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12 AdWords Tools That Will Help You Optimize Like the Pros

by | Jun 8, 2015 | AdWords Tools | 0 comments

We are all looking to become better at what we do. But at one point in time we need to acknowledge that it is possible for a machine to do a better job than you, no matter how good you are at that particular task.

Take spreadsheets as an example. It’s not necessarily hard to calculate the same things that a spreadsheet can calculate if you use a calculator. It’s just inserting numbers. However, it is infinitely faster to do it in a spreadsheet than with intertwining formulas.

The same applies to AdWords optimization. You can do various tasks with amazing accuracy and great results, but you can do it much faster if you combine your creative skills with the efficiency of some of the tools listed in this post.

Need to Have AdWords Tools / Features

Call Tracking: Tracking Leads Without Call Tracking is Impossible

  • Who is it for: Advertisers that measure all or part of their AdWords performance on calls
  • Biggest benefit: More conversion data
  • Learning curve: Short

Call tracking is one of those features that hasn’t been completely developed in the AdWords interface yet. Therefore, many think that Call Tracking isn’t an essential part of Google AdWords yet, but nothing could be further from the truth.

If your business gets more than 20% of your leads from phone calls, then call tracking is mandatory. Not using call tracking at this point is like saying no to more data that will help you optimize your campaigns.

The way you write your ads and choose your keywords will determine how many calls your business gets. If you don’t track calls, you can therefore write an ad that overall brings in more leads, but because you get less contact form completions you will decide that the new ad doesn’t work as well.

Learn more: 

Recommended Call Tracking Providers:

Dialog Tech (former Ifbyphone):

Dialog Tech is the choice of White Shark Media. We have used Dialog Tech for more than two years and are very happy with them at the current time.

CallRail:

CallRail does a good job at working with the end advertiser. So if you’re looking for a call tracking provider for your own business, then Call Rail is one of the easiest and most intuitive solutions in the market.

Convirza (former Logmycalls):

Convirza is the choice for the more advanced advertiser. They have developed a platform that can score how well your sales reps handles calls based on a list of criteria. Convirza thereby gives you more data to work with than just revealing whether a call was made or not.

Note: All three call tracking providers can import their conversion data to Google AdWords or Analytics. No matter if you choose the ones mentioned above or another provider, then pick one that allows you to seamlessly import your call conversion data to Google AdWords.

Zoho CRM: Close The Loop On Offline Conversions Automatically

  • Who is it for: Lead generation advertisers
  • Biggest benefit: See exact ROI numbers and gauge lead quality
  • Learning curve: Medium

There are plenty of CRMs that cater to advertisers out there. However, when it comes to working with lead generation and knowing the exact ROI your campaigns are generating, many advertisers are left hanging.

Google introduced Offline Conversions in 2014. Offline conversions give you the ability to attach revenue to a conversion in Google AdWords. The tricky part for this to happen is that you have to make sure that this information is logged appropriately and then uploaded to Google AdWords.

In comes Zoho CRM; Zoho CRM allows you to do this automatically:

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If you run a lead generation campaign and your current CRM doesn’t allow for you to collect GCLID, logging revenue and importing to Google AdWords, then the Zoho CRM is a very good tool for your marketing arsenal.

You don’t have to convert completely to Zoho – At least just use it for the added data. It’s truly a godsend.

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Google Keyword Planner: Get Keyword Ideas

  • Who is it for: Everybody
  • Biggest benefit: Copy-paste ability
  • Learning curve: Medium

Google Keyword Planner is a free tool from Google that helps you discover the actual potential of keywords  you have chosen as well as help you find new keyword opportunities.

It’s free to use and is a great help for you to find new keyword ideas.

Pro tip: One of the best practices with the Keyword Planner is to type in your existing keywords and see what other suggestions Google will come up with. This helps you find not only new keywords but also negative keywords.

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AdWords Editor: Shortcuts to All Your AdWords Management Tasks

  • Who is it for: Everybody
  • Biggest benefit: Copy-paste ability
  • Learning curve: Medium

The AdWords Editor is one of those tools that you just need to have. I know that Brad Geddes starts his workshops with letting everyone know that AdWords Editor is a must-have tool for managing AdWords campaigns.

The biggest advantages of the AdWords Editor is that you can work with bulk, can copy-paste and because you’re not limited by the speed of the online AdWords interface you can work much faster.

I predict that when creating campaigns, I work 4-5 times faster in AdWords Editor than in the interface. When optimizing campaigns, I work at least double as fast.

The only thing that is making me wish for more is when it comes to optimizing campaigns. The columns aren’t as intuitive as you see in the online interface and you don’t have access to graphs, easy date range changes, etc.

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MergeWords.com: Easily Create Big Keyword Lists

  • Who is it for: Everybody
  • Biggest benefit: Combine keywords and easily create several match types
  • Learning curve: Short

MergeWords.com is a tool I have used for as long as I can remember. MergeWords allows you to insert up to three different keyword lists and combine them with each other.

For example, if you have 15 different keywords that should all be combined with the following adjectives, then MergeWords can do it quickly and accurately:

  • Cheap
  • Affordable
  • Low Cost
  • Buy
  • Purchase
  • Order
  • Get

Instead of spending 15 minutes putting these keyword lists together, and potentially making a couple of mistakes along the way, just paste them into MergeWords and voila – you have your new keyword list.

As an added bonus, you can choose how the keywords need to be “wrapped”. Instead of manually adding plus signs to all keywords to turn them into Broad Match Modifier keywords, you just click on the plus sign and all your keywords turn into BMM keywords. You can also do this even if you’re not using MergeWords for anything else than this.

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UberSuggest.com: Find Negative Keywords and Keyword Suggestions by the Click of a Button

  • Who is it for: Everybody
  • Biggest benefit: Quickly get relevant keyword ideas
  • Learning curve: Short

Google has a functionality in their search bar that is called Auto Suggest. It’s the little drop-down that appears when you’re typing something in Google:

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For years, marketers have been typing in random words to find more ideas for their keyword lists. Then came UberSuggest.org.

UberSuggest found a way to harvest all the suggested searches in Google and put them into a database. With UberSuggest you can now type in any keyword and see all the relevant suggestions that appear in the Google Auto Suggest.

This is useful because  for a search term to appear in Google’s auto suggest, then it needs to have a certain amount of searches. Google also switches these out routinely as search volume drops or increases. The keywords you can find in UberSuggest is therefore highly relevant and a great source of inspiration.

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Google Analytics: The Basic Web Analytics Tool All Marketers Should Have

  • Who is it for: Everybody
  • Biggest benefit: Added analytics on your AdWords campaign
  • Learning curve: Medium

One of the most important ideas behind Google Analytics is that it gives you added data for your Google AdWords campaign. Not only that, but knowing how your website performs in general will be able to give you extra insights that you can use to optimize your AdWords campaigns.

Some of the nice to have metrics about your AdWords campaign are:

Bounce Rate: Bounce rate tells you what percentage of visitors only see one page of your website. Only seeing one page usually indicate that the visitor didn’t find what he was looking for and left your website.

Top Conversion Paths: Top Conversion Paths reveal what pages your visitors typically visit before converting. This is useful to know as you might be sending your visitors to the wrong landing page.

If you can see that a certain landing is always visited right before a user converts, then you can do two things:

  1. Create a more prominent link from your landing page to this page, so you ensure as many users as possible take this path
  2. Try to use this page as your landing page. It might work much better.

This is just a small part of what you can get out of Google Analytics when working with Google AdWords.

Learn More:

  • How to Work with the New Analytics and AdWords Integration

Nice to Have AdWords Tools

Data Feed Watch: Google Shopping

  • Who is it for: E-commerce
  • Biggest benefit: Optimize your data feed with rules and regular expressions
  • Learning curve: Medium

When running Google Shopping campaigns the majority of your success depends on your data feed. If you have a poorly structured data feed with generic titles it doesn’t matter how well you build the campaign in Google AdWords. You will be missing out on a lot of sales.

I have tried a lot of different data feed optimization tools (GoDataFeed, DataPop, SingleFeed) and none came close to what I needed. I’m not refuting that the three tools I just mentioned are useful if you need to optimize your feed for multiple comparison engines. However, I just need one for Google AdWords, and if you’re reading this article, I believe you’re looking for the same.

DataFeedWatch is easy to set up, intuitive to work with and that comes without much of the setup and general hassle that the other tools had. DataFeedWatch was the only tool where I could sign up, get started and launch my new, optimized feed within the same day.

Some of the things you can do with DataFeedWatch include:

  • Rewrite titles in bulk by writing rules that replace specific words or add adjectives to the title that bad to have in your store, but is a need-to-have in a data feed
  • Split up products based on size, color and many other attributes
  • Manually write information that you think is important

Overall, I have found DataFeedWatch an essential resource when managing data feeds.

Learn more:

Optmyzr: Misc. Tools to Help Speed Up Campaign Development

  • Who is it for: In-house AdWords managers
  • Biggest benefit: Speed up common optimization activities
  • Learning curve: Medium

Optmyzr is a combination of homemade tools for the average AdWords advertiser. What defines Optmyzr is that they have joined a new category of AdWords tools that don’t try to take over all aspects of AdWords management. They instead focus on improving the way you do specific tasks, one by one.

Of the most useful tools in the Optmyzr portfolio, you can find:

  • Quality Score Tracker
  • One-Click Optimizations
  • Shopping Campaign Bid Optimization
  • Shopping Campaign Grouper

Where Optmyzr really comes in is for in-house AdWords managers who are looking for tools to help elevate their AdWords skills and the impact of their optimizations. The tools in Optmyzr’s portfolio will definitely help the average AdWords manager optimize their campaigns faster and often also better.

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AdAlysis: Streamline your Ad Testing

  • Who is it for: Advertisers with more than $10,000 monthly ad spend
  • Biggest benefit: Streamline ad testing
  • Learning curve: Medium

AdAlysis is one of my favorite AdWords tools, it allows you to perform ad tests in your account through a useful interface:

  • Statistically significant tests show on top
  • Review ad tests one by one instead of jumping from ad group to ad group
  • Automatically compare ads to each other only in date ranges that apply to both
  • Choose between a myriad of metrics
  • Automate ad tests by setting up an Ad Testing Queue

All in all, Adalysis has quickly become one of my favorite AdWords tools for accounts that goes above just the traditional management of accounts.

Learn more:

Wordstream AdWords Grader: Grade Your Account and Get Optimization Tips

Who is it for: Beginners

Biggest benefit: Get a quick scorecard of tips to optimize your account

Learning curve: None

The free AdWords Grader from Wordstream is definitely a good tool to help new advertisers get a feel for what they can do better.

The AdWords Grader helps in the following areas:

  • Provide insights to how your existing data benchmarks against industry peers
  • Analyze your campaigns for best practices and give you feedback on whether they are being used
  • Analyze your change history to tell you if you’re spending less or more time optimizing your AdWords account than your competitors

Overall, I think that the AdWords Grader is essential for AdWords managers who have never seen another AdWords account than their own. I believe this is one of the big advantage that agencies have – they get to compare data and thereby know when to make a big change when the numbers are completely off or to make precise optimizations in smaller increments when the numbers are good.

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Competitor Research Tools: SEMRush, iSpionage, KeywordSpy and SpyFu

Who is it for: Advertisers with more than $10,000 monthly ad spend

Biggest benefit: Gain insights to successful tactics

Learning curve: Medium

There is a long range of good Competitor Research Tools in the AdWords industry. They all work based on the same methodology. They send out bots on Google to identify how often advertisers appear. Based on this data, each competitive intelligence tool will put the number through their own formula and present data to you.

It’s important to note that the information that comes from these tools is not found inside AdWords accounts, but on the Google search results page. This poses some immediate limits to the accuracy of data concerning budget, CPC, click volume, etc. All these metrics should not be accepted as absolute. I know exactly how much many of our clients spend and even with big accounts the estimate from these tools is far from the actual number. I see often see double and triple digit percentage discrepancies.

What’s incredibly valuable from these tools are:

  • How long has an ad been running
  • How long has a keyword been running
  • Get new keyword ideas

Even though you can’t see how well a keyword or an ad performs for one of your competitors, then you can get a good idea of the performance if the keyword has been running in top positions for a year.

Some of the better tools I have tried are:

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Should You Use Tools Or Rely on Your Own Wit?

After years managing AdWords campaigns my personal verdict is that you should get help from technology for tasks that can help optimize your processes. If you can find a tool that can make you work faster or have a better impact, then it’s definitely worth the price.

At the end of the day it also depends on the complexity of your AdWords account. If you’re only managing a small local campaign, then you don’t need to subscribe to several hundred dollars in tools to speed up your workload.

If you’re managing bigger accounts and multiple campaigns, tens/hundreds of ad groups then I enthusiastically advise you to use these standalone tools to help you with your weekly optimization tasks.

Author: Andrew Lolk

Andrew LolkAndrew Lolk is one of three founders of White Shark Media®, a leading digital marketing agency that delivers online marketing solutions tailored specifically for small and medium-sized businesses. Since White Shark Media’s inception, Andrew has worked to develop every department, serving as head of SEM, Chief Marketing Officer, founder of the company’s Web Department and Vice President of PPC, bringing to reality White Shark Media’s vision of achieving extraordinary growth.

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