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FAQS

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See the data in action!

Why Work With The Search Monitor

What PLA monitoring info do you provide?

We have the data that demystifies the PLA!

PLAs are the talk of the town for retail search marketers and aren’t going away anytime soon. They are incredibly effective conversion tools but are often misunderstood. While marketers control the content of PLA ads through a data feed, the problem is a lack of visibility into which product is showing for a keyword query.

What We Monitor: We capture and report on all shopping listings that appear in worldwide search results. This includes Product Listing Ads (PLAs) on Google and shopping listings on Yahoo and Bing. We monitor them similarly to paid search ads, with multiple query checks per day. PLA monitoring is included in our SEM package offering and also within  lighthouse-logo-medium.

Why It’s Tricky: PLAs require more intensive monitoring than other shopping listings. They change with each new search query (like paid search ads) which is different than shopping engine listings that change at a pace similar to organic listings.

PLA Stats We Capture

  • Percent of keywords containing PLAs:  Some keywords do not have PLAs, while others do.  The percent of keywords that contain PLAs can vary per vertical.  See stats for your industry
  • Number of ad units per keyword:  PLAs can show up as small as 2-unit boxes or as large as 6 or 8-unit boxes.
  • Cross-media reporting: SEM, SEO, and PLA ad share, and the intersection of how often you appear on each ad unit.
  • Seller Statistics: Rank, Share of Voice, frequency (i.e. % of the time a seller shows up in product listing ads), seller ratings and reviews, & list of all products promoted by the seller
  • Product Statistics:  Price promoted by each seller, average price for a product, price range (low to high), & ad copy

Best Practices With PLA Stats

  • Determine if your vertical is a heavy user of PLAs and you need to be there (agencies can use to recommend PLAs to clients)
  • Determine if PLAs are pushing down your text ads, causing lower CTRs
  • Determine if the products you want to display are actually displaying
  • Determine if your product’s price is displaying within the range of prices in the PLA unit (too high is a big no-no for CTR)
  • Determine if your product’s images look as good as the other images in the PLA

Other PLA Resources

What makes The Search Monitor’s data so precise?

Precision starts with good data followed by time-tested algorithms pitted against real world experiences.

Good Data In

The data source matters because the stronger the data source, the more accurate the stats or trends will be, leading to better decisions and more predictable outcomes. Good data requires:

  • High Frequency: Frequent/heavy monitoring is key.  Paid search ads, for example, change with every new search, by geo, and even time of day.  To get the most accurate view requires intense high frequency keyword monitoring, in varying geos, at randomized day parts.  The Search Monitor queries keywords multiple times per day up to hourly, from different regions. Other vendors, usually the cheaply priced ones, do not maintain this level of crawl frequency. The result is that they miss advertisers and over or under-shoot impressions leading to highly unpredictable accuracy.
  • Click & CPC Data:  Click data is the key to calculating ad spend accurately.  Let’s look at the ad spend formula for CPC ads:  Ad spend = clicks x cost per click.

Time Tested Algorithms

The Search Monitor relies on our VIP clients (all volunteer) who validate our calculations on an ongoing basis.  This allows for adjustments as the market changes.

As marketers, we often accept lesser data sources because of a false belief that better data simply doesn’t exist. Well, it definitely does, and we are proud to have it.

Stop relying on bad data that leads to poor decisions. Get the only tool that brings the industry’s most accurate data together in one place. Visit Our Precision Data to see 13 reasons why we have the best data in the business.

Want to learn more about our high-frequency, high-quality data?

Request a Demo

Request a demo today!

What is Lighthouse?

Feature Lighthouse

CLICK FOR EXAMPLE

Lighthouse Logo  gives you detailed click and spend data by vertical!

It provides historical paid search, organic search, and PLA statistics organized into vertical categories like Lodging, Apparel, Hobbies, Finance, etc.  Clients receive insight into unlimited competitors across 1,200+ verticals across millions of keywords for Google and Bing.

Lighthouse™ is sold by the vertical at a starting price of $300/month per vertical.  Platform licenses are available to all 1,239 vertical categories.

Data Consists Of 

  • Paid Search Statistics.  Ad Spend, SOV, Clicks, CPC, CTR, Avg. Rank, reach, impression share, ad copy, and offers.
  • Organic Search Statistics.  Ranking, page share, & listing copy across universal search results including organic, local, hotel finder, news, videos, images, shopping, and more.
  • Product Listing Ads Statistics.  SOV, page share, product price, # of merchants, product descriptions, seller ratings & reviews, and PLA page placement

Learn More About Lighthouse

Lighthouse for Travel

Hotels, Cruises, Resorts, Airlines, OTAs, and Auto Rentals have a unique need for geo-targeted information at the city level.  Lighthouse for Travel specifically provides a unique data set across more than 200 popular US destinations with historical data on Ad Spend, SOV, Rank, Ad Copy, Clicks, & CPC.

Lighthouse for Travel also includes Hotel Finder listings that appear in organic search results, with daily rate results coming in Q1 2015.

See a Demo With Data & Reports on Your Industry

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What benefits can I expect to see after working with The Search Monitor?

Here are a few common benefits our clients see after using our ad monitoring tools. These can happen in as little as 30 days:

  • A sharp reduction in CPCs after you stop partners from bidding on your branded keywords. One client reported that they saved $300K after detecting that re-sellers were bidding on their branded terms and stopped that activity
  • Increase in CTR from learning which ad copy generates the best click rates
  • Finding new affiliates for your program, ones that have been proven trustworthy and knowledgeable in your industry
  • Improvement in sale attribution after stopping affiliates from hijacking your URL and claiming last-touch credit for a sale
  • Save time: Detect trademark violations faster using our automatic email alerts
  • Get better responses from the search engines – we’ll make sure you send them exactly what they need to stop violations

Why should I buy an ad monitoring tool versus building one?

Many advertisers, agencies, affiliate networks, and OPMs believe they would be better off building a monitoring tool in-house versus buying a service from a provider like The Search Monitor. Below is a list of the reasons why buying is better than building when it comes to ad monitoring.

  • Code Changes: The search engines are constantly changing their code. The Search Monitor, for example spends 10-20 hours every week detecting the changes, learning about them, contacting the engines, and then adjusting our technology so that our monitoring technology captures reliable results. The search engines are notorious for providing little notice and detail on changes they made. This can easily become an IT Engineer’s part-time job.
  • Big Data: The data quantity you need to store is massive. Imagine 166 countries and 150+ different languages. Then imagine collecting data for every US state, metro area, and city. It’s huge. And if you want to crawl hourly like The Search Monitor does, it gets even massiver (is that a word? Probably not. But it gets the point across.)
  • Easy Interfaces: You need an easy-to-use interface to access and filter this massive amount of data to produce something relevant
  • Reporting & Exporting: You need flexibility in reports and exports. Some items need to be stored as URLs so they are easy to forward to the clients, partners, or the search engines
  • Scheduling & Alerts:You need a scheduling tool for your reports and your tools that is triggered by some pre-set activity
  • Team of Search Experts: You need a team of search engine experts to help make sense of some of the more confusing things that are captured.
  • Client Validation: When you use a provider like us, you benefit from our ability to validate our data estimates (e.g., ad spend and CTR) against our network of 1,000+ clients across 22 different verticals.

If you require a custom branded solution, that is not a problem – we are capable of white labeling.  White Labeling Features Include:

  • Branded Header & Footer.  Your brand is the only one that is seen, The Search Monitor branding is removed.
  • Vanity URL.  Used for login pages, help center, and system sent emails.
  • Support.  We support you.  You will provide direct support to your clients.
  • Admin Center.  The admin center provides you with login access to client accounts, ability to view your full client list.
  • Monitoring Frequency Control. Some packages allow back-door access to control crawler settings.

Why is data from many other ad monitoring tools imprecise?

Many other tools get their data from sources that are not focused on quality data. The stronger the data source, the more accurate the stats or trends will be, leading to better decisions and more predictable outcomes.

  • Small Sample Sizes: Most data sources don’t use a large enough sample population
  • Low Frequency: Most vendors do not sample keywords with enough frequency, and therefore, they don’t see all of the advertisers. Accuracy in advertiser identification requires intense daily keyword queries. Most vendors only query keywords once per month. Lighthouse queries keywords multiple times per day. Lastly, infrequent querying of keywords leads to inaccurate predictions of rank and ad copy variations. Without an accurate prediction of rank and ad copy variations, you cannot compute ad spend, which requires an adjustment to CPC as rank fluctuates and as ad copy relevance fluctuates.
  • Inaccurate Click Data: Most vendors use a data source that cannot provide accurate click data. In order to compute essential metrics like budget, you have to capture clicks. Ad spend = clicks x cost per click.

Learn more about Our Precision Data and see the 13 reasons why our data is the absolute best in the business.

What are The Search Monitor’s most popular use cases?

Interactive Agencies

Automate repetitive research reports like competitive landscape information, trademark bidding, and affiliate activities. Use real intelligence to support business development efforts geared toward winning new clients.

Paid Search Managers

Use ad copy reports to get the heads-up on competitive promotions. Protect brand bidding by monitoring your trademarks. Watch for competition from your own affiliate program.

Multi-Market Local Advertisers

Automate the monitoring of your position on local search results across multiple markets. Watch competitors’ ad campaigns for unique geo-targeted promotions.

Affiliate Managers & Compliance Teams

Ensure affiliates are following the requirements of your affiliate program on search. Identify the strength of your competitors’ affiliate programs on search. Ensure that claims and offers in ad copy are truthful and up-to-date.

SEO Managers

Get the competitive landscape on universal search results. Use the data to tailor your organic strategy around page layout including organic, shopping, video, and local results.

Advertisers with Reseller Programs

Watch resellers to ensure that rank rules, keyword restrictions, and geographic requirements are followed. Ensure that current promotions are running and old promotions have been removed.

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How does geo-targeted ad monitoring work?

All of our packages come with the ability to geo-target search engine monitoring by ZIP, city, state, region, and country in every location. This includes global search engines such as Google, Bing, & Yahoo and local ones such as Baidu, Yandex, and Naver.

Why You Must Geo-Target Your Ad Monitoring

  • Find advertisers that are displaying your trademarks in their ad copy, but only in certain markets. You’ll need this proof to submit to the engines for removal!
  • Find affiliates who break your rules in select locations, such as where your office is not located (since they think you only check there)
  • Identify resellers that are unauthorized to advertise in certain cities
  • Learn how competitors change their offers and landing pages by geography
  • Identify new countries to enter for paid search

Industries That Benefit From Geo-targeting

Industries that benefit the most from geo-targeting include localized retailers, telecom, travel, automotive, and finance.

For example, travel clients may want to learn about advertised room rates, OTA activity, or brand infringements per market serviced. Clients who work in cooperative search marketing scenarios with resellers and distributors can benefit from ensuring rank compliance and keyword/ad copy synchronization.

The Search Monitor uses thousands of IP addresses across the globe to simulate a user in a specific location. We can target any country, city, or region, and the language of the ad.

Want to learn more? Ask us for examples of how geo-targeting can help your vertical. Or, request a demo with your list of geographies.

Request a Demo

How can I easily sync my platform with yours?

Our system makes it easy to move large amounts of data between your system and ours.

  • Bulk Import & Export: Use this option to easily upload and export a file of some, or all, of your data
  • Excel Web Query: This option simplifies getting data from the system to excel. Creates connection with excel that is a time saver for anyone creating a weekly or monthly report with pivots, charts, or formulas
  • API Option: This option allows automatic creation of campaigns and retrieval of UI reports. Creates a connection between our system and client’s database making the process of getting data fully automated

Want to learn more about exporting your ad monitoring data?

Request a Demo

Request a demo today!