Google's AdWords, the tool through which businesses advertise in Google searches, is hugely important both to Google (as a major revenue source) and businesses (which often find it a big traffic-driver). But despite Google's reputation for user friendliness, AdWords has long been something of a headache to many businesses wanting to use the tool. Today AdGrok, a Y Combinator-incubated startup that helps hand-hold businesses wanting to use AdWords, emerges from private beta--which means many small businesses without a ton of tech know-how can heave a sigh of relief.
And not just small businesses. One of the interesting metrics on AdGrok is that even big businesses--those who can afford to hire someone tech-savvy enough to navigate the labyrinth of AdWords--have enjoyed using the service in beta. "This was going to be a long-tail, Mom-and-Pop strategy, but it turns out that most of our biggest users are not small,” CEO Antonio Garcia-Martinez told Xconomy, which sees the AdGrok story as another data point in the trend towards "consumerization," or user-friendliness not just for consumers, but for businesses as well.
Since AdGrok is fresh out of beta, we get our first word on pricing today. It's free for users managing less than $500 a month on AdWords spending (infants often eat for free; same with infant businesses). If you spend more than that, though (and most do--the average customer manages about $2,000 a month through AdGrok), you have a choice of tiered plans at $50, $150, or $250 per month. AdGrok has raised about a half-million in funding from Triple Point Capital and individual investors like ex-Googler Chris Sacca.
Depending on how much you want to shell out to AdGrok, you can even get it to behave like a mini ad agency for you. Its "GrokMe" service manages your campaign for you, sending you reports on a weekly basis. AdGrok has so many different features that it seems to have invented a small linguistic subcategory of ugly English words: "GrokBots" (which scour your campaign and offer ideas for improvement), "Groknoculars" (which zoom in on keywords that are losing you money), "Grok-O-Matic" (which helps you easily set up your campaign).
If this was such a good idea, it's surprising Google didn't just do it itself. There's certainly no bad blood between the two, though: AdGrok is a certified partner of Google AdWords, according to AdGrok's site. The "grokbar," AdGrok's user interface, has preferred API access granted by Google.
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