Bid optimization series: Smart technology for smarter decisions

Thursday, December 20, 2012 |

So far, we’ve reviewed the importance of setting up defined goals and understanding the critical role of fresh, recent data to help a bidding tool make the best decisions. But how does a bidding technology actually act on those inputs? Because bidding tools can be considered the “brain” of an SEM management tool, its “smarts” can make or break search campaign performance. Today, we’ll dive deeper into the third question to consider when choosing a bid optimization platform:

3. Is your tool smart enough to make a difference in my campaigns?
In such a dynamic search space, it’s nearly impossible for manual keyword bidding to effectively produce high-impact results – often being too slow and cumbersome to act on every opportunity, including long-tail keywords. This is where smart systems and intelligent algorithms can make a difference.
But what does it mean for a bidding technology to be “smart”? For starters, look for a tool that understands your unique business goals, learns from dynamic search trends, and bundles keywords of varying history for optimal performance to make the most of your marketing dollars.

Here are some key capabilities that you should look for in a smart bid optimization system:

  • Near-real-time trend detection: Can the bid engine use past and current data to predict future trends? Can it pick up on market trends such as seasonality, holiday periods, or sudden spikes in demand due to offline events like weather, accounting for fluctuations in traffic around such external events?
  • Performance-based spend allocation: Can the bid engine intelligently allocate budgets dynamically to various keywords, based on their performance? Do they consider the opportunity cost of each keyword and allocate spend accordingly?
  • Low-volume keyword evaluation: These keywords are often overlooked by manual or simple bid optimization methods, as they provide little or no data to use. However, ignoring long-tail terms can add up across the board—leaving opportunity on the table. How does the bid optimization tool account for these low-volume keywords? Can it group similar keywords together and bid on them as a whole?

Built by engineering teams with years of bid optimization and online auction experience, the smart algorithms at the heart of the DoubleClick Search Performance Bidding Suite were made to handle these challenges that are often discounted by simple bidding tools. We recognize that not every keyword generates the same response, and developed a tool that intelligently bundles keywords with similar traits—including volume, data, and performance —and consistently re-evaluates keyword performance to deliver the best results at the overall portfolio level. Along with smart spend allocation, quick trend detection, and predictive modeling, our fine-tuned algorithms make up the “brains” of this bid optimization engine, to deliver proven results.

Ignited, a full-service digital advertising agency, recently made use of the Performance Bidding Suite to help them manage their long-tail keywords for a video game client, with some impressive results. Within weeks of implementing a Cost Per Action (CPA) goal, their free trial video game downloads increased by 83%, while costs went down 23%. Total impressions saw a boost of 95%. Moreover, by moving from manual to automated-bid strategies, Ignited decreased time spent on keyword bidding by 50%.

Whether it’s through picking up on the most recent trends, shifting spend based on performance, or managing keywords at the portfolio level, a smart tool will understand how to choose the right bids for your keywords.  But because the search landscape changes so rapidly, it’s not sufficient for a bidding tool to know what to bid – it also needs to execute quickly and send the appropriate bids out, before they become outdated and stale. Next week, we’ll explore the fourth question to consider when choosing a bid optimization platform: Is your platform fast enough to make a difference in my campaigns?

To learn more about Ignited’s successes with the DoubleClick Search Performance Bidding Suite, download their customer story here.

To learn more about the 7 factors to consider, download our white paper here.