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» Exclusive Interviews, ppc software, SES Conference Coverage » Exclusive Interview with Craig Danuloff, Founder & President of ClickEquations

Exclusive Interview with Craig Danuloff, Founder & President of ClickEquations

Craig-danuloff-click-equati SemGeek is proud to present an exclusive online interview with Craig Danuloff, Founder and President of ClickEquations. This interview is brought to you in cooperation with the Search Engine Strategies' Pre-SES San Jose 2009 Blog & Q&A Coverage.

About Craig Danuloff:

Craig has been at the forefront of online commerce and marketing since 1994, when he founded iCat Corporation, one of the first ecommerce software companies. He has been profiled in Forbes, featured on CNBC, and in 1997 was named one of the ‘100 Technology Elite’ by Red Herring Magazine. Before founding ClickEquations, Craig was President and COO of eColony, an early stage venture fund formed by Internet Capital Group.

Once upon a time, Craig built one of the nation’s first desktop publishing service bureaus, and authored over two dozen computer books published by IDG, Sybex, Dow-Jones Irwin, and others. He has a degree from the University of Colorado College of Business and Administration.


QUESTION #1. Can you explain to our audience what is the driving force behind the creation of ClickEquations? Was there a specific opportunity you wanted to capitalize on?

ANSWER: We were a search agency managing large and medium sized PPC accounts, primarily with Omniture SearchCenter. But we also had tried other tools over time, and took a pretty good look around the market to evaluate our options. We weren’t satisfied with the depth and accuracy of the data, the flexibility of reporting, and more importantly with the direction they were heading. These tools were built to help manage paid search but we didn’t find them efficient or effective. Our management team had experience building software companies, so we raised venture capital and morphed the business into a software company to build the tools we wish the market had provided.
QUESTION #2. In all of Paid Search Marketing, there are users with many different levels of experience. Can you give us some insights into ClickEquation’s main target market? For example, your service appears to be targeted to both Search Marketing Agencies and Individual Advertisers? Which market is this platform best suited for?

ANSWER: There are many ways to break this market down – in-house or agency as you suggest, large advertiser and small, retailer vs lead gen or other verticals, etc. We tend to think of it in terms of sophistication or seriousness if you will. Some PPC managers have very little time, or perhaps little background in paid search, and they have certain needs and expectations from the paid search tools. More experienced and active managers have different needs and expectations – and this is where we aim and fit best. We’ve built a power-tool for search marketers who need a lot more than a slightly modified version of the AdWords interface or even Adwords Editor.


QUESTION #3. For just about every PPC Guru in the world, the Google Adwords Editor is the most widely used Adwords management tool on the market. It’s also attractive because it is a FREE Desktop Tool. What makes ClickEquations more valuable than the Adwords Editor?

ANSWER: That’s a great question and one every search manager should ask of their tool. I agree that AdWords Editor is a fantastic tool. The obvious first answer is management of Google, Yahoo, and MSN in one single interface. That’s important for convenience and efficiency, and in terms of being able to copy/clone ad groups from one engine to the other, can have a big impact on results. But that’s not the real differentiation.

In terms of pure editing – just adding keywords and changing bids or match types – there isn’t much advantage. I don’t think anyone could really build a more efficient editor. The one exception is in bulk editing, where our support of Excel Import/Export enables mass changes and additions much faster than even in the Adwords Editor.

But paid search requires a lot more than just editing. In terms of reporting features we have a dedicated reporting interface which presents a lot more data than AdWords Editor (or Adwords itself) including additional Google Metrics (like Impression Share), additional Conversion Metrics (like Net Profit and ROI based on actual SKU-Margin), additional User Metrics (like search queries for all three engines and user geography reporting). We also provide our Excel-based ‘CQ Analyst’ which enables all kinds of cool one-button-update dashboards and deep analysis of Quality Score, Revenue Attribution, and much more. Finally, our Bid Rules enable much more sophisticated bidding control – automation entirely lacking in Adwords Editor.


QUESTION #4. During this Economic down-turn, is ClickEquations concerned at with the overall decline of PPC Budgets? If so, what strategies are in place to try and make the best of the situation?

ANSWER: We haven’t seen budgets decline in our client base, but we have seen a stronger focus on results. I think this is partially the economy, and partially a natural progression as PPC budgets have grown both in absolute terms and as a percentage of overall marketing budgets. Paid Search is no longer in the ‘other’ column. Senior Management now wants to really know what’s being done and if it’s worth the investment. Many of the reporting dashboards and in-depth analysis reports in ClickEquations make it a lot easier to satisfy the desires of management and clients who are asking hard questions about PPC.


QUESTION #5. Can you provide our PPC audience with anything new and/or exciting enhancements in ClickEquation’s Development Pipeline? Are there any announcements that you would like to make to this search marketing audience?

ANSWER: We’ve spend the first half of this year expanding our core editing and bidding features. We’ve added international support, multi-account support, robust bulk editing and cloning, new graphic analysis and much more. One very popular feature in ClickEquations has been something we call ‘Guidance’. Many of our Analyst reports highlight opportunities and risks in your account – making it easier to prioritize work that can provide quick-wins in revenue increases or cost savings. I can’t get too specific right now, but we’ll be extending our lead in that direction, making it even easier for managers to determine use their time very efficiently and make highly effective changes to their accounts.


QUESTION #6. ClickEquations, as well as many other PPC Applications such as Omniture SearchCenter use API tokens to communicate to the Search Engine Accounts in real-time. What makes ClickEquation’s API interface any better than it's competitors?

ANSWER: We talk to all the search engines bi-directionally via their API’s. I’m not sure it’s a place where anyone can differentiate. It happens invisibly in the background, as far as users are concerned. All changes made in ClickEquations are processed in real-time, and users see confirmation only when we receive acceptance confirmation from the search engines.


QUESTION #7. What would you say is the "secret sauce” of the ClickEquation’s Platform? Is it a specific tool or a combination of functions?

ANSWER: I think our customer base would tell you that our ‘secret sauce’ is our deep understanding and real-world experience as paid search managers. What people get excited about is how our interface and features address the real-world needs of full time PPC managers who are working hard to maximize their results. As you know, the truth is most search managers are massively constrained by the limitations of their tools. We’ve knocked down at least some of those limits, and have our sights on many more.

Already, our ability to match search query with the associated keyword and match type is one example. Or to show you all the keywords currently below the Google First Page Bid Estimate. Or to review top performing keywords on one engine and show which ones are missing or performing poorly on another engine. These have real world advantages and to me knowledge none of our competitors offer any of these capabilities.

Question #8. Can you suggest some ways to learn more about ClickEquations?

Answer: Absolutely! We would be happy to provide links to Webinars, White Papers and more. They’re great examples of the way we look at paid search, and they’ll be helpful to anyone regardless of their management tool or philosophy.

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2 Responses to "Exclusive Interview with Craig Danuloff, Founder & President of ClickEquations"

  1. Alex Cohen says:

    Hey Greg,
    Thanks for interviewing Craig!
    Craig mentioned ClickEquations Analyst and our templates. You can learn more about those two features here:
    We’ll be at booth 721 at the show, so stop by and say hi!

  2. David Shor says:

    We recently became a ClickEquations customer. I have run search campaigns on many, many search management platforms–from SearchRev (my second fave–Eduardo’s doing a great job despite selling out to AKQA!)–to Marin (tonnage for big agencies) but CE has done a terrific job of delivering its service both as a web-based interface but, more importantly, in its Analyst product in Excel.
    Because Quillion manages our own products/services in performance marketing as well as that of great clients, it is an ideal tool.
    (And, no, Craig did not ask me to write this.)
    David Shor
    Quillion, Inc.

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