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Acquisio Review – Advantages and Disadvantages

Samantha Noble

by Samantha Noble on 14th September 2010

We recently signed up for a month long trial with Acquisio, a Pay Per Click campaign management tool that is aimed at agencies around the world. In this review we take a look at the Advantages and Disadvantages of Acquisio and offer a brief summary of its features.

The demo of the application was excellent and it appeared to tick all the boxes for our clients and projects.

Prior to starting our trial we looked at other Acquisio Reviews and came across a few concerns from other past customers. These included poor customer support, difficult training materials and a lack of feedback on errors. These issues were raised with our account manager and we felt these were satisfied through their training portal and assurances on strong customer service. There were many good comments as well from satisfied customers, and with the above reassurances and these positives we agreed to trial the software.

Following the month trial, we decided against taking out the full agreement with Acquiso for a number of reasons. This Review of Acquisio is aimed to give you our opinion on the advantages and disadvantages of the tool so you can make an informed decision before proceeding.

There are a number of features within the main tool, each aimed at different elements of managing a PPC campaign:

  • Rule Bidder
  • Mass Editor
  • Campaign Manager
  • KPI
  • Reporting

Advantages of Acquisio

  1. Visibility of Pay Per Click campaigns across the three major search engines (Google, Yahoo! and Bing)
  2. Able to pull together data into a nice looking report easily and save report remplates
  3. The tool is white labelled and can be customised to match your brand colours with your company logo at the top
  4. The Rule tool allows you to set bid increases in a percentage increment when desired criteria is met
  5. Allows you to set specific KPIs for each client helping you to monitor whether you are over or under target – Although there is an extra cost for this feature
  6. Can implement lots of changes quickly based on customised rules
  7. Setting up email alerts in the Rule Bidder tool which pings you an email if a keyword has not met a certain criteria
  8. Manage accounts in multiple currencies quickly and from one screen

Disadvantages of Acquisio

  1. Cost of the trial was $250 initially but to make use of the main features, additional connector fees were required
  2. Google Analytics add-on was unable to be used when we were doing the trial (which we were unaware of when agreeing to the trial). We were still charged the extra $750 for the GA connector
  3. Internet browser interface driven by Flash so very slow to use
  4. No spell checker in the reports
  5. The majority of the rules in the Rule system can be implemented in Google AdWords through their filters
  6. The Mass Editor is a carbon copy of AdWords Editor in layout and style but without all the good features
  7. As the system is flash based, the mouse must be used for every action rather than the keyboard. The standard cut and paste function is not available
  8. The amount of training time required to get used to the tool and the way that it is structured is exhaustive and training courses are slow to reach any conclusive lessons
  9. Monthly fee is based on a percentage of spend (this could equate to a lot if your client decides to increase their daily spend!)

Four of the team here at Koozai trialled the tool for just under one month before deciding not to proceed with the package any further. We manage big and small company accounts and complete over 100 client reports a month so are clearly the intended recipients of such a tool. Clearly some agencies that are very heavy on reporting or have clients that like their agencies to have lots of expensive tools could see this software as a great addition to their company.

At Koozai, we like to report on what we have done and we try to keep the reports short rather than fill them with endless graphs. Our objective as a company is to spend more time ‘doing the doing’ rather than on reporting. Where possible we empower our customers to use the tools they have to see the results themselves in real time, and if a graph is required it can be created quicker in Excel than in Acquisio.

Our trial is a reflection of our use of the software so may not be the case for everyone. We would really welcome your views on this product and if you have used or are a current customer of Acquisio please feel free to leave a comment so we can see how the tool has benefited or not benefited others.

Samantha Noble

Samantha Noble

Samantha Noble is the Marketing Director at Koozai; having worked within the marketing industry for over nine years, Sam has a plethora of marketing knowledge. With a strong understanding of digital marketing techniques, Sam will be covering all aspects of search and the industry in general.

9 Comments

  • Jacob 15th September 2010

    Hey Sam, thanks for the structured report. I’ve been looking around for similar tools. Personally I find $250 to be quite an investment for a tool, so it better be excellent (it didn’t seem like it was). The whole story with the GA connector doesn’t give me much confidence in the way they do business.

    Reply to this comment

  • Mike Essex

    Mike 15th September 2010

    Hopefully by sharing our comments we’ll make it easier for other prospects to make an informed decision. There seems to be a lack of reviews for many SEO and PPC tools and as with the above and our Keyword Eye feature we are hoping to add to this debate in the future and highlight the true experience with and value of other products.

    I’d echo Sam’s thoughts and encourage anyone with a positive or negative experience to leave a comment below, we look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Reply to this comment

  • John Kobel 15th September 2010

    thank you for this great review. I also used Acquisio for a few months for management of PPC for company owned websites. I agree with just about everything mentioned here. System was slow because it was based in Flash and yes everything needed a mouse click to get done. I also found that I could get more done using Google Adwords Editor and I could get it done faster.

    Reply to this comment

  • Marc Poirier 16th September 2010

    Hi, I will ask some of our customers to chime in here, I hope you don’t mind.

    We work very hard and try to make a product that can benefit agencies, we’re very proud of it, and frankly we have done well at building a loyal group of customers who have found great value in the product. However there is always room for improvement and when I read articles like this one, believe me I am taking notes. We will address these issues.

    I would just like to clarify a couple of items –

    1) Your company did not want to disable auto-tagging (for perfectly good reasons I’m sure), which at the time was mandatory because the Google AdWords API was built that way. Google has since updated this, and so have we. Anyone using the GA connector has the option to keep auto-tagging turned on.

    2) We have made some major infrastructure updates in the past 2 weeks designed specifically to accelerate application delivery to our clients in Europe and Asia, and the initial reaction for the dozen clients or so who have been testing has been excellent. We plan to re-route everyone to this accelerated path over the next 4-5 days.

    3) Google AdWords does not have any form of automated campaign management system. There are no automation rules in AdWords Editor.

    4) The Editor in Acquisio is designed to help companies manage campaigns ACROSS search engines, obviously if you only manage Google AdWords campaigns, the value isn’t quite there!

    5) The spell checker suggestion is excellent and I will relay it to the product team.

    Hopefully you won’t mind my intervention!

    Marc Poirier
    Founder, CMO
    Acquisio

    Reply to this comment

    • Lucy Griffiths

      Mike Essex 16th September 2010

      Thanks for stopping by Marc and adding your thoughts.

      As long as they’re accurate, we certainly don’t mind who contributes. We like to encourage debate and dialogue here and anybody is welcome to post a comment. Obviously we reserve the right to remove any inappropriate messages but hopefully that won’t be necessary.

      It’s a pity that Acquisio didn’t fit our needs as we were all excited following the initial sales presentation to get going. Obviously, I won’t repeat Sam’s post here but I think she’s given a fair account of the pros and cons as we saw them.

      From my point of view, the GA connector refund was the issue that was poorly managed. We were unable to turn off auto-tagging during the trial. Regardless of the reasons why, we were unable to use this during our trial period. The message I was given was that the problem was fixed and that had we have carried on beyond the trial, we would have seen that. My point was that we didn’t want to go beyond the trial and shouldn’t be expected to pay $750 for something we were unable to use. The amount is small and not the real issue. The way it was handled, in my opinion, could have been much better.

      Anyway, we’ll keep an eye out for all comments and look forward to seeing this post develop.

      Reply to this comment

  • Xurxo Vidal 16th September 2010

    To add to the discussion, here’s our agency’s perspective on using Acquisio:

    We’ve been using Acquisio for about a year now and can say without a doubt that it’s worth the cost for our agency. The above review is objective and accurate on some points, but we found that it can take a few months before being able to reap the full benefits of what Acquisio has to offer.

    For example, it can take a bit of tweaking to put together the reports that are right for your clients. Not because Acquisio is difficult to use, but rather because there can be so much insightful and actionable info you can share with clients to help them understand how their investment in PPC is working to drive more business to them. So it can easily take you a few hours to figure out what info you want to provide to specific clients, but once you’ve done that, reporting is a cinch every month.

    The graphs are easy and quick to put together and our clients love the visual representation of the campaign data so they can at a glance make sense of the numbers and we can easily show them trends and patterns in their campaigns where opportunities lie. On top of the results we get for our clients, the reports help make us look sharp and work to increase the level of confidence our clients have in our services.

    Like with most tools, the set up time and learning curves are the the most challenging obstacles especially when you’re already tight on time, but once you set up Acquisio with the right monitoring, alert and reporting features for each client the time savings are very real and significant easily justifying the costs. The KPI tool alone can save a ton of time each month because you can at a glance stay on top of client budgets across multiple campaigns and engines and make adjustments quickly or provide clients with recommendations without having to manually pull up reports from each engine or go through each account.

    Also as some mentioned if you’re just managing campaigns on AdWords alone, you’re missing out on some of the powerful things you can do with Acquisio such as managing campaigns across the other search engines (Yahoo & Bing) from one interface not to mention being able to benchmark performance much more quickly – especially when you’re managing several clients, each with accounts on all three engines. Copying parts of campaigns such as adgroups from one engine to another is also made simpler with Acqusio since you can do it all from one interface.

    Acquisio is not without bugs and small issues, but our experience has been a very positive one where their support team has always been quick to respond to questions or problems and are very accessible. They are also constantly improving the tool by including more robust features and the recent updates have made the interface a lot faster. They listen to feedback and do their best to integrate suggestions that their clients make when possible.

    As long Acquisio continues to support, improve and reasonably price their tool as they have until now we will continue to be loyal customers of theirs and recommend them to others in our industry.

    Reply to this comment

  • Matt Van Wagner 27th October 2010

    We have been using the tool for about a year and are very satisfied.

    I have a couple of comments/observations regarding some of the issues raised in this thread:

    Speed
    With the new releases and the addition of additional memory (we’ve upgraded to Windows 7 to allow more addressable memory) we are reasonably satisfied with the system speed. Most of the ad serving and analytics platforms like AdCenter, Adwords, Google Analytics have performance issues that more memory helps.

    Editing
    No online tool will beat the performance of a desktop tool, so don’t expect Acquisio to be as fast as Adwords Editor or the Microsoft Desktop tool. However, overall time to implement major changes is just as fast using their mass editor and bulk upload tools. We also don’t expect Acquisio to have all the bells and whistles that desktop tools have, and so sometimes we’ll use Acquisio and sometimes we’ll use the desktop tools, depending on what we are trying to do.

    Reporting
    We have found the tool very good for automating reports that we send to clients monthly. Basic performance metrics like clicks, impressions, spend and so on were taking too much time at beginning of months, and we like the time-savings and professional appearance that the reports provide.

    Ad hoc reporting is where I think Acquisio is exceptional. The trendline charts that let us plot variables against one another really quickens our ability to diagnose problems and move to fix them. Last week, we were able to find a very subtle problem in our Bing campaigns in under 2 minutes by setting clicks, ctr, impressions, and cost variable trend lines against each other. Time is always of the essence when digging into client problems – especially when they are the ones that first notice the problem, as they often are.

    Complexity of System
    Acquisio is a system, not a tool, and there’s no escaping some process re-engineering. This will be true of any system you implement. It requires re-training staff and breaking of old habits in order to get the most out of the system. We believe we have able to leverage the investment in our process changes into more efficient and more effective campaign management.

    Bug Reporting, New Features & Support
    In general, we’ve felt that Acquisio has rolled out features faster than our ability to implement them. We are satisfied that the new changes are stable and well-engineered. When we experience bugs or want to request new features, we are satisfied with the process Acquisio uses to manage the bug reports and feature requests. They have a good formal tracking system and they communicate well on status. We never have problem picking up the phone to get immediate attention from a real person, not a voice mail. Nobody’s perfect when it comes to support, but we give Acquisio very high marks compared to other vendors we deal with regularly.

    Reply to this comment

    • Lucy Griffiths

      Mike Essex 28th October 2010

      Thanks for adding your comments Matt and glad to hear of your high satisfaction levels.

      Reply to this comment

  • Mike 19th March 2013

    Acquisio has awful customer service. Period. I signed up for a 30 day free trial and I was sent an automated email by a woman named “Kim” who wanted to schedule a call with me.

    I was happy to speak with her because I wanted to make the most of my free trial. She never emailed me back, so I emailed her two more times. Meanwhile my free trial is running out. I was hoping to have a webinar or something.

    I have no desire to use a software with customer support this poor. Not to mention that I’ve heard Acquisio is expensive as well. Who runs a company like that?

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