Monday, July 27, 2009

PPC Bid Management 101

Posted by Ron Jones on 13 July 2009

Those of you who are managing larger PPC campaigns might be looking for an automated solution to help manage the bid process. Especially those of you in companies with large catalogs, numerous demographic and geo targets might need a bid management tool. At some point it becomes too difficult to manage all of the associated complexities.

A bid management tool allows you to manage PPC campaigns across multiple search engines and provides central source for tracking and analytics. This article will look at the tools that are available to help you with this and discuss some best practices for managing your bids.

Should You Use a Bid Management System?

There is a healthy debate out there on whether or not bid management tools are really effective. It comes down to the complexity of your campaigns and whether or not using a bid management tool will help you save time and money. Many times the cost, implementation and complexity of the campaign is too high to justify, given the results.

Basically you need to account for the time and cost associated with managing your campaign, and compare how the various tools available will affect either of those. In most cases, if you feel stretched you should give it a shot. Most tool vendors offer a trial, so you can get a feel for its effectiveness before you buy.

Bid Management Tools Won't Do it All

Bid management can be a useful tool, but it is important to understand that in today's advertising environment, you need to do much more in addition to what the bid management tool can do. For instance, ad copy and landing page testing and tuning will not benefit from a bid management tool. You need to have other processes in place to manage these.

On the other hand, using a bid management tool to manage your long-tail keywords can pay large dividends. For many companies, there is a fair amount of money that is made going after the long-tail keywords. Furthermore, long-tail keywords are less competitive than the major ones, but do require you to implement huge numbers of keywords.

Lets now take a look at some of the tools that are available on the market today. Some of these tools are priced in the $200 - $500 range and others go way beyond that, depending on features.

Google Conversion Optimizer

If you're looking for a tool to help you manage your bids and you are only using Google, then you might want to consider the Google Conversion Optimizer. As with most of Google's tools, it's free if you are using AdWords. However, you need to achieve 30 conversions in the past 30 days to use it.

PPC BidMax

Formerly Dynamic Bid Maximizer, PPC BidMax is a bid management tool designed to help you manage campaigns with the big 3 search engines – Google, Yahoo and Bing.


Another tool for managing your bids with all of the major search engines within one interface is KeywordMax. In addition to its bid management tools, KeywordMax also offer a host of other PPC tools like keyword generation tools.


Omniture has established a great reputation as an SEM tool vendor. They too have bid management tools, as well as a host of others that will help you manage your PPC campaigns. Although they may be a bit pricey, the suite of tools they offer will help you with many other aspects of your campaigns.

I don't have enough space to include them all but here are a few more you might take the time to research: Clickable, Marin Software, SearchForce, Kenshoo, and Acquisio. I have not had a chance to use all of these tools personally, so feel free to share your experiences with any that you have used. Next week I will cover best practices for managing your bids.


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