Bidding & Optimization Strategies for the Modern Search Marketer
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I realized in the past few weeks that I am having a hard time keeping up with the new releases in Google AdWords. They are innovating faster than I can test the new features. I love it. But I also start to question, is this all going to be the end of PPC managers? Are Google, Yahoo, and Bing innovating so much that the PPC role will diminish?
Think about it. No, I am not giving my thoughts just yet, you have to wait for those.
First Point: Google and Yahoo Assisted Setup
Google offers new advertisers help in getting their account going for free. They are only testing it in the US and Canada right now but I can see how this would be an awesome service for people worldwide once Google has the staff to assist different languages. In fact, I used something like this when we built an account for a large news agency in December. Due to the size of the spend, Google not only helped get things set up, I had a dedicated team for my account for a few months longer than the account was open. Very nice to have around.
Yahoo offers assisted setup but for account of a certain size and they charge a fee, or so says their Q&A. The difference here is that they are not assisting setup, Yahoo is setting up the accounts. Keyword research, organization and everything included. This service is a little up in the air it seems right now, as two parts of their site are in disagreement. One states that the minimum monthly spend is $1k, and their landing page states $5k. Perhaps there is no fee for accounts over $5k per month? Would love clarification from Yahoo if possible.
“With Assisted Set-Up, Yahoo! Search Marketing can help create a Sponsored Search campaign for you customized to your business goals and budget. We will help choose relevant keywords, write ads and suggest maximum bid amounts that work within your budget. You can expect to receive your proposed campaign within 2 to 5 business days, and we will contact you to discuss it in detail. This is a one-time set-up service to provide you with a strong foundation from which to manage your account and from which to model future campaigns. There is a fee of $199 associated with this service, and a minimum budget of $1,000/month to qualify.
To get started with assisted setup, call (866) 310-6837. Our hours of operation are Mon-Fri 6am-6pm (PT).”
From Landing Page:
I am unaware of a AdCenter assisted setup, but with the merging of Yahoo and Microsoft (Bing, Live, AdCenter, whatever), I can see this being picked up soon over there.
Second Point: Tools for Competitive Analysis
The Opportunities section of AdWords now includes an “analyze competition” section (see below). This is going to be just the tip of the iceberg. Google nor AdCenter will ever allow advertisers to see into someone else’s campaign (long gone are the days of seeing someone else’s bid and position, exactly), but this section of PPC platforms can only grow. As PPC people, we know where to get some of this data, make it into a nice report and make decisions from it, but Google is starting to do that as well. Clients are getting recommendations from Google, who hold more data than we could ever dream of having access to.
Third Point: Automatic bidding
The final point is in the automatic bidding tools that are popping up all over the place. Conversion Optimizer has been around since 2007, but now Google allows target CPA bidding as well. Advertisers on the content network can bid based on demographic. And now day parting and geographic bidding is more focused than ever. With the right settings, the time between required optimization for smaller accounts is getting longer.
So Should PPC People Start Packing?
No. Of course not. As I have always said, automation HELPS but it doesn’t run an account. A Google Account Rep isn’t the best manager either, sorry guys. But most of them have less experience than the greenback fresh on the auto lot (I once taught a Ford salesman the difference in Mustang models). They are getting better, but just like some of the bad agencies out there, the “research” they do are automatic lists from a computer. Any real search engine marketer can take those lists and save a client thousands by reviewing them for validity. Not all of those words are relevant after all.
For the PPC Managers out there, a few tips to ensure your professional survival.
- Don’t Just Do PPC – This goes for everyone in Search Engine Marketing, no one part is more important than the others. You need to know and understand social and organic, as well as email marketing and others. The more well rounded you are, the better you will be able to see the trends of the future. Alerting clients to changes across the board is a competitive differentiator. Go that next step for them.
- Focus on Relevance – We can pull lists just like a computer, and slower. Show your clients what they are paying for by giving them recommendations from the data you pull. Think outside the box and give them reasons for the decisions you make. The trends you see could impact their business elsewhere. If you add value, I guarantee they will keep you around.
- Market Reflective Pricing – Remember when we charged thousands for setup? Yeah, guess what, that is free now. And I guarantee that clients will start picking that up. Instead, think outside the box. Offer something else that will give them value they can’t get elsewhere. What is that? That’s up to you, but I am sure you catch my drift.
Things are changing in the PPC space everyday. It’s time to earn our money for being the ones that are paid for keeping campaigns relevant and at a lower cost than if the client did it alone or with free help. Time to change the marketing we use to sell services. Are you changing with the market?