You may or may not have heard, but Acquisio recently acquired ClickEquations. Acquisio is a leading performance media platform for agencies, and helps agency marketers manage, track, optimize, retarget, and report on ad buys across all channels — from search and display to social media.
As a result, the ClickEquations blog will be merged with the Acquisio blog. This means that if you’re subscribed to the ClickEquations blog, you’ll soon start getting updates from the Acquisio blog feed.
The Acquisio blog updates several times a week with tips, insights and strategies to help marketers get the most out of their online campaigns. From PPC and display ad insights to mobile marketing and social media strategies, the Acquisio blog is full of expert advice from both the Acquisio team and a roster of guest bloggers.
So if you’re subscribed to the ClickEquations blog, we look forward to updating you with Acquisio’s great content. And if you’re not already subscribed, we hope you’ll consider adding the Acquisio blog feed to your favorite RSS reader.
Hi, this is Alex Cohen, the Marketing Manager for ClickEquations. In spite of the warming weather, I’ve been slaving over a hot laptop to put together a new section on the ClickEquations website: Learn.
Craig churns out a lot of content about advanced paid search on the blog and in speaking, so I’ve put together the Learn section to make it easy to find all of our longer form educational content.
There are 4 major sections:
- Paid Search White Papers
- Paid Search Webinars and Videos
- High Resolution PPC
- Best Blog Posts & Article
Everything is free to access. You can also sign up for our Paid Search Professionals Newsletter. It’s a monthly email geared specifically towards practitioners managing large, complex campaigns. We’ll share tips, articles and the latest ClickEquations news. Sign up on the newsletter page.
Take a look and let me know what you think. What topics would you like to see covered in future webinars and white papers?
ClickEquations is powerful paid search software built for advertisers and paid search agencies managing large campaigns. Take our video tour, learn about the features, request a demo or sign up for a free 30 day trial. Follow us on Twitter @clickequations.
How is ClickEquations different than other paid search / bid management tools?
That’s a question we’ve been getting a lot since our recent introduction.
Here’s a quick list of ten capabilities we think set us apart.
1) Search Queries
ClickEquations captures and displays the actual query each user types, matched with the keyword it triggered and the match type of that keyword. I’ve written about the importance of seeing search queries extensively in the past, as without them it’s nearly impossible to accurately tune your keywords, match types, and bids.
Google Adwords itself provides only keywords at the ad-group level (you can’t see each matched against a specific keyword) which eliminates a lot of the benefit of this important data. Adwords also shows a much smaller percentage of the queries – a lot get lost in the ‘Other Unique Query’ count. I just checked one of our active ad-groups for the last 7 days, and Google only provided 33% of the queries while ClickEquations provided 80% of them.
2) Item-Level Conversion Details
ClickEquations captures item-level conversion data. It’s not enough to know you made a sale. You need to know you sold three blue shirts and a green hat. Or had a newsletter sign-up and four downloads.
Google and Yahoo Conversion tracking, and other simpler conversion trackers don’t provide this ‘SKU level’ detail.
3) Net Profit/ROI Calculation
ClickEquations enables net profit and true ROI to be calculated based on the margin (or value) of each conversion event, and displayed for each campaign, adgroup, and keyword.
Neither Adwords nor Yahoo, MSN, or even Google Analytics enable you to define margins to calculate real profit or returns.
4) Google Impression Share
ClickEquations displays Google Impression Share as an integrated metric in our Campaign reports. This important metric isn’t visible in Adwords Campaign Management or in any other PPC management tool. If you want to grow your campaigns, regularly monitoring your IS is critical.
ClickEquations delivers proprietary value-add metrics that provide important insights into your campaigns and ad-groups. These include our ClickShare metric which shows opportunity in AdGroups and Keywords, and ClickVariance which tells you when keywords are improperly grouped.
ClickEquations is fast. There was no gripe larger or inefficiency as great for us using other tools or working across three engine interfaces than extremely slow redraws and cumbersome interfaces.
In ClickEquations reports render in literally a few seconds, and account navigation and filtering are always at your fingertips.
7) Report Customization
ClickEquations allows you to see what you want to see how you want to see it. It starts with over 40 default reports many of which are tailored to specific tasks paid search managers perform many times each day, and each one can be customized and saved to display the data and sort orders you find most efficient.
8 ) Audit Reports
ClickEquations provides special detailed reports to help answer the common question – how come that report doesn’t align with this one? When you need to verify data between analytics and paid search, or with your backend systems, our rich audit reports help pin-point exactly which clicks and conversions are tracking properly.
9) Multi-Account Ready
ClickEquations supports agencies or large advertisers with multiple search accounts per engine. Just click to switch between accounts, and create powerful roll-up reports and dashboards.
10) ClickEquations Analyst within Microsoft Excel
ClickEquations provides live data feeds right into Excel 2003 or 2007 – with anytime one-button data refresh. This powerful plug-in supports our pre-defined reports and dashboards, lets you build your own from scratch, and can even be shared with other ClickEquations users.
We’re pleased to announce that the new www.clickequations.com website is now up and running.
The site provides more information about our upcoming ClickEquations software release, an initial feature list (there may be some more details released in the future), and a new larger version of our 5-minute video demo.
And you can sign up for an invitation to get pre-release access to ClickEquations to manage your PPC campaigns.
News about our upcoming trade show appearances (we’ll be at SMX and Emetrics, for example) is there, and more.
As with any new site (or old site for that matter) it’s a work in progress, and we have more planned. But it’s nice to have a shiny new home on the web.
ClickEquations was created because we wanted a more effective and efficient way to manage paid search campaigns.
We have years of PPC management experience, and have used many the top search management tools. We did a pretty thorough analysis of those we hadn’t tried ourselves. And we did some serious thinking about what it was we felt was missing.
The conclusion we came to was that not only did none of the available tools satisfy us from a feature perspective, but more importantly the philosophies on which they were built and the goals they seemed to have didn’t align with our beliefs about paid search management.
- Search is about people, not keywords.
- Math should drive decisions, not intuition.
- The PPC options and controls are interdependent.
- The tool should serve the search manager, not the search engine.
So we decided to build our own.
A lot of search agencies have built their own technology. But ours isn’t a skunkworks project.
We’re a venture-backed startup with leading SAAS-software investors including First Round Capital, Internet Capital Group, and Novitas Capital. Over the past few years we’ve built a complete development team, technical operations and customer support staff. And our management team has built and run market leading ecommerce and financial services software companies.
ClickEquations has been developed with a clear long term development vision in mind.
We want to apply as much mathematics and statistics to the management of paid search as possible. There is truth in the numbers, and power to be had in their analysis and algorithmic management.
But there is also a reality to the development sequence, and a lot of great things to deliver before we have the big magic ‘optimize everything’ button ready.
Data In/Data Out
The foundation of any paid search software platform has to be complete and accurate data. Everything that happens on top of that – reporting, management, recommendations, testing, automation – is only as good as the data.
So one important early effort in our development has been making sure we have complete and accurate data – from not one but six data sources that can be useful in reporting, analysis, and optimization.
Equally important is reporting – the ability to utilize the data for both decision making and communications. There are needs PPC managers have in their daily work, plus dashboards and summaries they are often asked to deliver for senior execs and clients. These should be screamingly fast and almost infinitely customizable.
Management & Bid Management
With comprehensive data and flexible reporting in place, the next natural step is the ability to make changes and take action – the core of what the category defines as paid search management.
As with data and reporting, with think it’s an opportunity to take a different approach.
Most tools blindly mimic the search engine interfaces, enabling editing and not much else. They fail to acknowledge the way the options are actually used, to connect the data that would drive you to want to change a variable to the ability to change that variable, or to consider any of the interactions and interdependence between options and controls.
Moving a control panel from one browser window to the next hardly seems worth doing.
Bid management is the emperor in the paid search management world, and while he’s not entirely naked he certainly doesn’t have nearly as many clothes on as some would like you to believe.
There is a lot that mathematical analysis can tell you about how your bid should be set – given one specific set of circumstances in terms of keywords, text-ads, match types, ad-group organization, and assuming you’ve got either a significant performance history on that specific keyword in those specific circumstances (and that they’ll all remain constant) or a collection of keywords with enough identifiable similarities that they can be intelligently grouped and considered as one.
We’ve got a comprehensive approach to bid management, so I’m in no way dismissing it as unimportant.
But buying/choosing/believing in a paid search management tool because of its ‘bid management’ capabilities is like believing you can win the Indy 500 if you just tune your carburetor perfectly.
There are other vital components in the system and if you essentially ignore them your chance for meaningful improvement is limited. But if you consider and manage the system, all things are possible.
The Interesting Stuff
Data, Reporting, and Management capabilities are the cornerstone of any paid search tool. But there are additional layers of capabilities that paid search managers need, and which we intend to deliver – with tastes of each in early releases and focused effort as we move forward.
The reason is simple. Even when you have perfect data, flexible reporting, and the simple ability to add/edit/delete anything, paid search management would still not be effective and efficient.
It would be a world better than it is today, but you’d still be:
- Staring at tens-of-thousands of rows of data with the tough tasks of deciding what to do,
- Executing those changes and keeping track of them to determine whether or not they turned out to have positive effects, and
- Doing lots of manual labor and calculations where software could provide either process or full automation.
So Here’s Why
This gets to the crux of why we’ve built ClickEquations.
Paid search software today helps people to satisfy the needs of the search engine advertising platforms. Every bit of data and just about every option and control (aside from those in the bid-rule modules some provide) are designed to give the engines what they need to run your ads they way they want to run them.
We’re just tending to their machine – and paying for the privilege.
We want to turn that around. The experience of paid search management should be one of thinking about people and targeting prospects and customers – not managing keywords and worrying about 17 ways to say ‘buy a cheap car’.
It should be about valuing relationships and outcomes not bidding $0.98 on Sunday night and $2.49 on Wednesday at noon.
And it should be about managing interactions throughout the prospect/customer lifecycle, not trying to get ‘quality score’ points by using the terminology an external force thinks belongs on your landing page.
We’ll move in phases.
- First, you’ll get industry leading clarity into what’s going on so you can dramatically improve your understanding.
- Then, we’ll help you see patterns and opportunities and avoidable risks in new and clear ways.
- Later, we’ll provide a full set of algorithms that let you really stand up to their algorithms.
Slowly you’ll stop playing their game and start playing yours.
And In The End
Our goals are efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency means keeping constantly in mind that our software is supposed to make the job of managing paid search easier. Effectiveness means our software is supposed to drive better economic results.
These are big goals. These are long term visions. These are what drive us.
The initial release of ClickEquations is a great start, valuable and differentiated. We look forward to working with anyone who shares our views of the potential of search management software.
PS: For a limited time prior to our official launch, you can request an invitation to try ClickEquations for FREE for up to six months. If you qualify, you’ll be notified and we’ll have you up and running in a matter of days. Come on, try it!
Two years ago we took a deep soul-searching look at paid search management practices and technology and decided both were inadequate.
Since then we’ve developed completely new management practices and technology, and it’s time to roll them both out publicly.
The management practices are built around a framework called ‘High Resolution PPC‘. It’s based on the idea that there are three distinct stages in the paid search process and specific steps and checks to sequentially create a well formed and effective campaign.
The technology is our ClickEquations platform, and was developed based on the idea that paid search is not as efficient and effective as it could be because the software tools we have had are inadequate in a number of very specific ways.
We’ve been professionally managing paid search accounts for about five years. As the market and engine platforms have developed, the size and complexity of the accounts managed has grown. Working with both venture-backed startups and Fortune 100 companies we live with high expectations, competitive sensitivities, and serious budget and ROI oversight.
While it’s been exciting to go along for the ride as the market exploded and the technology evolved, anyone who’s lived deeply in paid search management over the past years knows the day-to-day hasn’t been exactly a picnic.
It’s a lot closer to a horror show.
The search engines are opaque (to put it kindly) on multiple layers. If you try to actually figure out what’s happening and why, you find key information is missing, available information is contradictory, and things aren’t exactly consistent. The Matching Algorithms used by the Search Engines and their rules change constantly.
The image of easy-management and easy-money that caught the media’s attention in the early years is ingrained in the imaginations of VPs of Marketing, Merchandising Managers, and even some Directors of eCommerce. Which means they have expectations and make requests that make the PPC Manager’s head spin – on a daily basis.
But most importantly, the amount of change that the industry has gone through over these short, jam-packed years has not been kept up with by either the ‘best practices’ or the ‘delivered technology’.
Paid search management is a young profession, one in which everyone has been learning on the job, sharing info via the web, and attending those endless conferences, but past a very small number of truly universal tactics there is no agreed upon ‘right way’ to organize and manage paid search, in even the most general sense.
That’s no way to spend $9 Billion or $10 Billion.
And the software tools haven’t fared will in this rapid-change environment either. The engines built interfaces that primarily serve their own needs. Instead of thinking about how paid search managers actually should and do work, and building tools to facilitate this effort, the tools are organized around the needs of the engines and their algorithms.
This leaves search managers often facing screens with 5 open applications, each which has one piece of the data or one tool they want, none designed for the whole job. In this environment work flow requires on a lot of application and context switching, cutting and pasting, and mental contortions supported by the acceptance of silly limitations and obvious inaccuracies.
We think it’s time for both the process and technology of PPC to catch up with the market realities and demands.
Introducing High Resolution PPC & ClickEquations
In the next few posts I’ll formally introduce both High Resolution PPC and ClickEquations.
High Resolution PPC starts with three primary goals – targeting the right prospects, assigning an accurate value to each, and then satisfying them. It provides the context for using the available paid search controls and options with clear ways to measure results and priorize work.
ClickEquations was and is being developed with three primary goals as well – delivering clear and accurate data, helping to prioritize opportunities and tasks, and automating as many PPC process steps as possible.
We’re excited to share the results of the last few years of work, and are eager to get your feedback.
After the upcoming introductory posts, I’ll deep dive into the specific components of each over the coming weeks and months.
The post is comprehensive, and here’s our favorite part:
From what I was able to see, the tool provides three traits that are very important to a search marketer.
- First, and most importantly, it tracks everything to a keyword level. There are many PPC management and analytics tools that don’t have this level of reporting so this is always the first feature I look for when analyzing any type of PPC software.
- Secondly, it’s fast. During the presentation, Craig said that ClickEquations was pulling the data from their servers and the load times for each report seemed to be very quick. There is lots of data that needs to be pulled when running different reports for paid search campaigns that can be very labor intensive on the servers. Having software that is programmed to create custom reports and aggregate the data in a fast and efficient way is a big plus.
- Third is the detail. ClickEquations is able to provide very detailed data and Commerce360 has taken the time to add in other features that can be useful such as additional metrics, custom reporting and other features that make it, from an initial viewpoint, look better and more advanced than other PPC tools.
The tool also has some other added benefits such as professional looking reports, extensive integration with Excel (this is a big plus too) and an easy to use web interface. The interaction between Excel and the database looks like an analysts dream come true. The software allows you to quickly grab different sets of data into a custom report and quickly updates data as you change filters.
I could see this feature quickly becoming one of my favorites if I were to use the tool.
If you want to see for yourself, you have three easy options:
- Stop by our booth (115) at Shop.org in Las Vegas next week.
- Sign up for an Invitation to set up a free charter account.
- Watch this space for upcoming public webinar demos.
NOTE: If you’re a blogger and would like demo or a review account, contact me and we’ll set you up.
ClickEquations gets a real public preview next week in Las Vegas. We’ve got a booth at the Annual Shop.org Summit. We’re in booth #115 just inside the front door at Mandalay Bay.
The show floor is open Monday evening the 15th, and all day Tues and Weds (16th-17th).
We’ll be there doing demo’s of ClickEquations and you’ll see large crowds gathered around for our innovative ‘boothinars’.
If you’ll be there, stop by and say hello – you can even sign up to request a ClickEquations Charter Account right on the spot.
Quality is a common and perhaps overused word in our marketing language. But when not used as an instrument of hype, there is a world of quality as in improvement, control, and process.
In a new post on his personal blog, Matt talks about this view of Quality as it relates to our ClickEquations paid search software, which he’s helped shape and been using throughout its development.
One of the most important features about ClickEquations is that quality has been built into the software based on real user requirements (search engine marketers) and tested over and over by a very skilled team of developers using the agile software development process. The development process happens in smaller iterations with improvements continually added to the software as needed (read: JIT ). This allows for a high level of quality control to be maintained by a software team working in a very flexible environment. The key point is that all of this work happens BEFORE the software is ready for public release this Fall.
Thanks Matt. But you do know we haven’t announced this yet, right?
Note: Matt is also the king of the kitch desktop image, bringing old familiar faces like Fred ‘Rerun’ Barry to our offices.
If you’ve got a few minutes, check it out! Click the image below to go to the page where you can start listening.
And when you’re done listening, please rank the episode (if you like it) so it can get more visibility on the WMR ‘hot lists’ – thanks.