ClickEquations was created because we wanted a more effective and efficient way to manage paid search campaigns.
We have years of PPC management experience, and have used many the top search management tools. We did a pretty thorough analysis of those we hadn’t tried ourselves. And we did some serious thinking about what it was we felt was missing.
The conclusion we came to was that not only did none of the available tools satisfy us from a feature perspective, but more importantly the philosophies on which they were built and the goals they seemed to have didn’t align with our beliefs about paid search management.
- Search is about people, not keywords.
- Math should drive decisions, not intuition.
- The PPC options and controls are interdependent.
- The tool should serve the search manager, not the search engine.
So we decided to build our own.
A lot of search agencies have built their own technology. But ours isn’t a skunkworks project.
We’re a venture-backed startup with leading SAAS-software investors including First Round Capital, Internet Capital Group, and Novitas Capital. Over the past few years we’ve built a complete development team, technical operations and customer support staff. And our management team has built and run market leading ecommerce and financial services software companies.
ClickEquations has been developed with a clear long term development vision in mind.
We want to apply as much mathematics and statistics to the management of paid search as possible. There is truth in the numbers, and power to be had in their analysis and algorithmic management.
But there is also a reality to the development sequence, and a lot of great things to deliver before we have the big magic ‘optimize everything’ button ready.
Data In/Data Out
The foundation of any paid search software platform has to be complete and accurate data. Everything that happens on top of that – reporting, management, recommendations, testing, automation – is only as good as the data.
So one important early effort in our development has been making sure we have complete and accurate data – from not one but six data sources that can be useful in reporting, analysis, and optimization.
Equally important is reporting – the ability to utilize the data for both decision making and communications. There are needs PPC managers have in their daily work, plus dashboards and summaries they are often asked to deliver for senior execs and clients. These should be screamingly fast and almost infinitely customizable.
Management & Bid Management
With comprehensive data and flexible reporting in place, the next natural step is the ability to make changes and take action – the core of what the category defines as paid search management.
As with data and reporting, with think it’s an opportunity to take a different approach.
Most tools blindly mimic the search engine interfaces, enabling editing and not much else. They fail to acknowledge the way the options are actually used, to connect the data that would drive you to want to change a variable to the ability to change that variable, or to consider any of the interactions and interdependence between options and controls.
Moving a control panel from one browser window to the next hardly seems worth doing.
Bid management is the emperor in the paid search management world, and while he’s not entirely naked he certainly doesn’t have nearly as many clothes on as some would like you to believe.
There is a lot that mathematical analysis can tell you about how your bid should be set – given one specific set of circumstances in terms of keywords, text-ads, match types, ad-group organization, and assuming you’ve got either a significant performance history on that specific keyword in those specific circumstances (and that they’ll all remain constant) or a collection of keywords with enough identifiable similarities that they can be intelligently grouped and considered as one.
We’ve got a comprehensive approach to bid management, so I’m in no way dismissing it as unimportant.
But buying/choosing/believing in a paid search management tool because of its ‘bid management’ capabilities is like believing you can win the Indy 500 if you just tune your carburetor perfectly.
There are other vital components in the system and if you essentially ignore them your chance for meaningful improvement is limited. But if you consider and manage the system, all things are possible.
The Interesting Stuff
Data, Reporting, and Management capabilities are the cornerstone of any paid search tool. But there are additional layers of capabilities that paid search managers need, and which we intend to deliver – with tastes of each in early releases and focused effort as we move forward.
The reason is simple. Even when you have perfect data, flexible reporting, and the simple ability to add/edit/delete anything, paid search management would still not be effective and efficient.
It would be a world better than it is today, but you’d still be:
- Staring at tens-of-thousands of rows of data with the tough tasks of deciding what to do,
- Executing those changes and keeping track of them to determine whether or not they turned out to have positive effects, and
- Doing lots of manual labor and calculations where software could provide either process or full automation.
So Here’s Why
This gets to the crux of why we’ve built ClickEquations.
Paid search software today helps people to satisfy the needs of the search engine advertising platforms. Every bit of data and just about every option and control (aside from those in the bid-rule modules some provide) are designed to give the engines what they need to run your ads they way they want to run them.
We’re just tending to their machine – and paying for the privilege.
We want to turn that around. The experience of paid search management should be one of thinking about people and targeting prospects and customers – not managing keywords and worrying about 17 ways to say ‘buy a cheap car’.
It should be about valuing relationships and outcomes not bidding $0.98 on Sunday night and $2.49 on Wednesday at noon.
And it should be about managing interactions throughout the prospect/customer lifecycle, not trying to get ‘quality score’ points by using the terminology an external force thinks belongs on your landing page.
We’ll move in phases.
- First, you’ll get industry leading clarity into what’s going on so you can dramatically improve your understanding.
- Then, we’ll help you see patterns and opportunities and avoidable risks in new and clear ways.
- Later, we’ll provide a full set of algorithms that let you really stand up to their algorithms.
Slowly you’ll stop playing their game and start playing yours.
And In The End
Our goals are efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency means keeping constantly in mind that our software is supposed to make the job of managing paid search easier. Effectiveness means our software is supposed to drive better economic results.
These are big goals. These are long term visions. These are what drive us.
The initial release of ClickEquations is a great start, valuable and differentiated. We look forward to working with anyone who shares our views of the potential of search management software.
PS: For a limited time prior to our official launch, you can request an invitation to try ClickEquations for FREE for up to six months. If you qualify, you’ll be notified and we’ll have you up and running in a matter of days. Come on, try it!