Overture Unveils New Search Campaign Optimizer

by , Jul 26, 2004, 12:00 AM
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Overture Performance Marketing, a unit of Overture Services, Monday unveiled Search Optimizer, a new optimization product designed to capitalize on the rapidly growing market for search campaign management tools.

Steve Mitgang, senior vice president-general manager of Overture Performance Marketing, says that Search Optimizer's main point of differentiation from other SEO applications is its automated capabilities. Search Optimizer tracks and manages campaigns on its own, based on the business objectives advertisers set for it. Mitgang says that Search Optimizer is built to manage campaigns of thousands of keywords, with different settings for each keyword. Therefore, the subscription-based service may be surplus to the requirement of advertisers with smaller campaigns.

The new automated tool monitors advertisers' Overture campaigns and measures their effectiveness versus other existing search marketing campaigns. The automated assistant then recommends campaign strategies based on performance, the client's stated business objectives, and search market trends. A "watch list" helps also advertisers manage their keywords through a feature that allows them to develop a list of their most important campaigns or keywords and perform searches of their performance data.

Overture's Mitgang notes that the new product is more appropriate for advertisers with a "few hundred keywords or more." New numbers from Jupiter Research suggest that this may soon represent most search advertisers. According to Jupiter Research analyst Gary Stein, 40 percent of advertisers are bidding on a thousand or more keywords--a number that he says will continue to grow.

Stein says the most compelling feature of the new Overture application for advertisers is the ability to daypart search campaigns. Search Optimizer lets advertisers segment their spend by time of day, setting different keyword bid values for different times of the day. Or, an advertiser can simply decline to bid at certain hours of the day. Stein adds that the automated features and the "watch list" are the kinds of features that "advertisers are asking for."

Initially, advertisers define their own campaign objectives such as cost-per-acquisition (CPA), cost-per-click (CPC), or return on ad spend (ROAS), and then set their goals, adding all the relevant minimum/maximum bid information. The program then knows an advertiser's campaign goals, and can assist the optimization process based on these parameters.

Mitgang notes that Search Optimizer in no way compromises the importance of third-party search engine optimization firms, despite recent industry speculation that larger search providers are starting to marginalize SEOs by developing do-it-yourself optimization programs. "Customers need third parties," Mitgang said. "We absolutely continue to look to our partner SEOs."

Search Optimizer is a subscription product that will be bundled with Marketing Console, Overture Performance Marketing's marketing optimization product for other online advertising platforms.

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