Acquisio lends a hand with search engine marketing campaigns

Marc Poirier

Marc PoirierSearch engine marketing software company Acquisio is an SEM agency’s best friend. The company raised $12.1 million in a second round of funding yesterday led by Canadian venture capital firm Tandem Expansion.

Acquisio’s software manages search engine marketing campaigns across display, social and search marketing tactics. The software is geared specifically toward agencies working on multiple campaigns with multiple clients. Acquisio’s current customers include iProspect and Omnicom.

According to Acquisio chief marketing officer Marc Poirier, there are two main problems with search engine marketing today: URL encoding and reporting.

“If you’re running a campaign across different search engines, doing display, doing Facebook, you need a way to see where each person comes from,” said Poirier in an interview, “It’s a big deal, it’s not a detail.”

URL encoding allows the search engine marketer to follow the campaign’s points of contact across multiple channels. That is to say, if you are running a Google Adwords campaign, along with ads on Facebook and banner ads across different websites, Acquisio can track all of these avenues. It can see when a person is interacting with ads and whether the efforts converted into a sale.

Acquisio can also track what is called attribution, or what series of ad clicks and impressions led to a specific conversion. This can impact whether a campaign is viewed as successful or help an agency to troubleshoot.

Acquisio’s competitors include Kenshoo and Marin Software. Kenshoo provides social offerings, but only does analysis/reporting on display campaigns. Marin Software has PPC, display and social capabilities.Search Social Display

The company helps agencies market back their own work through reporting. These initiatives can be expensive, so clients expect monthly, if not weekly campaign progress reports. But aggregating data for campaigns that may have hundreds of ads running is time consuming and leaves much room for error. Acquisio’s software automatically aggregates the data and inputs it into a reporting system.

Aside from reporting for the client, the system allows managers to stay on top of budgets and make sure they are met — a bigger challenge than it may seem for a search engine marketer.

Acquisio is using the funding to make hires and beef up research and development. The company hopes to roll out a “retargeting” service.

“We give our clients the ability to recycle visitors,” said Poirier.

Using this service, clients can drop cookies onto visitors’ browsers. The client can then buy ad space and market ads back only to those with the cookie. It saves the client money as many agencies are paid based on impression, or the amount of people who saw an ad. It also can increase conversions, given retargeting focuses on those previously exposed to a brand.

This isn’t a new idea, but it will bolster Acquisio’s offerings.

Acquisio is making hires in its existing London and Seattle offices, as well as opening a new office in New York City. The company is based in Montreal. Also in consideration is a San Francisco office given the high density of search engine marketing firms like Razorfish in the area.

Currently, the company has 70 employees and is looking to hire 50 more.

Acquisio was founded in 2003 as a marketing agency itself. After operating as an agency until 2006, the inspiration to create software emerged. The product officially came out in 2008.