Stephen darori the forrester wave bid management software prividers q4 2012


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Stephen darori the forrester wave bid management software prividers q4 2012

  1. 1. FOR: Interactive Marketing Professionals The Forrester Wave™: Bid Management Software Providers, Q4 2012 by shar VanBoskirk, november 16, 2012 Key TaKeaWays software solutions exist To help scale paid search programs Bid management tools have existed for years but have been adequate only for search programs with a moderate number of keywords. Now, viable options exist to manage large biddable media programs across search, display, and social media Bid Management providers are operational, not Visionary Bid management providers today are still primarily simple tool sets for managing paid search programs and, sometimes, a broader set of biddable media. But overall, the category is more focused on one-upping competitor features than on inventing the broader future of discovery marketing. smaller, standalone Firms lead Market giants Most vendors can demonstrate good program results. The differentiators that emerged in this study had to do with platform flexibility and ease of use as well as the vision and focus of vendor leadership. The smaller firms we evaluated demonstrated both more nimbly. Forrester Research, Inc., 60 Acorn Park Drive, cambridge, MA 02140 UsA Tel: +1 617.613.6000 | Fax: +1 617.613.5000 |
  2. 2. For Interactive Marketing Professionals November 16, 2012 The Forrester Wave™: Bid Management Software Providers, Q4 2012 Kenshoo Leads, With IgnitionOne And Marin Software Following As Strong Performers by Shar VanBoskirk with Nate Elliott, Sarah Takvorian, and Jennifer Wise Why Read This Report In response to growing demand for bid management software, Forrester evaluated this category in addition to two others in separate Forrester Waves™: search marketing agencies and SEO platforms. Our 19-criteria evaluation of bid management software providers analyzes and compares five providers that develop and sell proprietary platforms for managing paid search media, including: Adobe Systems, Google (DoubleClick), IgnitionOne, Kenshoo, and Marin Software. This report analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of each player and plots where they stand in relation to each other and to marketers’ needs. Table Of Contents Notes & Resources 2 Technology Options Help Scale Paid Search Programs From June 1, 2012, through October 24, 2012, Forrester evaluated bid management software providers. The primary interviews in this process were with the vendors evaluated: Adobe Systems, Google, IgnitionOne, Kenshoo, and Marin Software. Please see the Supplemental Material section of this report for a detailed explanation of our process and Forrester’s Wave methodology. We Added Bid Management Software To Our Search Marketing Forrester Wave Process The Evaluation Considers Three Dimensions 5 Bid Management Tools Provide Only Basic Solutions 6 Vendor Profiles Leaders Strong Performers Contenders Risky Bets 7 Supplemental Material Related Research Documents The Forrester Wave™: Search Marketing Agencies, Q4 2012 October 31, 2012 The Forrester Wave™: SEO Platforms, Q4 2012 October 31, 2012 The Forrester Wave™: US Search Marketing Agencies, Q1 2011 January 31, 2011 © 2012, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester®, Technographics®, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. To purchase reprints of this document, please email For additional information, go to
  3. 3. For Interactive Marketing Professionals 2 The Forrester Wave™: Bid Management Software Providers, Q4 2012 Technology Options Help Scale Paid Search programs Basic bid management tools have been available for years. But until now, many marketers turned to search agencies and their homegrown tools instead because standalone technology couldn’t successfully manage the size or complexity of enterprise programs. Today, however, both marketers and agencies can find acceptable software for their biddable media. Why? ■ Program size requires automation. Mature paid search programs are too vast for marketers and agencies to adequately manage manually or with homegrown tools. For instance, online price-comparison service PriceGrabber turned to a third-party bid management tool when its internal system could no longer effectively or accurately manage bids for its more than 16 million keywords.1 ■ Technology options are gaining credibility. Bid management tools aren’t just dumb paid search ad servers anymore. Today’s platforms optimize millions of keywords with complex automated algorithms. This collective improvement in sophistication is raising marketer awareness of vendor expertise and garnering investment in the market. In Q1 2012, Marin Software picked up $30 million in venture funding, and Adobe Systems bought Efficient Frontier. ■ All media is now biddable. Bidding for ad placement isn’t just for search engines anymore. Programmatic buying is now a common way to buy display media and ads on social networks and will soon be customary with other media such as mobile, print, TV, and radio. Tools that optimize and execute bidding strategies will become increasingly important as marketers work to centrally manage all of their programmatic media buys.2 We Added Bid Management Software To Our Search Marketing Forrester Wave Process The above trends have led more Forrester clients to ask for help assessing bid management software providers. So this year, we added new technology categories to our search marketing Wave process. Look for three search Forrester Waves overall: search agencies, bid management software providers, and SEO platforms.3 While we believe that programmatic media buyers will eventually favor a consolidated media buying platform across all paid media types, today, marketers primarily want help scaling paid search programs.4 With this need in mind, we screened into this evaluation vendors that (see Figure 1): 1. Develop and sell a proprietary platform for managing paid search media. Agencies, providers licensing or reselling another technology, and technology vendors focused on managing nonsearch media did not qualify for this evaluation. © 2012, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited November 16, 2012
  4. 4. For Interactive Marketing Professionals 3 The Forrester Wave™: Bid Management Software Providers, Q4 2012 2. Primarily target enterprise marketers. We included only vendors for which enterprise firms (companies with 1,000 employees or more) make up at least 50% of the total number of clients. Also, we screened in only firms with enough financial solvency to support the development demands of large marketers; firms with less than $20 million in revenues did not make the cut. Figure 1 Evaluated Vendors: Vendor Information And Selection Criteria Product version evaluated Vendor Product evaluated Date evaluated Adobe Systems Adobe AdLens N/A Q3 2012 Google DoubleClick Search V3 Q3 2012 IgnitionOne Digital Marketing Suite 5.3 Q3 2012 Kenshoo Kenshoo Enterprise 4.7 Q3 2012 Marin Software Marin Enterprise Edition, Marin Professional Edition N/A Q3 2012 Vendor selection criteria Company focus: Are at least 50% of the vendor’s clients enterprise-level (firms with 1,000 or more employees)? Company services: Does the vendor develop and sell a proprietary platform for managing paid search media? Source: Forrester Research, Inc. The Evaluation Considers Three Dimensions Five vendors screened into our study, based on the above criteria: Adobe Systems (whose AdLens product was formerly Efficient Frontier), Google (DoubleClick), IgnitionOne, Kenshoo, and Marin Software. We developed 19 criteria that we found to be the most relevant to user needs in order to evaluate each vendor’s (see Figure 2): ■ Current offering. We evaluated the functionality available to help users set up campaigns and identify and value new keyword opportunities. We also studied vendors’ ad and landing page testing, quality assurance (QA) processes, and platform ease of use. Here, we also gauged the breadth of media options each vendor supports, its international capabilities, and how it optimizes bids in conditional situations (such as competitor moves or audience response). ■ Strategy. Inputs here included the strength and stability of vendor executive teams, their visions for the future of search, and the quality of client references. ■ Market presence. Finally, we also examined each firm’s overall size, number of customers, and retention rate. © 2012, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited November 16, 2012
  5. 5. For Interactive Marketing Professionals 4 The Forrester Wave™: Bid Management Software Providers, Q4 2012 Figure 2 Forrester Wave™: Bid Management Software Providers, Q4 '12 Risky Bets Strong Performers Contenders Leaders Strong IgnitionOne Go online to download Kenshoo the Forrester Wave tool for more detailed product Marin Software evaluations, feature comparisons, and Adobe Systems customizable rankings. Current offering Google Market presence Full vendor participation Weak Weak Strategy Strong Source: Forrester Research, Inc. © 2012, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited November 16, 2012
  6. 6. For Interactive Marketing Professionals 5 The Forrester Wave™: Bid Management Software Providers, Q4 2012 Forrester’s Weighting Adobe Systems Google IgnitionOne Kenshoo Marin Software Figure 2 Forrester Wave™: Bid Management Software Providers, Q4 '12 (Cont.) CURRENT OFFERING Campaign management Media support Conditional bid optimization Reporting Globalization Local media Mobile management Cost and pricing structure 50% 25% 10% 25% 10% 10% 10% 10% 0% 3.10 2.20 5.00 5.00 1.00 2.00 1.00 4.00 0.00 1.43 1.10 1.00 1.00 1.00 5.00 1.00 1.00 0.00 4.06 2.45 5.00 5.00 5.00 4.00 3.00 5.00 0.00 4.08 4.90 3.00 5.00 3.00 3.00 5.00 2.00 0.00 3.79 4.15 5.00 3.00 5.00 3.00 3.00 4.00 0.00 STRATEGY Strength of management team Executive vision Quality of references 50% 40% 45% 15% 2.15 2.00 3.00 0.00 1.85 2.00 2.00 1.00 2.95 4.00 3.00 0.00 3.75 3.00 4.00 5.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 MARKET PRESENCE Revenues Customers 0% 50% 50% 3.50 5.00 2.00 3.00 1.00 5.00 2.50 3.00 2.00 4.00 3.00 5.00 4.00 3.00 5.00 All scores are based on a scale of 0 (weak) to 5 (strong). 81181 Source: Forrester Research, Inc. Bid Management Tools Provide only Basic Solutions We had high expectations for this category because of the maturity of paid search as an advertising vehicle and because of the huge client budgets managed using these platforms. However, our inaugural study of bid management software providers finds a still-shortsighted set of vendors. In our evaluation: ■ Kenshoo is the only Leader. Kenshoo receives top scores in both the current offering and the strategy sections of our review due to its strong campaign management capabilities, dedicated local media module, and strong customer reference scores. ■ IgnitionOne and Marin Software offer competitive options. IgnitionOne’s customizable workflow and support for a broad set of biddable media contribute to its position as a Strong Performer. However, client references don’t find this platform easy to use. And few are extremely likely to recommend it. Marin Software lands in this category in part because of its ability to autopause and correct campaign errors and for its multilanguage interface. Its comparatively smaller international footprint and average strategy scores keep it from the Leader category. © 2012, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited November 16, 2012
  7. 7. For Interactive Marketing Professionals 6 The Forrester Wave™: Bid Management Software Providers, Q4 2012 ■ Adobe Systems and Google lag. Client references tout Adobe’s support for conditional bid optimization, and Google takes the highest score for its global support. But neither offering is as competitive as others in the study. For example, Adobe’s English-language-only interface has only basic campaign management capabilities and does not support local media beyond location-based targeting. Google offers no keyword list expansion tools and has limited support for campaign testing and error management. Please note: This evaluation of bid management software providers is based on the criteria we deem most critical to the market at this time. It is a starting point only. We encourage readers to view detailed product evaluations and customize the criteria weightings to fit their individual needs through the Forrester Wave Excel-based vendor comparison tool, which is available for download behind Figure 2. VENDOR PROFILES Here are high-level snapshots of what capabilities ranked each vendor in its current position in this Forrester Wave evaluation. Leaders ■ Kenshoo. We find Kenshoo, the sole Leader in our study, to be the surest option for the mainstream search marketing manager. Its Leader-level campaign management functionality includes a desktop editor with a drag-and-drop interface that customer references score well. It offers seven proprietary tools for keyword identification and prioritization, including a keyword translator. And Kenshoo offers a local media module that provides business-unit-level billing and reporting, integration with Google Places, and hyperlocal targeting, among other capabilities. Even though this Israeli-originated company has fewer foreign offices than competitors, it is a veteran at managing international campaigns; 52% of its clients are based outside of the US. Strong Performers ■ IgnitionOne. Direct-response marketers and agencies will like the operational assets available through IgnitionOne. Its editable workflow is multicollaborator-friendly. It supports 11 display networks and can programmatically create mobile-device-specific ad versions. But users that are less hands-on won’t get enough support from this firm without tapping its professional services resources. Its keyword identification, testing capabilities, and ease of use score below average. Client references find this firm’s strategic vision unexceptional. ■ Marin Software. This ambitious vendor provides a solution well-suited to direct-response advertisers seeking support for a mix of biddable media options. It offers better campaign management capabilities than IgnitionOne does. And it’s one of only two firms in the study to © 2012, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited November 16, 2012
  8. 8. For Interactive Marketing Professionals 7 The Forrester Wave™: Bid Management Software Providers, Q4 2012 offer its platform in more than five languages. However, Marin does not offer a dedicated local media module as Kenshoo does. Client references give its conditional bid optimization and ease of use only average marks. Contenders ■ Adobe Systems. Adobe Systems’ AdLens, built from the technology of Efficient Frontier, is a good option for large-budget advertisers — particularly current SiteCatalyst users — that seek a single platform to manage biddable buys across search, display, and social media outlets. Adobe gets high marks for the breadth of media it supports, and client references score its bid optimization as 4 on a 5-point scale. But inexpert search marketers will find this product hard to use. Its campaign management, testing, error management, and reporting functionalities are neither as complete nor as flexible as competitors’. Risky Bets ■ Google (DoubleClick). Don’t discount this product’s greatest strength — being part of Google. It can access more development and support resources than any other provider in the study and thus improve quickly. However, today, the platform is not competitive. Its campaign management interface cannot be user customized. It has below-average testing and error management capabilities. And it supports biddable buys on fewer media outlets than its competitors. We hope that the company’s plan to integrate DoubleClick Search into a comprehensive Google online advertising suite will solve this platform’s shortfalls. For now, neither we nor its client references can confidently recommend this platform. Supplemental Material Online Resource The online version of Figure 2 is an Excel-based vendor comparison tool that provides detailed product evaluations and customizable rankings. Data Sources Used In This Forrester Wave Forrester used a combination of three data sources to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each solution: ■ Vendor surveys. Forrester asked vendors to respond to a 36-question survey on their capabilities as they relate to the evaluation criteria. ■ Scenario-based demos. Each vendor participated in an in-person three-hour proof-of-concept meeting during which it demonstrated its process and technology against three hypothetical client scenarios addressing current functionality, competitive differentiation, future plans, and © 2012, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited November 16, 2012
  9. 9. For Interactive Marketing Professionals 8 The Forrester Wave™: Bid Management Software Providers, Q4 2012 visions for the future of search engine optimization. We used findings from these conversations to validate details shared in the vendor surveys. ■ Online customer surveys. We also conducted an online survey of at least 12 clients of each vendor. These customer references were provided by the vendors. The Forrester Wave Methodology We conduct primary research to develop a list of vendors that meet our criteria to be evaluated in this market. From that initial pool of vendors, we then narrow our final list. We choose these vendors based on: 1) product fit; 2) customer success; and 3) Forrester client demand. We eliminate vendors that have limited customer references and products that don’t fit the scope of our evaluation. After examining past research, user need assessments, and vendor and expert interviews, we develop the initial evaluation criteria. To evaluate the vendors and their products against our set of criteria, we gather details of product qualifications through a combination of lab evaluations, questionnaires, demos, and/or discussions with client references. We send evaluations to the vendors for their review, and we adjust the evaluations to provide the most accurate view of vendor offerings and strategies. We set default weightings to reflect our analysis of the needs of large user companies — and/or other scenarios as outlined in the Forrester Wave document — and then score the vendors based on a clearly defined scale. These default weightings are intended only as a starting point, and we encourage readers to adapt the weightings to fit their individual needs through the Excel-based tool. The final scores generate the graphical depiction of the market based on current offering, strategy, and market presence. Forrester intends to update vendor evaluations regularly as product capabilities and vendor strategies evolve. Endnotes 1 For more details on PriceGrabber’s decision to leverage third-party bid management software, please check out the case study here. Source: “Pricegrabber Doubles Profits For Large Scale Paid Search Programs,” Marin Software ( 2 The best results from programmatic media buys are achieved when they are managed by a centralized or closely aligned group of buyers, campaign managers, and analytics. See the September 7, 2012, “The Future Of Digital Media Buying” report. 3 For details about the leading search marketing agencies and SEO platforms, see the October 31, 2012, “The Forrester Wave™: Search Marketing Agencies, Q4 2012” report and see the October 31, 2012, “The Forrester Wave™: SEO Platforms, Q4 2012” report. 4 In the mature buy-side ecosystem of tomorrow, marketers will rely on both programmatic and custom brand experience buyers to manage media buying across all addressable media, with a heavy focus on centralized audience intelligence driving decisioning. See the September 7, 2012, “The Future Of Digital Media Buying” report. © 2012, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited November 16, 2012
  10. 10. About Forrester Global marketing and strategy leaders turn to Forrester to help them make the tough decisions necessary to capitalize on shifts in marketing, technology, and consumer behavior. We ensure your success by providing: Data-driven insight to understand the impact of changing consumer behavior. n Forward-looking research and analysis to guide your decisions. n Objective advice on tools and technologies to connect you with customers. n Best practices for marketing and cross-channel strategy. n for more information To find out how Forrester Research can help you be successful every day, please contact the office nearest you, or visit us at For a complete list of worldwide locations, visit Client support For information on hard-copy or electronic reprints, please contact Client Support at +1 866.367.7378, +1 617.613.5730, or We offer quantity discounts and special pricing for academic and nonprofit institutions. Forrester Focuses On Interactive Marketing Professionals In addition to developing and implementing your company’s digital marketing strategy and programs, you are responsible for evangelizing the value of digital marketing across your entire organization. Forrester’s subject-matter expertise and deep understanding of your role will help you create forward-thinking strategies; weigh opportunity against risk; justify decisions; and optimize your individual, team, and corporate performance. « ILEANA MENDEZ, client persona representing Interactive Marketing Professionals Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) is an independent research company that provides pragmatic and forward-thinking advice to global leaders in business and technology. Forrester works with professionals in 17 key roles at major companies providing proprietary research, customer insight, consulting, events, and peer-to-peer executive programs. For more than 29 years, Forrester has been making IT, marketing, and technology industry leaders successful every day. For more information, visit 81181