Ad Management: Do Humans matter?

Aug 9, 2005 • 2:15 pm | comments (0) by twitter | Filed Under Search Engine Strategies 2005 San Jose

Moderated by Danny Sullivan

Intro remarks: Speaks about local targeting, contextual targeting, and DYI. Many portals out there and more coming. MSN says they will be able to target people by demographics. Is there a role for the humans in this process?

Chris Zaharias - Efficient Frontier: Using algorithms from wall street to adapt to PPC management. Trends: Multiple SEs - more to manage, more data; KW inflation - optimizing tail becomes crucial; complexity; scarcity of staff - knowledge must be institutionalized; disparate data sources - data must be integrated; SEM matters! - forecasts must exist and be met. Humans do matter, but because of all these factors technology matters more and needs to matter more in the future. You cannot handle everything manually. Rules based tools: cannot address all markets fully address tail, but can track and act on data, but done too infrequently. Cant staff SEM skills fast enough. Can integrate data and can forecast & provide results, but volume/market left on the table

Human rules based approach makes decisions on individual kws vs. considering effect on other choices. Activities divided into three segments: human-only, human tech -aided, and tech only. Human activities include SEM goals, review and analysis, creatives and landing pages, search engine setup .

Human assisted by technology activities: adjust parameters, launch, simulations, performance analytics, prune kws, sync.

Technology only: paid search optimization.

Core point: close loop process continuously delivering against the goals combines all the above good chart on human/technology process modal. Todays search is mostly smart people with few tools in need of technology to help them scale.

Kevin Lee - Agrees on more things than disagree. Two kinds of marketers at top of paid search results: brilliant marketers and lunatics. Success means you have to decide how to be brilliant or how to deal w/total lunatics.

Tech facilitates through automation of task, increasing ability to be a totally friggin brilliant marketer or a rampant raging total lunatic on steroids. Tech is a tool that in the wrong hands can hurt you and others. Why need killer tech? Multitude of simultaneous choices, competitive reactions, diff was of buying same kw (geo, match type, daypart/day of week, engine syndication network / contextual), kw volumes differ, kw volatility, kw volume. Why need killer strategy? Allows you to afford highest pos you can. Everyone is fighting for top for good reason: scale comes with position but some times can be problematic.

To maximize profit you must: Buy best clicks firsyt, keep buying cliks, etc Strategy and tech alone still dont deliver max results, you need analytics as well.. Strategy analytics and technology together form perfect storm to create multiplier effect to continuously improve ROI or profitability of campaign.

Joshua Stylman - Reprise Media: Advises that if an SEM you are considering does not have technology in their dan, run as fast as possible. Tried to manually plan search campaigns and found it to be impossible. Now largely automated, but humans still most important. Human capital is most defensible part of their business in order to deliver best practices. Ultimately they will continue to innovate,. Almost everyones first question is what do you do for bid management? Compares search with so many levers to manage various campaigns to Starbuck promotion describing 10,000 ways to order a latte. All other variables can impact your bid price, but bid price cannot impact other variables. Workflow: how to we move production process through the market? Logical creation of systematic methods to do so. Use of APIs is used by most advanced SEMs. let robots what they do best, and humans do what they do best.. A balance required, as mentioned by others.

Mike Sack- Inceptor, Inc.: Quotes Battlestar Galactica Humans created the robots. Bid management is truly a symbiotic relationship. You cannot let the tech turn on you like the cylons.

PPC Management function: who wins each factor, humans or technology?

Kw generation: T Kw selection: H -optimization process begins here Kw stemming: H -due to our ability to understand linguistics Creative & creative optimization: H - tech can write ads, but they are bad Bid updates: T -mundane c-level task is simple, so enjoyed by lazy marketers Bid analysis: T - most humans cannot see more than tree layers deep in a pattern. Most people without training could count maybe through one or two decks in black jack, but tech can count through 20,000 layers Bid optimization: T

Falls squarely in the middle, like the Berlin wall between communism and capitalism. Cows graze, people shouldnt. Cows hang out in the field and chomp on grass, people have a higher calling. Let the technology do the grazing.

Sara Holoubek, icrossing.

Most SEMs must use tech. We wouldnt be here w/out. Create marketing programs, access them and manage/report using tech. Would we be here if not for humans? Real live humans do the searches. Search and the shiny hammer Hiring the carpenter with the best hammer will not guarantee best shelf. Tools are not talent - a good carpenter will have both. Eventually tech will become a commodity. Right now everyone is being measured by shiny hammer, soon SEMs will be evaluate the talent to both wield the tool.

Why humans matter? Kws are human interests - Paris or Paris Hilton? People must set the rules, machine cannot tell you why a rule is not working. Cannot count for changes in taste with technology. Only human intellect can identify root cause of performance- Google complexity? Would you allow a machine to adjustyour TV spend? Your Print spend? Your messaging? Any CEO would flip out if told that tech would manage these. You are only as good as your team. The team is what drives the ROI and results.


Chris; People are important, but work must be automated on seetign business goals, because you never know when staff will jump ship.

Joshua: We are so obsessed with process that we have an 800 page internal manual about how to manage PPC. Process will never leave company even though people will.

Michael: Having a good tool may not make you a good carpenter, but having the right ool does make you better.

Kevin Lee: Search is really the first media where really valuable media is being auctioned off in real time. This is a new and constantly evolving marketplace. Creates new level of pressure because we do not know what is going to happen tomorrow as easily as with other media. Auction based media may evolve far beyond search. Likes Saras analogy, but depends on the need. For example if you have the sniffles, you will use most any doctor, but if you need heart surgery you are going to seek greater expertise. Depending on your needs, you may be able to get away with a less qualified person or even perform SEM yourself.

Q: (From Nacho) You mentioned commoditizing the market. Will bid management tools price drop in a way to reflect that it is a commodity?

J: Bets that yes, the price will drop. May eventually be given away as a value add.

C: Look at Wall Street, they continue to spend billions of dollars to allow traders to do job better than next person.

S: what comes next? What will the cost be for that?

K: you get what you pay for, as in almost any other market.

M: you can hire programmers in India for example, the skill is commodities, but the instructions are not. Cannot ignore offline. There is a land rush going on now in order to gain clients. May not agree that you get what you pay for, because aggressive pricing doesnt necessarily reflect quality of tool, but market factor based on client acquisition.

Q: What are thoughts about using search for branding versus use for ROI?

K: Branding metrics are being evaluated constantly, search and branding do fit well together because other media does result in search behavior, more and more often. Google introducing site targeting is clearly an attempt to give people the ability to go after well-branded sites for exposure.

C: Good online brands such as Expedia, Travelocity, ebay, etc. the reason that they became brands in the first place was because they were all massive adopters of paid search when it first came out.

S: Whos dollars are paying for search? The marketing dept. We need to explain better to them the value of the media as a branding tool.

Danny: what are the metrics? Do you integrate them into ad manageemtn tool? S: the bar is higher for us because it can be, we need to speak to other marketers in their language.

M: Everything is abranding opportunity. Branding is get out your checkbook and dont expect to measure ROI, even in search. Not a matter of whether or not you can brand, but if it can be measured?

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