By James Carswell

Well, 2016 was an interesting year wasn’t it? As we push forward into 2017 let’s take a look back at our most popular blog articles from the last 12 months. If you didn’t have a chance to read these the first time around, take some time to have a read now and think about how they can help you to improve your marketing efforts this year.

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As a business it has been a fantastic year for us: Merkle acquired UK customer relationship specialists dbg in February and Comet Global Consulting in March. Together we moved into our sparkling new offices in April and starting working on ways to use our collective expertise to add value to our clients’ businesses across the UK, Europe and beyond. We officially became Merkle | Periscopix in May, the logical next step on the way to becoming one big Merkle brand.

For the third year running we were ranked as one of The Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work For in the UK and also won a new DataIQ Talent Award as the Best Place to Work in Data. We won another clutch of industry awards for our client work including Best Agency Led CampaignLondon Marketing Business of the Year and Best Large Integrated Search Agency.

We were also very proud to be appointed by Google DoubleClick as an Official Certified Marketing Partner and to announce that we were officially the first agency in the UK to be certified in Optimize 360 and Data Studio 360.

Writing a blog

The Blogs

For anyone who has read my previous blog roundups, it may come as a bit of a shock to find out that for the first time Jeff’s simple cookie notification blog, written way back in 2012, was not our most read blog of the year. Although it was still in the top 10, it’s maybe a sign that many websites finally have this covered.

Let’s take a look at the 15 most read articles that were published on our blog in 2016, ranked by pageviews, before looking at a small selection of those we’ve published around the web over the year.

From the Periscopix blog

  1. GDN vs DBM: Where Should You Run Your Display Activity? – Pamela Taiwo

    Google offers two ways of running display activity: through the Google Display Network and programmatically using the DoubleClick Bid Manager platform. Pamela looks at the key differences between the two to help identify which is best suited to your needs.

  2. Google Analytics 360 – The Benefits Stack Up – Oliver Walker

    Google created a huge amount of buzz with the launch of the Google Analytics 360 suite back in March. Here, Olly shows how the different products in the suite fit together and how they can be used to benefit your business.

  3. A Guide to Buying 3rd Party Audience Data – James Dix

    This is our big guide to 3rd party data. What is it? Why do we need it? Where do we get it from? How can we use it to optimise display campaigns and smash our targets? James reveals all in this great blog.

  4. Use Google Analytics as a DMP-light and supercharge your marketing – Oliver Walker

    With so few organisations using Google Analytics to its full potential, Olly shows us how to use GA as a data-management platform and build better audiences to target on search and display.

  5. So Long, Side Ads: What the end of right-hand ads means for advertisers – James Howard

    One of the biggest AdWords stories of the year was Google’s move to get rid of right-hand side ads on desktop, bringing the search result pages closer in line to those on mobile. At the same time Google added a fourth ad above organic results. James looked at the impact this would have for advertisers.

  6. Linking Google Analytics and BigQuery Just Became Simple – Chris Berger

    This is one for the Google Analytics Premium users. Chris walks us through a new simple way of linking Google Analytics with BigQuery to enable regular data exports from one to the other.

  7. BigQuery: The Flow Awakens – Joel Heighway

    As you can see, we have been going BIG on BigQuery in the last year. Here, Joel shows you how to easily visualise how users navigate your website with Google Analytics Premium and BigQuery.

  8. How To Optimise Your Facebook Relevance Scores – James Howard

    Most biddable media platforms include an element of quality assurance in their auction mechanics. Google’s AdWords quality score is probably the most well-known, but Facebook also assigns a relevance score to each ad. James shows us how we can monitor Facebook relevance score and optimise it to improve our social campaigns.

  9. How To Get Robots To Do Your Bidding - Part 2: DoubleClick Bid Strategy Overview – Eva Tuckman

    The second of a two-parter on machine learning (you can read part one here), Eva shows us how we can take advantage of machine learning with DoubleClick bid strategies, looking at some of the benefits and limitations.

  10. Individual User Analysis with User Explorer: Knowing Me, Knowing You – Oliver Walker

    Olly takes a look at the new User Explorer report in Google Analytics and shows how you can isolate an individual (but anonymous) user and look at their interactions with your website across sessions, opening up possibilities for more granular user-level targeting.

  11. It Just Doesn’t Add Up – Discrepancies In Google Analytics And AdWords – Charlotte Silveston

    It’s that classic problem: you’re analysing your stats in Google Analytics but notice that the figures don’t match with what you see in AdWords. Your accounts are linked correctly, auto-tagging is enabled, tracking codes are in place and there are no GA filters removing data, so what is going on? Charlie takes us through the common reasons for discrepancies.

  12. Yahoo Gemini Sponsored Mail Vs Gmail Ads: Battling it out for hybrid display supremacy – Richard Lewis

    With Yahoo’s launch of Sponsored Mail Ads hoping to emulate the success of Google’s Gmail Ads, Rich takes a look at how the two platforms compare in terms of performance metrics.

  13. Data Studio 360: What to Expect from Google's Data Visualisation Juggernaut – Dan Jennings

    Excited at the launch of the Google Analytics 360 Suite, Dan concentrates on the new reporting tool from this suite, Data Studio, taking an initial look at what it can do and how it will help us to visualise data.

  14. Google Tag Manager Launches Malware Detection – Jeff Lukey

    As part of their quest to continuously improve their free tag management solution, Google have introduced automatic malware detection in Tag Manager (GTM), adding extra security for enterprise level clients looking to use the tool. Jeff has all the details.

  15. How Did the Removal of Right Hand Ads Impact UK Advertisers? – James Howard

    Seven months after Google announced the retirement of right hand side ads on the desktop search engine results page, James takes a look at the initial impact this has had, using data from some of our AdWords accounts.

Although not making the official top 15 above – as they weren’t published in 2016 – there were a couple of other blog articles that feature high up in our most read blogs but were published at the tail end of 2015. These were published too late to gain enough traction for last year’s list, so I’d like to highlight them here as they’re well worth a read.

First up, one of the requests we get a lot from both clients and prospects is to provide some form of forecasting for the month/quarter/year ahead. It’s an understandable request but also an extremely difficult one to fulfil. In The How To of PPC Forecasting, Nancy discusses some of the issues with forecasting PPC and talks through a data driven approach to best predict account performance.

Secondly, Chris reported on the addition of Google Analytics User ID into BigQuery’s export schema. He shows why this is useful and how to get set up.

From around the web

  1. Customer Match: Common Questions & How To Answer Them – Laura Collins

    We love using Customer Match in AdWords; it’s a really powerful new targeting method, but it can sometimes take longer than expected to set up. Here, Laura looks at some of the most common concerns raised by clients and agencies alike.

  2. The next Bing thing: Get your Bing campaigns in top shape for 2017 – Anna Shirley

    With Bing reaching a 20 percent market share in the UK, Anna discusses some of the most useful reports in Bing Ads and shows how they can be used to refine and optimise your campaigns going into 2017.

  3. Making the Most Of Google Analytics Audiences Within Your Search Campaigns – Laura Collins

    Laura explains the benefits of using Google Analytics in conjunction with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, giving examples of clever audiences you can use and showing how to set them up.

  4. Get Your Priorities Straight: Structuring Google Shopping Campaigns – Laura Collins

    A well thought out Shopping campaign structure is imperative for strong performance, but what is the best structure for your business? Here, Laura looks at some options that have worked for her clients.

  5. Dynamic remarketing: not just for retailers anymore – Laura Collins

    Laura talks through an advanced way of using AdWords dynamic remarketing, showing how it can be set up for non-retailers and looking at how it has helped improve the performance of some of our client accounts. 

Now that you have a strong reading list for the start of 2017 I’d like to wish you all the best for the new year. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ to stay up to date with our latest blogs.

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