Level Insights 09.28.2016


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Major Advertising Implications for Social Platforms

In the past six months, Instagram has more than doubled its number of advertisers. Meanwhile, rival Snapchat — which launched automated ad buying in June — has rebranded to Snap to expand its product offering beyond the chatting app. From Marketing Week:

 “According to leaked documents, Snapchat said it expects revenue of about $300 million this year and $500 million to $1 billion next year, which is less than Credit Suisse’s estimates for Instagram.”

Level Insight:

  • In the past six months, Instagram has more than doubled its advertiser base. The Facebook-owned social network’s 500,000 advertisers dwarf that of other major platforms, including Twitter.
  • Since Instagram admitted to copying Snapchat’s stories function, the two apps have taken divergent tactics in their approaches to advertising.
  • Ads in Snapchat Stories do not currently link out; advertising is designed to stay within the app, thus does not provide direct-response opportunities. Exploration into the app showed major brands creating interactive experiences geared at brand recognition and user engagement. While Instagram advertisers are primarily composed of smaller businesses, that platform’s Stories function does not currently offer advertising opportunities. Level will continue to monitor for opportunities in both platforms.
  • However, Snap’s new Spectacles may one day provide a particularly compelling opportunity to broadcast sponsored video content onto the lenses and send Spectacle wearers into oncoming traffic.

Please see the articles below for more information on this topic:

Instagram More Than Doubles Advertiser Base In Six Months

Why Snapchat rebranding to Snap will take some of the pressure off

Plan device-specific user experience strategies with Google AdWords’ bid modifier

Each device creates a different buyer journey. Google is now enabling bidding adjustments to advertise for each. From Search Engine Land:

“Because behavior varies across devices, it is necessary to consider device-specific segmentation as a more fully realized option now that the capability is available to marketers within AdWords.”

Level Insight:

  • Buyer behavior changes on mobile. By definition, these devices supply information to those on the go. Every element, from content to the buyer journey, is abbreviated. That’s why click-to-call functionality and brief landing pages work; mobile buyers are seeking answers and products quickly.
  • While this will have minimal effect on Level’s bidding strategies for mobile and desktop (we already effectively alter desktop costs by adjusting mobile bidding), it gives us a new opportunity to bid for tablet-specific user experiences.
  • From a direct-response perspective, we have generally seen that mobile users convert less frequently and at a higher cost than desktop users. As always, Level optimizes all ads on a campaign basis on direct-response goals and testing results.


Google brings store visits to Google Display Network, debuts cross-device retargeting

Google’s tracking capabilities go beyond the device. From Search Engine Land:

“Between Android and Google Maps and a sophisticated place-mapping approach that Google calls “semantic location,” it can accurately understand where devices are in the real world at any given time. It then maps ad exposures to store visits.”

Level Insight:

  • In its current state, the technology can only track whether a customer who was served an ad visited a store, not whether that customer made a purchase. Store visits, not purchase volume, would have to be the metric to gauge success in a cross-device campaign.
  • Location extensions for display ads now enable geo-based re-targeting, which appears to be more of a customer engagement play.
  • With cross-device re-targeting, Google can match PC users to their mobile devices. This could lead to some interesting conversations between couples who share a desktop computer, yet keep separate mobile devices.


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