I’m a huge fan of SEM software. Some of the most popular posts here on PPC Ian are all about this very topic. Eight years ago, when I first started out in this industry, there was no option but to build your own SEM software using the search engine APIs. Today, platforms like Kenshoo and Efficient Frontier are better than what any company could possibly build in-house (or at least the vast majority of companies). As such, the Build Versus Buy decision is somewhat easy, in my opinion. Let’s say you’re in the market for SEM software. Today I’m going to share three off-the-beaten-path tips you should consider when buying your platform. I’ve already covered most of the standard stuff in my SEM Automation Whitepaper so today’s tips are some of the more advanced ones.
Tip 1: Get Peace of Mind In Your Contract
Once you buy your new SEM platform, you’re going to invest a lot in the integration. I’m talking about getting your back end conversion data into the platform, testing and optimizing bidding algorithm, training your team at length, setting up reporting/alerting, and so much more. All of this stuff, if done right, will take a lot of time. It will also propel your SEM program to new levels never thought possible. The byproduct of this all? Once things are working, you really won’t want to change platforms. Sure it’s possible, but it’s going to be a setback for your operation once your new platform is all set up perfectly. For this very reason, I recommend having your legal team insert language into the contract so that the SEM software company cannot raise prices on you. Or, if they do, it’s capped at a certain amount per year that you’re comfortable with. Now, I’m not saying that the SEM software companies will try to raise prices. Most likely, you will be just fine and the price will stay the same. That said, I’m talking about peace of mind here. Whether you’re buying SEM software or any other software for that matter, get some peace of mind in your contract!
Tip 2: Get Resources Behind Your Ideas
Every vertical in online marketing is different. SEM platforms these days offer so much functionality that they cover almost every use case imaginable. That said, after leveraging your SEM software for a while, it’s likely you’ll come up with some idea specific to your company that has not been thought of before. Personally, I’m championing one such idea right now. My tip: Make sure to purchase software from a company that’s interested in hearing and acting upon your ideas. It’s truly great when you’re working with a platform that is receptive to client feedback.
Tip 3: Make Sure Your SEM Software Company Has Funding
The space is heating up for sure. Acquisio acquired ClickEquations. Adobe acquired Efficient Frontier. When you invest in SEM software, it’s not only about the present but it’s also about the future. Make sure to invest in an SEM platform that is going places. Make sure you buy SEM software that has resources (money) to innovate. SEM is a fast-paced field that changes daily. There’s a ton of overhead in innovating SEM software. Make sure the money is there to make it all happen! By the way, the platforms I discuss here on PPC Ian have major funding behind them.
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