December 7, 2012, 4:04 PM

Ideagility launches a pay-per-click tool for retailers

Starting at $50/month, AgileBid automates paid ad management on Google and Bing.

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Digital marketing company Ideagility has released an automated software tool for small- to mid-size retailers to manage their paid advertising campaigns with Google Inc.’s AdWords and Microsoft Corp.’s Bing Ads, the company says. Prior to its Nov. 28 release as a standalone product, AgileBid was available to Ideagility customers as part of Ideagility’s agency services, it says.

“Search engine marketing presents a real challenge to a lot of small and medium-sized businesses,” says Andrew Frank, an analyst at research and advisory firm Gartner Inc. “The cost of automating and optimizing bidding strategies has been high enough to exclude smaller players, so the next phase of offerings must focus on affordability for this segment.”

However, AgileBid’s cost-effectiveness is tough to compare to similar tools, Frank says, as they all tend to use pricing models based on a number of variables. AgileBid pricing starts at $50/month for every $1,000 in pay-per-click ad budget. An Internet-hosted, software-as-a-service product, it includes pay-per-click bid optimization, automatic new keyword testing, campaign optimization across Google AdWords and Bing Ads and service responses within 24 hours, Ideagility says.

“As a business owner, I don’t have time to micromanage pay-per-click campaigns,” says Craig Holmes, owner of Holmes Products & Marketing, which operates leather goods retailer LeatherNu.com, which has annual sales of between $500,000 and $1 million. After switching to AgileBid from another pay-per-click service six months ago, he says he started saving about $50 per day, sales increased by 25% over five months and his time spent managing the campaigns dropped to nearly zero. He declines to share how much he spends on the service.

“Our mid-sized customers often drive company-critical sales with less than $1,000 per month spent on pay-per-click ads in Google, Bing and Yahoo,” says Rahm McDaniel, vice president of marketing at Ideagility. Customers typically cut ad spending by one-third and generate returns of 10% or more, he says.

To begin using AgileBid, retailers log in to the dashboard and set parameters for their paid advertising campaigns, such as budget, desired conversion value and the maximum cost per acquisition, Ideagility says. Then the software begins creating and optimizing campaigns on Google and Bing. It also manages keywords, monitors their success and incorporates new ones into campaigns, the company says. AgileBid determines which new keywords to test based on data available from the search engines, then uses a portion of a customer’s budget to track the conversions those keywords drive over time, McDaniel says. The software adds ones that do well into campaigns after the testing period ends.

Although Google accounts for more overall search volume than Bing for most terms AgileBid manages, McDaniel says, conversions on Google versus Bing may be different for certain products or keywords, which AgileBid takes into account. “While one engine may have 80% of searches on a term and the other has 20%, AgileBid may spend 68% of the money in the first and 32% in the other, if that generates the highest return,” he says.

Additionally, AgileBid offers advertisers the ability to track specific keywords and clicks to incoming phone calls, which it treats as conversions and incorporates into bidding optimization, Ideagility says. Retailers may connect the incoming call data to geo-location, call recording, call answers, hang-ups and other customer service information, the company says. Learn about additional marketing companies here.

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