With digital marketing becoming a mainstay for business growth, Pay Per Click advertising is gaining in popularity. PPC campaigns are central to any digital marketing team’s success. But the questions that hound PPC marketers remain the same: How can I cut costs and amplify revenue on my PPC campaigns? How do I improve click-throughs and conversions without compromising on traffic quality?
Are there tools that can help me achieve all this so it isn’t a chore?
You bet. This helpful list of tools are must-haves to excel in your PPC career. And if you aspire to build a PPC career someday, these tools and platforms will help you gain all the hands-on expertise you need!
Tool for PPC Competitor Research
It is vital to know about your competitors as well, while researching your competitors’ paid search marketing strategy, you can use free Google search or you can pay to use other search tools.
1. Competitor Research via Google
The first step is to see your actual competitors. I can’t count the number of times that a company has told me who their competitors – only for me to find out those aren’t their AdWords competitors. AdWords has a great tool called ‘auction insights’ where you can see who you are competing against for a selection of keywords.
If you want to do a nice audit on these companies, take a look at:
- Ads: What offers are they including?
- Website: Are they using dedicated landing pages, unique offers, special discounts, or something else to entice the user?
- Their funnel: What is their overall sales funnel? To get a great idea of this, signup for their newsletters, download whitepapers, take a trial, and see how they interact with you.
Special note: Please don’t use your company email address for this!
2. Get alternative keyword ideas.
The Keyword Planner Tool is your go-to research place for AdWords. This tool makes it easy to look at keywords, find keyword volume, plan out your budgets, etc. Every marketer should know this tool.
3. Bing Ad Intelligence
Bing Ad Intelligence is a free Excel plugin that Bing offers to view a lot of great data about keywords, search volume and more. It has a great feature set and is one of the most overlooked PPC tools on the market.
4. Examining AdWords & Bing Auctions
Take a look at the live search results and use the Ad Preview Tools to see what these ads look like by devices (does your competition use a dedicated mobile site or special mobile offers?) You can gain perspective on all these aspects by analyzing the ads your competitors are using search results.
You could gain clarity on what are the various Google AdWords & Bing Ads features, like call extensions, sitelinks, automated extensions, and the ratings your competitors are using. You can even pay close attention to call tracking, dedicated pages, and special offers beyond the title, description, and link your competitors are employing.
The verbiage your competitors use in their ad copy could prove to be vital. You could consider quoting very affordable rates, to help convert the leads and grab the attention of potential coverts. These may be items you want to include in your ad to draw attention and clicks to your website.
Landing pages are quite essential when it comes to converting your clicks into customers. By adding a phone number to your landing page, you could have the benefit of a gaining a customer, instead of losing the person to your competitors.
Competitor Research via Other Tools
We just covered various aspects of how to meticulously research your competitors using Google, let’s look at some of the top paid search marketing tools that can help you dive even deeper into your competitors’ strategies.
KeywordCompetitor help you capture your competitors’ paid keywords, ads, and landing pages. It keeps track and provided a daily update on any changes to ads, keyword positions, and landing pages so you know if competitors are gaining on you.
Best Use of KeywordCompetitor: to enable a search and find your competitors’ paid and organic keywords. When competitors begin to get the upper hand, you will be notified so that you could take measures to step up with effective strategies.
iSpionage provides an insight into competitors’ effective keywords, ad copy, and ad budget. You could run a few sample queries to see limited data provided by this tool.
Best Use of iSpionage: This tool has the ability to find out exactly what your competition is up to and gives you an almost unfair advantage. Whether you’re an agency or running your PPC/organic campaign at home on a small budget, iSpionage will give your business the tools to enhance your ROI.
SEMrush helps you quickly find your advertising competitors based on the keywords you plan to target. You could click on your competitors to see what other keywords they target their ads toward and the ad copy they use.
Best Use of SEMrush: you can find out who the top organic and paid competitors are for a particular keyword in Google or Bing.
SpyFu creates visibility of every place your competitor has shown up on Google, including all of the keywords they have bought and the ad variations they have used. You could run a few sample queries to check the capability of this tool.
Best Use of SpyFu: view the most profitable keywords of competitors based on their last several years of advertising history.
KeywordSpy enables you to uncover the competitive landscape by displaying your competitors’ PPC campaign strategies, and pinpointing the most profitable keyword and ad copy combinations they use.
Best Use of KeywordSpy: Employ the ROI indicator to quickly gauge the value of keywords.
Adbeat enables you to uncover any advertiser’s online strategy, and see what works for them, spy on ad copy split testing, and find unique creatives used by an advertiser.
Best Use of Adbeat: scan through the top ads and the formats of the ads (text, flash, video, etc.). it works well in helping you become a leader in content network advertising channels.
WhatRunsWhere – view your competitors’ advertising strategies in Google AdWords and beyond, including text, display, banner, and mobile by tracking over 150,000 unique publishers.
In case you are considering display/banner advertising and need some inspiration on designing creatives, try Moat Ad Search for free. You can check the banner ads used by top brands – brands that know how to split test for conversions, evidenced by the number of variations you will find. You could hover over each creative to see what website it was last displayed on as well.
Best Use of WhatRunsWhere: view your competitors’ “entire” paid advertising strategy to see where you can go in addition to, or after, Google AdWords. A tool highly recommended for developing a strategy that helps combat big market player dominance.
The Search Monitor
The Search Monitor is a precision ad intelligence tool designed for enterprise-level ad monitoring that allows you to have full visibility into the paid search activity of competitors, affiliates, and industry leaders across 1,200 verticals.
Best Use of Search Monitor: This is a fantastic tool for search and affiliate marketing. Get insights from comScore about advertising in your industry as a whole.
AdGooroo allows you to access knowledge about your competitors’ PPC strategies including keywords, ad copy, landing pages, spend, impressions, and much more.
Best Use of AdGooroo: Get in-depth analysis of your ad copy and landing pages along with that of your competitors. Assess your competitors’ PPC strategies on both desktop and mobile.
Bonus: Social Media Advertising
Consider advertising on Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn etc. to check your competitor’s social media marketing strategies here are few tidbits:
- Create social media profiles that would be compatible to the audience you are targeting with your social media advertising. Through Facebook, you can gauge audience’s likes, demographics, family status, and similar details. On LinkedIn, you might need to create a company that matches the B2B customers you are targeting with your ad.
- Follow/like your competitors’ pages with your example ad audience profile.
- On Twitter, perform keyword searches that match the keywords you will be targeting with your ad.
- Social Ad Ninja, is a tool that has over 400,000 social advertisements, from the ad creative, the profiles it has been displayed to, and the number of days it has been live (which can demonstrate profitability).
While it’s tougher to analyze your competition for social advertising, it’s not impossible, and it can help you have an even more profitable campaign.
For a quick analysis of your competitors’ search marketing strategy, the free Google & Bing tools are the easiest answers. For an in-depth look into keyword performance, ad copy, and profit analysis, you would want to try to pay and dive into one of the tools. Either way, you now have the knowledge and tools necessary to learn from your competitors and out-advertise them in search!