9 Useful & Affordable PPC Tools You Should Be Using
Digital marketing plays a pivotal role in a business' growth, and yet its often neglected, with startups and small businesses struggling to make the most of it. If you're just starting out, can't afford to hire anyone to manage your marketing or want to find an easy solution, this guide is for you.
The PPC Agency team started out as in-house marketers, working for small local companies, doing our best to achieve optimal results with a limited budget and little knowledge of most aspects of digital marketing.
We wanted to put together a helpful blog post and share our experience with some affordable and easy to use tools, to help small businesses with their Google Ads campaigns, social media and reporting. Every tool has been tested and approved by our team and clients.
Google Keyword Planner. An excellent free and reliable keyword research tool by Google. It is widely used by every PPC manager when planning a Google ads campaign.
It is great for checking average keyword search volumes for different locations, cost per click, expected click through rates and estimated cost per acquisition. You can put a url in the search bar and you will get keyword ideas, along with the metrics for each of those terms.
Recently Google rolled out an update on its keyword planner, allowing you to group keyword ideas by Branded and Non-Branded traffic, types of product, materials as well as competitors, locations and more.
Google Keyword planner takes into consideration factors like seasonality and market trends, to give you an estimate of required investment and expected results from your Google ads campaigns. The tool is pretty simple to use, very user-friendly and 100% free.
You can use Keyword Planner to add keywords directly to your Google Ads campaigns and ad groups and export predictions and historical metrics in excel, to share with your team or analyse alongside other data.
Google Trends. Similar to the Keyword Planner, Google trends shows you popular searches in different locations. It allows you to compare different terms with each other as well as check out historical data and seasonal trends from the past.
You can use Google Trends to plan your content calendar and promote relevant and trending content to your prospects. Related Queries on Google Trends is another way to find keyword ideas, compare phrase search volumes and make the most of your PPC campaigns. Check out this helpful article by Ahrefs for more info on how to use Google Trends
ClickCease/ClickGuard. We can't talk about PPC and not mention click fraud protection software. We have written other posts on click bots, explaining why having click fraud protection is vital to most lead generation businesses.
Each of these tools differs in pricing and has slightly different features, such as recording visitors sessions, blocking traffic from specific devices and even picking up on a user's exact IP address, geo location, device, mobile operator and post code and which keyword and campaign they clicked on. Yes, you really can get all the intel on your website paid traffic with premium click fraud software subscriptions.
The best part about having click fraud software is that it manually blocks VPNs and fraudulent traffic after their first click, depending on your account settings. Once set up, you don't really need to monitor or maintain the account.
Some warning signs you should get click fraud protection include a huge increase in invalid clicks, as well as sudden drops in conversion rate. You could be experiencing bot click fraud or competitors manually clicking your ads, however poor user experience and other factors could also influence your PPC campaigns' performance.
While Google reassures you that they would not charge you for invalid clicks, much of the fraudulent traffic is still costing advertisers a lot.
Akiflow. A brand new productivity tool we are pretty excited to try. With Akiflow you can combine your PPC reports, Google Analytics, Facebook ads, Slack, DropBox, Google drive and much more into one simple desktop app.
One of the great benefits of Akiflow is that you don't need to understand Google Analytics, Ads or know much about Facebook reporting - simply ask Akiflow and it will fetch the data for you.
While Akiflow is still in the early development stages and features like downloading reports is yet to be introduced, the tool works pretty quickly and seamlessly combines the data for all your projects, helps you write emails and schedule events.
OnlyMega. A simple and incredibly affordable way to create your own display ads. You don't need to know code, be a graphic designer or know how to use Google Web Designer. Simply pick a template, edit the images and colour schemes and you are good to go.
We recommend OnlyMega over other tools because it's pricing is transparent, there are no contracts and you can download multiple ad formats, including HTML5, GIF and JPEGs from the same design file.
You can create ads from a scratch or use templates and customise every single aspect of your display ads, from custom colours to CTA text, images, logos and more.
Google Analytics. This is the best tool to track and analyse your website visitors and how they've interacted with your website. You can build a variety of reports on different aspects of your marketing and combine them to create a buyer persona, identify trends and issues or simply better understand how to improve your performance.
Analytics can easily be integrated with your CRM or Google ads and track the return on ad spend, best converting keywords and audiences, your best selling products, how long it takes before users convert and much more.
While Google Analytics is not exclusively a PPC tool, it is important for tracking website performance, creating and sharing audiences with other channels, create custom reports and track experiments in Google Optimize.
Google analytics can also help you identify slow pages, pages with poor conversion rates and high bounce rate, group traffic by channels or device. A great place to start learning about how to use it is Google Skills Academy.
Even if you don't want to use it or launch paid advertising just yet, your website should have Google Analytics and proper tracking installed. This way whenever you're ready to start advertising or want to improve your site you can go back and analyse its past performance. Your website data is valuable, make sure you track it.
Google Search Console. Search console monitors your most popular pages, where your visitors are located and the device they're using, checks for usability issues and can be helpful when tracking external links to your website, as well as organic search results performance.
Google Search Console lets you verify ownership of your website, fix indexing issues and submit a sitemap, so the search engine can better understand your website and index all its pages. Just like with Google Analytics, even if you don't plan on using Search Console you should set it up and collect your website data.
How is this a PPC tool you ask? It isn't one, however it will help you identify keywords you rank for organically, saving you CPC money and campaign management time.
Canva. Simple tool to design pretty much anything you could need for your website and digital marketing. Canva is the perfect tool for social media ads, as well as Google Display ads, Infographics and much more.
The premium membership includes unlimited high quality stock images, patterns and custom colour palette to apply across all your designs. With Canva you can easily resize your creatives and change their format, to re-purpose as lead magnets or content for your social media.
SEMrush. One of the best tools you could use for your SEO and competitor research. Although it can be pricey, it is definitely worth it. Think about all the time and resource your competitors spend on identifying the best keyword strategy - if you are good at analysing the data, you can reverse engineer that and apply it to your business.
For the purpose of this blog we tried multiple SEO tools and compared the estimated competitor PPC spend. We also ran a report on an account managed by The PPC Agency and SEMrush proved to be the most accurate one, out of SpyFu and SE Ranking.
SEMrush is also excellent for competitor backlink research, their organic keyword rankings and organic traffic, as well competitor PPC keywords, PPC ad copy and display ads gallery and estimated desktop and mobile traffic.
We hope you found this blog useful! Follow us on social media to make sure you never miss a blog post and stay up to date with the latest PPC and digital marketing trends.