From 2009-2013, I built a PPC agency that manages $25 mil/year in spend for clients, ranging from Fortune 500's to startups. I've trained over 2 dozen people into becoming PPC experts. Those people are now experts in their own right, working for some of the top agencies or running their own businesses. In the past 5 years, I've done agency work in web design, development and marketing. I've also acquired and grown an ecommerce business. On your call with me, you'll learn how to create a real business model for growth, and tie that into hard, actionable online metrics.
As a "non" technical founder on a tech team, I really relied on our team to help drive product roadmaps and timelines. I think you can do the same.
for Search (Adwords), SEMRush or Spyfu is good. I personally prefer Spyfu these days.
On display advertising, we use www.whatrunswhere.com. They offer a free 3 day trial, and then it's like $300/month, so has to be worth your time.
Would love to schedule a call if you're struggling with researching your competition.
Gotowebinar is definitely the most reliable option at scale (e.g. at over 100 registrants). For lower than that, you may want to check out www.join.me, and freeconferencecall.com also has a free/affordable web meeting/presentation module.
What we recommend is pulling in the Google Analytics data into your CRM/form. It will include all Adwords data, and you can then run cost/revenue analysis from your CRM.
Alternatively, grab the gclid into a hidden form, and then do an upload into the new Google Adwords business center, of the GCLID, and the lead value. You can then run reports off of that data. See:
In our experience, we've tried the super-targeted approach.
What we found, even 3-4 years ago is that it became alot harder to do bid optimization when it was to segmented.
Even in super-competitive verticals (e.g. mortgage/finance leads, florists etc.), where there's reason to break things down to the long tail, it's made alot more sense to use Google's keyword tool to remove the keywords that have no volume.
Keep in mind, that in the past 6 months, exact match is becoming obsolete, as Google automatically includes related keywords.
So don't obssess as much on the "long tail keywords", and focus more on your ad copy messaging, positioning (what percentage of the time you are on top), and landing page conversion rate, and this will give you a much higher conversion rate.
This is totally a legitimate strategy. If you would like to take this strategy to the next level, you can also create a page that reviews your service vs. your competitor, and then you can use the competitors content in your ad, and frame it as a review.
Just be aware, that if you have big competitors who are lawsuit happy, no matter what you do, you are at risk of them getting annoying and dirty. I'd recommend being very respectful (if they are bigger).
On the SEM side, we created a list of questions we recommend our clients ask their potential vendors. You can access it at:
Let me if you have any questions, I'd be happy to jump on a call.
As @Michael said, when you have your Adwords & Analytics linked, the initial data is set by the UTM parameters.
Then, a couple of minutes later, Google will import all of the data related to the GCLID stored in the session, and that will overwrite all of the data you originally had.
We've used this to our advantage with a client who the utm_campaign variable in their own custom tracking platform. We let them know they would be fine, as their platform would properly record the campaign variable, and then a couple of minutes later, the GCLID variable in analytics would overwrite it.
We haven't seen any data duplication, except for when (for some reason) the GCLID doesn't get stored properly, which has happened occasionally. Otherwise, it works out fairly well.
Hope this helps.
I know you've already decided to use a bid management platform. However, I'd like to share with you my experiences.
As an SEM agency managing $30 million+/year, we've invested tens of thousands of dollars into streamlining our work effort with a bid management platform. We've specifically used Marin & Click Equations (now owned by Acquisio). We also consistently demo the bid management platforms to see if there's anything eye opening for us.
1) We've always had an implementation challenge. Installing each one across multiple clients has been a pain. If you're just running it for your company - then it's a lot better.
2) Crappy Bid Algorithm's - they always (used to) try to pitch you on how sexy their bid management algorithms are. We had a client who came to us already on Marin, and we found that their bid algorithm consistently sucked. Honestly, bid management isn't rocket science, and once you have an equilibrium, it doesn't need to be changed much.
3) Google doesn't consistently update their API - many of the beta features that power users use aren't available via the API immediately, so the bid management platforms can't take that data in. We liked Click Equations years ago, because they were the only platform at the time that imported Quality score, and created alerts and reporting for you, even though it wasn't avaiable via API. These days, things like the Google Business Data center, Adwords Scripts & Labels etc. aren't available via the standard API, and therefore none of the platforms deal with it.
4) These platforms are ONLY good for reporting - I sat at a Google roundtable of 10 top SMB SEM agencies ($25 - $100 million/year in managed spend), and I asked them "do any of you use Bid Management platforms?". Only ONE of the ten said they use a bid management platform, and at that, only for reporting.
5) The real things Bid Management solutions should be doing - The real thing that bid management platforms should be focusing is automating the things that count (e.g. split testing ads), and they don't. You can however, find other vendors (e.g. Brad Geddes's Adalysis.com) that do ad testing in an effective manner.
If you have further questions, please feel free to give me a ring.
I've made it a point to network (often virtually), as I'm too busy these days to hit conferences and stuff... I've recently found a mentor - someone who is in a related industry, is that "success story" I want to emulate, and has the passion to teach and share. I'm paying her an extravagant sum of money (gladly - as it forces me to do the things she sais - even the uncomfortable ones) each month, and it's working really well.
For me, I find it hard to trust people, as I tend to call bullshit on them, so it's taken me a long time. I've always surrounded myself with those people I desired to emulate, even if they had nothing to do with my industry. I believe I learnt alot through osmosis.
I think the key here for you is focusing on building relationships with people you admire. Be a person to them (don't puppy dog them or harass them), just chill and learn from them.
Be open (or propose) a mentoring relationship (I pay you to mentor me) with the right person.
Hope this helps.