Race Performance & Adcash at Le Mans 2016 – 1 day to go

Race Performance & Adcash at Le Mans 2016 – 1 day to go

So, here we are. 1 day away from one of the most prestigious events in motor racing, the 84th running of the Le Mans 24 hours endurance race. 60 cars, divided into 4 main classes, LMP1, LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am, all on track at the same time, all racing for the title in their respective classes.

Qualifying results

Yesterday saw qualifying for the main event take place, amid heavy rain and generally treacherous conditions (at one point in the evening, even the safety car had a moment!).

Despite the conditions, the Race Performance team qualified in 30th position overall and 21st in their class. Not a perfect result, but not bad, considering the conditions and their Judd engine being a little bit down on power, compared to the more widely used Nissan engine.

race performance and adcash - rainy pit lane

But in endurance racing, as the saying goes, to finish first, first you have to finish. Granted, the race itself is more like a 24 hour sprint, but anything can happen. If you can outlast your opponent, be more agile, while preserving your tyres, keep out of any incidents, then your chances are much better come sunrise and into Sunday.

Before the race all power units, engine, gearbox, transmission and electronics, will undergo a complete change and be replaced by completely new components to be well prepared for the stressful 24 hour challenge. Seeing the chequered flag again this year would mean a world record in terms of reliability for Race Performance at Le Mans. Finishing six out of six races without any retirement has never been done before by any team in any class there.

The team have also been experimenting with the new, Dunlop tyres, with mixed results, but overall the car looks to be solid: “We still haven’t completely understood the different Dunlop tyres one hundred percent, and so we got a bit lost with one of the compounds for some time. But the reliability of the car was really promising”.

So, the team’s ready. We’re ready. Let’s do this!

The race itself starts at 3pm local time on Saturday and you can catch it on Eurosport, Fox Sports and, of course, Radio Le Mans.

If you want to keep track of what Race Performance are up to, they’ll being doing some Facebook Live streams during the race. Head over to their Facebook page for more info.

 

How to get started in digital marketing

How to get started in digital marketing

Got a product and want to start promoting it using digital marketing? Look no further.

if you’ve just setup a business, whether it’s selling cookies (the tasty kind) or software, you’re probably going to want to invest some time and money into growing that business using the power of digital marketing.

But what do you actually need to get started in digital marketing? Before we dive into the detailed stuff, let’s quickly summarise the key elements of what you need when you’re looking to promote your business online.

What do you need?

A product
What are you selling? Is it a product, a service or something that falls completely outside the standard realms of accepted logic?

An audience
Who are your dream customers? Whatever it is you’re offering, know who it is you want to sell to.

An offer (kind of optional, kind of not)
Offering some kind of incentive to drive sales is a great way of growing your customer base. Although be careful if you’re working with tight margins.

A website
Kinda like your store front, especially if what you’re selling is digital. It should be clear, concise and engaging. It should let whoever’s looking at it know what you’re about and drive them to convert.

Some channels
This is where / how you will reach your audience. There’s a huge range of options to choose from – social media, email, display search etc.

Some creatives
Or ad banners as they’re also know. They come in many different sizes. Experimentation and optimization are the key here.

Some landing pages
If you’re doing any kind of digital marketing, you need somewhere for your potential customers to reach. Make it short, sweet and totally geared towards converting them into a customer.

A budget
Money, as they say, makes the world go round. And it’s pretty much the same in digital advertising. Have a budget for advertising online if you truly want to succeed.

Okey dokey, now you’ve got a vague understanding of the key elements needed to start putting together a digital marketing plan, let’s dig a little bit deeper and explore each of these elements a little further…

Know your product

This should be kind of obvious, but it can get overlooked. Before you plow through and start creating your ad campaign(s), take a step back and try to truly understand the nature of what it is you’re trying to sell.

This is key, because it will help you make more informed decisions later on in the process and, most importantly, avoid throwing money away on things that won’t help drive your revenue.

SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT…

  • What problem does your product solve?
  • How does your product fix it?
  • Why should someone use it?

Your dream customer

OK, so, you’ve figured out what it is you’re trying to promote, now comes the question: who are you selling it to? Being able to effectively identify your audience means that you can build a more reliable plan, message, business, product. Everything, pretty much, can be improved by knowing your customer.

This may sound a bit counterintuitive but, when you first start out, try to reach a specific, potentially small group of customers with particular demographics, identify a problem they are having and solve that problem for them. Make yourself look incredibly special and unique for those people.

When you start out, you’ll probably have limited resources, so trying to fix the world ain’t going to happen (unless you’re Elon Musk or something). So, find the people you know you can help, and go after them. Once you’ve established a solid base, and found your feet, then you can begin to scale up and expand your audience.

An offer they can’t refuse

A great way of driving your conversions are offers. Whether they take the form of coupons, discounts, deals, multibuys, whatever – for the sake of argument, we’ll refer to them all as “offers”. When used properly, they’re incredibly powerful, but you should exercise caution; without proper thought and planning they can, potentially, become unprofitable.

Deciding whether or not to use offers goes back to your audience and your product. If you’re a high-end brand or have slim profit margins, offers may not be for you. On the other hand, if you have decent margins, deep discounting can really help you grow your business.

If you’ve not launched your business yet, you may want to consider pre-launch offers to help drive interest. There’s a great example of this over on Shopify: a shaving goods retailer was able to net 100,000 subscribers before they’d even launched their site.

Build an awesome website

Remember when you defined your product and who your customer is? Yeah, that’s going to come in handy here. If you’ve done a SWOT analysis even better. With your audience, your product and its strengths in mind, think about the problem you customer base is facing. Think about how your product solves that problem for them.

Then, condense that into a very short, easy to understand message that will form the basis for your communication on your website. Think like, 7 words or less. Then expand on that a little bit, to form the key benefits and arguments of your product.

You should also consider including pictures of you and your team along with a little bit of info about them, to help build trust. If you already have customers that you’ve been working with (during a beta phase, for example), include them to help reinforce that trust.

Building a website that converts and performs well is a huge topic, but like many other things in this industry, the key is to test, test, test. You can nearly always do better, so try!

SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT…

  • Make it shockingly easy for your customers to convert
  • Keep everything clear and simple
  • Keep your “conversion funnel” steps to a minimum
  • Experiment with new ideas
  • Seriously, I can’t say this enough: TEST!

Choose your channels

Picking how you want to reach your audience largely depends on who they are – this is why it’s very important to establish who your dream customer is, because from that you can start to work out where they spend their time on the Internet and advertise there.

If you’re looking at social media, the obvious choice at the moment is, of course, Facebook. With nearly 2 billion users on the social media platform, the likelihood of you reaching your audience is pretty high. Keep in mind though that Facebook has many rules and requirements you need to abide by, like many other ad networks.

Then you have Search Engine Marketing. Google has the lion’s share of the reach in this department, so you’ll probably want to check out their AdWords product. If you’re going to run ads on search having landing pages for your campaigns is very important.

Finally, display – banner ads. They can take on many forms, and appear on many, many devices. You also have the option to run things like “pop” ads, which typically perform better than standard banner ads. If you’re looking for an ad network to run display or pop ads on desktop, mobile or in-app, give Adcash a try (of course we’re going to say that 🙂 )

Creative creatives

There are lots of different sizes of creatives, or ad banners as they’re also known. Generally, most advertising networks offer the IAB standard sizes, as well as some of their own.

We’ve already covered what you need to create engaging creatives on this blog,  but to summarise; you should keep it simple, in terms of text (some creative sizes can be quite small, so you don’t have a lot of room to play with). You should also include a clear call-to-action. Your creatives are another area where you should be experimenting and testing.

Finally, when your potential customer clicks on your ad, you should make sure they land on a page that reflects the information and design of that ad. Which leads us nicely to our next topic: landing pages.

Give them a soft landing

You should already have a nice, pretty website by now. But proper landing pages, pages that potential new clients when they click on an ad, can really be the key to turning a visitor into a customer.

In fact, really, should always have a landing page (or several landing pages) setup before launching any marketing campaign.

Generally speaking, landing pages fall into two main groups:

1. Lead Capture

A page designed to capture a visitors information, usually their email address, allowing you to market to them in the future

2. “WARM UP”

A page designed to “warm up” a potential customer to your product, before moving them further along the sales funnel.

With the first kind, the most important piece of information you can get from your potential customer is their email address. And to do that you need a form of some kind. It can also be a good idea to offer them something in exchange for their email, like, say an eBook.

 

The other kind is about persuading your potential customer that what you’re offering is right for them, usually using pictures and video and a very clear, clickable call to action button.

Some things to remember when setting up landing pages:

  • Test!
  • Use one, clear call-to-action
  • Choose whether you want to capture leads, or move the customer along your sales funnel and build the page around that one goal.
  • Make your landing page only receive campaign traffic (make it “noindex, nofollow”) so that you can more easily analyze its performance.

Money makes the world go round

Last, but by absolutely no means least: money. Or more specifically, a budget. Set yourself a budget, allocate parts of the budget to all of the different channels you want to engage with and try and stick to it.

All through this article I’ve been going on about testing and experimentation. If you’re at the early stages of your businesses digital marketing lifecycle, testing your ads, on every channel – social media, banner ads, email, video, whatever – can mean the difference between you “just doing enough” and truly succeeding.

GET OUR FREE EBOOK!

If you want to go further down the rabbit hole and learn some more about how to succeed in digital marketing, we’re giving away a free eBook, handcrafted by our very own head of marketing, Liis Ristal. It’s called “The Definitive Guide to Digital Marketing Success” and it’s, frankly, brilliant.

Adcash and Race Performance: The Road to Le Mans

Adcash and Race Performance: The Road to Le Mans

Technology. Innovation. Teamwork. Endurance. These are all things that you need to thrive in both the world of digital marketing and in motorsport. For the last two years Adcash has been proud to partner with teams racing at the prestigious Le Mans 24 hours endurance race.

And this year is no exception. For 2016 we will be getting behind a long-term friend of the Adcash family: Swiss driver, Niki Leutwiler. Having already achieved phenomenal success in the 2015 / 2016 season of the Asian Le Mans Series, resulting in an overall victory for that season, continuing that partnership for the European Le Mans Series was a foregone conclusion.

Building on success

Having taken the title in last year’s Asian Le Mans Series, thanks to an incredible all round performance from the whole team, Race Performance were in a great position to contend for the title in this year’s European Le Mans Series.

Race Performance Team Photo - LMP2 Asian Le Mans Series

Their season will culminate at this year’s Le Mans 24 hour endurance race. This race is the pinnacle of endurance motorsport. With cars ranging from GT cars you’d recognise to LMP prototypes that would look more at home at some kind of space operations center.

Race Performance at the 4 hours of Imola

Their most recent race in Imola was a treacherous one. The 4 hour race was marred by heavy rains, making conditions extremely slippery for all the drivers. Despite the conditions (and a spin, involving a Ferrari GT race car), Niki and the team brought the car home in 9th place. Not an ideal finish, but finishing alone in endurance racing is a feat in and of itself.

Niki Leutwiler racing in the heavy rain at ELMS Imola 2016

Speaking after the race, Niki said “It started quite well for me, for the first time this weekend I found a really good rhythm. On the straight I was pushed by this white GT-Ferrari, who forced me into a high speed 180 degree spin. Quite a harsh experience, nothing you need at all. Fortunately I did not hit anything and was able to continue immediately, but of course the tyres were ruined. I still tried to continue with this set until the rain started, which I managed to do, but I could not attack as aggressively as before. When the rain turned really heavy and I wanted to come in to hand the car over to Shinji, I got aquaplaning and spun again, but luckily I was able to catch the car again and still come into the pits, so it did not make much of a difference and we could keep our position in this crazy race.”

Next stop: Le Mans

After Imola the team will be spending time preparing for the race in Le Mans. In just under a month’s time the team will be lining up on the grid to compete in one of the most prestigious events in motorsport. And Adcash will be riding alongside them as they chase down success.

We’ll be posting more here and on social media in the run up to the race itself. So, stay tuned as we join Race Performance on the Road to Le Mans.

Adcash Self-Service – One Year of Awesomeness

Adcash Self-Service – One Year of Awesomeness

This time last year we were adding the finishing touches to our Self-Service Advertiser platform prior to release. Now, 12-months later, we’re celebrating this all important milestone by looking back at some of the features that we’ve added.

When we released our Self-Service Advertiser platform, we had some idea of the direction it would head as a product and the kind of user we expected would be interacting with it. But sometimes things can surpass your expectations. And that’s pretty much what happened with Self-Service.

Adcash Self-Service: A brief history.

So, what have we been up to over the last 365 days? What new features have we added to Self-Service? What upgrades have we done? Well, let’s dive right in.

User Interest Targeting

At the beginning, we allowed our advertisers to reach users based on the verticals of the websites where their ads would appear. We called this “Site Category Targeting”. It was good, but we wanted to offer more. User Interest Targeting allows advertisers to harness the power of true behavioural targeting, ushering in a whole new level of capability for our advertisers.

City Targeting

Our location targeting features were added to further enhance the already extensive list of targeting options added to the Adcash Self-Service platform. Although the feature itself is called “City Targeting” it actually allows you to go even further than that, by reaching audiences in specific parts of cities (and towns).

This is all part of giving our customers the capability to build their campaigns around their desired audience. To reach and engage them, wherever they are. Location targeting can be very useful for “bricks and mortar” businesses, looking to promote offers to potential customers near to their store. Similarly, for online business, by using location targeting you can create messages that use location to add relevance (for example, “People in Tallinn are using this now!”).

Cost Per Click Campaigns

Cost per click (or pay per click) ad campaigns were on our wishlist fairly early on in the development cycle for the Adcash Self-Service platform. But, as with the verticals overhaul, there were a few technical challenges that needed to be overcome before we could deliver.

CPC was one of the most consistently requested features to be added to self-service. Different advertisers have different needs and while CPM campaigns can be highly effective for things like brand building campaigns, CPC is usually better when you have a clearly defined sales funnel and a product you want to sell.

Verticals Overhaul

When we first released the Adcash Self-Service platform, the campaign creation process was designed to be as simple and intuitive as possible. However there was one area where we recognized there could be some significant improvements: verticals (or categories to some).

The initial offering didn’t have that many options and they were all displayed on a single level. The challenge for our product team was that updating this list involved some considerable reworking of our ad serving database. But, after many hours and very many coffees, they succeeded.

What this means for our advertisers is that, now, they are able to more accurately select the traffic vertical they want to buy.

Video Advertising

Since 2014 we’ve been looking at the incredibly exciting, engaging possibilities that video advertising and we’ve been building a product and team to make strides in that area. We added video advertising to the Self-Service platform towards the end of the year and have been working closely with our partners, on both the demand and supply side, to make improvements and optimize it more and more.

OS Targeting

Let’s say you’re a marketer for a Windows-only time management application. You want to promote your new application to people you know are going to be able to use it. So, in this case, you would want to specify Windows. Our OS targeting feature actually allows you to go even further than that, by segmenting the different operating systems by version.

So, to continue with the example above, you may have initially released your application with support for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. So, initially you can specify these options. Then, later on you want to promote a Windows 10 version, with creatives saying “Now Available For Windows 10!”. Then select Windows 10 and you’re reaching the right people for your ads.

Zone Blacklisting and Whitelisting

One of the first big features we added to the Self-Service platform was zone blacklisting and whitelisting. This gave Adcash Advertisers the capability to optimize their ad campaigns, by specifying the ad zones they appear in. If they can see that a specific ad zone is not delivering the kind of traffic they want, they can blacklist it. Similarly, if they identify an ad zone that is performing really well, they can whitelist is, meaning their ad will only be displayed in that zone.

The Adcash Self-Service platform is built on cutting-edge digital advertising technology and relies heavily on machine learning to automatically optimize ad campaigns. At the same time, we recognize the importance of giving our advertisers control over where their display or pop-under ads appear. This is why we added zone blacklisting and whitelisting functionality.

Connection Type Targeting

Reaching audiences based on their connection type is one of the many ways Advertisers can get the most from their digital ad spend. Connection type targeting allows you to select from a range of the most common connection types, like Wi-Fi, cellular or even dial-up.

This is particularly useful if you have a landing page that contains lot’s of images or video: an advertiser is unlikely to want their ad shown to people with slower connections if the landing page, say, contains a lot of images or video.

Mobile Carrier Targeting

Mobile advertising is really booming at the moment, surpassing desktop even. So giving advertisers the tools to make the most of this exciting new area is very important to us. By allowing advertisers to target their campaigns based on mobile carriers, they can reach audiences with the most relevant offers.

For example, a media agency working for a mobile network to promote a “new customers” offer may want to exclude people already connected to that network. This way they’re reaching the people who can make use of the offer. By reaching the most relevant audience, they are ensuring that every cent they spend on buying impressions, is spent on the right impressions.

Web Browser Targeting

As the name implies, this feature allows advertisers to reach users of specific web browsers. Sometimes an advertiser may find that their ad campaign (landing pages, pop-unders etc) perform better on one or more browsers, but worse on others. Ensuring that they only target the browser types that they know will play nice with their ad campaign means that their audience will have the desired experience when reaching the page.

Once again, this is about ensuring that the right people see the right ads. If an ad is being shown to people where you know something isn’t going to work or is going to perform unusually, then you should be excluding them from your campaign. This feature allows Advertisers to do exactly that.

Here’s to another 12 months, and beyond!

This last year has absolutely flown by and, while we’re incredibly happy with what we delivered a year ago, where we are now has surprised even us! Thanks to the continuous feedback and cooperation of our partners, on both the supply and demand sides, we’ve been able to build and grow a fantastic product.

So, for everyone who’s been a part of the self-service story: thank you. 

As always, if you have any questions, ideas, thoughts or feedback, let us know in the comments below!

Interstitial Ads: What They Are & Why They Rock

Interstitial Ads: What They Are & Why They Rock

Interstitial ads often get overlooked as a premium ad format, especially when put up against their pop under / pop up cousins. But, in the battle for valuable screen real estate, they are an incredibly powerful asset for online advertisers to have in their arsenal.

What Are Interstitial Ads

What Are Interstitial Ads?

Interstitial ads are similar to pop ups but, rather than opening in a new window, they are displayed “on top” of the page content. Interstitial ads can appear when a visitor clicks on a link to read an article or when the page first loads. The interstitial ad that appears takes up the full screen area.

In-App interstitial ads behave slightly differently, but the logic is pretty much the same. Rather than the ad appearing between page loads, they can be triggered by a range of in-app events, like in between levels or after a user has performed a certain action.

Why You Need Interstitial Ads

Here’s Why You Need Interstitial Ads

As mentioned at the start of this piece, screen real-estate is a precious and prized thing. With so many advertisers all competing for people’s attention, making eye-catching, engaging ads that stand out becomes harder and harder. This, coupled with the well-documented “banner blindness” phenomenon, means advertisers can have a hard time getting users to click their ads.

By taking up the full screen area, interstitial ads are able to stand out from the crowd. They also deliver great results, at a fraction of the cost of pop under ads, making them a brilliant return on investment proposition.

Interstitial Ads to the rescue

Interstitial Ads To The Rescue!

This combined with the advent of video ads, means that we’re likely to see an increase in the use of interstitial ads as a way of dealing with banner blindness. Interstitial ads work especially well for advertisers looking to promote fast moving consumer goods, as well as games.

For example, a premiere hotel chain saw a 25x increase in video views when using interstitial ads. Also, a leading European casual game developer saw a 7x increase in conversions, by harnessing the power of interstitial ads.

Key Points

Numbers:

  • 25x Increase In Video Views
  • 7x Increase In Conversions
  • 7% Click Through Rate

Facts:

  • Eye-catching
  • Deals with banner blindness
  • Minimal UX impact

Interstitial Ads In Action

interstitial_animation_mobile

interstitial_animation

 

Thanks to our easy to use advertiser platform, making the most of this creative, engaging ad format has never been easier. If you’re an existing Adcash partner, you can launch your ad campaign, by signing in here, and clicking CREATE CAMPAIGN.

Not already an Adcash partner? There’s never been a better time to join…

 

A Word On Google’s Interstitial Ad Policy

There was a lot of chatter at the end of 2015 and early 2016 about Google viewing interstitial ads on pages as a negative mobile experience and thereby harming page ranks. There’s been a lot of confusion on this topic, but Google has since clarified their position: their policy only impacts app install interstitials, not ads.

Here’s a response Google provided to an article over at Marketing Land, on this very topic:

“We’re focused on improving the search experience for our users. In the case of app install interstitials, there are easy alternatives for promoting apps. In particular, there is a commonly accepted browser standard: Smart Banners on Safari (from Apple) and Native App Install Banners on Chrome. We’re encouraging webmasters to adhere to that accepted best practice.”

Want to share your interstitial ad success stories? Let us know in the comments down below!

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