Search engine marketing is the backbone of an efficient marketing strategy and plays a critical role in many integrated marketing campaigns. It’s always important to ensure the dollars in your marketing budget go as far as possible, but this efficiency is even more vital when changes in the market affect campaign budgets, as many of us are currently experiencing as a result of COVID-19.
As marketers, it’s important that we focus on the things we know we can control, and what we know has worked well for us in more certain times. Luckily, there are a variety of different search management platforms on the market that have demonstrated success for marketers in many different types of market conditions. This success comes from aligned cross-channel tracking which helps uncover new opportunities to improve conversion rate and ultimately eliminate wasted ad spend. It also creates a single source of truth to evaluate overall campaign performance, no matter how markets change.
Search Ads 360, for example, is one top choice for managing SEM campaigns due to integration with Google Analytics. While your customers may not be shopping in the same ways they normally do, this integration can help you make informed decisions about your search engine marketing strategy and quickly react.
No matter how the digital marketing landscape changes due to COVID-19 or other factors, search management platforms will always be essential for overall marketing success. Let’s walk through the top seven benefits of search management platforms for more efficient search engine marketing campaigns, now and long-term.
Benefits of Search Management Platforms
#1: Superior Machine Learning Algorithms
Machine learning is the single most highlighted feature across all search management platforms including Search Ads 360. By leveraging data from all search/social platforms and integrating this online data with offline data (e.g. CRM data), search engine platforms use machine learning to facilitate smarter bid optimizations and more reliable models/projections.
These superior machine learning capabilities are the “secret sauce” of these platforms’ success, as they can leverage more data and optimization signals than any one account could have access to. Machine learning ultimately helps cut waste and increase conversions with intelligent and automated optimization. This eliminates human error associated with traditional bidding and shortens the amount of time and resources needed to fully optimize SEM campaigns.
However, it’s important to note that these machine learning capabilities are more of a black-box than any of the other similarities we’ll highlight here, so there’s no definitive way to tell which search management platform’s machine learning capabilities are superior except through testing.
#2: Consolidated Campaign Management
Search management platforms allow advertisers to integrate campaigns across different accounts, platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and search engines (e.g. Google Ads, Bing, Yahoo!, Baidu, and Yahoo! Japan) – all in one place.
This helps you cut waste by providing a single source of truth on marketing spend and it also saves a lot of time in terms of campaign management. Your SEM team will thank you for this benefit alone, just refer back to the age-old saying that time is money.
#3: Budget Management Tools
All search management platforms offer budget management tools to streamline budget pacing and spending across channels and campaigns. These tools vary slightly between different platforms but generally work the same in that you can create budget groups that consist of multiple campaigns across any number of channels.
Budget groups offer tighter control, cross-channel budgeting, and better transparency into campaign performance which also facilitates complex splitting of budgets across channels and campaigns.
Additionally, you can automate budget management with budget bid strategies, which lets the strategy auto-set individual campaign budgets, bids and bid adjustments to achieve optimal performance. Finally, you can set different time ranges for the budgets (week, month, quarter or year).
This is another huge time saver for management teams and eliminates a lot of room for error when budgets are owned by different business units and running across multiple channels. This increases the overall efficiency of your marketing budget across all channels.
#4: Enhanced Reporting
Search management platforms also offer robust reporting capabilities and dashboard templates. Most of them focus on highlighting the cross-channel journey and conversion attribution across multiple touchpoints, also known as multi-touch attribution.
These reporting capabilities are very valuable for optimizing your business’s attribution modeling and determining the true ROAS of each channel. Transparency into the true ROAS of each marketing channel means that marketers can choose how to spend their budgets more efficiently, by allocating funds from low converting channels to high converting channels instead. This eliminates any wasted ad spend on underperforming channels and audiences.
#5: Creative Testing Processes
Search management platforms offer a creative testing solution focused on improving the advertiser’s ability to build new and compelling ads to test and accelerate A/B testing timelines. Many of these capabilities have been co-opted by the engines themselves, but there is still benefit in using the creative tools of search engine management to align testing across channels.
It is important to note that this benefit might not hold the same value to your brand depending on which search management platform you choose. Some platforms, like Search Ads 360 have made great strides the past few years in terms of launching new ad formats (e.g. responsive search ads) that recombine headlines/descriptions in order to maximize performance, along with suggesting new ad copy based on what’s worked in the past.
#6: Cross-Channel Conversion Tracking
Search management platforms use a proprietary tracking pixel in order to measure impressions and visits to your site and stitch those back to clicks and costs from each marketing channel. By aligning conversion tracking across all paid channels, advertisers can deduplicate conversion attribution and start to uncover the true value of each touchpoint as the user’s journey crosses channels.
This feature facilitates an accurate view into conversion attribution enabling advertisers to cut waste and optimize budgets more effectively since they can be more confident that conversion credit is being attributed correctly. This also contributes to increased conversion volume, since advertisers can make optimizations to their targeting based on deeper insights into the customer journey, and how their top converting audiences navigate their site before, during, and after purchase.
#7: Advanced Audience Targeting
One of the best benefits of search management platforms is the ability to build and share remarketing audiences across search and social. By building audiences across channels advertisers can build larger qualified audiences faster and then reach that audience across multiple channels.
In addition, cross-channel remarketing is one of the most compelling reasons to use a search management platform. While there are ways to upload customer data to each ad platform in order to have the same audience in each channel, search management platforms allow you to unify that audience journey across channels, so you can tell the true value of each touchpoint as a user interacts across channels.
Strong remarketing campaigns are a great way to optimize marketing budgets since you can focus on converting site visitors that haven’t purchased. By building and deploying your remarketing audience cross-channel, this increases conversions long term and helps keep your brand top of mind for your target audience.
Choosing the Right Search Management Platform
Deciding if a search management platform is right for you starts with evaluating your business’s SEM campaign performance, your overall marketing mix, and your marketing goals. From there you can assess whether a test makes sense or not. While we’ve covered a number of general benefits from upgrading your SEM campaign management, there are also many reasons advertisers specifically choose Search Ads 360 compared with other solutions.
To learn why advertisers often choose Search Ads 360 as their search management platform, stay tuned for our upcoming blog post that covers the history and main benefits of Search Ads 360 compared with other leading search management platforms on the market such as Kenshoo and MarinOne.
If you’d like to learn more in the meantime, we recommend that you take a look at some of our other SEM blog posts. We have a comparison of Google Ads vs Search Ads 360, and we have some great tips on how to make the most of your SEM ad copy testing with responsive search ads. You can also fill out the form below to get our full comparison guide on Search Ads 360 vs Google Ads now.
Ready to take your ads, and your business, to the next level? Get in touch with the DELVE team today.