Clickable simplifies search ad campaigns for the masses

New York City’s Clickable is a new company that fancies itself as the small company’s answer for managing online search advertising campaigns. It has raised $3 million from Union Square Ventures and Pequot Ventures.

Managing advertising campaigns on search engines — buying ads that get displayed beside the search results — has become a popular way to boost traffic and subsequent sales.

However, it can be a time consuming and painful process for small companies and lots find themselves using tools like Excel to manually keep track of the campaigns themselves. Medium- and large-sized companies can afford to farm the work to ad agencies at an added cost. These high-end ad shops dynamically track things like the demand and cost for certain key words, which they change by the minute. This helps advertisers manage their costs and returns by advertising most efficiently across various search engines. Companies like SearchForce, Marin Software, and Efficient Frontier offer the kind of sophisticated tools that Clickable contains (and more), but these companies serve large companies and large ad agencies.

Clickable is going after the companies that spend $1,000-50,000 per month in online advertising — a segment that Clickable says constitutes half of the market — and says its prices will be disruptively low. We saw a demo and its front-end interface is impressively clean and intuitive. Assuming it has the back-end chops to go with, we can see this being a legitimate contender.

Like its sophisticated competitors, the service guides you through the process via a simple dashboard that presents the key campaign elements — your revenue, return, conversion, costs, etc — and graphs of the trends.

Unfortunately, the company wants to keep its interface under wraps, so we can’t show you a screenshot.

Clickable has managed to boil the process down to one interface. If you’re advertising on MSN, Yahoo, and Google, you can manage each aspect of your campaign on any of them without leaving your Clickable account. If you try to use Google’s own campaign management tools, without going through Clickable, you typically need to work with multiple pages.

Clickable’s most impressive feature is the “ActEngine,” which automatically gauges the performance of your campaigns, recommends next steps, and makes executing these steps a matter of a few clicks.

The product is currently in private beta, and expects to launch early this Fall.

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