Business

How you can advertise smarter and cheaper on Google AdWords than PC Mall, Costco, and Overstock.com

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If you’re a small or medium-sized business spending less than a thousand dollars a month on Google’s AdWords, congratulations. You helped Google collect a record $50 billion in revenue in 2012.

The only problem?

You wasted a good chunk of that $50 billion on advertising that didn’t convert, didn’t show ROI, and wasn’t intelligently conceived. Ideagility founder and CMO Rahm McDaniel wants to change that.

“Our typical customer sees their overall spend decrease by double digits,” he told me. “And their conversion rates increase by double digits.”

Conversion rates

Above: Conversion rates

Image Credit: Ideagility

The big boys, companies like WalMart and PC Mall and Amazon, spend millions of dollars on Google AdWords. So they have whole teams of brainiac advertisers constantly tweaking campaigns, editing ads, A/B testings copy, and generally doing everything you don’t have time to do. Which is why pay-per-click management software like Ideagility’s AgileBid makes sense: it makes the software do the work for you.

“Big companies tend to view little companies as small, stupid versions of themselves,” Ideagility’s CEO Ron McDaniel says. “Google has built this amazing advertising platform … but the learning curve of Adwords is too high for most business that do $1000/month on Adwords to be worth their time.”

Managing a PPC campaign is labor-intensive. You set up multiple ads, choose keywords that you’re targeting, and then iterate daily via multivariate testing to optimize three key metrics: click-through rate, conversion rate, and return on investment. Some keywords are worth more, because they convert at a higher rate and convert into higher-paying customers. Some keywords stimulate huge click-through, but poor conversion. Failing to optimize means failing to win: paying Google too much for advertising that does not efficiently accomplish your objectives.

So McDaniel, who built the software for AgileBid for his own use initially, created software to optimize AdWords spending regularly, repeatedly … forever.

“If you can make a 10 percent improvement on your bid process every day — which is what humans don’t do well — then that’s where the largest returns come from,” he told me.

Here’s how it works.

After initial set-up, AgileBid is constantly active moving dollars out of areas of negative returns, into areas of positive returns. Most of the keywords that you’re able to think of when setting up a campaign are the exact same keywords your competitors thought of, so they’re expensive, may not convert well, and don’t have great ROI. AgileBid is constantly looking for new, related keywords, and unexplored opportunities.

AgileBid spends about 20 percent of your budget on that testing. The hidden gold it uncovers in out-of-the-way keywords and ads is what drops your spend and boosts your conversion rates by double digits. That means if you’re spending $1000/month, you could reduce your ad budgets to $800 and still get better results.

Ideagility dashboard

Above: Ideagility dashboard

Image Credit: Ideagility

AgileBid isn’t for everyone, McDaniel is quick to clarify. Other PPC automation tools such as WordStream, Kenshoo, Marin, and Acquisio offer more features and more customizability. But that’s just the opposite of what AgileBid was intended to do.

“We’re like a 4-hour work week tool,” McDaniel says. “The problem isn’t that people don’t have enough features … what our customers have told us they don’t have time to mess with that stuff. So we give our clients a look at what’s happening, but not a lot of knobs and dials to turn.”

The results are impressive.

McDaniel says that the big AdWords spenders like Amazon, PC Mall, Overstock.com, Costco, and Macy’s average about 2 to 3.5 percent conversion rates. (That’s pretty good — I’ve personally managed PPC campaigns, and a single percent is generally considered par for the course.) AgileBid’s customers — typically small businesses without huge, well-known brands — convert at an astonishing 3.37 percent.

In other words, better than NeimanMarcus, Overstock.com, PC Mall, and Costco, and almost as good as Amazon.com and Macys.

In other words, impressive.

photo credit: faith goble via photopin cc


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