Marin Software Research Shows Substantial Increase in User Engagement for Advertisers

To Create Its Q4 2017 Digital Benchmark Report, Marin Software Aggregated Data from Customers Who Invest Billions of Dollars Combined in Annualized Ad Spend on Paid Search, Display, Social, and Mobile

Marin Software Inc., a leading provider of digital marketing software for advertisers and agencies, released research findings showing a 75% increase in user engagement (measured by click-through rate) on paid search ads. The full research results, actionable tips, and key takeaways are published in Marin’s Q4 2017 Digital Benchmark Report.

It’s clear that advertisers are willing to pay a premium for this increased consumer activity, spending over 10% more on their search ad campaigns in Q4 2017 than they did in Q4 2016. Still, there’s room for improvement, as advertisers seek new strategies to ensure their advertising investment maximizes performance.

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Marin Software Research Shows Substantial Increase in User Engagement for Advertisers
Wes MacLaggan

“Machine learning is no longer just a buzzword that’s thrown around by industry pundits. We see that Google is leveraging its machine learning capabilities to match users with highly targeted ads, leading to substantially increased engagement. Activity on the Marin platform shows that advertisers are increasing spend on dynamic ad formats, like Shopping Ads, which deliver higher click-through rates and drive high-performance campaigns,” said Wes MacLaggan, SVP Marketing at Marin Software.

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Other key findings include:

  • Get the Mobile Bargain While You Can: At 53% of spend, mobile CPCs increased 25% YoY. While mobile CPCs remain discounted relative to desktop CPCs, the gap is closing rapidly. Advertisers should seize the opportunity to court customers on their preferred medium by utilizing mobile bid adjustments, but be mindful that discounted CPCs on mobile will soon dissipate.
  • Social Engagement Gets More Competitive: CPMs increased 44% YoY, indicating that competition for consumer attention is heating up on social channels. Yet, click-through rates have remained relatively flat YoY, which may indicate creative personalization isn’t keeping pace with consumer expectations.
  • Too Many Ad Groups Have Too Few Creative: In Q4 2017, there was a slight shift (3%) away from creative-heavy ad groups to creative-light ad groups. Advertisers have an opportunity to benefit from Google’s machine learning technology underpinning the newly released “optimize” ad rotation setting.
  • Audience Utilization Remains Low: Just 24% of advertisers have an audience KPI, despite the strong campaign performance advantage that combining audiences with keyword targeting provides.

To create its Q4 2017 Digital Benchmark Report, Marin Software aggregated data from customers who invest billions of dollars combined in annualized ad spend on paid search, display, social, and mobile. Marin only includes advertisers active on its platform for the past five quarters, measuring key performance indicators on a year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter basis and removing any outliers with significant YoY or QoQ changes.

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