When To Implement a Bid Management Tool

Posted by Mark Thompson - September 2, 2008 - SEM - 2 Comments

If you are managing pay per click campaigns, both on an agency level or as an in-house marketer, you are constantly trying to figure out the best way to maximize your ad spend. Depending on what type of budget you are working with, you may be spending a few minutes a day or several hours a day trying to maximize your conversions. So at what point do you implement a bid management tool, if at all? This post will talk about how BMTs can help effectively manage your PPC campaigns, as well as help you judge when or if you need a BMT. Here are the 3 questions we will look at.

How do I know if a bid management tool is right for my company?

At what point do I need to switch to a bid management tool?

What features are available that I cannot get with Google, Yahoo, or MSN?

Just to give you a basic definition of what a BMT is. A bid management tool is normally a web-based application that helps you to manage your PPC campaigns in one universal location.

So let’s start with the first question…

How do I know if a bid management tool is right for my company?

Agency Side

For agencies who offer PPC services across multiple engines you may want to think about investing in a bid management tool. In the beginning, you may be able to get away with managing all of your clients, however once you reach a certain point you can find yourself doing double or triple work. Set up campaigns, manage the campaigns, pulling reports, all has to be done 2 or 3 times.

If you are managing accounts who spend anywhere from $50k and up, you may want to think about a bid management tool. At some point these accounts get so big that it either takes more PPC managers or a BMT to effectively manage these campaigns. The reality is that there are only so many accounts you can manage at one time, and if accounts are bidding on thousands of keywords it will take more of your time to manage them.

If you have clients who leave you responsible for getting results, may want to think about investing in a bid management tool. There are many features that BMT’s will allow you to control that the engine interfaces will not. If you have clients who want to know exactly how much a cost per lead is or if the client does not want to spend a specific amount per lead, down to the keyword level, you may want to invest in BMT.

Client Side

A few things you need to look at is your overall marketing budget.

Are you spending a good amount of money on online marketing…more specifically PPC? Does a good amount of your revenue come from PPC? Are you advertising on more than one search engine or planning to do so? Do you have someone dedicated to managing your PPC campaigns?

If you answered yes too many of those questions, there is a good chance that you may want to invest in a bid management tool. Once you can start to see that PPC advertising has become an effective marketing platform you probably want a tool that can help you run those campaigns more effectively. A BMT can pay for itself just by saving you wasted ad spend.

At what point do I need to switch to a bid management tool?

Agency Side

Once you have a full-time dedicated PPC specialist who is managing 10 or more accounts. Like I said before, for the first few accounts it may be easy to manage them on multiple search engines, but then it comes to a point where it is overwhelming and counter-productive. It will save you money in the long run because your PPC specialist will be able to monitor more accounts and you will not need to hire a 2nd specialist to help. Also keep in mind the size of those accounts. If you have 10 accounts that are only spending $250-$500/month, you may not need it, but it you have accounts spending thousands of dollars a month, then you should.

Client Side

Once you start spending more than $50k and bidding on thousands of keywords you may need to invest in a BMT. If you are spending that kind of money every month it is worth it to spend $1500/month on a tool that will help you maximize that ad spend. When you are advertising on 2 or 3 search engines it will save you an enormous amount of time to be able to create a campaign and push it to all 3 engines, than manually creating campaigns for each engine. Same goes for changes to campaigns, if you have to make a minor change to a campaign, you can go in and push the changes to all engines.

What features are available that I cannot get with Google, Yahoo, or MSN?

Since these features will apply for both agencies and clients, I will list them for both.

  • Rule-Based Optimization: If you do not want to spend over a specific dollar amount for a lead you can control that.
  • Aggregate Data & Reporting: See combine data and reporting for all search engines combined.
  • Universal Changes: Apply changes to campaigns over all search engines.
  • Manage All Campaigns: Manage campaigns in one centralized location.
  • Integrated Keyword Research Tool: Most BMTs will have tools that you may use within the application to generate keyword lists. If you are already paying for a keyword research tool, this can save you the cost of having to subscribe to paid keyword tools.
  • Campaign Optimization Tool: BMTs use a different algorithm to optimize your campaigns. They take into account multiple factors when giving you campaign optimization tips. There has been some debate over whether or not the Google campaign optimizer is giving truthful suggestions. Don’t forget that Google is getting paid when you up your daily budget.

After reading this post if you feel that a BMT is right for your agency or company I would highly recommend looking at these tools and seeing which is right for you. For the most part each of these tools are similar in price and have the same type of functionality. Ask each company for an online demo to see how the interface works and what differentiates themselves from the others.

Here is a list of BMTs that I recommend, but by all means take a look at others if you’d like.

Acquisio

ClickTracks

Atlas

Lyris

SearchForce

Keep checking back for my next post when I will talk about different web analytics tools and when you should switch to a professional analytics solution.

About the Author

Mark Thompson

Mark is the creator of StayOnSearch and president of Search Creatively, a full-service Internet Marketing Company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also contributes to many industry related blogs including Search Engine Journal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Mark on Twitter
2 comments
Mike Richard
Mike Richard

Great basic information. would be nice if you could bring a feature comparison of the different BMTs. Mike

Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road. Allen Taylor