The Internet is a killer place to advertise. Since 2006, the percentage of online advertising spend has grown from 6% to 13.3% of total media expense. That’s $16.9 billion to $42 billion.
There’s good reason for that. Unlike traditional advertising channels, online advertising is less expensive, far faster to market and easy to measure. Good news for you if you’re in the hot seat for getting the boss or client results. But there’s a hitch: without the right tools, you can find yourself way over your head and way over your budget.
Here’s a peek at the tools that can help you manage a successful online advertising campaign. Today’s list is limited to PPC advertising tools. Tomorrow, we’ll have an ultimate list of social media advertising tools. And soon, we’ll circle back around with display and ad network advertising tools.
Search engine PPC tools
There are few online advertising tools that can put you in front of an audience that rivals a small nation in size. But build an effective campaign with PPC on a search engine and you’ll accomplish just that. Roll that campaign across multiple search engines and in no time you’ll be a little online ad mogul.
- Google AdWords
With nearly 65% of search traffic, Google AdWords will get your text ads out in front of the lion’s share of search traffic. But it’s not cheap. A Sponsored Link is a coveted ad position that will drive traffic, but comes with a hefty price, too.
- Yahoo! Search Marketing
Out of the big three search engines, Yahoo! has the smallest market share at 14%. But it’s still a percentage you don’t want to ignore: it has the highest search success rate at 81.14%.
- Bing AdCenter
With two powerhouse search engines (Yahoo! and Bing) under one platform, you can interact with over 30% of search traffic, traffic that’s supposed to be known for buying, not just browsing. Sweet keyword tool.”If you do not diversify your paid search campaigns beyond Google AdWords, you’re not only missing the boat—but losing your company money via inaction.”—Loren Baker
- Baidu Phoenix Next
Baidu is China’s No. 1 search engine, with 75.9% of the market share in Q2 of 2011. (In comparison, Google China had about 18% of the market share during the same period.) Its advertising models and networks are similar to Google’s, but there are significant differences. Before you jump into Baidu PPC advertising, read up from experts like Gordon Choi and those at China Internet Watch.
If you want to buy PPC ads for Russian audiences, add Yandex to the list—CTR is better than Google.ru. There are some good descriptions of the tools in English, including an English-language help center, but you’ll still want to read from experts like those at RussianSearchTips.com.
Google AdWords tools
Google AdWords allows you to display your ads on Google, and across its advertising network, at the moment people are searching for your product. The following tools help you leverage this powerful platform.
- Google AdWords Keyword Tool
When you want to find out what related word searches your ad will show on, use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Free and dead simple to use.
- Google AdWords Traffic Estimator
Google will give you rough estimates on clicks and bid prices for your ads at the top position. Helpful for planning your budget. Free.
- Conversion Optimizer
Google dishes out yet another AdWords tool, this time to help you achieve double-digit conversions by bidding on your CPA (cost-per-acquisition). Free, but to be eligible, campaigns must have had 15 conversions in the last 30 days.
- AdWord Accelerator
For a one-year subscription at $299, the AdWord Accelerator will give you access to tools like the keyword basket, estimates and competition tracking in one convenient suite.
- Google AdWords Manager
Raven debuted its AdWords management and reporting tools a couple of months ago. You can create AdWords campaigns, adjust budgets, pause or start campaigns in bulk, manage multiple accounts, set extensions and more. Reporting AdWords campaigns is extremely simple. $99/month for a Pro account, which gives you access to all the SEO, social media and PPC tools in the platform.
- AdWords Wrapper
Enter a list of keyword phrases into the Google AdWords Wrapper, click “Wrap Keywords” and bingo: you’ve got a combination of Broad, Phrase and Exact Match keywords, a combination of Phrase and Exact Match keyword, Phrase Match only keywords and Exact Match only keywords. Free.
- Keyword Wrapper Another free tool that lets you create various combinations of your keywords. @markkennedysem says this about their service. “SEOM’s keyword wrapper is a free tool for PPC campaign managers to wrap keywords in [exact], “phrase,” and +Broad +Match +Modified match types.”
A super fast, super efficient way to expand your keyword list, write ads for each keyword and track each core keyword. In just six seconds. One time cost of $147.
- AdWords Editor
Free Google application to download your AdWords account, update your campaigns with the editing tools and then upload your changes. A must.
- Negative Keywords Maker
Negative keywords allow you to filter out unwanted impressions, reduce your CPC and increase ROI. But they can be a pain to create. Until now. Insert the minus sign “-” in front of keywords with one click. Free.
- AdWords Insights
Uncover poorly performing keywords and landing pages with low Quality Scores in bulk with this Raven tool. Fix problems to save money and increase conversions. $99/month for a Raven Pro account, which gives you access to all the SEO, social media and PPC tools in the platform.
- Keyword Niche Finder
If you want to find profitable keyword niches that you can dominate, then use this free tool. You can start with general terms like “auto” or “sports” and refine until you find that keyword phrase or two no one knows about.
PPC budgeting tools
Pay-per-click advertising is probably the fastest way to dominate search engine rankings. But it can also be the most expensive. The following tools will help you manage, budget and succeed at the PPC game without breaking the bank.
- Pay Per Click Universe
A free resource dedicated to provide unbiased information to the small-to-medium sized business owner interested in exploring the world of PPC advertising.
If you run multi-channel advertisements across Search, Social and Display networks, you have no shortage in the amount of data you collect. But data means nothing if you don’t turn it into action. With Acquisio, you get one integrated platform to purchase, track, manage and optimize all your marketing efforts.
- CPC ROI Calculator
Want a tool that figures out how you can profitably pay for your ads? This cost-per-click ROI calculator from SEOBook is just the ticket. Free.
- PPC Bid Max
Software solution that automatically manages your PPC campaigns. Perfect for the time-starved one-man shop. Standard edition starts at $96.
- PPC G-Test Calculator
This free tool allows you to predict the winner out of two competing ads, thus allowing you to save money while you optimize your ads.
- Taguchi-based Ad Optimizer
Want to speed up the testing process AND test up to 15 elements in your ads at a time? Then this free tool is what you need. It will blow your mind. In a good way.
Wordstream touts its new Pause Keyword Alerts, weekly updates that tell you the keywords to pause for better campaign performance. Monthly plans for its PPC tools start at $299.
Competitive PPC analysis tools
Knowing what your competitors are doing in the online advertising space is a must if you want to dominate. These tools will help you pay attention to their campaigns and respond accordingly.
The concept is simple: when you spy on your competitor’s AdWords campaigns you are bound to find AND capture profitable opportunities. Spyfu allows you to do this for $79 a month.
- PPC Web Spy
Another competitive analysis too—this time free. Uncover the Google AdWords keywords your competitors are using with Brad Cullen’s downloadable PPC tool.
- My Ads Advertising
In minutes you can build and customize ads, reach broad audiences or target your customers and track and monitor your ad to see how it is performing with flexible budgets and no minimum bid.
Simply enter any domain for rich results on PPC competitors. Test it for free right from the home page, or sign up for a plan starting at $59 for more tools.
SEMRush offers deep competitive intelligence for Google AdWords. Plans begin at $69 a month (or access SEMRush data from within Raven at no added cost.)
What am I missing? Are there any online advertising tools out there that you think a website owner shouldn’t be caught dead without? Share your thoughts in the comments. Brutal and all.
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