Display Advertising

We're passionate about display advertising. That's why we've created this section of the blog to help you optimize your display ad campaigns and maximize the ROI of your media buys. And if you're as passionate about display advertising as we are, you might also want to check out our display ad retargeting software.

New Pinterest Ads Not for Performance Marketers

pinterest grey banner

We hear the buzz about Pinterest ads and we’re telling all you performance marketers to quiet down. Here’s what you need to realize about Pinterest’s latest release on promoted pins.

After the initial announcement last fall, Pinterest’s product manager, Julie Black, has confirmed that the photo sharing platform is moving forward with promoted pins with select brands. The keyword here is “select.”

Joanne Bradford, Head of Partnerships at Pinterest, released the list of brands taking part in the first paid test. Here are the brands within the small group:

  • ABC Family
  • Banana Republic
  • Expedia.com
  • Gap
  • General Mills
  • Kraft
  • lululemon athletica
  • Nestle
  • Old Navy
  • Target
  • Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
  • Ziploc®

Unless your brand ranks among these giants, it’s unlikely Pinterest will allow you to advertise on their platform. Here’s why.

Pinterest wants brands to commit to spending between $1 and $2 million on promoted pins and the image platform intends on pricing CPMs between $30 and $40 according to AdAge. We can assume that range is out of most performance marketers budgets.

The iAd approach

“This reminds me of apple iAd, ” says Marc Poirier, SEM expert and founder of Acquisio.

“Apple invested a lot of money and made a lot of noise about the ad network that they created for iOS, iAd, but there were a few problems. For one, they insisted on maintaining control of the look and feel of everything and secondly, the cost of entry was absolutely prohibitive, so if you wanted to test you had to be a really large brand with millions of dollars to spend on digital media.”

It sounds pretty familiar, but what happened with Apple’s iAd strategy? Well, Apple lowered their minimum amount of advertising from close to $1 million to $50, abandoning their premium appeal and introducing self service tools to attract developers.

Pinterest may do something similar in the future, but as it stands right now performance marketers are not invited to the promoted pins party – it’s restricted to VIP only.

Why so expensive, Pinterest?

There’s a big up side to Pinterest’s premium ad strategy. If Pinterest maintains control of what people put on their platform, the way Apple did with iAd initially, they shouldn’t disrupt their audience experience. This is great for users who get ticked off whenever their favorite platform starts releasing advertisements, clogging up their screen with ads they don’t want (and let’s face it, that’s all users). With this strategy Pinterest fans shouldn’t notice any difference between promoted pins and the ones they usually see on their page.

If a company introduces paid advertisement, users may likely be turned off by the ads and leave. Pinterest doesn’t want their loyal pinners to run for the hills, and they don’t want their beautiful organic photos to be replaced with salesy banner ads, so they’re probably right in controlling which brands use promoted pins.

Pinterest is able to set their standards so high because they have something big brands want – a highly concentrated audience of women. The idea of having ads on Pinterest, where you can so accurately target women aged 25-34, is intriguing, so intriguing that the big brands listed above are willing to dish out a million big ones (potentially) to connect with these ladies.

We’ll just have to see how long Pinterest limits promoted pins to premium brands. Right now this seems like the only move the not yet profitable platform can make to generate revenue without sacrificing the integrity of the product.

But is there another option?

“I think the real play for Pinterest is in their data more than how they’re going to sell ads themselves,” says Poirier.

Pinterest is sitting on a goldmine of information concerning their mostly female audience, and selling that data may be just as important as putting up ads in their own environment.

“In other words, explains Acquisio’s founder, “leveraging Pinterest data to target women outside of Pinterest is probably a bigger play for the company. If Pinterest wants to go big into performance marketing it will be with an external network (like Google with AdSense). Or Pinterest could just resell their data for people who want to buy display ads with real time bidding based on Pinterest data.”

Today the news of promoted pins on Pinterest is not so exciting, but the promise of it for a greater audience of advertisers, extending outside of the Pinterest area into other websites, may be worth buzzing about when and if that time comes.

Layering Display & Re-marketing – Put Context First


Image credit: flickr.com/photos/andyz

I think I’d be the first to admit that I love wasting time on the internet. The number of hours I’ve spent (and carpal tunnel induced) playing Cookie Clicker and the Helicopter Game is borderline sickening. What’s even more sickening is how much money developers of those games have probably made from accidental or non-converting display ad clicks….

What Are Your Bid Rules Missing?

superballI’d venture to guess that most PPC managers share the same basic set of bid rules. It makes perfect sense, as most of us have the same general goal for bidding: find the perfect sweet spot between CPC and volume, usually driven by position. If CPA is high and position is high, drop bids. If CPA low and position is low, boost bids. Logical, right?

Typically when I’ve audited or adopted accounts, I tend to see the same basic bidding formula. Find keywords that are x-percent over goal for 30 days and drop bids by x%. These rules are set to run either on the same day of the week, once a week, or on the 15th & 30th of each month. Again, logical! We want to make sure that keywords are frequently evaluated….

Four Tips for Display Advertising Success

Display advertising skepticismAdmit it. Most of us Search Engine Marketers are inherently skeptical of display advertising. After all, for years, we’ve been living in the throngs of the Google Content Network’s long tail of poor quality domains, coupled with an inability to truly measure the results of our rather high display spends. Indeed, the first move of many a PPC manager is to disable the Google Display Network (GDN) from their campaigns and watch the ROI soar. Sounds great, right?

Well, not quite. Like everything else in our industry, display has changed. What was once expensive, time consuming to implement, and hard to measure is now actually cost efficient, easy to implement, and inherently trackable, thanks to improvements made by Google, as well as the advent of Real Time Bidding. The fact of the matter is that if display is used properly, it can be a major boost to your campaigns and CAN actually generate a positive ROI. In this post, I’ll document a few steps you should take to make sure that your display campaigns rock….

Amazon RTB May Be Right Around The Corner

Amazon RTB

Image Credit: PRWeek.com

Amazon is an innovator. Love them, like them, or hate them, the online retail giant has implemented some of the most successful sales measures in the history of online retail, and it looks like they may be adding RTB to the list.

Amazon knows a lot about its customers. Amazon knows what people have purchased, and shows them things that were purchased by people who purchased that very same thing, but along with, oh look, these other things, and wouldn’t you also be interested in them? Turns out that people are interested in those other things. …

What PPC Marketers Can Learn From Arnie One-Liners

If I said to you, “I’ll be bock,” in a somewhat menacing Austrian accent, you would most likely automatically associate what I’ve just said with an image of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Or, I could say “Hasta la vista, baby,” “Stick around,” or maybe even, “Consider that a divorce.” Either way, these tiny catchphrases are so ingrained into the part of our brains that operates the pop culture recognition segment that they are recognizable even to people who’ve not seen the movies that the quotes are from.

Believe it or not, there are things that can be learned from these Arnie one-liners that can be applied to search marketing. You’re sceptical. I know. Allow me to explain.

PPC pros face two constant battles: to be seen; to be clicked. There are a couple of aspects to this….

Manage Google Display Network Campaigns like a Cruise Missile

We did it again. We saw something we loved, and we just had to get a hold it for our clients. This time, we acquired ScienceOps – a small and beautiful company from Mount Vernon, Washington, just north of Seattle. Besides building algorithms for DARPA and NASA (seriously), over the past few years the rocket scientists at ScienceOps have been building the only optimization platform solely dedicated to increasing conversions and suppressing CPA for the Google Display Network – AdMetrica®. And boy does that thing ever work!

iMedia Connection: The Scoop on Display Retargeting Types

Want to increase conversions and leads, or up your level of brand awareness? Display retargeting can help—but determining the best type of display retargeting to use can sometimes be confusing. Would creative retargeting deliver the leads you need, or would site or search retargeting be a better option? Learn about the three main types of display retargeting, and how to make the most of each of them, in Marc Poirier’s article on iMedia Connection.

The Good, the Bad or the Indifferent?

Zuckerberg at FMC 2012

Right now it is nigh on impossible to give a fair reflection of your Facebook Advertising efforts to your clients.

On the one hand, some are expecting Facebook to deliver ROI dollars in a comparable way to Google PPC, and on the other some are perceiving the value in focusing on acquiring new Likes or App installs.  And some people are spending money without really analysing anything other than the reach and impression volume or sometimes the interaction on the Page.

This dilemma has come about partially because Facebook has given us a wealth of riches in terms of ad formats, reporting metrics and ways to link advertising and brand experiences via the social graph. Indeed, after yesterday’s Facebook Marketing Conference (FMC) the proliferation of data and tools us marketers have at our disposal has increased yet again….