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PPCers in this week’s PPCChat session discussed about the PPC tools that they can’t live without, tools that they would want to use, what makes them decide to try out a new tool. Hosted by Julie F Bacchini the session discussed all this and more was explored.

Here is the screencap of the session.



Q1: Do you use tools to help with any aspect of your PPC work? If so, which do you use regularly?


We use primarily the SE UI’s, scripts, Excel, for reporting, for budget mgmt, for automation assistance/testing, for time tracking, for task mgmt. also for KW research. – @PPCKirk

scripts and Excel is my bread & butter!! Thankfully they are two of my work bff. We have started using for task management as well – @mindswanppc

I mean, excel. But I also like Acquisio and I’ve been looking at ad copy testing platforms. – @JuliaVyse

My favorite tools that I am in daily are (1) Excel (2) Adwords/Bing Editors and (3) Optmyzr. Other tools I use more rarely. – @lchasse

Excel, Google Keyword Planner, SEM Rush and more regularly. And Google and Bing editors- @marksubel

Excel mainly and then Editor as well. Also quite like using tools like AHRefs Paid Search stuff to look at what competitors are doing with ad copy and landing pages. – @digitallydan14

I use for reporting and regularly for research, sometimes for research, Keywords Everywhere and Google Ads Editor and for time tracking. – @NeptuneMoon

The usual suspects – Excel, Editors, scripts. But I’m curious what people are currently using for reporting to pull it together – Excel, 3rd party platforms, Supermetrics, Power BI, NinjaCat, etc? I think it depends on size and complexity of accounts. – @LisaSanner

Call me old school but excel/Googlesheets never go out of style for data work. for reporting and pull data into sheets. External scripts of course too. Some keyword, photos and analytic tools external from ad platforms. Also asana does all our project management work. We have one client big on Basecamp, so we use it for them. Dropbox if we can’t use GDrive for storing the odd digital artifact from clients. Wave for accounting, payroll..ect. – @duanebrown

Editors are SO NICE. Screw FB for not hooking it up. Tracking and visualization software is important too so you can slice your data and allocate budgets more effectively! – @markpgus

Acquisio, Sprinklr, SEMrush – @Mel66

Basically this (although I haven’t worked with Swydo). I’d add Google Sheets / Excel, for reporting, and am starting to get into Data Studio. Idk if those are considered tools? – @akaEmmaLouise

we use Spyfu and SimilarWeb for outsider tools. But we also are big on GA, DART Search for management – @JonKagan

We use for automation. We created an internal PPC dash for reporting, although I preferred manually pulling from  – @anna_arrow

We use Google Ads for keyword research, Editor for composing campaigns, Toggl for time tracking, and Basecamp to keep track of to-dos. – @marccxmedia




Q2: What is the one PPC tool that you absolutely could not live without and why?


I find this question hard, because good PPCers would always find a way… 😉 BUT… if I had to choose I’d say we are tied to Google/Bing Editors first, and second as we have a bit of our optimization workflow through it. – @PPCKirk

Desktop editors. Much faster execution speed @ scale than browser UI. Excel is 2nd more valuable but you *could* get away with Google Sheets if necessary. – @SEM_PPC_MattV

editors and optmyzer as everyone said. I’ll add funnel and data studio saved a hell of time in reporting – @360vardi

Optmyzr! – @dotcentrex

Acquisio for sure – oh and AdAlysis – indispensible – @Mel66

If strictly a PPC tool, I think the most widely used is Adwords Editor. As far as a tool used for PPC, I would say that’s Excel. – @LisaSanner

Surely it has to be excel. Can you even do PPC without it? Everything would take so long and be so manual. – @digitallydan14

Google/Bing Editors for sure. I don’t know how much time I would lose without it. – @lchasse

I think hit it on the head with his follow-up answer to Q1 it’s the project management tools! – @ferkungamaboobo

my editors. I use them constantly. I can manually do most of the work, but in order to manage my giant accounts and make quick changes, I need my editors. – @JuliaVyse

Excel/Googlesheet. Been with me since day one and short of having to much data and going to Power BI. There is nothing it can not do if you know macros and pivot tables – @duanebrown

AdWords Editor. So many things would take SO MUCH LONGER to do without it. And, you can skip all the screens where it tries to get you to add 600 extra bits to your ads! – @NeptuneMoon

Can we count the offline editor tools? if so, they are as important to me as my kidneys – @JonKagan

Like you, , AdWords Editor (and some of the Bulk features in Ads) is a godsend. – @marccxmedia



Q3: Is there a tool you’ve heard about but not had the chance to use that you’d really like to? What is keeping you from trying it?


Rather than name tools, I just find in general budget is the problem. Clients have this much ducets, minus taxes and fees, minus the media spend, the $ just aren’t there. – @JuliaVyse

3rd party site optimization testing tools. Biggest barrier is cost. Implementation & complexity are also factors. It’d be great to have more time to focus here as well! – @SEM_PPC_MattV

Power BI. Having the time and also a larger data set to look at. With Black Friday now come and gone. Something I can now look at with a years worth of data – @duanebrown

I think tool usage is often limited by types of accounts and scope of work. I don’t have a ton of experience with CRO tools because of where our accountability stopped and started. But CVR and LPO heavily influenced performance so it was a little frustrating. – @LisaSanner

I liked a lot, but cost keeps me from using the full version – @JonKagan

Tools like Optmyzr or AdAlysis intrigue me. Like most, ongoing cost is the biggest factor to be able to overcome, especially if you’re also using tools for clients like Unbounce or CallRail. – @NeptuneMoon

we just started with SA360 for bid management. Not my favorite honestly, but they have the ability to tie in paid efforts with 1 pixel – @360vardi

We would like to use more tools collectively for sure, but by the time you add up every great toolkit for PPC, the monthly cost just gets a little more than we like to justify all of them all the time. – @marksubel

next step is Google BigQuery combined with scripts and sheets for bid management across many accounts – @KurtHenninger

We haven’t used any call-related tools or optimizing tools yet, but given that we drive calls for one of our clients, trying a call tool would be interesting to see how it compares. – @marccxmedia

same for Optmyzr & AdAlysis – @mindswanppc



Q4: Is there a tool that you did try but either didn’t like it, couldn’t understand it or just generally had a hard time with? Why?


for legal reasons I can’t use the names, but there is 1 ad managment platform of the big 5 we don’t use due to attempted bribery. There is also a monitoring tool that cost more than others, with less functions – @JonKagan

Google’s Data Studio. I tried it a couple times and if Google would have looked at other reporting platforms and how easy it was to integrate data – @lchasse

I’m kind of there with DS. It’s good but doesn’t do everything we need. I had the opportunity to try Albert AI and tho it was really good performance-wise, it was really tricky to do and really hard to get going. – @JuliaVyse

Data Studio is great in theory but always feels like extra work. A lot of programmatic & ad optimization platforms are selling the dream that does not live up to the hype. – @duanebrown

Tested tCPA autobidding in several different ways & just couldn’t get it work the way our business needed it to. Really wanted it to work b/c it would’ve been a big timesaver! – @SEM_PPC_MattV

I said this earlier, but Data Studio just leaves me cold. I wish it was better than it is, but the work needed to set it up is way more than a tool like Swydo, where you hook up a data source and you can configure reporting from that source in a snap. –  @NeptuneMoon

Really interesting to see all the Data Studio responses for Q4. I assumed I was alone in not being impressed, or just having other options already that do it just as good or not better as part of my workflow – @PPCKirk

I’ve used some ad copy tools (suggestions, translations, etc.) that I found more work to manage than value I felt like we were getting , few new fresh ideas. Now with all of the multi-variate testing optimization built into publisher features, you don’t need them. – @LisaSanner

Maybe the biggest example of this for me is A/B testing tools — could never wrap my head around them enough to break out of my little code snippets. – @ferkungamaboobo

Again, like you, Julie, we tried Data Studio once or twice but didn’t get into it enough – @marccxmedia

100% my feelings. If Data Studio had the ease of use of Swydo (Or Swydo was as versatile as Data Studio seems) we would have a winner. When you’re in-house with bigger budgets it’s nice to bring your data into a visualization tool and get decision making insights – @markpgus

I don’t buy into all these tools that monitor your brand and pertain to preventiing people from bidding on your brand. – @digitallydan14

yes, I really want to love Data Studio – but I feel like it’ll be a very steep learning curve to create the dashboards.. – @mindswanppc



Q5: For existing tools, are there any features or functions you wish they had (tag the tools!) and why?


Super specific, but I’d love for Reports to include the new Shopping Price benchmark data so we could analyze the account in bulk according to price benchmarks. – @PPCKirk

Maybe a little better task tagging/reporting for – @marccxmedia

how about blended data? I do SEM on two platforms, I do FB, Twitter and LinkedIn, and I do buys with Amazon and Spotify. Could you just please vacuum it up and make a report? These manual powerpoints are killing me! – @JuliaVyse

Honestly, a monthly budget feature in that is just simple. Do not spend over $5,000 for an account for the month if they need that without having to use scripts, etc – @lchasse

Everyone knows I love … we built our own templates but I wish the ones they provided were more useful. Maybe I just built different reports then other people. – @duanebrown

Would love to scripts to have a longer timeout window than 30 minutes. Lots of really useful in-depth analysis could be done w/ longer run script runs – @SEM_PPC_MattV



Q6: What is missing in the world of tools for PPC pros? What is on your wish list for a tool?


a really good projection tool. A really good keyword addition tool that uses ad grouping naming convention – @360vardi

This might be out there but w/AI and machine learning, I think publishers could monitor people’s account mgmt activities & give real suggestions about timing of optimizations or strategic opportunities across whole account/MCC. Kind of like a healthcheck but higher level – @LisaSanner

I’d say audience sharing. I can do it with GMP sort of, but I’d like to see a way to share more between platforms for a particular program. – @JuliaVyse

FB editor, ad managment platforms offline editors, deeper competitor insight tools that require lower traffic thresholds, but most importantly, a tool that tells you of YouTube/GDN/Native placements in advance of launch, when you dont specify specific targets – @JonKagan

Facebook Editor. – @robert_brady

Not a tool as much of wishing Gsheet would have a button to auto-deduplicate data. I have an add-on and it works just don’t want to pay for it. Better regional search data would be nice for Canada, Australia & UK as those are the big 3 we tackle outside of USA. – @duanebrown

Something that does all the work, but we still get paid. 😉 Honestly, probably Google learning from the other companies. We are willing to pay for other tools, their tools are falling short. Otherwise, FB ads editor or some tool I don’t know I need yet. – @lchasse

Offline Editor for Facebook and an automated tool that excludes crappy GDN placements. – @NeptuneMoon

Free paid traffic of course! – @SEM_PPC_MattV



Q7: Is there anything in particular that makes you more or less likely to try a new tool?


It needs to solve a real problem for me, or save me enough time that it’s worth trying/switching. If it does those two things, I’m in. – @PPCKirk

Value, cost, and learning curve all play a role. – @adamkoontz

free trial, ease of connecting tools, starting with lots of plugins instead of just the big three. – @JuliaVyse

If everyone in is onboard with a tool, I may give it a shot. 🙂 Seriously though, usually I don’t listen to sales people, but I do listen to fellow agency folks who need these tools in their daily work. – @lchasse

I will try a new tool if 1 I can afford it. That’s more than the subscription cost. It’s the upfront time learning mixed with the time saved and efficiency gained long-term. If those project well let’s do it! If it’s marginally better, wait for the tool to improve! – @markpgus

I agree with this and will add, needs to applicable across client base, not just for one client. – @NeptuneMoon

Some kind of data showing the value, case studies etc that justify the cost. – @digitallydan14

It has to fill a gap, or have a bell so shiny that other tweeps are chirping about it. Referrals from people who you respect helps. Real world demo’s can make it appealing but need and low costs of trial can push you to act. – @LisaSanner

I’m a tech geek so I’d try any new tool that I can get my hands on (even Data Studio). – @mindswanppc

outlandish claims and price – @JonKagan


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