Bid management

Inhouse Analytics vs. Google/MSN Analytics

Harrison Gervitz wrote a great post about PPC Optimization over at Shoemoney.com and
these words really got me:

"We use our in-house analytics system, by the way, because we don’t wantto give the engines our data. For many of our clients, however, we just install Google Analytics, since it’s easy, cheap (free), and has a beautiful UI."

With Google's Adwords revenues soaring (pretty much every 4th online ad dollar ends up in Google's pocket) and
since Adsspy.com is able to figure out related sites based on your Google Analytics code (which is an open door for any competitor), I tend to say that I would stay away Analytics software, that is provided by a search engine.

I certainly cannot proof Harrison's concerns, but it is just at a point where you are probably better off running Sitemeter, Getclicky, Omniture or some other system, which is not affiliated with your ad spent.

Automated Bid Management Solutions - PPC 3

A while ago I started a small series on finding the right bid management (solution vs. agency). I leaned towards a bid management tool. I looked into Atlas, Bidhero, Clickable (still in beta) and some others, but never felt comfortable with it. If you also manage large campaigns, it might be worth it too listen to this free webcast:

Managing Large Paid Search Marketing Campaigns:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 1:00 PM EDT (10:00 AM PDT) Speaker: Chris Sherman, Executive Editor

In this webcast, Chris Sherman will describe the kinds of bid management systems and services available and how they can be used effectively.

You'll learn:

  • How to monitor for and close costly bid "gaps" created by competitors
  • How to use tools to rapidly adjust bids in response to events or time changes
  • How tools can be used to fine-tune ROI and other metrics

Bid management tools pro and contra - PPC2

So my search for a PPC bid mangement tool or agency is now about 2 weeks old. I am not really in a rush, but it would be great to get a better idea of what's out there. Currently I lean towards a tool or homebuild solution rather than an agency. The reason therefore is, that I am not really in the mood to explain to an agency on how the business works, with all it's little secrets.

After reading tons of articles, I found a great summary from "Beantown SEO expert" Robert Rains, who seems to be in favor of a bid management solution, especially when it comes to longtail keywords.

His posting includes a lot of pros and cons from experts and his personal take on seems in line with my approach:

  1. Use a bid management tool to manage the long tail of your campaign.
  2. Stay focused on your ad copy and your landing pages, because they can dramatically influence the cost and conversion rates of your campaigns.
  3. Take significant brand building terms and manage them separately
  4. Take significant "first visit search" keywords and manage them separately as well.

Portfolio bid management - PPC1

After having trouble finding the right bid management tool or bid management subcontractor / agency, I will start a series on my search for the right PPC bid management. Here part 1: After being burned by a big NYC agency last year, I took the bid management back in my own hands and let the agency do their job with some other clients. Today I started looking into some other  agencies and found an interview with Anil Kamath, primary architect at Efficient Frontier.

Anil speaks about the limitations or rule based bidding and the advantages of portfolio bid management. Here Efficient frontiers take on:

"There are three main things actually. First you'll have to get data about the market place, and about conversions in the market place. We get data from a wide variety of sources. A lot of it comes from the search engines. A lot of the data comes from our customer's accounts themselves; we also track conversions for our customers. We get information from various sources on keywords themselves as to which keywords are related to which other keywords. This is the first step, getting that data on a regular basis.

The second part is taking the data and coming up with a forecast. We use various statistical methods to make these forecasts very accurate. So, when we say forecast, we are saying forecast down to the ad level. For example, this keyword targeted at this geography, with this ad copy will get fifty clicks if it's bid to two dollars at position two. It will generate seventy clicks if it's bid to five dollars, and it's at position one. So, we come up with very granular forecast, based on the data that we have, and using various statistical methods to make these forecasts very accurate. So, the forecasting is the second part. These forecasts then go into the optimization system, which is essentially a linear programming solver"

Found via Zaharias Blog