There are multiple factors that can affect the performance of PPC campaigns. These include competition, fluctuations in keyword trends, buyer’s purchasing behavior changes—and that’s just to name a few. Retailers have to juggle multiple tasks in unison to be able to succeed.
Information data plays a key decision role in managing all these tasks. The more information you can get about your competition, the market, and your own campaign’s performance, the better marketing decisions you’ll be able to make.
Luckily, to save much of the hassles involved in those tasks, there are PPC tools that can help automate most daily activities. They help manage campaigns while helping you save time and reducing human-prone errors.
Also, tools can provide the objective feedback necessary to make optimizations and beat the competition while providing more capacity to manage multiple campaigns. Here, we’ll go over my favorite free and paid PPC tools to help you destroy your competition.
KEYWORD ANALYSIS TOOLS
Keyword analysis is key to the success of any PPC campaign. It helps advertisers find new potential keywords to add to campaigns and analyze what keywords are being used by competitors. Proper analysis can also help you save money and increase conversions. Use the tools below to help in your ongoing keyword analysis efforts.
SEMRush is a comprehensive tool that allows you to analyze keywords for search engine optimization, paid campaigns, social media, and content marketing.
For PPC purposes, you can use the tool to collect keywords from multiple channels and polish your keyword list with recommendations. My favorite thing about this tool is that you can get all of these insights in one place. You can also get in-depth analytics reports to share with your team and make optimizations as necessary.
The cost for SEM RUSH varies from $99 to $399 per month or more, depending on the features selected. If you can afford it, I’d recommend getting the Guru package for $150 per month because it offers more reports and historical data.
I love this PPC tool because it not only helps me find good potential keywords, but it also helps me better understand what is working or not working for my competitors. Using this intelligence, I can then avoid making the same mistakes or find new potential opportunities they haven’t explored. You can try it out without creating an account. If you enter a competitor’s website, you’ll get a report similar to the one below:
As you can see, it also helps with SEO by showing organic traffic and keyword-related results. Another very useful feature is their projects section. You can set up different projects for SEO and PPC purposes and get weekly tracking updates with your domain’s standing. Their pricing ranges from $33 to $299 per month, and they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PPC MANAGEMENT TOOLS: TRACKING & REPORTING
Online trends are constantly fluctuating. Keyword trends go up and down, competition gets weaker or stronger, and customer behaviors change. That’s why PPC campaigns require continuous tracking, monitoring, and optimization to be successful.
Those tasks can be tedious with any campaign size; however, if you’re working with a large budget or have multiple campaigns, they can get even more complicated. This is where the following PPC tools can come in handy to save time and help make smarter decisions.
Gathering advertising data from multiple sources it’s a very time-consuming task. There’s Google, social media, newsletter campaigns, syndication platforms like Outbrain—the list goes on and on. Also, collecting data manually increases the likelihood of human error. Luckily, there are tools like Funnel.io that allow advertisers to automatically gather ad data from various platforms to get a complete picture of overall performance.
One of my favorite features it the ability to create dashboards and reports that can be easily shared with my team. It helps put together a story that can be effectively communicated with other members of the team. Additionally, you can get cross-channel analytics to compare campaign performance across advertising platforms to find out what is really driving business.
This tool is a bit more expensive than the ones previously mentioned, costing at least $199 per month. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee in case the system doesn’t fit your needs.
If you track call conversions, you’ve probably wondered about the quality behind them and what triggered them. Knowing this type of data can help you make smarter optimizations tailored to increase not only the quantity but, also, the quality of your calls. Fortunately, this tool can help you do all of this and more.
They have a powerful feature called dynamic number insertion, which allows you to get unique numbers to track traffic coming from different sources such as AdWords, organic search, and social media. Also, once a user is assigned a unique phone number, he or she will continue to see the same number in future website visits. This was implemented to avoid the confusion of getting different phone numbers on every visit.
In other words, if Mary visits your website for the first time today, she will get a unique number that identifies her traffic source. Then, if she visits your website tomorrow, she will see the same unique phone number, even though other users will see different numbers. Call Rails is affordable, ranging from $30 to $149+ per month.
This PPC tool offers a variety of solutions to simply optimize campaigns, including reporting, bid management, and data insights. I love their feature called one-minute optimization, which allows me to make changes to my PPC accounts within minutes instead of hours. I use it for my search, display, and PLA or Google Shopping campaigns whenever I need to make optimizations.
Another useful feature is their bid management ad optimizations features. The platform allows you to visualize and manage them with an easy to use interface. It was named best PPC management software at the 2015 US Search Awards and is currently shortlisted for the 2017 edition in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Their price range from $116 to $449 plus per month.
SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS
Social media tools can help you optimize your everyday workflow. They can make it easy to manage multiple accounts, keep up with customer relations, and streamline team collaborations.
Also, these types of tools can help maintain a cohesive ad message across platforms, which is vital to a strong brand image. In this section, we’ll cover social tools that help better understand target customers and track performance.
Simply Measured is a tool that allows you understand your audience’s interests, influence, interactions, and intent to make better social media decisions. The process starts with a step they call listening. In this step, you’ll get the chance to find new audiences and social media influencers to expand your reach. You’ll be able to find out data such as demographics and location of your target audience.
Also, you’ll be able to find new trending topics that can be useful when creating new advertising campaigns. For example, you can find out popular hashtags to use in your next set of ads.
After learning about your target audience, you can move on to social analytics where you’ll find when, where, and what to post. The tool analyzes your social presence in comparison to your competitor’s presence to find the ideal content to post at specific times. It will also allow you to create reports to analyze all campaign performance and make optimizations as necessary.
Another handy feature offered by the tool is the ability to track performance to discover data, such as the time users coming from social media spent on your website. Additionally, you’ll get a complete conversion tracking funnel report to measure which channels and activities brought the most conversions. Overall, this tool will help you make better decisions to improve all social media campaigns.
SproutSocial is a social media management platform that allows businesses to connect customer service with marketing activities to create a complete social picture. What I love about this tool is their CRM feature. It allows you to get complete conversation histories in one simple to use dashboard.
Also, you can share information to collaborate with your team. In this way, the sales, marketing, and support team can be up to date on the latest customer interactions, creating a better overall customer experience.
For PPC campaigns and social posting activities, Sprout allows you to schedule, monitor, and analyze performance all in one place. I constantly use it to identify my best performing content and discover trends. Using the intelligence I get, I then proceed to schedule posts across all my platforms.
Regarding pricing, this tool is not the most affordable one out there, but it has a reasonable price for the number of benefits you get in return. The premium package starts at $99 per month and goes up to $249 for the Enterprise plan with all features.
OTHER USEFUL TOOLS
These tools were not included in the list because they are widely known; however, they are must-use tools. See the list below:
Google Keyword Planner. A classic and easy to use tool to find good potential keywords for AdWords campaigns. Enter keyword ideas and get a list of related keywords with traffic volume and competition data. I then like to filter results to find keywords with decent search volume and low competition. This process will help me save money on bids and help estimate the potential reach of my campaigns. I also use this tool for idea validation. If I come up with a new idea, I look up the keyword’s search volume to discover the demand for the service or product.
Google Trends. Use this tool to discover product seasonality and trends over a specific period of time. It can help uncover existing product trends or help predict new ones that can potentially be trending soon according to graphs. Use those predictions to source new product and create PPC campaigns.
Google Analytics. It provides an array of important data used to determine if PPC campaigns are being effective or not. It can be synced with AdWords to get a more comprehensive picture of campaign performance.
Canva. Creating graphics for Google display campaigns, social media, or newsletter can be very tedious. So, I use Canva to speed up the process. It can be used for free and offers many pre-designed templates that can be easily edited to fit any style.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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