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Weekly Digital Breakdown

Chipotle Aims For Nothing But Net With Its Burrito Giveaway

The NBA finals are about to start and Chipotle is hoping for a slam dunk with its “Freeting” campaign, giving away $1 million worth of free burritos during final tournament play. The company is placing its bets on second-screen viewing to drive social engagement, online orders, and in-store traffic. With over 45% of US adults saying they use a second screen very often or always while watching television, it’s an opportunity to reach coveted NBA fans who are checking their mobile devices throughout the games.  

So how do you score free grub?  Every time an announcer says “free” on air during the first half of the game, Chipotle will offer up to 500 free burritos. The offer doubles in the second half, keeping viewers engaged for even more chances to win.  Unique codes will be tweeted on Chipotle’s Twitter account following on-air cues and viewers simply need to text the code back to receive a redemption coupon for a free burrito. Code users with orders over $10 will also receive free delivery on Chipotle’s app, website or through DoorDash during the games.

The promotion is powerful team strategy of multiple platforms to drive online and in-store traffic.  The company opted for the “Freeting” campaign in place of a much more costly official sponsorship or commercial during the tournament.  Chipotle is banking on the appeal of friendly competition combined with free food as a creative way to win new fans and a victory with game viewers.

https://www.mobilemarketer.com/news/chipotle-integrates-twitter-with-sms-to-dole-out-free-burritos-to-basketbal/555638/

Facebook Uncovers Record Number of Fraudulent Accounts

In the first quarter of 2019, Facebook removed a record 2.2 billion fraudulent accounts, most disabled within as little as a few minutes of being created.  The number of fake accounts is only slightly less than the reported 2.4 billion valid monthly active users and the majority of the false accounts were never considered active by Facebook’s metrics.  Many of the removed accounts are attributed to spammers who are continuously attempting to circumvent Facebook’s increased privacy security.

The increasing attempts to create large quantities of automated fake accounts simultaneously further exemplifies the magnitude of this ongoing problem.  While Facebook is diligently working to foster a safe user environment, this information shows that the problem has a broad reach. In the report, CEO Mark Zuckerberg stressed the company’s plans to increase resources and spending for online security including a combination of artificial intelligence and human monitoring, adding to its arsenal of defense.

While Facebook continues to seek ways to create a safe environment for users, it seems they face hurdles at every turn, including its own policies. The pending increased encryption the company plans to implement for additional privacy could make it more difficult to detect fraudulent accounts. Zuckerberg acknowledged the increased encryption security comes with trade-offs, but promises to make online privacy an ongoing focus of the company.

It’s evident that the company is tackling fraud head on with no intention of backing down.  However, this issue is far from resolved and will remain at the forefront of conversation for Facebook for the immediate future.

https://www.adweek.com/digital/the-amount-of-fake-accounts-removed-from-facebook-this-year-nearly-equals-its-number-of-total-active-users/

Google Indexing Gets Mobile Optimized

Google officially announced they will be utilizing mobile-first indexing as default for all new web domains starting July 1, 2019. The switch has been in the works since 2016, with testing since leading up to the announcement this week.  Google will use its webcrawler, Googlebot, which simulates a user on a mobile device, to confirm a site is mobile optimized for its indexing process. Existing sites will be monitored as well but that process will have an extended timeline.

With the number of mobile users worldwide expected to surpass 5 billion this year and over 72% of internet users projected to be solely on smartphones by 2025, enforcing mobile optimization is a natural progression for both Google and websites. To help assist with the transition, Google has dedicated a guide with instructions and resources to better explain the process.

The emphasis of a mobile-friendly experience, both with indexing and mobile site optimization, shows Google’s priority to focus on users. As online behaviors shift, the company continues to remain a leader of change and innovation.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/05/28/google-makes-mobile-first-indexing-the-default-for-all-new-domains/

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Snapchat Develops Its Own Mobile Network

Snapchat made a big announcement on Thursday about plans for a Snap Audience Network, its own mobile ad platform with targeting across various apps.  The initial launch will be strictly for iOS devices and will extend to Android at a later date.

There are still questions surrounding how this will operate as compared to similar networks.  However it’s projected to compete with Facebook, LinkedIn and Google with the added unique ability for app developers to utilize Snapchat’s same full-screen, vertical video ad format.

The announcement didn’t come with much detail, but it appears to be an effort by the company to help boost it’s own advertising agenda to partner with more agencies and businesses. While there are still a number of unknowns with this new platform, it will be interesting to see Snapchat competes with other social networks and what differentiates them in the space.

https://www.adweek.com/digital/snap-announces-plans-to-build-its-own-mobile-ad-network-to-connect-with-its-audience/

Facebook Exposed for Storing User Data on Public Amazon Cloud Servers

Cybersecurity firm, Upguard, uncovered more than 540 million Facebook user files stored on a public Amazon cloud server this week. Information included user actions on the site, comments and Facebook IDs, all of which were accessible on the server for public download despite profile settings.  Once alerted, Facebook immediately worked with Amazon to take down the database, but cannot verify how this may impact users.

While Facebook policies prohibit user data being stored on unsecure servers, this news adds to the growing data privacy concerns with the platform. After last year’s news that millions of user’s data had been misused by Cambridge Analytica, Facebook audited thousands of third-party data apps and suspended those who were mishandling. Despite continued efforts to protect user data, it appears the extent of the problem may not be fully known at this point.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-03/millions-of-facebook-records-found-on-amazon-cloud-servers

Amazon Alexa Advances Healthcare Services

Amazon Alexa users can now utilize the smart speaker for healthcare information with its recently released HIPAA compliant skills.  Users can leverage the technology to manage healthcare needs such as booking appointments, checking a prescription status or accessing stored medical information such as ongoing glucose readings.  The skills are currently only accessible through select partnerships but will expand based on user adoption.

With the launch, some entities are unveiling HIPAA-compliant skills specific to their own recently discharged patients.  Boston Children’s released a skill known as “ERAS” which allows patients and caregivers to ask questions specific to recent patient care records and allows doctors the ability to follow up with patients remotely.

While data privacy remains a huge concern for patients, Amazon confirms data is encrypted and securely stored in addition to the strict guidelines HIPAA puts in place for patient protection.  This announcement is a major advancement in the evolution of remote patient care.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/04/amazon-alexa-launches-its-first-hipaa-compliant-medical-skills/

Digital Marketing Trends for 2019

To kick off 2019, we’ve identified the top trends you can leverage to improve your marketing strategy, reach a growing audience and boost branding and sales. We cover the advancement of voice search, the increased adoption of streaming video and the implications of artificial intelligence on how chatbots can improve your business to name a few.


Watch the webinar for a full breakdown of the 2019 trends worth noting for your marketing strategy.

Integrating Search and Social - The Perfect Combination for Your Ad Campaign

Digital advertising pros have a great opportunity in 2019 to integrate social media into their Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaigns to help boost conversions and revenue.

Social media strategies have grown to be a key part of marketers’ advertising campaigns. Marketers are seeing higher results when they create great content for adaptable use across multiple channels. For instance, juice drinks company Bai reached 15 million people and increased its ad recall by 17 points by running a video campaign on Instagram and Facebook. And using Twitter for ads around its Mayochup campaign in 2018 helped Heinz increased its brand awareness by 28%, with over 1 billion impressions in just 48 hours.

Adding social dollars on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other networks have many benefits to marketers, including higher brand awareness, more personalization opportunities to consumers, stronger data capabilities and better audience targeting. Some marketers have reported seeing a faster ROI from social media ad activity, compared to traditional organic search and content marketing techniques, which build online momentum over time.

For your agency to do this right, it makes sense to get your social and SEM teams on the same page. For instance, task the social media team with learning about how consumer search behavior affects social media results. Use your client social media insights and search analytics to create a more targeted ad campaign. Digging through the data will open up areas for collaboration for social campaign effectiveness.

Benefits of SEM/Social Integration

Here are some of the clear benefits to integrating search and social into your digital advertising campaigns:

  • Raising brand awareness

  • Increased personalization opportunities

  • Stronger data capability

  • Better audience targeting

Raising Brand Awareness

Integrating search and social brings a great deal of brand awareness to your target audience. These consumers can learn about your brand through social media, and then utilize search once they are ready for additional details or in need of your product.  The trick to raising brand awareness is to find, nurture, and reward your avid followers. By consistently offering engaging content on social media channels, brands can boost their follower count using tactics such as exclusive offers, contests, and giveaways.  

Increase Areas for Personalization

Social media can be used to build trust, and brands can build this trust with personalization efforts. One example might be to nurture top-of-the-funnel consumers on social media for your brand's products and services. In capturing these consumers' attention with your content, you can drive them to your site(s) for data capture and the high possibility of conversions.

Stronger Data

Integrating social into your search strategies can produce better data for your marketing teams. Social media success can help to fill any gaps in search data. You can also create opportunities to mine social data and evaluate audience habits. This new wealth of data can be useful in your existing analytics, and you will be able to use these gained insights in your upcoming SEM campaigns.

Targeting Audiences

You can also find new ways to target audiences by combining the strengths of both SEM and social media. There are various ways to integrate these strategies, such as by creating lookalike audiences, utilizing search landing pages (with social URLs as the bait), and targeting different demographics with a variety of messages in search.

If your SEM strategy isn't incorporating elements of social media, you should rethink your overall marketing strategy. Today, social is much more than just having accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Use these channels to build your brand image, personalize your interactions, engage with your local consumer base, and gain followers.

2018 Review - The Year in Digital Marketing

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Digital marketing had a tumultuous time in 2018. Technology moved into new areas for growth over the past year that affected the way we shop, communicate, and live. From the growth in artificial intelligence and automated voice systems to live video and changes in Facebook’s algorithms, it was clearly a year to remember in digital circles. Let’s take a closer look.

Facebook's News Feed Algorithm Changes

This year started with a shock when Facebook announced changes in its feed algorithm to promote more content from local news sources, friends, and family for “more meaningful social interactions.” Facebook also wanted to lessen the number of publishers’ news items in feeds, and the company may have wanted to thwart the rise of hackers and bots as well. Regardless, the January move by Facebook threw a wrench into marketers’ plans for the year, creating a period of adjustment. This link shows all of Facebook’s algorithm updates over the years.

AdWords Grew Into Google Ads

In mid-year, Google announced it was switching the nearly 20-year old brand “AdWords” to the simpler “Google Ads.” Google said the change reflected that its ads are all over the digital landscape now in web display and video ads, text and shopping, and even in app installations; ads are not just words on search platforms. Today’s web advertisers with Google can now run ads on Google’s search platform, on apps and websites, in Gmail, and on a variety of YouTube offerings. The name change represents a shift in digital thinking for marketers, and one that will likely pay big dividends to Google in the years ahead.

AI Technology Growth

Another huge trend in 2018 was the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technology by marketers across our data streams. Increasingly, companies are using smart systems, chatbots, and devices for more accurate customer segmentation and improved customer interactions.

We all contribute to the increase in AI when we personalize our recommendations on services like Netflix and Hulu. Other brands including Hilton, Levi Strauss and Co., and Nordstrom are using AI in chatbots to customize sales interactions with customers. Look for this digital marketing category to expand in 2019 and 2020.

Smart Speakers and Voice Search

In just two years, smart speakers have invaded our homes. Today, nearly 50 million Americans own a smart speaker, and that number will likely increase as people get more comfortable with sharing their living spaces with these devices.

Voice search is also growing fast. Web research firm Comscore predicts that more than half of all searches by 2020 will not be done by type or text but by voice. You are already seeing more people at work talking into their devices on search requests. It has become as commonplace as our desktop searches were a decade ago. Marketers will have to adapt to reaching consumers on smart speakers in the home.

Growth in Instagram Stories and Live Video Outlets

Another trend we saw in 2018 was the rapid rise in the use of live video and Instagram Stories. The number of users who create live video on their mobile phones and share with the world rose dramatically in 2018.

Google’s YouTube is the frontrunner in live video, dominating the amount of time spent by users watching video online.

The number of daily active users on Instagram Stories rose to some 400 million, Instagram reported in August. That’s from a universe of over a billion active monthly users. By contrast, Snapchat finished the third quarter with just 186 million daily active users.

Marketers are following those numbers, too. eMarketer noted that 86 percent of marketers use Facebook and almost 70 percent of marketers use Instagram. Only 28 percent of marketers use Snapchat. 

Personalizing the Consumer Experience

A growing trend in 2018 was the increase in personalization in many of our customer experiences. With our mobile devices and search immediacy, we are able to move quickly between purchase considerations and actual purchases. Increasingly, our expectations have risen across all our customer experiences. The winners will be those businesses that can deliver on the personalization process.

Marketers recognize this and have advanced to using SMS messaging, mobile apps, social media, and voice automation to personalize their communications with us as consumers. It’s a world in which we’re becoming increasingly comfortable, and we anticipate more of these personal customer journey touchpoints around us in the coming year.

4 Ways to Bring Waze Into Your Digital Marketing Playbook

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Part navigation app and part social media, Waze has the potential to help advertisers reach consumers at critical moments. As marketers navigate options and platforms to increase exposure and connect with consumers in new ways, Waze may be the right fit to amplify a brand's digital footprint, drive storefront traffic, and promote their business.

Waze Defined

A Google Maps overlay, Waze is a crowd-sourcing and mapping technology used mainly for auto navigation. Its huge social network - nearly 90 million strong - allows motorists to share information on traffic, road construction, or accidents including live route updates, ETA status, and more. The app also learns preferred routes, destinations, and commuting hours for well-rounded travel experiences.

Why advertise on Waze? Waze transforms the way advertisers target consumers and connect with audiences on the move. Brands can effectively use the app to track and analyze real-time data related to user engagement in the form of impressions, navigations, and button clicks.

Ads are purchased on a cost per thousand (CPM) basis and served based on a user's proximity to your location, with user history playing a critical role in determining which ads to display. A combination of individual user data, search history, and social data gives Waze the ability to offer brands powerful targeting recommendations to drive advertising performance.

If location-based advertising appeals to you, these ideas give marketers the play-by-play on how to incorporate Waze into campaign strategies.

1. Branded Pins With Links to More Information

In this direct-response style ad, pins mark a business's location on a map, mimicking the digital billboards drivers see as they're cruising along highways. The pins pop up on a Waze map when the driver is on or near the business's route. Once a pin is tapped, your ad appears with location details. A second tap puts drivers en route to your location.

Advertisers can add options for drivers to save offers or videos, set reminders, or change the app's voice. Links to more information about a specific location, calls to action to reroute drivers to a destination, and the ability to save places to travel to later are added perks as well.

Pins allow brands to target drivers based on whether they are tourists or locals, their intended destinations, and current events including weather, traffic patterns, and time of travel, right down to language and operating system use. You get a clear picture of marketing efforts through report statistics to analyze reach, frequency, impressions distributed by distance, or the number of saves and website visits.

2. Geo-targeting With Voice Integration

Voice integrations allow users to choose a voice to replace Waze's standard option. Advertisers even have the ability to geo-target locations to spotlight calls to action when users are in or near specific locations.

Brands not in the entertainment industry can join in on the fun of voice-overs. Users can swap Waze's standard navigation voice to that of a favorite celebrity, for instance. There's power in a user listening to a celebrity's voice reading directions to them instead of a computerized version.

3. Zero-speed Takeover Ads

Not everything comes to a complete stop when a vehicle does. Unlike the branded pin where the user has to click a brand's logo, this ad format pops up automatically as a "takeover" of the screen. The big takeaway? Drivers are more attentive to a navigation app when at a full stop, which allows you to target these moments.

When a user reaches "zero speed," three seconds or more of non-movement, Waze reveals high-impact ads and promotions about your brand. Action-oriented displays range from "Download App" and "Drive There" to "Download Coupon" for later use. As a precaution to ensure driver safety, ads drop from view once a vehicle is in motion again.

For marketers, this is another approach to the digital billboard model to offer exclusive discounts during promotional offers. According to Waze, Zero-speed Takeover ads reach drivers that are 3.1 times further from a business than Branded Pins.

4. Promoted Search and Ad Timing With Nearby Arrows

Besides Waze's aforementioned core ad formats, pinned locations give brands priority ranking in search results in Promoted Search. It's an effective ad format to reach users when they're actively searching, even if you're not directly on their current route. Since users can add favorite businesses or locations, Nearby Arrows is a huge advantage when combined with Promoted Search.

When Nearby Arrows is deployed, your brand's logo appears when the app is activated, letting the user know you're nearby. Just a click on the arrow directs the map to the closest pin and triggers your ad to appear on the navigation screen. Identical to the Branded Pin and Zero-Speed Takeover ad formats, the "Drive There" feature provides immediate access to your location.

When vetting your digital marketing options, Waze is the way to go. Think about it: An intuitive platform with the analytical know-how to assess when someone might want something — to fill up, a drink, or food — is a powerful marketing weapon. Use it to drive awareness and reach new audiences on a global scale.

Leveraging Geotargeting Effectively for Business

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Where targets live, work, shop, and are willing to travel to obtain a particular product or service all play an important part in how advertisers market to them. That's why advertisers need to harness the benefits of geotargeting to create customized, well-targeted campaigns. Geotargeting has the potential to almost double the performance of digital marketing, whether that's via paid search or emails.

If more control over who sees your advertisements is important, geotargeting is a must-have marketing tool. Consider these best practices for successful, targeted campaigns.

Reap Location-Based Content Rewards

There are numerous advantages to implementing geotargeting to connect with customers and encourage conversations and conversions. Equipped with data like a user's IP address, advertisers can personalize content and campaigns for specific geographic regions, tweak deliveries, and track offline sales in a certain location. What better way to segment ads than to appeal to diverse markets simultaneously?

While geotargeting helps to deliver offers or content tailored to a user's location, it even increases email campaign efficiency. This is particularly useful when advertisers want to drive in more retail foot traffic, credit online sales to email marketing, and direct customers to dynamic landing pages specially designed for target locations.

Geotargeting also produces a way to reduce operating costs. If you've ever managed paid search or display ads, you know how crucial it is to cap the scope of an audience. This is easily achieved with geotargeting to limit irrelevant views and clicks and avoid excess budget expenditures.

Exclude Areas Where Targets Won't Be

Excluding locations are just as important as defining them. Whether narrowing the geographic playing field by venue, one side of a street, or by local events, an area that's not specifically being targeted can be excluded, too.

For example, nightclubs or sports bars looking to target college students may exclude an area during school breaks or summer months when students aren't likely to be in the area.

Further, exclusion is an advertiser's friend when a cost-effective method is key to avoiding costly ad rates in high-demand target areas. Some agencies have found low-priced, larger area ad campaigns achieve the same targeting goals when opting out of all areas except the desired target location.

Use Location-Specific Keywords for Paid Search

Consumers often narrow searches down to a specific name, city, or district. "Nail bars near Rodeo Drive," "Miami coffee shops," or "midtown eateries" are search terms consumers are likely to use, and provides just the location criteria advertisers can target. Tourist havens, famous street names, zip codes, and popular venues are just a few location terms to use when you want consumers to find you.

Analyze Target Behavior Based on Previously Visited Locations

Examining a target's location history provides a wealth of information including shopping habits, online frequency, and modes of transportation to bricks-and-mortar stores. The data provide greater opportunities to deliver relevant location-specific ads, whether the target is in an area of interest or not.

Set a Perimeter by Radius or Time Near Areas of Interest

You can set a perimeter, or geofence, to target certain streets or neighborhoods to deliver detailed, proximity-based campaigns and notifications. Unlike geotargeting, which determines location based on user’s IP address, geofencing uses GPS to get a read on specific locations.

For example, a coffee shop can set a three-mile perimeter around neighboring apartment complexes to reach users looking to grab a cup of joe before heading to work. A perimeter can also be defined by time. Advertisers can take advantage of platforms offering mapping applications that allow mobile apps and sites to search by time instead of distance.

Since geofencing uses different technologies, there are some limitations. Its GPS-based infrastructure creates the need for user authorization. So, if a device's location services feature is disabled, geo-targeted ads won't reach the device. However, most users are willing to share their location if they receive something of value in exchange.

Gather Location Data for Facebook Targeting

Capture data on where consumers are willing to travel, not just where they live, and use it for:

●      Anyone located in a selected location

●      Anyone who lives in a selected location

●      Anyone who was recently in a selected location

●      Anyone who's traveling to a selected location

Facebook is the ideal platform to accomplish this. Get your ads in front of the right audience or set up location ad targeting for specific addresses. You can even refine an audience to targets who live in, have recently visited, or are traveling in a particular area.

Geolocation is a powerful tool to help advertisers add context to campaigns. Leveraging the benefits of geotargeting along with careful use of customer information and integrating social media brings advertisers an increase in customer interaction, conversions, and successful campaigns.

8 Ways Bing is Important for Search

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Google may be the dominant search engine, but for advertisers looking to reach diverse audiences, there's more to search than Google alone. Microsoft's Bing search engine offers advertisers alternative options that might be right for them. In this article, we'll discuss some key differences between Bing and Google and outline the importance of these differences.

Growth for Bing

In Microsoft's fourth quarter, the company reported Bing's revenue rose 17 percent over the past year. Even though it's still dwarfed by Google, which owns nearly 75 percent of the search engine market, Bing holds a respectable third slot (after Baidu) with nearly 8 percent of search engine market share, according to NetMarketShare.

But Bing makes up for its smaller size in different ways. These are the kinds of things marketers should keep in mind when drawing up a well-rounded search strategy:

  1. Demographic differences: According to 2016 research from GML Consulting, Bing users tend to be older, wealthier, and well educated. For marketers looking for an affluent audience, likely connected to the Microsoft online universe already, Bing can be an effective tool.

  2. Search results: According to Search Engine Land, Bing uses an enriched basic search that goes further than typical search results. When you search for "movies," for example, Bing shows users movie options for streaming outlets such as Amazon and Netflix, as well as what movies are playing in cinemas near you. This asset shows increased thinking in Bing's search makeup.

  3. Easier purchase links: Bing tends to display "real-world context" results that allow consumers to buy goods and services more easily, while Google tends to offer results for consumers to learn more before making a purchase.

  4. Unique query searches: Unique query searches are high on Bing, meaning they're only displayed and found on Bing and users searching for them have a high intent to buy.

  5. Most relevant entity: Advertisers can use Bing Entity Search API to identify the entity with the most relevance based on the search terms used. This can be used to see the multiple entity types while searching for favorite local businesses, video games, books, and movies.

  6. Working with Bing Ads: Bing Ads is less costly on cost-per-clicks than Google's AdWords. There's also less competition on popular keywords, which can lead to better ad positioning and improved click-through rates.

  7. Bing for Business: By increasing its deep discovery tools in a more robust knowledge graph, Bing's Places for Business allows businesses to place more emphasis on its website's published content and data. This is another alternative to promoting a company's brand for online and offline consumers.

  8. Negative keywords: In Bing Ads, negative keywords don't negate targeted keywords. This is an important feature for advertisers who don't want their ads being shown when a search query contains a bid-on keyword but is irrelevant to the advertiser's business content and landing page copy.

The recent uptick in Bing's business shows its product improvements are working well for brands that use it. It keeps the competitive search engine market companies in deep discovery mode for adding new search methods, and means Bing's improvements are helping to optimize campaigns for business marketers.

Ask and Receive: 5 Ways Smart Speakers Are Shifting Shopping Experiences

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Smart speakers — those voice-activated digital assistants in your home or office — are changing the way people interact with news and information and how they buy goods and services. Launched within the past few years, these devices from Amazon, Apple, and Google have outgrown their early "fad' status, and have made a dramatic impact on consumers' lives.

Gone are the days of writing date reminders on your kitchen calendar or jotting down reminders on Post-It notes affixed to your computer screen. Now, notes Google, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of smart speaker owners make their digital assistants part of their daily routine. Last year, users directed their voice devices to check weather and commuting routes, sports scores, and news updates while streaming music and radio. Now, increasing numbers of people are using voice devices to make online purchases with their Amazon, Google, or Apple-connected accounts.

Transforming Consumer Shopping Habits

A recent study from shopping analytics firm Narvar found that 42 percent of voice device owners use voice devices to make purchases — that's a big jump from the 29 percent of smart speaker owners from six months ago. The increase is due to more routine usage and familiarity of the voice-activated devices. As a way of comparison, do you remember when consumers were skittish to place shopping orders online over the internet? As usage increased and security measures got better, online shopping took off in numbers and sales. Expect the same here.  

You can now plug in a Google Home device, click over to Walmart Voice Shopping and make purchases directly using voice commands. If you use Amazon Echo, you can ask Alexa to update your grocery shopping list as you remember needed items.

More consumers are using voice-activated devices, and more marketers are creating new opportunities on the platform. It's time to see what early impact is forming around shopping patterns via voice devices.

Let's look at five ways voice-activated assistants are shifting our shopping experiences.

People are spending more time with voice-activated shopping experiences. A March 2018 study by OC&C Strategy Consultants found smart speaker devices have become more common in family homes, and usage is more prevalent. Accordingly, purchases made through voice-activated devices will rise sharply, and may hit $40 billion in sales by 2022. This increased time by consumers using voice-activated shopping will likely result in less time engaging with our mobile phones and the web via desktop, tablets, and laptops.

More people are creating lists to do their voice shopping. Amazon Echo users can now create lists for anything. "Alexa, create a list" is all it takes to create lists for such things as important family dates, school project tasks, grocery shopping lists, holiday shopping lists, or similar lists. Using voice devices to create shopping lists can also help later for certain product discovery.

There's no visual branding with voice shopping. It's an audio play. Shoppers have far fewer opportunities to interact with visual branding when shopping by voice. In fact, the visual aspect is almost completely missing from the voice shopping experience. Will this harm sales that rely on visual allure? Can it help generic items that are well known by name?

There is less product variety offered via voice shopping. A recent Google Home survey showed that more than half (52 percent) of voice-activated speaker owners say they'd like to get information from brands on promotions, sales, and deals about products and services. As the opportunities build for brands and marketers to pitch their goods directly to smart speaker owners, it could be only a matter of time before device owners are ordering from "suggested' items" rather than a wide selection of goods in a certain product category. Could this create a shopping environment where the major category players win out over the lesser known brands? At least some seem to find it possible.

More automated returns will be processed using voice shopping. The returns process for consumers may become more automated and streamlined over time. Voice shoppers will get speaker reminders about product deliveries and returns. If you're dissatisfied with an item bought via your voice-activated device, you'll be able to return it with return labels already sent to your email address.

Figures of Speech: How Smart Speakers are Changing Search

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Voice search is becoming a big part of the lives of web users who as looking for information or  searching for products and services. One big reason why is due to voice recognition accuracy, which is now up to about 95 percent, according to Google. This advancement in artificial intelligence technology has created growth in the "smart speaker" industry.

The Amazon Echo launched in mid-2014 and almost overnight created the smart speaker category. Today, all the top tech and electronic companies offer a smart speaker. Voice-activated search on these types of speakers has become part of the daily routine for those who have one.

Nearly three-quarters of those who own voice-activated speakers say they use the devices daily, according to Google, and more than half of people age 55 and older say being able to search using smart speaker empowers them to seek out answers and information.

How does this affect consumer search and marketers' techniques for search? One such area to consider is the increase in semantic search queries. Semantic searches are more about finding the context and meaning of a person's search request rather than just focusing on the keywords. Voice-activated searches have become more commonplace, and that's helping to build more semantic searches.

Let's look at a few areas where voice search is having an impact on marketing methods:

●      Higher numbers of casual searches: People today don't have to reach into their pockets for their phones to do a search. Instead, they can call out a query in their living room. This added convenience is leading to higher volumes of casual searches ("Hey Alexa, where can I get a pizza on sale today?") and meets customer needs more quickly, so marketers have to be ready to respond.

●      More data and personalization: Marketers are able to see and collect more data on users than ever before. People are using multiple accounts on multiple devices, which is giving device owners more data to offer to marketers. Because of this, the future likely includes more product customization and in-depth search personalization.

●      More audio searches, less visual branding: Smart speakers today are voice-only ("screenless searches,") lowering the visual component of branding used in search visibility and rankings. Marketers need to consider future search terms that are simple to speak and easy to announce for clear searches. 

●      Optimizing for voice marketing: Marketers need to review segments and stages in the existing customer journey. Where does voice marketing fit in for the brand? Google recognizes voice in short search queries and voice engagement tasks. Marketers will have to adjust their schema markups to make the transition in this evolution, though one study notes that schema may not play such a key role in voice search.

●      High domain authority matters: Voice search may rely more heavily on the authority of a domain for its answer, as it's giving users only one key answer. The higher the domain authority, the more confidence Google feels in providing that answer. This differs from a traditional web search that offers 10 URLs on page one of Google available for users to check.

Voice-activated search over smart speakers continues to evolve, and it's important for marketers to stay on top of this fast-growing segment.

High Quality: Understanding the Components of Ads Quality Scores

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Google [A1] Ads is an advertising tool that lets you connect with customers at the right time, control costs, and boost campaign performance. Even if you have never used Ads for anything other than a keyword lookup, you have probably noticed how the keywords have Quality Score ratings.

The Quality Score rating can have a big influence on how successful your Ads campaign is. It represents your ad's relevance to Google users' search queries, and Google uses it in addition to your highest cost-per-click to determine your ad rank. A higher Quality Score equates to better rankings and higher odds of landing in the top position in Google SERPs. Let's look at the following seven components of Quality Scores to understand why it matters, which is key to improving your overall score.  

Account Level

Google's [A2]  chief economist Hal Varian denies that an account level quality score exists. While it's not a metric that's available to Google users, it is a helpful category to keep in mind. The account-level score involves the history of your account and the performance of the keywords and ads you have used in the past. As a rule, accounts with stellar performance and a substantial history typically outperform new or poor-performing accounts. Improving on this level takes time and strategic planning, so choosing the right keywords and launching consistently good ads are crucial.

Ad Group

This [A3] score type provides insight into what needs work in your campaign, so you can restructure as needed to boost your score. For example, you might have a keyword quality score of 3 in one group but an overall score of 8. This tells you exactly what to prioritize — i.e., work on the lowest score areas first, and you will begin to see a difference.

Ad Level

Each [A4] of your ads is going to have its own click-through rate, and having a large percentage of ads with a low click-through rate can drag your score down. Incorporating a few Dynamic Keyword Insertion ads into your campaign can provide an organic boost, as these ads typically appear more search-relevant, which makes them more likely to receive clicks. Keep in mind that ads with high click-through rates that aren't converting may not affect your Quality Score, but they also aren't helping your return on investment.

Keyword Level

This [A5] is the score you can see right in the Ads main interface. Your keywords are scored from one to 10, with 10 being the best score. It's based on the number of search queries that match, which indicates the relevance of the keyword. Need to boost your score? Look at the impression share data, which tells you the percentage of time ads were displayed out of the total available slots open to you. If this metric is low, you might need to boost your bids or increase your daily budget to rank higher.

Landing Page

Google [A6] wants marketers to offer high quality websites with useful, relevant content. That's why they score your landing page based on three main factors:

·      Content: Are you providing original, useful content that's relevant to your keywords and ad text?

·      Transparency: Does your website deliver what people need and clearly state what your business does, the products you offer, and what you do with any personal information customers provide?

·      Navigability: Can people easily find information? Is the page designed and organized well for mobile and computer viewing?

Display Network

Google's [A7] Display Network reaches internet users on millions of sites using a passive type of advertising. When someone's casually browsing the internet, they might come across these ads, which often contain video, animation, and images. Display networks have different bidding options, and your Quality Score is tied to your ad's performance on the site you're eligible for. Targeting ads to the most appropriate audience and sites is essential.

Mobile

In [A8] today's marketing climate, you have to be mobile-friendly — if you're not, Google will penalize you for it. The distance between your business location and the user is typically considered when Google calculates your mobile Quality Score. Other factors include loading time, navigability, and user experience.

Understanding how Google Ads calculates your Quality Scores and all the important components is key to keeping your scores high. In turn, this enhances your marketing efforts to increase your results and boost your business.  

 

 [A1]Source: https://www.seo.com/blog/why-adwords-is-important-to-your-online-success/
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/3-important-benefits-adwords-digital-marketing-shekhar-pawar
https://www.ppchero.com/ultimate-guide-to-adwords-quality-score/
 [A2]Source: https://klientboost.com/ppc/adwords-quality-score/
https://www.ppchero.com/ultimate-guide-to-adwords-quality-score/
 [A3]Source: https://www.ppchero.com/ultimate-guide-to-adwords-quality-score/
 [A4]Source: https://www.ppchero.com/ultimate-guide-to-adwords-quality-score/
 [A5]Source: https://www.ppchero.com/ultimate-guide-to-adwords-quality-score/
https://klientboost.com/ppc/adwords-quality-score/
 [A6]Source: https://www.ppchero.com/ultimate-guide-to-adwords-quality-score/
https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2404197?co=ADWORDS.IsAWNCustomer%3Dfalse&hl=en
 [A7]Source: https://searchengineland.com/3-reasons-love-google-display-network-really-220673
https://www.ppchero.com/ultimate-guide-to-adwords-quality-score/
 [A8]Source: https://searchengineland.com/quality-score-leverage-points-275327
http://www.commonmind.com/blog/top-links/importance-of-mobile-web-performance/
https://www.ppchero.com/ultimate-guide-to-adwords-quality-score/

See How Bing's Shopping Campaigns Are Changing

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In April 2018, Bing unveiled some new features for its Bing Shopping campaigns that could make them more effective. These new features don’t just bring extra value for advertisers; some experts suggest they are poised to give competitors a run for their money. Let’s look at some of the changes and how you could benefit. 

Why It Matters

Shopping ads are big news in 2018. Experts estimate they account for around 60 percent of the clicks on Google and about 33 percent of the clicks on Bing – stats that clearly demonstrate the domination of Shopping campaigns in retailers’ paid search click volume arena.  But it’s even more interesting when you factor in a little background on Bing’s reach.

An estimated one in five people rely on Bing for their online searches. Not only that, Bing's audience spends an average of 32 percent more time shopping online from their desktop computers than other internet searchers and their average click-through rate is roughly 50 percent higher than AdWords. Factor in some positive new changes and we’re talking about a golden opportunity for brands and advertisers to reach more people and even potentially see a boost in conversions.

New Feature 1: Multiple Images

Now you can spice things up with up to 10 images in the product feed. This gives you a great opportunity to show products from different angles, giving shoppers a comprehensive view. This is important because we all know that great photos are at the heart of successful shopping campaigns.

New Feature 2: Product Status Reporting

Bing added four new columns to its Product Groups reporting grid to help advertisers better understand exactly what’s happening in their campaigns. You can easily see the data across multiple accounts or shopping campaigns using the Product Match Count Report. This gives you a detailed overview of the matched products at several levels: campaign, ad group and product group – information you can use to optimize your campaigns. These new additions include:

●      Products Submitted: Displays the number of products you upload to the Merchant Center.

●      Products Ready to Serve: Displays the number of products free from processing errors and ready for people to bid on

●      Products Targeted: Displays the number of products people are bidding on

●      % Products Targeted: Displays the percentage of products you've submitted that are being bid on in the group

Universal Event Tracking

Universal Event Tracking (UET) is a convenient tool available through Bing Ads. It allows businesses to verify their domains as they set up their merchant center account and create their online store. This speeds up the process so sellers can get down to business faster while buyers still have peace of mind. Bing rejects merchants who lack a privacy policy on their website, try to claim unverified domains or lack valid SSL certificates.

Product Rejection Notifications

No product left behind! That might as well be the rallying cry behind this new feature. Bing's targeted product insights are all designed to help you keep all your products active in your shopping campaigns. Product status is important. Now, marketers can sign up for product rejection statuses that allow them to stay on top of any issues and fix them quickly.

In the end, successful marketing campaigns – whether they’re for Bing Shopping or not – are all about having the right insight, innovation and optimization tools at the ready. Adtaxi partners with the best in the industry, including Bing, to deliver the performance our clients need to succeed. Visit Adtaxi.com to learn more.

 

Google's Mobile Indexing and What It Means for Your Business 

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Is your company's mobile website being easily found by potential customers on their devices? If not, it's time to make some big changes because Google is now ranking business websites based on the mobile version rather than the desktop site.

Google announced this "mobile-first" change in late March. Mobile-first means its Googlebot will crawl your company's mobile site first for search engine optimization (SEO) indexing and ranking. Historically, Google has used the desktop version of your website's content for its crawling, indexing, and ranking practices.

Why the change? Not every company is using responsive web design for its mobile site, and, according to Google, that was causing issues for mobile searchers. So Google is switching to mobile-first content gathering, and recommending to site owners to make their content mobile-friendly as fast as they can.

Remember, this is mobile-first, not mobile-only. Google will still index your desktop site content, but keep in mind you're likely to lose out against more mobile-savvy competitors. Google's change is a reflection of the immense growth of the mobile web. It's estimated there are now some 10 billion mobile-connected devices in use around the world, which is leading to big growth in the ecommerce industry. 

Let's take a look at what Google's mobile-first indexing means for your content, and what steps you need to take to stay on top of SEO development.

Understanding Mobile-First

Having mobile-friendly and fast-loading content can help your mobile search results perform better. Typically, search rankings are affected by your site's load times, mobile-friendliness factors, relevant content, low-quality visuals, and proper meta tags, among other factors. If you gain site visitors from ads you've placed, do you want those mobile visitors to visit a site that loads slowly, enables pop-ups, and isn't overly optimized for mobile? Of course not! That's why your site needs to speed up its mobile capabilities.

One way to check how well your site is performing in mobile is through Google's Search Console service. If your site is already optimized for mobile, you likely have been notified via Search Console that mobile-first indexing is enabled for your site.

How Your Site May Be Affected by Mobile-First Indexing

Your site might be affected by this indexing move to mobile-first if you haven't made the necessary changes to your site's design. Here are some of the possible ways:

●      You maintain a separate mobile site (or sites) for your company. Does your company still use highly optimized, separate mobile sites? If so, you'll need to revamp this into a unified responsive design because the content, structured data, and meta data needs will all change.

●      You do not have a mobile site yet. If this is the case, why not? It's time to hire a website designer to get your site mobile-friendly, because that's where you'll find more potential sales. If you're unsure of what to do, use this free Google tool to check your site's mobile-friendliness factor. 

What It Means for Advertisers

Advertisers should pay close attention to becoming mobile-first. If you're offering a poor mobile user experience, you'll lose conversions and your bounce rates will soar. That could lead to a much lower pay-per-click (PPC) ad quality score, and higher cost per click (CPC). Ad budgets will shrink. Over time, all of these costs will accumulate, leading to higher costs per acquisition. That has a serious impact on leads and sales, and can put your business out of business.

So it's time to make changes. Try testing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for your site. This will help your site's indexing. Also, try using AMP ads. They load faster, and can lead to a better user experience and higher click-through rates for advertisers. Getting a more responsive design for your site will help you join the mobile revolution.

Meet Your Match: Using AdWords' Customer Match to Reach New Audiences

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Every brand wants to put their advertisement in front of interested customers. Now, Google just made that easier. With a new targeting took, Customer Match, gives brands the ability to target specific customers based on a list of customer email addresses, phone numbers or addresses that you upload.

How AdWords' Customer Match Works

When you share your data with Google, it can target the specific contacts you uploaded or look for similar customers to show your ads to.

Why are people so excited about this? It gives brands the ability to put ads in front customers that are likely interested in your product. That means these ads will be cost effective as they target the right customers immediately.

You will have to follow a few rules though. Adwords' Customer Match requires that any customer data you upload be collected through first-party context, so it's vital that your customer information is collected directly from your physical store, website, app, or other direct-contact means.

Using AdWords' Customer Match for Specific Campaigns

Some campaigns will be better suited for specific Google channels.

Targeting holiday shoppers with product demos would fare well on YouTube, while retargeting inactive app users might best be done through Gmail ads. Potential customers who aren't even aware your product or service exists may become customers after seeing your ad on Google Search offering the perfect solution to the problem they're Googling.

Likewise, cost-comparing shoppers can be reached on Google Shopping looking for the best deal before stumbling upon your ad offering free shipping or a low-price guarantee. When choosing channels, the key is to think like your customer.

Whether you're looking to boost sales or just increase brand awareness, AdWords' Customer Match feature can expand your advertising reach though hyper-targeted channels. Marketers are constantly looking to create a 1:1 customer experience and these targeted ads should help achieve that goal.

Boosting SEM Performance by Leveraging Remarketing    

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Remarketing has been used by online advertisers to great effect in recent years as part of their overall SEM strategy. These ‘reminder ads’ have proven to be an ideal way for advertisers to reconnect with consumers and site visitors, to spur them to have a look at an advertiser’s product or service. Remarketing ads remind website visitors to remember your brand after their initial visit to your site. These efforts can sometimes yield the best results from an SEM campaign. It’s an effective way for advertisers to once again reach out to a user who’s either searched for your products or already visited your site.

Remarketing + Paid Search

Using remarketing along with a paid search campaign can benefit advertisers’ in several ways:

  • Boost brand awareness:remarketing helps to establish your brand as an authoritative voice for the product or service, and can eventually lead the viewer to click to your site for a conversion.
  • Increase data insights:Remarketing can help your business refocus its marketing tactics. The data from a combined SEM/Remarketing campaign can yield insights about what landing pages consumers are coming to, or why consumers are leaving your purchase page, or some other fact.
  • Higher View-throughs:Consumers who get remarketing ads might use that reminder and go straight to your site for a conversion. No PPC payment for the advertiser.

Measuring Remarketing

Advertisers must measure their remarketing efforts as part of a paid search SEM campaign. Measurement will help advertisers know if the campaign is meetings its goals. Here are some of the key metrics for measuring:

ROI: Is you remarketing meeting its overall costs? Are you making a gain from your investment? Or spending over your investment without a return?

CTR: Check your click-through rate, which is how often your ad was clicked.

CPC: This is your cost per click. Divide the campaign dollar spend and divide by the number of clicks.

Conversions: How many conversions are you getting from your click-throughs? Are you able to show a positive ROI on your campaign?

Here are other consideration to keep in mind for remarketing with a paid search campaign:

  • Use RSLAs (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads)Advertisers can create RSLAs based on site visitors who have visited their website or app, and how many pages were viewed. Having this information can impact the ad spending and overall conversion rates.
  • Categorize site visitors - Focus in on users’ online behavior, audience type, and location. Having more details can help work the content of your targeted ads.
  • Make the call to action clear in your remarketing - guiding consumers to make a conversion will help increase the performance of your remarketing efforts.
  • Experiment with different sizes- you’ll be able to see how different sizes, pictures and text copy of remarketing ads can work with different users.
  • Limit your remarketing- Too many SEM campaigns for remarketing overdo the amount of ad impressions in a campaign. It’s best to limit ad impressions to five or fewer attempts at ‘reminding’.

Key(word) Benefits: What Does a Successful SEO Campaign Look Like?

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Is search engine optimization important for your company's overall marketing strategy? Of course, it is! SEO is all about positioning a company's content and ads at the top of search results so more consumers find that needle in the virtual haystack and convert. Using SEO isn't a quick and easy scheme, however. Marketers have to make the right investments for the long term to experience great SEO marketing traction. Using the right keywords is essential, but what are the other components of a successful SEO campaign? How do you know a campaign has been successful? Examine those aspects below.

Successful SEO

Recent statistics show that 60 percent of all clicks happen on the top three sites in searches, and three-quarters of web users never scroll past the first page of search results. As a former colleague once joked, "The best place to bury a dead body is on page two of web search results."

So this leads to an understanding of the success factors in a modern SEO campaign. Rather than achieve high rankings in search results for particular keywords, businesses should aspire to move their search results toward more leads and conversions for the business.

Keywords are still important factors in today's SEO campaigns, but that's evolving. Natural language search is becoming a key component of all searches, as more users search by verbally asking mobile devices questions. In fact, researcher comScore expects voice search to account for half of all searches by 2020. That means marketers will need to focus on voice searches with greater clarity in the coming years.

Take a look at some key components marketers should use when assessing the success or failure of an SEO campaign.

Increases in Direct Navigation, Referral Traffic, and Search Traffic

Good SEO webmasters should routinely track overall web traffic, including traffic from search engines (from search queries), referral traffic (from email, promos or campaign links) and direct navigation traffic (typed in searches, bookmark links, etc.).

Increases in Conversion Rates by Search Term/Keyword Phrase

Conversions from search terms is a very important metric, but it's just a start. SEO pros can use conversion rates to extrapolate more data and deeper information about how conversions start and end on your site.

Examining Indexation by Tracking Which Pages Are Receiving Search Engine Traffic

This is one of the absolute metrics to overall great SEO. Marketers should know which pages are gaining SEO traffic from search engines. Analytics will yield this information, and that will then lead to understanding indexation, or which pages from your site search engines are still indexing. Having this number from indexation is a very good indicator of SEO success or failure.

Comparing Performance and Market Share

Large increases in web traffic as a result of performance or market share is usually a good sign of SEO success, but marketers should look for high-level links rather than a lot of traffic from low-level links. That in itself could be a sign of something amiss with your site or page links.

Implementing KPI for Earlier Indications of Campaign Success

Key Performance Indicators, or KPI, for successful SEO campaigns should include the overall awareness or impact from search on organic traffic, the engagement levels of the traffic and if the overall traffic might lead to a lead or conversion over time. Other KPI might include the value of content on your site contributing to increased traffic and the use of more traditional SEO keyword traffic via high-performance links.

Paying attention to these criteria can help most marketers understand the immense value in understanding SEO and its crucial position in the marketing alchemy.

ADTAXI NAMED SEARCH ENGINE LAND 2017 AWARDS FINALIST

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We are thrilled to announce that Search Engine Land recently included Adtaxi amongst the shortlist of nominees in the 2017 Landy Awards, selected from nearly 300 submissions from leading digital agencies, in-house marketing teams and individuals around the world.We were named one of the finalists for the following Best Retail Search Marketing Initiative – SEM, recognizing successful and innovative campaigns utilizing best practices for paid search advertising in the retail/e-commerce industry.

The Search Engine Land editorial staff and contributors are the primary judges for the campaign focused categories, while industry luminaries and independent partners serve as guest judges for the individual, agency and in-house team awards categories.

Michelle Robbins, the SVP of Content and Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Land, was incredibly impressed by the depth and scope of entries in this year’s competition. “As a first time judge, having the opportunity to pull back the curtain and examine the campaigns executed by some of the top search marketers in the industry was inspiring. The work done, creativity expressed, and results achieved demonstrate what a truly talented community it is that we serve.”

“It’s an honor to be counted amongst some of the best search marketers the industry who are every day working to create and execute innovative solutions for advertisers,” said Chris Loretto, Executive Vice President of Adtaxi. “It’s exciting to showcase our expertise within search for the Retail industry and this recognition only energizes us to forge further ahead.”

Winners will be announced during an evening awards ceremony and celebratory gala held on October 25, 2017 in New York City. The gala takes place during the week of Search Engine Land’s annual SMX Conference, where the search industry gathers for continuing education on best practices in SEO and search advertising.

Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partner Program

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Adtaxi is pleased to announce becoming a Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partner!

What is the Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partner Program?

This new Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partner Program is for partners who have proven and trusted expertise in driving growth to small- and medium-sized businesses through a deep understanding of the search advertising landscape, specifically through the Microsoft Advertising platform. These partners are committed to providing high-quality support and service and have the requisite technology, innovation and skilled workforce to help businesses see success using Microsoft Advertising products.

What are the benefits of working with a Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partner?

  • Expertise that maximizes ROI through custom-fit digital marketing campaigns, the latest technology, performance tracking and tailored reporting.

  • Dedicated support that lets customers focus on their business while the Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partners take care of their marketing needs.

  • Deep industry and Microsoft Advertising platform knowledge gained through exclusive access to customized training and industry insights.

AdTaxi is excited to continue to help clients change the marketing conversation with this Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partnership.