ClickZ has launched an innovative new series of buyers guides, created with the aim of cutting through the complexity of the technology landscape to help our community of readers to make better decisions about vendors.
The first in the series of ClickZ buyers guides is dedicated to bid management platforms. With over $90 billion spent on paid search in 2017, these software packages play a vital role in deriving maximum value from a brand’s digital media budget.
The core component of the ClickZ bid management vendor guide is our customer survey, which received over 1,600 responses and evaluated technologies across the following six areas:
The role of a bid management platform has changed significantly over the past decade, in line with the increased sophistication of the digital media industry. Although the foundations of a successful paid media management platform remain rooted in the effective spending of AdWords budgets, the modern marketer also requires support for social media advertising, attribution modeling, and cross-channel strategy.
Kenshoo has been a leader in the bid management space since 2006 and its position as a third-party vendor allows space to innovate and work with clients without the potential for bias to enter the equation. This independence also allows Kenshoo to pursue new, promising channels and functionality that makes it easier for clients to work across channels – scaling, shifting budget, and measuring results across them.
Our survey revealed Kenshoo to be the market leader for enterprise-level digital media campaigns.
Although this is a highly competitive industry with many worthy contenders, Kenshoo shaded the assessment categories that matter most to advanced search marketers. These included cross-channel campaign management, strategic insight, and paid search automation. The overall scores can be seen in the screenshot below, with 5 being the highest possible score:
Furthermore, Kenshoo’s Creative Manager for search and social adds a further dimension to the platform and places the company in a prominent position as search evolves into a more visual marketing medium.
Overall, Kenshoo’s focus is on developing technologies that make a tangible difference to their customers’ businesses.
The usage levels of its features are monitored constantly and the company’s sizeable team of engineers focuses on delivering the innovations that its customer base craves. It is this approach that leads to developments including highly effective performance forecasts, real-time reporting dashboards, and the ability to load high volumes of campaign data almost instantly.
Throughout the search industry’s evolutionary process, Kenshoo has remained at the forefront of innovation. Within our customer surveys, vendor interviews, and expert consultation, Kenshoo was a consistently high scorer and was roundly praised for the features it provides for large, complex accounts.
The three areas in which Kenshoo received its highest scores in our community survey were:
In fact, Kenshoo was the leading scorer out of all platforms in our survey in the cross-channel and bid management categories.
A particular highlight was Kenshoo’s adoption of audience management for prospecting and
remarketing across Facebook and Google. This helps its clients to nurture their audience lists and gain maximum returns on their data.
Due to the development of the industry from a keyword-led approach to intent-driven audiences, this will be a core consideration for brands assessing the vendor landscape.
Search is about much more than bottom-funnel acquisition nowadays, with the advent of much more varied visual formats and the ongoing shift to video. Kenshoo’s support for emerging media formats and channels was seen as a core strength of the technology, particularly its early adoption of both Pinterest and Amazon advertising.
These campaigns can be synthesized into one strategy alongside Search, Shopping, and Social campaigns to provide strategic insight into overall performance. A natural extension of this category, and an area of increasing focus within the industry, is the availability of attribution models that elucidate campaign spend and returns by channels.
Once more, Kenshoo was among the highest scorers in this category as it is host to a range of attribution models and allows for a degree of customization by marketers, based on their company’s weighting of each channel’s significance.
Kenshoo’s bid management algorithms that deliver improved returns on cross-channel budgets also received very high scores in our survey. Recent architectural changes enable clients to analyze millions of keywords in a matter of seconds with no volume limits, a significant benefit when managing large, complex campaigns.
One highlight from the vendor interviews was the ease of use of their new Budget Manager, which allows clients to visually model a range of future scenarios based on their planned media spend across multiple channels, objectives, audiences, product categories and geographies. This capability allows marketers to plan more frequently and to quickly get answers to questions about the impact of their budget.
It is also worth noting that Kenshoo was among the three highest-scoring platforms for client support in our survey. This was driven by the company’s focus on providing expert support for enterprise accounts, with customers citing both the availability and the knowledge of their representatives as notable strengths. Kenshoo also has a large research team, with whom clients can work to dig deeper into search data and uncover new insights.
Kenshoo is an effective technology that contains a multitude of advanced features that will help marketers extract maximum value from their media budget. Moreover, it provides additional value on top of the core bid management algorithms that marketers have come to expect.
By focusing on where the industry is headed and developing features that provide clients with a competitive advantage, Kenshoo looks poised to maintain its position as a market leader in this field for some time to come.
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