Bid Management Tools and Technology

Coming straight from Ad:Tech 2012, most agencies will come to realize that the digital landscape is about to change. Whether it is going to be good or not, only time will tell. But advertisers are set to gain a lot with technology advancement – such as real time bidding and audience management.

A core element of search marketing has been “bid management” strategy. This includes identifying your starting bid to making changes over time or real time to get the maximum from your search dollars.

While bid management has gone through its ups and dramatic changes – now the time has come for the most stable platform. Google a few months ago stabilized its own automated bids tools that are available within AdWords. If you have Google AdWords and Google Analytics linked together, you can take it to do pretty much everything that an advance bid management platform can do.

Let’s look at basic tricks you can set within Google AdWords to make the most of your campaign. And I’m a big fan of automated rules, moving away from some complex scripting that is required in other bid management tools (I am not saying they are redundant…yet).

Google allows you to filter data decisions to pretty much every possible element in your AdWords campaign and if these are set correctly they can do wonders to your campaign. Some rules are very complex to set up in third-party tools and implementation can be delayed at times due to API load or just simply because of time zone differences. These subtle things make bid management a painstaking task.

You can decide the frequency of the rule to run and determine how far back to access the data to be mined before the rule can kick in and make changes.

You can check out some popular use case for automated rules on Adwords Help if you’ve not done so.

When do you decide that Google’s automated rules are not for your business? Here’s a quick checklist if you should consider other bid management tools:

1. You have legacy data system, which has been capturing all your data from your search campaigns for a long time.
2. You do not use/ integrate with Google Analytics or allow for Google Conversion Codes to be installed on your website.
3. Your website and AdWords campaign structure is largely automated and controlled by third-party scripts that your Web development team created.
4. You are using real-time inventory data to update your ad status and bid strategy.
5. You have been using a third-party system for a long time and cannot port over the data.

If you are comfortable using automated rules in AdWords, you are likely to be comfortable navigating the complex nature of real-time bidding (RTB) platforms. Though, a word of caution: Not all RTBs are easy to work with.

Having said that, Google was and is in the real-time bidding business for the longest time. If you are an avid user of Google Display Network, you do not have to look at any other demand side platform (DSP) or real-time bidding (RTB) to start testing your campaigns. Even though Google Display Network commands over 90 percent of website in some markets, other DSPs help you extend to a much more niche content websites and in some cases premium inventory.