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#1 lookfab

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 06:55 AM

Hi Everyone

I head up the online marketing side of things at a leading ecommerce site in the UK. We currently have over 3k words on Google, 2.5k words on Overture and Espotting. The time has come where I have made the decision (and got the goahead for funding) to use some kind of bid management software.

I have contacted a number of companies and narrowed my search down to Atlas, Bidbuddy and Esearchvision. The latter company is a new kid on the block, big in France and is making moves in the UK.

Has anyone had any experience of working with any of the above, can you make any recommendations. I really need to use some kind of software as the day to day bid checking is taking up far too much of my staff's time. Any comments are greatly received.

Kind regards
jason

#2 whitemark

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 07:49 PM

Hello Jason,
I don't know much about bid management software which naturally piqued me. So here's what my research threw up. (This doesn't answer your question per se, but might be helpful.)

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"Most PPC management tools offer additional functions beyond those found in Overture however. Some can monitor competitor's bids, produce reports for different parties, and perhaps most compelling -- offer the ability to interface with multiple PPC engines. So, if you're attempting to manage a hundred or more keywords across several PPC engines, you'll find these management tools really help boost your productivity and save time."

[Source: Using Bid Management Tools to Increase Profit]

Things to consider before getting a PPC bid management software -

-> Determine your budget for the software.
-> Determine if you prefer web-based or PC-based.
-> Determine if you want to monitor just Overture or AdWords also.
-> Determine if you want to monitor several accounts at once or just one at a time.

Other criterias -

-> Price
-> Trial offering?
-> Simplicity of setup
-> Bid management rules available
-> Ability to handle multiple accounts
-> Interface design and usability
-> Return on Investment (ROI) tracking ability
-> Ability to handle different PPC search engines
-> Sophistication of bid management rules
-> Ability to manage multiple clients
-> Ability to identify friendly as opposed to non-friendly sites
-> Ability to manage large numbers of keywords
-> vendor support

[Source: High Rankings' Pay-per-click (PPC) Search Engine Advertising Forum and Webmaster World Pay Per Click Engines Forum]

PPC Bid Monitoring programs can be broadly classified into three categories:

-> PC Based:
These are less expensive. Performance on PC based systems depends on your PC's processor, RAM, Internet connection speed and availability. PC based management of PPC search engine campaigns seems to have become the preferred method for advertisers, with Bidrank and Dynamic KeywordBid Maximizer dominating the market.

[More Information: PC Based Bid Management Software for Pay Per Click Search Engines]

-> Web Based:
Web based is faster and runs 24/7 on the providers servers which means no bandwidth problems. Cost is usually based on the number of keywords and the frequency of bid updates. The better softwares is moving toward "rules based bid management" to give PPC advertisers ultimate control over their keywords. For example you can specify days, or times of the day, when you want to increase or decrease bids. There is also a move toward Return on Investment (ROI) features to automatically bias bidding based on real-time sales results.

[More Information: Web Based Bid Management Software for Pay Per Click Search Engines]

-> Full Service - SEM firms that will monitor your program for you. They generally do not offer their software for you to use. Before hiring one try to determine the experience they have in managing similar campaigns like yours. Do they make sure you achieve your targets? Are you willing to rely on their judgement and give them a free hand? Do they pick up the phone when you try to reach them?

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#3 lookfab

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 03:40 AM

Thanks White Mark for you extensive answer. Good to get a different view having sat through numerous presentations from those agencies....all good I hasten to add...

I am still yet to make a decision on using bid management software. hoping to make one soon

#4 whitemark

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 01:13 PM

Someone more experienced will definitely answer your specific questions. I was really surprised to see that your thread remained un-answered for 14 days. That's very rare around here.

One other thing about bid management softwares - there were many thoughts floating around that seemed to suggest that tracking ROI should be more of a priority since it is more profitable (and more measurable). They considered bid management software the tool for the lazy. (I am not sure I agree entirely - is it humanly possible to track 5k keywords without a decline in productivity?) One of the arguments propounded to support this was Google Adwords - bidding can only help so much since they also consider the CTRs of the ad to decide the ranking; and one can save a lot of money by trying to optimise the ad copy to improve the CTR. Of course newer bid management softwares also seem to incorporate certain ROI tracking method to control bids based on that. Sounds very potential, not to mention scary and confusing. :)

#5 lookfab

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 03:02 AM

Hi Whitemark

I was somewhat surprised to. Just responding to your recent points, we already have tracking software in place which goes through to sale. My team keep a very close eye on ROi and Google is the best at the moment with approx 2.5 conversion rate and is very profitable.

The main reason for the need for Bid Management Software (BMS) is exactly as you state to increase productivity as managing 3k keyword campaigns on Espotting and Overture is very very time consuming. The software does this for you and on an hourly basis. Currently we only do it once a day. Therefore, BMS is vital to my team in order that they can go and do other things. It is also easier to pull off new keywords and you get more combinations as well.

I have yet to make my choice but will be doing so in the next week or so.

Cheers
Lookfab

#6 vuralcifci

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 08:45 AM

I've had good experience with Dynamic Bid Maximizer and Bid Rank Both.
The advantage of Dynamic Bid Maximizer is that you can manage your Adwords account too. But as mentioned the functionality is limited with smart bidding and competition monitoring.

The web-based tools are more expensive but you can do "rule-based bidding" for example you can set ROI or CPA for a specific keyword and let the tool handle the bidding.

Below are some of these tools:
Search Ignite (acquired by 360i, their pricing is high)
Omniture (they have a tool but I do not know the name)
KeywordMax
Atlas One Point (expensive)

#7 projectphp

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 09:23 PM

To be honest, everytime I have looked into bid managemet, I was left feeling... well... underloved. Seems to me that no one offers all the features one really needs, and when you have to use multiple vendors, the cost simply isn't worth it.

It all comes down to what one hopes to acheieve, IMHO. I am not 100% sure that bid management software adds a lot unless you do the high end stuff, like dayparting or other multiple changes per day stuff. For most sites, if you don't make changes every day, don't have to change bids based upon stock availability or need to change bids for other reasons on an unplanned basis, then bid management can be pretty expensive.

I also question the value of many bid management techniques. They just remind me so much of what caused the 1988 stock market crash. Automated bid changes in response to competitors is a recipe for longer term disaster, IMHO.

So, sorry, not a heck of a lot of help there!!!

#8 whitemark

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 10:09 PM

Automated bid changes in response to competitors is a recipe for longer term disaster, IMHO.

But what about bid responses based on ROI changes and based on competitor monitoring? (Atleast until human intervention is realistically possible). That sounds like it has some real potential.

And as Jason says

... managing 3k keyword campaigns on Espotting and Overture is very very time consuming ...

Does that mean his team is doing something wrong? If not bid management, than what can help in such situations?

I am curious since I am new to this field.

#9 projectphp

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Posted 16 April 2005 - 08:03 AM

I know it sounds like a good idea, but look what happenned with the stock market!!! Over automation is potentially disasterous, IMHO.

No, I don't think anything is done wrong. I just find that bid management in many cases takes just as long as using the Google and Overture interfaces.

I wish there was a super fast easy way to do these things, and if anyone finds it, PLEASE let me know :)

#10 PPCBT_guy

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Posted 16 April 2005 - 11:00 AM

All bid management software is only as good as its user. Its along the same lines as your computer :).

Project - over automation isn't the problem. I think it is putting automation in the hands of the ill-informed or ill-equipped to use it..

Bid management tools do offer the ability to update bid and position based upon "ROI".. ROI, though, is actually a misnomer. The correct term should be "ROAS" (Return on Ad Spend) as this is the base metric that is actually tracked by the majority of bid management and web analytics tools.

More later, my dog is whining and needs to go out.

#11 bwelford

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Posted 16 April 2005 - 12:08 PM

Welcome to the Forums, PPCBT_guy. :wave:

What a great first post. I can't wait for you to get back from the dog-walk.

#12 whitemark

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Posted 16 April 2005 - 03:33 PM

Hello and welcome, PPCBT guy. You left us quite a teaser post. Can't wait for your next one. PPCBidtracker sounds very interesting. Can you tell us how it can help in Jason's case so that we get a better idea about it? I'd also appreciate it if you can explain more about ROI and ROAS.

#13 Lazarou

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 03:21 AM

We've used a few bid management programs but the one we're sticking with now is Atlas. I know it's expensive but they have an incredibly versatile set of rules you can use and it is more than paying for itself in money we save on clicks.

They also have an optional add-on package that lets you track ROAS in conjunction with the bid management, meaning that you can set a target cost per acquisition and it'll tailor your bids to stay under that level. We haven't tried it yet but will be doing a test run very soon so I'll let you know how it works.

I totally agree that you need a good level of PPC know-how to be able to use it properly, otherwise you'll end up creating horrible automated bid wars, especially in competitive industries. If you're savvy enough however you can avoid all that and sit back watching everyone else chuck their cash away while you make a tidy profit.

(I also found Bid Rank to be a great little package for the price, we only went for the more expensive option because we run many large campaigns and needed all the bells and whistles we could find)

#14 whitemark

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 08:14 AM

Hello Lazarou. If it isn't too much to ask, would you mind telling us how much Atlas saved you on the clicks immediately after you joined? (Percentages are fine). Also, which PPC engines do you target with it?

#15 Lazarou

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 03:16 AM

On some of the more competitive areas I reckon it was saving us 10-15% on click costs without any drops in conversion or sales volume. These are specifically areas where either everyone else is using bid management because it's so active or where all the activity takes place outside office hours.

The amount of money saved in man-hours across all our campaigns is pretty impressive too, it's freed up a lot of my time to look more at the analytical side of things rather than the nuts and bolts stuff. I still don't trust any bid management program 100% (though Atlas hasn't messed up yet) so I still drop in and check bids manually, also to get a feel for competitor activity, but I don't have to do this half as much as I used to.

#16 PPCBT_guy

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 08:38 AM

Sorry about the teaser post and it turned into a long dog walk...

ROI (return on investment) is a metric that covers your overall ROI.. Meaning costs including overhead, COGS (cost of goods sold) etc as well as adspend. Automated tracking tools cannot understand your COGS, overhead, etc without input from the user. So, most tracking tools shoot for a more basic metric as getting accurate data from a user may or may not ever happen... ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) is that metric and covers, specifically the amount of gross profit or loss after Ad Spend only.. We've added an additional level of tracking (mainly for shopping engines and retail sites @ this point) that also adds COGS into the equation as "bidding for top spot" on Shopping engines is as much about the price of an item (sort by price) as click cost is and we found it necessary for the retailer to have a better understanding of his gross costs to set price.. This isn't quite ROI and we haven't named it, but I'll call it "Almost-ROI" today ;)...

PPCBT can handle unlimited keywords,etc.. All the basics.. But it also has more advanced features (simliar to Atlas) that allows a user to set a target ROAS and the software then (in conjunction with our ROAS reporting) works to attain the ROAS goal instead of working to attain a bid position or target bid cost (the more basic version handles position or cost). There are also other features that factor in to things such as BidSleep (dayparting), BidSaver (Looking for Bid Gaps) and Autobid Enhancement (Using OVT Autobid to add to savngs or punish unsuspecting competitors)..

Lazarou is right in mentioning labor savings. As usual labor cost is most often overlooked and not one of the more "sexy' selling points to the automated tools. But, it is a huge factor. Not only is labor saved, but the labor still used to manage PPC campaigns becomes so much more effective..

#17 internet Agent

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 03:35 AM

Would anyone know if Atlas or any other Bid Management software can automatically update Googles Content bid prices as well as the keyword bid prices?

Regards

Internet Agent



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