Acquisio's PPC Management Software: How and Why We Use It
When it comes to automating your PPC workload, there exists a wealth of tools out there on the market. The past few years have seen a real growth in the quality of these tools, and as generally most companies will be using either no tools, or just one (particularly as changing often requires re-training), we wanted to take some time to review Acquisio for you and explain why we use it here at Hanapin Marketing as our PPC software of choice.
First, quickly how it works: Once you sign up for Acquisio, you will have access to an online dashboard (much like being in AdWords or Bing AdCenter). All you need to do to get started is synchronize your accounts and tell Acquisio which campaigns to monitor. In terms of cost, it works on a percentage of spend model, with plans starting at $375 (as of June 2013).
Now that’s cleared up, let’s look at the reasons for using a tool like this. The two main benefits we’ve found from using Acquisio are that we now require much less time to pull reports and that we have access to more advanced bidding tools.
Within the Acquisio interface, navigating to the Report Center tab brings up what is in our opinion, the best feature of the platform, and one of the most useful things about PPC software in general. From here you have the option to create report templates for your account that can be used multiple times. A typical report sent to one of my clients might include: Campaign data for each of their Google, Bing and Facebook accounts, a breakdown of my stats for the month, how on course we are to hit conversion and spend targets and a comparison with previous months. All of this can be automatically pulled into a report, which will update automatically. You will need to invest a few hours initially to get your reports set up as you would like, but once that’s done the long-term time savings are very noticeable.
The great thing about a lot of these reports is that you can show your data in a lot of different formats – in the examples below I have a pie chart that automatically updates and lets my client know a quick visual representation of their Google vs. Bing costs for the month. I also have a graph of clicks and impressions over the past 12 months – these graphs stay up to date by themselves without me needing to add additional data as I would with an Excel-based report.
There are still some things that need to be added manually – specific time comparisons, call data etc. However, this is still fairly simple to do as the report center has easy options to add your own Excel tables, text and images.
The standard Acquisio dashboard, called the Campaign Browser, allows you to see all of your PPC data in one place. This means I can get a quick and easy consolidated overview of all of my campaigns from Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on. Acquisio also gives me the option to bucket this data however I see fit. So, for example, I can set my dashboard up to show my campaigns grouped by publisher, theme, search vs. display or whatever my primary differentiator is. This really is a great feature for saving time compared with logging into multiple accounts. Here’s a quick example of how that looks for one of my accounts:
The Campaign Automation Center allows you to manage your bids across multiple PPC publishers using either a standard algorithm or a custom-bidding rule. Your options with all of this stuff are fairly flexible, and Acquisio lets you choose how much data you want to use to make changes (flexibility vs. accuracy), how often to make changes, and whether you want changes made automatically or have the recommended to you for you to change.
Below is an example of an algorithm not available with your standard Google AdWords account. Acquisio can pull in your back end revenue data from Google Analytics (or other analytics package) and use that data to maximize your return on ad spend (ROAS).
Another great timesaving feature of Acquisio is the KPI dashboard. You can manually enter targets for your key PPC metrics and have Acquisio automatically tell you how your projections are doing compared to your targets. This is great for instantly knowing if you are light on conversions or heavy on spend midway through a month.
This data can also be quickly added to your reports, either in a variety of forms. I particularly like the multi KPI meters available.
Acqusio has its own Mass Editor, which operates much like the AdWords Editor or Bing Desktop, however it has a major advantage in that it can do all of them from one platform. There is also a keyword tool in the editor, which allows you to quickly research and copy keywords across multiple tools (AdWords tool, Wordstream, Word Tracker and WordNet).
One of the most powerful uses of the platform is the advanced attribution modeling offered. This enables you to assign values to your impressions, clicks and conversions across channels and by time. For example if you had a click yesterday, which led to another click and a sale today, you could assign it part of the value as an assist. Should the original click have come 30 days ago, you can assign it less value than the one yesterday. This enables you to assign value to display impressions too and get a better idea for whether they are helping in the conversion process.
As of June 2013 there are still a couple of minor issues with Acquisio, the most noticeable of which is that the platform is flash-based and can therefore get slow when dealing with lots of data. This can be very noticeable with certain aspects of the platform such as the mass editor. However, Acquisio has a new version in the works that utilizes HTML 5 and I’m personally excited about the potential for improved speed and responsiveness that will come with it.
Not only should the speed improve, but also the new layout is a lot more visually impressive (see below).
So that covers the basic hows and whys of using Acquisio, at least from our perspective. If you are interested in using Acquisio, you can get a 30-day trial from their site here.
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