We’ve all had to do it, waste away the day manually adjusting bids to push our client’s ads in the coveted top 3 positions. On my list of optimizations to make, while it might just be one of the simplest, it is also by far the most tedious. Hence the beginning of my search for the best bid management software to help automate the process of bidding while still not handing over full control.
I came across several bid management software comparison posts which at first I thought were great. They all had lists preaching the “big players” or the “essential tools”. The issue is that playing with the big dogs means paying a hefty price.
Yes the top players are amazing and yes I drool at the thought of harnessing their power, but what about bid management software for us regular guys? Also, how much of the power of these tools is actually going to yield an improvement over what an experienced PPC analyst can accomplish? Where are the software comparison lists geared towards those of us who don’t want to sell off a co-worker each month just for bid management automation?
I decided that, instead of asking any more rhetorical questions, I would make that list myself. Here are some details on the top 4 bid management software companies that the average sized agency can afford.
AdSwerve is an official, independent provider of DoubleClick Search, aka SV3, software staffed mostly by former associates of DoubleClick. While DoubleClick software is drool worthy, the minimums for purchasing directly through them is for rather large budgets. However, AdSwerve makes using this software possible. Basically AdSwerve takes the metrics from several of their clients to reach the minimums required for full use of the DoubleClick software while being able to charge their clients a lower rate.
The DoubleClick Search software features are truly the crème de le crème of campaign management software. Google APIs pull data every 15 minutes from accounts across Google, Bing and Yahoo to have all data in one convenient location. Users can create custom, granular bid automation goals which guide SV3 to perform intra-day evaluation of keywords and change bids up to four times a day. For all of these features and more AdSwerve charges 2.5% percentage of total ad spend as well as a $500 set up fee, unfortunately since they are a third-party provider they are unable to provide a trial period.
ClickSweeper is all about simplifying campaign management by allowing users to streamline account management and reporting to increase their overall ROI. Users are able to manage multiple client accounts from both MSN & Google as well as run across multiple ad networks including display and remarketing. This feature allows you to create, copy, and bulk edit campaigns between client accounts for higher efficiency on some of the most common tedious tasks. ClickerSweeper even automates ad copy evaluation by allowing you to set certain ideal metrics during a given time period then automatically selecting the best ad copy based on expected maximum profit. For bidding automation, ClickSweeper offers five different bidding automation strategies: 1. Analytics based 2. Rank based 3. Conversion driven 4. Keyword ROI driven 5. Budget based.
ClickSweeper charges a monthly fee with prices varying based on the number of keywords users have across their accounts. Agencies with a minimum of three clients receive a 40% discount on price ranges in their keyword pricing table. Pricing for agencies that meet this requirement ranges from $45/month per client up to $150/month per client based on the number of total keywords. Interested customers are able to sign up for a free 14-day trial on their website and contact a representative about full pricing.
WordStream PPC Advisor claims that you will be able to optimize your AdWords and Bing Ad campaigns in as little as 20 minutes per week. While the “heart” of this software is keyword discovery, management & grouping tools, WordStream does provide a tool for faster bid management. The PPC Advisor analyzes your keyword performance over time then makes suggestions to increase your ROI. The smart suggestions let you know which top-performing keyword bids to increase for higher profits and which low-converting terms should be lowered to minimize damages. These recommendations are generated based off of bidding best practices and the goals you have set for your clients, plus the more you use the feature the smarter it gets in helping you reach your objectives.
The only drawback on WordStream is that the software does not actually go into your account and changes the bids for you. You still have to go into your account and physically change your bids but only after WordStream does the analysis and thinking for you.
WordStream’s PPC Advisor places agencies into certain pricing levels based on their total search spend per month with “Small Business” having less than $10,000, “Professionals” with $10,000 to $25,000, and “Enterprise” have over $25,000 in monthly spend. Agencies can then choose to pay a standard, monthly fee between $349/month to $1,099/month with a 6 month commitment or agencies can receive a 25% discount by choosing to do an annual pre-pay. The annual pre-pay option is a one-year commitment with prices ranging from $2,988/year to $9,588/year. WordStream provides a risk-free, seven-day trial with full features.
ApexPacific (PPC BidMax)
PPC BidMax is a bid management software for advertisers and agencies that pulls from Yahoo, Bing & Google AdWords in one convenient interface. Users can then create, edit and share campaigns between different engines. BidMax allows users to automate all bidding with the highest ROI by using highly tested, sophisticated algorithms that also generate comprehensive reports to easily monitor performance. Users can set their goals to focus on the optimal cost-per-acquisition or returns on ad spend. They allow users to set up day parting bidding for the ideal position during specified times of day and BidMax will keep track of your keyword bidding history.
While they do focus on two very important factors in the paid search world, CPA and ROAS, there seems to be no other control over the automated bidding. There doesn’t seem to be any wiggle room on altering or customizing your bidding strategies like you see in other bid management software.
PPC BidMax charges a monthly or yearly fee based on the size of your account’s including keywords, number of clients, and number of campaigns. Most average sized agencies would fall in to the “Corporate” level providing unlimited keywords and accounts with pricing being $999/month or $9,999/year. BidMax does provide a free, 30 day demo download of PPC BidMax software prior to purchase and also allows a fourteen-day money back guarantee.
While adding a bid management software to your tool belt may not necessarily make all of your clients’ campaigns skyrocket to the top of the rankings on its own, it will free up some time for you to optimize your heart out on more complicated tasks. With free trial offers for a majority of the options, it is worth taking the chance to test out these different solutions to find the right fit for you and your agency. Make manual bidding a thing of the past and go back to enjoying the super nerdy parts we all love about working in paid search.