How to Regularly Monitor Ad Placements in 10 Minutes

As today’s web content grows infinitely, it is imperative for you to constantly monitor ad placements, making sure your ads are only showing up on the most relevant publishers.  At MixRank, we know that with massive campaigns, having to go through thousands of publishers every day has become a daunting and cumbersome task.  So, we’ve made it easy for you to view new publishers and evaluate their relevancy to your ads.


Incorporate this 5-step process into your daily routine to make optimize ad placements.  It shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes.


  1.  Export the traffic sources from your advertiser report in MixRank
  2. Sort the publishers by last seen date and days seen
  3. Find all of the new traffic sources: any that were last seen the previous day with a days seen of 1
  4. With the data, evaluate if these new traffic sources are relevant to your ads
  5. Add these publishers as negative placements if needed


Here at MixRank, we dissected some of our data and found some big brands advertising on some very odd publishers.  Based on just a few companies, we can see that online advertisers are not paying attention to placements as much as they should be.  When was the last time you added negative placements to your campaigns?


Vistaprint is an online supplier of printed and promotional material as well as marketing services to micro businesses and consumers.  Many of their ads offer custom cards or customized stationary.  So, was there a flop in Google’s matching algorithm when it showed a Vistaprint ad on  Yes, Vistaprint offers custom cards, but has minimal relevance to stationary.  The advertiser report shows all of the publishers that Vistaprint is advertising on.  You can see that just displayed one of their ads yesterday! is the trusted leader in cloud computing and CRM.  There are several people in an organization who use  Usually marketers, salespeople, sales managers, project managers and account managers are actively using Salesforce to keep their tasks and customers in one central database.  However, graphic designers don’t tend to use the CRM tool at all.  So why did Salesforce’s ad show up on yesterday?  It’s a bit of a mystery to me!  The advertiser report reveals the traffic sources Salesforce targets and allows you to sort by the traffic sources that most recently showed an ad (Last Seen Date).


People Magazine is a weekly celebrity news and gossip magazine.  Based on the advertiser report on MixRank, their ads aren’t showing up on thousands of publishers.  However, one of the dozens of traffic sources that was targeted was, a news site for India’s current events and politics.  Even though is an online magazine, the content on this site surely doesn’t correlate with the type of stories People magazine publishes.  So, would the audience be similar? Doubtful.


Don’t get caught into the same mistakes! With MixRank’s 5 step process, quickly find the irrelevant traffic sources and add them as negative placements. It takes about 10 minutes.  Don’t you have 10 minutes a day to save thousands of dollars on your campaigns?


For more tips on optimizing campaigns, follow me on Twitter or add me to your Google+ circles.


3 Ways To Ramp Up Your Mother’s Day Ad Campaigns Based On Industry Data

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we decided to take a look at our data to reveal some significant insights about the holiday’s online display ads.  MixRank tracks and analyzes millions of display ads on the web.  Based on the data we’ve found, I’ve put together a few recommendations for your current and future Mother’s Day campaigns.


1.  Invest in banner ads:  Our data shows that out of 814 advertisers who run display campaigns for Mother’s Day, only 35% of them have both contextual and banner ads. Why should you care? If you’re one of the 65% of advertisers who is only running contextual display campaigns, you are missing out on potential market share.  Consider banner ads in the future for any seasonal campaigns.  Banner ads are way more customizable to match your messaging or brand.


You can identify the most compelling banner ads targeting any keyword with MixRank Professional. Below are just a few banner ads that have targeted a broad match to “mothers day cards.”  Take a look:


2.  Bid Higher on Competitive Keywords: Next up, our intelligent web crawlers have identified what keywords advertisers are targeting via broad match for their display campaigns. If you’re considering making any last minute changes to your existing Mother’s Day campaigns, we’ve uncovered what the most competitive and least competitive keywords are, even showing you the number of ads you are competing against.


Most competitive keywords for Mother’s Day ads:



# of Ads

Mothers day cards


Mothers day crafts


Mothers day greetings


Homemade mothers day gift ideas


Mothers day crafts for kids




Least competitive keywords for Mother’s Day ads:


# of Ads

Mothers day gifts


Mothers day gift basket


Mothers day crafts from kids


Mothers day graphics


Mothers day clipart




Based on these keywords, our data suggests that the holiday card and greetings industry heavily invested in promoting Mother’s Day cards.  If you’re selling greeting cards, make sure you bid higher on the most competitive keywords before time runs out!


3.  Skip the keywords that no one else is bidding on: Follow the industry trends supported by our data.  If you’re one of the few advertisers who are targeting “mothers day gifts,” consider opting out next year.  Why?  Many other advertisers in the industry have chosen not to target this keyword for their display ads, most likely because it is an unprofitable keyword to target.


This wraps up just a few insights that you could draw from MixRank’s powerful data.  Interested in seeing similar keyword lists for your industry?  MixRank Enterprise offers these reports among many other customizable data sets.


Try MixRank for free.  MixRank’s search engine for ads can help you identify ad trends in your industry, uncover competitors’ ad copy, and pinpoint the most profitable publishers for your product.


Thank you for reading!  If you’d like more insight into display advertising trends, add me to your circles on Google+ or follow me on Twitter.



How to Use Google+ for Marketing – Part 2

With Google being the premier internet search engine across virtually all demographics it stands to reason that Google+ and its new +1 buttons will have a large impact on search engine optimization (SEO).  However, Google has not hinted at this.  They have announced that +1’s influence search results for Google+ users, but the standard SEO strategies remain the same – for now.  How to Use Google+ for Marketing – Part 2 will cover how you can use Google+ to enhance your SEO.


+1 content: If anyone in your target market has a Gmail account, I can assure you that investing time in +1’ing your webpages will be well worth it.  Why? Because +1’ed content conditions search results for Google users.  Anyone who has added you into their circles will see your +1’ed webpage if it is related to their query.  It may most likely be on the first page of their search results as well.  Take a look in the example below.


When logged into Gmail:


When logged out of Gmail:


Notice the difference between these search results when I search for “marketing” on Google.  There are search results on the of first page for the term “marketing” indicating who shared the link. This creates a rapid way to appear on the top page of Google’s search results.  However, just keep in mind that this tactic only works when a) users have added you into their circles and b) users are logged into Gmail. Because there are stipulations that affect this strategy, make sure to continue to participate in the standard SEO strategies.


Benefits of +1’d Content: Once you’ve +1’ed your pages and the +1’ed link shows up on related search results for those who have added you in their circles, the link will probably have a higher click-through rate (CTR).  If the content was valuable or interesting to readers, it will more likely induce retweets and shares.  Studies have shown a positive correlation between the number of retweets and shares a link receives and its search ranking.  Therefore, as your link gains popularity on Twitter and Facebook, your organic search rank goes up for improved SEO.


Remember that Google is the industry’s largest search giant.  Just because they haven’t factored +1’s into the SEO ranking system now doesn’t mean they won’t use the data in the future.  Google can change how SEO is ranked tomorrow and everyone would need to conform.  So it probably doesn’t hurt to have your Google+ account just in case radical change pops up in the future.  In the meantime, work on building out your fan base and continuously +1’ing new content as it’s released. Acquiring a fan base is an on-going challenge with any social media platform, making Google+ no different. Refer back to my first Google+ post to learn how to gain followers on Google+.


Thanks for reading! Add me to your circles on Google+ or follow me on Twitter to learn more about online marketing.


How to Use Google+ for Marketing – Part 1

With over 100 million active users, Google+ is an emerging social media channel that marketing gurus should justly invest time in.  Because Google+ can be used for various types of marketing, today’s discussion will focus on how Google+ can enhance your brand.  A second blog post will cover Google+’s capabilities for search engine optimization (SEO).


To get things started on Google+, here’s some things you must do:

  • Segment precisely: In order to follow someone on Google+, you must place this person into one or more of your circles.  The benefit of circles advances the ability to tailor your messaging to appropriate groups, so take some time to think your categorization strategy through, or risk a messy database of contacts.  Since every business is different, I can’t define the best way to break out your circles, but a good place to start is by using the similar segments to your existing marketing campaigns. For example, you can break out circles based on your email marketing list (opted-in, unsubscribed), your search marketing campaign structure (men, women, brands), or contacts within a CRM tool (leads, opportunities, clients).  This will take some time on your part to figure out what is best for your business.  However, remember that you can and should add people into multiple circles that you see fit. Here’s an example of just a few circles you might have, depending on your business targets.



  • Make a statement: When building out your profile page on Google+, add as much description as you can using keywords, links, photos and videos related to your brand.  Any recent and relevant content that was released should also be posted on Google+ before targeting the rest of the world.  This way, your profile isn’t completely empty when users click to your profile page.  With valuable content on your page, users will more likely add you to a circle they follow.  According to comScore, users spend about 3.3 minutes on Google+ compared to 7.5 hours on Facebook. This means you don’t have to spend loads of time on Google+ either.  However, you should be consistent across channels.  Any content that your company has already tweeted or publicly announced in a blog post or press release should be on Google+ as well.  Since there is no character limit on posts, make sure your content includes stimulating opinions, discussion topics, and/or information to build your brand.


  • Appeal to others: Gaining popularity on Google+ is very similar to Twitter.  Therefore, try using the best practices of Twitter to build your following on Google+.  Start by linking your Google+ page on your existing blog, Facebook page, Twitter handle, Linkedin profile, and email signature.  Let it be known that you’re an avid Google+ user.  Strategically engage in content by adding thoughtful and lengthy comments in a related stream.  Inspire conversation topics within threads or reply directly to people by responding to their comments.  The beauty of Google+ is you’re not restricted to 140 characters.  Well thought out, valuable, and interesting content will always attract people! Here’s a fun post that Danny Sullivan wrote receiving over 20 +1’s and over 15 comments:



  • Embrace the features: Don’t be afraid to start a hangout. Google+ hangouts allows you to conduct group video chats in which you can invite up to 9 other people to.  You can offer live video chat sessions with executives, marketing team members, or community managers.  Unlike a webcast or email in which someone can just tune out or close it altogether, hangouts require face-to-face interaction between the participants.  This could be a lucrative way to gain thought leadership in the industry, so why not test it out?  Hangouts may not work for every business type, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. 


The challenges of Google+ and how to overcome them:

  • Are Google+ users relevant to my brand?  No two platforms attract the same crowd, and the oft-lauded Google+ is no exception.  Many Google+ users belong to the technology-friendly crowd.  Consider this when creating targeted messaging.  Successfully attaining early adopters to follow you could be greatly advantageous for your brand as these folks are highly influential.


  • Where can I find followers?  Similar to Facebook marketers who strive for more “Likes” on their page, Google+ marketers must devise a strategy to gain followers. Your Google+ followers do not have to be unique brand new followers. Fans and followers on LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Twitter is the perfect place to find followers.  So sync your editorial calendar across all of your social media channels.  Many of your followers and fans may be the same across channels, but you don’t know which followers are devoted users to which platform.  


Unlike Twitter, which has been commonly used for networking and giving followers quick updates, Google+ is more parallel to Facebook as a social networking site in which friends can interact and share updates with each other.  Most brand marketers already participate in Twitter, LinkedIn and/or Facebook.  Therefore, leverage Google+ as another channel to get similar messaging out. There’s no need to create content specifically for Google+, but rather in conjunction to your other social media channels. If you put all of your eggs into one basket, you limit the potential reach of your message.  You can’t know for sure who is on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ at the moment you make a post, so you’ll need to cover all your bases to gain maximum exposure. For example, when a blog post comes out, post the first paragraph of the blog post on your Google+ and Facebook pages, and tweet the headline.  If you’re running a promotion, announce on Twitter that full details of the promotion can be found on your Google+ or Facebook pages. In order to reach as many audiences as possible, leverage all of you
r social media channels when releasing content.


How to Use Google+ for Marketing – Part 2 will cover how Google+ affects your search marketing efforts.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Google+ or Twitter to learn more about Brand Marketing 

Social vs. Mobile: Where Should You Invest Your Advertising Budget

As new online advertising channels emerge like social and mobile, don’t get left behind. Keep up with the times and spend your budget where it makes most sense for your business. If your company does not have an unlimited marketing budget, you’ll want to make sure that any budget you do have is spent wisely on the most appropriate and effective advertising channel for your target market.


Whether you’re new to the online advertising world or have active campaigns running on social and mobile, this blog post will give you pointers on how to best take advantages of both channels. First thing you need to know, social and mobile analytics are simply not comparable. Although both could be used for branding, awareness, or increasing conversions, the click-through rates and conversion rates will rarely lend similarities. Why? Social ads are generally more top-of-the-funnel, similar to display ads. Users engage social channels to connect with their friends, peers, and interests rather than to purchase or shop around. On the other hand, mobile ads align with search in that they are closer to the actual purchase. Consumers query directly for keywords expecting related search results.


Given what we know, consider benchmarking your social ad performance against your display ad performance. For mobile ads, compare analytics to the search ads you are currently running. Below you’ll see some of the advantages and tips for both social and mobile platforms.


Social Ads:

With over 800 million active users on Facebook, it has become the number 2 most visited site after Google. If you’re one of those 800 million users, you’ve most likely seen the ads that are on Facebook on the right hand side when you log in. What has been your experience with the ads? For me, I rarely ever click through on the ads. However, I see do them, know they are there, and even read through them as I do with my news feed. So, we suggest running awareness and branding campaigns on Facebook to get your brand out to your target market. Remember to keep your social ads fresh by rotating the image periodically and you could even try including a “Like” button to help camouflage the ad similar to the example below:


Facebook is just one of the few social sites you can target ad campaigns on. Other social sites you can consider advertising on if it fits your market include Twitter and LinkedIn.


Mobile Ads:

Gartner predicts that the global smartphone and media tablet market will be more than 1B units by 2015, with 318M smartphones and 775M Media Tablets.


The following table is from their report, Emerging Technology Analysis: Mobile Business Intelligence, 13 July 2011, ID:G00214124 by Bhavish Sood, Andreas Bitterer, James Richardson.


According to this Google study, the length of characters in mobile queries are similar to desktop queries.


Given what we know from above, mobile isn’t going away and queries haven’t changed. So, that tells us, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you already have successful search campaigns, you know what keywords perform well. Why not bid on the same successful keywords from your search campaigns, and use the exact same text ads? When setting this up, you’ll want to separate your mobile campaigns so you can bid higher on keywords to ensure your ad has a higher position. Since mobile handheld screens are so tiny, there is no guaranteeing that your ad is even seen if it’s position is too low.


To understand whether you should invest your online advertising efforts in Social or mobile ads, you’ll absolutely need to know and understand your target market.  Since you’re all professional marketers, it’s safe to assume you know this already. But consider this: is your target market actively on social sites or handheld devices? For example, if you’re advertising for an elderly home and your target market includes senior citizens, do you find it likely for them to be on Facebook or surfing the net on handheld mobile phones? Knowing who you’re targeting is an obvious pre-step before building any type of marketing campaign, so do your research!


Like all fields, there’s no defined ranking system to describe the best way to advertise. It all depends! However, if you know your target market and employ the data you have from previous ad campaigns, you can precisely target the right audience on social and strategically bid on mobile to make the most out of your ad spend.  Also, in case you missed last week’s purchasing events, Facebook just bought two incredibly huge mobile products: Instagram and Tagtile. I would bet on the convergence of mobile and social ads in the near future.


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The Google Display Network’s Extreme Makeover

Just a few weeks ago, Google announced an incredible update to the Google Display Network.


1.  The Display Network Tab

First things first, over the next few weeks, Google will be rolling out a new Display Network Tab in AdWords. If you’re in the interface on a daily basis, you’ll find this news rather exciting. Display campaigns have always been managed in an interface that caters to search. Going forward, the Audiences, Topics and Networks tabs will now funnel into one place, allowing you to bid, target and optimize your display ads from a single location. Check out this screenshot of the interface provided by Google:


  • Where to manage targeting for your ads, view your reports, and set bids: On the Display Network tab, you can find the Display Keywords, Placements,Topics, and Interests & Remarketing tabs, the necessary tools to manage your display campaigns.
  • How to add or edit keywords for campaigns targeting search and display: If your campaign is targeting search and display, you can view display statistics on the Display Network tab. Similarly, the Keywords tab will show just search statistics. However, to add or edit keywords and bids, you must do so on the main Keywords tab.  Any changes you make to your keywords will affect both your search and display targeting.
  • Where to add or edit your targeting: In the Display Network tab, there is a Change display targeting button right above the graph where you can view the different targeting methods available for your campaign. From there, click the edit link next to the method you want to add or edit.
  • How to exclude a targeting method: Go to the Display Network tab, scroll down, and click the Exclusions link to where you can add exclusions to your ad group or campaign.


2.  The Revved-Up Contextual Engine

 Another update that deserves huge praise to Google is the “Revved-Up” Contextual Engine. This marvelous improvement takes targeting to the next level, using Next-Gen Keyword Contextual Targeting. This means you can now view data on a keyword by keyword basis on the display network, combining the reach of display with the precision of search. Say “Goodbye” to the old days of monitoring contextual campaigns at the ad group level and “Hello” to a better way to target and optimize your display campaigns.

Tips for using keywords for display ads:

  • Monitor your keyword performance. Pause keywords that have high costs, but very few conversions or low traffic to your site.
  • Increase bids on keywords that are performing well.
  • Add keywords similar to the ones that are performing well.


Keep in mind:

  • Any changes made to keywords in campaigns that target both Google search and the Display Network will also apply to search traffic. Before making any changes such as pausing keywords, make sure to check search performance.

3.  The Visualization Tool for Display Targeting

If that isn’t enough to inspire you, Google also introduces a new visualization tool that shows how reach is impacted from targeting across your display campaigns. Take a look:




With this nifty venn diagram, you can see how your targeting affects your reach. Targeting types include keywords, placements, topics, interests or remarketing.

  • Use-case for targeting diagram: When adding or editing your Display Network targeting, you’ll see a diagram that shows how your targeting methods, like keywords and placements, interact, and what method is used to target your ads.
  • Tip for advertisers with niche target markets: With a niche target market, you’ll want to get the most quality traffic and the cheapest cost. We recommend you have several targeting types, drilling down to very specific keywords, managed placements, topics and interests.
  • Tip for advertisers with large product catalogs: For large retail advertisers that want the most reach, we recommend using keyword targeting and automatic placements to start. Automatic placements are sites that your ads will appear on based on the keywords you’ve chosen. Over time, you’ll need to monitor the placements. Increase bids on placements that are performing well and exclude placements that are high in cost but generating low traffic or few conversions. However, keep in mind that if you exclude too many placements, you might significantly limit your traffic.


Whether you’re new at display advertising, or have been doing this for years, we can safely say that Google’s new and improved campaign management features for display means this much-needed change was brought on by a large amount of advertisers spending a lot of money on display ads and placements. Google would not invest so much time and resources to update the AdWords platform if it wasn’t already working perfectly for display advertisers. So, what’s this all mean? More advertisers today are investing ad dollars into display advertising. If you’re not already doing the same, you’re behind in the curve and you may want to start with a few campaigns. To save you time and money, try uncovering what type of ads your competitors are running with MixRank’s free intelligence tool here.