Media

AdGrok aims to take the headache out of search engine marketing

A new startup called AdGrok says it wants to make life easy for businesses running ad campaigns through Google’s AdWords service.

AdWords is a huge, lucrative system, said AdGrok co-founder Antonio Garcia-Martinez, but it can be hard to tell exactly how an ad campaign is performing — especially if you’re a small business that doesn’t understand search engine marketing. Garcia-Martinez said he wants to be the “TurboTax of search advertising”, namely the service that simplifies a complicated process for a wide variety of customers.

The San Francisco company first announced its service last summer, but today it’s coming out of beta testing and announcing its pricing model.

The most attention-grabbing feature is probably the “GrokBar”, which lets customers look at any page on their website and see data about all the AdWords campaigns pointing to that page. (Garcia-Martinez said one of the rookie mistakes in search advertising is to direct all your ads towards your home page, rather than the specific page where a shopper can buy a product or register for your site or whatever.) Customers can see exactly how much they’re paying for each campaign and how well it’s performing. Then they can kill ads that aren’t working and create new ones. Garcia-Martinez said that if AdGrok is successful, customers will never have to interact with AdWords directly.

Another cool feature involves integration with Shopify, a service that powers online stores. Sites that use Shopify can upload all of their inventory into AdGrok, create ad campaigns around each product, and then immediately end the campaign once they’ve sold out of a specific item.

Again, Garcia-Martinez said he hopes to serve the full spectrum of search engine marketing customers. If you’re an agency running a mind-boggling number of campaigns, you might use a search marketing tool like Marin Software to manage all of them but still sign-up for AdGrok to get a quick, high-level view of how those campaigns are doing. On the other hand, if you’re a small business that feels overwhelemed by AdWords, AdGrok can make the process manageable, and you can even hire the company to run your campaigns for you.

AdGrok offers free and paid services — the “standard” package is $20 per month.

The company was incubated at Y Combinator and has raised $470,000 from Chris Sacca, Russ Siegelman, Ben Narasin, and TriplePoint Capital. Customers include Eventbrite and Kiva.

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