Clickable.com: SEM Meets SaaS - Page 2

By Gerry Blackwell
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Time of the Essence

Before she started using Clickable as part of the beta program five months ago – the product is now in limited commercial release – Emery did what most small business marketers do. She managed each account separately. She loaded data into spreadsheets and ran macros in order to analyze the results and figure out how she was doing and what she should do to improve

For example, to check on results of parallel ad word campaigns at Google, Yahoo and MSN for a particular product, she would have to open the interface for each, log in, drill down to the information she needed, extract it, load it into Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and run her analytical macros. 

“Basically you do the exact same thing for each one,” Emery says. “Just to log in, get into the right campaign and get an idea of what my results have been took a chunk of time.”

Clickable helps by providing a single streamlined interface. The company connects directly to a customer’s accounts at multiple search engines, extracts data automatically and presents it in a consistent interface.

So far Clickable has plugins up and running for Google and Yahoo, but recently released a beta plugin for MSN that will allow customers to display MSN information in the Clickable interface too. Others will follow, Kalehoff says.

“It may not sound like much,” Emery says, “but especially if you’re a small company, to be on one application and be able to manage across many keyword platforms is really great.”

Entering Analysis

Kalehoff contends that Clickable's analytic capabilities are very sophisticated. More importantly perhaps, they’re automated. Emery doesn’t have to do anything. The product generates them on its own without any intervention from her.

Better still, recognizing that many small and medium size firms are still learning about this stuff, Clickable doesn’t just offer an array of opaque numbers, it transforms math-based analytics into recommendations that marketers can understand., such as "Bidding more for this word will improve your return," or "Try changing the text of your ad to increase clicks."

“I’m not a keyword expert, I’m not an analytics expert,” Emery says. “What this product does is let me, on a daily basis and very quickly, look at a number of recommendations and make sure that, one, I’m not missing any opportunities, and two, not spending out there on something I shouldn’t be spending on.”

It’s not that she accepts every recommendation without question. Nor is it Clickable’s intention to take the final decision making away from marketers, Kalehoff says. They know their own businesses best.

Emery doesn’t always examine every recommendation in detail, especially if she’s busy with other duties as is often the case. But she does check the critical alerts on bid price, which are easy to evaluate quickly and act upon. She may not accept recommendations to the penny either, but will make smaller adjustments appropriate for her marketing goals.

“I’ve been using [the product] for about five months now,” she says. “I would say that on the direction – bid increased, bid decreased – the recommendations are always right on money.”

Bottom Line

The intended benefits are clear enough: save time on managing search engine marketing, and improved performance. Does Clickable deliver where it counts?

Emery admits she can’t quantify the benefits yet, partly because she’s still learning her “craft” as a search engine marketer. But Clickable is already saving her time, and she’s convinced it will eventually prove to increase sales.

“I will also say that it has given me a level of confidence in what I’m doing that I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for Clickable,” Emery adds. “I’ve looked at some other things since then and there’s nothing quite like this,” Emery says. “For what we do, this seems to be perfect.”

Based in London, Canada, Gerry Blackwell has been writing about information technology and telecommunications for a variety of print and online publications since the 1980s.

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This article was originally published on April 16, 2008
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