Kevin Heisler, Executive Editor, Search Engine Watch moderated the panel.
Managing PPC without automation is becoming impossible to do by hand. Tools at different price points are becoming more prevalent and require serious expertise. This SES session discussed using API bid management applications to increase ROI and gain a competitive advantage.
Anton Konikoff, Founder and CEO, Acronym MediaEduardo Llach kicked off the discussion of automated bid management. “Automated bid management is outdated” and is just one of many functionalities search marketers need to run campaigns. “Campaign management” is what it’s really about.
First decide what you actually need. Do you need a solution for campaign syndication? Optimization? Reporting? Customer insight? Regardless, can you trust automated systems to make good decisions? Data-driven automation is not a substitute for granular web analytics. He recommends Omniture because it has strong web analytics integrated with bid management.
Pretty looks can be misleading but flexibility trumps good interface design. DoubleClick has the ugliest interface but the most powerful solution. Will automation actually save you money? Don’t forget keyword research, copy testing, user and user experience.
A good rule of thumb is to automate what you already know. He suggests optimizing campaigns by hand and then turn what you know works over to the machines.
Drive your friendly technology vendors mad by understanding the system and pushing it to the limit. Do not hire statisticians. Campaign automation needs smart search marketers because automated tools don’t ask deep questions, YOU should. Finally, campaign tracking is not a substitute for full web analytics. You need sophisticated, granular, and real-time technology to track user behavior.
David Szetela, CEO, Clix Marketing
At first Clix was skeptical of automated tools. Even after they became convinced, their interest was further piqued by the “campaign management’ features of API tools. Clix asks, “How complex are your bidding requirements” and chooses tools based on needs.
Are they simple or complex? If simple, just use Google. More complex applications require dealing with variables like multiple publishers, tracking conversions and revenue, episodic flight based programs, inventory linkage, and keywords that are competitive.
Google offers free (of course) Google Conversion Optimizer for campaigns > 300 conversion / month, you can specify maximum cost per acquisition, and Google manages the bid price. It automatically manages your bid to manage a cost per action business rule. TIP: if you don’t meet the criteria by generating enough conversion, Google recommends that you “game” the system by placing the code on a non-conversion page.
Google has data that third party vendor do not have including geographic location, publisher site conversion history (content campaigns) day/time, and “other factors.” You get to campaign optimizer by “edit campaign settings.”
CMO and Founder, SearchRev discussed advanced techniques for paid search. He recommended putting together complex campaigns and then turning them over to tools to manage the campaigns.
What is common about all rules based tools are that the use one bid per keyword. SearchRev believes in multi-variable targeting + syndication, for instance separate bidding for the same word in different geo-graphic locations, times of day, and platforms. “How is the keyword doing in New York on Monday morning on Google as opposed to MSN in Massachusetts at 6PM in the afternoon on Friday?”
Track the results for each day, focus on the conversion rate and CPO, and bid according to conversion rate and CPO. In Google you can do accomplish day-parting right in the standard interface.
***Note this is "live" unedited blog coverage of SES Chicago 2007. Some typos, grammatical errors, or incomplete thoughts may exist. You can find Marty Weintraub at aimClearBlog, published by aimClear, a Duluth advertising agency focused on organic & paid search along with social media marketing.