What’s Search Marketing Automation? (Plus, a Do’s and Don’ts Checklist!)

What’s the difference between search marketing automation and machine learning? Are they interchangeable?

What do search marketers fear most about these topics? How can they fully embrace them?

These are just a few common questions our Lisa Little, a 2020 Search Engine Land Awards Search Marketer of the Year, gets asked all the time, so read on as she answers them.

What’s the Difference Between Search Marketing Automation and Machine Learning?

Automation: This is a wide range of technologies that reduce human intervention in processes.

Search automation examples are scripts, bidding technology, auto-applied recommendations, automated audits, budget-pacing tools, optimization score recommendations and management or reporting platforms.

The tools to complete automated actions are done by a machine instead of a human. Automated aspects act or run behind the scenes on cruise control without someone in the driver’s seat pushing buttons. (Note: The driver tells the car what speed to maintain and sets cruise control before the automation takes over.)

Machine Learning: This is the study of computer algorithms that automatically improve through experience, and using data is seen as part of artificial intelligence.

Today, machine learning comes into play with responsive search ads, real-time auctions, quality scores, smart campaigns, smart bidding or time decay and with data-driven attribution models, ad extensions, a customized SERP experience and more.

Machine learning supports the search account aspects that require so much real-time data that human minds can’t comprehend at the sheer speed required to compute and translate data. Machine learning is constantly used without advertisers’ control, approval or understanding. Search marketers choose to leverage and act upon data in a scalable and agile way through efficient automations. Embrace machine learning along with automation, and you’ll produce amazing results.

What Are Marketers’ Fears About Search Marketing Automation and Machine Learning?

Search marketers are hesitant to use automation and machine learning because of the lack of control and transparency; brand advertisers are typically slow to adopt, or don’t approve; they’re unsure about the automation types available and are concerned automation will replace jobs; and they’re confused about how to learn about them (or are unwilling to do so).

Though, the reality is if you’re in search marketing, automation and machine learning are happening around you so you should explore them, not ignore them! Brands that don’t evolve with customer needs, expectations and behaviors quickly fail and ultimately become extinct.

How Should Marketers Embrace Their Fears?

Use machine learning to keep up with demands as it allows you to adapt quickly and seamlessly based on the data and feedback you’re receiving. Simply put, automation and machine learning are required to keep up an accelerated search pace, particularly with the unexpected, epic and volatile behavior shifts over the past year. 

Look fear in the face and trudge ahead through the challenges. Think of this comparison: Search machine learning is like a robot vacuum cleaner. It cleans your floors for you. But first it must learn your floor plan and understand your performance expectations. It requires regular charging, cleaning filters and other maintenance. The best thing about a robot vacuum is you can spend that hour you used to vacuum your house in a more meaningful way. Now you have time to spend with your family, work out or cook dinner – and the chore gets done. The robot vacuum cleaner doesn’t replace you but allows for more productive and efficient floor cleaning so you can focus your time elsewhere. Of course, you still have to check up on the robot vacuum cleaner and troubleshoot and maintain it, but you can use it to your advantage.

Even with a robot vacuum, you still have to do some of the floor work yourself, whether that’s cleaning up a spill or cleaning those tight spaces a robot vacuum cleaner simply can’t reach. The concept is the same with search machine learning. Find ways to leverage automation to complement your overall program and results. At times you will need to do manual upkeep or repair, but that should work in tandem with all aspects of the account.

What Are Marketers’ Search Automation and Machine Learning Do’s and Don’ts? (Handy Checklist)

Do’s

Take it one step at a time. Dip your toe in with an automated bidding strategy to start. Most smart bidding strategies are generally straightforward, and selection depends on what goals you’re trying to achieve. To start, go with the simplest goal: Maximize clicks.

Check in daily and learn to love data. While we can’t physically see the data going into the automation or making the machine work, we can still know and appreciate the value of what we can’t see. Take a test, tweak and learn approach to analyzing data results. Stay curious!

Own your research and customize how you use automation. Google or Microsoft may say certain tools or automation are better, but that doesn’t mean that’s what’s best for your business or campaign goals every single time. For example, automated ad copy creation might not be the best because it’s harder for machines to understand the best value propositions. However, leveraging responsive search ads automation is strong, outperforms other ad formats and is required to keep up with all the consumer buying signals. Ultimately, you decide how automation will work in a brand’s favor.

Set baselines and frequently check performance and volume against them. Make sure you’re looking at search performance and volume or impact in your marketing efforts beyond paid search. The performance story should not be siloed to any one specific channel but instead is most effective when looking at things like conversions, revenue, sentiment, consumer behavior and messaging across the full marketing mix.

Don’ts

Rely on automation 100%. Automation needs human input, checkups, troubleshooting, maintenance and continual monitoring. Don’t turn on the machine and walk away from it. In the post-setup phase, inspect results and troubleshoot. Once you have statistically significant volume and understand the results, you can begin optimizing and course correcting with campaign adjustments.

Bite off more than you can chew. Because you need to regularly check, maintain, troubleshoot, analyze and explain what the automation is doing for your campaigns, don’t overwhelm the system by having too many things (especially conflicting automations in multitiered brands) going at one time. Troubleshooting can get complicated with too many added variables.

Approach automation as one size fits all. Different campaigns or groups will require different approaches to automation. Structure by goal so you can apply the best rule or setting to a group. For example, setting cost per action (CPA) or return on ad spend (ROAS) target goals may work for certain groups, whereas click or position-based rules may work better for other campaigns. As a general rule of thumb, Max Conversions (with a set target CPA) should be used when the value of the conversion is more static. Max Conversion Value (MCV), a set target ROAS, should be used whenever the conversion value is variable – if the value of a lead or sale can vary from conversion to conversion.

Forget to watch cost per clicks (CPCs). Automated strategies increase cost per clicks (CPCs) rapidly, but conversions don’t always follow. Actions fluctuate with search behavior, search volume, auction competition and so on.

As you embrace search marketing automation and machine learning, understand what they are, how they work together, when to leverage each type and how to measure their impact and success. Stay open, be willing to explore, innovate, impact and adjust automation and machine learning along the way to create the best combination for your business.

P.S. Want more great digital marketing advice and tips to move you and your business forward? Peruse our complete library of free and helpful advertising resources, read our blog, sign up for our newsletter, follow us on social media or reach out to us today.

How to Prepare for Your Cookieless Future Despite Google’s Cookie Delay

Cookies get to live another day – almost two more years, in fact, according to Google’s latest announcement.

Though Google’s original plan was to deprecate the third-party cookie by Q2 2022, in late June, the company decided to push back the timeline. The proposed alternatives aren’t ready yet, and Google’s recent agreement with the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a British antitrust agency, must include a six-month evaluation period when any changes to third-party cookies are made.

According to Google’s blog, the revised timeline will roll out in two stages:

Stage 1 will start in late 2022, pending the completion of privacy sandbox testing and the successful launch of APIs and will allow the industry time to migrate its targeting and measurement approaches away from cookies.

Stage 2 is dependent on the success of stage 1 but is currently slated for mid-2023, which will prompt a three-month period to phase out support of third-party cookies.

However, this is tentative timing and depends on how successful the privacy sandbox proposals are and if they’re accepted by the industry and regulators. Chrome is currently testing 4 of 30 proposals now, with FLEDGE trials delayed until later this year, if not early next.

Replace Third-Party Cookies With Cookieless Identity Alternatives

Though third-party cookies don’t provide ad tech a firm foundation to rely on, build on or scale, the industry is still finding it hard to say goodbye.

Parting is hard simply because these cookies underpin much of all audience targeting in ad tech, and no sole cookieless identity alternative can replace them.

How should you best proceed? Assess your goals, strategies and key performance indicators (KPIs) and determine the right set of cookieless identity alternatives available now (or soon) to try:

Authenticated and Shared IDs are consumer-provided consented identifiers provided via publishers who have established a trusted relationship with their users.

Clean Rooms overlap first-party data with secure, privacy-compliant impression-level data aggregated from the open internet and walled gardens like Google.

Publisher-Driven Data/Cohorts group and target by a common characteristic to analyze behavior and performance.

Federated Learning (FLoC) lets you see clusters of people with common interests and browsing activity and target ads to them while not intruding on their privacy.

Contextual Targeting matches ads to relevant environments across the web using identifiers such as keywords, topics, images, videos and more.

Want all the details? Learn all about these cookieless identity alternatives – their benefits and challenges (even get examples!) – in our free download, Preparing for a Cookieless Future: How to Approach Testing Identity Alternatives POV.

Reach and Build Audiences in a Cookieless World in 8 Steps

Today third-party cookies only exist in Chrome-based browser experiences so brand and agencies already find themselves reaching consumers more often in cookieless environments rather than cookie ones. So how you reach and engage customers and prospects in the coming cookieless world has to change if you want to succeed. Read on for our best advice – shared here in these eight steps (or get the visual, download our free cookieless targeting infographic!):

Embrace the cookieless opportunity: Change your mindset. Think of third-party cookies going away as an opportunity to see data and measurement in new ways, which can help boost return on ad spending (ROAS) and long-term customer value.

Evaluate audience targeting and measurement: Categorize your first- and third-party data and other data sources to see where you currently stand. No matter what will change, one thing will stay the same: the need to have and continually build up your first-party data.

Identify, measure and understand your potential data gaps or risks: Identify where you’re using third-party or cookie-based targeting the most.

Research alternative sources and how effective they are: Experiment with the cookieless alternatives mentioned above and gauge which ones are an effective fit for your brand.

Strengthen and add to your first-party data: Consider using mobile wallet coupons, opt in to SMS short codes or email capture on your own properties to get ahead.

Lean on your agency: Gather ideas, gain new insights and create a plan to enhance your existing data and fill future gaps.

Allocate budgets to test alternative targeting: Set aside an incremental cookieless targeting test budget if you can or take 20%-30% of the budget you currently spend on cookie-based tactics to test cookieless identity alternative approaches, your creative and additional channels.

Take the lead: Focus on only those scalable cookieless alternatives that fit your specific needs.

Discover the Way Forward

Google’s cookie delay is a reprieve – not a time to rest. That’s why Goodway isn’t slowing down and will continue identity- or privacy-focused efforts, including innovating within clean room environments, first-party data strategies, offline data integrations and measurement solutions.

These approaches will not only provide alternatives to third-party cookies but also offer solutions surrounding deterministic measurement, cross-platform analysis and more sophisticated modeling for both targeting and measurement.

Ultimately, the goal of the industry is to sustain a methodology that respects consumer privacy while delivering relevant messaging as brands seek to communicate with customers.

Want to keep your own momentum going? Find out if your cookieless approach is the right one or how to improve it. Contact us now and receive a thorough, no-cost, no hassle personalized cookieless targeting recommendation. Or let us be the expert partner by your side. We can help you strengthen your first-party data and your overall data management, increase your knowledge and build market share and customer share so you’re fully ready to take on your bright cookieless future when it arrives.

A Quick Guide to Google’s Page Experience Update

businesswoman with questions about Google's page experience

Brands atop Google’s search query results may soon see a shakeup due to Google’s Page Experience algorithm update.

As a marketer, what should you know about this algorithm change? How can you be sure your website is fit and ready? What can you do to stay ahead?

Read on now to get quick answers to these Page Experience pressing questions plus the resources and expert advice you need to get your website in fighting shape to meet Google’s changing standards.

What Is the Page Experience Algorithm Update?

Do the websites that sit atop Google’s search query rankings truly belong there? Are they the reputable and trusted sites that include good info AND a high-quality user experience that visitors expect and want to see? That’s what Google’s Page Experience factor aims to determine.

One way Page Experience works is by evaluating Core Web Vitals – Google’s three user experience metrics that gauge how well a webpage performs based on load time, interactivity and stability. Another way is by looking at existing specific Google search signals, whether a webpage is safe to browse and secure, accessible, interactive and mobile-friendly.

When Did the Page Experience Algorithm Update Kick In?

Google started gradually rolling out the Page Experience rankings update globally in mid-June but said the algorithm wouldn’t be complete and at full power until the end of August.

This longer time frame will help Google monitor and tend to any unexpected issues that crop up as the rollout progresses but also will give website owners more time to improve or refine their webpages to make them more accessible, more mobile-friendly.

What 5 Tasks Should Marketers Do Now to Stay Ahead?

If you’re concerned about not being ready for Google’s latest algorithm change, this may give you more peace of mind. Google said the Page Experience algorithm update is a lightweight change so likely won’t dramatically affect your web traffic in most cases. Page Experience is just one of many factors that contribute to how your website ranks in Google’s search results. But to stay as competitive as possible, here’s what you should do now to keep your website in good working order:

1) Check if your site is mobile-friendly with this mobile-friendly test and your site page speeds with Page Speed Insights and make adjustments.

2) Ensure your site is free of malicious content by reviewing and following Google’s security issues report.

3) Enable your site for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), which is the encrypted version of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). This is proof to website visitors you’re serious about securing and protecting your site and all its data – all the passwords and credit card, user and personal info you handle and collect on the internet.

4) Test your Core Web Vitals with these popular web developer tools. These three Google measurements focus on the user experience and include the following:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures your website loading performance, which is how fast your webpage loads from a user’s perspective from first click to when most of your page content appears. To offer the best user experience, strive to have your largest piece of content load within 2.5 seconds of the page starting to load according to Search Engine Land.

First Input Delay (FIP) measures your interactivity, for instance, how fast it takes a user to pick an option from your navigation menu, click and go to another page on your site or enter info into a form field. Per Search Engine Land, if you want to achieve a good interactivity score, ensure your site handles input within 100 milliseconds.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures visual stability, in other words, how quickly your website elements drop into place on your site when it loads. Of course, the goal is to have your page stay static so content doesn’t jump around and confuse and irritate users. Search Engine Land also suggests you  keep your visual stability score lower than 0.1. (With this in mind, it may be the right time to test if reducing your page pop-ups or removing your interstitials could improve your score.)

5) Tackle website housekeeping tasks to keep your website effective. Search Engine Land recommends you make your web content your highest priority. Also, work at improving your page speeds. Evaluate your web design and call to actions (CTAs) so they’re at their most compelling, be sure to set up your image alt tags and review and adjust your site navigation so it’s both simple and clear.

With a firm handle on what Google’s Page Experience is, how it works and what tasks you should consider knocking out to help you achieve more Google ranking success, keep track of your progress with the new Page Experience report available in the Google Search Console. As you do, or if you have any questions as you tackle any part of your digital advertising strategy, reach out to us for support or a complementary assessment.

P.S. Want even more info, insights and advice on today’s top digital advertising topics and trends all for free? Sign up for our newsletter or check out our range of free resources. Learn the strategies behind our biggest success stories by reading our case studies. Peruse our in-depth white papers or blog for actionable ideas you can put to the test now. Also, visit our new, must-see Identity Resource Center – created for you – so you can have all the essential materials you need to get up to speed quickly and confidently on where cookieless digital advertising, identity and privacy are heading today.

3 Essential Elements of a Full-Funnel Search Strategy

Want a winning formula to hit your business goals? While there’s no one size that fits all, our Lisa Little, one of Search Engine Land’s 2020 search marketers of the year,  says it comes down to having these three elements in your search strategy – a healthy mix of search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and ecommerce.

The search engine results page (SERP) is filled with aspects and listings that fall into SEO, SEM and ecommerce, and you need to have a solid combination of all three to take up more real estate on the SERP, not only for maximum visibility but to push out your competition. Since typical searchers don’t know if they’re interacting with organic, paid or ecommerce listings, including all three elements in your search strategy means you can be there for your customer when, where and how they personally prefer to interact with your brand. No matter your customers’ path to conversion, having a consolidated search strategy will cover your full-funnel bases and ensure you’re reaching each of your customers in a personalized, effective and efficient way.

Three Different Games, Same Playground

Lisa compares SEO, SEM and ecommerce to playing three games during a playground tournament: You’re playing dodgeball (SEO), kickball (SEM) and tetherball (ecommerce) on the same playground (SERP) with the same type of ball (platforms) but with different rules, gameplay, player positions, strategies, variables and objectives to win. Rather than invest everything into one game, to succeed at a full-funnel search strategy, you have to play a combination of these three games and find the right mix of SEO, SEM and ecommerce for your brand. When you do and when you can communicate well; enjoy continual learning, testing and rapid change; and excel at data storytelling, you’ll be well-versed to reach your brand goals. That’s when you’ll rule the playground.

SEO, SEM and Ecommerce – What They Are and How They Relate

Let’s dig into what SEM, SEO and ecommerce are and how they relate to one another. They each bring different benefits to advertisers, so including all three channels in your full-funnel search strategy is vital. Never ignore them, pit them against one other or compare them on a one-to-one basis. Each one is supplemental and pivotal to your success:

SEO

SEO is your brand’s DNA, your fundamental online infrastructure. It’s your organic search online strategy, your mindful, smart messaging that lays the groundwork for your brand. Lisa says without SEO, your paid advertising, like a beautiful mansion, will crumble under a weak foundation.

SEO provides listings based on relevant search terms to the SERP, which can be in the form of knowledge graphs, SEO and map listings, social media ratings and reviews to app search optimization, location list management, content mapping, free shopping listings and web development. It’s an ongoing process, trying to rank your website in organic search listings, updating location listings for brick-and-mortar businesses and more.

SEM

SEM is paid advertising triggered by keyword searches. Each time a keyword is searched, you and other advertisers compete in the same real-time blind auction (a combination of bid, quality and relevancy) to determine positions on the SERP. The one who wins gets to display their messaging and targeting at the top of the SERP. One good reason to engage in SEM is because your competitors are. But doing so can be beneficial in other ways: It can tell you who your customers are and how they behave. Plus, you can control your promotional messaging and measure its effectiveness  with tangible dollars. SEM is an excellent way to build immediate awareness, traffic and results if you have a budget to spend on paid digital media.

Ecommerce

Ecommerce is the broad term for online retail, which encompasses paid and unpaid aspects that work together, and can range from shopping ads on search engines, open marketplaces such as Amazon or Walmart or integrations such as Shopify. For ecommerce success, automation and machine learning are key, so leverage a management platform like Kenshoo to consolidate holistic ecommerce stories and gain more ecommerce program capabilities.

How To Elevate Your Holistic Search Strategy

To evolve and use SEO, SEM and ecommerce and elevate your holistic search strategy, determine your primary business objective and the pain points you’re trying to solve. Our ecommerce playbook and any of our other free digital advertising resources – guides, case studies, white papers and more – can offer you the expert insights and tips to know where to start. Or seek out the right partner with the strength, expertise, tools and capabilities who can be with you right from the beginning and every step along the way to help you grow and evolve across all search channels.

To see if we may be a good fit and to get a recommendation custom built for your brand, reach out now. We can help you harness the right combination of SEO, SEM and ecommerce capabilities and opportunities to rise above your competitors and claim the notice you deserve.

Ramp Up Your Multi-location Business Marketing

Working with dozens of multi-location brands and thousands of franchisees here at Goodway Group, we routinely encounter the same three questions regardless of brand.

“How can I deliver media that’s customized to the market but doesn’t take more time and resources than I get in performance improvement?”

“How can  I get our corporate marketers to better understand the uniqueness of my local  market to deliver better marketing plans?”

“How can I find scale in digital media that’s still hitting my target audience?”

To get corporate marketers, franchisees and regional managers on the same page and aligned, our president Jay Friedman suggests you do this: Pay attention to your individual markets, get a wider view of your customer, know who your customers are and aren’t and automate for results.

Pay attention to your individual markets.

Marketing automation platforms, account-based management platforms (ABMs) and demand-side platforms (DSPs) all perform well, but which is best?

Jay gets asked this all the time. His answer? The tool you use isn’t the differentiator. It’s the people and thinking behind the tool that matter.

With multi-location brands and businesses, this is even more vital. Running a homogenous national campaign for a multi-location brand, of course, takes the least effort, but this won’t generate optimal results. To get those, you really need someone who has the right knowledge and expertise preparing and managing your campaign, especially since each market – and often submarket – needs to be carefully analyzed, set up, and optimized differently.

Get a wider view of your customer.

Working with only average customer personas can limit your success. You can forget edge cases are often the bulk of what makes up a customer base. This can lead to overtargeting, which can eliminate valuable users from your targeting and limit campaign scale.

For instance, say a brand places a conversion tag on a multi-location restaurant’s website order confirmation page and app to discover if its ads are generating conversions on its website. Nationally or globally, the brand sees a blended view of its average customer in aggregate. When it matches back to its platform data, it sees its average consumer has two children, eight devices per household, at  least two streaming service subscriptions and so on. But is this accurate? “Likely not,” Jay says. “It’s the “myth of average.”

To avoid falling victim to it, Jay says it’s important to gauge the likelihood that certain characteristics are present among your customers and prospects and see how these characteristics differ from market to market and even submarket to submarket – because they can a lot.

For instance, Austin, Texas, and San Antonio, Texas, are less than an hour’s drive from each other yet are different demographically. San Antonio has a median household income of $49,024 versus Austin’s $71,543. Shopping habits and media consumption in these two markets likely differ too: Customers may drive different cars, subscribe to different streaming services and so on.

When you’re a multi-location brand, drilling down further and learning how to customize your digital advertising efforts by a geographic area, market or submarket can help you achieve a more effective campaign and better results.

Know who your customers are and aren’t.

Sure, you know who your customers are, but do you know who aren’t? This is just as important, especially if you don’t want to sink valuable time and money into nurturing seemingly good leads that are bad. Jay says it’s this degree of difference between customers and non-customers that has the greatest impact.

For example, Jay says a brand may discover that many of its Texas customers drive a Chevy Silverado. But a lot of people drive Chevy Silverados who aren’t customers, too. It’s simply a popular truck in Texas! You need to determine if this one specific characteristic is important. In a given market, if 7% of your customers drive a certain car but only 0.8% of the broader population does, this could be significant. Luckily, you don’t have to guess or go with your gut. With digital media, we can look at both behavioral data and technographic data (browser, site, time of day, and so on) to identify your most statistically significant variables.

Automate for results.

Understanding your audience, customizing media plans and personalizing advertising for 210 different designated market areas in the U.S. is challenging enough, let alone customizing by submarket, which can be grueling work, even if it makes sense. Doing this manually for 1,000 locations and their respective areas just isn’t realistic or viable. Labor costs will cancel out performance benefits. That’s why the smartest marketers and their agencies today are finding success automating this process.

Great marketing is becoming more technical and scientific every day, and creating and using algorithms to automate and guide your success can set you apart. Most agencies today are doing this or are working with a partner who can, and it’s fair to expect this from your agency or in-house team so your dollars are spent well. Jay’s advice? To achieve great results and become a leader alongside your national and global brand peers, embrace automation wholeheartedly and spend significantly more time measuring and replanning than anything else.

Multi-location brands can struggle with how to reach customers across different regions. But through thoughtful campaign setup and smart decisions with hyperlocal campaign optimizations, it’s possible to reach these customers through customized targeting at scale – that doesn’t drain your resources.

Need hyperlocal audience design, targeting and ad delivery for all your individual locations? Reach out to us today for a custom recommendation. See how our award-winning tech, expertise and optimizations in action can propel your multi-location campaign performance more cost-effectively and efficiently so you can do more with less and accomplish goals faster.

Get the Best Career Advice From Women in Ad Tech

Remarkable. Extraordinary. Bold. Resilient. History is full of strong women who accomplished far beyond what they strived for simply because they knew who they were, what they could offer and had the confidence and courage to chase their dreams and make their mark. If you’re striving to make your own place in history, read on to get the best career advice from women in ad tech – our Goodway women share the wise words they wish they could have heard at the start of their careers, all in hopes it will help you move faster down the road to success:

Embrace Change
SANDRA MITCHELL
Team Lead, Field Media Solutions, Goodway Group

Have confidence. This industry is constantly evolving and pivoting, and it can feel overwhelming as new concepts and technologies roll out. Keep an open mind, be willing and give yourself space to learn and grow. You might surprise yourself with the direction your career will go!

Find Your Voice
TY HOWARD
SDR, Business Strategy & Development, Goodway Group

You’ve worked hard to earn a seat at the table. That means your voice, your way of thinking and your perspective are not only wanted but needed! You can take small action steps every day to practice using your voice so when opportunities arise, you’re more than prepared!

Embrace Your Power

KANDI GONGORA
Chief Transformation & People Officer, Goodway Group

Be authentic to you and others around you. Lift others up! There are enough forces trying to bring negativity to the world; be that extended hand for someone so they can thrive.

You ARE enough. Use this as your foundation to fuel where you want to go in life! There are enough barriers and roadblocks in front of you without you being one of them. Remember you have all the power. You have the power to choose your mindset, your reactions and your tribe.

Raise Your Hand
SAM HUNTER
Research Analyst, Goodway Group

Speak up more. Standing up for yourself or creating opportunities for yourself isn’t aggressive. It’s important for women not to self-select themselves out of positions out of reluctancy to raise our hands because we don’t want to be annoying or seem too forward.

Aim High
MEGHANN CHAMBERLAIN
Media Solutions Manager, ML Media Solutions, Goodway Group

Learn something new every day, by taking an online course, reaching out to a mentor, attending a webinar or asking to shadow a colleague. The marketing and advertising world changes every single day! Read as much as you can, listen to podcasts and lean on experts in the industry and within your company to help you continue to learn and grow.

Be Good To Yourself And Others
AMI SIRLIN
SVP, Client Experience

Don’t change who you are for anyone. You are strong and good enough, as you are, at this point in your life. Stop comparing yourself to others or to a version of yourself you’re not yet ready to take on. You can’t be great at everything … but you will be eventually.

Stop trying to be perfect and stop being hard on yourself. Live in the now and stop focusing on the future so much. New opportunities and promotions will come. Keep raising your hand, and be OK knowing you won’t get every single one you try for.

Stand up and be a voice. Trust me; we all want to hear what you have to say. In every conversation, go in being inquisitive, not judgmental. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you know all the answers; you don’t. Instead, take the opportunity to learn from others around you. Allow others to continue to surprise you with their knowledge.

Support others. When they fall or stumble, be the first to pick them back up no matter the situation. Being a good person will never go out of fashion.

Stay In The Moment
DIANE HILTON
Account Director, Multi-location, Goodway Group

Be present and in the moment at all times. Sit at the table. ASK FOR A SEAT AT THE TABLE. Be in person, face to face, anytime you can. Use the phone over email when it makes sense. You are smarter than you think you are. Relationships are going to get you far. Don’t overlook one or burn bridges. The world is, indeed, very small.

Write Your Future
AMANDA MARTIN
VP, Enterprise Partnerships, Goodway Group

Don’t assume your next role or opportunity already exists. You may have to craft, propose and create it. We often look to the roles around us at a company or within an industry to determine what our next move should be, but what if your next opportunity is yours to create? Then your options are endless. With this mentality, you can positively work yourself out of your current role and into one far better suited to you and your abilities.

The road to success is not straight, and your definition of success should not be fixed. You’re going to take a winding path to “success,” but the bets you make along the way will serve you well even if you can’t see that at the time. I have held many roles across many organizations, and within each role, my definition of success had to be fluid. My path was winding, and at times, I got lost. Some may look at the paths I’ve taken as side steps or steps backward, but in the end, it led to a career I love and one I’m uniquely suited for because of my winding experiences.

Make Connections
JADE TAN
Media Assistant, CvE

Network with other women whether on the same level as you or experienced. When you don’t have any personal connections, it may feel unreachable, but community is an amazing thing. Reach out to those already in the field; they will have amazing stories to learn from. Share learnings and always be optimistic. Belief is always key too.

Get A Mentor
SANDI BOURBEAU
SDR, Business Strategy & Development, Goodway Group

Partnering with a mentor at any stage of your career is beneficial, but starting early on will yield tremendous benefits! You have the advantage of learning from someone who’s “been there, done that” and can offer valuable insights on what it takes to move your career forward. Plus, you’ll make a new friend!

Choose Your Own Adventure
CHRISTINE FOSTER
VP, Field Media Solutions, Goodway Group

Stay curious about the past and learn from others’ experiences. Stay curious about what could be and go for it. Life isn’t static. It will change, and remaining curious is a super power as you mature. It will help you make more informed decisions as well as prevent you from getting stuck along the way.

Don’t be easily discouraged; the path isn’t always straight, and that’s a gift. Every detour or roadblock leads somewhere new. Treat those unplanned treks as adventures to be embraced. You’re going to learn a lot.

Make Your Mark
MEGAN SIMPSON
Research Manager, Goodway Group

Be a sponge. Read, listen, watch and take in as much content as you can to form your own opinions and make your mark rather than waiting on someone else to tell you what to do!

Find a mentor, someone you look up to and trust. Take the initiative to schedule regular time with them to get advice, pick their brain, and learn from them. Don’t expect someone to come in and walk you down the perfect path; you’re in control of your own destiny.

Don’t get caught up in the things you can’t control. There will always be obstacles to overcome and people you don’t jibe with. Do what you can with what you have and trust yourself to navigate through your own journey.

Realize there are times when it’s OK that work is not your #1 priority. As a woman, I know we can especially be really hard on ourselves when there is so much “life” happening that we can’t pour 100% of ourselves into work. Balance doesn’t just mean ending your workday and starting family time. It means understanding there are times in our lives when lateral moves or even “demotions” may make more sense for our current life stage and could actually be setting us up for more success further down the road when we can reprioritize our careers without feeling like we’re making huge compromises.

Dare To Be Different
LAURA FORDHAM
Director, Business Strategy & Development, CvE

You know more than you think you do. Know your super power and what makes you different and own it. Get a coach. Be curious. Have a plan. Be brave.

Get What You Deserve
ELIZABETH ZUPKOW
Account Manager, Client Services, Goodway Group

Ask for what you want and need. Your time and expertise are valuable. You should be well supported in your ventures, and sometimes that means asking for help, for the appropriate pay and for the right team to surround you.

Think Big
VIVIANA TORO
Marketing Manager, Business Strategy & Development, CvE

Have an open mindset. Have an ongoing interest in learning. Be curious. Be brave. Take risks. Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and ask for what you want. Some may reply, others won’t, and that’s OK too. Don’t feel discouraged; it’s all part of the experience. But if you do, acknowledge it and be kind to yourself. Be your own best friend. Trust your gut and trust your path.

Be Magnificent
COREAN CANTY
COO, Goodway Group

Don’t be afraid to be big. The world needs your full potential. Learn critical thinking skills. The ability to zoom in/zoom out and view things from various perspectives is so valuable. Don’t be afraid to question the status quo and take risks. Use your voice. Your contribution matters.

I always recommend reading autobiographies of interesting people. You can learn so much from other people’s experiences if you’re open and curious.

Want even more Goodway advice, tips and expertise you can use? Reach out to us now or download our free digital advertising resources, from white papers to guides to case studies and more, everything you need – to get out there, get where you want to go and show the world exactly what you’re made of and what you’ve got.

Win Big With Data-Driven Marketing These 3 Ways

Collecting data and then using it well can be overwhelming to marketers. But these tasks don’t have to be. Get the expert advice and sound recommendations you’ve been looking for from our own Ben Diesbach, director of analytics and insights, and Justin Orkin, VP of business development and strategy. Tune in now to their recent Digiday presentation (or read on below for the highlights) as they break down how to boost your data-driven marketing.

1. Harness Your Own Data

Tap into your first-party data to drive results and return on investment (ROI) by using the data-driven marketing process we at Goodway Group use ourselves:

  • Take it one step at a time. Keep it simple to start. Identify and get a hold of the data assets you have (even if your first-party data is laid out in a disparate or disconnected manner).
  • Think about what you want to solve. Have a hypothesis and broader goal of what you seek to achieve before you even make decisions about using a customer data platform or DMP, building something on your own, or investing in tech stacks, custom data integrations and more.
  • Curate the right custom audience targeting and segmentation strategies. Base your decisions on real data rather than gut feel.
  • Test and learn. Start with simplistic tests that answer larger high-leverage test first. Then get granular and iterate and refine as you go to inch closer to your goal over time.

Throughout the process, Ben says the most important thing is “to stay flexible and not let perfect be the enemy of the good.” “As you test different data segments, different platforms, different ways to get in front of the right users at the right time, where your attention goes, where your time goes will shift and change. That’s OK,” he says. Your data strategy is a journey.”

Though while you’re on that journey, Ben cautions, “Whether you’re testing creative iterations for a media strategy or different audiences you’re targeting for a prospecting strategy, the key is to not test too many things at once or you can end up not learning anything.”

2. Create Custom Audience-First Segmentation

To connect and engage consumers, develop audience targeting strategies rooted in the actual behaviors, demographics, and context of your existing first-party audience. Then create impactful segmentation strategies for your existing audience as well as with those audiences you want to target – to get net-new customers to engage with your brand.

When you do, results can be eye-opening. For instance, at Goodway, we recently worked with a client that has a large ecommerce presence selling a variety of at-home products across a couple primary categories. From a creative and audience standpoint, there’d been an assumption that cross-brand messaging can serve as a great upsell tactic to get customers from one brand to buy from another. We wanted to work with the data and actually test this assumption.

We checked if there was any amount of natural cross-over purchasing between the client’s brand categories in the first place. Surprisingly, we found little crossover between brands. The purchaser buckets from the client’s two brands were largely mutually exclusive to one another. Next, we examined the audience characteristics of both brands and spotted some key differences. In this case, the client’s data combined with ours informed us a cross-brand upsell strategy wasn’t the right one. Instead, the data revealed we should build more individual audience targeting strategies for each brand.

3. Keep Pulse on the Future of Data, Identity and Privacy

Data analytics as a practice has been historically siloed to an individual  team, but the mindset and skill set are now being infused across organizations. Justin thinks this evolution will really pick up steam in 2021, especially now that the C-suite is paying more attention to data analytics and looking to marketing to drive results.

“Now we finally have the ability to measure and track marketing and put things in place to get a full view of the customer,” Justin says. “The cookie may be crumbling, but a lot of new partnerships and avenues are forming that will help give clarity into those users with or without the cookie.” In fact, Goodway is one such company now taking part in a few councils where we get to dig in and partner with leading buyers and publishers in the digital advertising industry and think about ad tech challenges from a discovery, targeting and measurement standpoint.

Ben says he’s excited to see the ad tech industry actively getting their hands dirty to come up with alternative and sustainable identity and privacy solutions to test and implement. He thinks this will serve everyone in the ecosystem better. “Though a lot of challenges lie ahead when it comes to data, especially related to identity and privacy, third-party cookies going away in Chrome, and the IDFA consent on iOS, they force ad tech to come up with a better long-term solution.”

 “Targeting is not going to be like the targeting with third-party cookies that we’ve been used to,” he said. “There will be obstacles, and there won’t be 100% match rate, but the unfolding solutions will be something that works for marketers and consumers in the end. 2021 is going to be a great step forward in getting there.”

Justin is also optimistic about the future. When he thinks of the challenges ahead, he sees only new opportunities such as these. “You can put the consumer first across your website or mobile app and really think through that data-driven marketing process and what that journey looks like starting from the consumer,” he said. “And companies and brands can put the consumer first through this journey while ensuring acknowledgements exist along the way to build brand equity through one-to-one relationships.”

If you want to execute data strategy, audience targeting and brand messaging built for the future and get a return on advertising spend (ROAS), we’re here for you. We can help you create effective custom data-driven marketing and navigate the ever-changing, complex ad ecosystem with ease.

Three Reasons Why the Future of Digital Marketing Is Bright

Doom and gloom. Many marketers are feeling anxious about the future of digital marketing – data privacy concerns and regulations, the changing ad tech ecosystem, Google’s expected deprecation of the third-party cookie in 2022 and the uncertainty ahead. But our Amanda Martin, VP of enterprise partnerships, isn’t one of them. Quite the opposite. She’s feeling optimistic about the path forward, and though she knows challenges lie ahead, she’s already found the silver linings. Read on or watch now as she explains to Magnite why the future of digital marketing is bright.

1) Losing the Cookie, Gaining an Opportunity

Having to give up the third-party cookie isn’t worrying Amanda. “I think we’ve painted this as a kind of ‘sky is falling’ situation, but I look at it as a true opportunity. This is our time to fix an infrastructure that was never solid and wasn’t meant to be built upon to the manner it has been. So for me, the cookieless future is actually a better future than the one we exist in today,” she said.

Amanda knows there will be hurdles to clear, of course, and the ad tech industry will have to do things differently on the way to a better cookieless future, but she thinks all this change is good and buyers should keep a positive outlook. “In the end, we’ll have a far safer consent-oriented landscape we’re working in that respects the users’ privacy as well as the brand’s needs,” she said. “And that will get us in a better place for programmatic to grow in the way and to the size it should.”

In the interim, Goodway Group is primarily focusing on our brands’ first-party data and working on their valuable data assets to help them lay a solid foundation that will withstand the test of time. Even as we all prepare to say goodbye to cookies and work to hammer out new identity solutions that will benefit the open internet, how brands use their first-party data moving forward will play a large role in how well they’re able to reach and engage consumers in the coming cookieless world. Amanda added, “What we’re doing is working with brands to redefine key performance indicators (KPIs) that maybe won’t be available anymore and leading them down a path of identifying metrics for success that work today and will work in the future.”

2) Embracing Collaboration

One thing Amanda finds uplifting about losing the third-party cookie? “What I’m really excited to see is that this issue transcends any one company, and it affects everyone. I think it’s actually the first turning point in maturity for our industry  to actually create a collaboration that we haven’t seen in the past,” she said. “It forces everyone in our industry to come together.”

All of us working toward the shared goal of finding new identity solutions to replace the third-party cookie is a major stride forward when you consider the ad tech industry incentivized companies to work alone rather than together in the past. Amanda said, “I’ve seen conversations that used to always stay at the conversation level now transcend into action, and so if that continues, I feel confident we’ll come up with solutions built for the future of digital marketing that are far better than the ones we have today.”

Amanda thinks with all this close collaboration, the data ecosystem will also improve. “With all the cookieless changes, regulations and consumer consent concerns, I think we’ll get to a place where we’ll value quality over quantity, which will ensure brands are truly buying the quality inventory they’ve always strived to achieve,” she said. “At the same time, consumers will also enjoy a better ad experience because the value proposition between consumers and brands will be more honest and transparent, and will help drive up everyone’s results in the end.”

3) Evolving Ad Tech’s Programmatic Supply Path Optimization

Supply path optimization (SPO) is a really important piece of the ad tech ecosystem, and Amanda believes everyone should be participating. She said, “It’s really grown in importance because the tools the industry has created and continues to iterate on afford us insight into more information than we’ve ever had on the buy side, which allows us to action off of signals that we didn’t even imagine, say, two years ago.”

SPO may be a little misunderstood. It’s not all about fees and shrinking the middle. “Though I think SPO started out in this kind of transparency fight to the bottom fee structure, it’s evolved far beyond this at this point,” Amanda said. “Today, I think it’s far more about value and the path to the end publisher and the end user that the brand desires. It’s all about efficiency on the buy side – knowing the value of the inventory you’re buying and guiding brands to the best inventory possible.”

So how do you ensure SPO success? Amanda said that’s a bit hard to nail down. “It’s an iterative process. You have to consistently be working on SPO and tweaking it because the ecosystem is also tweaking it on the sell side, and it’s not something you can simply set and forget,” she said. “To be successful, you have to define your key performance indicators (KPIs) as a brand or an agency and really stick to driving those metrics and then reassess them on a given cadence so your goals continue to match up with the ad tech industry’s latest advances.”

Reassessing is exactly what Goodway has had to do. Over the past four years, how we’ve handled SPO as a performance marketer has changed a lot. Amanda explained, “In the beginning, SPO was really a manual partnership and relationship game. But it’s taken a technological turn of late that’s allowed us to change our bidding strategies. Now, we work with our DSP and SSP partners to improve the efficiency of how we buy and, in the end, get more working media dollars into the publisher’s hand. We’re no longer turning SPO off then on again. Instead, we’re now taking a fine-tuned approach, one that allows us to use all the technology and API configurations we have at our fingertips.”

Whether it’s navigating a cookieless world, embracing industry collaboration, keeping pulse on SPO and more, the future of digital marketing is bright. Want to be sure to embrace all the promise it holds? Download our Going Cookieless 101 Guide today to see where the ad tech industry is headed and for the expert tips you need to go cookieless yourself. Download more of our free resources packed full of the digital marketing news, trends and tips you can’t get anywhere else and can put into action immediately. Or work with us – our award-winning team can expertly guide you and help you achieve your brand goals at every turn along the way on the journey ahead.

Goodway Group Ranks Third on Ad Age Best Places to Work 2021 List

With a fresh new year comes an exciting new distinction: Goodway Group just ranked third on the Ad Age Best Places to Work 2021 list of marketing, media, advertising or ad tech companies with over 200 employees.

Ad Age produces the Ad Age Best Places to Work competition, now in its third year, in conjunction with Latitude Research. The final results were tallied based on the findings from two surveys, a company questionnaire and a confidential employee questionnaire specifically designed to capture how a company performs in the following areas that matter most to employees: company culture, company environment, employee benefits, employee development, employee engagement  and employee perks.

Goodway’s top marks in the above Ad Age key scoring categories were what separated us from other well-known media agency and digital company contenders to go on to achieve one of the highest numerical scores on the list.

Why Goodway Was Chosen as an Ad Age Best Places to Work 2021 Top Scorer

“From the challenges of the pandemic and a recession to the opportunities to stand up for social justice, diversity and inclusion, 2020 was a remarkable year for the advertising industry,” said Dan Peres, editor-in-chief, Ad Age. “Amid all of this, the Ad Age Best Places to Work winners went above and beyond in supporting their employees and communities.”

For over 13 years, Goodway has been a remote work leader. When the pandemic hit, fortunately we were already structured to not miss a beat in a new world where working from home became the norm. So we assumed it was our remote work expertise along with our robust employee benefits and perks that propelled us to the top of the Ad Age Best Places to Work list.

Yet, Ad Age said those weren’t the deciding factors. What gave us the edge? It was how we put employees first during a tumultuous year. But this was no different than how we’ve operated for over ninety years: We’ve always succeeded by caring about one another and treating employees like family.

“When advertising revenue dropped in early 2020, we were really torn about how to keep our people and our team together,” Kandi Gongora, our VP of people and organizational development, said. But the solution quickly became clear. To ensure our entire team stayed intact, all our 371 employees, including our two owners, took temporary pay cuts to ensure zero furloughs or layoffs. The goal was Goodway would pay back every penny as long as it met its reduced annual target for the year, and we  accomplished this by early December 2020. Not only were we able to pay our staff back in full, we also were able to return pay levels to normal.

In addition to keeping the team together in 2020, Goodway implemented new programs to boost employee morale and support as we navigated a remarkable year. Here’s a look at a few:

Voluntary Employee-Funded Financial Assistance Program

Goodway established a fund to offer employees confidential financial assistance for needs both large or small, such as supporting family members who lost their jobs or taking care of sick pets.

Respect, Inclusion, Support and Equality (RISE) Initiative

We respect our employees and are committed to workplace diversity and cultivating a culture of inclusion and belonging through our everyday practices to continually move Goodway forward. “As a family business, we want every person at Goodway to feel like they are part of the family,” Kandi said. “Since we are remote, connections are really important, and we saw this even more so during 2020. We strive to support our team members, enabling everyone at the agency to perform at their best while creating, fostering and preserving a work environment where everyone feels welcomed and heard.”

Community Resource Groups

Our community resource groups give employees the opportunity to share different perspectives and ideas, build skills for further growth and development and explore special interests by participating in cooking and crafting tutorials, fitness and meditation classes and more. For instance, to help working parents strike a better work-life balance during the pandemic, Goodway even offers company-led virtual childcare, tutoring services and kid-friendly events.

Goodway Cares

Through our nonprofit Goodway Cares, we were able to give back to the less fortunate who were rocked by the effects of COVID-19 by donating to a variety of causes close to our heart.

Front and center at Goodway will always be our people, and that’s why we’ll always lead the pack when it comes to continually strengthening our supportive work environment and unique company culture, within the U.S. and now internationally too. Interested in joining Goodway? See what else makes us different. Check out our job opportunities and apply today.

Optimize To Those Primed To Buy With Amazon Advertising

Brands who have online stores often face the challenge of choosing between focusing on lower-funnel channels to acquire in-market consumers, or on spreading awareness to create new followers and drive interest. With Amazon Advertising, you can get both!

Through Goodway Group’s agreement with Amazon and our award-winning holistic advertising strategy, these brands can access the platform’s entire ecosystem to seamlessly promote their message as customers discover, research and purchase online. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Check out our top four tips for harnessing the power of Amazon Advertising below or download our full online retail advertising playbook to get even more digital advertising insights.

1. Get found with Amazon’s sponsored ads

Amazon knows what shoppers are in the market for. Take advantage to get in front of customers when they are searching for products like yours on Amazon and drive the results that matter most to your business. Amazon’s sponsored ads are triggered by shoppers specifically searching for your product or similar products.

Remember, seven out of ten Amazon customers never click past the first page of search results, and the top three items displayed in the search results account for nearly two-thirds of all clicks according to Search Engine Journal. So promoting your products through Amazon Advertising’s sponsored ads is vital to generating conversions. That’s why we recommend brands who have online stores use Amazon’s sponsored ads as part of their evergreen plan and ramp up with additional budget during peak holiday seasons to drive sales among the highest-intent users. Increase product visibility with ads directly in shoppers’ search results, and you’ll be on your way to driving more lower-funnel activity.

Why partner with Goodway for your paid search campaign?

With Goodway’s full-service solutions, our experts deliver ongoing innovation and performance at every step of your paid search campaign, from planning to optimizing to reporting. Plus, our relationship with Amazon means you get access to new betas, advanced tools, training programs and more. Don’t just take our word for it! See how we helped our client achieve a Silver Global Search Award for Best Local Campaign Pay Per Click (PPC) at the 2020 inaugural Global Search Awards.

2. Power you programmatic campaigns on and off Amazon’s site with Amazon’s DSP

On average, U.S. consumers own eleven connected devices per household including seven smart screens, according to a recent Deloitte study. Since your customers don’t browse, research and buy in a silo, why would you spend your ad dollars that way? Using Amazon’s demand-side platform (DSP), we can buy all your digital inventory [including desktop display, mobile, video and over-the-top (OTT) ads] programmatically at scale for seamless cross-device coverage on and off Amazon’s site. And you don’t need to sell products on Amazon to use its DSP.

How can Goodway help you get more out of your programmatic campaign?

Our experts can help you leverage Amazon’s audience solutions across hundreds of retail categories to reach your customers wherever they are shopping. Plus, our partners get best-in-class human intelligence and leading machine learning tech layered on top of the DSP’s algorithms for enhanced performance.

3. Don’t forget to add Amazon’s data-driven audience targeting to your cart

For most people, online shopping equals Amazon. It’s the world’s largest online retailer with consumers ordering items from Amazon 6.5 times per month on average – more than any other online marketplace – according to Wunderman Thompson research. Meaning its millions of shoppers leave behind a valuable trail of information about themselves, creating a treasure trove of data that can enhance targeting precision. So you can use a unique combination of your own first-party data and exclusive Amazon audiences to enhance targeting precision based on what users have searched for, viewed, subscribed to or purchased.

Why should you use a partner like Goodway to help you build a smarter data strategy?

Often when brands try to leverage Amazon’s data in-house, they layer on too many niche targeting parameters and end up limiting the campaign’s reach. Our experts know how to create audience segments that not only expand your customer pool but are also precisely targeted. Let us handle your data onboarding, matching and segmentation to expertly craft custom audiences for your brand.

4. Prove your advertising impact with Amazon’s advanced reporting and insights

Maximize cross-channel measurement and audience insights with all your reporting in one place! Amazon’s sophisticated measurement solutions help you gauge ad performance to know what’s driving results in your campaigns and optimize toward the most effective channels.

Because everything on Amazon is interconnected, marketers can capitalize on this reporting to build a custom holistic approach that leverages the best performing ad tools. With Amazon, you can experiment with a variety of tactics and optimize toward those that yield the highest return for your brand, but always remember to remain fluid enough that you can quickly adjust if consumer behaviors shift.

How can the right reporting insights impact your bottom line?

Working with Goodway also means your dedicated team constantly analyze audience overlap and attribution reports to better understand your customers, optimize your campaigns to where and how they prefer to shop, and identify new audience pockets for incremental sales lift. You get best-in-class human intelligence and machine learning tech at every step of your campaign, from planning to optimizing to Silver Global Search Award for Best Local Campaign Pay Per Click (PPC).

With today’s shoppers relying on Amazon for everything from toilet paper to school supplies, it’s crucial for brands to ensure consumers in the discovery and consideration phases can find your products wherever they do their research. Reach out to us to learn more about how you can get started with Amazon Advertising today or talk to us about how we recently ran an Amazon Prime Day campaign that doubled the sales benchmark for a nutritional supplement brand.