Running a PPC advertising campaign is an extensive process. We’re not talking about a set it and forget it situation when it comes to platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ad Manager. While it’s true that much work goes into setting up the campaigns and preparing for launch, it certainly doesn’t stop there.
So, what do we do…?
Well, luckily for all advertisers, both novice and seasoned vets, there are nearly unlimited tools at our disposal that can help us to create the most effective campaigns from the beginning and continue to improve them over time.
Below is a list of the top 25 tools advertisers can use to improve their campaigns from top-to-bottom, start-to-finish, from initial research to measuring and reporting.
6 PPC Tools for Keyword Research
One of the most important first steps before running any Google Ads campaign is to do substantial keyword research. Knowing keywords with adequate search volume, estimated CPCs, and variations can help get your campaigns off on the right foot.
Keyword Tool #1: Google Ads Keyword Planner
Use the Google Ads Keyword Planner for keyword research. This tool provides new keyword ideas, along with historical data, future projections, and even bid estimates – although you should probably take those with a grain of salt.
Keyword Tool #2: WordTracker
WordTracker is a paid tool that can give you more insight into all things PPC (plus some nice SEO tips too). Used to discover competitors’ keywords, as well as keywords for particular themes.
Keyword Tool #3: Soovle
While most searches indeed take place on Google, you can identify keywords across many different sites – take YouTube, Yahoo!, and even Wikipedia, for example. Soovle’s research tool will provide insight and keyword discovery based on search volume across all of these sites.
Keyword Tool #4: WordStream
You’re probably already aware of WordStream in one form or another, but their keyword research tool. Integrated with Google Ads, it can give you some keyword suggestions, along with theme grouping for simple ad group launches.
Keyword Tool #5: SpeedPPC
Maybe you’re looking for something a bit more “hands-off.” In that case, we’d recommend taking a look at SpeedPPC, which can provide you with necessary keyword research, but will also make launching your campaigns a breeze.
Keyword Tool #6: Google Suggest Results
Sometimes keyword research is as easy as typing your keyword root into Google and checking out the bottom of the page for suggested searches. These may not always be spot on, but often-times you can at least get some new ideas and build from there.
Google Ads Search Term Reports
This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many advertisers aren’t taking advantage of these. Just run a report in Google Ads and see what kind of terms are triggering your ads to show already. Even though these queries already show your ads, they can help come up with new themes and ad groups. While you’re at it, you can always experiment with some new match types and bidding.
(Honorable Mention) Google Display Planner
Okay, this one is me being a bit of an optimist, hoping that Google brings it back into the new(ish) Google Ad interface. If so, while not your standard keyword tool, it can provide some excellent information to be used across all types of campaigns.
5 PPC Tools for Competitive Research
Another significant portion of the initial research is competitive analysis. It’s essential to have a strong understanding of what your direct competitors are doing in the advertising space. It will allow you to know what you need to do to compete, as well as how you can give yourself an advantage.
Competitive Research Tool #1: SpyFu
We’ll start with SpyFu, a tool that can provide insight into keywords your competitors are bidding on, as well as show their ad history and even give suggestions on the most profitable keywords. However, I’d recommend being skeptical about their competitor budget estimates.
Competitive Research Tool #2: SEMRush
One of the most common competitive research tools, SEMRush, lets you see your competitors’ top keywords, search volume, budget estimates, and more. You’ll find yourself discovering new features and ways to use them long after subscribing.
Competitive Research Tool #3: iSpionage
Use the iSpionage tools to learn everything about your competitors’ ad campaigns from how many ads they run, to the keywords they’re bidding on. Check out their landing pages and discover ways you can improve upon their strategies or find gaps in their campaigns.
Competitive Research Tool #4: The Search Monitor
Perhaps not your typical competitive research tool, Search Monitor can help keep an eye on competitors bidding on your brand name, as well as PPC and PLA (product listing ads) benchmarks.
Competitive Research Tool #5: Whatrunswhere
Whatsrunwhere is a bit more helpful for Display and Native ad campaigns, showing you some of the top-performing image ads across your market. Also, take a look at what your competitors are using in terms of landing page strategies, i.e., squeeze pages or product pages.
3 PPC Tools for Landing Page Development
Testing different strategies, text bidding, etc., will be vital to the success of your ad campaigns. You should especially be regularly testing different landing pages for your ads. You simply can’t be sure what is going to perform best for your business and in your market. Whether you’re trying a squeeze page or a more informational page, you’ll need tools so that you can do it yourself.
Landing Page Development Tool #1: Unbounce
One of the most accessible, user-friendly tools, Unbounce, is excellent for landing page development for advertisers of all experience levels. It even provides you with “dynamic text replacement,” which enables your landing page to change out text based on a user’s search query.
Landing Page Development Tool #2: Landingi
Just like Unbounce, Landingi is one of the more straightforward landing page creation tools available. However, it also makes tracking results easier, as well as providing a massive number of templates and icons for you to customize your page.
Landing Page Development Tool #3: Lander
I wanted to make sure to include Lander, as it’s one of the more affordable landing page creation tools. However, it still makes things easier on all users and even offers a wide range of landing page features, such as the previously mentioned dynamic text replacement.
5 PPC Tools for Account Management
Managing an ad account is a daily activity. You don’t just want to spend, spend, spend without making the necessary adjustments. These tools will make it a bit easier for you.
Account Management Tool #1: Google Ads Editor
Most advertisers simply use the online Google Ads interface to manage their campaigns, but you really should download and utilize the Google Ads Editor. Not only is this tool more intuitive, but it will let you work on your campaigns offline, and post all of the changes you made once you get back online.
Account Management Tool #2: MarinOne
Primarily used for bid management, MarinOne is easy to run and manage and will help you bid towards specific events that you’re trying to complete, from form-fills to video views. It also helps to integrate Google, Amazon, and Facebook advertising into a single tool.
Account Management Tool #3: Acquisio
One of the industry leaders, Acquisio, lets large-scale advertisers run campaigns across multiple platforms on a single dashboard. Combine this with some of its other features, and you’ve got yourself an excellent way to increase productivity.
Account Management Tool #4: Kenshoo
What makes Kenshoo such a great tool is its effectiveness for advertisers of all budgets, large and small. A lot of you running your accounts may be doing so because you don’t want to pay an agency. We get that. Use Kenshoo for your low-budget local campaigns as well.
Account Management Tool #5: PPC BidMax
Again, maybe you’re a business owner who understands the importance of advertising but doesn’t have the time to manage your campaign fully. PPC BidMax is an excellent tool for automated bidding (especially if you don’t trust Google), but unlike Google’s automated bid strategies, this tool will manage to bid across Yahoo!, Bing.
2 PPC Tools for Remarketing/Retargeting
The buying cycle has become diluted and extended to outrageous proportions, and there’s no sign of that stopping. Users sometimes take hundreds of touchpoints before making a purchase. For this reason, you want to be sure you’re advertising to users who visited your site, are considering your product, took a specific action. The following tools will help you do just that.
Remarketing Tool #1: Google Ads Remarketing
Naturally, one of the tools on this list is Google’s very own remarketing tool. It’s as easy as setting it up and watching the data.
Remarketing Tool #2: AdRoll
You can’t build a list of remarketing tools without including AdRoll. It provides its many users with remarketing tools across multiple platforms, along with pretty substantial ROI claims.
2 PPC Tools for Measurement
Measuring and reporting your results is a crucial step, not just in understanding how your campaigns are performing, but also in deciding what adjustments to make moving forward. These results will dictate strategy moving forward, whether it’s for yourself or a client.
Measurement Tool #1: Google Analytics
We’ve got to start with Google Analytics. Pretty much universally utilized at this point, use analytics to gain insight into your target audience as well as track