3rd-Party Campaign Management Platforms: A Secret To Search Ads Success

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Managing search advertising campaigns is a constant balancing act. Between choosing which networks to use, what tools to leverage, and (the big one) how to spend limited budget, we search marketers have our work cut out for us.

So, if we knew of a way to improve campaign performance – one that was as easy to use and that made that balancing act just a bit more manageable — that would be a good thing, right?

Third-Party Campaign Management Platforms Work — And We Have Proof

Third-party platform providers – such as Marin Software, Kenshoo, Adobe, Ignition One and Acquisio – offer agencies, resellers and advertisers sophisticated algorithms and tools that enhance bidding strategies. They can add value when it comes to campaign creation and management, cross-publisher management, forecasting and optimization, audience targeting and providing robust measurement and reporting capabilities.

This may not be news – after all, advertisers have been using tools like these for years, and many of us wouldn’t think about running a campaign without them. But when Bing Ads recently did a study to determine the real impact of these tools, even we were surprised by the results.

The Numbers Speak For Themselves

Looking at aggregated campaign performance for 5,597 distinct accounts across the Yahoo Bing Network in June 2014, we found that advertisers who were leveraging third-party campaign and bid management platforms achieved 123 percent more clicks on average, 58 percent higher click-through rates and CPC efficiencies, over time, up to 7% lower. 

And after conducting a survey and in-depth interviews looking at how advertisers optimize their campaigns, we found accounts using these tools were more likely to optimize their campaigns more frequently and were likely to have more keywords under management. (Internal Bing Ads Study conducted Jan-Jul 2014.)

Sixty-two percent (62%) of accounts using these tools were likely to optimize campaigns at least twice a week, compared to only 35% for those which did not use third-party API tools.

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How Frequently Are Search Campaigns Evaluated?

What’s even more impressive is that accounts using third-party campaign management tools had nearly 3x as many keywords under management.

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Average Number of Keywords Under Management

The bottom line? Third-party campaign management tools enable accounts to more easily and more effectively manage campaigns, resulting in more site visits at a lower cost.

Better Performance Across Verticals

While the high-level results are impressive, when we looked more closely at different verticals, we saw similar results. All major verticals generated a higher click-through rate when using a campaign management platform.

And, with the exception of Technology & Telco and Autos, all verticals generated more clicks at a lower cost. Campaigns supported by third-party tool providers performed consistently better than those without that support.

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Advertiser Take-Away

We know definitively that, thanks to our API partners’ technologies and platforms, advertisers get a high quality experience when creating, managing and optimizing campaigns.

Advertisers benefit from sophisticated algorithms that enhance bidding strategies, and from ad copy optimization that leads to better quality scores, higher ranking and customer engagement. And just as important, these tools support automated workflows, channel attribution, and more – driving increased scalability and performance.

Any advertising investment carries inherent risk, but armed with the knowledge that third-party campaign management tools can yield consistently better results, advertisers can invest in these tools with confidence.

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