Feb 28, 2010
What if our jobs were determined by an audition or scrimmage? Imagine if we tossed aside the resumes and interviews and simply had an hour to make some money.
Analysts, if you were the applicant, which bid management tactics should you try to save more time for ad testing and landing page optimization? Would you rather show your boss that you are a real marketer that tests compelling creatives or that you play with bids and pennies all day? Although the first few posts on this blog will focus on bid management, the underlying purpose is to help you quickly move past this essential first step towards other rewarding optimizations.
This is accomplished by remembering that two brains are better than one(more to come)...
Managers, if you were the interviewer, what would you watch for to ensure your strategies are effectively executed by the teams you lead? Instead of only asking about top converting keywords and campaign averages, which questions would focus your team on the most profitable optimizations?
My good clients know how to ask questions that hold me accountable for constant awareness of the 80/20 principle. Most of us already understand that this means the vast majority of performance is controlled by a small minority of keywords.
However, my most successful clients know how to ask me about the 80/20 for the converting, non-converting, and even the click-less keyword segments so that I am always on my toes. If your team does not already have a healthy fear of your questions, I intend to arm you with that with future posts. Once you are even more confident in your team's ability to execute your strategies, we can then discuss ways to improve the focus those of strategies on the bottom line.
This industry is too smart and progressing too fast to have secrets. Whatever we do not share eventually gets discovered by our colleagues that know how to ask these tough questions. Therefore we are eager and to help you avoid the most common mistake we observe in smart clients: Stagnation in tactics and key performance indicators.
I am fortunate to work with some of the best paid search experts in the industry. Sadly, endless search management chores too frequently turn innovators into mindless slaves. It is too easy to gradually believe in excuses about insufficient time and fall back on low priority or outdated best practices when a million keywords are on our plate. It is too easy to gradually develop tunnel vision on an incomplete version of CPA or ROAS when that has been the highlighted number on our dashboards for the past couple years.
The purpose of this blog is to prepare you for the 60 minute audition for your dream job. You might already have it, but in this economy we need to earn it every day. Give future posts a few minutes of your attention and learn ways to save hours in the coming weeks.
The next post will put the best practices of 2010 into perspective by considering the significant advancement of our industry over the past decade...
Feb 27, 2010
Are your paid search marketing strategies stuck in the past? 5 years ago your computer would probably have half the CPU speed, a quarter of the RAM, and a tenth of the hard drive space than common computers today. Growing competition is causing SEM bid management strategies to change just as quickly.
Small campaigns that used to provide high volumes at low cost have now been replaced by large lists of long tail keywords. How can you avoid missed opportunities by investing your scarce time and budget with the highest efficiency and profitability?
How can you identify which situations must be handled by a real analyst and which parts of your account can be automated? Once the highest priority bid adjustments have been reviewed by human eyes, how can bid rules be taught to use the same decision framework on the rest of the account?
How can bid algorithms be organized to maintain clear logic while optimizing to the most appropriate metric for each keyword segment? How can bid rule templates be adapted to fit the metrics and thresholds of your unique situation? How can new functionality enable you to more effectively leverage the rich data sets you are already collecting?
Many search marketers used to focus primarily on return on ad spend or cost per conversion. How can you ensure your efforts are truly improving the bottom line by including offline conversions, cost of goods sold, and other factors in the calculation of real profit?
Even the most experienced SEM professional is limited in the number of intelligent bid decisions that can be manually applied in a day, but certain parts of any PPC portfolio are too critical to turn over completely to a machine. We must embrace both methods of bid management – manual adjustments and automated review.
Successful marketers will learn how to embrace both methods of bid management so that more time can be spent on the holistic strategies of 2010.
Once manual and automated bid management has been adopted and balanced according to key performance indicators that are lowest in the funnel and closest to real profit, paid search marketers are more available to dive into other campaign management tactics that really pay off. Use both brains to optimize bids towards profit then review raw queries, refine match types, improve targeting, align relevant messaging, and test landing pages.
About This Blog
Chris Haleua is a Product Manager for SearchCenter and Media Optimizer, Adobe's paid search marketing solutions. As a former Team Lead in SearchCenter Consulting, Chris was responsible for implementing advanced bid automation and innovative testing strategies for many of Omniture's and Adobe’s largest and most successful clients.
Chris has five years of search engine marketing experience with strategic enterprise accounts across the retail, lead generation, and media engagement industries. His focus on integration between Media Optimizer, SearchCenter, SiteCatalyst, Test&Target, and Insight has revealed new ways to measure and expand the influence of paid search on other channels as an essential piece of profitable acquisition strategies.
Chris is a recovering bid addict. Manual bidding in Excel and the desktop editors was an exciting competition in 2008. Rules bidding in SearchCenter was a rewarding challenge in 2010. Portfolio bidding in Media Optimizer still provided over 20% lift for numerous clients in 2012. Bidding was attractive because deep insights could be clearly identified and quickly acted on.
Chris still seeks to identify the ideal mix of manual, rules, and portfolio bidding for each client’s unique situation since Adobe Media Optimizer is the most powerful tool for performing all three optimization methods across multiple channels. However, bidding only represents a fifth of PPC optimization. Now Chris really strives to help Adobe Media Optimizer provide benefit beyond bidding.
Marketers must now apply real experience and awareness of environmental context to combine human skill with automated optimization. Media Optimizer proves that algorithms are meant to augment the real professionals and amplify their unique skills instead of competing to replace brains with robots. Holistic optimization of account structure, ad relevancy, match type alignment, query mining, targeting refinement, re-marketing, and bidding must all be balanced for ideal performance.
(Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official position of Adobe.)