PPC bid management tools like those from Atlas and Omniture allow automated control over the bidding process that promises better ROI and increasing competitive advantage. But managing the automation tools requires an understanding of how these tools work their underlying algorithms and how best to set them and monitor them to achieve desired results. The session will include panelists who are real users of the tools and not representatives of the tool vendors.
Moderator: Kevin Heisler, Executive Editor, Search Engine Watch
Speakers: David Szetela, CEO, Clix Marketing, Eduardo Llach, CMO and Founder, SearchRev, Anton Konikoff, Founder and CEO, Acronym Media
The session is started off by Anton Konikoff, the CEO of Acronym Media, he suggests that Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Automated bid management is outdatedĂ˘â‚¬Âť, and it's certainly not the whole thing, the whole thing is Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Campaign management.Ă˘â‚¬Âť For you to manage well, you need to know what you want?
Is it optimization, reporting campaign syndication or customer insight? Are automated systems reliable decision makers?, they suggest that automation doesn't substitute granular web analytics. He cites Omniture as a good eg of strong web analytics which also combines bid management.
Now he moves over to comparing flexibility with visual appeal, and emphasizes that its the former that's far superior. Eg DoubleClick, bad looks, but the most powerful solution. Is automation the only thing that saves costs, what about user experience copy testing, keyword research, etc.
Advises to automate what's already known by you, start off by manual optimization and once you're sure that something works well then automate that part. Understanding the system well so you can push it to the extreme, no need for statisticians, really. A good automated campaign warrants good search marketers instead. A caveat, campaign tracking can't substitute web analytics. So it is advisable to have granular, real-time technology if you want to track user behavior.
Next up is David from Clix Marketing, he cites the initial skepticism Clix had about automated tools. Later when the attitude changed campaign management features of API tools was what irked him. His strategy would be to define the complexity of bidding requirements and then go about choosing the tools. You could have either simple or complex requirements, Google would do well for simple, but if its complex variables viz multiple publishers, conversions and revenue tracking, inventory linkage, you need complex ones.
For campaigns with greater than 300 per month conversion rate, Google gives you a free Conversion Optimizer, Google handles the bid price automatically based on Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“ cost per action business rule,Ă˘â‚¬Âť while you set the max cost per acquisition. In case you don't qualify, then Google suggests that you can actually you "game" the system, that is by placing the code on a non-conversion page. Google has data (viz publisher site, Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“other factorsĂ˘â‚¬Âť, etc.) and you can optimize the campaign with edit settings option.
Next up is Eduardo Llach he suggested building complex campaigns and then to hand them over to tools for effective management. The common thread that runs across algorithmic tools is that they all make use of one bid / keyword. His strategy would be multi-variable targeting coupled with syndication, eg separate bidding of keywords based on location, platforms etc. says "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?." So to manage well you'd need to do the results tracking daily, concentrate on and bid according to the conversion rates and CPO. Google allows you to do the day-parting well for the standard interface.