I’ve lost touch a little with the paid search bid management market since leaving Adobe. I thought it was time to see what’s going on, and which platforms the big advertisers are using.
A bit of digging into the HTML of the Google SERPs gives a good indication of what’s going on. Third party platforms use a 302 redirect to measure clicks from a paid search ad. It’s easy to spot in the code, but I created a Chrome extension to take some of the leg work out of it.
I’ve picked a list of 40 large UK advertisers from the finance and travel verticals. The list is based on my judgement, not external data. So feel free to shout if you think I’ve missed an obvious name out.
|Insure and Go||None|
|On the Beach Limited||None|
|Premier Inn Limited||None|
|Sykes Cottages Limited||None|
|Thomas Cook Group||DS3|
A few notes on the data:
- I collected it at the start of the month, so it should be current.
- If you’re not au fait with SEM bid management platforms:
- Adobe is Adobe Media Optimizer, part of the Adobe Marketing Cloud (and née Efficient Frontier).
- Atlas is part of Facebook. I’m as surprised as you that they’re in this list. There isn’t (anymore) an Atlas product for search bid management. So I suppose HSBC are just using Atlas to track clicks, but use something to change bids etc.
- DS3 is DoubleClick Search, part of the DoubleClick stack, wholly owned by Google.
- Kenshoo is a privately owned advertising management platform that extends across search, social and display channels.
- Marin is a publicly listed advertising management platform that also extends across search, social and display channels.
- None doesn’t mean an advertiser has set their CPC bids to £5 and gone for an early lunch. There are lots of ways of managing search campaigns without using a full on 3rd party tech. Some of the very biggest advertisers build their own, others use the functionality with AdWords itself.
- Not all advertisers use a platform consistently. Saga uses DS3 for its car insurance campaigns, but not for travel insurance.
- Of course there’s a chart…
17 out of the 40 advertisers use DS3, with its leading
prices integration with the rest of the DoubleClick stack. It’s rapidly becoming the default option for search advertisers. Although other platforms clearly have some landmark clients, I wonder how long it is before Google squeezes the life out of this market.
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Hi Jonathan, cool article with interesting insights, is it possible to do the same analysis for retail as well? Or can you share the Chrome extension? That would be great, thanks in advance.
I will revisit this for retail, though parsing Shopping Ads is more difficult and I need to look into it properly. No plans to share the Chrome extension, sorry.