Studio 40’s 43 Best PPC Management Tools As Voted For By Experts
STUDIO 40’S 43 BEST PPC MANAGEMENT TOOLS
AS VOTED FOR BY EXPERTS
17 December 15 Posted In Paid Search 11 Comments Authored By George Bates
Paid advertisements are a great way to drive targeted traffic and relevant people to a
However, if you’re new to the PPC game or have not optimised your campaigns to their
full potential you could be throwing money away!
There’s a whole bunch of management tools out there that can help with optimising your
PPC campaigns but how do you know which ones are the best?
In this article, I asked 21 PPC experts for the tools that they could not live without.
Their answers include a wide range of free, paid and free trial option tools. Take a
1. EXCEL (PAID)
– As recommended by Melissa Mackey of Gyro, Amy Bishop of Clix Marketing, Philip
Wendell of Click Click Media, Heather Cooan of Infusionsoft, Aaron Levy of Elite SEM,
Lisa Sanner of Point It, Kirk Williams of ZATO Marketing, Euan Brock of Screaming
Frog and Christi Olson founder of iSEM Consulting
We’ve all used Microsoft Excel at some point in our online lives.
You may be forgiven for thinking that there’s not a great deal it can do to help improve
the efficiency of a PPC campaign… but you’d be very wrong!
Knowing the ins and outs of Excel and fully utilising it is crucial for creating and
understanding data whether you’re just starting out with PPC or you’re a fully fledged
expert (as proven by Excel claiming top spot!).
I couldn’t live without Excel. I love it and I’m always looking for
more ways to expand my Excel expertise.” – Amy Bishop of Clix
2. ADWORDS EDITOR (FREE)
– As recommended by Justin Freid of CMI Media, Kirk Williams of ZATO Marketing,
Melissa Mackey of Gyro,Amy Bishop of Clix Marketing, Philip Wendell of Click Click
Media, Aaron Levy of Elite SEM, Euan Brock of Screaming Frog and Christi Olson
founder of iSEM Consulting
Ooh so close! Number 2 in our list is the free AdWords Editor.
Needing to make mass changes to an account? Wanting to implement a new AdWords
feature across all your accounts to improve their performance? AdWords editor is THE
ultimate time saver and you can even carry on working when offline.
Working in the agency world, being able to quickly update ad
text, make bid changes, add/remove ad text or keywords in a
short period of time can help tremendously. – Justin Freid of
3. GOOGLE ANALYTICS (FREEMIUM)
– As reccomended by Larry Kim of WordStream, Amy Bishop of Clix Marketing, Lisa
Sanner of Point It andEuan Brock of Screaming Frog.
Another Google product and another firm favourite for those in the know when it comes
to PPC; Google Analytics is a crucial tool.
Well over 10 million websites across the world use ‘GA’ and there’s hundreds of
reasons why. You can track everything from organic website visits to the demographic
of users who click a certain button on a Wednesday afternoon, for example. Potent.
Analytics is great for looking at accurate ecommerce data related
to campaigns as well as helping provide insight to building new
campaigns and looking at top performing pages/products. – Euan
Brock of Screaming Frog
4. SEMRUSH (PAID)
– As recommended by Zac Johnson, Mona Elesseily of Page Zero Media, Phillip
Wendell of Click Click Media and Christi Olson founder of iSEM Consulting
SEMrush is an industry favourite for both SEO and PPC insights. This versatile,
competitive intelligence suite has a multitude of paid features.
You can use SEMRush to generate analytics reports that allow for understanding your
competitors strategies, utilise powerful tools to estimate keyword difficulty and cross
examine many domains all in one nicely presented package.
SEMrush is an extremely versatile service with a great selection
of analytical reports and tools for Organic, Paid and PLA
competitive research. Why learn from your mistakes when you
can benefit from your competitors’ success? Yulia
Shevardenkova of SEMRush.
5. BING EDITOR (FREE)
– As recommended by Aaron Levy of Elite SEM, Kirk Williams – ZATO Marketing,
Melissa Mackey – Gyro andChristi Olson founder of iSEM Consulting
Not quite matching up to it’s Google rival when it comes to votes from the experts, it’s
Bing’s Ads Editor. Just like it’s AdWords cousin, the Bing editor allows the user to make
huge changes to your campaigns in one fell swoop and upload them in bulk.
“For working with any level of volume, the editors are simply
unbeatable in making changes en masse.” – Aaron Levy of Elite
6. ADALYSIS (PAID)
As recommended by Chris Haleua of Adobe, Melissa Mackey of Gyro and Christi
Olson founder of iSEM Consulting
AdAlysis is a hugely powerful advert testing platform for AdWords that offers a 30 day
free trial. The tool allows you to easily find advert insights, increase workflow, automate
tests and much more. This tool was one of the favourite ad testing tools amongst the
“AdAlysis is my favourite PPC tool for testing” – Chris Haleua of
7. ADWORDS SCRIPTS (FREE)
– Sam Hurley of Midas Media, Euan Brock of Screaming Frog and Christi Olson,
founder of iSEM Consulting
Google AdWords Scripts are an amazingly efficient and underrated way of optimising
your campaigns. Not only can you generate historical Quality Score reports and
automate account health check ups, you can also find underperforming keywords and
use insights to improve them.
A great time saver if you’ve inherited a large account. See all
broken links in a simple spreadsheet report. – Sam Hurley of
8. GOOGLE KEYWORD PLANNER (FREE)
– As recommended by Margot da Cunha of WordStream and Ryan Lees of Studio40
In at number eight is Google AdWords Keyword Planner which allows you to get
keyword ideas, see performance insights and generally plan Search Network
We’re just surprised this isn’t higher up in our list as Keyword Planner is many an
Expert’s go to for keyword and ad group ideas, as well as historical data. It’s also
completely free to use.
Keyword Planner is a great tool for researching keyword
variations and taking your AdWords account further than just the
broad search terms. It’s also great for seeing average search
volumes, competition & average CPC’s around a variety of
keywords. – Ryan Lees of Studio40
9. FACEBOOK POWER EDITOR (FREE)
– As recommended by Michelle Morgan of Clix Marketing and Heather Cooan
Facebook’s very own ‘Power Editor’ tool allows the user to create multiple ads at one
time and have ‘precise control of their campaigns’. However, it’s recommended that if
you don’t have to create hundreds of ads at a time, you should simply use Adverts
Power Editor is only currently supported in the Google Chrome browser but it’s
completely free to download.
Facebook campaigns used to be pretty laborious but the new
editor makes things so much easier and allows for easy scaling
through campaign duplication. Definitely a must for Facebook
(and Instagram) advertisers! –Michelle Morgan of Clix Marketing
10. BING ADS INTELLIGENCE (FREE)
As recommended by John Gagnon of Microsoft and Chris Haleua of Adobe
Bing Ads Intelligence is keyword research tool that allows you to easily digest the
performance of keywords on the Yahoo Bing Network.
It’s free to download and allows you to work with keyword lists of up to 200,000 words,
align ads with Bing’s policies, tailor your bidding strategy and much more. No wonder so
many PPC Experts loved this tool!
Bing Ads Intelligence gives search marketers insane details no
other tool does. Want to know the number of clicks in position two
for the keyword [cheap auto insurance] or the number of
searchers 2534? The data comes straight from the search
engine. – John Gagnon of Bing
11. OPTMYZR (PAID)
As recommended by Mona Elesseily of Page Zero Media and Kirk Williams of ZATO
Optmyzr is a leading Google AdWords optimisation tool for advertisers, consultants, and
agencies alike. It offers a Quality Score tracker, landing page checker and a free trial!
What’s not to love?
Me and my cofounders saw the challenges of managing
AdWords and Bing Ads firsthand while working at Google and at
PPC agencies. We set out to create the equivalent of a swiss
army knife for PPC so that account managers could do common
optimisation and reporting tasks in a fraction of the time other
tools would take. – Frederick Vallaeys of Optmyzr
12. ACQUISIO (PAID)
As recommended by Mona Elesseily of Page Zero Media and Lisa Sanner of Point It
Acquisio is a popular search marketing platform that enables the user to optimise
campaigns as well as offering the ability to report on social, mobile, and display
Having reportedly hired a rocket scientist to help design the program, Acquisio claim
that: ‘It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to use the Acquisio search marketing platform. It
did, however, take one to design it.” Awesome!
13. SPYFU (FREEMIUM)
– as recommended by Sam Hurley of Midas Media and Christi Olson of iSEM
Spyfu is a brilliant tool for competitor research and both PPC and SEO insights due to
the huge database of information that it possesses. See adverts, sources and keywords
for over 300 million sites in a concise and smoothly designed interface.
If I’m pitching a new client and need to do competitive research I
can’t live without access to SpyFu to dig into apx budgets,
keyword lists, and ad copy variations. Christi Olson of iSEM
14 – 43: THE BEST OF THE REST
The following tools all received a single mention each from one of our experts but no
PPC Management tools list would be complete without them!
Check them out…
POWER MAP FOR EXCEL (FREE)
– as recommended by John Gagnon of Microsoft and Chris Haleua of Adobe
Microsoft Power Map for Excel is a 3D data visualisation tool that allows for analysing
data in a totally unique manner
Plot geographic data on a 3D globe , display it over time, create visual tours and much
more all in one handy tool!
AUDIENCE INSIGHTS WITHIN FACEBOOK ADS TOOL
Facebook has the richest data out there, which includes point of
sale, your matched email and web customer files, and their
behaviors. It’s not just what they like or did on Facebook like a
few years ago. This the equivalent of showrooming, where you
can try on stuff for free in the store and then go buy it elsewhere.”
– Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics
SUNNY REPORTS (PAID)
– as recommended by Ryan Lees of Studio40
SunnyReports helps you to automate customisable and professional AdWords reports.
With the ability to easily add the statistics and visualisations that you want and build
reusable reports, SunnyReports takes the hassle out of reporting.
DOUBLECLICK SEARCH EXECUTIVE REPORTING
When looking to understand market trends, consumer behavior
and other cross account trends, Doubleclick Search’s Executive
Reporting tool has been extremely helpful. I can easily aggregate
information from all or select accounts and splice the data any
way I want. This eliminates the need to mess around with large
excel files and gets me the information I need quickly to look at
SEM from a holistic viewpoint. Justin Freid – CMI Media
the tool I use for landing pages, it is easy to use, implement,
optimise, and create. It’s also very affordable. Kirk Williams –
Bizible allows you to see your campaign data alongside your
Marketo data to easily track leads and spend to closed
customers. This has made my life much easier when making
optimizations in my lead gen accounts. –Michelle Morgan – Clix
I use Steadybudget to keep me within budget constraints for
clients. Its autopilot mode is especially helpful for pausing entire
accounts in both Adwords & Bing whenever budget is reached.
Kirk Williams – ZATO Marketing
SEOBOOK’S PPC AD KEYWORD WRAPPER +
PHRASE BUILDER COMBO (BOTH FREE)
Plug all your existing keyword ideas into Phrase Builder which
concatenates them, creating brand new experimental terms.
Now, copy this list and enter it into Keyword Wrapper to quickly
grab every combination of broad, phrase and exact match. See
how they each perform in AdWords and apply the search terms
report. The broads can be used to investigate elusive, less
competitive terms which achieve clicks. Boom! – Sam Hurley
MERGE WORDS (FREE)
– Ryan Lees – Studio40
Great for building out campaigns with longer tailed keyword
variations and doing it quickly. For example, adding location
keywords onto the end of a bulk amount of broad keywords in
one go. – Ryan Lees of Studio40
AdStage is one of the few campaign management solutions out
there that has LinkedIn API access. In AdStage, we’re able to
see LinkedIn performance and track conversions. AdStage has
been a major victory for my clients who advertise in that channel
and want to actually track through to a conversion Michelle
Morgan – Clix Marketing
Search Query reports are the oil changes of PPC. They need to
be done on a regular basis to both prevent problems and improve
performance. Using a suggestion tool like Keywordtool.io can get
a lot of the work out of the way ahead of time. It’s a common tool
for positive research, but underused for proactive negative
keyword research. Insert your search term, remove it from the
results and see what junk you want to exclude ahead of time. –
Aaron Levy – Elite SEM
– as recommended by Lisa Sanner of Point It
Marin Software is a crosschannel advertising platform that allows you to Optimize your
Search, Social & Display ads across channels and devices.
With Marin you can simplify your work day and ‘Win the battle for revenue across
search, display, social & mobile.’
My agency currently utilizes Sysomos (for social listening), and
by tapping in and understanding what your target audience is
talking about on social media can help you find new keywords
and phrases to target both through paid search and
content/organic that may not be spit out by Google’s Keyword
Justin Freid – CMI Media
ADWORDS WRAPPER (FREE)
– Ryan Lees – Studio40
AdWords Wrapper speeds up the process of keyword wrapping
and makes life a lot easier when building out your ad groups with
a variety of keyword match types. – Ryan Lees of Studio40
SEARCH TERMS REPORT (FREE)
As recommended by Margot da Cunha – WordStream
Search Terms Report is less a standalone tool and more a feature within Google
AdWords that helps marketers fine tune their campaigns.
Utilising Google’s Search Terms Report helps you to understand the searches that are
triggering your adverts and helps you to learn what the intentions of the users
performing those searches are.
– As recommended by Lisa Sanner of Point It
Kenshoo is a huge name in Digital Marketing and in 2015, brands will reportedly
generate over $350 billion in sales through their awardwinning ‘Infinity Suite’.
Kenshoo also claim that each second, web users click 4,000 Kenshooserved ads
across the world. Those stats don’t lie!
WORDSTREAM’S 20 MINUTE WORK WEEK (FREE)
– as recommended by Margot da Cunha of WordStream
WordStream have created a great little checklist, accompanied by a handy video, that
helps you optimise your PPC accounts.
They have produced a workflow guide outlining the tasks that will make the most impact
on your bottom line.
FACEBOOK AD PLANNER (FREE)
– as recommended by Larry Kim of WordStream
Facebook Ads are notorious for their precise, laser targeting and ability to target the
exact demographic that you wish to view and engage with your brand.
Facebook Adverts Manager is the social media giant’s very own tool for managing
adverts and analysing their performance. There is now an Adverts Manager app, too.
– as recommended by John Gagnon of Microsoft
Optimizely, or Optimisely if we’re using the Queen’s English ;), is an enterpriselevel A/B
testing platform that helps you personalise and optimise pages across desktop, mobile
web and mobile apps.
Used by such high profile companies as Sony, The New York Times and NBCUniversal,
there’s no doubting it’s prowess!
BOOMERANG FOR GMAIL (FREEMIUM)
Boomerang helps you empty your inbox by adding scheduled sending and integrated
email reminders to Gmail.
Tracking client correspondence is as important as optimising
campaigns –Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics
– as recommended by Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics
Basecamp is one of the most respected project management and collaboration tools out
there. If you’re working on a collaborative PPC campaign and want to share information
or changes made in the account then Basecamp is perfect!
Features include: Todos, files, messages, schedules, milestones and much more.
CHANGE HISTORY (FREE)
– as recommended by Heather Cooan of Infusionsoft
Another feature of AdWords rather than an individual tool, Change History is a hugely
underused view that can be found in the ‘Tools’ menu.
The tool lets you see changes in the campaign such as when it was paused, which user
added or removed keywords and budget changes.
MONITOR BACKLINKS (PAID)
– as recommended by Zac Johnson
PPC Experts can analyse where their site is ranking in Google
and based on the search volume, competition and CPC decide
what keywords should be optimized more for PPC. In Monitor
Backlinks, you can also see where competitors are ranking
organically for the same keywords. Felix Tarcomnicu of Monitor
GOOGLE ANALYTICS SOLUTIONS GALLERY (FREE)
as recommended by Elizabeth Marsten of CommerceHub
The Google Analytics Solutions Gallery features dashboards, custom reports, segments
and other insights to help you make the most of Google Analytics and utilise the data
This tool is great for both PPC newbies and experts alike and is another tool that is
US CENSUS DATA (FREE)
As recommended by Elizabeth Marsten of CommerceHub
Data is always vital when it comes to starting a PPC Campaign and the more you can
gather together the better.
Whilst the United States Census Bureau’s website might not be everyone’s go to PPC
‘tool’ of choice, reliable data is a huge commodity online in 2015!
HOW MUCH DOES PPC COST TOOL (FREE)
– as recommended by Ryan Lees of Studio40
Our very own PPC Calculator tool displays the costs of AdWords for over 20 business
sectors. It uses real data calculated from Google AdWords statistics to give an overview
of how much your potential AdWords campaign will cost.
ADOBE MEDIA OPTIMIZER (PAID)
– as recommended by Chris Haleua of Adobe
Adobe Media Optimizer is an adbuying solution that allows marketers to choose the
best mix of ads depending on your budget.
It’s automatable and even suggests the best way to deliver the content to your
audience. Take a look.
LONG TAIL PRO (PAID)
– as recommended by Zac Johnson
Long Tail Pro is the keyword research software that enables marketers to find the best
long tail keyword ideas. Boasting over 70,000 users, this competitor analysis software
has a multitude of features including, but not limited to, payperclick analysis, realtime
filtering and a rank checker.
GOOGLE PLANNING TOOLS (FREE)
Google has a variety of planning tools on their ‘Think with Google’ site that are great for
roadmapping any campaign, especially a PPC one. For example, Google Trends uses
realtime search engine data to help you understand user search patterns. The
‘Consumer Barometer’ tool displays the source of purchases and details the process
from start to finish.
My favourite collection of tools is Google’s Planning Tools,
especially Trends & the Consumer Barometer, as they can help
you understand an audience. Adam Devlin of Google
– as recommended by Ryan Lees of Studio40
Keyword Machine is a powerful and easy to use PPC tool for search marketers that
specialises in improving ad relevance, accelerating campaign builds and improving ad
Which is your favourite PPC management tool?