Inceptor Launches Self-Serve Bid Management Tool

Search marketing technology and services provider Inceptor is launching its new self-service bid management platform this week at the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose.

BidCenter lets users manage keywords across paid search programs from Google, Yahoo Search Marketing, and Miva. Inceptor is currently working with MSN and AskJeeves to integrate with their platforms once they launch. Keywords can be managed individually or in groups, or users can set up automatic portfolio-based bidding rules to manage groups of keywords to meet certain performance goals.

BidCenter uses “learning algorithms” to discern bidding patterns that may be unrecognizable by human analysis, then adjusts bids accordingly.

The technology has been available to Inceptor clients in the past, but with this self-service product launch, Inceptor is continuing a strategic shift back to being a technology provider instead of an SEM firm with technology, Inceptor’s EVP and CTO Mike Sack told ClickZ News.

“We’ve never strayed far from our technology core. During the dot-com bubble days, we saw the need to wrap our technology with services. Now, we’re starting to see the commoditization of search,” Sack said. “We made a strategic decision a year ago to focus on our technology. We’ve spent the last year repackaging our technology with a direct-access, consumer focus.”

He points out that as an SEM agency without proprietary technology, Inceptor competes with thousands of other firms, from one-person shows to multinational agencies. By positioning itself as a technology provider, Inceptor can work with agencies and individual marketers and compete with far fewer players such as Atlas OnePoint and Efficient Frontier, which sell their tools directly to marketers and agencies; and to SEM firms with proprietary technology such as Did-It and iProspect.

Much like Efficient Frontier, Inceptor’s BidCenter uses portfolio-based bidding algorithms that allow users to set goals against variables they want to optimize. A user could ask BidCenter to optimize traffic, revenue, conversions, ROI, CPA or CPC, while ensuring another variable doesn’t exceed a certain limit. The marketer can thus optimize the campaign to fit different goals, such as driving sales, attracting new customers, building awareness or increasing ROI.

Customers can also choose to manage keywords manually, either individually or in groups. While BidCenter provides centralized access to all the features of each bid engine from a single console, users can still access the advanced features unique to each engine in another area of the tool.

BidCenter also provides users with “Power Bid” tools to manage keywords and groups by daypart, setting constraints on minimum rank desired and bid ranges for each hour of each day.

“There are certain times of certain days you want to bid up. We call those ‘bidding time zones,'” Sack said. “It gives marketers the ability to be more aggressive or more concise in their bids.”

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