8 things I’ve learned about bid management tools

Note: This is kind of a continuation of my bid tool rant #1, however it’s not really a rant. I’m going to try to be more open minded this time 🙂  Here we go!

  1. It’s frustrating just trying to get a good feel for which tool vendor to go with, and in many cases the upfront pricing is prohibitive. Most tool vendors charge a minimum monthly fee and a % of media; typically 3 – 5% depending on volume. However, it’s a very competitive commoditized business, so if you’re a good buyer you can likely get some vendors to drop their pants.
  2. There are tons of vendors so it’s important to narrow down your choice to those you think make sense for your business or clientele. The ones we have considered include Acquisio, ClickEquations, Marin, and Kenshoo. Other players include Search Ignite, SearchForce, Adobe SearchCenter etc. The list goes on.
  3. Whatever tool vendor sales person you talk to will pitch the efficiencies of using a tool and time savings. Our experience has not backed this up in many cases. I do think however, with a very complex account that requires merging data to make bid changes, a tool likely will save time.
  4. There are many reasons why a tool can actually increase the investment of time.
    1. Implementation
    2. Not automatically synching with changes you make directly with the search engines.
    3. Sometimes you only advertise with Google and their desktop tool is much faster to use than a web interface.This last point is probably the clincher in most cases. Some tools have excel clients so you can work off line but they often can be clunky to use and require daily or weekly use to get the hang of it.
  5. We do believe that a tool vendor can help our agency with the bulk of our small and mid level clients, particularly the reporting aspect. Finding a tool that can offer customizable report templates can be beneficial. Ideally, for an agency, the tool will allow you to separate various accounts into their own campaigns while offering clients the ability to log in and retrieve reports at their convenience.
  6. Make sure you go with a vendor that offers unlimited support and check references to verify they do what they say. For example, we have talked with direct competitors and usually they are willing to share their experience. Adoption of the tool will depend on thorough knowledge of all the features and benefits.
  7. Start out with a trial period, if possible. Usually vendors will give you a break if you’re testing the tool out for 3 months or so.
  8. If you work with an agency, you may get the cost benefit of their aggregate spend.

OK, so hopefully this rant #2 helped you understand some of the questions you’d need to ask if you’re considering purchasing one of these toaster ovens. Good luck and feel free to ask me any questions.  Jon

Jon Lisbin About the author
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