• http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    Hi Benny,

    I agree that the self-service tools have improved a great deal. As an agency with proprietary software we’d take issue with a few points you make: First, you list algorithmic bidding (to different types goals) as though this was a “check box,” and that all algorithmic solutions are equivalent. That’s pretty far from the truth. Those of us who’ve put time and energy into algo development know that there are sophisticated algorithms that produce lousy results and sophisticated algorithms that produce great results. A good marketing scientist will keep testing new ways to improve on the system and find that improvements can be made that matter. We think some folks may have checked the “sophisticated algorithm” box and walked away, but the best in the industry have not done so. Second, I’d make the case that any enterprise program needs to be thinking about ROI in more sophisticated ways than the face value of what happens at checkout. For smaller online pure plays, I agree, the benefits of sophistication may not be worth the price; but I think it will be a long time before enterprise advertisers hand over the reins to Google to set their bids for them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.rekuc David Rekuc

    George, I very much agree with your points about the “sophisticated algorithm” being more than a yes or no. Additionally, I think we glanced over some important data that isn’t native to adwords.

    Here’s a list of things adwords has trouble automating:

    ROI (for initial transaction)

    ROI (using customer value metrics like estimated CLV, 12 month value, etc)

    CPA, when working with conversions that are sales leads (aka CPA in adwords is really CPL)

    Incorporating customer acquisition metrics (new customers vs. returning)

    Overall good points about 1st party tools closing the gap, especially making features more available to SMBs at a more attractive price tag. It does make it more difficult for custom tools to prove their worth, a serious wheat from the chaff situation.

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    Agree completely. Add in customer types, return rates, lead valuations, multiple success metrics (email signups, store locator visits, catalog requests, driving directions clicks on a mobile device), etc and the sophisticated solution becomes more and more valuable. A 10 or 20% better solution may not be worth the price tag if you’re spending $5K/month, but the math makes more sense as you apply that difference to a larger and larger spend.

  • http://www.LeadDiscovery.com/ Jerry Nordstrom

    Great article Benny. I could not agree with you more when you said “complex tracking integrations are only relevant if you have complex tracking demands” We come across advanced strategies, amazing technology, software and overall solutions, but most are irrelevant to a very large set of advertisers.

  • Thomas Kane

    I have started using Marin for PPC management, so far, it seems to be worthless unless I need to manage across platforms of Bing/Facebopok etc.. all we need it for is Google.

    Seems like the auto bid rules & new attributes Google has along with ecommerce in analytics setup, Marin is pretty useless, and the software support is just hired kids who are booksmart with no real advertising experience.

    Anyone have any similar experiences or comments?

  • http://twitter.com/JBGuru Jeremy J Brown

    AdWords is still far behind the times when it comes to Attribution and other elements. Even with their recent change moving Search Funnels data into the grid, AdWords is still using a Last-Click attribution model that undervalues top-of-funnel non-brand terms and overvalues last-click brand terms.

    That’s just one area where Google lags behind 3rd-party offerings. Further, many of these changes by Google are a result of them playing catch-up with 3rd party tools. Google is not driving all innovation, but instead is responding to innovation by 3rd party tools.

    Lastly, Google has stated they want to keep the AdWords interface and system easy enough for most advertisers to use (including very small, unsophisticated spenders). That’s clearly at odds with offering a more sophisticated platform to cater to advanced needs.

    I agree that Google has gotten closer to advanced 3rd party tools, but it’s still quite a ways away.

  • http://twitter.com/bennyblum Benny Blum

    George & David – it appears that you guys are not considering my suggestion for how CPA
    bidding can be as accurate if not more so than ROI bidding if
    CPA is calculated as net present value (LTV – Returns) / conversions. As I mention, this cannot be done in GA or AdWords and requires an internal system that can measure LTV (or another platform).

    Your point about multiple conversion events highlights my statement “complex tracking integrations are only relevant if you have complex tracking demands”. Some advertisers need this and that’s why there will always be a marketplace for third party bid tools.

    Lastly, to your point about bidding algorithms, I am not discounting all algorithms as not being good nor am I making the presumption that all are equal. I am making the point that as the ad server, Google has always had an inherent advantage over third party bidding providers as only Google can consider user intent at the impression level. Moreover, in the enhanced campaign environment, AdWords has greatly reduced the number of bid properties 3rd party bidding engines can manipulate. Despite not all third party algos being equal, all must operate within the confines of the API.

  • http://twitter.com/DelvePartners Delve Partners

    I feel like the unspoken message is ‘3rd party SEM technology is dead’ but most agencies will continue to use it to crank out nice reports in Excel?

    From one outmoded technology to the next?



  • http://twitter.com/JadonTechnology jadon_technology

    nice article,found good

  • http://www.swydo.com/ jeroen maljers

    Hi Benny,

    Thanks for this article. Bid management in Adwords, Automated rules, Bulk edits and last but not least Scripts in Adwords have indeed gave us numerous possibilities to manage campaigns natively in Adwords. I think the only achilles heel is attribution, ROAS and the fact that you put all you eggs in one basket.

    regards, Jeroen, Swydo