When it comes to paid search advertising, SMBs are up against some heavy hitters. Major brands with larger-than-life marketing and advertising budgets are spending millions on Google AdWords, which leaves SMBs struggling to be seen. As a result, average CPC costs have increased sharply from $0.38 in 2005 to $1.24 in 2010. For those advertisers who don’t have massive ad spend budgets, there’s now WordWatch, an automated AdWords bid management platform for SMBs. And on Thursday, the company announced that it has raised $1.4 million in a Series A round of funding led by Credo Ventures.
Founded in 2009, the Foster City, Calif.-based company has developed a bidding engine powered by a proprietary algorithm that automates the bidding process by finding the bid prices with the best value in terms of clicks and conversions, and then monitors, analyzes, and adjusts bids automatically.
In essence, WordWatch takes the traditionally manual process of adjusting keyword bids, monitoring, and reconfiguring your settings, and makes it an automated process capable of managing millions of keywords at a time and analyzes your campaign data every night to make the appropriate adjustments.
“In recent years, the costs of PPC advertising have been really driven up by large advertisers and agency‐managed campaigns. WordWatch is specially geared to give small businesses the technology boost they need tocompete and win,” said Credo Ventures Partner Jan Habermann. “We believe the WordWatch team has the passion and ability to execute rapid growth in this sector.”
The service offers a free 30-day trial, after which subscriptions start at $24 a month. While the service is specifically designed for small business owners, small to mid-sized agencies and resellers can also take advantage of WordWatch via the Premium plan, which allows users to manage an unlimited number of accounts and up to 50,000 keywords.
“We're kind of a 'networked company.' One of the founders (Jacques van der Wilt) is based in Amsterdam and covers the European market for us; another (Marcin Pyla) is our CTO and runs our development and algorithms team in Krakow, Poland; and we've got a board member (Wei-Hai Chu) in Prague, where he runs a lead-gen/traffic company," said WordWatch CEO Todd Wilkinson. "There's a lot actually going on in Central Europe. Credo is tapping into that and saw potential with us."
Wilkinson added: "In North America, the corporate world dominates the business agenda, but I think in emerging Europe they're really sensitive to small business issues because they're very entrepreneurial. There's a certain excitement there that's really genuine and fresh, so we thought we'd like that in our investment partners as well."
The company plans to use the new funds from this round to fuel marketing and sales growth, as well as expand its algorithm and technology base.