Marin Software: Four Paid Search Innovations to make life easier for marketers

Written by: Nick Gill, Managing Director, Marin Software Australia

In the past, search engine marketing used to entail manually calculating bids, generating keywords out of thin air and subsequently reacting to wasted ad spend after the fact. I'm sure most search marketers can relate here, so I'd like to acknowledge the paid search innovations that have made our lives easier over the past seven years.

We've all had that awkward conversation with a friend of a friend, or distant relative that we don't see very often. What's there to talk about ... the weather? It's at times like these that you wish you knew more about their interests. Luckily for search marketers, we no longer need to have generic conversations with target audiences. Over time it's become easier to find who they are and their location. Device targeting lets us reach desktop users in the morning and afternoon, and mobile users in the evening. Geo-targeting gives us the precision to reach customers within a single postcode. Day-parting allows us to spend efficiently, delivering ads during the hours of highest ad engagement. And last but certainly not least, interest and category targeting provides the flexibility to only reach customers that might be interested in my products or services. Whether you use one or all of these targeting features, it is safe to say that search marketers now have the right tools to eliminate awkward conversations with customers.

One of the best advances for search marketers, is one that is often taken for granted today, and that is having visibility into the elements which influence keyword Quality Scores. There was a time when search marketers had no clue which keywords Google considered to be of low or high quality. Using some common sense you could make an educated guess, but at the end of the day guessing was far from ideal. In recent years this has all changed. Now that we are able to see how our expected click through rate, ad relevance and landing page experience stacks up against the average, all of the guesswork is taken out of the equation. This level of visibility is invaluable to search marketers, allowing us to hone in and prioritise our time and understand which changes will have the greatest impact.

Thankfully the days when you had to export your entire keyword list and metrics into an excel spreadsheet and calculate break-even points and profit margins are long gone. When the concept was new and the importance of search was first gaining understanding and momentum, very few companies were prepared to invest in the technology, tools and agencies to support it. Today however, most mature paid search programs rely very little, and sometimes not at all, on time consuming manual bid calculation. Enterprise software solutions, like Marin Software, offer the automation of a bidding algorithm with the flexibility of bid rules to help search marketers achieve their business goals. Some agencies don't leverage third party software and have instead built homegrown tools. All of these solutions have taken most of the error prone mathematics out of bidding, and in turn allowed search marketers to focus on new opportunities, like creative testing and keyword expansion, to grow their paid search program.

The need for reporting has remained a constant, even as the search industry has evolved over the years. One of the most significant improvements in the life of a search marketer has been the introduction of time saving reporting tools; pulling reports by any metric on any account level and customising reports to satisfy any requirement. Scheduling and delivering reports has never been simpler, while the ability to set alerts has provided unprecedented visibility into daily account performance.

With all of these innovations in reporting, marketers can now test more creative and expand more keywords. The space is continuously evolving and so are the tools and solutions available . How great it is to be part of such a dynamic, fast-growing and progressive industry.

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