Table of Contents
Section I: Scope and Methodology
Section II: PPC Market Overview
Section III: PPC Campaign Management Market Trends
Section IV: Enterprise PPC Campaign Management Tool Capabilities
Section V: Choosing an Enterprise PPC Campaign Management Tool
Section VI: Vendor Profiles
View complete Table of Contents
"Enterprise PPC Campaign Management Tools" editorial team:
David Rodnitzky, PPC Associates
PPC Campaign Management Tools 2013: A Buyer’s Guide
PPC Campaign Management Tools Market Overview
PPC marketing has become increasingly complex, as the speed of search engine algorithms and development changes accelerate and clients demand more integrated channel capabilities. Using an automated campaign management tool can improve efficiency, compliance, and productivity. If you are considering licensing an enterprise PPC campaign management software tool, this buyer’s guide will help you decide whether or not you need to. It has been completely updated since its May 2012 publication to include the latest industry statistics, developing market trends, and new vendor profiles and product updates.
Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from "Enterprise PPC Campaign Management Tools 2013". You can download the report here free.
The Benefits of PPC Campaign Management
- Buy vs. Build. Enterprise-level advertisers must make the “buy vs. build” decision: does it make more sense to build it in-house or engage a third-party tool that will meet most if not all campaign requirements? Larger companies must also consider the issue of data control – are they comfortable with a third party having access to their data? While homegrown solutions are highly customized, they are typically expensive to maintain. Ad formats, search engine requirements and tracking methods are updated frequently, forcing internal teams to struggle to keep pace with industry innovation. Workloads can proliferate to unmanageable levels when having to support site links, product extensions, retargeting and building in support for Facebook and other social marketing platforms in addition to managing ad groups, ad copy, keyword lists, and bids.
- Increased productivity and improved campaign performance. By freeing up time once spent on manual tasks, search marketers can work on creative aspects of their campaigns, such as testing ads or landing pages, and other ‘human’ elements that go into a successful campaign. PPC technology optimizes bidding, increasing performance through a more intelligent allocation of dollars. However, there is no guarantee that automation will improve campaign performance; thus advertisers need to carefully evaluate tools to find the best fit and the one they agree will not only improve campaign performance but also increase efficiency.
- Streamlined reporting. Reporting functions and capabilities are built into most PPC tools, reducing the amount of time spent on (and errors that can creep into) manual reporting. Automated reporting can be a huge benefit for agencies that must report to multiple clients with different needs, and for marketers who create internal reports.
- Scalability. Many marketers find that their PPC ad programs are growing and becoming more time-consuming without automating manual tasks. Most platforms are built to handle the uploading and management of millions of keywords across the search engines.
Do You Need an Enterprise PPC Campaign Management Tool?
Deciding whether or not your company needs an enterprise-level PPC toolset calls for the same evaluative steps involved in any software adoption, including a comprehensive self-assessment of your organization’s business needs, staff capabilities, management support, and financial resources. Use the following questions as a guideline to determine the answers.
- Am I qualified to evaluate campaign management software? (If not, who on my team is?)
- Do we need self-serve, full service, or something in between? Different platform vendors provide different levels of customer service and strategic consulting services. It’s important to have an idea of where you fall on the spectrum before interviewing potential PPC campaign management partners.
- What aspects of the campaign will we handle internally, and what will we want the campaign management vendor to handle? For example, keyword creation, landing page optimization, bidding, ad text testing, account structure development, integration with site analytics, and integration with cross-channel data.
- Do we want or need to integrate display and social media advertising campaigns? If so, do we need better internal alignment across teams?
- Do we have complex or ongoing reporting needs? When marketing staff or agency clients have requests for specific reports and ongoing reporting needs, campaign management tools can automate these reports across all the major search engines and Facebook.
- Are we spending more time ‘doing the math’ than running a campaign? If you find yourself with no time to manage creative, or evaluate overall campaign performance, it might be time to automate.
- Can we absorb the additional cost of campaign management and still meet our business objectives?
- Do we have engineering resources available to integrate the software?
- How will we define success?
- Will we be able to benchmark success?
Choosing a PPC Campaign Management Vendor
Once you have determined that enterprise PPC software makes sense for your business, spend time researching individual vendors and their capabilities. Make a list of all the PPC capabilities you currently have, those that you would like to have, and those that you can’t live without. This last category is critical, and will help you avoid making a costly mistake.
For example, whether or not to choose a large, medium or small vendor, independent or a division of a large organization can be an important factor for some marketers. If you have already invested in other tools offered by a large company (e.g., Adobe Analytics or DoubleClick for Advertisers) you may choose to use the respective company’s search tool for ease of integration. In contrast, others may prefer working with a smaller firm such as SearchForce or eSearchVision for the perceived intimacy of service.
Questions To Ask Potential Vendors
- How difficult is integration and dis-integration?
- What type of bid optimization does the tool use? Do I have full transparency into bid recommendations?
- Is your bidding technology highly adaptive with self-learning cycles for holidays, trends, sales promotions, etc.?
- What do you offer beyond bid management?
- With which search engines, social platforms and display partners do you work?
- How do you handle on-site analytics and SEO (i.e., through API integration, pixel tracking, etc)?
- How do you handle returns/offline transactions/other special needs?
- What conversion attribution model do you use?
- Do you employ or work closely with a well-qualified team of PhD-holding mathematicians and statisticians?
- Does your system allow the user to go into AdWords, and AdCenter accounts and make manual changes when necessary?
- Do you work with international search engines and support multi-byte character sets (if applicable)?
- Does your system support my specific business objectives (branding, revenue, margin, profit, etc.)? Do you have other clients in my vertical?
- What new features are you considering? What’s the long-term roadmap and launch dates?
- Are there additional fees (consulting, add-on features, API, quotas)?
- Do you offer a free trial?
- Who pays if your system/team makes an error?
- Who will be the day-to-day contact?
- What is the minimum contract length? Is there a short-term contract or an ‘out’ clause if things don’t work out?
Download "Enterprise PPC Campaign Management Tools 2013." The 34-page PDF includes additional valuable information including:
- Updates on the current trends and issues in PPC campaign management and automation, including mobile, social, and cross-channel attribution
- Profiles of the 9 leading vendors
- Analysis of the impact of recent acquisitions and funding activity at PPC vendors
- …and much more