PPC Automation Software – Is it Right for Me?

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PPC_automation
Ryan Larkin
By Ryan Larkin

The Basics Of PPC Automation Software

PPC automation Software has been around for a while now, and the level of sophistication and functionality is constantly improving. If you’re unfamiliar with PPC software, that term encompasses a very wide array of tools. Tools like Marin Software and Kenshoo are known for their bidding algorithms and the ability to aggregate multiple accounts/channels under one roof, while tools like WordStream help streamline routine campaign maintenance, and software like SteadyBudget ensure that your account will never spend over their budget.

Basically, the takeaway here is that there’s a lot of noise. There are many different companies offering many different types of automation software that all potentially do different things. It’s a complicated field to confidentially navigate to say the least. There’s also the fact that you may not actually NEED any of these tools to effectively run PPC campaigns. So here are our thoughts on PPC automation software…

What We Like About PPC Automation Software

More bandwidth! Who doesn’t like putting time back in their day? With a lot of these tools you will be able to either streamline some of your current production processes or automate them entirely, which can be a big plus. Additionally, the bidding algorithms that are oftentimes included with these platforms are pretty reliable and effective.

In addition, being able to quickly see high level insights and take immediate action on those insights can be useful. But as stated above, each software comes with its own merits, and a tool that has a great bidding algorithm may be cumbersome to use as an ad testing platform. 

PPC Forecasting Tool

What We Don’t Like About PPC Automation Software

The obvious answer here is the price. These tools usually don’t help move the needle until the bells and whistles are included, and there’s usually a premium for those. But there are DEFINITELY some other issues we have with PPC automation software.

For one, if you’re currently leveraging some of the more advanced campaign structures like the Alpha/Beta model or SKAG’s, a lot of these platforms don’t necessarily play nice. Also while bid algorithms are cool, they aren’t bullet proof. I’ve personally seen “fail-safe” bid floors and ceilings ignored by algorithms. Plus, with a newer account or an account with a smaller budget, it helps to have a manual approach in our experience.

The one real issue that I personally have with a lot of these tools is that none of them are capable of really making a performance impact if a seasoned PPC expert is handling an account. They may help in terms of time-savings, but these tools don’t typically revolutionize strategy for a client.

What We’d Like To See In The Future

More integration into other channels! I think Marin has been doing some amazing things with their ability to utilize a unique remarketing code and apply that audience universally to AdWords, Bing, Facebook etc. More of these tools have recently begun to push their functionality to Paid Social, and that’s a step in the right direction. What separates Marin from the competition in this regard is that they’re taking their offering a step further – they’re offering something that could really help tactics and strategy.

Another pain point we’ve had in general is cross-channel product feeds. This is a little bit of a stretch for PPC automation software, but the fact of the matter is that Product Feeds are becoming the future of digital marketing – even more so when we consider that dynamic remarketing hinges on a functional product feed to pull data from.

Otherwise, a lot of these tools are “nice-to-have” and not “need-to-have” unless you are currently crippled by bandwidth and aren’t deploying advanced SEM strategy.

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Ryan Larkin is the Paid Media Technical Director at Power Digital Marketing who has 5+ years of industry experience. Ryan has spoken at several events including Media Leaders' Digital Growth Summit, Google's annual E-commerce event in Venice, and San Diego State's Entrepreneur Society's annual Conference in 2016. Ryan is currently focused on growing a variety of online paid media accounts and team members, with an emphasis on audience segmentation and shopping feed optimizations.