Overture Launches Search Optimization Tool

Overture’s software division is expected to launch Search Optimizer on Tuesday. The Web-based application was designed to help search engine marketers manage and optimize large numbers of keywords. The tool is Overture’s answer to aQuantive’s Atlas OnePoint, or Atlas Search, but the auto-optimization works only on the company’s proprietary marketplaces.

The application comes out of Overture’s Performance Marketing division, a unit that grew out of the company’s acquisition of Keylime Software in January of 2003.

Like the other tools offered by the division, marketers must pay a monthly subscription fee. With the accompanying Marketing Console, it will cost somewhere between $400 and $900 per month.

“We wanted to allow advertisers to get much more impact — higher effective performance for their campaigns — and make them much more efficient at the same time,” said Steven Mitgang, senior vice president and general manager of Overture Performance Marketing.

Search Optimizer allows advertisers to optimize campaigns, automatically, if they desire, based upon business objectives such as cost-per-acquisition, cost-per-click or return on ad spend. Using the tool, marketers can sort campaigns by performance to determine which keywords or campaigns require more attention. Users can also create watch lists of their most important campaigns or keywords. They can also set rules to manage elements by daypart.

Tools such as Search Optimizer have become more important as bigger advertisers, with larger budgets and larger keyword portfolios, begin to make search a central part of their online marketing.

Overture’s new application only partially meets their needs because unlike Atlas’ offering it allows for optimization of campaigns solely on the search player’s proprietary marketplaces.

Kevin Lee, CEO of search engine marketing firm Did-It.com, applauds Overture for creating the system, but is skeptical of its utility because of the tool’s limitations. “Our clients want independent third party campaign management that works across all the major engines, automating all the campaigns, moving money across engines based on efficiency and opportunity,” he said. Did-It.com has its own proprietary technology, Maestro.

A number of other companies are working on products to help simplify search marketing. DoubleClick is trying to get into the bid management/campaign optimization space using technology it acquired when it bought Performics. 24/7 Real Media offers the campaign analytics piece through Insight SE.

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