Web Metrics With Bid Management Tools

WebSideStory rounded out its ActiveMarketingSuite today by launching a new keyword bid management solution, WebSideStory Bid, along with the latest version of its on-demand Web-analytics product, HBX Analytics 3.0. The move indicates a trend for Web-analytics providers to deliver an entire package for their online customers, rather than making them shop for separate specialists in the areas of search, bid management, and analytics. HBX 3.0 will be released one year after the company's current release, and will introduce Active Dashboard, which gives marketers a visual representation of their Web metrics and how those metrics affect their business objectives. It includes a graphical interface that lets marketers create hypothetical scenarios and "play the what-if game," says Rand Schulman, chief active marketing officer. For example, they can figure out what the impact on total monthly revenue would be if they increased their average order size by 5 percent. HBX 3.0 also includes predefined dashboards based on site type: e-commerce, lead generation, media, and self-service, or custom dashboards. It can be delivered as embedded objects within a PowerPoint presentation. "I'm trying to get marketers to twiddle the dials. Marketing guys tend to be technophobic. Until something comes out and grabs you, marketing people won't use the product. It has to be surprisingly simple," Schulman says. "This release delivers our vision of integrated marketing and making it as easy as possible for marketers to improve their initiatives." Competitors like Omniture and WebTrends also are coming out with more tools to sweeten their suites, and other vendors are likely to follow their lead, says Bob Blumstein, research director at IDC. "You're seeing a trend of Web-analytics companies broadening their [offerings] to achieve more of a digital marketing product. It will allow them to join what's becoming a broader marketplace." WebSideStory Bid sets itself apart from third-party applications with a number of capabilities, according to Schulman. It combines Web-analytic reporting with bid management to help marketers easily measure and manage large numbers of paid keywords through a single marketing console, essentially allowing them to see how much their getting back for the millions of dollars they spend on paid keywords every month. It provides built-in conversion tracking and ROI reporting, with the ability to manage 100,000 keywords per account, according to company. Other Bid capabilities include:
  • Uses AJAX technology, a Web development technique that has more of an html feel than Web mail, making it easier to manage a large number of bids in a cleaner way, Schulman says. "[Marketers] can slice and dice by campaign outlet and test different advertising message as part of the keyword search."
  • Fully integrates with HBX Analytics Reporting, which allows users to change or create bids from any keyword report. For example, if many visitors are typing in a certain keyword on a company's Web site, the marketer can click on the word and automatically bid on it.
  • Creates ROI-based bidding rules that could automatically cut off bidding if the ROI drops below a certain level. Schulman estimates that 10 to 20 percent of WebSideStory's current customers will be using the new product within a year. Blumstein maintains marketers are still learning how to use these tools, which is why more suites don't exist. "People are getting more sophisticated with search engine marketing and search optimization. The more [vendors] can make it easy for a marketer to do, the better it will be. Consolidated interfaces helped Windows conquer the PC market. That makes learning a new piece of software easier. Wiser integration across all media is the next step. Talking to the company as if it were a one-person operation, that's the goal." Related articles: Marketers Are Unsure of ROI Measurements Helping Consumers to Swallow Cookies
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