The Top 5 APIs that PPC Advertisers Use to Rapidly Scale Online Ad Campaigns

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With various advertising channels available to PPC advertisers these days, it becomes extremely time-consuming to manage and maintain ad campaigns across multiple ad networks and accounts. Growing online ads has become a real challenge in such a fiercely competitive industry. That’s why APIs are becoming more prevalent as the next big trend that allow advertisers to save time and rapidly scale campaigns. API stands for Application Programming Interface, but what does that even mean? More importantly, how can it help you rapidly scale your online campaigns?

As it turns out, more and more sophisticated advertisers are turning to automated bid management tools, whether it be proprietary or from third-party vendors, like Marin Software or AdStage. With automated bidding in place, this allows advertisers to spend more time optimizing campaigns, and taking action on the data to scale faster. To do this with ease, advertisers access the top APIs to manage and scale their ad campaigns side by side, without having to export reports from each platform and data mine. Let’s take a look at the top 5 APIs that PPC advertisers leverage to rapidly scale their online ad campaigns:

1.  AdWords API: Google has dominated the revolutionary paid search advertising market since it launched AdWords in 2000. It’s also created several innovative tools that offers marketers a more convenient work-flow for managing and scaling profitable campaigns, such as The Conversion Optimizer, AdWords Editor, and Google’s Keyword Tool. However, while there are thousands of advertisers that only invest their digital marketing budgets on Google, there are still third-party tools, like WordStream, that cater to these advertisers because of AdWords’ intimidating and difficult to use platform. The AdWords API has proven to be quite useful for those marketers who don’t find the AdWords interface user-friendly.

2.  Bing Ads API: While Google is the top dog for paid search traffic, the top advertisers are savvy enough to realize that scaling ads beyond AdWords increases reach and overall returns from ad spend. A recent report shows that there are 153 million unique searchers on the Yahoo Bing Network and that these searchers spend 8% more than Google searchers. This means that 153 million people can only be reached through Bing Ads and will never be reached if only advertising through AdWords. This is one of the most compelling reasons why advertisers sync the two search channels up with the Bing Ads API.

3.  Facebook Ads API: Since the release of the Facebook Advertising API in 2011, Facebook has opened their API up to partner with over 260 vendors in over 45 countries. With all of the Facebook updates and lack of simplicity within the Facebook Ads self-serve platform, social advertisers have been turning to third-party solutions like AdParlor and Qwaya to successfully manage and scale their Facebook ad campaigns. Facebook’s innovation with ad formats, and their access to such valuable inventory has certainly been quite valuable to advertisers, but without the Facebook API available in user-friendly partner tools, the top advertisers would not be able to grow their campaigns and ad spend as quickly as they have.

4.  Twitter Ads API: Although still in private beta, the Twitter Ads API was released earlier this year with a few select partners. Twitter Advertising is taking off with its “pay-per-engagement” pricing model and ability to reach any industry and audience. Advertisers who are actively managing social profiles and looking for more brand awareness can do so with Twitter Advertising, which lends more followers and more syndication for tweets at scale. Online advertisers have been patiently waiting for this API to open up so they can easily measure and compare campaign performance with similar digital ad channels and automate bids accordingly.

5.  MixRank API: MixRank’s leading competitive intelligence tool allows advertisers to quickly spot their competitors’ top performing ads, keywords and placements. With the unveiling of MixRank’s API last year, we’ve seen an incredible amount of interest from advertisers who are looking to leverage competitive data to profitably scale their own campaigns. MixRank’s API can be easily integrated with your home-grown bidding solution or third-party online advertising management platforms, acting as a recommendation engine to influence bids, ad copy, keywords, and/or even placements to buy traffic on. These recommendations provide significant time savings when scaling profitable campaigns, as it eliminates over 50% in research and testing time. With the world’s largest database of online ads, MixRank’s API is versatile for all industries and markets. If you’d like to gain access to the MixRank API to leverage competitive insights with your bidding solution, sign up here.

If you’re one of the top online advertisers, you’ve probably used at least one, if not all of these APIs to manage and scale your campaigns. What makes an API highly adaptable for all of the top advertisers is when it can be leveraged in any industry for any market. These five APIs will certainly help you scale your online presence faster. And with the recommendation insights provided by MixRank’s API, you’ll be able to scale more intelligently and profitably. If you’re already leveraging a PPC bid management tool and want to scale your campaigns more intelligently by outperforming the competition, learn how with the MixRank API.  Sign up today.

The Twitter Interest Targeting Guide for Advertisers – Part 1

Twitter’s advertising platform just made some big improvements.  Today, Twitter announced Interest Targeting for Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts.  So, what’s changed, how does it work and what does this mean for you?

Looking back on the old way:

Twitter’s interest graph automatically identified “relevant” tweets and accounts by targeting users who share interests with your current followers.  But, there was limited control and transparency (and, dare I say it, huge inaccuracies) for these shared interests.  How relevant were these promoted tweets? It always seemed like a big hit or miss with my account.   Here’s a huge miss. I was served an Old Spice Promoted Tweet:

Tweet-promoted

Sorry Twitter, I do not have an interest in Old Spice (or any scents for that matter) while I’m on Twitter – highly irrelevant.

 

The benefits of the new way:

There’s 2 ways to implement Interest Targeting for your Twitter campaign: by category or by @username. Not all Twitter campaigns are the same, so here’s my take on how businesses should use them:

1.    By Categorical Interest: Twitter offers advertisers over 350 interest categories that you can target. (Image from Twitter Advertising Blog)

Twitterinterestcategories

The two-level interest hierarchy makes it convenient to reach several categories without having to check each box. Here’s my recommendations:

For Promoted Accounts, I’d encourage you to target as many categories as possible – by using the “All” button at the top of the second hierarchy of categories.  This will give you the most reach possible for your account to gain new followers.

For Promoted Tweets, you’ll want to do the complete opposite. Target fewer and only the most relevant categories that match the context of the tweet.  You’ll see why at the bottom of this post! (in the Added Bonus section)

 

2.    By @username: I’ve been giving Twitter a hard time for not allowing advertisers to target specific users or specific account’s followers.  Well unfortunately, you still can’t.  However, they released the next best thing that allows you to target the interests of @username’s followers.  Good stuff! Let’s take a look at how to use this targeting option for your Promoted campaigns.
 
Promoted Accounts: Because this targeting option includes creating custom segments, your reach will be significantly smaller.  Therefore, B2C businesses should refrain from this as it would take a lot of time and effort to create the custom segments, and there may be limited reach.  On the other hand, I’d encourage B2B marketers to use the @username targeting to target their competitors and/or industry-related publications.  Since there are most likely only a few dozen of those accounts at most, the campaign will be more manageable, but more importantly more relevant and valuable for your business.

Promoted Tweets: With promoted tweets, I would again encourage B2B marketers to use this format of targeting, as it will be reaching a highly relevant audience.  For B2C marketers, this targeting option may not be a great option with Promoted Tweets, as you would need to find specific accounts that are regularly tweeting semantically related content to your Promoted Tweet.  This task may be incredibly time-consuming and difficult for a limited amount of reach.

 

How would I use Twitter Interest Targeting? I’m a B2B marketer, so I’d be curious to see how an A/B test performs to deterimine which targeting solution works best for my business. But, in order for A/B tests to be successful, the Promoted content must be running at the same time to take into consideration seasonality, time of day, etc.  Based on the Twitter announcement, it is unclear whether you can participate a Promoted campaign in both Interest Targeting options simultaneously.

 

Added Bonus:

Here’s one of the more interesting things that Twitter snuck into their announcement.  They’ve lowered the minimum bid to 1 cent for all auctions and are rewarding great content over higher bids.

This concept is very similar to Google AdWords’ Quality Score.  Although the elements factored into Quality Score remain a mystery, we do know that click-through rate is heavily weighted.  Similarly, Twitter discreetly mentioned that they have a similar algorithm that will determine whether your impression share based on your content.  This implicitly means your engagement rate plays a role into how often your campaign will be Promoted.  What this means for you:

Obviously, you can always bid higher per engagement.  But why pay so much if you don’t have to? Instead, optimize your Promoted Tweets by targeting semantically related categories to spark engagements.  The more relevant the content is to the user, the more likely the user will engage. And, you definitely want engagements, because without engagements, you won’t get impressions or you’ll have to bid higher.  And do you really want to pay more or miss out on impression share?  Didn’t think so.

 

Check back soon for Part 2 of our Twitter Interest Targeting Guide for Advertisers, where we’ll show a step-by-step how to implement this new feature with your marketing campaign.

 

Follow me on Twitter or add me to your G+ circles for more marketing news and insights.

 

5 Strategies Marketers Need To Know for Promoted Tweets

Looking for ways to amplify your Promoted Tweets?  Whether you’re already participating in Twitter Advertising or thinking about getting into it, there’s a few things every marketer needs to know about Promoted Tweets.  Read on for 5 strategies that will optimize your Promoted Tweets.

 

1.  Increase Relevancy: Similar to other online ad formats, Promoted Tweets restricts creatives with a character limit.  So, if you’re participating in keyword targeting, why not use the best practices of paid search and include the actual keyword within your ad?  Not only will your tweet be given more prominence from the bolded keyword, it’ll also attract more engagements, as it will be more relevant to the query.

 

2.  Tweet for Re-Tweets: The biggest downside of Promoted Tweets is they’re only seen on the official Twitter properties. Unfortunately, not everyone logs into Twitter’s UI to manage their account.  Ever heard of TweetDeck or HootSuite?  Millions of Twitter users leverage tools like these to manage their accounts, and therefore, won’t ever see your Promoted Tweets.  When you’re promoting a tweet, a good goal should be re-tweets.  Being successfully re-tweeted is the ultimate way to reach and engage those who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to your Promoted Tweets. It doesn’t hurt to do a small test and request a re-tweet within the tweet.  See how it performs against the same tweet without the request.

3.  Don’t Forget Your Competitors:  In my last blog post about Twitter Advertising, you learned about Twitter’s inability to target specific Twitter users, such as your competitor’s followers.  Well, unfortunately, nothing has changed.  You still can’t.  But, here’s what you can do: target your competitor’s branded keyword just as you would with a paid search campaign.  Volume may be low, but you don’t pay for impressions, only engagements – so you really have nothing to lose here.

4.  Dominate with Visual Content: Based on the promoted tweets below, do you see a difference between these? One is significantly inconspicuous compared to the rest and you already know why.  Outshine the other tweets in the feed with graphic content to increase visibility, encourage more engagements and command stronger results.  Check out these cool examples:

Landrovertweet
Zalestweet

Warnerbrotherstweet
Marketotweet

5.  Avoid Product Pitches: After all, Twitter is another social media platform so the intent to purchase is not always there.  Spamming the Twitter user-base with products that they aren’t necessarily interested in won’t do you any good.  On the other hand, with Twitter users, there is intent to connect with engaging content and users, so take all of the previous tips and leverage Promoted Tweets to gain more followers.

 

How has your Twitter Advertising program been going? Share your story with me in the comments below.

 

Follow me on Twitter and add me to your G+ circles for more online advertising tips.

 

3 Reasons Why Twitter Advertising Needs To Improve

Below is a video of how Twitter Advertising works. Twitter offers promoted tweets and promoted accounts.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3e5H9b9IM_Q?rel=0]

Here are three reasons why Twitter Advertising needs to improve:

 

1.  No optimization tools: Twitter’s biggest selling points with its advertising model include the ease of use and the low-maintenance campaign structure.  The promoted tweets don’t require you to create any additional ad creative, and you get to choose which tweets you want and do not want to promote.  But wait, what if you wanted to improve your Twitter Advertising performance?  Well, guess what. You can’t.  Twitter will charge you based on your set-budget, and there is currently no optimization tools that will allow you to increase followers or engagements at a lower cost.  Without full control over the placement of the campaigns, Twitter eliminates the possibility of increasing optimization.

 

2.  No targeting options:  With Twitter’s set-it and forget-it advertising model, this significantly limits your ability to target precise interests or specific people.  For example, it would be pretty sweet if Twitter could offer the ability to target promoted accounts to a competitor’s followers.  Well too bad, because this isn’t currently available.

 

3.  No payment options: You know how Google gives you the option to either pay per click or pay per impression?  With Twitter’s promoted tweets, you only get one option – pay per engagement.  And engagements can include clicks, re-tweets, replies, and favorites.  However, some advertisers may only want to pay per click, or pay per reply.  As a marketer, I personally would value clicks more than favorites.  I also might be willing to pay more for a re-tweet than I would pay for a click.  Twitter should really consider offering different budget options for performance advertisers who place different values for each action that is taken from a promoted tweet.

 

Twitter has a long way to go in terms of its advertising capabilities.  As Twitter Advertising gains maturity in the industry, I’m sure advertisers will want to know which tweets performed better, in terms of engagements per impressions.  This will help them understand what kind of tweet campaigns they should continue or stop running.

 

I’d also be very curious to discover how the algorithm identifies “people with similar interests.”  What criteria is Twitter using for that?  Especially since Twitter only requires a name, email and password to sign up as a user, how does Twitter know what their interests are?  Is Twitter really attracting the right audience for you?

 

Thanks for reading! Please share your experience with Twitter Advertising. I’m very interested in success stories and failures.  For more advertising insights, follow me on Twitter or add me to your Google+ circles.