Founders: Mike Ulwelling, Jeremy Brooks, Rahm McDaniel
Headquarters: Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon
Year Founded: 2010
Investors: Bootstrapped (profitable)
Company Overview: AgileBid is the only affordable, automated PPC management service designed for small business.
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By Rahm McDaniel, co-founder and CMO
AgileBid is the only affordable, automated PPC management service designed for small business. AgileBid is NOT a tool that requires the building or maintenance of complex rules or the acceptance of recommendations. AgileBid is a service that manages the bidding of Pay Per Click keywords on AdWords and Bing/Yahoo, in addition to managing and evolving the keyword list. AgileBid solves both for the maintenance of first page bids and cost per acquisition, constantly allocating investment towards higher Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). As part of that work we go further than just bidding keywords for return, AgileBid also manages the spend across search engines for return, which right sizes the investment in each.
For customers who rely on phone calls, AgileBid also tracks phone conversions to the keyword/click level and bids appropriately, automatically.
For the customer, our vision is this—take your existing Bing and AdWords campaign and let AgileBid run it. Go sail around the world (or just do your real job and don’t manage your AdWords). When you return, your bids will all be optimized, and your keyword list will be evolved and seasonally appropriate with no intervention from you.
We created AgileBid because we are our customer. As a small agency managing the PPC accounts for small-and-medium businesses, managing PPC bidding was a time consuming, manual process. While we excelled at the human element—ad writing, creating landing pages, etc., most of the work of actually managing PPC is monitoring conversion rates and bounce rates, adjusting and managing bids, and managing the keyword list. There are, of course, many fine tools for PPC management, but not only were they priced for larger businesses, they were also over-featured and required a learning curve in many cases greater than the platforms we needed to manage.
We created AgileBid to solve our own problem, and when we realized that most small agencies and small advertisers had the same problem we did, we created a commercial version to share with the world.
Because of our disruptively low price point and the nature of our typical customer, volume is key. While we do some traditional marketing to support our strategy, AgileBid is highly focused on aggregators and collectors of small-and medium-businesses, focused on the following:
Integration with shopping cart platforms
Franchise business preferred provider programs
Obviously PPC isn’t going anywhere as a business model for Google and Bing because it’s the major source of revenue. Structural changes to the search results for search words that have a purchase intent behind them are evolving towards a greater emphasis on PPC, and PPC has the advantage for the advertiser of being measurable by the transactions or conversions produced. So even though SEO is still important, PPC is a requirement for small businesses who want to maintain their online visibility, and increasingly they understand that. Additionally, we feel that the incumbent players are all focused on doing a great job serving the higher end of the market. We’ve got bigger clients than this, but our sweet spot is companies spending $100-$5,000/month on PPC. We feel the combination of our price point ($50/month/$1,000 paid search ad budget) and our value proposition (one less thing to worry about) is a great fit for them in a way that Kenshoo, Wordstream and others are not. So the tide of the marketplace is moving our way.
While we do business internationally as well, our major focus is the U.S., and that, by itself, is a huge market for us and the numbers are definitely there:
The census data says that there are about 4.6 million ‘Employer firms’ with 20 or fewer employees in the U.S., and recent research tells us that about half of SMBs are doing some PPC. Even if those small firms are only able to budget less than $1K/month, they can afford our services and we can profitably serve them. Even though we’ve been told we’re being conservative in our market sizing, it’s an extremely attractive, addressable market that has not been served thus far.
How Our Company Differentiates Itself from the Competition
Small-and-medium businesses are not poor, stupid versions of enterprises. While they are often far more agile and innovative, they lack specialized marketing expertise and most crucially, time. While we have immense respect and admiration for the toolset that Wordstream and Kenshoo put into their customers’ hands, our customers have told us they don’t want a tool set. They want something that ‘just works.’ So rather than give them something they have to learn to use with a bunch of features, we give them something very simple, and very easy. The only thing our customers need to know is how much they make on a sale and the maximum cost per acquisition they are willing to tolerate. We’ll take it from there.
AgileBid is a Software-as- a-Service model that makes money in three ways:
For customers that already have running PPC campaigns, AgileBid assumes management for $49/month for every $1,000 of budget. These are the customers best served by our model.
For customers who are new to PPC, we offer a ‘starter set’ service ($299), where we will setup their PPC accounts, create campaigns and do keyword research, and hand them off to the system.
For customers who require ongoing human consulting, we offer ongoing premium level support for $250/month.
It is important to note that within the budget we are spending neutral, meaning that we have no incentive to spend more of the client’s money and therefore no bias around spending to the entire budget.
AgileBid is always looking for very smart people who are able to bring value to our customers. In order to bring the most disruptive price to our customers possible, we are very selective and very disciplined as a company, and we are looking for people who can identify value for our customers and deliver it to them efficiently. That includes developers, content creators and customer service. Our next few hires will be in account management and content marketing.
We are self-funded and profitable, but always willing to listen to those who share our vision or bring synergistic value to the conversation.
Ideagility – www.agilebid.com