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Acquisio: Reinventing the paid search process

July 2016

Connecting marketers and search campaign platforms

Acquisio wants to make marketing fun, but not at the price of value. That’s why the company works at reinventing how paid search operates. “I want to help marketers refocus their energy on the part of their work they enjoy,” says Marc Poirier, CEO and co-founder of Acquisio. “We do that by optimizing bids and budget for them.”

In a little more than a decade, Acquisio has evolved from a driven SEM/SEO agency to a full-stack technology company that helps agencies and local resellers optimize their clients’ search, social and display advertising campaigns. “We provide the technology that sits between marketers and search platforms such as Bing Ads,” Poirier says.

That technology is the company’s obsession, helping explain why the Montreal, Quebec-based Acquisio invests more than 45% of its budget in research and development.

Originally, Poirier focused that development on making paid search reports more useful. But as the marketing mix became more complex, he started to invest in machine learning to receive more detailed and insightful information. The end result has been the company’s uniquely powerful automated Bid and Budget Management (BBM) tool, which uses algorithms to report on bids and budgets in near real time, updating every 30 minutes and making up to 2.4 million bid adjustments per day — all within one easy-to-use dashboard.

International optimization

But does it really work? “We’ve significantly brought down the cost per click (CPC), increased the number of clicks, opened new opportunities to profitably manage low-budget campaigns and doubled the ratio of campaigns per campaign manager,” Poirier says.

Acquisio currently helps more than 400 agencies and local resellers manage more than $1 billion of ad spend on various platforms. “We have clients in almost every country around the world,” Poirier points out. Such results have led to quite the growth spurt. For the past four years, Acquisio has been recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in North America, winning awards such as the Deloitte Tech Fast 500 and Fast 50 along the way. The company now has shops in New York City, Seattle, Austin, London and Tokyo. It employs 155 people in all.

“There's a lot of volume in this space,” Poirier says. But you can’t effectively service that demand unless you have the expertise to back it up. Acquisio personnel, in this instance, use their skillset to break down paid search into small and digestible bites. “We try to make it as easy as possible for distribution partners to harness automated tools,” he points out. “Our clients don’t want to have to think or do the same work twice. With us they do it once. We then take care of everything else, ensuring they're well represented across all search engines.”

Influential partnership

By all engines, Poirier means Google and Bing in particular. “Because we're so focused on optimization and trying to algorithmically deliver better results, having more than one important source of search traffic at our disposal is key to our business,” he says. 

Acquisio’s engineers also maintain a close relationship with Bing Ads engineers. “They work with our engineering team every day, so that we're aware of what's coming,” Poirier adds. “And we also have a say about where the team goes and what choices are made. It helps us understand where this industry is going in general, where Bing is going specifically and how we can help them and our customers keep moving in the right direction.”

And where exactly does Poirier see paid search going? “Marketers need to ensure they embrace technology and automated solutions to help them navigate the complicated digital marketing era we live in,” Poirier says. “That’s how we help our clients transform their digital advertising product line from a loss leader to a profit center.”