At TangoCode, we are constantly fielding questions about SEM reporting solutions. Our clients frequently ask us to compare companies and give our professional insight as to which off the shelf reporting solutions are best for different agencies.
There are many out-of-the-box SEM reporting options out there, offering different benefits for different agencies and industries. That’s why we’ve decided to tackle this issue head on by providing an in-depth comparison of two of the biggest players in the SEM reporting technology market: Kenshoo and Acquisio.

Kenshoo Vs. Acquisio: How Do Their Features Compare?

Acquisio offers campaign management, optimization, and reporting for search, social, and display advertising. When you break this down to basic features, Acquisio offers “the fastest optimization algorithm on the market.” They have an easy to use cross-channel platform and a user-friendly way to view all of your campaigns from one dashboard and fix issues as they arise.
Kenshoo’s signature program, Kenshoo Infinity, is broken into three tiers of service. The Select plan covers the basics of campaign management, optimization, and reporting for search OR social. The Premium plan offers options for search AND social, and the Signature plan offers options for search, social, mobile, and display. The mobile option makes Kenshoo an attractive choice, but in order to get that service, you need to sign up for the most expensive plan.

Ease of Use

The general consensus across ratings websites (including G2 and Trust Radius) claims that Acquisio is very easy to use and offers a high quality product, but is “glitchy.” Many users have complained about problems with inaccurate data, trouble when updating their system, or an abundance of updates (which makes it difficult to keep up). Users have also complained about the editing tool, claiming that it doesn’t do anything that AdWords cannot do.
Kenshoo’s overall usability rating is overwhelmingly positive. Users believe the interface is intuitive and offers a lot of options for marketers. But as with any off-the-shelf SEM reporting software, it does not offer the flexibility or customization options that many agencies prefer.

Customer Service/Support

Acquisio claims to offer its customers 24/7 chat support and a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. phone center on weekdays. Acquisio is also quick to answer questions via their website chat function, even for non-customers.
Kenshoo says it offers 24/7 case submission for all users, case response time based on severity, and a portal for tracking cases to all users. Members of the platform’s Premium plan also have access to escalation-management options; members of Kenshoo’s Signature program receive automated emails and prioritized case response.

Customer Satisfaction/Reviews

Here are a few customer reviews on Acquisio from G2 Crowd:

  1. “Every agency PPC manager is balancing multiple clients, and spending hours on manual reporting and bid management. Acquisio solves those problems and frees us up to develop strategy for clients.”
  2. “The reporting suite saves hours of time spent manually pulling client reporting data and assembling it into a client-ready report. Acquisio does all that work for you, freeing up time to write a coherent analysis of the data.”
  3. “It has solved our overall under-spending problem and has paced our campaigns budgets accurately. It has increased, across the board, conversions for our clients and has reduced the number of clients cancelling.”
  4. “Integration with outside tools can be very time consuming, tedious and have no explanation for problems or issues that arise. Although the Acquisio team is always trying to help, constantly having to worry if the integration is recording data correctly is a burden.”

Also from G2, here’s what customers are saying about Kenshoo:

  1. “Kenshoo is the Ferrari of bid management tools: 1) has the most powerful capabilities, 2) requires a sophisticated driver to get the most out of it, 3) is not the lowest cost option. If winning the race is the most important thing to your organization, you need the best car with a adequate driver.”
  2. “Kenshoo[‘s]…interface has an easy to follow workflow and allows for some more complex targeting capabilities than social platforms do on their own. You can also customize reporting to include metrics from 3rd party tracking capabilities.”
  3. “Kenshoo is a 360º Tool with full integration with different channels and is known as best-in-class portifolio optimization and bid manager, its a very friendly tool that provides us to have universal channels, analytics dashboards, automatic bid managers, scheduled actions, dynamic tracking and others vital features.”
  4. “The interface is S L O W. Sometimes it makes it difficult for my team to complete tasks efficiently. New roll-outs for specific new features on Facebook or other social networks are sometimes glitchy or behind their competitors.”

Which Agencies Are Best for Each SEM Reporting System?

Kenshoo is the only SEM reporting solution that includes mobile. So, if mobile reporting, campaign management, and optimization are on your SEM reporting bucket list, then Kenshoo is a better choice. However, in order to get full SEM coverage with Kenshoo, you need to upgrade to their most comprehensive program Kenshoo Infinity Suite: Signature.
If you are a smaller company, or you simply don’t want this much SEM coverage, then you may end up paying for more than you can use. Smaller agencies will be better off using Acquisio’s basic option, since it covers search, social, and display marketing.

Questions to Ask Before Investing in an Out-of-the-Box Solution

Before you buy ANY off the shelf SEM reporting solution, here are some questions you should ask to make sure you’re choosing a partner that will work effectively with your agency’s goals:

  1. Can I customize the reports to match my clients’ needs?
  2. Will this work with my company’s/industry’s APIs?
  3. How much initial and ongoing support is offered?
  4. What is involved in the migration process (from our current system to the new system)?
  5. Does the system offer real time reports, or is there a delay?
  6. Are there additional costs outside of the monthly fee?
  7. How secure is my information?
  8. Can this SEM software grow with my business?
  9. Do you understand my company’s goals?
  10. Will this software integrate with my existing systems? If not, does it offer any replacements?

It’s important to have a complete understanding of the system before you sign on the dotted line.

With any off-the-shelf SEM reporting solution, you will inevitably experience some shortcomings — it’s to be expected when working with a solution that’s essentially a one-size-fits-all (and not built specifically to your needs). A custom SEM reporting solution can eliminate the issues seen with out-of-the-box technology partners like Kenshoo and Acquisio.