Monthly Archives

May 2016

Google Performance Summit 2016: As The Mobile World Turns

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By Peter Semetis and Daniel Olduck

Google-Adwords_295x175Performance Summit 2016 is Google’s annual event in which the company unveils new ad products and outlines how advertisers can best capitalize on the latest online behavioral trends.

Unsurprisingly, Google’s announcements were primarily focused on helping advertisers improve mobile performance, as mobile search is outpacing desktop/laptop globally.

LandingpageAnnouncement 1: Local Ads Across Maps Products
Nearly one-third of all mobile searches are now location-based queries. On mobile devices, location-based queries are growing 50% faster than other mobile queries.

There are over 1 billion users of Google Maps. Using new Local Ads, advertisers can claim their brand pin on Google Maps and add promotional messaging. Google also encourages advertisers to use online-to-offline conversion tracking, to help measure the impact of ads for users who enter physical business locations.


Announcement 2: Expanded Paid Text Ads On The SERP

In the first major change to AdWords’ text ad specifications in over a decade, Google will be expanding the number of characters allowed. Google has found that two 30-character headlines, and one long 80-character description line, are much more palpable to the mobile user. In fact, in Google’s initial testing, the new format has helped mobile CTR increase by 20%.

This change will be rolling out later this year, requiring a full refresh of all ad copy across all AdWords accounts. The new ad format has been optimized for screen sizes of the most popular smartphones. This change comes just months after the SERP layout makeover, which also made paid search ads more effective on mobile devices.

Note: Changes to the SERP layout and the ad format take effect on all devices, not just mobile.


Acronym had already been working with our clients on this upcoming change prior to this formal announcement, but status and timing of this change has evolved over the last few weeks. This will be a large initiative to migrate over to new ad formats, but a good opportunity to refresh ad copy and deliver more relevant creative.

Announcement 3: Device Bidding 2.0

A welcome announcement for paid search advertisers, Google will be providing advertisers options to better manage cost based on device. In 2013, Google enticed advertisers to the mobile ad space with the introduction of Enhanced Campaigns, which coupled many device targeting settings.  With today’s announcement, advertisers will be allowed to set a base bid for each device again. In theory, advertisers could create campaigns to separate mobile, desktop, and tablet performance – though it is not recommended by Google to do so, as the company prefers that advertisers manage all device bids within one campaign.

With these announcements, and the right-hand rail recent changes, we expect to see a rise in PPC distribution of search volume by year’s end as spaces become increasingly monetized. However the sophistication of the newer ad formats, and the precision allowed by new settings, should provide advertisers with improvements in efficiency if these new items are leveraged appropriately.

For Google’s official news release, please visit:

Peter Semetis is PPC Director and Daniel Olduck is EVP of Global Strategy at digital and search marketing agency Acronym.

AcroBabble – Going (Creatively) Digital – May 19, 2016

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Going (Creatively) Digital


Facebook Audience Network Adds Two New Video Formats

Never a dull moment at Facebook. While some people were focused on the social giant’s method of parsing news stories for its users the company added two new video formats to its Audience Network sales arsenal. For the first time, Audience Network will serve video ads on mobile and desktop browsers—not just as standalone units but as pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll in video content, Advertising Age reports. In addition, Audience Network now supports the video ads that Instant Articles publishers have been selling on their own. When it was first introduced about a year ago, Audience Network was limited to apps. That changed in January of 2016 when it was extended to the mobile web.

Google Images Returns Images Plus Ads For Online Commerce

Having tested ads within Image Search with various brands, Google now is ready to roll out the program along with local inventory pickup features, according to ADWEEK. For example, an Image Search for the term “handbags” returns lots of the usual pretty pictures along with ads and prices for merchandise from such brands as Ted Baker, Kate Spade, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. Clicking on the ads takes you to the companies’ websites for purchase. It’s a bid to reach the growing number of people shopping on smartphones. The local inventory feature lets buyers know which products are in stock at local stores by using store pickup links to local product pages. Kohl’s used the feature to drive between 40% and 50% more clicks from its local online storefront on Google to the Kohl’s website.

Snapchat Said To Be Eyeing Facebook-Like Algorithm

Snapchat is developing an algorithm that will act as a gatekeeper between publishers and brands and their audiences, according to sources cited by DIGIDAY. Such a move would make Snapchat a curator of content from publishers and, especially, brands, enabling the latter to purchase more prominent placement on the youth-oriented platform. Snapchat didn’t comment for the DIGIDAY story but the publication says that changes have been made to the platform that could easily incorporate curation.

After its March redesign, when users opened one photo or video they could tap the screen to continue viewing all the content without having to exit out to open a message from another account. Some brands and publishers saw a 40% increase in views but a 20% drop in completion rates, according to data from Delmondo.

How Brands Can Be Relationships By Changing Traditional Dynamics

Can brands really be relationships? The authors of a Harvard Business Review article say yes, and they cite as examples companies like Airbnb, Lyft and Uber. Eschewing the traditional host/guest dynamic in the hospitality space, Airbnb has taken instead to the neighbor-to-neighbor and citizen-to-citizen relationship. It promotes the concept of “belonging.” Within the taxi and livery space, the game has been driver/passenger but now it’s peer-to-peer (hence Lyft’s original tagline: Your Friend With A Car). Other examples of redefined brand roles include Virgin America and Southwest, plus Starbucks not as a simple purveyor of caffeine but as community hub.

Short Takes…

Can websites that Google would consider non-friendly for mobile users partially redeem themselves by having high-quality content? Citing another update from Google, Memeburn says yes.

The biggest barriers to more effective collaboration between agencies and clients are insufficient results reporting and a lack of marketing technology skills, per Forbes Insights and Oracle Marketing Cloud, as reported by MediaPost.

Recode reports that a product team at Google is working on a hardware device that would integrate Google’s search and voice assistant technology, akin to the Amazon Echo.

While not rigorously scientific, buzz analytics are a quick and cost-effective way to gain insights into the ways in which consumers are thinking about and using a company’s products, or relating to rivals’ offerings, McKinsey & Co. explains.


Inside Acronym – May 19, 2016

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Meet Acronym’s Josh Essig

PPC Analyst

When did you join Acronym?

I joined Acronym on March 1st of 2016.

What is your title at Acronym and which clients do you work for?

My title is PPC Analyst and I primarily work with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, but I also assist in display efforts across Acronym’s full client portfolio.

What are your specific responsibilities?

Paid search optimization and reporting for Four Seasons, which involves a great deal of creative and keyword analysis. As mentioned, I also assist Acronym’s lead Display Strategist, George Gutierrez, in optimizing and reporting on display initiatives.

What do you consider the most interesting things you do at work?

Merging and combining an analytical mindset with a creative mindset.

What do you like to do best when you are not working?

Sports is a big passion of mine.  I am a diehard Jets, Mets, Knicks, and Rangers fan, am very active in fantasy sports, and love discussing sports with others.  In my spare time, I enjoy going to the gym and trying all the unique cuisine that New York City’s various restaurants have to offer.

Current television shows that I’m invested in include Ray Donovan, Daredevil, The Americans, and The Strain. Also, while it was on, I was absolutely obsessed with LOST. Additionally, I’m an avid fan of superhero movies and comics from both Marvel and DC, and frequently attend the midnight premieres!


The evolution of SEO

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SEO_295x175The job of an SEO has certainly evolved over time due to Google cracking down on spam techniques, the rise of mobile, changes in the SERPs and so on. But what does an SEO really do these days, and how has this role changed over the years? Acronym’s Winston Burton, VP of SEO, addresses changes in local results, the rise of social, mobile usage and links in an article originally published by Search Engine Land.



An Agency Perspective: How Leading With Intent Changes the Agency Conversation

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ThinkWithGoogle_295x175As pioneers in search and innovators of intent-based digital marketing practices and technology, Acronym knows the power of listening to customers and responding with the most appropriate content. In the latest Think With Google newsletter, the search giant interviewed Acronym’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Grehan, about how leading with intent “changes the agency conversation.” In a Q&A, Grehan cites as examples how sellers of grass seed create content about backyard barbeques and retailers of women’s fashion apparel position their clothing for what-to-wear-for-interviews moments—a potentially large, new segment for their business daywear.

How to Solve the Brand Tribute Problem

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Brand-Tribute_295x175In addition to the search business, Mike Grehan, Chief Marketing Officer at Acronym, knows more than a little bit about music and bands. His father Ray was co-founder and owner of the Club A’GoGo, the famous 1960’s U.K. watering hole where the legendary rock group The Animals started their career. Ray’s business partner, Mike Jeffrey, would go on to become the manager for Jimi Hendrix.

So when rock star Prince passed away and social media lit up with post-mortem praise, Lisa Lacy at Momentology decided to do a deep dive on the practice of marketers paying tribute to dead people who may have had nothing to do with what they sell. “Look at the flurry of Prince tribute roundups from some of the most respected names in marketing news – even they struggle to define clear brand tribute rules and, at times, contradict themselves,” Lacy wrote.

There seems to be general agreement that Minnesota brands were granted some slack when it comes to saluting stars within their geographic proximity. Although brands like 3M and Chevrolet (visual: a little red Corvette) nonetheless got both cheers and jeers.

Grehan, meanwhile, starts with the premise that brands are not people. He told Lacy that a better way for brands to pay their respects to Prince would have been to make a donation to a music charity or to invest in music education.

“Does Prince need a tribute from Cheerios? He never endorsed them when he was alive,” said Grehan. “What if he never even ate them? What if he hated them? What kind of tribute is that?”

In short, Grehan feels that a brand that has no connection to the person who passed and, in the case of Prince, no connection to the music industry is giving nothing and, moreover, probably doesn’t have a staff member who knows more than one Prince record. “Here’s the question…If you think Prince is so great, why did you wait until he was dead to pay him a tribute?”

As for the chances of Grehan ever becoming eligible for such beyond-the-grave commercial sentiments—good or bad—he was taught to play drums by Animals drummer John Steel and also learned to play guitar. Sounds promising.

“At various times in my youth, I was, arguably, the world’s worst drummer in the world’s worst band, only surpassed by becoming the word’s worst guitarist in the world’s other worst band,” Grehan said.

Read the Momentology story here.




AcroBabble – Going (Creatively) Digital – May 5, 2016

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Going (Creatively) Digital


GroupM Offers A Sobering Picture Of The Digital Advertising Ecosphere

If you want to read a sobering (if not depressing) look at the state of digital advertising, check out GroupM’s Interaction 2016 report. “Here is one of the world’s leading media agency holding companies effectively telling us that the massive and growing digital investment is largely not effective,” is the way MediaPost puts it. Featured are all of the usual suspects—among them ad blocking, fraud and viewability—ranked in importance from 1 to 6 on a country-by-country basis. They are: the integrity of the digital media supply chain; ad avoidance; the “unabated rise of the app”; e-commerce (retailers, marketplaces and “selling on the edge”); the economics of television creation and distribution; and data-driven advertising and its attendant security. Here is a link to the (96-page) GroupM report.


Better Retargeting Through Brands Sharing Their Data With Retailers

Few things are more valuable to brands than their first-party customer data, hence the hesitation many of them have when it comes to sharing that data, particularly with retailers. As InternetRetailer explains, sharing is especially effective when executing digital ad retargeting tactics. Too many digital marketers selling products through both direct and retail channels use retargeting to make a direct online sale, ignoring consumers’ proclivity for offline buying. The better approach is to seek to re-engage browsers and turn them into buyers at their point of choice by working with retail channel partners at the data level to create campaigns that really work.


Instagram Ads Video Formats To Carousel Offering

Airbnb, Macy’s and Taco Bell are among the first advertisers to avail themselves of

Instagram’s video ad formats now that they have been added to the platform’s Carousel product, which was launched last year. Advertising Age reports that advertisers will be able to add multiple videos up to 60 seconds in duration to their sponsored posts. The format launched in beta earlier this week and will be rolled out widely in mid-May. Macy’s is using the carousel to post a video, and the follow up photos are close-ups of the clothes being worn in the video.


Tumblr Resumes Direct Sales With Blessing Of Parent Yahoo

How many people does it take to sell ads on Tumblr? DIGIDAY pegs the number at 75 now that parent Yahoo has given Tumblr back its independence to pitch Madison Avenue and hired former Polyvore COO Arnie Gullov-Singh to run the newly reconstituted Tumblr sales team. Having rolled out 50 communities that advertisers can target against—including gamers, horror movie fans, fans of TV shows, moms and athletes—Tumbler is “coming into sales meetings with value that brands didn’t see from us in the past, with insights tailored to clients, which is something that’s easier to do with a dedicated sales team,” Gullov-Singh explains in a Q&A.


Short Takes…

 Lancome and Target started running “shoppable” ads on Snapchat last week within Cosmopolitan’s Discover channel—the hub of the app where media brands publish daily stories, ADWEEK reported.

After rising in February, the cost of acquiring mobile users was down in March as people download fewer apps, according to VentureBeat.

Reversing course on how it works with advertisers, Pinterest now plans to service and sell across all advertiser verticals in the U.S. market, The Wall Street Journal explains.

The Internet Advertising Bureau plans to have by the fourth quarter of 2016 a 2017 road map for its LEAN (Light, Encrypted, AdChoice supported, and Non-invasive) advertising standards in response to the rise of ad blocking, says MarketingLand.