Hosted bid management applications are those provided by third-party vendors. The vendor
manages the software, the resources required to maintain the software, and all of the mainte-
nance for both software and resources. An added benefit of using a hosted application is that
often the application is much richer and more robust than one you could manage and maintain
on your own.
There are dozens of companies offering bid management services. Just a few among them are
WebSideStoryBid, Searchignite, PPCPro, KeywordROI, and BidRank. Each vendor offers some
similar and some different features for the applications that they provide, and the cost of hosted
bid management software can be from $125 per month to more than $1,200 per month. The cost
depends on the number of keywords you’re tracking and the different features that are available to
you. Some management application providers will also allow you to create custom management
applications that also fall into the same cost range.
When you’re considering an automated bid management product, you should look for several
features. The most basic of these include:
A single interface for multiple PPC campaigns.
You will most likely be running PPC
campaigns from several different providers, so you need a solution that allows you to
manage all of those campaigns, regardless of provider, from a single control panel.
including conversion rates and cost per sale for each keyword
that you’re tracking.
Global change capabilities.
When you make a change to your PPC campaign, whether
it’s changing a word, changing your strategy, or changing your bids, you may need to have
those changes reflected in multiple places. Good bid management software offers the abil-
ity to make global changes — you make the change one time, and all of the campaigns you
specify are updated automatically.
Keyword monitoring capabilities.
Bid management software should let you see where
your keywords are performing at any given time.
Automatic bid-management capabilities.
One trick some companies use to keep the
competition at bay is called bid jamming. Because keyword bids, unlike those in a tradi-
tional auction, are dynamic and can go both up and down, the auction isn’t over when
you’ve paid a lot and won your word. You’d like to rebid it at a lower price. And here’s
where the keyword jammer, by offering only a penny less than your inflated bid, tries
to keep you at that level and drain your SEO budget. (Of course, you can play the same
game by letting the jammer have the word and then becoming a bid jammer yourself.)
Automatic bid management can keep you from going crazy by ensuring that you’re bid-
ding at the most efficient level all the time.
Fraud monitoring and documentation.
Click fraud can be very costly. A good bid man-
agement software will monitor your PPC campaigns for signs of click fraud.
Nearly every bid management application includes the ability to
generate and share reports. What those reports contain varies from vendor to vendor. Be
sure to check the types of reports that are available with the solution you choose.
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