Maintaining healthy PPC campaigns is a great way to bolster your business and generate more leads for your company, but the amount of time and effort you expend managing search marketing increases as you grow your campaigns.If you’re not careful, the time spent managing PPC campaigns can outweigh the benefits of increased online presence.
PPC management software is a common solution to manage, measure, and optimize search campaigns, but they can also be an can be an expensive investment- so how do you know when your company is ready to take the leap and start using a software solution to manage your search marketing campaigns? We talked to representatives from industry leaders Marin Software, Kenshoo, and Acquisio and got the inside scoop on when companies should start considering a software solution for their search marketing campaigns, along with insider tips on what to look for in a search management provider.
Better Campaign Management, 24/7
If PPC management software had a mantra, it would be, “Spend a little, earn a lot.” Search marketing solutions can be costly, but they end up saving you in the long run – and not just money. Software solutions help you significantly cut the amount of time you spend managing your campaigns, freeing up your marketing team’s time for more useful endeavors. They can also save you when it comes to hiring. Kenshoo’s Josh Dreller says that successfully implementing a PPC software can lessen hiring needs specific to the search marketing team. Search marketing experts must still set strategy and guide campaigns, but advanced automation software can significantly reduce the need for people to perform analyses and other more mundane tasks. And since your software never stops working, it’s always on. In fact, the fundamental value of all search marketing software lies in its ability to manage bids more frequently and accurately than a human marketer. Marc Poirier of Acquisio points out that in order to match the power of search marketing software like Acquisio’s bid adjustment functionality, an employee would have to make manual calculations and adjustments to all of your campaigns constantly:
“This sort of optimization is not something that humans can do effectively because of the nature of the beast – the average account has dozens or even hundreds of campaigns running, they have a few global budgets, targets to hit, but we need to make sure that we run through this all the time to maximize the opportunity and optimize how we spend the money. [It] constantly makes very small changes to bids…in a normal sized-campaign it makes 10 decisions per second on bid allocation, and humans can’t do that.”
Hit Your Budgeting Mark
Budget efficacy is another huge benefit of PPC management software. While you can always limit the amount you spend with manual PPC management, software like Acquisio is designed to continuously adjust your spending throughout the day, week and month to make sure that not only do you stay within your budget, but that you also spend your money as efficiently as possible. Regardless of whether you spend a little or spend a lot, most PPC bid management tools can make sure that you get as many leads as possible for your advertising dollar.
Another great perk of search marketing software is increased functionality. Josh told us that, because Kenshoo and some other PPC solutions integrate easily with everything from CRM to ERP solutions, the software can tap marketers into the wealth of information they already have hidden away in those tools. The functionality of these tools are enhanced in combination with SEM software. This combination helps marketers understand how different channels support and rely on one another, activating powerful and complex functionality not available in any of the solutions when used independently. Rebecca Momberg from Marin Software says that such integration helps lend companies a more holistic look at their marketing spend and outcome, leading to better results and a healthier marketing practices overall.
Financial Preparedness Not every company is ready for a software solution, however. The most obvious reason to hold back is budgeting. While SEM solutions can be surprisingly affordable, companies with no search marketing history and a very small budget might want to hold off until they can afford a solution that fits. The good news is that a well implemented PPC solution can significantly increase your advertising results, so investing a portion of your budget can bring huge benefits. Rebecca suggests looking for a plan that costs about 10% of your marketing budget (or less), ensuring that with diligence and patience you can recoup the costs of your PPC software with the increased business it will bring. If you’re not yet getting the traffic required to recoup the cost of your search marketing solution, a software solution could help you get there- but make sure that you’re not draining your funds in the meantime.
Know the Limitations of Search Marketing Software
Do you need your PPC solution implemented yesterday? Are you looking for a system you can set and forget? You might want to rethink your expectations before investing in a software solution. PPC management systems are hugely beneficial tools, but they’re just tools. If you can’t dedicate the time to learn how to best utilize your software, then you might not get its maximum benefits – which means you might end up wasting the money you invested in the software in the first place.Luckily, the top search marketing solutions are pretty foolproof once you’re up and running, so focus on onboarding properly and you’ll be in the clear. All the reps we spoke with emphasized the importance of good support and strong onboarding practices when you’re looking for a marketing solution. “Any time you add any more things to the chain, it opens you up to the possibility of error – if you’ve got 20 tools you’ve got a higher chance of messing up than if you have just one tool…as you’re onboarding, that’s when the biggest risk of issues can happen- you change a setting and don’t realize it changes other things, or press a button and don’t realize how important it is – it’s important to work with a company that does have really good support and training.” Rebecca reminded us that if a software vendor doesn’t seem to understand the unique issues that your company faces, then they might not be a good partner as you attempt to grow your marketing efforts.
If you’re convinced that it’s time to check out your options when it comes to search marketing solutions, check out Business-Software.com’s Top 10 Paid Search Marketing Solutions report for more info on specific solutions.