Wishing you could clone your best ad manager? See how using bid management technology can work for you, and what mistakes to avoid before deciding which software to purchase.
PPC bid management can be tricky, even for the most experienced manager. To make the most of your budgets, it’s always a matter of carefully choosing the bids for your campaigns and adapting them in case of any ad hoc changes.
With so many variables affecting bid prices, such as competition, search volume, keyword and ad group performance, many companies consider using third-party automated solutions to assist in their ad campaigns. See how to choose your bid management tool in order to boost ROI and leverage team power.
Consider Your Purposes
If used adequately, bid management tools can save a lot of time, creativity, and brainpower related to the management of PPC campaigns. They can help brands increase the volume of relevant and motivated search traffic to their websites.
These tools don’t promise lazy PPC management, though–instead, bid management software is a useful tool that can be personalised according to the users’ purposes, capabilities and requirements.
In order to buy the right bid management tool, brands need to find the one most suitable to their needs. In the words of Oscar Romero from Starcom MediaVest for Econsultancy, “a bid management technology software is no substitute for good account management.”
When purchasing the best bid management software, companies need to consider their own specific requirements, such as their business and sales goals, technical capabilities, time available for team training and future goals of the company.
For example, companies whose goals change periodically might want to focus on flexibility, as it gives the freedom and opportunity to improve ROI and explore flexible payment options and technical features.
Aim at flexible bidding mechanisms, which include the ability to manually control your keyword bid management, rules-based algorithmic bid management and portfolio bid optimisation. The number of the campaigns run at any point in time and the volume of the keywords targeted should play a role in the choice as well.
Big or Small
Many professionals working under tight budgets prefer to use free solutions and have room for experimentation, instead of paying for pricey software that they have no time to learn to use properly. Smaller advertisers might want to use the automated bidding options from Google AdWords.
This, however, means that they must give up control of their campaigns and let the algorithms do most of the work. The good news is that although automated, many operations are revertible and users can still reject or approve a change of bids. For a company to fully benefit from automated bidding, ad managers need to set clear rules and review them for every campaign or every client.
Most advertising agencies and e-commerce websites are swamped with multiple campaigns at any given time. Manually managing hundreds of campaigns can be practically impossible for agencies, requiring the use of automated solutions.
Instead of focusing on every specific keyword, agencies and big brands using bidding tools can judge the ad performance based on a set of customised rules. Thus, rule-based tools help users see if their campaigns meet previously set benchmarks, observe rules, or set trends.
Additionally, in order to leverage time resources, they might want to use tools with other options, like forecasting, automatic keyword clustering and classification, automatic removal of duplicate keywords and others.
Two of the most useful automated bidding platforms are Marin and Adobe’s Search Centre+ that allow you to focus on your campaign performance and how to increase ROI rather than having to deal with the minutae that wastes time and doesn’t get such effective results.
Marin offers a workflow, analysis and optimisation solution for search marketers, allowing you to combine search intent data and behavioural data. It also ensures you can modify your bidding strategy, taking into account cross-channels, such as social and display media in addition to sponsored search to make sure your campaign gets you the visibility you deserve.
You can also make the most of other paid search platforms, with the option of replicating your paid search campaign on Bing.
Alternatively, Adobe’s Search Centre allows you to predict the impact of changes to your search, display, and social ads, ensuring your campaign is best optimised to get the highest ROI. The platform allows you to automate repetitive tasks and the user-friendly interface allows you to set up custom reports, meaning you don’t have to trawl through legacy data to find what you’re looking for.
As agencies usually have clients from all over the world, they should look for tools offering options for the implementation of exchange rates. International brands and e-commerce websites selling overseas and advertising on multiple platforms will benefit more from using a third-party bid management tool, which will integrate all campaigns into one user interface.
As Jeev Trika advises in his book, Buyer’s Guide on Choosing the Right Search Engine Marketing Agencies & Tools, a big brand or agency’s ideal tool would allow users to make changes in the unit being bid on, set a certain CPC, bid a certain amount per conversion and track results to assess and optimise advertising models.
Avoid Marketing Pitfalls
Technical solutions are just one part of the account manager’s tasks, and only utilised to boost the performance of ad campaigns that are performing poorly or not at all. Bid management tools are not and cannot be substitutes for keyword selection, supervision, manual corrections during campaigns, some on-page optimisation, and so on.
Understanding the ways that these tools work and the basic principles of PPC advertising is key to running successful ad campaigns.
Try to avoid tools with too many features, unless you understand exactly how they all work and can contribute to your campaign. Specialists advise that you look solely for those features that ensure better performance of your campaigns, save you time and improve ROI.
Unless you can integrate a bid management tool into your system and utilise it to its full potential, there’s little sense in paying for the software.
With bid management solutions, different algorithms serve different purposes. By knowing how a tool works and what functions it has, users can decide how much they will need to input into the system and what results to expect.
In this sense, users need to make sure that they will have the time to run the software, supervise it, make manual corrections of bids and consider the whole picture at any given moment. No tool can fully substitute common sense and expertise.
Finally, while bid management tools can boost your campaign’s performance immensely, they are not likely to work efficiently if you don’t allow time for employee training.
Just as important is the quality and extent to which vendors provide support. Last but not least, try and check demos of the tools you are interested in, and make sure that the user interface is intuitive, easy to navigate and usability-driven.
What Do You Look for in a Bid Management Tool?
(Main image credit: Alexander Stein/Pixabay)