Tuesday Nov 6, 2012 by Susan Johnston - Contributor, VentureFizz
As search engines monetize more of their screen real estate, it’s become increasingly tough for businesses, especially small to medium-sized businesses, to generate new leads through organic search results. Boston-based search engine marketing company WordStream has tapped into this niche with software as service products like the 20-Minute PPC Work Week.
“It’s like 20-minute abs,” explains Ralph Folz, WordStream’s CEO. “We’re applying that to pay-per-click. Our computers will crunch numbers all weekend long, and it will tell you the ten things you could go do to make your paid search campaigns more effective. For instance, ‘We noticed people are searching on these three words. Why don’t you add them to your campaign?’”
Another WordStream product, the free AdWords Performance Grader, lets companies of any size connect it to their Google AdWords account and run a detailed analysis of how they are doing with their paid search campaigns. The tool generates a report card that compares their results to firms in the same industry. “We compare you to companies of similar size and within the same industry, and we’ve run that on over a billion dollars of paid search,” adds Folz.
WordStream’s paid products start at $300 a month and connect to the business’ paid search account, supporting Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. “There are a lot of companies targeting the super high-end, the Staples.com, HPs of the world,” says Folz. “But the small to medium business segment has really been underserved. There are not a lot of companies we compete with in that space, so that’s helping our business a lot.”
To date, WordStream has raised $16 million in funding, with the most recent round of $6 million in July led by led by Sigma + Partners and Egan-Managed Capital. According to Folz, WordStream landed three times as many customers in the last quarter than the same quarter in the previous year.
“I’m super-bullish on all forms of digital marketing, particularly on paid search,” he says. “Paid search is the most measurable form of marketing there is. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You’re paying for performance, so smart advertisers can calculate how much that customer is worth to them over their lifetime. If you can get that formula right, there is no reason you can’t rapidly scale your business.”
Looking ahead, Folz predicts continued growth. WordStream has recently secured another floor in its Back Bay location, doubling its office space, and plans to hire aggressively in the areas of engineering, customer success, and inside sales. “From a product perspective, we’re going to continue our 1,000% focus on paid media and small to medium businesses,” he adds.