Bid optimization series: transparency and control for better bidding decisions

Thursday, January 24, 2013 |

In last week’s bid optimization blog post covering updated algorithms, we mentioned that the ultimate measure of a good algorithm is the campaign performance it delivers. However, the strength of algorithms can be difficult to evaluate without a clear way to test and see the real business impact delivered from them. For the best insight into measuring the effectiveness of algorithms, you need a bid optimization platform with full transparency and control  -- allowing you to monitor progress and introduce new inputs as needed to reach your specific goals. Today, we’ll be reviewing the importance of transparency and control with our sixth question to ask when choosing a bid optimization platform:

6. How much control will I have?

As mentioned in ClickZ’s editorial, Bid Management - Why it Matters, “One of the biggest challenges of bid finding a system reliable and flexible enough to accommodate the expanding number of keywords that a marketer may manage.” Today’s search campaigns can be so expansive that it’s impossible to control them effectively without the right tools. Search marketers look to automation to streamline workflows and boost campaign results, but they also want insight into the decisions made and sufficient controls to act on what they see.

When considering different bid optimization platforms, inquire how they handle the following:

  • Flexibility. Does the platform offer the choice of either full-blown automation or robust controls, and the ability to switch between them as needed?
  • Transparency. How much insight is provided into bid decisions—both intended and actual—and their impact on campaign performance?
  • Controls. What kinds of controls are available? Can you override automated decisions if needed? Is the system “open” to your unique insights and business logic?
  • Customization. How much customization can be done? Does each customized control have a proper business rationale? Or are customizations simply making up for deficiencies in the decision engine itself?

Full transparency and customization options offered through the DoubleClick Search Performance Bidding Suite let you benefit from intelligent automation, while maintaining as much control as needed to manage your unique goals. With these features, you can monitor progress toward each goal, ensure any changes fall within set constraints, and see a history of bid changes and associated rationales. DoubleClick Search offers:

  • Bid charting, which visualizes bid changes, bidding frequency, and trends over time
  • Bid rationale, which reveals the reasoning behind any changes to specific bids
  • Bid preview, which shows the target bid DoubleClick Search intends to submit for a particular keyword. This feature provides insight into the range of bids the system is likely to submit, based on the current bid and data, to offer guidance in setting bid limits.
  • Primary constraint, which displays reasons why a keyword could not reach a target bid (for example, it was constrained by minimum or maximum bid limits)

In addition, you have the controls to define a bid’s acceptable range, apply varied weights to different conversions, adjust minimum and maximum bids, decide flexible keyword-to-goal assignments, and inform bid decisions with your own business data (including offline data).

To read ClickZ’s editorial on the importance of bid optimization, visit: Bid Management - Why it Matters

To learn more about the 7 factors to consider when choosing a bid optimization tool, download our white paper here.