Kenshoo Makes PPC Complexities Easier to Manage

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Bless you! Oh I thought you sneezed. If you HAD sneezed, we could have seen whether that sneeze came from your first click, last click, or somewhere in between.

bidoptalgdiagramonlyKenshoo is impressive. Kenshoo describes itself as “the end to end SEM platform for campaign management” They won the 2009 ClickZ award for best Search Ad Management Platform.

[Search Engine Marketing = SEM = PPC = Pay Per Click Advertising, to most people in the industry]

I haven’t used it for our clients yet, but I sat through a webex and talked to some of their people. It was one of the most interesting discussions I’ve had about pay-per-click in a while… cutting edge theory and applications.

What Kenshoo wants to help you do:

  • Deal with increasing SEM complexity across multiple engines
  • Meet diverse client needs
  • Address complex consumer behavior
  • Scale your business without scaling resources

What Kenshoo does exceptionally well, compared to the competition:

  • Get your ecommerce data into their system
  • Help you restructure existing account complexity into tighter ad group structures
  • Attribute conversions to multiple touchpoints
  • Create ads dynamically with regular expressions in templates
  • Create bid rules and custom algorithms for more frequent and efficient optimization

If you have huge campaigns, a huge numbers of products, etc., Kenshoo’s toolset can save you time without cutting corners on search marketing best practices.


My problem reviewing their services is there is so much depth to their tools and practices… I hit their main competitive advantages above, and here are some more notes on features and advantages:

Data/Product Crawler

  • Can crawl a site, XML, links in site, RSS, search results-
  • Helps with inventory and pricing changes and when you have too many ads, campaigns, keywords
  • Gets and structures data
  • Group into tight adgroups, deep linked to product page
  • Take crawled info overlayed on existing campaigns- dynamic ad text not restructured or take existing and recreate
  • Can crawl your competitors’ sites to see daily pricing info changes
  • Creates shopping feed then can route
  • All brand + model numbers can be keywords, or just use brands

Dynamic Ad Creation Based on Crawler Findings and Tempates

  • Ad copy- being able to pull this in daily fixes seasonality and pricing obstacles
  • Like DKI (dynamic keyword insertion in ad headlines), you can pull in any data column into your ad templates
  • Can custom build destination url with metadata (columns)
  • You can code the with regular expressions (for  how to break acroos lines, for example) to ensure ad templates can handle variety of data


Bid Rules and Policies

  • Highly customizable rules
  • Model effects of algorithm
  • Save your algorithms
  • Pick a metric and optimize toward it; pick several constraints prioritized (e.g. 1. CPA 2. budget 3. CPC 4. volume), set constraints per campaign and ad group
  • Create rules like: if you have low inventory (based on daily data crawls) pull back on the spend; or increase bid for items that haven’t sold for too many days
  • Set your goals, have it email suggestions to you, you approve the changes
  • You can use bid rules and an optimization algorithm or a hybrid of both


Conversion Paths and Attribution

  • If the goal is ROI, a sale is a sale
  • Moving from “last only” attribution to “prefer last” gives some credit to the conversion path
  • New customer acquisition then going to prefer first- it’s awareness; more aggressive will go first click
  • Not using just last-click attribution helps you expand into long-tail justifiably


Other Kenshoo Features

  • Unified bulk sheet for all three engines: can add to all or any, prioritize negatives (different engines allow diff numbers of negatives)
  • Find and see competitors’ ads, even by geo region
  • Can mass edit anything, e.g. change all instances of a phrase in any ad to something else
  • Screwups? go to the change log and undo
  • Virtual campaign mapping- great quality score but can map into different accounts
  • Advanced search and replace across all three major engines
  • Move campaign structures/elements from one client to another
  • Ad rotation and algorithm shuts off automatically based on performance
Brian Carter
Brian is author of The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money With Facebook and Facebook Marketing: Leveraging Facebook's Features For Your Marketing Campaigns, How to... Read Full Bio
Brian Carter
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  • In case any of you are looking for Kenshoo’s url, It’s –

    Looks cool.

  • USO Networks is furthering SEM afforts as well! Their new SEM Call Tracker software tracks calls and conversions for clients…

  • This would really help in managing huge number of campaigns without making us lose focus.

  • Thanks, Saad! I added the link to the post. 🙂

  • Brain, thanks again for this. I think these guys are pretty expensive, but it is good to see the features they offer. The real thing is that no ONE bid management tool is proper for every client type, right?

    It seems to me like this one is VERY VERY strong on the e-commerce side of things, so it might crush something like acquisio, clickequations, or marin. But even within e-commerce given their fees maybe they match up best with retailers with 20,000 + SKUs that change price and inventory frequently. But an e-commerce retailer with 500 SKUs, something like acquisio or marin or clickable might work just fine because the premiums paid for all those features may not be worth the return.

    Ahh the complexities of selecting a tool – I assume none of these guys want you to disclose their pricing, right? If someone charges 5% on a spend vs 2% their extra features might not make up that 3% difference, you know?

    Thanks again, great post.

  • I’m enjoying using Kenshoo. Its made my life easier to manage a pleathora of keywords and campaigns. Ease of use and scalability is great.

  • Kenshoo’s Advanced Search feature is really powerful. It’s great for campaign optimization and performing updates on creatives as well as destination urls on a LARGE scale – Fast!

  • trebuchet

    To clarify you said you can “mass edit anything”, though you cant mass edit bid changes across profiles, only multiple accounts within one profile.

  • I’m sure Kenshoo is a great auto-bidding system for the big 3 search engines. If it also supports and works well with Baidu (No. 1 search engine in China who has recently launched a new PPC platform) it will be even better!

    • Steve

      Kenshoo now supports an integration with Baidu and Yandex (Russian primary SE).

      • Vasya Pupkin

        How does Yandex integration work? I don't see any reference to any kind of API to do ad placement or bidding manipulation programmatically… How does Kenshoo integrate?

  • Vasya Pupkin

    How does Yandex integration work? I don't see any reference to any kind of API to do ad placement or bidding manipulation programmatically… How does Kenshoo integrate?