You Gotta Have Bid Management

While I usually focus on organic web marketing or web analytics issues in this blog, today I want to talk about bid management. I could be wrong, but I have this sense that it is greatly underutilized in the market.

A little over a year ago we sold off a set of sites that we had been operating for a few years. The sites had a very strong organic traffic flow, but we also did a substantial amount of PPC on these sites – about $50K per month. Them there’s real dollars!

We began our PPC, like many people do, by flinging keywords into Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing. We were building a nice traffic volume from this activity, but when we analyzed our results we found that we were only breaking even. Given that we were investing 20 hours per week into the effort, this did not seem like smart business!

But we made a strategic decision and implemented a bid management solution. We actually used a product that is no longer available, Overture’s Search Optimizer. The tool provided us with automated tracking of our accounts, including the calculation of keyword by keyword return on ad spend.

In addition, all of our bids in Overture were now automatically adjusted for us to meet our Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) goals. Very quickly we found that the time we were spending on PPC got cut by more than half, to less than 10 hours per week.

Better still, within 90 days of implementing the bid management system, our profit margin grew from 0% to 30%. So I became a convert. If you manage campaigns that are complex and hard to manage, you gotta have automated bid management.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the article. Do you have any automatic bid management software/services to recommend?

  2. Eric Enge says:

    We like Keyword Max here now. There are others that are probably good, but we have not used those others as yet.

  3. Have you found this to be useful with AdWords? I’ve used bid management tools successfully with Overture, but never have found them to be effective with AdWords, where we do the majority of our advertising.

  4. Eric Enge says:

    It was still helpful for us with AdWords, but I agree with you, the impact was larger with Overture. Still, all in all, anything that improves your efficiency is worthwhile.

  5. I have been using some bid management tools / software, but have never seen one that can work well for Adwords which is available out there.

    Due to the quality score of Adwords, it’s not entirely possible for the software to be able to make very good judgements when bidding for positions (or even to CPC).

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