copy.
  • Use the power of analogy: Analogies and similes are powerful. They help people understand quicker, like a shortcut for actual knowledge. What does a pomelo taste like? Like a grapefruit but without the bitterness. Get it, right?
  • Try opening your FB ad with, “It’s a common misconception that…”: Well, this is “use it now” tactic. But why it might work? Our audiences have a lot of misconceptions. According to Sarah, if you are able to address a misconception in your FB copy, you might clear up customer’s conscious or subconscious objection.
  • Interview your clients and use what they tell you to write your FB Ads:It’s not about you. It’s not about your product. It’s ALWAYS about your customer. So maybe you can take inspiration from their own words.

Will you test these copy strategies? If they intrigued you, Sarah’s post actually contains 10 of them. She even shared some examples for each tactic…You know, examples are the best ways to learn something. So, have a look at all her suggestions and techniques in her blog post.

Turning dust into data

How does Facebook pick the right people in the “People You May Know” section?

There are many ways of doing it. But one that caught our curiosity is the following.

Some patents filed by Facebook describe a technique that would connect two people through the camera metadata associated with the photos they uploaded.

It might assume two people know each other if the images they upload, looked like they were titled in the same series of photos—IMG_4605739.jpg and IMG_4605742, for example.

Or if lens scratches or dust particles were detected at the same spots on the photos, revealing they were taken by the same camera.

It would result in all the people you’ve sent photos to, who then uploaded them to Facebook, showing up in each other’s “People You May Know” section.

Well, we can’t do anything but say “well done Mark”. Being able to turn dust into data is a talent!


Buying and selling followers and likes ruled illegal

“Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it.” – Unknown

Well, it’s official! Buying fake likes and followers on social media is now kinda illegal.

In a court case related to the New York Times investigation into an American company Devumi, a court has ruled that Devumi can no longer engage in any such misconduct going forward, outlawing the sale of social media followers and likes.

Devumi used to sell followers and bots using their network of 3.5M social accounts. And provided fake followers and retweets to celebrities, executives, social media “influencers” and anyone else willing to pay for the service.

So far the company has provided customers with more than 200M social followers. And generated around $15M in revenue from dealing fakes.

This is for the first time that a law enforcement agency has ruled that selling fake social media engagement and using stolen identities to engage in online activities is illegal.

This could discourage a lot of people from using similar services. Though, this law might not yet apply outside of the US. It’s still a significant step for the industry, moving closer to a form of regulation over what goes on within these social platforms.


Join The (Traffic) Force!

*plays The Imperial March*

Now is the time to join The Force. The traffic side of The Force, in the shape of TrafficForce. We’re serious. And you can join in two ways.

First off, you gotta check out their traffic. It’s a lot, it’s premium adult, it’s expanding and it’s in all different familiar formats:

  • Popunders
  • Banners
  • Rich-media
  • Push notifications (one of the up and coming traffic types!)

And the latest, slider video ads!

This adult traffic source has over 15 billion monthly impressions internationally and it’s a great place to test offers such as:

  • Leadgen like sweepstakes
  • CC Trials (both sweeps and diet)
  • Dating
  • Mobile apps

Just sign up to TrafficForce right here.

OK, so what’s the second way to join? Well, TrafficForce is hiring! They are looking for someone with media buying skills like yours. Someone who maybe already knows their platform. Someone who wants to get their media buying career skyrocketing from working with pros in the space.

Who wants to join the best conferences around the world, meet some of the biggest marketers and all that while getting paid to do what they enjoy? Media buying!

Send your resume (and questions) to [email protected]. He’ll be waiting! 😉


Why Your Instagram Hashtags Are Not Working

Hashtag power, eh? Are you leveraging it? Yes, but not getting enough results? Well, maybe you want to look at these common problems affecting your hashtags’ reach:

  • You’re using restricted and/or banned hashtags: Banned/restricted hashtags are blocked by Instagram, due to an excessive amount of inappropriate content associated with them. Such as provocative or racist imagery.
  • You’re using irrelevant hashtags: If you want your posts to be on trending pages, then you need to take time to research the right hashtags that appeal to your target audience and attract them. Using less popular hashtags (10K-100K posts) can help you stand out. Why? Less competition…
  • Use all 30 hashtags: The more audiences you reach, the more people will be able to see your posts, right?
  • Using too many hashtags: Using all the 30 hashtags in your post section and adding 30 more in the comments will result in spam. Plus, overuse of hashtags screams desperation.

Having troubles with hashtags? Now you know!


Google adds voice input and spoken results to mobile web search

Not sure if you guys already noticed or not. But Google has added a microphone button on its Google.com search page for Android devices to let you make voice searches.

Ah well, it doesn’t appear on iPhones yet but you could use a keyboard that allows voice input to achieve the same. The only difference is if you performed the search using the mic option on Android, you will hear a spoken response.

Yes, it’s not a significant, new feature. It appears to be a move to get people used to voice search more often. Further training people to interact more with its Assistant, so it learns to distinguish between voice search on smartphones and smart speakers.

And as Google pushes Assistant front and center, snippets and structured data could become even more important.


New customer acquisition metrics for Sponsored Brands campaigns

There is something new about Amazon Ads almost every day. And today, they announced the introduction of new key metrics to capture insights on new customers that converted from seller’s ad campaigns.

Named as “new-to-brand”, it will be available for Amazon sellers’ display and video ad campaigns. With this addition, they now have over 100 campaign measurement and reporting metrics on their ad platform.

How is this helpful?

These metrics determine whether an ad-attributed purchase was made by an existing customer or by someone buying a brand’s product on Amazon for the first time.

Well, it gives you in-depth insights about your existing customers. Such as new-to-brand purchases, new-to-brand purchase rate and cost per new-to-brand customer.

This ability to segment your customers offers a clearer view into which formats and channels work best for acquisitions and customer loyalty goals.


Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

Welcome to the longest Bitcoin bear market in history

By the 1st of February, we have been able to survive the longest Bitcoin bear market of history. Even though it’s a small history!

And if you’re in the Hodl Gang, you’re really feeling the cold this winter. Though, congratulations for making it this far!

Will this nightmare ever stop? Nobody knows! But some analysts predicted that the bear market is coming to an end. A light at the end of the tunnel?

An accumulative period is in sight! It might replicate cycles from way back in 2014. When the price fell from $1,000 to less than $200 as a result of a year-long bear market. But then a glorious period followed.

Well, we really have no clue which side to swing on. Only time can tell!


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