I remember the first bid management tool I ever used was GoToast back in 2003. It was absolutely amazing. I could manage bids on multiple engines from one location. SCORE!
At the time (I almost started with In my day…, ha), there were many different engines other than Google and Bing that were viable options for search engine marketing such as Overture, Excite, AltaVista, AskJeeves, etc.
This single value proposition of being able to perform [even basic] functionality across many different platforms more than justified the cost of the tool. It saved countless hours and tools like GoToast helped to build the thriving SEM industry to billions of dollars it is today.
To me, there are two types of paid search management features. The first kind are ones that go beyond what any single engine could provide; GoToast’s ability to manage multiple engine campaigns from one spot is an example of this. Another is cross-engine attribution that you can find in most top tier search platforms. The ability to clone an AdWords account and apply those same campaigns to a Bing account which is also something many tools have.
The other kinds of features found in paid search tools helped to expand functionality that the engines themselves could release. Things like custom date ranges (before the engines themselves had this feature) is a good case in point.
Kenshoo’s Advanced Search and Scheduled Actions are also features that the engines could include, yet for some reason do not. For all of the great innovations that AdWords has, it boggles the mind why they wouldn’t build these things into their platform. They’re absolutely no-brainers to me.
In fact, I bet if the engines included these features into their tools, it would help search marketers optimize their workflow and actually help Google sell more search advertising! Oh, well, at least clients of Kenshoo have these two tools at their fingertips.
Advanced Search & Scheduled Actions
Kenshoo was originally built in 2006 for the online retail space and has since expanded into many other verticals. As any search marketer who has worked with retailers knows, these campaigns can quickly become monsters. Each product can correlate to several keywords and ads, so a product feed of 100,000 products could result in a campaign with millions of keywords and ads which each need attention to be properly optimized and maintained.
Kenshoo’s founders discovered that most of the SEM management tools at the time would load the entire account and let users filter down to find the campaign elements they were looking for. The problem was that extremely large accounts would take forever to load and filter.
Kenshoo’s innovation was to (like Google) maintain a massive database of Web assets to delivers results in seconds. Advanced Search lets marketers search and find specific elements in bulk from a huge database of PPC campaigns, keywords, and ads.
Scheduled Actions is a feature released last year that lets users tag elements using Advanced Search and then program in specific activities to take place at a later time. Ariel Rosenstein, Kenshoo’s Marketing Research Director tells me, “Within the first few months of release, over 80% of our clients were actively scheduling multiple actions.”
I can certainly understand the draw. Who among us hasn’t had a need for automation in search marketing? I personally have some nightmarish stories of racing home to turn on campaigns at midnight on New Years Eve–yes this has happened more than once!
Why AdWords and AdCenter don’t have these features is beyond me. Yes, AdWords does have some dayparting features that you can rig to perform some of these basic actions but it’s not nearly as in depth as what Kenshoo offers here.
Step By Step Example
Let’s take a look how these two features are work within the platform.
Step 1. The campaign manager wants to find all the ads that contain the text Free Shipping. Each type of search ad, keyword, ad group, campaign has different parameters based on the element, but for this example she will stick with ads.
Step 2. She also wants to just affect the ads that have a CTR between one and three as the ads performing over that CTR she doesn’t want to touch and any ad below that CTR may not be worth changing.
Step 3. The search returned 47 ads which fit the search criteria. Now the campaign manager can modify the ad promotion to remind consumers that this is the last day for free shipping.
Step 4. Now all our campaign manager has to do is schedule the action. In this case, she can schedule this promotion to run on December 16th (which is the last day for free shipping), so all potential customers will see a timely and targeted promotion.
There you have it. Couldn’t be simpler. It’s all very intuitive and any search marketers worth their AdWords certification could easily navigate through these two tools without too much trouble.
For now, the engines don’t offer this functionality. Maybe one day they will. But for now, check out Kenshoo or other paid search platforms that can take your SEM efforts to the next level.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.