The term optimization gets tossed around quite a bit. What does it really mean? Does it just mean that youre trying your hardest? Does it mean finding ways to make marginal improvements? Or does it mean truly achieving the best possible results by using all of the data and technology available? Last week I attended a webinar put on by Rachel Charlton and Peter Thelen from Webtrends Ad Director team that helped teach the difference between bid management and true optimization.
More and More Complexity
Its no secret that managing an enterprise-level PPC campaign is complicated. You could be managing hundreds or even thousands of keywords and keyword combinations, a couple different versions of ad copy for each, different landing pages, etc. Put them all together and you could have literally hundreds of thousands of possible combinations and you are expected to figure out ideal combinations to produce the best results and the strongest ROAS. Plus youre responsible for creating ad copy, optimizing landing pages, and still trying to get home before dark.
PPC is more competitive and sophisticated than ever, and management-types are tightening the screws on every ad dollar that walks out the door. A lot of these management-types have no idea just how sophisticated the ad space has become and simply want to see their SEM team do more with less. The Ad Director webinar helped put all these factors in context.
Getting Management to Understand PPC Complexity
The Ad Director team did a great job of explaining just how complex running an effective PPC campaign has become and why some decision makers still dont understand what their SEM teams spend their days doing. Its not easy managing 50,000 keywords, ad copy, and landing page combinations across different categories, products, and services.
Each of these factors has to be managed, and the sheer volume of information and variables makes it extremely time consuming for you and your team, even with bid management software and tools.
Thriving on the Complexity
Rachel Charlton at Ad Director explained that all of the data created by these layers of complexity are actually a gold mine for getting the best possible results. Webtrends put out Ad Director a while ago but it was beneficial for me to understand exactly what Ad Director does and how it is different from traditional bid management tools.
The Ad Director people made the distinction between more data and more ad spend. A true optimization platform thrives on more data. If your campaign blows through money but is data poor, optimization might not be the best solution for you. You might be ok with simple bid management tools. But if you are managing serious complexity, a true optimization platform will help you squeeze PPC gold out of the data without spending more money.
True Optimization vs. Bid Management
Ad Director is self-learning and actively and continuously collects data from your PPC campaign. Sounds like other bid management tools Ad Director also continuously updates bids, ad position, and keyword/ad copy/landing page combinations 24/7 based on millions of pieces of data and based on the goals, metrics, and parameters you specified. So, does the platform you use simply tell you what happened yesterday or does it tell you what it has already done with more data than you could possibly process to improve the bottom line? It seems to me that is the difference between bid management and true optimization.
Even if you only spend half your day analyzing data reports from traditional bid management tools, a true optimization tool would have finished that hours ago and would have already implemented bid changes and updated ad copy/landing page combinations. Plus, if youre doing all of this analysis and updating yourself, you still have to find time to do all of the creative, strategic, and management stuff you would probably prefer to spend your time on anyway.
Ad Director still relies on strategic management and timely direction from you and your team, but it takes a whole lot of the monotony out of PPC management and it does it with a level of sophistication and efficiency that seems to justify a serious look.
Please check out the “Difference between PPC Bid Management & Real Optimization” webinar by Webtrends, as it is loaded with golden nuggets of PPC goodness – and let us know your thoughts!