Almost every brand and business relies on PPC to help them reach and sell to the right audiences. The key to doing so at scale is choosing dynamic, multi-faceted software that can help you achieve your goals.
If you’re a PPC marketer, you’ve probably already come across several of these tools — and possibly even use one of them. But how do you know which one is right for your business?
• Which tool aligns best with your needs and targets?
• How do you know if an investment will yield dividends?
• And what should you be asking the different companies you talk to?
Optmyzr CEO Fred Vallaeys recently caught up with Aaron Levy, Tinuiti’s Group Director of SEM to discuss these topics — and more!
Here are some highlights from Aaron’s responses, including the three most important questions you should ask every PPC software provider you meet.
1. How does this tool make things better for me?
Marketers need to constantly evaluate what a particular tool can do for their clients and their own organizations. Does the tool allow you to provide better results so that you can spend more — and, in turn, charge more? How can you deploy it for your clients’ businesses?
Some software costs quite a bit to set up, and if you end up not using it, then there’s that cost to absorb as well. Even when you sign up for a trial, setting up new tracking codes and restructuring your client’s campaign a certain way around the tool — getting out of that can be extremely difficult.
For example, some tool providers will give you a three- to four-month onboarding period where irrespective of you liking the tool or not, you have to stick with it.
2. What does it do that other tools can’t?
We know that Google, Microsoft, and even Facebook have pretty robust tool suites. So having a ‘proprietary bid algorithm’ is not much of a differentiating factor. Prospective providers should be able to tell you what their tool can do that your existing one can’t.
Ask your software providers how they’re different. If they can’t answer it, why should you switch?
Check where you are in the PPC spectrum.
Are you a true expert, or are you doing the basics? An engine tends to do a good job for the average advertiser. But if you work for an experienced PPC agency and have time-consuming strategies, that’s when you want to start looking for the right tool.
More often than not, advertising engines fail to comprehend what you really want to do.
Aaron’s Take: We have a lot of clients who use a lot of offline data sources, and we’ll pass information back and forth. In these cases, we look to whichever tool is most powerful as clients don’t want Google to have access to that data. Or sometimes, even Google can’t really do what we (and clients) want to.
3. What’s my return on investment?
While search advertisers are very familiar with metrics like CPC or ROAS, buyers need to know what return on investment to expect. Returns can be driven by overheads, like when an agency buys software that lets them do more with a smaller workforce.
It can be in the form of time, like software that potentially saves your team hours each week to help you focus on other targets. And while this might not be a direct output, value more often than not justifies the use of new software.
1. How flexible is your tool provider? What kind of support will you get?
Aaron’s Take: A lot of times, especially when a software developer is trying to get their foot off the ground, they forget about customer service. It translates to: Sales guys done, have fun!
A very sales-driven organization won’t extend support in helping customers realize their tool’s features and services. There needs to be better communication between agencies and software providers to answer questions related to the software’s capabilities.
2. What’s the road map?
As end-users, you need to check whether each tool is heading in the right direction. Find out what software providers are working towards. Irrespective of how much you plan to use the tool, it’s important to be aligned with their vision.
3. Are you looking for a piece of software? Or a back-end process?
Fred’s Take: When I was launching Optmyzr, I made sure to develop the product in a way that it didn’t rely heavily on back-end processes. It was really important for me to launch Optmyzr as software. It is a self-serving system where you can watch explainer videos and get started.
Relying heavily on back-end processes has many disadvantages, one of them being the changing employees who essentially perform all the basic search tasks. While it may look like a smooth-running system at the front, there’s always a person pushing all the buttons.
While the list of questions you could ask a PPC software provider is endless, these are some of the more critical ones to consider.
Focus on the needs and goals of your clients and your organization; keep your personal goals as a marketer in mind; and assess and analyze at length to make an informed purchase.
Most of all, be ready to ask some hard questions of software developers — and be ready to walk away from something that doesn’t fit your needs. Software is not just about cost, but the value it provides and whether the two of you are a good fit together.