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Microsoft Advertising Updates: Responsive Search Ads, Improved Reports, & More

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Updates to Microsoft Advertising this month include a broad rollout of responsive search ads, clearer performance reporting, and news regarding expanded text ads.

Here’s a recap of what’s new with Microsoft Advertising for the month of January 2020.

Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)

Microsoft’s RSAs, which have been in open beta since September 2019, are now available worldwide for all advertisers.

RSAs allow advertisers to provide up to 15 possible headlines and 4 possible descriptions. Microsoft will take those and match up the most optimal combinations to create an ad tailored for the individual user.

Advertisers can import RSA campaigns from Google Ads directly into Microsoft Advertising. Learn more here.

Clearer Performance Reporting

In an effort to make performance reporting more reliable, Microsoft Advertising is removing the average position metric. Microsoft determined that prominence metrics provide a clearer view of where ads are served on a page than the average position metric does.

Average position will be removed from performance reports beginning in April. Microsoft says this change brings performance reporting closer to parity with Google Ads.

Deadline Extended for Expanded Text Ads

Microsoft is giving advertisers more time to migrate to expanded text ads, after previously announcing the ads would no longer be served after 2019.

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The deadline for migrating to expanded text ads has been extended to March 31, 2020. This gives advertisers roughly two more months to migrate their standard text ads to expanded texts ads.

Microsoft Advertising already stopped advertisers from creating new standard texts ads two years ago, though existing campaigns were still eligible to be served.

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Marketing automation teams mired in execution, neglecting strategic priorities

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Marketing automation teams mired in execution, neglecting strategic priorities

A recent study of senior Marketo managers reveals their marketing automation teams are small, highly productive and focus predominantly on executing campaigns. 

Nearly 75% of respondents said they execute more than 30 campaigns in a year, and 74% said they manage a team of 0-3 employees. 

The focus on executing campaigns means strategic priorities, like having and measuring impact, are at risk of being neglected, according to the study.

Execution-oriented tasks that get daily attention are:

  • Building programs, campaign execution
  • Platform administration
  • Delivering leads/accounts/MQLs to sales
  • Putting out fires
  • Data management

The focus on execution leaves little time for strategic priorities. Respondents said these were undertaken less than quarterly:

  • Developing dynamic content; personalization
  • Proving and improving campaign impact
  • Scoring program management

“It’s unclear whether marketing operations (managers) are conscious of this bandwidth issue since most report being satisfied with the time required to build basic email programs (75% were satisfied or extremely satisfied) and nurture programs (52% were satisfied or extremely satisfied). Perhaps we are all blind to the time that eats up when scaled up over the course of a year and how that eats into bandwidth needed to look at big picture issues like measuring impact,” the report concludes. 

Top challenges: Measuring campaign effectiveness, finding talent

Measuring the effectiveness of campaigns and “resourcing” talent are the top operational challenges for Marketo managers, according to the study.  

More than half said measuring the impact of campaigns was their top challenge, but only one-in-three respondents said they’ve invested in an attribution platform. Only 32% of those who don’t have an attribution platform plan to add one. 

Read next: 16 marketing automation platforms your organization should consider

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The report concludes: “Despite impact measurement being an issue, only a minority of respondents have an attribution tool. Of course, that’s just part of the picture, since tools need to be leveraged properly to  get the desired outcome. And looking at some of the other top challenges, “alignment to goals and strategies” and “lack of communication and collaboration,” it stands to reason that adoption of a tool alone is not the solution.” 

Hiring and training are also areas of concern, but not equal focus, for Marketo managers. 

Nearly two-thirds of respondents anticipate they will hire in the next 12 months, but only 21% of respondents considered “maintaining talent audits and capacity needs” a primary responsibility.  

Three-in-four respondents said that their teams lack the appropriate level of training. 

Download the full report, Marketo Experts: Their Goals, Challenges, and Strategies. (Free to download. No personal information required.)

Survey methodology

In January and February of 2022, 207 Marketo users responded to the survey. 

  • 81% of respondents were Marketo administrators
  • 88% are Marketo Certified Experts or Marketo Certified Solutions Architect 

The margin of error is 5.2%, according to Survey Monkey’s Sample Size Calculator.

The study was conducted by marketing operations agency Perkuto. Adobe solicited responses from Marketo users through its community channels. 


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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Vivien is Associate Director of Demand Generation at MERGE. She is a digital marketer who specializes in the B2B martech and agency spaces. Her expertise spans from positioning, to product marketing, and content strategy. Vivien holds a law degree from McGill University and a bachelor of fine arts in design.

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