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PPC meets RTB: AdWords and real-time bidding finally converge

There’s no doubt that search marketing is becoming increasingly complex. With hundreds of features added to AdWords and Google Shopping each year, PPC campaign managers have more and more tools at their disposal, but getting an edge on the competition is not getting any easier.

The rise of high-frequency bidding

Keywords, user segments, landing pages, devices, time of day, day of the week: The number of variables to take into account when predicting the value of a click in search marketing campaigns is so exponentially complex that it escapes the reach of mere humans. Machine learning algorithms however, cannot only find patterns in this endless complexity and make sense of weak signals hidden in this mass of data, but they also facilitate decisions to be made much faster. In the past marketers used to adjust their campaign settings and bids a couple of times a day but software-based campaign management is enabling a new paradigm: ‘high frequency bidding’.

When PPC meets RTB

Software has been slowly taking over the stock market for years and “high frequency trading” is the weapon of choice in the fund manager’s arsenal. Marketing technology companies have been developing their own armies of software robots for some time as well. In the programmatic ad sector, real-time bidding platforms use audience segmentation and context to sell ad space to the highest bidder in milliseconds.

Search marketing platforms have finally caught up and the most advanced tools now also bid in real-time on AdWords and Google Shopping. Armed with finely tuned segmentation, user intent data and product intelligence, this is where PPC finally meets RTB.

The future of search marketing

Three key enablers are driving the next wave of search marketing campaign performance:

  • Audience segmentation is becoming the norm: search marketing campaigns have always been so effective because keywords allow advertisers to understand user intent. With the addition of segmentation features in Search through Google’s RLSA, campaigns can now make sense of the user behind the intent.
  • Product level data is key: Having access to product trend data is crucial. Best selling products evolve constantly and companies that have access to a great amount of shopping information have an edge. Advanced tracking also allows us to interpret ‘weak signals’ at user level along the purchase funnel and optimise campaigns accordingly: has this user visited this product a few times already? Did they add the product to their cart but not finalise the purchase? What is the affinity of the user with this product category?
  • Bidding now takes place in real-time: Combining search intent, user segmentation and product data allows us to make the best bidding decisions instantly. The most advanced platforms adjust their bids in real-time and their pricing engines assess the value of each click based on the predicted conversion.

We believe that automated software platforms augment traffic managers and agencies’ capabilities. Highly skilled marketers will move forward by allocating more time to setting the right campaign objectives, coming up with creative multi-channel approaches and piloting their business strategy, while software robots bid on their search ads in real-time to maximise profit.

To learn more about Twenga’s real-time PPC platform, visit

Herbert Knibiehly, VP Marketing, Twenga Solutions

Tel: +44 (0)203 5857446