Last week, Santa Cruz, California based ClickTracks released a new tool designed to bring ease of use to pay-per-click campaign management the same way that their award winning software has to web analytics. BidHero, a new PPC bid management program that closely integrates with existing ClickTracks software was designed to fill a void that the company saw in the PPC management sector.
"ClickTracks has always been extremely in tune with search engine optimization and search engine marketing professionals," said John Marshall, ClickTracks' CEO. "Over the years, we've had repeated requests to take the ease-of-use and robust functionality found in ClickTracks and apply it to the bid management arena. BidHero is the end result of those requests."
I had a chance to chat with John Marshall earlier this week to take a guided tour of BidHero and to ask some questions about how the program will benefit the often over-looked small business market.
One of the more compelling feature of the BidHero program is the fact that it allows users to import their existing PPC campaigns from engines like Yahoo!/Overture and Google AdWords. Most other bid management solutions require users to either start from scratch, or manually enter all keyword phrases and ad creative. Once they've imported their data, users can tie their campaigns into their online sales or lead generation tracking and BidHero will display the following information for each campaign:
Users can even adjust their position, maximum bid and ad copy from within the BidHero interface. BidHero will then login to the PPC engine via the API and will make the updates for the user. Theoretically, a user wouldn't have to log in to the AdWords or Yahoo!/Overture interfaces again. Another advantage of the program is the WYSYWIG interface that is offered. The ability of a company to manage all of their PPC campaigns from a single interface, rather than learning their way around each of the separate systems is quite valuable even without the other benefits.
For business owners that have difficulty setting up ad tracking parameters (and especially for those saying "what's an ad tracking parameter?") BidHero comes to the rescue. BidHero will automatically assign tracking parameters to all campaigns and will integrate that data with ClickTracks' log files to make ROI tracking easier than ever.
Marshall made it clear that BidHero lacks some of the really advanced functionality present in higher-end solutions like those offered by Atlas One Point. "We're not competing with [them]," explained Marshall. "We're aiming for a whole different level." Marshall went on to tell me that the idea behind BidHero was to take the functionality needed by most marketers and closely integrate it with analytics so that they're not finding themselves buried under mounds of data.
BidHero currently integrates only with AdWords and Yahoo!/Overture, but Marshall tells me that the company plans to add support for all of the major PPC engines that offer an API. Businesses that already use ClickTracks to track the results of their PPC campaigns will be happy to know that BidHero automatically pulls down the relevant data, making the task of collecting and importing CSV files a thing of the past.
With prices starting at just $69/month, BidHero is one of the more affordable bid management solutions out there. The only down-side I've been able to find is that it requires a user to have ClickTracks Pro, the highest (and most expensive) web analytics solution offered by ClickTracks. A scaled down version that integrated with the more affordable ClickTracks Optimizer would be welcomed within the small business community.
Even so, the ClickTracks/BidHero combination of software brings heavy-duty testing, analytics and management to an entire group of businesses that could not have previously afforded it. Companies that use the combination appropriately should see enough return on the investment to more than justify the expense.
For more information, including a Flash demo, visit the BidHero site.
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September 2, 2005
Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.
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